Range Report: Model 15-3 vs Diamondback
The ChallengerThe Smith & Wesson Model 15-3 Combat Masterpiece is the descendent of the K-38. It is a premium K frame revolver, featuring a Baughman quick Draw front sight coupled with a S&W adjustable rear sight. This Smith & Wesson Model 15-3 was purchased at a pawn shop for $199. The Combat Masterpiece sets the Smith & Wesson standard for .38 Special handgun performance. The Model 15-3 has a plain sight rib and no extended underlug. S&W invested their time in the trigger of this revolver. This trigger is about as consistently smooth as a double action revolver can be. Today was the first time I have shot this revolver, but I have a preference for the K frame Smiths. The Combat Masterpiece exhibits the fit and polish that made Smith & Wesson famous. It is every bit as elegant as their flagship gun, the Model 27. It wears service magnas with a serrated front and backstrap.
The StandardThe Colt Diamondback is often considered to be the epitome of a target .38 special revolver. The Diamondback is a dedicated target revolver built on Colt's D frame. It is sometimes referred to as the Python in .38 Special. The Diamondback lockwork is the same basic design as the Python, using the V shaped Colt mainspring. It has a smooth trigger and a serrated target hammer. This Colt Diamondback was purchased at a pawn shop for $249. Even if Colt had not stopped making revolvers, that would have been a steal for this gun. The fit, finish and polish are high quality Colt all the way. The Diamondback wears Colt's target stocks. With it's adjustable sights and nice balance, the Diamondback is a difficult revolver to beat when it comes to shooting .38s.
I took both revolvers to the range with 200 rounds of Winchester White Box ammo.
I warmed up shooting my Model 17 for about ten cylinders. Then I switched over to the Model 15-3. The Model 15 was everything I had hoped it would be. It had an incredibly smooth trigger, with spooky accuracy.
When shooting in double action, I do not attempt to stage the trigger. I simply provide a steady, even squeeze on the trigger while holding the sights aligned. Because I favor this technique, the Smith trigger works best for me. I actually prefer the wider Smith trigger, but the narrow one works just fine.
The Colt was accurate as well. I have shown that in the past. While I could not feel the stacking in the Colt's trigger, I could certainly see the difference between the two revolvers in my hands. I simply shot the Smith better. The Colt grips do not fit me as well as the Smith. I attribute some of the lower accuracy of the Diamondback to that factor. When I was acclimated to the Colt's grips and trigger, I shot it very well.
Both revolvers had a high degree of fit and finish. I would rank the craftsmanship as equal. The Colt did have a bit more flash with it's full lug and ventilated rib. The Smith, however had the classic S&W appeal. In the end, my preference is with the Smith, but that does not mean I'm letting go of the Colt!
Labels: Range Reports