I think I'm gonna ask Santa this year for a Smith and Wesson Model 13 or Model 65 (the stainless version of the Model 13) with a round butt and a 3" barrel. With any luck, my friend Zach will stumble across a used model at some gun store I was unaware of for me, as he's done in the past. I can put it on layaway and have it paid off and here by the holidays.
Ideally, I'd like to find a Model 65 LADYSMITH, yes, that's right, the Ladysmith version of the Model 65. It's a shade lighter than the regular Model 65, has a round butt, a 3" barrel, is stainless and has a shrouded ejector rod to boot. It comes with some nice looking wood grips which would quickly be replaced with a set of Pachmayr compact grips for a K frame RB.
Most of the Model 13's and 65's I've seen do not have a shrouded ejector rod. Even if I can't find a Ladysmith 65, if available, I'd loved to find a regular 13 or 65 that did come with a shrouded ejector rod. Perhaps the later models came with the shrouded ejector rod. I'll need to pose that question over at the Smith and Wesson forum, as I've seen a lot of posts about 13's and 65's and I know they have their fans on that forum.
The 13 is basically a Model 19 with fixed sights. It more resembles, in it's 4" bull barrel version, the bull barreled Model 10 M and P revolver.
The adjustable rear sight on the 19/66 are great for target shooting but make concealment of this already difficult to conceal (because of it's large size) revolver even harder and without the right holster, in an IWB (inside the waistband holster) holster can lead to getting poked in the side with the rear adjustable sight.
The FBI had this gun, the blued Model 13 with a 3" barrel and a round butt, as their final wheel gun issued to agents in the early 1980's before making the move to semi-autos.
I much prefer the Model 13 with a 3" barrel and RB to the Model 19/66 with the slightly shorter 2.5" barrel and RB mostly due to the adjustable sights that are on the 19/66. The 13 comes with a groove down the top of it's receiver for it's rear fixed sight, and has a uniquely designed front sight that was made to be snag less. It always has been snag less for me.
For a carry gun, the 13/65 is an excellent choice, particularly in the 3" round butt configuration. I wonder why Smith and Wesson has not brought this model back as part of it's "Classics" series.
I also wonder why they don't currently market the Ladysmith version of the Model 65 as a non-Ladysmith (that moniker will turn off some potential buyers...not me, but I know some who simply would not own or carry a gun so marked) gun for the individual wanting a serious carry gun.
The Ladysmith version, as said above, has the benefits of being a shade lighter than the regular version as well as having a nice shrouded ejector rod. It bridges the gap between a heavyweight .357 revolver and the ultralight weight .357 varieties that Smith is currently selling.
Such a gun with a slightly tapered barrel could rightly be called a Mountain Gun as well. As it is, any Model 13/65 is a good choice for carry when visiting the field and stream or simply walking your fenceline. I like the bull barrel of the 13/65 and feel that it gives good balance to the gun.
I see quite a few Model 13's with 4" barrels and a Square Butt frame out there, and the occasional 65 likewise set up with a SB and a 4" barrel. I frequently see Model 66 2.5" barrels with a RB but never seem to see the 13/65 with the RB and a 3" barrel.
There's an excellent to dang near new Model 13 RB 3" at a dealer down in Houston priced at $900. That's quite a bit more than I can or will pay for one of these. Apparently, others feel the same because he's had the gun in his case so priced for about 16 months now. Right next to it, there is an equally pristine (but with a much more lusterous blued finish) 3" Model 27 Highway Patrol that's priced at something like $1400. It hasn't moved during that time period either, but it sure is a dandy looking N frame. And bear in mind that this store moves A LOT of guns in and out the door every week, many of them much more high priced than these two examples.
As for me, I'd prefer simply to have the Ladysmith Model 65 variant, and the Ladysmith laser engraving on the right side of the gun wouldn't bother me at all.
If you know where one is, let me know. I'd surely appreciate it.