Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Model 10 Rebuild

ImageWhen I decided to learn how to work on S&W revolvers I picked up a “throw-down” Model 10 – a K frame .38 special with a four inch barrel – to practice on. The blue finish was scratched up and worn but internally it was in good condition and the price was right. It was the perfect revolver for my first work. Then, somewhere along the process, what began as a test monkey ended up being a really fine fighting revolver.

The Model 10 is a square butt frame, so the first step was to cut it down and reshape it to a round butt, which is easier for me to conceal. Metal work was nothing new for me; I started with hotrods and Harley motorcycles decades ago. I used a cutting wheel, files, and lots of sanding to get the grip reshaped to a round butt. The key, like most things in life, is to take plenty of time, measure twice, cut once, and use the right tools for the job.

I also thinned the front of the trigger guard so it would be quicker to get my finger on the trigger. The sharp edges on the trigger itself were rounded off for comfort and control. Bobbing the hammer was mandatory for the old-school look and carrying. Those hammer spurs snag on clothing, plus for a fightin’ pistol you ain’t gonna be thumb cocking it anyway.

While the metal work was easy, working the action and internals was something I’d never done. A search with Brownells provided Kuhnhausen’s manual on S&W revolvers (924-100-001), stones for honing, proper size screwdrivers and springs. After reading and rereading I discovered there is much more to tuning a revolver than I thought. Not only does the trigger have to be worked, which involves tuning every other component inside as well, but I also learned about things like working the cylinder and latch so it opened easily and snapped shut crisply.

It took me a long time, but after working over everything and installing a Wolf rebound and mainspring spring (080-665-201) I had a revolver that snapped the hammer smoothly with a good crisp break.

I like XS dots, and for this pistol their Big Dot was ideal. The problem was how to install it on a fixed sight revolver. I studied on this for a few months, ordering, testing and measuring different sights from XS. I finally determined how to do it, and with a little help from Matt W. and some machine work we got it licked.

While Matt had the pistol for machining he asked me if I wanted it parkerized. After spending so much time with the 10 I’d grown found it so it needed some type finish to make it look sharp. I took him up on his offer. The sight installation and park job turned out perfect.

For stocks I went with a set of Precision Gun Specialties Hideout stocks (729-100-001), which fit my hand well and matched the pistol’s looks and personality. To provide them with extra friction I stippled them using my soldering iron.

The Model 10 looks unique; I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It combines the best of the old school revolver modifications with new technology, and .38 +P’s are a good round. I’ve only had a chance to test fire it and haven’t had time to work on accuracy to see how the Big Dot works so I’ll save that for another column. From what I’ve done so far I can safely predict it’s going to be a great combination.

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November 8, 2012 - Posted by | Revolvers

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