Smith & Wesson model 63 .22lr - opinions?


General Geoff
February 19, 2009, 12:49 PM
So I'm looking into getting a .22lr revolver. My long standing choice for this has been a Smith 617, but I was browsing through S&W's website and found this beauty ( It's obviously based on a smaller frame than the 617 (8 shots versus 10), but I like the looks of it. Anyone here have one? How does it compare to a 617?

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Master Blaster
February 19, 2009, 12:55 PM
since its a j frame it will be smaller and lighter. It will also use a coil spring so that means you will not be able to tune the trigger like you can with a K frame which uses a leaf spring and a larger hammer.

February 19, 2009, 01:04 PM
I have 3 Model 617s and a 63-4. The 63 weighs 30 oz. with Pachmayr grips. The 4" 617 weighs 42 oz. and the 6" weighs 47.5 oz. That may or may not be important to you. The J frame Model 63 is certainly smaller. The K frame 617 is the size of a normal .38. All of them shoot very well. It is probably a little easier to get a really good trigger on the 617, but with a little work, you can get a good trigger on any of them.

February 19, 2009, 03:27 PM
I now have both. I have a 617 10 shot with 4 inch bbl. and a new 63 8 shot with 5 inch bbl. Like them both very much. I agree with Clemy. Depends on what your needs are.

The 617 is fairly heavy for a 22. But it can be field carried well in a good holster. Mine is very accurate out of the box and the trigger is very smooth SA or DA. It points well and is well balanced. Having 10 rounds is a nice plus.

The 63 is much lighter and easy to carry. With the long 5 inch bbl. it has a nice line of sight and points well. The trigger is not nearly as smooth as the 617. Accuracy is good but not as good as the 617. 8 shots is nice in any 22
For walking the woods and trail hiking I like the handy J frame 63 stoked with Velocitors. For target work and serious practice I like the K frame 617.

I was fortunate to be able to sell another handgun to help fund both purchases.

General Geoff
February 19, 2009, 06:05 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I want something that's a little different, it seems like everyone has a 617. I've never met anyone who has a model 63 though.. :)
February 19, 2009, 06:40 PM
There's a reason everyone likes the 617/17.

It has everything a man could want in a .22 DA revolver.

Master Blaster
February 19, 2009, 06:51 PM
If you go over to, and do a search on model 63 in their archive of articles IIRC Jeff did a review of it about 2 years ago when S&W started making them again.

I have a Taurus 94 with a 4" barrel, its a similar size to the 63, and an old S&W 43 airweight kitgun, I also have K frames. The smaller guns are easier to carry, fun to shoot, but the DA pull is going to be heavier to reliably light a rimfire due to the ssmaller mass of the hammer, than a K frame.

Now I dont find the trigger pull to be any problem on the 94 but it has 20,000+ rounds fired over the last 12 years, and I also dont find the 43 to be a problem, but some folks complain about the trigger pulls on these guns because it is or seems heavier than a K frame 22lr.

BTW I think the 63 is a nice gun and its on my want list.

February 19, 2009, 07:34 PM
Had a 651 4" in .22 magnum some years back that I foolishly let go. Was a greatlittle trail gun and an excellent shooter. Loved the way it handled and felt. Could put 5 touching at 25 yards with it on a braced shot. If the 63 is half as good,'d be a keeper.

February 19, 2009, 07:58 PM
I have the 5" model 63 and I absolutely love it. I also have the 5" model 60 in .357 and it's wonderful as well. I can't compare the accuracy to the 617 as I don't own one (yet) but it is every bit as good as my Ruger MKII Target. The factory grips were a tad small for me so I switched them out for Pachmayrs and all is right with the world. The DA trigger is a bit heavy, but the SA is awesome and for serious target work the SA is what I use anyhow. These two guns are some of the best purchases I've ever made.

General Geoff
February 19, 2009, 09:04 PM
Anyone got pictures of their 63? :)

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