David Bradshaw Photos Vol. LXXIX, K-22 Part 1

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Lee Martin

Hunter
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Smith & Wesson purchased used in the early 1960's from fellow college student, this K-22 pitched many a rabbit and grouse into the feed bag. Numerous pocket pool bullseye shooters bandied one or more Colt Officer's Model Match in their pistol box, like they'd never part with the wheelgun, all the while shooting the High Standard auto, which had kicked the Colt and S&W revolvers----along with the Colt Woodsman Match Target----off the rimfire firing line. David paid $50 for this K-22, with an extra fivespot for a Bill Jordan holster made by the great S.D. Myers of El Paso. (Half a century later the holster is perfect.) Photo indicates two cylinders worth of .22 Long Rifles stroked in 2006, double action at 100 yards.



K-22 cartridge roll mark.on the old drop forged 6-inch barrel.



Vintage K-22. Flat black paint applied on occasion to protect against weather and preserve bluing. Paint shows around grip and trigger, etc.



Perhaps no revolver is more sensitive to dimensional irregularity than a .22 rimfire. The chamber has no step. Rather, the chamber narrows ever so slightly rear-to-front. Long Rifle ammo snugs into the exit hole. A soft lead bullet cannot abide caveman manufacturing, the K-22 representing the extreme opposite.



Close shave as lubed lead bullet enters chamber from the front.



Upon swingout, index and middle fingers of left hand hold cylinder at 9 o'clock to frame for clear ejection----and to prevent extractor star from scratching revolver! Normal ejection calls for muzzle to be raised to prevent brass and crap from collecting under star.



Most elegant Patridge sight to ever put on a handgun.



As the smoke of World War II drifted off, Smith & Wesson stepped once again into the sporting market, a most welcome development the fine rear sight with micro-clicks for elevation and windage. A detent ball in the flange of the respective screws makes for consistent adjustments. Among the many drop forged parts, the rear sight base. A habitual lubricator, with only Lubriplate white lithium grease at hand, David got carried away.



Note, immediately behind painted trigger, a little nubbin. This is the trigger stop, secured by a screw. Access requires removal of sideplate. Should the trigger stop screw loosen, adjustment nubbin may drop down, which then prevents trigger from releasing hammer. No such adversity has struck this K-22. S&W saw the potential and chose a rod inside the trigger rebound spring to limit overtravel in the .44 Magnum Model 29.



The sweet K-frame is best served by narrow trigger in conjunction with narrow hammer spur.



Smith & Wesson may have been the Queen Bee in introducing the floating firing pin on the K-22. Countersunk cylinder chambers provide clearance to prevent peening edge of chamber during dry fire.



Drop forged, case hardened hammer cocked for single action fire.



S&W recommends strain screw be adjusted for reliable double action ignition, with the shank filed to achieved desired pull. As opposed to loosening strain screw to achieved desired letoff. Over time, a screw which is not tight tends to loosen, which could cause a misfire. In practice, anyone with half a brain is sensitive to changes in tension and acts to prevent problems on the light side.

Mainspring is yet another drop forging. David having never encountered fatigue or breakage from the old time part, from .22 to .44 Magnum.



Screw in front of trigger guard secures spring and rod which activates cylinder stop (a.k.a. "bolt" to Colt; "cylinder latch" to Ruger). This arrangement prevents cramping or binding possible with the later spring, introduced late 1961 on M-17-2. This stop spring arrangement should have been kept, especially to prevent cylinder float on the M-29 .44 mag.



According to the jungle drums, S&W introduced model numbers in 1957. The words "K 22" fell symphonic upon David's youthful ears. Living with the revolver only sweetens the music. In the old days no one referred to the sixgun as anything but a "K-22." Likewise the popular "K-38" and, once in a while, the "K-32," all 6-inch target revolvers claimed by Smith & Wesson to weigh the same 38 ounces when loaded.



Old time target bullseye shooters burned beaucoup ammo, which probably convinced S&W to adopt the floating firing pin. A rimfire represents the height of balloon-head case design, a low pressure containment at best. A floating firing pin simplifies manufacture, while reducing headache on the user end. Although lubrication is not shown in picture, this revolver gets its share.



Fired brass as snap cap. Three dry fires before case extraction and rotation. Repeated strikes swell brass, limiting impacts to 2 or 3 for relative ease of extraction. In Part 2 we'll look at technique and accuracy.

 

6GUNSONLY

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Nice write-up on the classic K-22 sixgun. I have a 1952 vintage 5-screw K-22. Just seems like everybody ought to have one of those. It goes to the range with me just about every trip, no matter what my primary shooting purpose may be that day. David also mentioned the Hi-Standard target .22 autos, of which I am also an owner and fan.
 

David Bradshaw

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6GUNSONLY.... your 5-screw 1952 K-22 represents signature vintage. Suspect your revolver has the curved hammer spur, a vestige of Victorian design. If possible please post photos of your revolver. And yes, correctly you note all good hands should squeeze a K-22. While the collector swoons over the upper sideplate screw, it is screw in front of the trigger guard should never have been abandoned. Vintage is vintage nevertheless: that, to put it country simple, spells quality.
David Bradshaw
 

6GUNSONLY

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David Bradshaw said:
6GUNSONLY.... your 5-screw 1952 K-22 represents signature vintage. Suspect your revolver has the curved hammer spur, a vestige of Victorian design. If possible please post photos of your revolver. And yes, correctly you note all good hands should squeeze a K-22. While the collector swoons over the upper sideplate screw, it is screw in front of the trigger guard should never have been abandoned. Vintage is vintage nevertheless: that, to put it country simple, spells quality.
David Bradshaw

Yes sir, all of that. Seems like I've narrowed my interests over the years and they now focus on pre-model number S & Ws and 3-screw Rugers. A man could do worse, I think. :)

This is a poor pic, but the only one I have at present. I have the original numbered diamond magnas but leave them off to keep them nice. Rather than the black mother of pearl imitations in the picture, it is presently wearing a pair of black buffalo horn grip panels (genuine horn). It does have the old upswept hammer spur (think they may have referred to this as the "speed hammer"?) which I love and it does add to the vintage look, for sure. A marvelous shooter and would be one of the last guns I'd part with. I figure I can still enjoy this one when I'm too old to shoot full-house .44 mags anymore. :)

 

David Bradshaw

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6GUNSONLY.... don't you think forum members deserve a look at your K-22 dressed in its original grips? Reckon I wouldn't be seen in public with them handles you have on it now. And while you're at it, perhaps a close-up of the hammer spur, another with hammer cocked for single action. Note on photos: placing a blued gun on a dark background of contrasting color, and shooting without flash, brings out detail.
With thanks in advance,
David Bradshaw
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Sep 18, 2002
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21,012
While this may be the Ruger Forum,,, many of us also appreciate fine handguns from other makers as well. This is an excellent example of that. While my time on the trigger of a K-22 is limited,,, a good friend has a Model-17 that I've helped him burn a LOT of ammo through.
Another excellent page in the history of firearms by a guy who has been there & done that. Thanks David! And to Lee for posting the stuff!
 

David Bradshaw

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contender and Wendy.... magic in your hands. Several years ago I cut a slice from an afternoon have a few pokes at an oil drum from, mostly, 80 to 140 yards with the K-22. Burned about 500 rounds of Federal bulk 36 HP, double action. Very few round failed to penetrate the onside skin. Sixgun played a melodious tune TIK... TIK... TIK... creeping hotter in the hand, never missing a lick. Cleaned the chambers twice in that time with bronze brush.

The hands made these guns made six shot violins,
David Bradshaw
 

contender

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The Model 17 is one of those that I always said I'd snag if I came across a fairly priced one, thanks to my buddies gun. One of these days,,,, I'll find one.
I do like the comment; "The hands made these guns made six shot violins,"
 

6GUNSONLY

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David Bradshaw said:
6GUNSONLY.... don't you think forum members deserve a look at your K-22 dressed in its original grips? Reckon I wouldn't be seen in public with them handles you have on it now. And while you're at it, perhaps a close-up of the hammer spur, another with hammer cocked for single action. Note on photos: placing a blued gun on a dark background of contrasting color, and shooting without flash, brings out detail.
With thanks in advance,
David Bradshaw

Here's some better pics:



"5th screw" and "Hi-Speed" hammer

Case colors on the hammer and trigger still pretty strong after 63 years.

Original diamond magna-style grips


Wonderful shooter. Rolling cans, busting small rocks or fragments of clay birds out to 100 yards is a lot of fun and highly do-able once you get your sight picture figured out. Mine goes to the range with me nearly every trip. A great gun with which to teach novices the fundamentals of grip, sight picture, and trigger control. My 7-year old grandson enjoys it (although his favorite right now is actually my little Charter Arms 3" SS Pathfinder, he thinks it's "just his size."
 

xtratoy

Buckeye
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Jun 15, 2006
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Here is a picture of my Outdoorsman, circa 1928 IIRC. It was before they had a K model # for it. I have the original grips stored away and this one has the silver dot inlay in the front sight. Seems like S&W had their own name for that style sight from what I once read.
 

6GUNSONLY

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I recently put on layaway a 4-screw K-22 in .22 mag (model 48), 1960 gun with 8 3/8" barrel. So, I'm adding to my K-22 collection. :)
 

Waveform

Bearcat
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Aug 22, 2015
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Great story with terrific photos. I love the old K-22. My favorite is this one-liner I rescued from a pawn shop a couple of years ago for the princely sum of $250. At the time I was afraid I had actually paid too much for it. But the action was good, the bore was clean and all mechanicals seemed fine. But oh the cosmetics were another story...





Soaked it in Kroil for days, cleaned it up as best I could with copper wool and took it to the range. Very happy to find it was a terrific shooter! After a while I felt it deserved a better fate than to live out its days looking like it did. So I dropped it off at Ford's and 6 months later it came back looking like this:





It now sports a set of later non-relieved target stocks and looks like the treasured K-22 it is. Not a collectible by any means but it's not going anywhere. I love this old gun.
 

David Bradshaw

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
933
6GUNSONLY.... thank you for pictures of your beautiful K-22.
xtratoy.... fine example of the parent.
Waveform.... probably would have shot it as is. Yours has met resurrection.
David Bradshaw
 

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