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S&W 547 9mm Video Review (Memorial?)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by boricua9mm, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Well-Known Member

    As my namesake implies, I have always been a fan of the 9mm cartridge. The S&W Model 547 has intrigued me for many years, and I am lucky enough that one of my family members owns two of them in his collection, both 3"and a 4" versions. The gun pictured was graciously loaned to me for the purpose of this review. I have invested a lot of production time in creating a Video Review of this fine revolver. If you can spare 8 minutes, please be sure to watch it! As revolver aficionados, I'm sure you can appreciate taking a look inside this odd specimen.


    I believe that the 547 K-frame is a very misunderstood revolver. It often gets slammed as being pointless or useless, when in fact it posts higher velocities and greater energy than comparable .38 Special Loads (citation). Discussions of the 547 often pit it against .357 Magnum revolvers, which of course it cannot supplant. It is much more fair to say that the 9mm, even when fired from the 547, sits firmly placed in between the .38+P and the real Magnum loads.

    The ejection system is genius. I made no attempt at disassembly of this mechanism, as the firearm in question was a loaner. Without a doubt, it is more complicated than your traditional ejector star for rimmed cartridges.

    Sadly, the concept of a 9mm revolver never seem to take hold. People say they would buy one, but when a company steps up to produce them, they languish in the glass cases of dealers until fading away into obscurity once again.

    Unfortunately, if you want to buy one of these right now, you will need to bring Performance Center cash to the negotiating table.






  2. tekarra

    tekarra Well-Known Member

    Having owned six or seven 547s over the years, I agree the 547 is a truly remarkable revolver. Unfortunately the one in the photos has been altered with a sight rail and the grips have been changed. Still a fine looker though.
  3. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Well-Known Member

    I suspect this particular gun was used in competition 20 years before they became $o coveted.
  4. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    PPC gun?
  5. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Well-Known Member

    That is my guess, but I don't know for sure. As mentioned in the video, the hammer and trigger are also jeweled. These mods were done either in the 80s or 90s. This particular gun has been in my family since the late 90s and it was purchased on the used market in this configuration, minus the Ahrends grips of course.
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I sat through all that and never heard a shot.

    I have shot a 547. The DA trigger pull was tough; it takes a lot of mainspring to drive down the positioning pin and the firing pin both. Unless this one had a lot of work done besides the quaint engine turning, it is not something I would have bothered to put a Bomar rib on.
  7. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Well-Known Member

    The gun is on loan, a reluctant one at that.

    Might have been great advice for the anonymous previous owner 30 years ago :D

    The trigger pull is not unlike that of my no-dash 686. I would guess it had some work done in its previous life.
  8. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Well-Known Member

    The reason I didn't get the 547 was that I wanted an under lug and didn't want an exposed ejector rod, and I wanted adjustable sights.

    I could live without the under lug, but I really wanted adjustable sights. I thought S&W would eventually make the 547 with adjustable sights but instead, they stopped making them altogether ! :eek:

    BTW, I am on the waiting list for a S&W 929.
  9. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Well-Known Member

    What you're describing would be on my "must buy" list!
  10. Confederate

    Confederate Well-Known Member

    You make some good points, even though showing the 547 with a Glock really is a cheap shot! Had you pictured a Smith & Wesson 659 or 5906, some might have been distracted. Certainly a 547 is more durable than a Glock right out of their respective boxes. With a single set of springs a Glock will begin to fail by the 3,000 mark. A 547 will just be getting started at 3,000 rounds and its springs will go the life of the gun.

    One question I've always had is why someone would buy a 9mm revolver when they could buy a .357? The .357 can take both .38 and .357 and while .38+P can't equal a 9mm, it can come pretty close. And .357s can more readily put down both humans and fairly large animals depending on the ammo. Having said that, I can answer my own question by saying that if the 547 had been widely available when I had $$$ and no wife, I would have bought one. Why? Who knows? My favorite calibers are the .22lr and the .357, and were I frugal, I would take a .357 revolver over a 9mm any day.

    I also liked the Ruger Speed-Six 9mm and looked around for one at the time it came out.
  11. Radagast

    Radagast Well-Known Member

    Confederate, I replaced the recoil spring on my Glock 17 at 7,500 rounds, haven't bothered since then and its well over 25,000 rounds with no issues.
    On the other hand I've had problems with half the S&W revolvers I've owned. They are a great product, but they are not indestructible.

    As for the 547, I think you will find it was driven by a French police requirement for a revolver that used the same caliber as their military. 9mm revolvers are a niche market. In 15 years of gun forum discussions there is usually a thread discussing them, but when they come on the market, few get sold.
    That said, I would like to own one myself, but I have a Model 28 for .38 & .357, so I have no pressing need for a 9mm wheel gun.
  12. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    it is recommended to replace the recoil spring every 3K rounds. They are cheap ($7) and it is preventive maintenance. However, most guns don't start having problems right at 3k in my experience. I ironically have had more issues with my S&W revolver than all 3 of my glocks combined.
  13. boricua9mm

    boricua9mm Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's a cheap shot at all. In fact, by 1982 the Glock 17 was in the market and its precisely that type of gun that ultimately sealed the fate for 9mm revolvers, as well as S&W's line of metal framed DA/SA pistols. Once we get past the grumblings of the aesthetics and "soul" of firearms and come around to viewing them as tools for a job, it is easy to see how revolvers have been pushed aside over the past few decades.

    As to the service life, I have not had any issues with Glocks failing under 5k rounds. I have had some issues getting my Glock 19 to run suppressed, but that's another issue. Many semi-auto pistols will require some sort of preventative maintenance spring swaps at around 5k rounds.

    The .357 Magnum can do things that the 9mm can't; no question about it. The difference really becomes crystal clear when we get into 158 grain and heavier loads. Nonetheless, for general personal protection, I find a higher capacity 9mm to be a better choice than a 6-shot revolver of any caliber. My primary reason for owning and carrying .357s is for hiking and camping scenarios, where the additional power might be needed/welcomed. They also happen to be good-looking and extremely fun to shoot.

    What is puzzling is how people will decry the concept of a 9mm revolver, yet turn around and praise revolvers chambered in .38 Special (only). It just doesn't make sense to me.
  14. scaevola

    scaevola Well-Known Member

    I've always wanted a 547. The only one I've shot belongs to a friend and the action is great; the revolver is a joy to shoot. My friend never shoots it and the only time it leaves his safe is when I take it out. He won't sell it to me but he's cool with me shooting it any time I want.

  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    The excuse for 9mm revolvers seems to be the French police.
    The Gendarmes were then commanded by a guy who was trained and strongly influenced by the FBI in the late revolver era. But they wanted 9mms to share ammunition with their SMGs and with the army. One writer of the period said that was false economy, outfitting a whole national force and most of the local ones with .38 Specials would have led to large economical ammo contracts and no mechanical jiggery-pokery.

    Any road, the S&W 547 had their own "umbrella rib" extractor.
    Ruger came up with a simpler design, a loop of piano wire threaded through the star to snap into the extractor grooves. It did not work on some tough European SMG ammo, so they ended up going with clips.
    Manurhin had a similar but stiffer design.
    The Korth looks to have a system that cams the extractor star enough to pick up the 9mms.

    I have only shot the 547 but have seen a Ruger Speed Six in action with clips. I looked hard for one of those with 4" barrel in the early days of IDPA. But then they changed the rules and it would no longer have been suitable.
  16. clang

    clang Well-Known Member

    Here's what one looks like in original condition:

    I bought this one at least 10 tears ago. It's a great shooter, but I don't take it out much because repair parts are not available.
  17. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    I have the J frame model. It has the standard extractor and works with moon clips. The 547 was built to meet a French spec. That was the reason for the spring fingers, IIRC.

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