Smith & Wesson Model 25 .45 Colt Mountain Gun

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 3rd, 2004




Smith & Wesson’s Mountain Gun series of revolvers has been one of their most popular with those shooters and hunters who pack a handgun into the wilderness. The Mountain Gun is also in demand among those who choose to carry a concealed handgun for social purposes, and prefer a sixgun over an autoloader. The Mountain Gun has been offered chambered for a few powerful centerfire cartridges in the past, and most have been built from stainless steel. They are about as light and handy as a big bore double action sixgun can practically be.

Now, S&W is building the Mountain Gun chambered for the legendary .45 Colt cartridge, and making it out of real honest-to-goodness blued carbon steel. This might prove to be the best Mountain Gun to date. They produced an earlier limited run of .45 Colt chambered Mountain Guns in stainless. Whether you like your sixguns built of carbon or stainless steel is a personal preference, but chambering it for the .45 Colt cartridge is the best idea yet in a Mountain Gun.

The .45 Colt Mountain Gun provides the hunter, backpacker, hiker, or camper with a light, handy, and easily packable sixgun that has plenty of power for most any situation. While some prefer the .44 Magnum, I think that the .45 Colt is a much better cartridge for the Mountain Gun. The big .45 throws a heavy bullet at moderate speeds, providing power and controllability, without excessive muzzle blast and recoil. One of my favorite loads for the .45 Colt sends a 250 grain hard cast lead Keith style bullet downrange at about 975 feet per second, and is a very accurate utility load, that while not really exciting on paper, will always get the job done.

The legendary gun writer John Taffin once stated about the .45 Colt cartridge: "There is an old Indian legend that says when all else is gone, still will remain the coyote. I would expand upon that and say still will remain the coyote and the .45 Colt. No other sixgun cartridge has ever been pronounced dead so many times. No other sixgun cartridge has so many devoted followers."

When I learned that S&W was bringing out a blued .45 Colt Mountain, I had to get my hands on one. I immediately placed an order. Opening up the blue plastic hard case, I was not disappointed. The .45 Mountain Gun has the look of Smith & Wesson revolvers of a few decades ago, with a couple of changes. The gun has the polished deep bluing that I have always loved on Smith sixguns. It is not as highly polished or as deeply blued as were the guns of a half-century ago, but the finish on this new Smith is better than any that I have seen produced for many years. The gun incorporates S&W’s keyed internal lock system. While many shooters do not like this feature, there are many that do, and it is here to stay. It can be used to render the firearm inoperable for safe storage, or it can be simply ignored if the owner so chooses. Another change from earlier large-frame S&W revolvers is the use of a frame-mounted firing pin. The .45 Mountain Gun wears a set of finger groove Cocobolo grips that are both good looking and comfortable. The grips do not cover the backstrap, and the flat-bottomed finger grooves help greatly in properly aligning the weapon with the shooter’s arm. While the grip profile is squared at the bottom, the grip frame is of round-butt configuration, to accommodate a wide variety of other grip styles. The trigger is wide and smooth, and the hammer spur is checkered. The .45 Colt Mountain gun weighs 39.2 ounces, and the one tested had a uniform barrel/cylinder gap measuring just four one-thousandths of an inch (.004). The double action trigger pull measured a smooth ten pounds and three ounces, and the single action pull was a crisp four and one half pounds, but felt even lighter due to the wide trigger. The four inch barrel quickly tapers from three-quarters of an inch at the frame to six tenths of an inch at the muzzle, resulting in a quick-handling feel that balances exactly at the trigger. The Mountain Gun wears adjustable S&W sights, and is also drilled and tapped for a scope mount, if one so desires. The six-shot cylinder is slightly chamfered at the front, and measures 1.714 inches in diameter and 1.667 inches in length, which is plenty long enough to easily accommodate my favorite Keith load. The ejector stroke measures almost a full inch, and the ejector rod is protected from damage by a shroud that is integral with the barrel.

For accuracy and function testing, I gathered a variety of ammunition, both factory and handloads. All group testing was done at a range of twenty-five yards. The Mountain Gun proved capable of five shot groups of just under two inches. For all-around general use, I really like a good hard cast bullet of Keith design at a velocity of 950 to 1050 feet per second. For a good hollowpoint load to use on whitetail deer or for social work, the Cor-Bon 200 grain JHP should serve very well. The Mountain Gun functioned perfectly, and case extraction and ejection was easy with all loads tested. Plinking at targets of opportunity out to one hundred yards provided satisfying results, and the big Smith was comfortable to shoot.

Aside from the accuracy and function testing, I carried the Mountain Gun around a lot. After all, one of the main attributes of this gun is its easy packability. It is relatively light and compact for a double action .45 Colt. I carried the Mountain Gun in a simple but rugged and very practical holster built by custom holster maker Rob Leahy. It is of a pancake design, and is built of quality hand-boned leather with expert craftsmanship. As can be seen in the photos, the holster offers excellent protection for the firearm, while allowing for quick accessibility if needed. Rob makes these holsters for most large framed sixguns at the very affordable price of only $40, shipped to anywhere in the first forty-eight states. He makes a version for smaller handguns for only 25 bucks. These holsters are a real bargain, and I suggest that you get you one or several before his price goes up, and he has a year-long waiting list.

The Smith & Wesson model 25 Mountain Gun is another fine sixgun in a long successful line of S&W revolvers. I think that it is the most useful and practical yet of the Mountain Gun series. It offers handiness, power, concealability, and good workmanship. It is also chambered for one of the best handgun cartridges ever invented; the legendary .45 Colt.

Check out the full line of Smith & Wesson  handguns online at:

Check out Rob Leahy's line of holsters online at:

 Jeff Quinn


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The beautifully-finished blue steel Smith & Wesson Model 25 Mountain Gun in .45 Colt.



The Model 25 Mountain Gun features beautiful and comfortable Cocobolo finger-groove grips. While the grips are of a square-butt design, the frame is a round-butt to accommodate a greater range of grip styles.



The Model 25 Mountain Gun also features Smith & Wesson's keyed internal lock system. This is an easy system to use, or just as easy to ignore as the user sees fit.





The Mountain Gun's cylinder is long enough to accommodate Jeff's favorite 250-grain Keith-style cast bullets with room to spare.



Rob Leahy's pancake holster is an elegant, practical and comfortable carry option for the Model 25 Mountain Gun.



An accurate, packable and beautiful revolver in .45 Colt will always find a place in Jeff's heart. With the Model 25 Mountain Gun, Smith & Wesson has crafted a great limited-production offering that you should look into!