Tuesday, November 2, 2010



Quite unintentionally, Billy Ray and I have identical guns. Both gifts from our respective parents at different times, they are identical down to the orange front sight insert. Stainless Steel Model 67 Smith and Wesson adjustable sight Combat Masterpiece. Factory Wood grips, square butt. Wide combat hammer and trigger.

Yet contained on a Smith and Wesson K frame. Smaller than it's big brother, the Models 19/66, known as the Combat Magnum (.357 Magnum), the Model 67 easily shoots high power +P .38 Special loads. The easy upgrade to .357 magnum from the Model 67 is the Models 13/65, the .357 Magnum fixed sight version of the Model 10. Confused? Sorry.

The Model 10 Smith and Wesson was a continuation of the Military and Police, designed for expanding police forces nationwide. Such was the durability and reliability of the Model 10 that numerous large police departments like NYPD and LAPD (the Model 15, a 10 with adjustable sights) and tons of smaller departments nationwide from the 1950's until late into the 80's and early 90's when transition occurred to auto pistols in law enforcement.

So there are tons of these S&W guns out there used. Most with 4" barrels, but snubnoses do rarely appear. Our model 67 was produced sometime in the 80's probably, as I recall, and I've seen lots of them used over the years, for a low of $200 some 2o years ago to about $350-500 currently in excellent used condition.

So the Model 67, along with the Models 10, 15 and their brethren, the gun of the Air Force, and many police agencies across the nation including the Feds at times. A .38 Special all steel gun capable of firing high powered +P loads with no problems. It's a tad bit smaller, and thus easier to conceal in the 4" barrel version than many .357 Magnums, something that was of big consideration in older days.

This is one of the guns that writer and holster maker Chic Gaylord recommended as the ultimate combat handgun in his book, arguing that a 3" barrel is the least one should consider for a self defense revolver and 4" is optimal for even close range self defense. You can read about Chic here in other posts I've written. Great holster designer and I have to agree with many of his thoughts about defensive handguns.
If you like revolvers at all, buy a copy of Chic Gaylord's Handgunnners Guide. I got mine off ebay for cheap, and they're on Amazon, of course. Likewise, there is a revised edition I understand from Paladin Press.

There's a great company that carries on Chic's work and some of their own innovative designs called Bell Charter Oak Holsters. I have one. It is beyond excellent. I'd like 5 or 6 more, because they are really, really nice. Mine is several years old, has been well used by me, looks brand new and smells like the finest leather ever.

So I came about my Model 67 through my father, who bought it sometime I didn't know about until after the fact. I can't recall when. He'd owned several Model 15's, the blued version of the Model 67, and thought it to be the finest combat revolver there was. Dad was fond of snubnose revolvers, or those with a maximum of 3" barrels for carry purposes, so the Model 67 ended up being a back-up house gun to his 3" tapered barrel Smith and Wesson old school .38 Special. At some point for one of my "incidental but special" Christmas gifts some years back, he decided I needed it and it's been a main house gun, frequent car and field gun and shooter ever since.

From the time it came from the box new, it has shot dead point of aim up to 25 yards, and then only a bit off at further ranges. We've always left it alone. So now at twenty something years old, possibly older, it looks and feels and works like new. Really. Like new.

Billy Ray got his Model 67 from his mother. Like my folks, his parents have an assortment of firearms, but there came a time several decades back when some serious crimes hit close to home for them and she decided to get her own gun and took a class through the police department in their town. Being of strong constitution befitting the West Texas woman she is, Billy Ray's mom decided she liked the Combat Masterpiece and that's what she bought for HER gun.

Sometime recently, his mom decided it might be a bit too much gun nowadays for her, and has entrusted it to Billy Ray. Again, Billy Ray does not come from a one gun family, or a five gun family. There is no shortage of weapons at the Billy Ray parent's home. So now we have two identical Model 67's, both of which feature great trigger pulls and are well put together and just rock solid firearms.

So together now we can enjoy shooting the same gun. El Fisho Jr. already has picked this gun out as one of his favorites right now for his OT22 (other than .22) shooting. It doesn't have much recoil with mild range loads, and it's about at his hand span/strength level limit size wise for him to be able to fire double action.

I believe in training my son first in revolvers, although he does do some auto pistol shooting, which he is excellent at already. Sure. His .22 is an semi auto, but his main revolver is a single action .22. He's gotten started on one of my old childhood guns, a H&R 9 shot DA revolver. His shooting with the Model 67 on the last outing was nothing short of amazing, and we were shooting the semi-hot Double D mystery ammo from my gun dealer. El Fisho Jr. was loving it. Shooting some very nice and small groups dead on the money.

El Fisho Jr. was shooting so good, as was his dad with the revolvers that day, that we put up the SPLAT! targets on top of the already been shot at targets and those are always a lot of fun to visually see the impact of your shot better from a further distance without using a scope.

Billy Ray has mused at investing in a Model 18 Smith and Wesson, the .22 LR version of the Combat Masterpiece. New, whew, they sure are proud of those guns. But maybe one day we can stumble on a trade or a deal on one. I'm always looking out for one, because it's a great gun to have in .22.

I'd like to have me a nice western rig for this gun. An old time cartridge belt, made out of about 3" of double suede out leather, with cartridge loops that run all around the entire belt, so that the holster rides on top of the cartridges. The suede out kinda kept it in place better than a slicker, finished belt with less pressure I have been told and the ones I've been able to handle at smaller western museums were of a medium thickness and not flimsy but also not rock solid like a double thick leather gun belt.

This is the type of holsters that real lawmen and working cowboys used to wear. You'd wear it up sorta high, with a higher riding holster than you see in the movies, as usually these working guns had longer barrels in the 5" to 6" range. These belts often held combo shells, meaning some rifle cartridges and lots of pistol cartridges. Sometimes, the guns shot the same cartridge so it was no big deal.

A nice medium high riding belt holster, perhaps a floral Mexican loop holster. A holster that rides high enough that it doesn't need a leg tie down and that has a nice secure hammer loop arrangement of some kind to ensure *gun stays in holster*. I have absolutely no need for such a holster, except for fishing trips and trips to friends places and such. True enough, I already have other rigs for other guns, and one of my old police rigs has a holster for this gun I can use at the range.

So when Billy Ray and El Fisho Jr and I go shooting, we're not much for shooting contests. I favor a very supportive shooting environment with a big emphasis on safety so I'm pretty much always the range master for our outings with El Fisho Jr. and others. Nothing wrong with some friendly bulls eye competition but we prefer that we compete against ourselves, our personal best. It lends us to encouraging each other in shooting efforts rather than having a contest with someone losing. This way, we all win, even if we don't shoot as well as our last outing. We don't keep stats or iphone pic our targets, although El Fisho Jr. likes to collect them. It's sort of a loosey-goosey I shot better or worse than I did last time.

We're in need of a good plinking session at a friend's place. There are several large friend's ranches or places we can go do, all of which feature fishing as well as shooting. A couple are gonna be way more shooter friendly than others, and will afford us the opportunity to do some gun shooting with other folks guns, quid pro quo, and that's always fun to see how guns you'd like to shoot actually do shoot. The other couple of places relegate shooting to the trash dump/pit, which is fine but sometimes makes placing actual targets impossible. So you just shoot at trash that hasn't been burned yet.

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