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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 01-07-2021, 03:57 PM
McShooty McShooty is offline
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Gentlemen: One of my goals for the year is to find an S&W .45 Colt to fill a cartridge vacancy in my collection. I guess that means a 25-3, 25-5, or maybe one of the newer Heritage series.

I know there are issues with dimensions of chamber and bore or chamber mouth vs bore diameter that affect accuracy and are often observed with the 45 Colt.

I would like to ask the good guys here to give me a rundown on the issues and what a handloader does to get good ammo. Also, ideas on what model would be the best.
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Old 01-07-2021, 04:23 PM
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Smith .45 Colt and and .45 ACP revolvers generally have oversize throats in the neighborhood of .454 upwards to .458 and bore diameters of .452. When shooting .452 lead bullets in these oversize throats, it apparently leads to barrel leading and less than stellar accuracy. Jacketed bullets seem to be less affected in the accuracy department.

Around 1980, this changed and cylinder throats were bored to .452 it seems. This was around the time that the new alpha numeric serial numbering system began and the barrels ceased to be pinned. That being said, its a good guess that there are probably guns with the N serial number and pinned barrel with the tighter throats. You just have to check. I have also read that some folks sent their guns back to the factory for new cylinders.
My 25-7 has the .452 throats. I have a 25-5 that has throats upward of .458. I have never shot that one.
One way to achieve best accuracy, from what I have read, is to find and shoot bullets that are sized to your throat size. Until recently, I did not shoot .45 Colt, so have not went that far, and just shoot .452 bullets in whatever .45 I'm using.
Anyway, there are a lot of more experienced .45 Colt folks here that will be able to provide more information.
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Old 01-07-2021, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McShooty View Post
Gentlemen: One of my goals for the year is to find an S&W .45 Colt to fill a cartridge vacancy in my collection. I guess that means a 25-3, 25-5, or maybe one of the newer Heritage series.

I know there are issues with dimensions of chamber and bore or chamber mouth vs bore diameter that affect accuracy and are often observed with the 45 Colt.

I would like to ask the good guys here to give me a rundown on the issues and what a handloader does to get good ammo. Also, ideas on what model would be the best.
The bore vs. throat diameter issue is only from the -5 engineering revision and backwards. -5s are known to have had both sizes of cylinder throats

The Heritage series Model 25 merges modern manufacturing and technology with a nostalgic retro look with that tapered barrel and those four screw frames.



There were not many of these made. I think it was 150 of each finish and that was a decade ago. So they are getting harder to find. They were available in Blue or Color Case Hardened finishes.

If I had to have only one, this would be the way I would go



I wish they had also offered the Heritage Model 24 in nickel. The Nickel Ed McGivern Model 15s are beautifully done

Baring finding a Heritage revolver, the cylinder throats were standardized for use with .452 projectiles after the -5 engineering revision.

The Mountain Guns are always a nice choice



Most 25-5s aare fine, you just need to measure them

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Old 01-07-2021, 05:13 PM
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Don't rule out later stainless guns. S&W produced some really nice 625's in .45 Colt. I have a 5" full lug 625-5 stocking dealer special and a 625-7 Mountain Gun. They both shoot great, but the Mountain Gun is my favorite.

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Old 01-07-2021, 05:49 PM
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I recall reading a post or two from someone who had the right knowledge set that that cylinder throat problem went away about the same time as pinned barrels in the 25-5. Others have posted testing methods using bullets of known size, just dropping them down the cylinder.

While what I really want is a 5", non-fluted 25-7 or 25-9, that's probably somewhere closer to delusion than fantasy. If I were going to get a 4", the suggestions made above would be on the right track.
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Old 01-07-2021, 05:54 PM
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I know this is the S&W forum, but if you are just looking to fill a hole in your caliber selection, I suggest you consider a Colt SAA or one of it's clones or even a Ruger Single action if you want something in .45 Colt.

They can be a lot of fun to shoot.
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Old 01-07-2021, 05:57 PM
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I bought a 25-5 new around 1980 and still have it. It has oversized chamber throats. These cause no problem if you use a .456" or .457" soft bullet. I use a 4-cavity Lyman #454424 mould from the '60s. This makes the popular 260 grain SWC. I don't know how easy or difficult it may be to find commercial bullets of the right diameter.

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Old 01-07-2021, 07:09 PM
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I spent 10 years looking for a pinned 25-5 (some are and some aren't) in nickel. Finally gave up and bought this blue one at a local show. Never miked the throats but a 452 lead bullet wedges if dropped in. Shipped October of 1982. Pretty late to still have a pinned barrel but the 25-2 I had shipped in 1980 and it had a 6.5" barrel that was discontinued a couple years earlier. You never know.
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Old 01-07-2021, 07:26 PM
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I spent 10 years looking for a pinned 25-5 (some are and some aren't) in nickel. Finally gave up and bought this blue one at a local show. Never miked the throats but a 452 lead bullet wedges if dropped in. Shipped October of 1982. Pretty late to still have a pinned barrel but the 25-2 I had shipped in 1980 and it had a 6.5" barrel that was discontinued a couple years earlier. You never know.
I bought a new nickel 25-5 4" from John Jovino Co. in the fall of 1983. I sold it a few years back, but, as I recall, it also had the large chamber throats. I'm not much on pinned vs. unpinned, but I'm pretty sure it was pinned. Like my earlier post, oversized bullets that fit the throat worked fine.

I've pretty much lost interest in the .45 Colt, much preferring the .44 Special these days. However, I guess ballistically there is little difference.
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:20 PM
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There is a NIB 25-5 on the forum guns for sale
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Old 01-07-2021, 08:51 PM
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This 25-5 shoots the .452 RNFP loads I had cooked up for general target and woods tramping in my Ruger Vaquero better than I can hold. (A little warmer than factory, but not "Ruger only" level) Matter of fact there is nothing I've run through it that it hasn't liked.
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:01 PM
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The info you have been given is correct. Generally unpinned barrels have correct throats. But as with all things S&W nothing is written in stone. The plunk test is to drop a .45 caliber lead bullet in the chambers. If it hangs up at the mouth, the throats are correct. If it falls straight through, they're oversized. However, many people have reported that guns with large throats shoot just fine. The only way to know is to shoot the gun.
I have one of the mentioned 25-7s. IMHO this is the finest .45 Colt revolver S&W ever built. Wonderfully accurate and a pure joy to shoot. If you can find one, it worth whatever price they're asking.
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:32 PM
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The first handgun I bought with my own money was a brand new .45 Colt 625 Mountain Gun back in 1996. Ive added a number of .45 Colts since then by S&W, Colt, Ruger and even a Taurus. I really like .45 Colt. My most recent revolver addition was a 25-7, and it was worth the years of looking. Im still looking for the 3 and 5 625s.
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Old 01-07-2021, 09:59 PM
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I have 7 S&W in 45 colt, but I built all of them. A couple from Brzilians and 1917, 2 from 629s by replacing barrel and reaming cylinder. Another from a 1955 5 screw using a reamed 44 mag cylinder

Here is one with a 5" full lug barrel


My favorite is a pinned and recessed with a 5" barrel made from a 25-5 with a 8 3/8 barrel, the cylinder had big throats so I replaced it with one reamed from a model 29 recessed cylinder.
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Old 01-07-2021, 10:03 PM
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Model 25-7 for the win! They are superbly accurate. But then I can't complain about my Mountain Gun or my 625 with the heavy barrel.
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Old 01-07-2021, 10:15 PM
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I've been happy with my 25-5. Shoots well, and it shiiiiny. 😍

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Old 01-07-2021, 11:03 PM
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That mountain gun is sweet

I built a semi Mountain gun using a Brazilian frame, a cut down 1950 barrel and a 44mag cylinder reamed to 45 colt. Milled and added adjustable sights
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Old 01-07-2021, 11:09 PM
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There is nothing wrong with the guns with the larger throats that a slightly larger bullet won't solve.
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:18 AM
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Well if we're gonna start showing off.....



The one on the bottom right is a 25-2 .45acp. All the rest are .45 Colts.
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:52 AM
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The plan is to cause the op even more nuts for a 45 colt
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:02 AM
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My 25-5 , 4 " barrel shoots my cast bullets sized .454 as accurately as any other revolver I have . Regards Paul
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s&wchad View Post
Don't rule out later stainless guns. S&W produced some really nice 625's in .45 Colt. I have a 5" full lug 625-5 stocking dealer special and a 625-7 Mountain Gun. They both shoot great, but the Mountain Gun is my favorite.

Looking for a .45 Colt-img_1821-jpg

Looking for a .45 Colt-img_2471-jpg
I do not believe that there were any earlier stainless 625s chambered for 45 Long Colt that had over-sized cylinder throats

The big problem with stainless 625s chambered for the 45 Long Colt cartridge is that except for the Mountain gun, most all of them were small limited sized runs much like the Heritage Model 25s

The first two that I recall buying were the 625 Hunter and 625 Lite Hunter in 1996 and 1997 respectively. I have always liked serial numbers and when I picked up the Lite Hunter it had the serial of CLT0003. So we called Lew Horton up righ away and I had them ship me serial number CLT0045





My next one was the 625 Mountain Gun



My next two had scandium frames even though the factory called them 625s



The most recent one that I purchased was one of the Stock Dealer Special 625 Classic Hunters

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Old 01-08-2021, 03:16 PM
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Thanks, guys for the wisdom. Yes, I think I am more nuts for an S&W 45 Colt now. For Clang444: I have used Ruger 45s and they are fine. Had a new model Black Hawk with 4-5/8" bbl and it was amazing. I sure agree that Rugers are great for general 45 shooting and you can stoke them with very stiff loads if you want to. My purpose here is the S&W collection. I have six other N-frames with no .45 C. What would fit best would be a 6- or 6-1/2 in bbl, pinned and not tapered. It will be shot quite a bit also. Comments here make me think I should look for a 25-5 and use bullets that fit the chamber mouth. Thanks again.


Roy
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by McShooty View Post
Thanks, guys for the wisdom. Yes, I think I am more nuts for an S&W 45 Colt now. For Clang444: I have used Ruger 45s and they are fine. Had a new model Black Hawk with 4-5/8" bbl and it was amazing. I sure agree that Rugers are great for general 45 shooting and you can stoke them with very stiff loads if you want to. My purpose here is the S&W collection. I have six other N-frames with no .45 C. What would fit best would be a 6- or 6-1/2 in bbl, pinned and not tapered. It will be shot quite a bit also. Comments here make me think I should look for a 25-5 and use bullets that fit the chamber mouth. Thanks again.


Roy
Got it. You can also be on the lookout for a beat up .455 Hand Ejector and convert to .45 Colt. Something like this but without the chopped barrel:

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Old 01-08-2021, 06:02 PM
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Found this in a pawn shop marked as a 1917 for $700
a 455 triple lock reamed to 45 colt
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:13 PM
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Found this in a pawn shop marked as a 1917 for $700
a 455 triple lock reamed to 45 colt...
BE STILL MY HEART!
-I'll take two at that price, please!

(You guys are killing me with this thread.) Lol
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:26 PM
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Another option for big throat 45 colt cylinders is my solution Get a 44 mag cylinder and have it reamed to 45 colt and fitted to your gun. Every cylinder I have found was under $100. It should not be that much to get one reamed.
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Old 01-08-2021, 09:03 PM
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That's what I did with the Model 25-2 I bought knowing that it had way oversized throats.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:18 PM
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Ya, a model 25-2 could easily become a 45 colt.
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Old 01-09-2021, 01:39 PM
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I've been happy with my 25-5. Shoots well, and it shiiiiny. 😍

Yeah, I have one of those too. Looks like someone chopped 2" off mine. Have not shot it yet. Sure is purty. Big Larry

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Old 01-09-2021, 02:21 PM
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Gentlemen:
I would like to ask the good guys here to give me a rundown on the issues and what a handloader does to get good ammo. Also, ideas on what model would be the best.
When I found a new unfired 25-5 I already had several 45 Colts. A Virginian Dragoon and several Rugers - a Blackhawk, a Redhawk and a Vaquero. I was unaware of the Cylinder Throat issue, but found out quickly after researching how to improve its accuracy.

My goto bullet was a 230 gr. 0.452 because it was a common item for my .45 ACPs. Based on this site I bought a box of Penn cast bullets sized to 0.454. That solved the problem. While I was waiting for those rounds to be used up I bought a Lee mold for a 255 gr. RNF bullet. Water quenched and unsized they mic out at 0.454. Those provided the best accuracy of all.

To my surprise, my new "25-5 Only" rounds provided better results in all of my other revolves as well. So, I dropped the ID and that is now my standard target round for them all.

My 2 favorite handguns are the Blackhawk and the 25-5 and I would rate both of them as "best" The choice would simply be based on single or double action. The Vaquero is also a fun gun to shoot. After dialing in the 25-5 I sold the Virginian and I wouldn't recommend that to anyone. Personally, if it ain't a Ruger or Smith revolver, it ain't anything...
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Old 01-09-2021, 02:34 PM
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I have an Old Model Ruger Vaquero in 45 Colt . They are built on the 44 magnum frame . It's a bit heavier and very well built . Mine has perfect throat size and groove size of the barrel and ---- no tight spot where the barrel threaded onto the frame . It's my 2nd Ruger single action and both have perfect barrel to frame fit . My other is the NMBH , 41 magnum ,both have 4 5/8" barrel . Regards Paul
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Old 01-09-2021, 06:13 PM
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It always makes me laugh. Some people get all worried about shooting a 224 bullet down a 222 barrel in 22lr to 22 mag conversions when guys are regularly firing cast 454 bullets down a 452 bore. Both are a .002 difference but your squeezing a whole lot more mass down in a 45 than a 22 and a 22 cylinder wall is WAY thicker.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:22 PM
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You got it Steelslaver. Gen. Julian Hatcher did a lot of work on the strength of the '03 Springfield (.308) and reported it in "Hatcher's Notebook." You can still find a copy with Google. If I remember correctly, he reamed the chamber so that an 8 mm (.323) bullet could be chambered and nothing dangerous happened upon firing.This and other reports would indicate you don't need to worry about bullets that are a few thousandths oversize.
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Old 01-10-2021, 05:38 PM
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Also, if performance were the only pursuit, I think you could safely load a 25-2 to factory 45 LC levels, and more, using either ACP or AR cases. Performance be danged. I just want to, need to, have to fill that slot in my S&W holdings.
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Old 01-10-2021, 09:50 PM
StrawHat StrawHat is offline
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I used a Model 25-5 for deer hunting here in Ohio. I used the bullets as they dropped from the mold. Never miked the chamber throats nor the bullets. Good enough to drop deer.

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Old 01-11-2021, 08:30 AM
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I don't know about getting 255 gr bullets to 1000fps in an auto rim or acp case, but it is easy to do safely in a 45 colt and a S&W. All you have to do is load the 45 colt to 45 acp pressures. There is no reason in the world that 21,000psi will have any more effect on a colt cylinder than an acp cylinder. Same thickness cylinder walls, same frames, cylinder stop notch in the same location. Even 45acp+P loads work safely in modern S&W nrev0olvers and guess what 23,000psi will NOT blow up or damage a S&W 45 colt. I would not use the top shelf "Ruger" only loads.
The 45 colt standard of 14,000psi is fine for plinking and 100 year old guns, but far to low of limit for modern guns.
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