Got a new S&W Model 617 Revolver... (with pics)


January 26, 2009, 04:12 PM
I picked this new pal up from my FFL on Thursday. Friday evening I spent a few hours "tweeking her" by installing a Wolff mainspring and rebound spring, as well as shining her up nice and bright with Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish. To finish her off I installed a SDM green fiber optic front sight, a Hogue extended cylinder release lever and swapped out the OEM rubber grip for a Hogue Monogrip in rosewood laminate.

Fired over 600 rounds through her on Saturday and Sunday.... and boy, after dailing-in her mainspring she shoots as good as she looks!

FWIW, acquiring a couple DS-10-Speed loaders as well as the 40rnd loading block is a truly "must have" for anyone really interested in enjoying the Model 617 at their local firing range. The DS-10-Speed products make a world of difference in convience.

I can convey upfront that if you purchase the Wolff reduced power mainspring set, you will experience many FTFs with your revolver. To correct that situation you will simply need to replace the mainspring's strain screw with a hardware store purchased socket head #8-32 x .5" SS hardened set screw. They come two in a small packet for approximately .56 cents from your local hardware store.

To better depict what I am conveying, the below image shows my S&W Model 617 with the Wolff reduced power mainspring inserted, using the S&W OEM strain screw. The strain screw does not provide enough pre-load on the mainspring, partly due to the fact that it lines up directly into the tunnel-backed power rib of the Wolff product. Here, the screw is tighted as far as she will go.... and I received approximately 20% FTFs in double action.

This next photo reflects the same Wolff reduced power mainspring, but with the OEM strain screw having been swapped-out with the socket head #8-32 x .5" set screw. As you can clearly see, a heck of a lot more pre-load can be achieved. For visual comparison purposes, immediately to the right of the revolver's frame is the second #8-32 x .5" set screw next to the S&W OEM strain screw.

You will need to "dial in" your Wolff reduced power mainspring with this hardware store purchased set screw at the firing range. Because the Model 617 is a rimfire, the firing pin and hammer strike needs to consistently impart adequate energy for rimfire ignition. It is my understanding that such is not the case with centerfire revolvers (but I wouldn't know because I don't own one nor have I ever replaced a centerfire revolver's springs).

When dialing-in the mainspring's pre-load tension, via tightening and/or backing out the set/strain screw, you will need to find that "sweet spot" when you achieve zero FTFs. Once you find that ideal tension setting, screw in the set/strain screw approximately 1/4 to 1/2 turn tighter, just to be sure. Additionally, you should have applied a drop of blue loctite to your hardware store purchased set screw, just prior to performing this process.

I can enthusiastically report that my revolver's trigger pull and break with the Wolff mainspring, both in SA and DA, is greatly improved. The Wolff spring set (I didn't mention how I replaced my revolver's OEM rebound spring with the Wolff's 13 lb. rebound spring) is a product that I believe every S&W revolver shooter should strongly consider.

Happy shooting to ya!!!


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January 26, 2009, 05:49 PM
Very nice looking pistola.
January 26, 2009, 05:49 PM

That is a beauty! Congrats.

General Geoff
January 26, 2009, 05:51 PM
Colour me jealous.. :o

January 26, 2009, 06:09 PM
been looking at one of these-

but can get a pre model k22 masterpiece for about the same price...
January 26, 2009, 06:23 PM
And may I add that you take great pictures as well:)

January 26, 2009, 06:30 PM
Thank you gents for the kind words. :) -- If you like my photos.... perhaps this one will please you as well. It is of my Ruger Charger 10/22 pistol, which I refer to as the 'Platypus' on account of how I was able to shape the forend of the Boyd's Barracuda laminate stock.


January 26, 2009, 07:51 PM
That is a beautiful revolver, man. I opened up a lot of tabs, and then when I clicked on this without looking at the title, I thought "ooh, a weird-lookin' Python!" :o

Nice mods. The skull thing's a little odd, but your firearm looks superb.
January 26, 2009, 08:44 PM
perhaps this one will please you as well. It is of my Ruger Charger 10/22 pistol, which I refer to as the 'Platypus' on account of how I was able to shape the forend of the Boyd's Barracuda laminate stock.

Something aside from that skull tells me you are an artist. That Ruger is quite unique.

January 26, 2009, 09:02 PM
My 617 deserves to have some speedloaders too. Where does one buy those?

January 26, 2009, 09:22 PM
Beautiful. I was thinking of getting an SDM front sight for my 617. What is installation like? What size did you order? Are any special tools needed?

January 27, 2009, 09:28 AM
twoclones -- The only place one can purchase the DS-10-Speed loader (and 40rnd loading block) is directly from Dave Skrzela who manufacturers them. He can be reached at the following website:

dadsluger -- I ordered the SDM pinned front sight .250" height. To install it you will need a wrist watch type pin punch (to knock out the existing front sight pin) and a #54 drill bit, and an electric drill. I actually replaced the front sight pin with a solid S&W pin that I found here: but I am sure I could have easily reused the OEM roll front sight pin; it wasn't damaged whatsover upon removal. Lastly, naturally you will need to be able to firmly secure/hold your revolver while doing this work. I happen to have an everyday work bench vise which proved more than adequate (be sure to pad and protect your gun's barrel prior to clamping it in there).

Tapping the new SDM front sight down into the sight's barrel slot may seem a bit tricky at first because you'll want to protect the fiber optic from damage while doing so. I found that by using a flat metal ruler across the top of the SDM sight (cushioning/protecting the top surface of the sight with a strip of leather or something between it and the metal ruler is a good idea too) and then by firmly tapping down on it multiple times with a small hammer, the sight slowly worked its way all the way down into the sight slot. I mean.... that puppy was down in there tight!

One technique recommended for drilling the pin hole into the sides of the new SDM front sight (once you have it fully inserted into the front sight slot) is to drill partially from one side, then switch over and drill the rest of the way from the other side of the barrel. Providing you aren't too jacked-up with your alignment, you will meet roughly in the middle. Being off just ever-so-slightly is more than fine because as you tap in the front sight pin, that "off-ness" will provide even more surrounding pressure for the sight pin. Hopefully you understood what I am so poorly trying to convey. :cool: -- I appreciate the kind remarks. Actually.... I did obtain my undergraduate degree in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Graphic Design :). But, I spent the following 21 years after college in the U.S. Army.... mostly as a combat engineer. It wasn't until my military retirement during 2004 that I began pursuing my interest with firearms. Go figure? ;)

January 27, 2009, 09:53 AM
Where the pics of the target?

North of 49th
January 28, 2009, 05:03 AM
Nice pics; beautiful guns

January 28, 2009, 09:47 PM
Nice guns!
Where did you get that thumbpiece for the 617?

January 29, 2009, 01:12 AM
MR.G -- When you ask, "Where did you get that thumbpiece?" If you are inquirying about the aftermarket extended cylinder release lever, it is a Hogue product. The least expensive online location where I could find it was from CheaperThanDirt, here:

January 30, 2009, 05:10 PM
have 617 6 shot 8 3/8 works for me:)

February 1, 2009, 07:13 PM
I emailed Dave at on Wednesday but haven't heard from him yet. Must be really busy building those speed loaders...

February 1, 2009, 07:26 PM
gorgeous 617, I see you killed a terminator with it. Regarding your replacing the strain screw, please read this thread;
And welcome to THR, that was a grand entrance.

February 2, 2009, 03:41 PM
twoclones -- That's the correct email address for Dave Skrzela... I'm sure he'll reply to your email contact very soon.

20nickles -- Sir, thank you for the kind words. I checked out the forum thread link you provided.... and found the discussion interesting and valuable. "Bottom Line Up Front" for me is: were my Smith & Wesson revolver used for something other than plinking or target shooting, I would lean more towards the school of thought of NOT tinkering with the firearm's action. Most specifically if I used a Smith as a personal defense firearm. But my Model 617 is not intended for that purpose (nor designed for self defense I might add).... and with "tinkering" being part of my nature, I felt confident that the minor alterations I made to my Smith were sound and definitely reversible, if I so chose. I am very, VERY pleased now with my 617's trigger pull and break, and I'm aware of how easy it is for me to adjust the mainsprings pre-load tension, if I deem it necessary.


Janos Dracwlya
February 2, 2009, 08:47 PM
Nice skull, but I hate the underlug on the S&W 617. You did a great job on polishing, though.

February 7, 2009, 01:39 PM
I've finally completed my S&W Model 617 revolver. I replaced its hammer with a .500 wide spur hammer (some people I think refer to it as the target hammer), and swapped out the rear sight blade for a taller one with a white box outline.

During this last and hopefully final disassembly, I fully removed the trigger from the frame and was able to better polish it with my dremel and Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish. Naturally, prior to installing the new hammer I thoroughly polished it as well.

I cannot adequately convey how incredibly improved the ergonomics are when cocking the hammer back for SA shooting with this wider spur.

Here are some comparison photos:


February 7, 2009, 03:30 PM
Nice, but I'm dyin' to see some targets now ;)

February 7, 2009, 04:01 PM
I fully removed the trigger from the frame and was able to better polish it with my dremel and Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish

Did you use the dremel for polishing the rest of the gun with Mothers?

February 7, 2009, 05:33 PM
twoclones -- No, I didn't use the dremel tool on any other portion of the revolver, other that what I previously mentioned.


Double Clutch
February 13, 2009, 02:58 PM
Gary: I can see how the wider hammer would a PLUS in a lot of SA shooting. Had a complete Wolff Spring kit installed in my 617, and all I can say is WOW!!! What an improvement!!! The Mothers worked great, & it also makes cleaning a little easier. Ordered (5) ds-10-Speed Loaders and Loading Block from Dave yesterday along with Hogue Kingwood grips (Checkered w/stripe) and Stainless Extended cylinder release.

Double Clutch
Down Here in Sunny Florida..

February 15, 2009, 01:45 AM
Double Clutch -- You're most welcome... and WOW! You went full-tilt didn't ya??!!! Five (5ea) DS-10-Speed loaders huh? Hind sight being what it is.... me personally, I would have purchased several more 40rnd loading blocks versus additional speed loaders, then again.... I only shoot my 617 at the pistol range. Were I ever to carry it the field or whatever, that's when the additional speed loaders would most come in handy.

Congrats again!!!!! And best shooting to you as well!!!


Double Clutch
February 15, 2009, 04:46 AM
Yep (5) and do the speed loaders work GREAT !!.. The reason for five is when shooting Steel you are required to engage five pieces of steel per stage five times,(There are eight of them), this requires a reload between each round and folks get a little restless when your are pushing (10) rds in the cylinder each time, hence (5).. The Loading block "for me" is just a way to reload ahead of time...

Google Steel Challenge for web site and additional info, they are also a part of USPSA.

Fred Kenpo
February 15, 2009, 06:16 PM
Nice gun. I love mine. Your's is wonderfully made, with all your improvements. Want to trade? (Just kidding.)

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