Smith & Wesson “K22 Masterpiece” Model 17-3 22 LR 6” Revolver

SOLD FOR: $731

WOA#: WY240224CC078

Make: Smith & Wesson

Model: 17-3 The K22 Masterpiece

Serial Number: K812946

Year of Manufacture: 1967-1977

Caliber: .22 Long Rifle

Action Type: 6-Shot, Double Action / Single Action, Swing-Out, Fluted Cylinder Revolver

Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON”, the right is marked “22 Long Rifle”. The side plate has S&W’s monogram logo and the right side of the frame has the four-line Marcas Registradas address. The yoke cut is marked with the serial and model numbers. The butt is marked with the serial number. The yoke and the sides of the grip frame have inspector marks. Inside of grips are marked with matching serial numbers.

Barrel Length: 6”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a serrated ramp blade with fixed to a ramped base integral to the barrel rib. The rear sight is a flat top, square notched outlined leaf in a base that is micrometer click adjustable for windage and elevation.

Stock Configuration & Condition:  The grips are like new. Sporting S&W medallions there are some little scuffs and scratches, some of the most noticeable are on the left side at the bottom. Checkering is still very sharp.There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips are in about Excellent condition.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There is no erosion in the bore. In this writer’s opinion the bore rates 9.5/10.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 99% of its metal finish and displays very little signs of operation.  The turn line is thin and intermittent.  There are a few scattered light handling marks and no oxidation on the grip of the frame. The screw heads are sharp and faintly tool marked. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in about Excellent condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with light play on each chamber when the trigger is depressed. The double-action trigger is smooth and the single action is extremely light and crisp. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None

Our Assessment: From 1910 onward Smith and Wesson Hand Ejector revolvers came in target variations equipped with adjustable sights. Rimfire revolvers built on the .32 frame were considered heavyweights and the first serious effort toward a .22 built on the 38 (K) frame did not come about until 1931. The high velocity .22 long rifle cartridge had become popular and the company advertised the new K-22 “Outdoorsman” as being specifically designed for the high speed round.

It was marketed to hunters and outdoorsmen in a climate that could not have been less ideal. The Great Depression was in full swing and there was a serious effort to include handguns in the prohibitive tax and registration structure of the Federal Firearms act of 1932 and 34. Nevertheless the K 22 was an immediate success with well-heeled sportsmen as well as police and military training programs.

Supica –Standard Catalog of Smith and Wesson records that an Army team took several K 22s to the 1932 Olympics providing an early launch into the mainstream target circuit. By 1940, shooters or agencies had bought 19,500 of the first model and a second model was in the catalogs as “A replica of that favorite, the .38 M&P Target Revolver” (Stoeger-Shooter’s Bible). By this time, it had become the K 22 ‘Masterpiece” and was firmly identified with organized target shooting. Wartime rationing stopped production in 1941 with something over 1,000 units of the second models out the door.

Post-War production resumed in 1946 with the K-22 becoming part of a target set including the K-38 and the redesigned, Post-War K-32. The revolver assumed the profile that would define the Smith Hand Ejectors until 1989. Variations abound and generally follow the evolution of the Smith Hand Ejectors as a family.

The defining theme of the K 22 target revolvers and the current 617 Models is the intent of their purchasers to have the best of all possible rimfire revolvers.

There is a long- standing tradition that regards each model variation as a poor imitation of its immediate predecessor. In the case of the K-22, this occurred each time the side plate or frame shed another screw, in 1957 when the model names gave way to the number system and in the late 20th Century when the classic ribbed barrels disappeared in favor of the heavy under-lugs. Throughout history, it has been just possible to acquire a substandard K-22 and there have been periods when workmanship really suffered. There were legitimate complaints about quality control during the Vietnam War Era. In the ‘70s, many revolvers felt like a handful of gravel had been trapped under the side plate. In the main though, the K-22 by any name and from any decade, provides its own justification for pride of ownership.”

This highly collectable and almost perfect Model 17-3 S&W revolver is from a time gone by and is truly in Excellent condition for a gun over 40 years old. This is a beautiful old revolver that the whole family can enjoy, whether plinking, target shooting, or just collecting. I highly encourage you to take a look at the condition in our pictures.


Smith & Wesson “K22 Masterpiece” Model 17-3 22 LR 6” Revolver
Smith & Wesson “K22 Masterpiece” Model 17-3 22 LR 6” Revolver