Does Korth Make the World’s Best Revolver?

Korth revolver (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Aside from a ridiculous titanium Webley, the Korth .357 could well be the world’s most expensive production revolver. It costs . . . price on request. The salesman said the Combat model (.357) cost “something over $3k.” Why? “The frame, crane and even the sideplate are completely milled from drop forgings. All components are subjected to a proprietary process to achieve a surface hardness of up to 60 HRc (Rockwell c scale). Approximately 600 individual operations are required to manufacture one revolver. Of these operations, only about 30% are actual machine work. The rest, all of 70%, are true ‘man-hours’: Hand work, fitting, inspection and making sure that every aspect of the gun is flawless. Every moving part is assembled, fitted and adjusted by skilled craftsmen, some who have devoted nearly all their working lives to producing the best handguns in the world.” The result: the smoothest action I’ve ever felt on a revolver. I hit a gong at 100 yards using double action. World’s best revolver? Probably.

comments

  1. avatar Ben says:

    Sexy little thang, ain’t it? Way too rich for my blood, though.

  2. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Well, that’s something. But I feel about revolvers like Paul McCain feels about 1911s. They just don’t blow my skirt up, unless they’ve really got… something.

    Still, DA at 100 yards is nothing to sneeze at.

    1. avatar DP.Science says:

      Depends on the size of the gong…

    2. avatar Andrew says:

      I’ve been craving one lately (though not this particularly beee-yootiful example).. I think the further I go into the “gun-buying hole” the more I’m coming to appreciate older firearms.

  3. avatar Excedrine says:

    $3,000 for a revolver. What caliber is it? I’m guessing .357 Mag.

    Personally, I’m still scouring the intertubes for a Manurhin MR 73.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      From the first line of the post, “… the Korth .357 could well be the world’s most expensive production revolver.”

      So, yes. It is .357 Magnum.

      1. avatar Excedrine says:

        Oh.

        Well, it’s really, really early in the morning. Yep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

        1. avatar Felix says:

          At least until noon.

  4. avatar GRUMPY says:

    Now that is “my cup of tea”. Too bad I don’t have a 3k tea budget.

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      I feel the same way. That revolver is truly a thing of beauty.

      1. avatar rosignol says:

        I dunno if I’d buy one, even if I had $3k to blow on a toy.

        Once you had one of those things, how would you ever justify buying another revolver?

        1. avatar Jake_in_AK says:

          Easy- you’ll need revolvers for the field that won’t “be as expensive” to scratch… And revolvers for the range “to teach others on”…

          That’s how I justify my “expensive” guns…
          Although I don’t own anything nearly as nice as one of these… I’m in a much lower price bracket…

        2. avatar Wood says:

          Justification is the easy part! You’ll also need one in .41mag, .44mag, .45acp/.45 colt convertible…

          Funding is the hard part.

  5. avatar tdiinva says:

    Like the Damascas steel 1911, this piece is for collectors and Generalissmos. Will it perform any better than a S&W, Rugar or even Taurrus in a 15′ dgu?

    1. avatar Oddux says:

      According to RF its the smoothest DA he’s ever shot, right there in the article you commented on. So yes, at least the trigger and action perform a little better since RF has shot more than a few revolvers in his day., Whether its worth its price tag to you is a different matter.

      1. avatar TheBear says:

        Go go reading comprehension!

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        At typical DGU ranges how smooth does the trigger have to be? Center mass at 15′ has a lot slack to it. I can see how a smooth trigger adds value to a competitive target pistol or for long range shots hunting shots. It’s not like the stock trigger on the more comon pistols won’t get the job done and if you still don’t like it a trigger job is much cheaper than $3k..

        Add for TheBear. Analytical judgement is superior to simple reading comprehension. You have to have the latter to make the former.

        1. avatar Drew says:

          If you had the latter the former would have told you this is no edc piece. Your conclusion is just as bad as complaining that someone’s 1919 dose not conceal well.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          You need some to look at your own reading skills as well as your writing skills. Let me refresih your memory:

          “Like the Damascas steel 1911, this piece is for collectors and Generalissmos.”

          This would imply that I know it’s not an everday carry piece.

        3. avatar tdiinva says:

          Just read the story on the S&W custom shop 686 which also has a silky smooth action it seems you can have that smooth double action and only pay 1k to get it.

        4. avatar Drew says:

          My reading is fine. Your ONLY comment about the gun was about it being over kill for dgu.

      3. avatar Joe Grine says:

        I fired the Korth yesterday and I can say without a doubt that the S&W Custom Shop guns, nice as they are, are not even close to being in the same league as this thing. It was unreal. I typically don’t shoot revolvers all that well, but ringing a gong at 100 yards was child’s play with this thing.

        1. avatar ShaunL. says:

          Is the functional design of the trigger mechanism different? If not wouldn’t a good gunsmith be able to smooth out most good triggers to accomplish the same thing? I know the rest of the revolver wouldn’t compare but $3k is a MASSIVE investment for me that I couldn’t justify for just fit and finish.

          I ask mostly because I recently bought a GP100 and have been VERY impressed with the action and handling. The only thing I could see changing is having a gunsmith smooth up the trigger because of a tiny but of inconsistency I can feel in the DA pull.

        2. avatar Wood says:

          @ShaunL:

          $3k is not out of hand for having someone like Hamilton Bowen (and any of ~a dozen highly skilled craftsmen) fix your Smith or Ruger. Quality hand work does not come cheap.

        3. avatar ShaunL. says:

          @ Wood,

          OUCH!

          Also, thank you… I like my GP EXACTLY the way it is now…lol.

  6. avatar michael nieto says:

    My father has proverbial f you money Maybe I see something to beg for as a graduation present

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    You know, the biggest drawback to double action revolvers in a rapid-fire, defensive gun use is, well, their double action. Double action on mass-manufactured revolvers makes squeezing the trigger relatively difficult which means it is harder to stay on target than single action. And that translates to either poor accuracy or slow follow-up shots.

    So, it sounds like the double action on this revolver may be so smooth that it is just as easy to use — and be accurate — in a defensive gun use as a single action pistol. Of course nice pistols are available for under $1000 and you could probably purchase at least four quality single action pistols for the price of one of these revolvers. Nevertheless, I would love to own one of these revolvers some day. Sadly, I cannot justify the expense at this point in my life.

  8. avatar JaredFromTampa says:

    Nifty, but I’ll stick with my pre-lock 686 which IMO is a masterpiece in and of itself. If I had a $3K+ revolver budget I’d be looking for something more iconic like a Colt Python.

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I want to see someone make a .357 Magnum revolver that is significantly thinner than what is available today. The cylinder is the element of revolvers that makes them so “thick” and I have to believe that there is a way to make the cylinders significantly smaller.

    Now that would be something … a .357 Magnum revolver that was only 1.2 inches thick. Put a three inch barrel on it and that would be pretty concealable in quite a range of situations.

  10. avatar jwm says:

    Like this revolver, I’m sporting wood right now.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Is that “morning wood” as in, a good thing?
      Or, “mourning wood” as in, “crap, I can’t afford that one either”…
      As Jared above said, I’ll take a Python too.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I can afford one. I’m just too cheap to do it. A S&W will do everything this gun will without the anguish if it’s lost to the cops or the thieves.

        I don’t have a python for much the same reason. I’ll bet this is at least as good if not better than the Colt.

        I’ll just enjoy the centerfolds of these and others like them.

        1. avatar lolinski says:

          What about buying a cheap revolver in the same cal to give to the police? That is if you are ever in a DGU.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Try to pull a switch on the cops after a dgu?

        3. avatar dwb says:

          if you have the time and presence of mind after a DGU to switch guns, having all your guns confiscated as a result will be the least of your worries.

        4. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Lolinski? In Texas, that’s called tampering/fabricating evidence. 3rd degree felony: 2-10 years imprisonment, plus up to $10K fine. Once discovered, it will surely color the investigation of the original shooting, too. My non-attorney advice: don’t even think about it.

          But the wider issue is valid, as any gun used in a homicide will be confiscated as evidence at the scene, as the case gets referred to the Grand Jury. Those proceedings could take 6 months or more. Even if no-billed (no indictment returned), there’s still a process of court orders (and accompanying legal fees) to follow to obtain return of your firearm. That can add another few months.

          After all of it, it’s possible to learn that your prized firearm was “lost” or “accidentally destroyed.” Or you could get it back, after every boy in blue has had his way with her at the gun range. Key take-away: your EDC or home carry firearm should be high quality enough to do its job reliably, but not so high end fancy that you’ll be sorry never to see it again.

        5. avatar lolinski says:

          Okay, felony and all I get it.

          What about getting something cheap/non fancy for SD while keepibg the Korth for other things

        6. avatar rosignol says:

          Jonathan is dead on.

          That’s why my EDC is a glock, and the 1911 is mostly a range toy.

  11. avatar Billy says:

    A $3K safe queen or my $500 tough, durable, nail-driver, Ruger GP100… Decisions decisions…

  12. avatar dwb says:

    If I had $3,000 to spend on a revolver I’d buy a rifle. Seriously, a $3k revolver sits in a case looking pretty, you take it out to show your friends how much money you have to waste. If you are dumb enough to pull it on a bad guy, it will disappear from the evidence locker after your appeals are exhausted. I will, however, take a S&W or Taurus and $2100 in ammo, after which I bet either shoots just as smooth as the $3k revolver, and you’ve had more fun doing it.

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      I don’t get this line of reasoning.

      That 3k revolver can probably be sold for the same amount or more later in life.

      However, a LOT of people buy new cars for 20k-60k that depreciate in value more than the cost of this revolver the minute someone drives off the lot with it.

      Do you see where I’m going with this?

      I’ve been driving the same vehicle for the last 10 years, so my budget for toys is substantial, AND they can all be sold with minimal to no loss if times get hard.

      1. avatar Jamaal says:

        Bear you are confusing this situation with facts as we say in Dixie. Not only is this weapon a great piece of machinery it is also art yet the mongoloid TTAG minds just can’t comprehend that. It would be a FANTASTIC investment that would not drop in value. I think most people here are upset they cannot afford it so instead they knock it. If it ain’t a $500 Glock people here write it off as useless. A dog will drink champagne just as quickly as it drinks water so why waste it. Gun people are so damn negative….

        1. avatar dwb says:

          A collectors item or work of art is not very useful. Conversely, something useful will not be much of a collectors item banged up from heavy use (or in this case, confiscated and “lost” by the police). I personally think the “art” has been ruined with a rail and red-dot, which is trying to be useful. I can comprehend a collectors item, but If I am buying a collectors item car for example, I am not doing it to drive to the grocery store. I am not taking a collectors item gun to the range a bunch of times with Biff and Binky and risk dropping it on the concrete. In my mind a collectors item gun should have engraving or be historical, not have a rail and red dot scope pretending to actually be useful.

  13. avatar WRH says:

    Personally, I think they ruined it by adding a picatinny rail and red dot. For $3k I’d expect a real masterpiece. Pic rails are fine, but they belong on “tactical” guns in my opinion.

    1. avatar Drew says:

      Perhaps it IS a tactical gun? Collectors an nerds aside I would guess this appeals to comp shooters first. In that context it is a bargain, especially considering the potential for greatly increased life for an arm that may see tens of thousands of rounds.

      1. avatar ropingdown says:

        In Germany (as opposed Canada and many U.S. states), a rifle hunter is allowed to carry a revolver to deliver a finishing shot. I would think that group of well-heeled shooters is a central part of the target demographic.

        I own no revolver. I think this would be attractive as my only wheel gun. I wouldn’t carry it for CCW needs. And yet I have no attraction to handguns with bling.

    2. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Well, they do call that their “Combat” model…

  14. avatar joe says:

    But I am careless! Just no incompetent at it 🙂

  15. avatar Thomas Paine says:

    60 rockwell???!!! who the hell wants to machine that?

    1. avatar Drew says:

      You think they harden the parts to 60 THEN start machining? I imagine it allows a ton of ammo to pass through without the wear and tear all revolvers suffer.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The reason for hardening steel on guns is usually twofold:

        First, hard(er) steels resist scratches, dents, nicks, etc.

        Second, steel’s tensile strength generally increases with hardness.

  16. avatar lolinski says:

    I would rather buy two quality revolvers, smooth them out and dual wield them. A more fun way to spend 3K (especially with a cross draw holster).

  17. avatar DerryM says:

    It’s a work of art, no doubt, but my 586 S&W can hit a silhouette at 10 yards, center mass, double action and that’s good enough for me. However, I applaud anyone who has the bucks to buy one of these treasures, just like I applaud the person who could buy a traditional art treasure and appreciate it. It’s all good.

  18. avatar rammerjammer says:

    Any of you guys comparing revolvers like Korth and Manurhin might as well be comparing Ferraris to Ford Mustangs. Sure they’re all fast but please don’t tell me they’re even in the same category.

  19. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    “Separates the men from the boys”

    Just remember that folks, money buys manliness!!

    And yeah 60rc? Hello, haas? Yeah I need a BUNCH of bits. Why? Some asshole wants me to machine his tank armor for him.

  20. avatar FortWorthColtGuy says:

    Is it just me, or does that look like a Colt Python copy with a picatinny rail on top?

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      It does resemble a Colt Lawman/Trooper/Python/Anaconda, particularly with that rear sight being identically configured to that on Colt DA adjustables, right down to the roll-pin. I’d be interested in seeing the innards with the side-plate off to see whose DA mechanism they used–after all, there are only so many basic mechanisms around, and most of those date back to the late 19th and early 20th Centuries–once somebody gets it right, there’s not much you can do to improve things.

      I see this as a 1935-39 S&W Registered .357 Magnum for the 21st Century–An N-frame revolver built to custom order, assembled by the most skilled S&W fitters and finished to an unbelievably-high standard, mirror-finish blued, case-hardened internal bits with the highest-quality wood for the grips. Internal surfaces and parts finished to the same quality as the outside. I have fondled one. Smooth-working mechanism? Oh, yes. Nearly noiseless, seamless, oiled-Teflon-slick. I had a cigarette afterwards.

      I would gladly give up Charlize Theron to have one of my own. Unfortunately, they now cost over three times what THIS gun sells for.

  21. avatar KCK says:

    All of this perfection ruined by the screw slot on the red dot not being lined up like Runway 09.
    Disturbing.

  22. avatar IdahoPete says:

    For an alternative (single action), take a look at the Freedom Arms revolvers (freedomarms.com), made in Wyoming. Like a finely-tooled bank vault for strength, and LOTS of caliber/grip/sight/barrel length options..

    1. avatar IdahoPete says:

      Forgot to add – calibers go from .22Lr through .454, .480, and .50AE.

  23. avatar Don says:

    Very pretty, but I think I’d be happy with a custom built S&W or Ruger platform for somewhat less money.

    -D

  24. avatar Defens says:

    I think it’s interesting that most of the main parts are made from finish-machined drop forgings. For years and years we’ve been told that forgings are an inherently stronger way to make parts, because the grain of the metal follows the structure of the part. Then the CNC-machined AR lower craze hit, and it’s “billet” this and “billet” that. Billet-schmillet: CNC lowers are machined from bar stock. Since there’s plenty of material to play with, they can machine things like flared mag wells that can’t be done with a standard drop-forged blank. But they most certainly are not stronger than forgings, unless they beef up wall thicknesses, etc. to compensate.

    Nice to see a manufacturer that understands metallurgy and hasn’t fallen prey to the latest semantics craze. Beautiful wheel gun – I’d love to own one!

    1. avatar lolinski says:

      What is a drop forging? If you wouldn’t mind to explain in a way us mere mortals can understand.

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        Drop forging is a very traditional precision-part-making process that entails taking a red-hot piece of steel and pounding it in progressively-sized heated dies with a heavy mechanically-operated hammer until the rough part reaches its proper shape in the final precision die. The hot metal is hardened and toughened by the compressing action of the pounding, which aligns the steel ‘grain’ molecules into homogenous ‘fibres’. Once forged, the part is finish-machined.

        It’s great fun to watch. It’s also labor-intensive and time-consuming.

  25. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I drive a Chevy every day. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Ferraris or Lambourginis. I’d love a revolver like this one, and if I was a jackpot lottery winner, I’d be ordering 2 tomorrow along with an engraved Parker shotgun and Sharps rifle. Special guns like this are wonderful things to have, but the cost is out of my range…… sure is purty though!

  26. avatar Mehul Kamdar says:

    Any news on the long gun line that they have been hinting at for some years now? I was told that they were planning to offer very high grade double shotguns and rifles on the original Kersten system, not the cheapened version that Merkel offers instead.

  27. avatar jh says:

    I like it 3k is not too bad for this. quality costs and you won’t see one ever 10 feet. I would consider this a long term investment . When i went looking for a 1911 i held the Wilson Combat and all the sudden everything else was crap. When the economy picks up Super grade here i come ,you too Korth

  28. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Being a German gun, Korth will set it to you but you have to promise to never use it.

  29. avatar Cody says:

    I don’t own a wheel gun and never have. This one is calling my name, however.

  30. avatar Mike Silverton says:

    I have in hand but have fired only once so far the Nighthawk-Korth Super Sport. Have never been so proud to own a piece of extraordinary workmanship and design. Macho eye-candy and a true tack-driver.

  31. avatar Mark says:

    Why not use water cutting or laser cutting?

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