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S&W Revolvers: 1980 to the Present All NON-PINNED Barrels, the L-Frames, and the New Era Revolvers


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  #1  
Old 11-16-2009, 11:17 AM
steve696 steve696 is offline
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Default S&W 625-5 Sad Story

I bought this 625-5 in .45 Colt back in '94 brand new. It was one of my favorite Smiths. The 5" barrel was just the right length, the gun balanced well, and was a pleasure to shoot. On top of it all, it was in .45 Colt. The gun has an "SDS" serial number, which meant it was a stocking dealer special. Not too many of them made from what I understand, and they only went to the larger S&W dealers at the time.
Anyway, the sad part of the story. I was shooting the gun a while back, and all was going well. Shooting at 25 yards, the gun was grouping as well as I could shoot it. I took a few shots on a new target and didn't even hit the paper. Took a few more shots and still not on the paper. My first thought was that the rear sight had gotten loose, and so I checked and everything was tight. Nothing seemed wrong, so I took one more shot. Still not on the paper. It turned out that the barrel cracked right at the frame. It did not split lengthwise at the forcing cone, but broke almost all of the way through just in front of the threads. The barrel was skewed off to the right, and I believe that one more shot would have blown the barrel clear off the frame.....I was able to unscrew the by a few threads to take these pictures.
So...after the shock wore off, I contacted S&W and told them what happened. They asked that the gun be returned to them for warranty repair.
Long story short, S&W fixed the gun no charge...Except, they didn't have any barrels like the one that came with the gun. All they had was a 4" barrel, or one of the new (ugly) mountain gun barrels. I had no choice but to have the 4" barrel installed. On top of it all, I asked Smith to return the original barrel to me. They assured me that they would, but I never got it back. It turns out that their policy is not to return old parts from a warranty repair....
Now, I'm looking for an original style barrel to put back on this gun. It's a 5" full underlug s.s. barrel with laser engraving on both sides. Left side of barrel has "Smith & Wesson" and "45 Colt" and right side has "625 Classic".
It also has the interchangeable front sight.
If anyone knows where I may be able to find a barrel like this, I would appreciate it. My searches so far haven't turned up anything. Thanks for reading this long post,
Steve
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:33 AM
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Arrgh... that is truly horrible, man. I'm glad you're OK, though. That is more important than a busted gun. I've got one of these...they're nor super-rare, but they are unusual...1550 made.

One alternative would be to find a .44Mag 5" full-lug barrel and have it re-bored. I imagine there's a lot more of those floating around than the .45's. Also, you might try checking with some of the shops that specialize in IDPA work. The 5" .45ACP gun was popular in IDPA until a rule change made it illegal. A number of folks had their 5" tubes replaced or whacked to 4" to make them legal. With an ACP barrel, it should be the same except for the longer forcing cone which could be simply shortened.

I wish you the best of luck in getting your revolver restored,
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:42 AM
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Default You may want...

...to try Numrich. I just checked their site, and they have a barrel listed as follows:

SMITH & WESSON | 625, 625-2 | ITEM#324820 | e-GunParts.com

Worth a try.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:58 AM
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I've never seen a barrel come apart like that!
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:16 PM
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A good gun is a terrible thing to lose!!! But, I will tell you that Smith and Wesson should be complimented for taking care of you as best they did...good customer service. Sometimes I think that the manufacturers spec parameters are just too tight for handguns. Many years ago when I was a competitive benchrest shooter, they used to torque those barrels into the actions like nobodies business..until they found out it wasnt necessary. About 25 ft lbs if I remember correctly was all it took to do the job (this allowed competitors to change caliber using a simple barrel clamp and action fixture....not an 8 foot breaker bar!!!). I think in the case of a handgun, lining up the front sight to its relationship with the reciever takes precedence over the torque that is applied to the threads and action....which stresses the assembly To do it correctly very fine fitting practices need to be adhered to, and I guess in the world of mass manufacturing that is not possible. I hope that you find the barrel of your choice and get that gun back to its original status....and if you do, I would have somebody that would take thier time install the barrel without maximum stress!
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Old 11-16-2009, 12:42 PM
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Thanks to all for the quick replies...
Charles, any more info on these SDS guns? Did you get the research from S&W?

Dennis, thanks for that link. I remember Numrich from years ago, but I forgot all about them. The link doesn't include a picture, so I'll call them up to see if it's what I'm after.

flat top, I certainly can't complain about the S&W service. They were very helpful and did tell me up front that the original barrel maght be a problem. Good to see that they stand behind their product.
Thanks again to all,
Steve
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Old 11-16-2009, 02:20 PM
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Red face

Steve; I had an issue with a Smith 629, and got pretty ticked off at Smith Service....According to them, what I considered a defect in the rifling of the barrel, was a flaw that is common to the machining process that they used for rifling their modern guns. After I cooled down, I just accepted that answer, and have used the gun with no problems, and it is very accurate for what it is. So if, or until something adverse happens, I am going to take them for their word...after all "they" built the gun...not me. Other than that, they were prompt, and explained everything about the issue to me, and I feel that their service was very good...although I wasnt happy at the time with the answer they gave me!!!
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:56 PM
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My sincere condolences, as I have one of these, and it is a fine shooter. I'm very surprised that Smith did not have a 5" barrel from the 625 versions chambered in 45ACP. They have certainly made enough of those over the years. So you are saying that all they have for 45 cal. stainless N-frames is a MG barrel or the 4" full-lugged? Sounds like you have a very unique gun at this point........a 4" full-lugged 625-5. I'm curious on how they marked the barrel. How about a pic?
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis The B View Post
...to try Numrich. I just checked their site, and they have a barrel listed as follows:

SMITH & WESSON | 625, 625-2 | ITEM#324820 | e-GunParts.com

Worth a try.
I love this place
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:15 PM
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The 625 Classic in 45 Colt is a great revolver. I'm sorry to hear that your's attempted revolvercide.
The 625-2 barrel is probably a 45acp barrel.
What you may wish to consider is installing a 45acp barrel on your gun. The forcing cone area will need to be shortened up considerably since the 625 in 45acp has a shorter cylinder than the 625 in 45 Colt. After that is taken care of you would probably want to polish it to look correct for your gun. There's no way I know of to duplicate the laser markings from your barrel.
Good luck.
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:55 PM
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Default Bummer

At least you have your frame back, with an acceptable (?) barrel, until you can find another 5" one to put on it. I would hate to loose a 5" barrel and have to replace it with a 4".
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joni_Lynn View Post
There's no way I know of to duplicate the laser markings from your barrel.
Good luck.
I'd like to make incantations to make laser markings go away from all the revolvers I have with it.
I kind of dig the idea someone had of getting a .44 mag barrel and having it rerifled. Have someone like Bowen do it, maybe have some rollmarking done on it.
If you're nutty about having it look absolutely original I guess you have to hunt down the correct barrel, if you're never going to part with it then maybe it can look cooler than ever.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:36 PM
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Another damned lock-induced failure. I know this gun does not have the lock, but did you have this 625 sitting near a S&W with the lock? Then that's the problem right there.
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:49 PM
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hope u can get it fixed glad u was not hurt
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:14 PM
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A couple months ago someone posted pictures of the exact same failure on a 686 6". I forget the dash number, but was a more recent production.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve696 View Post
any more info on these SDS guns? Did you get the research from S&W?
Here's the original flyer for the M625 Classic. 1993 production, total production was 1550 guns.


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Old 11-17-2009, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
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So you are saying that all they have for 45 cal. stainless N-frames is a MG barrel or the 4" full-lugged? Sounds like you have a very unique gun at this point........a 4" full-lugged 625-5. I'm curious on how they marked the barrel. How about a pic?
I agree it's an interesting and unique gun, to my knowledge they didn't offer a 4" full lugged model in 45 Colt, just 45 ACP. I'd like to see a pic as well.
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Old 11-17-2009, 12:46 AM
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Steve, Smithnut just posted about everything I know about 'em, except for I also know don't ever lose your rear sight because you will be out of luck. I bought mine not knowing it was anything special and it had a scope on it. Don't know who would want to scope a .45 Colt, but he is probably the same one who polished the laser engraving just about off... This gun takes a unique rear sight...long like the old ones but rounded like the new ones. A call to all the major parts houses yielded nothing, and even Smith didn't have any more in stock. A helpful Smith&Wesson customer service guy actually went digging through the factory gunsmiths' personal stashes and found exactly one, which now sits on my revolver.

Hope that Numrich barrel works for you!

And here's another request for a pic as a 4"! That is a one-of-a-kind gun now, I'll bet.

Last edited by Charles; 11-17-2009 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:09 AM
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steve696-

Just be aware that .45 ACP barrels have different rifling in them than the .45 Colt. It is much shallower for hardball, and while most Smith .45 ACP revos will shoot great, if you're a cast bullet shooter you'll be better off with the correct barrel. Also, the twist might be a bit different in an ACP barrel. Just something to consider.

I second having either Bowen, or Clements re-bore a .44 barrel and roll mark it, or if you really like the lazer engraving, ask them if they can do it for you. If not, maybe S&W would do it after you get the barrel re-bored and installed by one of those guys. I figure they owe you that much for having to go to a barrel length you really didn't want.
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:51 AM
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Here's a few pics of what the gun looks like now....Nowhere near the same. The 4" barrel is roll-marked, and not a good job at that. It shoots okay, but I want it back the way it was. I'm going to call Numrich today regarding the barrel that they have.
Smith told me at the time that didn't have any 5" barrels in .45. I also thought that having a .45ACP barrel put on would work, other than the markings. Also, as Joni stated, the forcing cone area would need to be re-worked. I was unaware that the ACP rifling is different than the .45 Colt rifling.
I'll post again after I see what Numrich has.
Steve
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:48 AM
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Here are some photos of the barrel removed from my 625-6, which is now fitted with a Mountain Gun barrel:







I had heard that the rifling in Model 25’s in .45 ACP was “shallower” for hardball, but was unaware that this rifling had carried over into the 625’s.

Whether this is correct or not, my 625’s shoot cast just fine.
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:04 PM
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I think that ALL Smith's rifling since the late '90's or so is of the shallower type. If you reload or cast, it's just a matter of matching alloy hardness, proper diameter, and appropriate pressure/velocity, same as it's always been.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:06 PM
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Charles-

In about late '94 S&W switched to EDM type rifling. It isn't realy any shallower, it is different in that the edges of the lands are slightly rounded, especially in relationship to the older cut rifling.

25-2's for sure, had shallower rifling than other S&W's, and came in a 6 groove configuration as opposed to the standard 5 groove of most S&W's. I don't own a 625, but I have read many time that they have the shallow rifling as well. Maybe someone who has both can speak up here and set the record straight.

Cast bullets will shoot fine in shallow rifling, IF they are cast fairly hard so they can hold the rifling and not skid, ruining accuracy and causing leading.
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:40 PM
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G4F, that (EDM rifling) is what I was thinking of. Didn't know about the 6 grooves on the 25-2's. Thanks for that little bit of info!

The barrel in AKtinman's post above looks like it has 6, and my 3 .45 Colt 625's all have 5, so there definitely appears to be a difference between LC and ACP.

I will say that my 2 post-'94 Mountain Guns (-6 and -7) definitely look like they have shallower rifling than my 625-5 Classic, but all 3 shoot plain-based wheelweight bullets (RCBS 270SAA mould) really well on top of an appropriate charge of 2400.

I wonder if some of the inaccuracy and leading folks experience with lead in .45acp could be traced to using bevel-based designs and/or .451" diameter bullets.
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles
I wonder if some of the inaccuracy and leading folks experience with lead in .45acp could be traced to using bevel-based designs and/or .451" diameter bullets.
I think the bevel based designs are a big part of the problem. While they are easy to seat, they allow gasses to get up around the side of the bullet and cause at least some leading. I know what you mean about the EDM rifling looking shallower, but I don't think it is. I think it looks like that due the the rounded edges of the lands, but who knows, maybe it is a bit shallower.
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Old 11-18-2009, 05:21 AM
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Steve:

That repaired sixgun is pretty uniquely configured. Depending on what a 5 inch barrel costs, and if the lack of originality bothers you enough, you may be further ahead selling your now-4 inch gun and buying another 5 incher. They do turn up on occasion.

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Old 11-18-2009, 06:45 PM
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Sorry for your loss. If you decide to sell the new model please let me know as I have a bud who would love one.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:02 PM
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Gun for fun.............I had to take a look at the rifling on the barrels of a couple of my 625's to see if I could discern any difference. I compared my 625-5 45Colt to a 625-4 45ACP. The grooves are noticeably wider on the 45Colt barrel. I didn't bother to compare twist rates. That said, the 255gr. LSWC's sized at .452, that is my standard bullet for my 625-5 Classic, shoots very accurately in the 625-4 loaded into AR cases. In fact, that gun shoots leads in .451 or .452 extremely well. I have never tried a lead sized in .451 in the 45Colt.

I don't know if the original poster loads for 45ACP, but he may want to try a 45Colt load with a 200gr. SWC that is standard fare for 45ACP. Taper crimp it at .470 with a 45ACP crimp die. That new 4" barrel may be a super shooter.

I know what the OP means about the roll marks on the latest barrels. They are WAY TOO BIG! Perhaps Smith thinks that the only folks buying wheelguns these days are us older folks with reading glasses. What is really tacky is the barrels that are lasered on one side and roll marked on the other.
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Old 11-18-2009, 09:46 PM
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I have one of the 625 Classic's in 45 Colt and I'd be ill if that happened to mine. However if it did happen I'd either have a 5" 629 Classic barrel rebored/rifled or have a 5" 45acp 625 barrel installed and then somehow match the level of finish. My 625-3 in 45acp shoots all kinds of lead bullets quite well. When I think of how much more $$$$ I have in 1911's to get them to shoot as well as the 625-3 I wonder what mental disorder I acquired that gave me the 1911/accuracy addiction.
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Old 12-23-2013, 02:23 AM
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A lot of good information in this thread.

Just bumping it up for anyone interested in 625s' and their construction.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:59 PM
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Wow. I'd have been all over the idea of a 4" MG barrel on that gun. That would be unique, or nearly so, and a much more useful revolver. I hate the full lug barrels with a passion. Ugly and annoying. I had one revolver with one (a 5" 625-6 Lew Horton) that got stolen, and I miss it. That's the only one I would not consider changing the barrel on, because it was so well built.
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Old 02-18-2021, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by steve696 View Post
I bought this 625-5 in .45 Colt back in '94 brand new. It was one of my favorite Smiths. The 5" barrel was just the right length, the gun balanced well, and was a pleasure to shoot. On top of it all, it was in .45 Colt. The gun has an "SDS" serial number, which meant it was a stocking dealer special. Not too many of them made from what I understand, and they only went to the larger S&W dealers at the time.
Anyway, the sad part of the story. I was shooting the gun a while back, and all was going well. Shooting at 25 yards, the gun was grouping as well as I could shoot it. I took a few shots on a new target and didn't even hit the paper. Took a few more shots and still not on the paper. My first thought was that the rear sight had gotten loose, and so I checked and everything was tight. Nothing seemed wrong, so I took one more shot. Still not on the paper. It turned out that the barrel cracked right at the frame. It did not split lengthwise at the forcing cone, but broke almost all of the way through just in front of the threads. The barrel was skewed off to the right, and I believe that one more shot would have blown the barrel clear off the frame.....I was able to unscrew the by a few threads to take these pictures.
So...after the shock wore off, I contacted S&W and told them what happened. They asked that the gun be returned to them for warranty repair.
Long story short, S&W fixed the gun no charge...Except, they didn't have any barrels like the one that came with the gun. All they had was a 4" barrel, or one of the new (ugly) mountain gun barrels. I had no choice but to have the 4" barrel installed. On top of it all, I asked Smith to return the original barrel to me. They assured me that they would, but I never got it back. It turns out that their policy is not to return old parts from a warranty repair....
Now, I'm looking for an original style barrel to put back on this gun. It's a 5" full underlug s.s. barrel with laser engraving on both sides. Left side of barrel has "Smith & Wesson" and "45 Colt" and right side has "625 Classic".
It also has the interchangeable front sight.
If anyone knows where I may be able to find a barrel like this, I would appreciate it. My searches so far haven't turned up anything. Thanks for reading this long post,
Steve
Did you ever find out why it failed? I bought the identical gun today. # 366. It's a sweet shooter. But now I am wondering if I should shoot it?....
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  #33  
Old 02-18-2021, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wng-2 View Post
Did you ever find out why it failed? I bought the identical gun today. # 366. It's a sweet shooter. But now I am wondering if I should shoot it?....
The OP just passed his seven year anniversary - of absence from the Forum. Probably best to start a new thread for other opinions.
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  #34  
Old 02-19-2021, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
The OP just passed his seven year anniversary - of absence from the Forum. Probably best to start a new thread for other opinions.
Thanks, I bought the gun yesterday, and was actually on the Internet searching for a holster, and bumped into that thread. I really like the gun. Iwas wondering if that failure was a one off, or if it happened to others as well....
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  #35  
Old 02-19-2021, 10:16 AM
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I would keep the gun as is since it is unique and factory and just buy another 5” if you miss that model so much.
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  #36  
Old 02-19-2021, 03:45 PM
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I have a friend who has had an SDS 625-5 Classic for a long time and has shot it quite a bit. He hasn't had any problem at all. I believe if barrels were routinely popping off of guns it would get a lot more press than this old thread. The truth is that any mechanical item can fail in a variety of ways due to a manufacturer defect or mistreatment.

One thing you do need to be aware of regarding any S&W 45 Colt revolver is that there are multiple power levels of 45 Colt ammunition available (as well as reloading recommendations). Stay away from any load labelled as "Ruger Only". While a load like that probably wouldn't flat out blow up your S&W 625, it is a lot of stress on it mostly due to the thin spot in the cylinder at the bolt notch. Due to the large case size of the 45 it is considered the weak point for the 45 caliber S&W N frame. The 44 is enough smaller cartridge that it allows 44 magnum pressure to be safe in essentially the same gun. The 45 Colt S&W is definitely not weak, but not as strong as a heavily built single action revolver.

BTW, There were only something like 1550 of the 625-5 Classic guns made so it is a bit rare and is highly regarded.
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  #37  
Old 02-19-2021, 03:53 PM
wng-2 wng-2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 452x6 View Post
I have a friend who has had an SDS 625-5 Classic for a long time and has shot it quite a bit. He hasn't had any problem at all. I believe if barrels were routinely popping off of guns it would get a lot more press than this old thread. The truth is that any mechanical item can fail in a variety of ways due to a manufacturer defect or mistreatment.

One thing you do need to be aware of regarding any S&W 45 Colt revolver is that there are multiple power levels of 45 Colt ammunition available (as well as reloading recommendations). Stay away from any load labelled as "Ruger Only". While a load like that probably wouldn't flat out blow up your S&W 625, it is a lot of stress on it mostly due to the thin spot in the cylinder at the bolt notch. Due to the large case size of the 45 it is considered the weak point for the 45 caliber S&W N frame. The 44 is enough smaller cartridge that it allows 44 magnum pressure to be safe in essentially the same gun. The 45 Colt S&W is definitely not weak, but not as strong as a heavily built single action revolver.

BTW, There were only something like 1550 of the 625-5 Classic guns made so it is a bit rare and is highly regarded.
Thanks, great information. I reload for .45 Colt, so I can do accordingly. It's a sweet shooter being as heavy as it is. It would be a shame to not shoot it.
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  #38  
Old 02-19-2021, 06:03 PM
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I'm probably the only one, but I like the 4" 625s better than the 5".................
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  #39  
Old 02-19-2021, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by HUMONGO View Post
I love this place
I've ordered Smith and Wesson and Mossberg surplus parts and Numrich had the best shape OEM parts. A walnut stock set needed no sanding or refinishing to complete a WWII style 12-Gauge trench-gun clone that is just beautiful.

Numrich bought out most Smith's vintage parts deemed vintage parts that likely wouldn't be needed for servicing such as all 3rd gen Smith semi-auto's, etc...
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  #40  
Old 02-19-2021, 10:56 PM
mr.revolverguy mr.revolverguy is offline
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I am so glad everyone is safe and that S&W made it all right.

But I almost stopped reading when he said ugly mountain gun barrel.
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Old 02-20-2021, 02:35 AM
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Default My .45 Colt M-625-5 Mountain Gun

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Originally Posted by mr.revolverguy View Post
I am so glad everyone is safe and that S&W made it all right.

But I almost stopped reading when he said ugly mountain gun barrel.
Is one of my favorite S&Ws and really shines with 250 to 260 SWCs and JHPs on 9gr of Unique or Universal or 18gr 2400. Of course a lot of my shooting is done with lighter powder charges but full weight bullets. 230 and up...........
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  #42  
Old 02-20-2021, 08:45 AM
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I am sorry I could not sleep about this

Ugly really?



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  #43  
Old 02-20-2021, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken158 View Post
I would keep the gun as is since it is unique and factory and just buy another 5 if you miss that model so much.
Have you seen how much those 625-5s are going for?
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  #44  
Old 02-21-2021, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mr.revolverguy View Post
I am sorry I could not sleep about this

Ugly really?



What are we seeing here? A Mountain Gun in 45? And a Model 22-4, 45 ACP?

Both are good looking revolvers. I have a few 4, 45 ACP revolvers.

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  #45  
Old 02-21-2021, 09:16 AM
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Bottom is a model 22 in 45ACP Thunder Ranch with different grips. Not truly a mountain gun but posted because it has some what the same sliming of the barrel profile the op does not like. Was just teasing, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We like what we like.

Again glad to see the op was not hurt.
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