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Old 06-11-2018, 05:18 AM
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Default .45acp Revolver: I know nothing...but want to learn

Have taken a new interest in .45acp. Picked up a few (4566tsw, M&p 2.0c, and Shield .45) and I'm thinking I'd like to add a .45 acp wheel gun to the bunch. Plus I have a few Smiths in .38, .44 and 357.

I'll be reading the Std. Catalog, cruising the interwebs, etc....but I thought I'd ask here what's important to look for (beyond what I'd look for in any revolver); what I need to know; and what the price range is for a shooter, not a collector's piece.

I think I'd prefer an older model (1917?) but I'm not wedded to that.

I know this is a pretty broad "ask," but I've gotten so much good info here. If it weren't for this board, I'd still have my Taurus 85 and nothing more. I really appreciate the help but my checkbook wishes I'd stop reading here.
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:31 AM
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A nice shooter grade 1917 can be had in the $500 range.The 45acp N frame is a dandy wheel gun and easy to load/unload.Moon clips are dirt cheap for metal ones and polymer ones make moon clips simple as loading a magazine. I have other 45acp revolvers..but my "beater" 1917 seems to get to travel with me the most.Accurate,powerful and just plain fun to use and admire. Warning in advance: once you own one..they will multiply.
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:13 AM
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The 1917 versions can still be had for a bit under $500, in shooter grade, especially the Brazilians. Brazilians were 1917 models sold to Brazil and latter sold back to US civilian marked and feature a Brazilian crest on the side. Most are finish challenged. Better finish 1917 guns can run up over a grand.
Plenty of parts are available except for stock 1917 barrels. Early models did not have the hammer block. Most of them are in surprisingly good shape for their age.

The non custom adjustable sight versions start with the 1950 model which is uncommon, the original 1955, which brings a premium in 5 screw configuration, which became the 25-2 and latter even numbered dashes. 4,6,8. The odd dashes were 45 colts.(unusually) The odd even dash system is not true with the 625 stainless versions. You can find the adjustable sight versions for around $800 up.

Yes occasionally somebody makes a great deal one at a better price. But, if you wait long enough a great price will be higher than it is now. The lower prices will be in private or gun show sales, rarely on sites like Gunbroker. I bought 2 Brazilians off the for sales here this year for under $500, but a bit over if you include shipping and FFL etc.

I am a big fan of the S&W 45s. Big bullets going at a decent speed, Moderate recoil.

Last edited by steelslaver; 06-11-2018 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:39 AM
Ivan the Butcher Ivan the Butcher is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelslaver View Post
I am a big fan of the S&W 45s. Big bullets going at a decent speed, Moderate recoil.
What's not to like!

I have 2, a Brazilian Contract and a 625-3 (series of 1989). Both are 5 " and have a balance that makes them a joy to shoot. I also had 25-5 in 4 and 6 " (45 Colt) and find the 5 " to be a better balance.

Shooter grade 1917"s or Stainless series guns are probably the best bang for the buck. I enjoy my guns having a lanyard, and field guns not so equipped get a grip change so that I can swap the bottom mounting screw for a swivel stud and hook a lanyard on it. (a habit I picked up hunting from tree stands, and taking handguns canoeing!)

For shooters the 1917's are 100 years old now and should never see the hotter loads of ammo. Most of the Brazilian Contracts are after 1937 and have heat treated receivers (started 1935 I think) and of course the later models and stainless models can handle any hot commercial load. (self defense or hunting!)

Enjoy the world of 45 in moon clips!

Ivan
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:26 AM
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What steelslaver said. The prices for the older big bore revolvers are beginning to push upwards .The days of the 500 dollar big bore revolver in shootable condition are ending .I would say check just like you would any revolver and stay away from " customized" guns unless you can verify the work was done by a reputable shop may even one some of the guys here know of as they will not lead you wrong . Also a big fan of the big bore revolver.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:01 AM
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if you like target variations, you can't go wrong with a 25-2 or newer, .45ACP with target sights. One of my favorites (and deadly accurate) is a early, S prefix, 25-2. Impressively accurate and a pleasure to shoot.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:15 AM
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1917s are great revolvers. Bought one at a local auction couple of years ago. I went to auction to bid on other handguns but didn't get them. When the 1917 came up it was getting few bids so I jumped in and got it for $350. It was the best buy i have made on a firearm. It had a professional reblue and turned out to be a late 1920s commercial model. Didn't know anything about them at the time but sure glad I purchased it after learning the history of how they came into being during WW1.

Lots of enjoyment at the range. I like to let others shoot it as many young people have never seen one. Don't let a refinish put you off if you find one in good mechanical condition.Tough guns and built to last.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:38 AM
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Some earlier guns have large cylinder throats and need jacketed or plated Bullets for accuracy. I have a 625 Model of 1988 like this but it's very accurate with plated Bullets. My 625 JM shoots lead or plated just as well. They are extremely fun to shoot. By a bunch of moon clips because you will shoot way more than you think when you hit the range.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:39 AM
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I like them.


1937 Brazilian




Chopped Commercial 1917



1932 Commercial Denver Police



1917 Military



My only stainless and much newer, 625-3
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:10 PM
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I own five. A pre-26, a pre-25, a 625-2, a 1917 and forgive me, a 1917 Colt. Unquestionably, they are my favorite shooters. Gotta love the big bores. When you get one, I highly recommend the BMT moon clip tool. It is the most expensive of the breed, but once use it, you'll soon forget the price.
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:52 PM
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I don't use moon clips in any of my S&W revolvers.

In the 45acp models I use 45 Auto Rim hand loaded ammo.If I do on occasion drop in some 45acp ammo it's without the moon clips and I remove the empties with my fingers.

The 5" 625-2 Model of 1988 is a very accurate firearm,maybe my most accurate revolver?
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:01 PM
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45 ACP might be my favorite cartridge. You'll love it in a revolver- as stated, moon clips are cheap and make for quick reloads at the range- plus you don't have to chase your brass if you reload. I don't, but I save the brass for a friend who does.

It may be due to location, but I have not had the good fortune to find a 1917 for $500. There is one on consignment at a LGS marked $650 with rubber grips and it's been there for about 2 years, though.

I will echo what Stake Out said- I love the history of my 1917s, but I had the opportunity to shoot a 625 once and it was SUPERB. Not sure which dash number it was, but it was a 5".

Start combing the usual online sites and see what they bring and make your decision there.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:49 PM
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I just followed a couple of Brazilians on gunbroker one of which looked fair, and went for under $400. Another, with no import marking, in really nice shape was, IIRC, $500 range.

I have been working on a Brazillian "Project" gun, rebarreling my 1937 to 3 1/4".

So far, I am very happy with it, a few details left to complete, but it shoots just fine, and is a joy. I like to handload the .45 Auto Rim cartridge, but of course it will take ordinary .45 ACP as well.





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Old 06-11-2018, 09:39 PM
Walter Rego Walter Rego is offline
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I found these two within the last year. The Model 1950 Army at a very reasonable price and the Model 1950 Target was quite a bit more. If you like older guns but not like 100 year old Model 1917's from The Great War period, these are good choices being made of modern heat treated steels in the post WWII era. I have some .45 Auto Rim brass and hope to find a good load and not have to use the half moon clips with the .45 ACP brass.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:25 PM
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I have a 625-8 JM with tight throats. With my Magnus 170g SWC, it just wants to shoot one-hole groups.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:00 AM
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The JM guns really shoot well.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:20 AM
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Default Lots of choices...

I have a S&W Model 1917 U.S. Army (early 1918) and a 6-1/2" Model 25-2 (1973)...both are excellent shooters, and I do use moonclips in both (2 rd, 3 rd, and 6-rd). You can't go wrong with almost any .45acp revolver for accurate and soft shooting, particularly S&Ws- either vintage or current models. However, if you're really into .45acp, how come there's no 1911 in your growing collection? I have a couple, including a nice SS S&W 1911 PD. I actually shot competition with that pistol right out of the box! Good hunting!
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:22 PM
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Many thanks for all the encouragement....and yes, I'm on the hunt for either a 1917 of some ilk or a 1950 or 1955. I'll be watching here, Armslist, and Gunbroken…..as well as I now have a great excuse to make the rounds of my LGSs (although the danger there is something else sweet turns up and I give in to the temptation.)

And I do have a couple of 1911s....one a Colt Govt. Competition in 9mm and another Taurus 1911 beater I picked up cheap.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:57 PM
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Redcoat,

.45 revolvers can be enticing. For me the push and torque when shooting one is simply just a lot of fun. The first .45 I shot was about 30 years ago. My brother had purchased a new then current generation Colt SAA 7.5” in .45 Colt. Shooting that led me to purchase my own then current S&W 25-5 6”. And then about 10 years ago I found a nice S&W 1917 still chambered in what I consider the “little” .45- .45ACP. (Note that my 1917 will be 100 years old next month).

For me, a .45 revolver seems to give more of a push in recoil than a 1911 and that makes it pleasant to shoot.

I wouldn’t pass up a good shooter 1917. One reversible change I made to mine to increase shootability and my ability to realize the revolver’s inherent accuracy is that I found some old Sile target grips and cut the bottom of the grip to fit around the lanyard ring. This way I can put modern targets on the 1917 for shooting and also keep the original grips on for show.
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