Pawn Shop Finds – The Blown Up Smith & Wesson Model 15

    Last week, I was walking around in a local gun shop and they had an extremely blown up Smith & Wesson K-38 Combat Masterpiece (Model 15) in the case. I was immediately interested in the story behind this classic wheel gun. When I picked up the old Smith, I saw it wasn’t for sale sadly to see the overall damage from the explosion was rather impressive.

    The Story Behind The Gun

    The guy behind the counter started telling me more about the gun. It’s somewhat of a tall tale in the area from back in the day. Apparently, there was a home invasion of an older man some years back, After a moment of shock, the intruders and homeowner began to struggle and the homeowner ended up grabbing the revolver to defend himself. He shot 6 rounds of .38 Special and retreated to the bedroom to reload his gun. Apparently, he loaded up .357 Magnum rounds instead of .38 Special and as the intruder broke through the bedroom door, the old man pulled the trigger on his revolver killing the man and exploding the cylinder.

    When the gun shop employee told me the story, I was rather impressed but was skeptical about the overall truth of this insane story. I called the various police agencies around as well as looked for any articles but found nothing about an old man burning down a home invader with an exploding revolver. If I had to guess, I think someone had a killer squib load or made a mistake. I think this could be a 357 round in an old 38 revolver or some sort of catastrophic event. With guns like this old Smith, I really wish guns could talk and tell us their story to this point. I am fairly sure the story from the gun store employee was just a tall tale but it still makes me curious if it’s possible to get a round on target before your gun explodes in your hand.

    The Smith & Wesson K-38 Combat Masterpiece

    This Smith & Wesson was a really nice example of what Smith & Wesson could build before it was spectacularly blown up. The K-38 Combat Masterpiece or Model 15 was developed on the workhorse K frame which was often used by various police and military units in the early 20th century. The Model 15 is one of the classic models from Smith & Wesson. It’s always a great option to purchase if there’s a good example just chilling out in a used counter somewhere.

    Overall Thoughts

    I wish I could have bought this broken down Smith revolver. Realistically, I get why the store didn’t want to sell it and I’m sure it has led to sales. Now I don’t really believe the story behind the gun even though its a really wild example of self-defense. I think its a great prop for teaching the dangers of using the wrong ammo in a revolver. Who knows it might have happened like that but my guess is that someone put an overcharged .357 Magnum round into the .38 Special gun. This may be a case of gun store tall tales but stranger things have happened before. Let me know what you guys think happened to this Smith revolver in the comments below. If you have questions feel free to send me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!

    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.
    I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.