Dan Wesson M14?


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Tango Sierra
July 13, 2003, 01:56 AM
I saw a used Dan Wesson Model 14 with a snubby barrel at a dealer a few months ago. There were no extra barrels to go with it. I saw their WEB site still shows it as available for $250. Is it worth it and what can you tell me about this gun?

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Parker Dean
July 13, 2003, 04:16 AM
While I'm hardly familiar with everything DW has offered I've never heard of a Model 14 so i'm going to presume you meant 15. That's the Small Frame .357

As you know the barrels are interchangeable so if you decide you don't like tha 2in barrel you can change it easily. This is also useful for making sure that barrel to cylinder gap is where you want it. It is also said that having the barrel supported on both ends improves accuracy on those long-range shots, like in silhouette shooting.

The frame is said to be among the strongest there are.

Some don't care for the forward locking cylinder but that is said to improve accuracy by locating the cylinder better at the front. The cylinder also rotates the "right" way :) , ie clockwise so that the crane is pushed into the frame during lockup.

Downsides are that some feel they are a little crude in finish in comparison the the almighty S&W.

The DA trigger feel is a bit rough for some and there are not too many who do trigger work to DW's. In fact the pre 1997 guns use a sintered iron material for the action. Durable, but not conducive to polishing or other improvements. Remove the heat treat by polishing and the parts wear quickly. Some smiths nickel plated the parts to overcome this. Post 1997 guns use CNC machined forged pieces which may respond better to common methods of trigger work.

And since no one appreciates DW's for what they are they are comparitively cheap used. Upside is if you buy one used you get a good deal. Downside is if you buy new you take a beating if you sell.

Another thing that doesn't help is that DW has a bad history of bankruptcy. 4 versions of the company since 1968. The first two DW's were in Monson Massachusetts. Then in the late Eighties/Early Nineties sometime the company moved to Palmer, Mass. The guns from the Palmer period are not preferred as the tooling was worn out and quality control nonexistent by all accounts, but they can be fixed if the price is right. This DW entered bakruptcy sometime around 1994-95. The intellectual rights to the revolver and the name were bought by the current owners located in Norwich, NY. They re-tooled and guns post fall '96 should rival, if not surpass, the early production units. Altogether it just leaves a slightly uneasy feeling that the factory may not be there tomorrow even though the current management appears conscientious and interested in the long term survival of DW and not just sucking the company dry as so often happens. Not that this would be much of an issue for a used gun unless you needed parts. I suppose it should be mentioned that the current DW has no records of guns produced prior to 1996 or so. All the records from the previous DW's went to the BATF.

Now I'm rambling, so I'll quit

Swamp Yankee
July 13, 2003, 10:52 AM
The Model 14 was called the "service" version of the Model 15. It shared the same features as the Model 15 but with fixed sights. The Model 14 was an attempt by DW to enter the Law Enforcement / Security market. The Model 14 is based upon the small frame, about the same size as a S&W "L" frame. Other than the frame that is designed around fixed sights and no longer produced, all Model 15 parts will work if repairs are required at some point.

IMO $250 is high for this particular revolver, though prices vary by area of the country. Used Model 15's around here are priced in the $200 to $250 area pendinding upon condition. Would expect a similar condition Model 14 to be about $25 to $30 less. Would also find out if any of the accesssories and / or box comes with it.

As a shooter should be a good piece.
Take Care

mec
July 13, 2003, 11:52 AM
The above is a good history of the design. My experiences are with the first company only. The revolvers were extremely accurate though most I examined had carry up problems out of the box or after they had been shot a few times. sometimes it helped a little to tighten the allen headed sideplate screws.

the double acition stacked- starting out light and getting heavy - an odd feeling if you were used to other revolvers. The frequent bankruptsy/restructuring were enough to make me forget about them. Mitchell arms made them for a short time and this is not generally a good thing for any gun design.

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