New (to me) vintage Smith and Wesson Model 13 revolver, nickel finish, info?

This is a discussion on New (to me) vintage Smith and Wesson Model 13 revolver, nickel finish, info? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Well, the gun buying bug bit again. This time it's a really nice old wheelgun. Yesterday I was in my local hardware/hunting/fishing/guy stuff store (love ...

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    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    New (to me) vintage Smith and Wesson Model 13 revolver, nickel finish, info?

    Well, the gun buying bug bit again. This time it's a really nice old wheelgun.



    Yesterday I was in my local hardware/hunting/fishing/guy stuff store (love that place) getting some keys copied, when I made the fortunate decision to go over to the handgun display cases where a bunch of new and used orphaned hand guns were just waiting to find a new home. There were the typical new Smith airweights, some Tauruses, Charter Arms, Ruger, Glocks, 1911's etc of all varieties but my eye got a hold of this nickel beauty and instantly took note of it. I made a comment to the store owner about how nice that model 13 was. He agreed, but I was good and didn't buy it. I mulled over it for the next day, then went today during lunch break with my Kahr CW9 that I couldn't seem to shoot worth a crap, made the trade, and here it is with a loving new owner! I know I will love this a lot more than the CW9 it replaced. I'm down to my last two polymer pistols...both micro .380s that probably won't end up getting replaced as they work well in their intended role.

    Anyway, all I know about this gun is that it's pre-86 in age as the store owner had a book of gun ages and values, and that was when the nickel Model 13 was discontinued. I was hoping some of you vintage wheel gun experts could fill me in with a little more information about the Model 13, as I'm pretty familiar with the Model 19 and Model 10 but haven't heard as much about the 13. Things such as how they stack up to the other vintage Smiths in terms of quality, ease to shoot, accuracy etc. and any other information you might have, I'd love to hear it. Mine is a 3" barreled version, with a nickel finish. It seems to have aftermarket Pachmayr grips which feel nice in the hand but I think a nice old wheelgun like this really deserves some wood furniture.

    Here's some more pics:



    The finish is actually in very good shape as is the barrel and overall condition of the gun. Any tips on caring for a nickel finish?



    Side by side with it's little brother, my Smith and Wesson 637 J-Frame. The J is an airweight and feels like it weighs nothing next to this big guy.



    I picked up some Speer Gold Dot .357 Magnum at the time of purchase. I've heard lots of good stuff about Gold Dot. As you can see, it also has no internal lock which makes everyone happy.



    Hammer mounted firing pin. I think that's neat, seems to be a feature on older revolvers if I'm not mistaken?

    Anyway, the gun balances really well overall. Nice solid heft too. Trigger is the usual work of Smith genius...it's also MUCH better than that on my J-Frame which was already really good. This Model 13's SA trigger is definitely lighter but breaks just as cleanly and crisply as the J. But in double action this 13 is miles ahead of the J...it's MUCH lighter but just as smooth as the J.

    Sights work just like those on my J Frame, so acquiring a sight picture is easy for me. I'm sure this gun will find it's way into my regular carry and will undoubtedly assume a role as house/nightstand gun...nothing easier to work with (or more intimidating to a would-be invader) than a gold old Smith .357 Magnum revolver.

    Anyway, I'd love any thoughts or information on this old gun.
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    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array Yankeejib's Avatar
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    Nice grab. I wish I had my Smith Bible here, I'd fill you in on it. No worries. Someone will be along shortly.

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    Member Array Jungle Work's Avatar
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    I consider the 3 inch Model 13/65 to be one of the best combat Revolvers that S&W has ever made.
    Big enough to soak up some of the recoil from the .357mag rounds and small enough to conceal.
    All of the .357mag J Frames that folks shoot .357 in, most shooters usually go back to .38spl +Ps.

    Origionally it was an FBI Gun and once it started to make it out onto the civilian market, it took off.
    They are scarce as hen's teeth now and certainly a great score to get on.

    I bought three in one weekend a couple of years ago, they just kept popping up at a gun shot for $300.00 to $350.00 apiece. I already had one, but the other three are sitting in the safe. I'll wear it some days, depending on where I'm going.

    Jungl eWork
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    CURRAHEE My Brothers In Blood

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    Nice score.

    I've never seen a nickel 13 and didn't even know they existed until I saw yours.

    I have a 13 4" in blue and it used to be my IPSC gun for years and years. I've literally fired 10,000 plus full power .357 rounds through it over the years and it's still going strong.

    You're probably aware that it's basically a model 10 except it's chambered for .357.

    Enjoy it.
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    Cool

    Give me a serial number (found on the bottom of the grip frame) leaving the last two numbers as XX and I will give you a date of birth.

    Production began in 1974 as the 13-1 for NYSP. Ended in 1999 as 13-5.

    There is a premium for nickel (20%) or for NYSP.

    3" heavy barrel round butt in nickel made from 1984-1986

    3" barrel discontinued in 1997.

    Information from Standard Catolog of Smith and Wesson 3rd Edition.

    You have an excellent example of a S&W k-frame .357 revolver with Pachmayr Compact grips.

    Here is a photo of my 2003 Model 65 3" round butt I just aquired recently. Same basic gun as yours in stainless steel.

    Image 6.jpg stock grips Image 3.jpg Ahern finger groove grips
    click image to enlarge....

    I use Semichrome or Flitz polish on my nickel plated or stainless handguns.

    OS

    P.S.
    Your Model 13 appears to be in excellent condition and far from being old or vintage as S&W revolvers go.
    "Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer it is the only answer".

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    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for the great comments guys! I figured I'd landed a good one the instant I saw it...something about it just set off an alarm in my brain. I can definitely see the likeness with the Model 10 now and had no idea this Model 13 was somewhat rare. Owner of the shop said it had been sitting in the case for three weeks, I guess I got really lucky or everyone else was just really clueless. Can't wait to shoot it.

    OldSchool, thanks for your info! The serial number is AAV96XX. I really like those Ahern grips you put on yours...I may look for a set for mine.
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    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

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    Senior Member Array scgunlover1's Avatar
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    Great find on the nickel Smith. Enjoy.
    SCGunLover1

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    VIP Member Array Old School's Avatar
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    Cool

    Going by your serial number we are looking at late 1982 but that does not jive with the years the factory did nickel Model 13's though nothing is written in stone and yours could have been one of the first nickel Model 13's produced.

    This time period was known as the transistion years 1980-1983 at S&W with serial numbers with a three letter prefix and a four digit number beginning.

    Here's where I got my grips. Good people and fast service.

    S&W Grips K/L, Round Butt, Cordia, Kim Ahrends | eBay

    OS

    P.S.

    Side Guard Holsters a forum sponser did a nice job on a IWB holster for me for my Model 65.

    Side Guard Quick Clip holster.

    Image 8.jpgImage 7.jpg
    click image to enlarge....
    bmcgilvray and shooterX like this.
    "Violence is seldom the answer, but when it is the answer it is the only answer".

    "A nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves".

    http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

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    Senior Member Array 380ACP's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info, Old School! Weird how the serial number doesn't match with the stated years of production. I took a second look (the Pachmayr grips partially obscure the serial #) and the # is definitely AAV96XX. Odd.

    How does your 65 carry IWB? Easy to conceal? That looks like a really nice holster if it is. I've been comparing the butt length and width to some of my other carries and while it's a bit on the large side I don't think it would be hard to conceal. Revolvers with round butts seem to print less than most autos, in my experience anyway.
    .
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    An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array jblives2ride's Avatar
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    congrads on a nice find, someone's loss became your gain
    I would rather live my life as if there is a God,
    And die to find out there isn't, than live my life
    As if there isn't, and die to find out there is.
    God Bless

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    Good looking gun! Enjoy!
    Hiram25
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    Retired DE Trooper, SA XD40 SC, S&W 2" Airweight
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    VIP Member Array MNBurl's Avatar
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    Nice find on a M13. I love short barreled K-frames in 357.
    shooterX likes this.
    MNBurl

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    OK, just to grow your hat size a little more, the M13 with 3-inch barrel was 'the' standard FBI sidearm for a number of years. The FBI model was blued, not nickel, but you have effectively the same piece with a different finish. A K-frame .357 with a 3" barrel wrings a little more performance out of the Magnum loads than the true snubbie (2-1/2 inch bbl) but still keeps the package compact. A decade ago the 3" M13s were pretty easy to find, but not any more. I keep my eyes peeled for these or the M65, the stainless counterpart, but haven't been as lucky as you so far.

    Nice find, and I hope you shoot the heck out of it!
    Smitty
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    Smith & Wesson ought to still be cranking those out. That's a great revolver! A classic K-Frame revolver has a double-action trigger that start out so fine and gets better from there, wearing in instead of wearing out.

    A word on nickel finishes. It has long been said that Hoppe's No. 9 is bad for nickel if left on it after cleaning. It can get beneath any nick or flacked spot and initiate further degrading. So many have repeated this down through the years that there must be some truth to it. Back in the days before the internet it was published in books and magazines to take care with Hoppe's No. 9 and nickel finishes.

    This was so well known that I, in my callow youth, determined to see if submerging a ratty looking nickel Smith & Wesson .32-20 revolver in a pan of Hoppe's would do the work of removing nickel finish. This revolver had nickel that was flacking off and spots that were bubbling up.

    For me this didn't work at all. The revolver stayed in the Hoppe's literally for months, sitting on the reloading bench in a covered container. The Hoppe's was refreshed a few times during this trial. At the end of it there was no noticable degrading on the remaining nickel finish. What remained was solidly adhered. If a handgun could have shown the effects of Hoppe's No. 9 on nickel finish then this one should have done it yet it seemed unaffected. I ended up taking the revolver to Lou Williamson in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to have it stripped and redone in a blued finish.

    I still clean nickel revolvers with Hoppe's No. 9 but do dry them thoroughly.

    Cleaning solvents that have ammonia as an ingredient also are said to degrade nickel finishes. I can see this as nickel revolvers are generally first plated in copper in order that the nickel molecules will bond properly. Ammonia attacks copper so any scratch, nick, worn corner or edge would be subject to admitting ammonia beneath the layer of nickel to dissolve the copper base plating.
    gasmitty and 380ACP like this.
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    Distinguished Member Array Doghandler's Avatar
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    Style check at the gun counter!

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