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Talk:Smith & Wesson Model 20

From Internet Movie Firearms Database - Guns in Movies, TV and Video Games
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Smith & Wesson Model 23; Aka: The Outdoorsman

Model of 1950 Outdoorsman.6.5 inch barrel.
Pre-war Outdoorsman with 6.5" bl.



The .38/44 Outdoorsman was the target version the Heavy Duty revolver (Smith & Wesson Model 20), sporting an adjustable rear sight. It was introduced on November 21, 1931. Smith & Wesson literature on the Outdoorsman states: "This is the second of Smith & Wesson's series of the Outdoorsman family, the first being the famous K-22, which has made revolver shooting history." As can be seen from this, S&W developed the the Outdoorsman to serve as a heavy duty sporting revolver for the competitive shooter or the handgun hunter who wanted a revolver that could handle heavy handloads.

The Outdoorsman was officially offered only in blue with a 6.5" barrel. Standard on the Outdoorsman were the Magna style stocks. The Outdoorsman was the first revolver to offer the Magna stocks as a standard feature. Magna stocks have an extension of wood that protrudes up onto the frame to give the shooter a more comfortable hold. The Outdoorsman was produced from 1931 to 1941 when it was discontinued due to wartime production. The last prewar Outdoorsman was serial number 62,483 in the N-frame series. Prewar production of the Outdoorsman amounted to some 4,761 revolvers.

In 1957, the .38/44 Outdoorsman was redesignated the Model 23, and underwent the same changes as the .38/44 Heavy Duty. While an excellent revolver, by the 1960's the .38/44 Outdoorsman had lost its popularity owing to the ascendancy of the .357 Magnum. As a result, it was dropped from the Smith & Wesson line in 1966. Factory records indicate a total production of 8,365, of which 6,039 were the 1950 style.


(1931 - 1966)

  • Type: Revolver
  • Caliber(s): .38/44
  • Weight: lb ( kg)
  • Length: in ( cm)
  • Barrel length(s): 6.5 in ( cm)
  • Capacity: 6 cartridges
  • Fire Modes: SA/DA

Additonal Images

Model 20 Heavy Duty with 4" barrel
Model of 1950 Outdoorsman.5 inch barrel, nickel plate, pearl grips.
Pre-war Outdoorsman with S&W grip adapter.



The 38/44 round was a souped up 38 round introduced by S&W in 1930/31. It was in response to Colt's 38 Super. Both rounds were in response to law enforcement wanting a handgun round that was higher velocity. By the late twenties American law enforcement was dealing with criminal who were driving cars with all steel bodies and in a few cases wearing early body armor. The 38 special and 32 special just weren't up to the task.

The 38/44 is actually the predecessor of the .357 magnum which Smith & wesson introduced in 1935. It has been incorrectly reported that the 38/44 round is the equivlant of today's 38 +P load. No it isn't. It's the equivlant of the old 38 +P+ load that was so popular with cops in the seventies and early eighties before everyone switched to semi-autos. It got it's name because it was a 38 caliber load intended to be fired in Smith & Wesson's 44 frame revolver. Nowdays the 44 frame is known as the N frame. If you should come across some old 38/44 loads - sometimes called 38 Special HV (High Velocity) don't shoot it in a standard 38 special revolver. Only shoot it in a .357 magnum revolver.

Actually if it's still in the original box I wouldn't shoot it at all. That old load is becoming a collector's item. --Jcordell 14:05, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Were the dimentions of the .38/44 round such that they could be chambered in a .357 revolver? Additionally, can a .38/44 revolver chamber .38 special rounds? -Anonymous
Yes and yes. The .38 HV is actually dimensionally identical to a .38 Special. - Nyles
Thank you -Anonymous
If you load your own and have access to an older relaoding manual you can load .38 special to 38/44 specs. But only if you have the manual and the right type of propellant and quality brass. --Jcordell (talk) 03:39, 22 October 2012 (EDT)

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