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Thread: Model 16-3 S&W Homage

  1. #21
    Boolit Master



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    Beagle;
    Your post set me to thinking. It would be very hard to intelligently disagree with your "wants". I, a few short years ago, I picked up a VERY nice Model 15 at our local gun club from the sale table. It was priced really right and was in at least "very good" to "excellent". It was an ex-LEO piece and was so marked. It showed almost no use. It is a near perfect field piece as well as VERY satisfying on the range. My son and his wife needed a "house gun" and I was happy to gift them with it. The .38 Special when properly loaded is an excellent self defense load.

    I have used a variety of .38's in the field for small game use and found it NEVER lacked when loaded with a proper home cast bullet. Instant stop with no excess meat damage. I have several .38/.357's so have that area well covered. I also still have my K-38 from my PPC days. It has also been useful in the field, also.

    I was always "behind the curve" looking for a K-32. Finally, I managed to get a 16-4 when they first hit the market (dern near broke my arm getting my money out). I bought the six inch and still have it. It is a DANDY! It shoots both the .32 S&W Long (when properly loaded) as well as the .32 H&R Mag (after Starline started making brass for it) at NRA Bullseye levels. I also managed to pick up a 631 (4" .32 H&R "J" frame, as you well know) when they were first offered. I, OF COURSE, still have it. The .32's have done well on small game, too!

    I never felt the pull of the .22 magnum although friends have used them with excellent results. The factory ammo has always been rather expensive and I have little truck with rounds that cannot be reloaded.

    I have been fortunate with the .44's and actually have successfully used them on both small game and the .44 Mag on a number of whitetail deer. They have seen a lot of range use from me, too.

    I have not neglected .45's in the field, either. That has mostly been the .45 ACP/.45 Auto Rim, however. I have not used the .45 Colt in the field but do have some nice pieces in that caliber.

    I fear I have gone a bit far afield, here, this really should be about Froggie's custom K-32. I am looking forward to a chance to examine and shoot it when the opportunity presents itself.

    FWIW
    Dale53

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    Mr Beagle,

    As you may be aware, Smith made an exceedingly small number of 4” K-32s, essentially 32 cal Combat Masterpieces. These make up a rare variant of an uncommon model. When the Model 16-4 was released they made approximately the same number of 4” as 6”, so they should be somewhat easier to find, but still seem to fall somewhere between hen’s teeth and unicorn horns unfortunately. Initially I had planned for Project 616 to have a 6” barrel, but as luck would have it, the Model 616 barrel I found to have bored was a 4”, and in the big scheme of things it complements my 6” K-32 barrel nicely. Still working on loads for the new K-32!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  3. #23
    Boolit Master

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    It would be nice if one of the distributors would have S&W run a stainless steel version of the model 16-3, only with the heavy barrel (no underlug) in 4" and 6". And in either 32 H&R or 327 Federal, but, the 327 might have a greater following.
    A write in campaign might get us 32 fans what we want!
    It couldn't be that hard for S&W to run 5000 of these.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master



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    Hickory;
    A "write in" would have a much greater chance of working if Lipsey were the recipient. I would seriously doubt Smith or Ruger would respond to us. However, Lipsey has the power to order several thousand units if they could be convinced and THAT would get Smith's and Ruger's attention as it has recently proven to work with the Flattop .44 Specials from Ruger. One way that might work that would be if someone with lots of energy would start a "Group Buy" to Lipsey on here (after laying the ground work by talking to Lipsey, first). It would have to be properly organized, get the people to agree on EXACT model so we wouldn't appear to be going in fourteen directions at once, etc. But, it COULD happen...

    My vote would be for a SS K-32 in 4" (drilled and tapped for optics or red dot) and chambered in the .32 H&R Magnum (best all around caliber without the issues of the .327 when used with target loads).

    I don't need one (I have a number of .32's) but I might even subscribe.

    Froggie's 616 is a perfect example of what I mean if it were chambered for the .32 H&R magnum. The .32 H&R Magnum is a better all around caliber (my experience has shown that my .32's in that caliber shoot VERY well with either .32 S&W Long cases or H&R cases loaded with proper bullets). The factory loads for the .32 Mag cases work well in the field, too. You have to handle Froggie's 616 to see what I mean - it's a DANDY!

    Just a thought or two...

    Dale53

  5. #25
    Boolit Master
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    I could see a run of special production guns, but there would be resistance among buyers unless you started with forged parts and an old style frame with no Hillary Hole. Whether you could persuade Smith to build them or whether the target audience we “see” would accept them otherwise. I’ve also thought of perhaps gathering a consortium and buying say 10-12 LEO trade-ins as donor guns, having a like number of cylinders contracted by someone like Hamilton Bowen, and getting the same number of barrels made up to order in choice of 4,5,or 6” lengths. Based on what I’m seeing, the break even point would be about $2000 per gun now. The question is, would 12 of you want to lay down 2 grand each for this kind of project? We would need at least 1/3 up front and it would take a year to get it done. No variations besides barrel length.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  6. #26
    Boolit Master


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    I'd say the real hang up to this project would be the barrels. Getting the right profile and markings. K-22 cylinders are around and Model 15 Law Enforcement rejects hit the market every day. I'm a purist. I'd want the 4" blued model. Then, getting the right person to put all this together would be the problem.

    Let's approach this problem from the big "toad in the road".....the barrels. Anyone have any idea who could make the marking stamped barrels in the white to that profile.

    Thinking about the $2K. I've made bigger and worse investments./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  7. #27
    Boolit Master
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    In this day of CNC machining on multi-axis machines, i’m guessing that a big Douglas or other 1 1/8”+ round blank could be readily turned to the profile needed. Likewise, cylinders could be made again as were the ones from Hamilton Bowen in times past. Markings could be done by laser engraving or again by CNC. The biggest expense of each of these would be in the set-up, which is why I said it would only be cost efficient to do a batch of them. Blue vs stainless might be a concern, but I think not... there would be the concern of original bbl profile vs shroud on e-rod like a Model 19, vs full underlug like a Model 16-4. I would think economy would demand only one style of barrel. The donor guns would probably be the least problematic item as there are a lot of solid used revolvers out there and they would be subject to complete rebuild anyway.

    I’m just spitballing here, but having gone through the process twice myself, I see how it could be done, but such a project would require a fair amount of investment, either as down payments, front money from a wealthy single investor, or some other source. Otherwise, the inefficiency of finding and usually altering parts one at a time makes this process exceedingly slow, or expensive, or both. I know whereof I speak!

    Regards,
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  8. #28
    Boolit Master



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    No disrespect intended on any of the above comments.

    However, what I envisioned, was simply approaching Lipsey and/or Talo regarding having a run of SS K-frame .32 H&R Magnums at a reasonable price (similar to the available Model 66 which retails for about $850.00).

    1 - 4" and 6" barrels. If only one barrel length is to be offered, make that a 4" as it
    will be most useful in the field. Using a Red Dot sight, will pretty much solve
    any perceived sight radius need for a longer barrel.

    2 - Adjustable Sights (drilled and tapped for optical sights if wanted/needed, of course).

    3 - Chambered for the .32 H&R Magnum (plenty of power for the .32 for any range
    and recreational use). The track record for effective use of the .32 S&W Long as
    well as the parent .32 H&R Magnum shows excellent accuracy and will not blow
    your hat off when fired in the field (hunting and plinking). When handloaded,
    even more power is available, should it be needed/wanted. Me, I would load it like
    I do my present .32's (100 gr. cast bullet at 800-900 fps for both range and field,
    and even slower with W/C's for the range, if desired).

    4 - Let Lipsey or TALO worry about whether the "Hillary hole" (a non-issue with me -
    if it bothers you just plug it). This is NOT a primary self defense gun but could
    work if necessary with proper loads, etc.

    5 - I couldn't care less if it has sintered metal parts, etc. I envision this as a working
    gun, not a collector's gem. In the past few years, I have had the occasion to
    extensively shoot a S&W Model #520 (the "L" frame Model 520 that has a
    titanium cylinder, adjustable sights, a composite barrel and sintered metal
    hammer and trigger). This revolver came with an excellent trigger, shoots "lights
    out" with my home cast bullets and handles beautifully, even with the Red Dot
    sight I am using with it. There have been NO performance issues with the piece,
    absolutely NONE.

    6 - I would prefer stainless steel as, again, I envision this for USE, not just looking
    at...

    The above description would be a "best fit" for those that wanted/needed a "using" .32 for general recreation use and should help keep the cost manageable, which is important to most shooters. The price, alone, will help promote sales.

    NOTE: One thing to keep in mind, KEEP IT SIMPLE IF YOU EXPECT THE POSSIBILITY
    OF SUCCESS. Trying to force Smith & Wesson to drop the hole, use forged this
    and that will work against the success of the request. Simple, simple, simple...

    Again, NO disrespect to any of the posts above.

    Before you ask, I do NOT have the energy to try to run such a program (at 83, I will not be doing that again) but it would give me no little pleasure to see others have a chance to get what I have and use. The .32's (S&W Long and H&R Magnum) are easy to load for, not many surprises, shoot well in revolvers with proper dimensions (I
    would want .313"-.314" cylinder throats), and have proven to give those of us who
    have them, nothing but pure shooting pleasure.

    Upon reflection, I will probably not get on board with such a program simply because of my advanced age. By the time it gets here, I may not be able to use it). Right now, I am doing just fine on the range and am more than happy that I am only 6 or 7 minutes from my home range.

    GOOD LUCK!

    FWIW
    Dale53
    Last edited by Dale53; 07-29-2018 at 10:57 AM.

  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    I'd sign up for Dale's suggested Lipsey's run in a NY minute. $850 sounds right to me as well, and I'd agree on the caliber: .32 H&R & bbl. length ~4". And I'd even go for a J-frame on the basic size of the Model 60 Smith with a 4" or 3-1/2" bbl. The reduced weight of my SS Model 60 with a 3" tube makes it a joy to carry in the field or under a suit coat.

    On further reflection, the J-frame (M631?) would be my first choice, for the weight difference alone. My Smith M16-4 with it's 4" bbl., fully lugged, makes it a bit much even in a slim OWB open top holster...the cylinder size and lug seeming to be a bit large for the chambering if you get my drift?

    My two .32 H&R's, a Smith M16-4 and a Bird's Head 4-5/8" Ruger SS do right well with most any ~95 LSWC of 0.313" dia. or either weight of the Hornady XTP's.

    Hope this gets off the ground...Rod

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    We have several branches of this going on now, both publicly here and in a couple of PMs and e-mails between some of us. In a perfect world, I would say that both the S&W K- and J-frame guns in stainless or old school blue would have a vocal following. The three basic barrel configurations (standard, e-rod shroud, and full lug) would be a bone of contention or should I say a source of dilution as proponents of each would ask for their respective style. Likewise, barrel length would spread the demand, so determining how to make "a run" of guns would be dicey at best.

    Quality of 32s have traditionally fallen into two major categories, the very cheapest and the best; and what is getting everyone excited here is the latter category, "the good stuff." I think we can agree that a pot metal revolver from Spain has no place here.

    In decades gone by there was an attitude in the gun making industry that the customer should get the gun he wanted, within reason, if he was willing to pay for it. Very few very high end guns got built, then as now, because even though the prices they commanded then seem trifling today, when one adjusts for inflation, they get pretty daunting to the average Joe with a wife and kids and paying a mortgage.

    All of this is to say that what we are looking for here is carriage trade products at sweat shop prices, and with what will actually be a pretty minuscule demand for any one individual product, the bean counters in accounting would be highly unlikely to go for such a project. Three guns that might have a snowball's chance of selling volumes even Lipsey or Talo might go for would be (in no particular order) copies of the Model 631 (which was made in all too limited numbers,) the Model 616 (which was never made, but in 327 FM really rocks!) and a "Classic" Model 16, maybe made with the old style barrel configuration, but with 32 H&R chambering.

    A good lead-up to their release would be needed, and then a famous gun writer or two would have to tell the world how great they were and how nobody should be without one. Emphasis would have to be placed on the limited time and number of availability (but no firm date or quota actually set) and if the economy was pretty good that quarter, they might sell well.

    Alternatively, they could be made "for the carriage trade" as one at a time modifications of existing guns, built to spec and on order exactly the way the shooter wanted. Price would be appropriate to the bespoke nature of said limited number of guns, and their possessors would be on a lofty plain of ownership that the unwashed masses could only admire from afar. Custom gunmakers will do this for you now, or it might be possible to organize a sort of cottage industry to make it possible for such guns to be available for only about two or three times the cost of a "lesser" product made in a sterile factory.

    Either of these business models would require the energies of a few people willing to devote time and money to developing them. There will be people standing off to the side saying it will never work or that they are doing it all wrong. In the end, it will be something of a gamble, because let's face it, the "Walter Mitty"s on this and other venues will dream about owning one, but when it comes down to it will be highly unlikely to actually shell out the requisite funds to buy one.

    BTW, having gone the custom route not once but twice, I can speak with authority there. As for limited editions, I found out about (and bought) Ruger's 8 shot Blackhawk 327 about the time it was being discontinued "due to lack of interest." A decade prior to that, S&W made and sold about two dozen (OK it was more than that, but try to find one!) of their sweet little Model 631 and I missed them! Even though I'm very active in the gun community and pay attention to all the news I can find about new model releases, etc they can sneak past me, so I'm sure they get missed by a lot of other potential buyers. I really don't think the industry has put forth full effort to publicize some of these models, but then again, I'm not in charge.

    Rant over... I need to drink my morning coffee and calm down.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  11. #31
    Boolit Master



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    Green Frog;
    That is a brilliant post! What an excellent view of things "as they are"!

    I, personally, would be interested most in a field piece that would also be used a LOT on the range. My first choice would be a near copy of your 616 but chambered in .32 H&R Magnum as I believe that it is the most flexible caliber to load for. Plus, I just did a brief check of local availability of ammo for those that do not cast bullets and reload (horrors!). It was NOT an exhaustive search, but did show that the .32 H&R was available in factory loads in more than one place NOW.

    My second choice, probably colored a bit by the fact I already own one) would be the 631 with a 4" barrel EXACTLY like the one I have.

    Rodfac, has also made an excellent post just above and it should be read by all who are interested.

    The stainless "K" frame in 4" that is built like the now available S&W Model 66 would be a good choice (because they are in this mode, it perhaps might be easier to "git 'er done"). This would make an excellent field piece and is similar to what policemen carried for many years. In .32 H&R it would be a bit heavier but still practical to carry. My Model 520, which is a similar configuration but in .357 magnum on the "L" frame, is NO problem to carry, as issued.

    On the other hand, Rodfac's post with strong support for the return of the 631, with a 4" barrel, chambered in .32 H&R Magnum just like the originals, would most probably be the easiest and most likely possibility. I can say, from the standpoint of LOTS of use that mine has been a MOST satisfactory piece. Frankly, I would not change a single thing. Just a flat copy would be the best way to go.

    Understand, I STRONGLY vote for a "using" gun, and the original configuration (Stainless Steel, "J" frame, .32 H&R magnum, with target sights and a 4" barrel. Throats should be .313-.314". Mine, out of the box, is absolutely all that you could ask for. NO!, it is NOT for sale!

    FWIW
    Dale53

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    A couple of additional thoughts;

    I have an average to slightly larger than average hand. My K-frame "616" has a set of custom ebony smooth combats (square butt) and my J-frame 60-4 has nearly equivalent grips, only scaled down and for a round butt. For casual shooting and for instinctive pointing, the J-frame fits me better by orders of magnitude even though I always considered the K-frame grips to be the best in the world. Dale53, I know there is a reason you keep your 631 locked away when I visit... it just wouldn't be fair to tempt a friend so cruelly!

    With a full size K-frame, there is no reason not to go with 327 FM chambering. Yes, the 32 H&R Mag-wannabe is easier to find and lots of folk will shoot them routinely, but there is absolutely no reason to limit oneself by not turning the reamer in a bit further at the factory. The FM might be a bit much to handle in the J-frame, but again, the more options you have...

    I like the idea of your proposed Model 616 in the same exterior configuration as the existing Model 66. As you say, that would save a lot on tooling, and although it does look cool, the under lug on my custom 616 is really not all that necessary. An e-rod shroud should be plenty. Another detail would be the chambers... recessed or not?? My 616 is recessed and my 16-3 copy is not. I don't see a nickel's worth of difference, but somebody might care.

    Blue vs stainless? Chevy or Ford? Ham or bacon? I don't know how demand would spread on that factor.

    Back to the coffee
    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  13. #33
    Boolit Master



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    Froggie;
    I see absolutely NO reason, these days of solid head cases, to even consider recessed chambers.

    I still believe that the .32 H&R is the best caliber for reasons I have stated above. The .327 offers NOTHING that I need. .357's are available that beat the .327 on any level at a reasonable price. On the other hand, .32 S&W Long/.32 H&R Magnum just seem to hit the "sweet spot" for me.

    Froggie, on your next trip up here, I am going to place my 631 in your hands with a box of ammo and let you experience first hand the joys of a .32 H&R Mag in a "J" frame with a set of Pachmayr grips that will fill your hands nicely. This is what I am talking about:



    FWIW
    Dale53

  14. #34
    Boolit Master
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    Fair enough, Dale. Meanwhile, I’ll bring along some of my favorite 327 loads and have you try them in the 616 (I’ll even put Goodyear’s on it if you insist.) as a true field and hunting round, the 327 beats most if not all of the other 32 rounds all hollow, and unlike the 357 you mention still handles cat sneeze loads in a 32 S&W L case quite nicely, thank you! Just in case you can’t find any real magnum ammo, you can still substitute 32 H&R Mag-wannabes. . Looking forward to our next trip to the range.

    Your ‘phibian phriend
    "It aint easy being green!"

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    Just out of curiosity, I went looking for a S&W Model 16. I found one, on Gunbroker. The starting bid is $6500.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master
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    Now you know why I was willing to go a little above $1600 for my Model 16-3 homage!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    Yes, I fully understand. As a neophyte bullseye shooter and lover of revolvers, I'm also interested in 32 S&W Long revolvers. I'm also very interested in a 45 ACP six inch Model 25, Model 1955, or Model 625. In fact, I think I'll start a thread asking for advice on models and years of production to look for, or avoid.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    BTW Tatume, I may be costing myself a sale, but if that Model 14 we were talking about sending back to S&W comes back as needing a barrel and/or cylinder, you might consider using it as the donor gun to build your own custom K-32. On some of these threads we are discussing the idea of having a skilled CNC operator make up some properly profiled K-32 barrels; and the gunsmith who did my latest project said he could do a PPC-style conversion right now. Of course if you are just doing the low pressure 32 S&W Long chambering, you could also reline your existing K-38 barrel if it's already got a bad bore. I'm still seeing K-22 cylinders on fleaBay and GunChoker regularly, but the price seems to be going up pretty quickly. It looks like you have a couple of good options available right now. Decisions, decisions!

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check