I'm embarrassed. As I was surfing the web today reading about kit guns new and old, I came across a two year old post about the Model 63 by my good friend Zach over at The Next Chapter, which you'll conveniently find in my blog roll.
Now, at first blush, I said "Well, great minds think alike. This is not the first time I've had the idea to post on a firearm and then discover Zach already plowed that ground at some point before me." And maybe that's true, because what I do know about our taste in firearms from reading his excellent blog is that we do share a great deal of common ground in liking or owning certain firearms.
Which then raised the real question, to which I must plead that it's likely true. Sometime back, when I discovered Zach's website, I read through most of his posts. I'm sure I read the one about his Model 63. Thus, my original post idea wasn't that original after all. Thanks for inspiring me, Zach and I just wanted to give credit where credit was due.
Now, the term kit gun never really fell into use with my generation. I heard about it from my grandpa and father and read countless writers in outdoor magazines talking about them. I remember looking at the gun magazine annual catalogs that were big for us in the pre-internet days as far as seeing what guns were available for sale, and I remember that S&W still sold a few Kit Guns back then.
Although I'm not a big fan of the "new" kit gun that S&W sells, the Model 317, I see that Jeff Quinn over at Gunblast (a great website, by the way) tossed his long beloved Model 63 to the back of the gunsafe for the ultra lightweight 12 ounce loaded Model 317.
By the way, I snarfed those Gunblast links directly from the linked post above from Zach. Thanks again, Zach.
I agree with Zach on other points regarding this class and catagory of firearm. Or in fact, any firearm. I want no locks on my firearms, particularly those motivated and engineered by litigation. I don't own any weapons with locks on them (anymore) because of a lock up I had at the range with a .44 Special Taurus (in excellent condition, I might add) equipped with this monstrosity. One round threw it into lock mode, and the entire gun locked up until after several minutes I jimmied it open. I unloaded it and away it went from whence it came.
So whenever possible, I buy gently used guns over any newer model of the same gun. Because I don't want no stinkin' lock on my guns.
Like Zach, the Model 18 and 63 are guns that generations of police and military began their handgunning careers with. I still see them frequently at the range, the ever popular 4" Combat Masterpiece in both .22 and .38 Special, and I see parents teaching their kids, one friend teaching another, etc with these fine time honored weapons.
For the first year of handgun shooting, El Fisho Jr. was only allowed to shoot .22 revolvers. After learning to shoot and the manual of arms for a single action .22 revolver, my son El Fisho Jr. was moved up after several months with the Single Action .22 to my S&W Model 67, which is the stainless version of the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece in .38 Special. I loaded some very low recoil wadcutters and away El Fisho Jr. went on the Model 67. Since then, he's graduated to all kinds of other pistols and revolvers and calibers but the Model 67 remains one of his favorites. Because it's fun to shoot.
So although El Fisho Jr. didn't learn to shoot with the .22 version of the Combat Masterpiece, the centerfire version served him well through the remaining 8 months of his first year of firearm practice and training and safety classes. Like his dad, there is something about revolvers that he likes, and he's taken the time to learn speedloading and has learned the manual of arms for various revolvers and has responded perfectly to malfunctions we've encountered as per his training and safety education. People we shoot with and people at the ranges we frequent are always complimentary as to his safety and his manners, not to mention his marksmanship.
I'll write more on kit guns later, and think about this one. Why won't Walther a/k/a Smith and Wesson make a .22 LR version of the Walther PPK/S? I had one of these guns in my teens in .22 LR, a beautiful German made blued version, and it was a great kit gun and I was an idiot for trading it away. But seemingly like all other guns I really like from the past, it's way expensive.
Here's a short list of guns I think are cool that have skyrocketed in price on the used market:
1. Any centerfire HK semi-auto sporter hunting rifle
2. HK P7 and variants
3. The Colt Python and Diamondback revolvers