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  #1  
Old 08-03-2011, 06:57 AM
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Default Dan Wesson vs Smith & Wesson

I know a guy with a Dan Wesson revolver. He claims that his is a better made gun than my S&W model 19, which was made in 1977.

Is there any truth to his claim?
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:04 AM
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I find the Dan Wesson vs. S&W to be the same as Ruger vs. S&W or Colt vs. S&W or whatever else. There are ups and downs across the brands. The Dan Wesson guns had some neat features to them. The early guns were in my humble opinion some guns that only a mother could love. They made them more eye friendly at some point. QC ran away at some point and I hear on a routine that the guns from Monson were some of the better ones. So would I say they were/are better? No. Would I say they were different? Yes.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:28 AM
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The Dan Wesson revolvers were THE gun for metallic silhouette shooting in the 70's and 80's. They were strong, well made and most were astoundingly accurate. The interchangeable barrels made them unique. The DW locking system is probably stronger than S&W's especially on the .44 Magnums. It is too bad that DW's quality control went out the door in 1989-90 range and pretty much killed the company.

I ordered two DW revolvers in 1990 a 8 inch .357 and a three barrel kit .22 LR (4-6-8 inch). The dealer had to send both back to his distributor. The .357 action wouldn't cock and all three barrels (the actual tube-not the shrouds) on the .22 were plugged with rust!! I ended up with my S&W 617 and a Colt Python (sold long ago).

These days I only see two kinds of used DW's- safe queen multi-barrel kits for $$$$ and total shot out former IHMSA guns that I would not want for free.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:42 AM
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Although the earlier ones had looks of the type only a mother could love, DW revolvers had some things going for them -- and still have. CZ now owns DW and makes limited numbers of revolvers. Cylinder lockup, IMO, is superior to S&W's. And the switch-barrel system is not just a neat feature but lends superb accuracy.

I recently bought a High Standard Sentinel Mark II .357, 2.5" barrel, which is nothing but a re-branded DW that HS marketed for a couple of years. It ain't pretty, but it has the most eye-popping accuracy I have ever seen in any snub. Although it was a bit dinged, and covered with fine rust from years riding in a truck glove compartment, I was delighted to add it to my collection for $225. It'll make a great hiking and hunting-backup revolver.

"Better" than S&W? That's a subjective call, but the DW is a fine revolver.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:49 PM
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Actually, Cz just recently released the latest DW a 715 VH in 357, at a really stiff price, that I saw on GA. It did look well finished.
DWs in IHSMA had 3 major things: mass weight and tensioned barrel along with front of cylinder lockup that made them accurate.
S&W in various models now have the same features.
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:22 PM
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Having both a S&W 66-2 and two DW's (mod. 15 & 15-2), I dont see much difference in accuracy. They are both great shooters, but I do like it when I can go from a 8" barrel for hunting to a 2.5" for CC on the DW in a couple of minutes.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:52 PM
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I will always regret selling my DW 15-2 with a 6 inch barrel. I wonder what the DA trigger pull was like, I didn't shoot DA back then. Now I don't shoot SA.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:18 PM
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The ONLY DW I ever owned was a .357 purchased back in about late 1975 or early 1976. The very first time I pulled the hammer back in single action, the gun went off BEFORE the chamber was lined up properly with the barrel (no finger was on the trigger). Needless to say ..........! As far as I'm concerned, they were junk then and they still are.
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:52 PM
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I could ony compare my 6" DW22 to my 17-3 and there ain't none. Trying to sell it local but I believe someone said on this forum "you own a Dan Wesson for life because no one will ever buy it".
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Old 03-13-2012, 05:56 PM
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My DW 44 is as good as it gets. I have had it for 25 years, abused it relentlessly, and it has never failed me. It will never be willingly sold.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Is there any truth to his claim?
Not in my experience. I've owned 2 Dan Wesson revolvers. Sold one at a bargin price just to move it and gave the other one (model 15) away.

I still own my S&W model 19.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:47 PM
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The MOST accurate revolver I ever shot was a buddies 84-85 vintage .44 mag DW pistol pac with the hogleg barrel. Could nail a Budweiser cap with it at 25 yards all day. Wish I would have bought it from him when he sold it.

My only shooting encounter with one so can't help you further than shooting that tackdriver.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:55 PM
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I've owned a DW model 15 since the mid 70's quality gun, very accurate never any problems. I would say on par with the smiths. Very good value at the prices I see. Ive seem my fair share of junk smiths too, just never bought any.
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Old 03-13-2012, 09:58 PM
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I own a 6 inch 15V .357. Bought it from the original owner in 1974. Used it primarily for silhouette shooting and couldn't ask for a better preforming revolver. Took standing B class first time out with it. Ran some pretty stout loads thru it and it never failed me. It's the first revolver I ever purchased and push come to shove would be the last. Probably the best mid framed revolver out there. I believe I just became a heretic.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:18 PM
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My one and only D.W. experience was in 1974 -75, and was less than stellar.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:40 AM
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I find the DW's more robust, less aesthetic, but scary acurate. The models I've had all had pretty mediocre double action trigger pulls compared to S&W. In my mind, the DW's are great target guns; but the 19 is so much more versatile.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:28 PM
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Back in the 1970's I shot the PPC circuit and tried a DW, 6" with the thought that with a very light double action trigger pull and hammer fall, it might be better than the "tuned" S&W Model 14, 6" at 50 yards double action. After a lot of tuning and experimenting I found that the S&W shot better for me so I sold it and went back to S&W. Never owned one since.
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:04 PM
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I have a DW 744 that I used for handgun silhouette in the 80’s. It was generally pretty accurate, but many of the cast parts were a little crude and there was a higher parts count than I would prefer. A few years ago I decided to see what I could do with it because it had been sitting in my safe. I had CZ-USA replace the cylinder locking bolt and swap out the 8” heavy barrel for a 6” light barrel. I then tried some of the loads I used for silhouette and they didn’t shoot very well. When I used pin gages on the throats, I found they were a little too tight. I reamed them to .431”. Now it is still a bit crude, but it is the most accurate .44 I have.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:00 PM
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"Better" is in the eyes of the beholder. I own several Dan Wesson revolvers and several Smith & Wesson revolvers in multiple calibers and like them all for various reasons. I love being able to swap out barrel lengths and set headspace myself with my Dan's, but Smith blueing is far better on average. The only Dan revolver now being made is a model 715 (stainless .357 mag) by CZ USA and will cost you $1K. There are always plenty of the older Dan's on Gunbroker, but prices have risen as of late.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeHatley View Post
Not in my experience. I've owned 2 Dan Wesson revolvers. Sold one at a bargin price just to move it and gave the other one (model 15) away.

I still own my S&W model 19.
I own 2 Smith model 19's and a Smith model 66 no dash. I also own Dan Wessons in .22, .38/.357, .41 & .44 mag. Wouldn't sell any of them. If anyone has any Dan Wessons to give away I'll be more than happy to take them off your hands!
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:23 PM
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I have both a 2.5" 19-4 and a 3" fixed barrel Dan Wesson model 15 357. They fit the same holsters and use the same speed loaders. The Dan Wesson is better set up for speed loaders and is stronger than a K frame Smith for 357 use. Triggers are about equal, the finishes of both are great. I wouldn't part with either.






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Old 03-22-2012, 10:02 PM
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Had one of the very early 41's, was a VH8, Timing was off and bluing was not good at all, was a grayish color in places. Sent it back and it came back marginally better, sent it back again, came back with the very best SA trigger I ever felt. Kept it for years, just to heavy for hunting carry. Sold it to afford a 657 Hunter. Wish the trigger had stayed behind ...
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:44 PM
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I have both an M-12 w/extra barrels and shrouds and an M-15 Pistol Pac.
Both shoot better than I can most of the time. Because of its several changes of ownership Dan Wesson has been a little erratic on the quality control.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:48 AM
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I Got a stainless 4 inch V15 for 275 bucks from an old gunsmith just because it looked like a colt python

File:Pred2 2028.jpg - imfdb :. guns in movies :. movie guns :. the internet movie firearms database

which goes for some insane prices nowadays in MA and it was hell of a deal despite them putting the dan wesson markings on slightly sideways on the frame.

but it turns out he didnt notice it had a broken rear sight, hence its price probably. He fixed it and it shoot's well now and I got some aftermarket packmyer presentation grips for it.

but the thing about it is the trigger is rigged up in such a way that after a little bit of snap cap practice your trigger finger starts to feel fatigue while I dont have that happen on any of the other smith revolvers.

I dont know what it is that makes it do that, maybe its the angle of the trigger or something but its really quite odd and it throws me off.

other than that its got a nice smooth trigger and its never really bothered me on a one box range session but it just seems too heavy because of that and after learning that it was just the 19-5's with a bad barrel run and ONLY the 1500 fps+ 125 grain magnum loads that caused the forcing cone problem with the 19 (along with a ruger GP101, python and it probably beat the hell out of the 27 as well) so I'd say the 19 is far superior to it in feel and trigger

hell its the only smith and wesson revolver I'd ever buy with the stock grips on it, it fits me that well even with those slipery checker in the middle only grips they had in the 70's onwards.

plus 4' inch 357 magnums are just cool and its damn near just about the right balance for alot of people me included.

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Old 03-24-2012, 02:37 AM
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I think Dan wessons are more accurate than s&w's but fit and finish wise the Dan Wesson cannot touch s&w.
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:48 AM
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Had a DW Pistol-Pac many years ago with 2 1/2 , 4 , 6 & 8in barrels. Can't say a bad word about the quality/finish/accuracy. Had a real crisp S/A trigger pull , and a very short D/A pull. The interchangable barrels and grips was quite a novelty back in the day. Kinda like a Mr. Potatohead. Always wanted to get one of the longer (10/12/15in) barrels. Sold it to a friend when I bought my Python. He still has it and has taken several whitetail with the 8in barrel and a scope mounted. It seemed to favor the American Eagle 158gr JSP.
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:34 PM
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I have 4 DW revolvers...2 x .44s and 2 x ,357s. They are all excellent guns, great shooters, and quite nicely finished and attractive, IMO. I have 2 barrels for each of mine, and I like the ability to tailor the barrel length to my intended purpose for the gun for that day. I realize that DWs, over the years, have had some spotty QC, but I've only bought the Monson produced versions, and I've seen no quality issues with any of mine.

Would I say they are "superior" to my S&Ws? No...just different. I believe for .357, I might stick with the S&W...for the .44s, I would have trouble picking one over the other.

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Old 03-24-2012, 11:41 PM
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I traded a Dan Wesson 15 .357 even up for a 66-7 recently and was happy.

I did keep a beat up looking 4" fixed sight .357 Dan Wesson (Model 14?) that I got for like $250 because I thought it looked cool, looks like it was a PD or security gun. The timing is off and the hex screws are stripped so I can't even get the sideplate off to fix it.......I've had it for a year and never even fired it, someday I'll have a gunsmith work on it. I may just have CZ tune it up at some point. The gun is tight and doesn't seem to have been fired much, timing was probably off from the factory. I'm not really a DW fan, but I needed a DW fixed sight service revolver for my "trade in" collection I don't think I would buy any more DW's, I don't like the fact that in full lockup, you can grab the cylinder and rotate it without much force at all. My Model 15 was like new and it still did this.......

DW's have little resale value and the common Model 15's are all over gun shows for $300 or so, and no one is clamoring for them.

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Old 03-25-2012, 12:07 AM
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The only Dan Wesson I've owned was a .44mag with 3 barrels and it shot like a laser with any barrel. I'm unsure of the year but the fit and finish was as nice as any S&W I've owned.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:29 AM
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As others have said, my DW's have been accurate. Scary accurate. They are well made and I have not had any problems with mine.

The tensioned barrel setup and the front lockup aids in the accuracy overall.

Now saying they are better than an S&W is another kettle of fish. Head to head accuracy? Probably they are. Head to head better fit and finish? Depends on the individual specimen. DW's quality control was quite random at times so one could be great and the next is pass it by. S&W's was more consistent.

Now if you take say a DW Monson 44 mag and put it to a S&W 29, the DW will take it on accuracy, on flexibility and maybe on finish. The S&W will take it on accessories, ease of handing and handiness.

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Old 04-29-2012, 10:31 AM
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I own both S&W's and DW's, .44 mags and .357 mags, happy with both. The DW's can be a bit spotty depending one where and when they were built, the Monson Mass. guns being the best. Don't know about the new CZ guns, but the factory has a good reputation on other guns.
From a rest or a machine rest the DW's are more accurate, the .44 will do 3" groups all day long at 100 yards, the .357 similar results. My brother has a .41 mag DW that may be the most accurate big bore handgun I have ever seen, consistent 2" groups at 100 yards.
If you find one at a gun show give it a careful inspection, they can be a bargain.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:52 AM
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The cylinder latch is very difficult for a lefty to manipulate had a 15 and could not sell it fast enough way to many small parts and a terrible double action trigger. My buddy has a couple and loves them!!
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:41 AM
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I do not know why you would ask that question here, because most answers will bw swayed towards the S&W. Lets just say I've shot both and this is the one I still have.


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Old 12-13-2012, 05:52 PM
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Thumbs up DW-744V STAINLESS

I Have a DW 744V Stainless dual barrel MAGNAPORTED. That I bought Dec 23rd. 1982. As my 8" hunter. I still have it today, and it is more accurate than my 9" Super Redhawk, And My 629 classic. At 100 yrds it is a tack driver. All I hunt with are the guns I noted above. The DW&superredhawk. are scoped for long shots. I am getting OLD ARMS and EYES the heavy ones are used from stands with gun mounts. The 629 is lasered and bore sighted in at 70yrds. I LOVE MY DW. It is a very low serial numbered MONSON SB00109x
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA Reb View Post
The ONLY DW I ever owned was a .357 purchased back in about late 1975 or early 1976. The very first time I pulled the hammer back in single action, the gun went off BEFORE the chamber was lined up properly with the barrel (no finger was on the trigger). Needless to say ..........! As far as I'm concerned, they were junk then and they still are.
So one issue with one gun makes you hate the entire brand?
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Old 09-23-2014, 07:41 PM
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I have a DW 15-2 and a bunch of S&W's. The Dan Wesson's are an interesting revolver and every bit as accurate as their reputation states.

However, the double action trigger in the Dan Wesson stacks A LOT. When I purchase my 15-2 it had been "tuned" with a lighter than standard Wolff mainspring to a DA trigger pull of 11.5 lbs. at the stacking point and it was misfiring 50% of the time with Federal primers. After installing a new factory strength mainspring the ignition is reliable but stacks up to about 14 lbs. I've already done a lot of polishing on the DA sear surfaces and an slowly cutting coils of the mainspring but do NOT think it possible to get the DA trigger under 12.5 lbs and have reliable ignition. It also takes a LOT of effort to cock the hammer for single action shooting.

To be blunt, there is NO COMPARISON between the Double Action trigger on a S&W and the Dan Wesson. Anyone who claims to have a Dan Wesson with an 8 lbs. DA trigger either doesn't fire live ammo or they have never actually measured their trigger.

BTW, the most effective work around for the stacking on the DW is a strong and rapid trigger pull. Do that and you can get through the stacking point without really noticing how heavy it gets. Try and stage the DA trigger on a DW and you'll probably end up with your hand starting to shake due to the effort.

Now, the good news is the single action triggers are about the same, good crisp break with a weight in the 3-4 lbs. range. BTW, I've tuned all my S&W's to break at 3.0 lbs. and the DW is 3 lbs. 2 ounces, so nearly a complete match. Another plus for the DW is the Target grip is distinctly on the large side and makes shooting full house 357 Magnums feel a bit like +P in a S&W.

So, is the Dan Wesson a better made revolver. Not really, in terms of machining and finish quality they were about equal when DW was at their peak. When DW fell on hard times financially they weren't even close to a S&W.

However, the Dan Wesson was clearly way ahead of the times in terms of innovative Engineering. They started in the late 60's and it's only been in the past 10 years or so that S&W has started using tensioned barrels. As for the Crane Lock on the DW, it was 2014 before S&W started using a ball detent crane again and the still don't have the end shake resistance of the Dan Wesson. Finally, S&W still doesn't offer a revolver with interchangeable barrels or a tunable B/C gap. So S&W still hasn't quite caught up to some aspects of the Dan Wesson. The shame on Dan Wesson is that they chose to use a coil mainspring instead of designing their lockwork to use a leaf type mainspring.
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:36 PM
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To me the Colt, the Ruger and S&W are the tops in manufacture of revolvers. To me and with my very stout reloads the Rugers have eaten everything. My colt python hung in there too. I'm sure the s&w will handle
the near max loads too.

I purchased my misses a Taurus m96 22lr revolver that's been awesome so far. I never owned a Dan wesson yet. Can they be compared to the top three manufacturers? I'm looking to you gurus for that answer.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:10 PM
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I have a Colt Trooper MK III, S&W 66-2, S&W M19, Ruger Security Six, and a DW 15-2V. I love them all and shoot them all regularly. They are all accurate since I adjust sights until they are correct. Drives me crazy to have a gun that is not accurate and sighted in. I have only had the Smiths for about a year and the Dan about the same amount of time. I wanted a Dan since 1979 when I purchased the Colt and passed on the Dan. The Dan is very accurate, smooth and a very nice handling gun with the 6" barrel. I took my brothers out to shoot them all and they loved the feel of the Dan. The 66 is very nice as well but overall I would have to go with my Dan but there can be so much difference between one hand gun and another of the same model. Smiths are pretty hard to beat for their overall consistency, something the Dans are missing.
The DW's are getting harder to find in good condition and bring a premium. I am a few years to late to this party.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:19 PM
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The first handgun I bought was a Dan Wesson 6 inch .357. It shot very well and I did not have any issues with it. I wish I still had it and the Model 19-4 4 inch I had at one time.
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Old 09-24-2014, 12:10 AM
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Zombie Thread!!!!!
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Old 09-24-2014, 10:45 PM
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I cant make a range trip without at least 1 Dan Wesson Revolver. I leave my DW 22 in my range bag at all times. I have several Dan Wessons including this model 715 Pistol Pack and this model 15 HV PP. I started backwards and got into Dan Wesson's first! I do now have more SW revolvers! I am a fan of the extended Wesson family!
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  #42  
Old 09-25-2014, 09:07 PM
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I had a Dan Wesson in the late 70s because I liked the concept of the changeable barrels. I never warmed to it. I finally traded it on a brand new Model 27 and never looked back. I immediately felt like I had upgraded.
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  #43  
Old 09-25-2014, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Mann View Post
I know a guy with a Dan Wesson revolver. He claims that his is a better made gun than my S&W model 19, which was made in 1977.

Is there any truth to his claim?
It all depends on your definition of "better made."

Personally, I think the Dan Wesson guns were not particularly attractive, and have no use for a sideplate secured with Allen/Hex screws, which are seemingly incapable of not stripping out with the cheaply made Allen head screwdrivers. Torx seems a better idea, but a traditional screw is far more elegant.

The Dan Wesson did have its strong points, which included very fine accuracy, apparently due to the method of mounting the two-piece barrel, which provided tension at both the frame and the muzzle, but the originals and that exposed barrel nut were just plain ugly. At least they later extended the shroud to hide the barrel nut!

Another strong point was the grip "frame," if you can call it that. The "stud" allowed almost any type of grip, but few were offered at the time.

Finally, I personally did not find the action to be as nice or as refined as the S&W action. I also did not find the full lug barrel to my liking, but then again, I am one of those people who honestly wish S&W would have simply offered the L frame in both full lug and standard ejector rod housing. Why they have not made more 686 Plus Mountain Guns is beyond me.

Last edited by shawn mccarver; 09-25-2014 at 09:21 PM.
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  #44  
Old 09-26-2014, 05:48 AM
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I had a Dan, The folks at the range called it a half a wesson. It shot great. It was one of my first guns and a 4" 357. I was a new reloader and tried everything. Fixed sights were ok if I shot LIGHT weight bullets out of it. Otherwise it shot high. Trigger was smooth and DA was a little stiff, but smooth, the trigger helped. SA was as good as any revolver. After a while it got loose and spit lead, so I sent it in for a rebuild. They did it for free and in good time. I shot it a bunch more then it got loose again. I sent it back for a refit. Nice job good turn around and no charge. I bought a 6" barrel for it and had it re blued, but POA was not POI, so that barrel was useless. I tried to shim the shroud on one side to make it shoot where I aimed it. No luck.

Sold it.

A friend of mine had a Dan Wesson ported 44 mag in stainless. He shot a lot of lead out of it. I could not get the shroud off the barrel because it was full of lead. The barrel is drilled all the way around then the gassed blow out the cuts in the top of the shroud. In between is were the lead stayed.

David
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  #45  
Old 09-26-2014, 07:50 AM
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Both companies have had their ups and downs, but the cylinder release on a DW is a deal killer for me. How awkward.
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