Smith & Wesson’s Classic Series Revolvers

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

June 29th, 2018

 

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Smith & Wesson Classic Series Model 25 45 Colt (left) and Model 27 357 Magnum (right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smith & Wesson has been building revolvers for sixteen decades now, in spite of the many times that ‘experts’ have proclaimed that the revolver is obsolete. Still, with dozens of semi-automatic pistols from which to choose that hold a fistful of cartridges, many shooters choose the revolver for hunting, fighting, and recreational shooting.

While revolver design is changing, with most these days being built of rust-resistant stainless-steel alloys, many shooters still love the look and feel of a polished blued carbon steel revolver, and for those folks, Smith & Wesson has their “Classic Series” of double-action sixguns.

The Classic Series handguns are, as the name implies, revolvers that are reminiscent of the S&W revolvers from years past. They are polished blued, with half-lug barrels and a traditional-style checkered wood grip. The six-shot cylinders are fluted, and the hammers and triggers color-case finished. They are good-looking revolvers. The most-notable difference, and a turn-off for many potential buyers, is the internal key lock. While we could lie down on the floor and throw a fit, it looks as if the key lock is here to stay, but it can be either used or ignored, as its owner prefers. Personally, I never use the key lock, and it causes no problems with the revolver’s function. I have fired dozens of S&W revolvers that have the internal key lock, and none have ever presented a problem, except with the Model 329 shooting heavy loads. The 329 has locked itself under recoil in my hands, and I have observed this as well in the hands of other shooters. No other model of S&W handgun has presented this problem, and I have heard no reports to the contrary. Even my big 500 S&W Magnum revolvers have never had a problem locking during recoil.

These Classic Series sixguns have good, hand-filling checkered walnut stocks, and the wide target-style triggers and hammers.  The finish is a polished blue, and they wear the classic Smith & Wesson adjustable rear with a post front sight. These Classic revolvers were sent through the S&W Performance Center to receive their action job before leaving the factory, resulting in excellent smooth double-action trigger pulls and crisp single-action trigger pulls. The pull weights are listed in the chart below, but feel lighter than they measured, due to the comfortable, wide triggers.

The checkered wood stocks on both revolvers have a great feel to them. Looking in profile like the classic S&W Target stocks, these are thinner, and have a much better feel in my hand.

Specifications are listed in the chart below. Trigger pulls are listed in pounds of resistance. Weights are listed in ounces. Linear measurements are listed in inches. Suggested retail prices are listed in US Dollars, and does not include the Performance Center Action Job.

 

Model 25

Model 27

Chambering 45 Colt 357 Magnum / 38 Special
Weight 42.4 ounces 46.8 ounces
Barrel Length 6.5 inches 6.5 inches
Trigger Pull SA 4.75 pounds 5.1 pounds
Trigger Pull DA 9.75 pounds 9.4 pounds
Cylinder Length 1.668 inches 1.572 inches
Cylinder Diameter 1.7 inches 1.7 inches
Chambers 6 6
Overall Length 12 inches 11.875 inches
Overall Height 6.125 inches 6.125 inches
Barrel / Cylinder Gap 0.004 inch 0.007 inch
MSRP as of June 2018 $1,009.00 US $1,059.00 US

I fired these Classic Series revolvers for accuracy and velocity testing, as well as just banging away at steel targets at various distances. The thin barrel profiles make these sixguns a delight to handle, and the excellent sights are easy to use.

I tested these revolvers with several types of 357 Magnum and 45 Colt ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. TAC-XP is a homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. HC is a hard-cast lead flat-nosed bullet. DPX is a homogenous copper hollowpoint bullet. Keith is a hard-cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel uses a soft-cast lead hollowpoint bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of eighty-seven degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the eighty-five percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS) and were recorded ten feet from the muzzles of the revolvers. Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity

357 Magnum - Model 27

 

 

Remington Golden JHP 125 1189
Atomic JHP 158 1269
Cor-Bon HC 200 1102
Cor-Bon DPX 125 1456
Cor-Bon SP 180 1197
Cor-Bon JHP 125 1347
Cor-Bon Glaser 80 1716
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 140 1431
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 125 1564
Buffalo Bore JHP 125 1602
Buffalo Bore JHP 158 1377
Buffalo Bore HC 180 1305
Handload Keith 173 1243

38 Special - Model 27

 

 

Double Tap Match Wadcutter 148 797

45 Colt - Model 25

   
Double Tap Hardcast SWC 255 803
Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel 225 956
Buffalo Bore TAC-XP 225 943

Both revolvers were very accurate, but the Model 25 was crazy accurate! Shooting from a rested position on paper at twenty-five yards, I was using a Target Shooting, Inc. handgun rest. The Model 27 had no problem at all putting almost every type of ammunition tried into two and one-half inches or less. I thought that was pretty impressive, until I shot the Model 25 on paper. It shot five-shot groups well under the two-inch mark and piled that Buffalo Bore Anti-Personnel load into one-half inch at twenty-five yards!

Reliability was excellent, except for some 158 grain 357 Magnum JHP ammo that had been out in the weather for several months. I experienced a few failures-to-fire with just one hit on the primer, but they all fired on the second hit. I attribute this to the ammo, not the sixgun, as every other brand and type of 357 Magnum and 38 Special ammunition tried functioned perfectly. I experienced no sticky extraction with either revolver.

In addition to these Classic Series sixguns shown here, also available are the Models 17, 19, 48, and 57 revolvers, chambered for the 22 LR, 357 Magnum, 22 Magnum, and 41 Magnum cartridges, respectfully.  

These Classic Series revolvers are in production now. Check out these and the extensive line of Smith & Wesson firearms and accessories online at www.smith-wesson.com.

To order quality ammunition online, go to www.buffalobore.com, www.luckygunner.com, www.midsouthshooterssupply.com, and www.doubletapammo.com.

For the location of a Smith & Wesson dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order a Smith & Wesson handgun online, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Model 25 (center) features a non-glare matte blue finish on top of the frame along with a plain-blade adjustable rear sight, while the Model 27 (bottom) features checkering on top of the frame along with a white-outline adjustable rear sight.