Remember the question about ‘plated vs. lead .22 ammo’, and the pistol with the dry parkerized finish? Well, this is the beast that was about, borrowed for a tryout and a picture:
At Cosmoline and Rust Tam had a post about the K-22 Combat and Target Masterpiece pistols, beginning 1940; this pistol is part of The Rest of the Story.
In 1931 S&W started selling a .22 revolver made on the K frame, called the K-22 Outdoorsman(collectors say First Model). The early production had a gold bead front sight, changed to a stainless bead after September 1931. During the depression this thing sold pretty well, which tells you something about the accuracy and reliability; people looking for an accurate .22 revolver for target or small game use liked them. A lot. Originally it had grips similar to these, then in 1936 the Magna grips became available for it. There was also an option for a ‘hump back’ hammer, designed to make for faster cocking.
In 1939 they stopped production, after making a little over 17k of them, which included a group made with fixed sights for the Coast Guard shooting team, in order to bring out an improved model . The Second Model, the K-22 Masterpiece, came out 1940 and had the shorter action(shorter hammer throw), overtravel stop and click-type adjustable rear sight. Those also had either the gold or stainless bead front sight and Magna stocks; both these and the Outdoorsman had round non-ribbed barrels. Production stopped after one year (in 1941 for all target models), with the start of wartime production for the military forces(if you haven't read Tam's piece yet, it starts with the 1940 model).
The owner says this one had no grips when he found it, the proper would be this design but with the S&W badge on them. From what we could find out the parkerizing was done sometime after it left the factory, I’m guessing someone wanted it for hunting or trapline use; it’s obviously been used, and cared for: holster wear in the places you’d expect but no rust or pitting, and the bore and chambers are spotless. The action is smooth, lockup tight, single-action pull light and clean. No bead on the front sight, just a Patridge square post; special order, maybe, or changed same time the parkerizing was done.
It shoots like you’d expect from a pre-War S&W: very well. Better than I can do justice to without better eyes. Shooting at an indoor range with slightly dim light, single-action at 20 yards from a rest I was able to shoot a couple of groups of right at 1"; the trigger's a bit heavier than my later K-22 Combat, but breaks clean. For myself I'd put a set of bigger grips on, but that's personal preference added to a fine piece of design and craftsmanship.