Four or five years ago, I found a well-used and scuffed Smith & Wesson Model 65 at the local cop shop. It was scratched, and it had a fair amount of endshake (the undesirable condition where the cylinder has too much fore-and-aft play in it), but it had the magical three-inch heavy barrel, and it was only $225.
Now, S&W made a fair number of three-inch heavy-barreled K-frames, but their availability and pricing on the used market is completely out of proportion to their production numbers. It seems that people who own them generally keep them. People who constantly laud the three-inch K as the best fighting revolver ever made just need to shut the hell up about them. Ahem.
I handed the gun to gunsmith Shannon with a short list of Things To Be Done, and a few weeks and $100 later, it came back to me with the endshake fixed, the scratches polished out, the whole gun finely beadblasted for a nice frosted finish, and a new orange insert installed into the front sight.
Some time thereafter, I had a hankering for Something New, and I traded the M65 to Tamara for some fancy flatgun of European provenance. A week or two ago, I had a chance to rectify that mistake, and now it's back in the stable. This brings my battery of hard-to-find 3" K-frames up to three.
Here's what it looks like now:
I set it up with the same grips as my M13, so the two are just about identical twins, with identical handling and riding in the same holster.
I finally settled on the three-inch K as a carry gun two years ago, and one has been riding in my holster pretty much continuously since then. For those who know me, that's practically forever. Now I'm at the point where no other gun feels quite right in my hand, and my trigger finger is used to a smooth K-frame double action trigger and spoiled for anything else. I guess I'll just keep sticking with the K and become like those scary old guys who can drive nails at 15 yards with their finish-worn M&P which they bought at the hardware store right after the war for $80 brand new, yessirree.