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S&W Model 61 Escort

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by FPrice, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. FPrice

    FPrice Well-Known Member

    Does anyone have any comments about these little .22lr semi's? One of the local gun shops got one which looked in pretty good shape. But I am about to go broke with these "good deals"! I am just curious if it is something I should give a second and possibly third look at.

  2. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Well-Known Member

    The two I have owned in the past have been VERY finicky with ammo and jammed more often than they fired with some types. If you want a small 22, don't look anywhere but Beretta. The M21 is about the only consistantly reliable small 22 auto I've had experience with. Remember that every small 22 autoloader will have issues with some ammo, but you're more likely to have bad luck with the Escort. Spend any extra money you can on a Beretta if you want a small 22. Oh, one other pocket 22 that's reliable is the NAA Black Widow. Really, it's an accurate and 100% reliable revolver in my experience. Since it's not an autoloader, it doesn't suffer any feeding or extraction problems.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    What do you want to use it for? The Escort is a neat little gun, fairly reliable, but would be usable in a defense role only where concealment is important, and even then, I would probably try to find a Colt 1908 Vest Pocket pistol in .25 Auto.

    The .22 LR is better than nothing, and will certainly do the job if the bullet is put in the right place, but would not be my choice for defense (in spite of the name S&W gave the pistol).

    It might have a place as a pocket plinker, although something like a Kit Gun would probably be better.

    A word of caution. Be careful in removing the grips, as the cocking indicator and spring are held in place by the left grip and will take off if you are not careful.

  4. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Frosty, I'd pass it by - -

    I mean, if you figure this particular item has collector value, fine. If you have some insight into the design and have experience in making them run, excellent! But I'd feel remiss if I didn't pass along my history with this particular type.

    I didn't like the M61 Escort- - - - - And I really, REALLY, wanted to like it.

    When it first came out, I thought it would make an excellent training piece for my then-wife's Beretta 418 - - Near about the same size and grip angle. Cheap, .22 LP practice with a pocket pistol!

    A friend, gunsmith, inveterate pistol tinkerer, had one, like new, with an extra magazine. He advised me to NOT get it. I insisted. He said, here, take it and try it out - - You won't like it. Nope, I was bull headed, and I ended up trading a collector grade Nambu serrvice pistol , with accessories, for the M61.

    Sometimes this M61 would go through two magazines without a malfunction, sometimes not. Tried about five different types of ammo, HP and solids. Worked best with Remington High Velocity solids, but I still couldn't get it to run for 20 rounds without a problem. I cleaned it, I oiled it, I cleaned it again, I greased the slide/frame interface.

    This was the only "backup gun" for which I thought I needed a backup. Finally just cut out the middle-gun . . . .

    I ended up selling it the same way I bought it - - To a friend, whom I gave clear and detailed warnings about the problems. Yes, any design can have a lemon occasionally. I knew two other guys who had exactly the same kind of problems. And heard second hand of a few others. S&W finally discontinued the little gun - - It was fine as a .25 ACP, but NOT as .22 LR.

    Sorry to be a doomcryer, but I'd not want to think of you relying on an M61 for personal defense.

    Best regards,
  5. Penman

    Penman Well-Known Member

    Good for a curiosity, but not for carry. It is the origin of the basic design of Smith's larger 22 series pistols, though.
  6. FPrice

    FPrice Well-Known Member

    Johnny, Jim, and Badger...

    Thanks for your input and comments. I was looking at it mainly as a collector's item, but the same dealer took in another handgun at the same time which I am seriously thinking about ( http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=87469 )

    Unless it's a super deal, I'll probably pass up the Model 61 and get the 48.
  7. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

    S&W should have named the Escort the Pinto instead.

    The 61 was the biggest POS S&W ever made. It's worse than the infamous light rifle. Actually calling them a POS is insulting to manure.

    A grip angle a Chimpanze would hate. Someone said it was finicky. How finicky? A hundred times worse than Paris & Nicole.

    I sold two of them brand new and had to take them both back since neither one would make it through an entire magazine of ANY brand of ammo. Never could get either of them to work. Thankfully they stopped making them and I found a stupid collector that wanted both of them. I only had them for about five years before I managed to unload them.

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