Range Report for the Dan Wesson 722, NYI 2002 production, “First Issue”.


Peter M. Eick
December 31, 2002, 04:37 PM
Range Report for the Dan Wesson 722, NYI 2002 production, “First Issue”.

This is the second time I typed this, I finger screwed up before and lost it, so try try again.

The range conditions were very bad today. Winds were 45 degrees to the firing line, with gusts to 20 mph and wind chills into the 40’s. I went out to compare my 5-screw k-22 Smith and Wesson to my new Dan Wesson 722 recent production revolver. I brought along my Python as a benchmark to compare to. The Python has been worked over my Teddy Jacobson of Sugarland, TX and has the smoothest DA and the crispest SA of any gun that I own or have shot. It is superb. The little Walther is just along for fun.


First general impressions on the outside. The 722 has the finger groove grips shown in the figures. These did not fit my hands at all and I found them very difficult to shoot well. They will go in the scrap box as soon as I get a chance to find some grips more like the K-22’s. The k-22’s are nearly perfect for me and I can shoot them very accurately. The Python grips are also very good, these are Pachmaeyer’s and can really cushion the recoil of the 357 mag. On the outside the fit and finish of the two guns (k-22 and 722) are similar is size and shape. Big differences are that the K-22 is slightly rounded and chamfered at nearly every edge, while the 722 has many sharp corners, like the rear of the cylinder. The 722 feels somewhat “unfinished” next to the K-22 in this respect. The sight picture of both guns is similar, but the 722 has white inserts and replaceable front sights that are very good. The polish of the 722 is even and slightly semi-gloss and does not have any dishes or hollows. I could not check the tightness of screws/barrel do to a lack of tools (Could you help me out here Bob or Phil????). By the way, both guns were purchased used and both cost less then $420. I did notice that the case hardened hammer and trigger of the k-22 seemed to be smoother then the cast 722’s but that was mostly a personal choice.

Each gun was fired at 15 yards (the longer range target holders were blown down in major storm last night) into bullseye targets. Each gun was fired 500 times with the following mix per gun. 50 rnds of CCI Stingers, 100 rnds of Velociraptors, 100 rnds of Eley Match, 100 rnds of Rem. Hi-Velocity, 100 rnds of Federal Classic Long Rifle, 50 rnds of cci shorts. The python was shot 500 times with handloads of 158 grn lead SWC, 4.0 grns of 231, cci500 primers in starline cases.

My first impression was that the DA operation of the 722 is spectacular. It was smooth, not gritty, clean breaking and very easy to shoot. The short stroke made it fun to shoot. DA is my preferred shooting method for revolvers, and it was very pleasant to plink away in DA mode on the 722. The quality of the DA stroke was nearly as good as the python. The biggest difference is that the python’s stroke is lighter and more controllable at the moment of firing. The SA operation for the 722 was poor. It was gritty, with a fair amount of take up and quite heavy. It was by far the heaviest of the 3 guns for SA mode. The K-22’s SA operation is crisp with no over travel. The Python’s SA is perfect, no movement of the trigger, only a clean break with consistent pressure. Also in SA mode, the 722 showed another problem. The cylinder release and the hammer tang are very sharply checkered and these tended to dig into the hands after a while of opening and closing.

The accuracy of the 2 22’s appeared to be the same. Admittedly the range conditions were poor, but still, both guns would shoot ½” 6 shot groups at 15 yards offhand. The 722 liked the Eley match the best, CCI stingers and then the Federal classics. The K-22 liked the Federal classic, then the Eley and finally the cci shorts the best. One problem with the 722 was noted during firing. With the Velociraptors and the CCI Stingers, extraction from the cylinder was difficult. It required several sharp raps on the ejector rod to dislodge the cases. This was not the case with the K-22. Inspection of the cylinder shows that chamber walls and the star are fairly rough on the 722 while the k-22 everything is glass smooth. This will have to be polished out to make the gun useable for hyper-velocity rounds.

The 722 had 3 failures to fire on the first strike. All rounds fired on the second strike. These rounds appeared to have weak firing pin hits and occurred toward the end of the test when the Federal classic ammo was be used. It appeared as if the rounds were not fully seated in the rough chambers and the first hammer hit seated the round but did not detonate it.

My final impression is that the 722 is a good gun. It will need a trip to a gunsmith to lighten and smooth up the SA operation, polish the chambers and possibly round off some of the sharp edges but overall it is a good gun. Without the gunsmith, I will replace the grips and obtain the tools to remove the barrel and check all of the Allen screws for tightness. Once I get these changes and fixes done to the gun, I think it will get used a lot, I found shooting it very enjoyable for it was accurate and has a great DA trigger pull and I liked the heft of the gun. Had DW spent a bit more time polishing off the sharp corners and polishing the chambers out, the quality of this gun would be better then the hand finished work of the late 40’s/ early 50’s craftsman at Smith and Wesson.

I am sure the inevitable question will be asked “Would you buy another?” No I would not. The basic concept of a changeable barrel makes the purchase of another one kind of moot, so why put the money there. What I will do is order a few more barrel’s and shrouds while the gun is in the shop getting fixed and I will start looking at other DW products in a lot more detail. The new DW obviously is building a very fine gun at a very reasonable price and I will support them with other purchases (like a new Razorback!).

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January 1, 2003, 12:09 AM
Thanks for the great range report. Good detail, with some constructive criticism of the gun. Just the kind of real world review that makes reading these forums worthwhile.

- Makarov

Swamp Yankee
January 1, 2003, 08:42 AM
Many Thanks for the excellent report. Could you hazard a guess as to the trigger pull weights in DA and SA mode?
Take Care

Peter M. Eick
January 1, 2003, 10:10 AM
I have never bought a trigger scale (on my to do list someday), but I know why the python weight is. My absolute guess is that the DA is about 12 lbs, and the SA is about 7 lbs.

Any good recommendations for a trigger scale? I have been eyeing the digital lyman, but since it only goes to 13 lbs, it would not do for DA, yet the RCBS which goes to 30 lbs, seems to lack accuracy on light 2 to 3 lbs SA mode. You alls thoughts?

January 1, 2003, 12:53 PM
This the second time I typed this, too. Nice gun and review.

I have a Lyman scale and like it a lot, although some days it drives me nuts trying to get two pulls to read to the same 1/10 of an ounce. Mostly I use the average button after 6 or 7 pulls and move on.

The 12-pound max is not a problem for me because I don't want to know how much over 12# the pull is - just that it is. You can pull slowly and watch the readout approach 12 and stop pulling before the trigger, or the scale, breaks.

Come to think of it, if I ever need to measure a 'bad' trigger I still have a piece of heavy insulated wire with a cord on one end and some old barbell weights for the other - 2@5#, 3 or 4@2.5# and some surf fishing sinkers weighing up to 16 ounces.


January 4, 2003, 11:53 AM
1500 rounds in a day? You are the man!

Thanks for the report. I have an older model Dan Wesson 22 that is an absolute joy to shoot for both the wife and I. My other 22 handguns pale in comparison. I've been looking at getting one of these and with a bit of trigger tuning, this may be just what I'm looking for.

Thanks again.

Peter M. Eick
January 4, 2003, 11:58 AM
I went looking for a trigger scale this morning, would you all believe that in 3 stores, all they had was the cheaper RCBS. No premium RCBS or the digital Lyman available..... Time to order on the internet!

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