Beloved S&W 27

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Palladan44, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    I absolutely Love my N-Frame Smith and wessons. Im the owner of 3 of them....29-2 8-3/8" nickel. 27-2 8-3/8" Blued. And a 28-2 6"

    Now, I see they're still in production as the 27-9 or the "classic" series. I know they're not pinned or recessed cylinders anymore, but im assuming S&W didn't think that was any longer necessary to cut costs is what ive heard. Makes sense.

    Now, that brings the question up...are the new ones worth it? Are they as smooth as the good old ones from the 1950s-1970s? My newest smile and wesson is a M586 circa 1986.
    I'm assuming there are differences in the fit, finish and feel of the new ones...there just must be, theres no way they're the same. But, ive never held a new one, or shot a new one.... before I buy one I'd like to hear some THR member reviews. I'm looking at a new M27 that's looking to cost around 1k$ Thank you
     
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  2. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I have a "Classic" in .44 Special and another in .45 ACP.

    The .44 is nickel plated and looks great. The nickel was built up around the chamber mouths to the point where cartridges wouldn't seat properly. It also had a pretty bad trigger, both in single and double action. I had all that fixed, but accuracy was still poor, and the fixed sights are apparently regulated for a light bullet, which I find odd for a .44 Special. Leading is also quite bad. The EDM process left shallow longitudinal grooves inside the rifling grooves. These hold onto lead like crazy and are nearly impossible to clean.

    The .45 is one of the most accurate guns I own. The blued finish is decent but nothing like the amazing finishes of old. It still has those longitudinal grooves, but as I only use the gun with jacketed bullets it hasn't mattered. The trigger was poor, but that's the way guns are these days. A good smith fixed it right up. The overwhelming issue is that case heads dragged on the recoil shield regardless of which brand of brass, factory loads or handloads, any brand of moonclip. Auto Rim loads - which the gun was advertised for use with - either wouldn't allow the gun to cycle or would actually prevent the cylinder from closing. The S&W factory service center, which is an hour away from me, kept the gun for three months without fixing it. S&W themselves didn't take quite as long, but also didn't quite solve the trouble either. Eventually I paid a well known independent gunsmith to solve it, but the whole mess left me pretty annoyed with S&W.

    The essential trouble is that here in California, pre-lock S&W revolvers are regulated to such a degree that they are rare and expensive. If not for that, I would not bother with the "Classics". As it is, if a 4" 27-9 ever becomes available again I am going to snap it up and keep my fingers crossed.
     
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  3. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

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    My experience with the new ones is that a new one likely won't be as smooth out of the box as the older ones were. They can me made just as smooth any previous generations but because of the MIM parts it's a bit more tedious than those from the pre-MIM era.
     
  4. Rock185

    Rock185 Member

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    Having owned various 27s, 29s, 57s, a 28, a 586, 686s, 19s, 66s, etc. over lots of years I'll share my 2¢ worth. I prefer the older guns, and very much dislike "the lock". That being said, the few newer S&Ws I've owned, with the dreaded MIM lockwork, all had smoother DAs from the factory than my older guns. Another plus I've experienced with the newer guns, is that they have all timed-up/carried up properly. Can't say that for some of the older guns I purchased new back in the day. Still prefer the older guns, but there may just be some advantage to buying a new S&W........

    FWIW, I still have a 27-2, purchased new back in the '70s. It still times up properly, but it still needed a trigger job done on it back in the day to smooth the DA trigger.
    Model 27-2 (14).JPG
     
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  5. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    For a new N frame, I suggest a 627 Performance Center model. If you want the old-school Registered Magnum type, the "Classic" is no substitute. There is nothing wrong with it, per se, but for a few hundred more you could get a pre-27 in good condition. The 627, on the other hand, is a carefree stainless steel, holds eight, takes moon clips and is a great platform for a red dot sight. There is no better action. There are lots of aftermarket parts of the utmost quality. Can't lose.
     
  6. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    The new rifling used is why I won't buy a "New" S&W again. I hade a 629 and it would not shoot lead bullets worth a hoot. Certainly not like the old model 29 I had and stupidly sold. The lock doesn't bother me. Two piece barrels aren't an issue. But I do not like the new rifling used. Give me a cut rifled bore anyday.
     
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  7. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    That has been my experience. They do appear to be fine with jacketed bullets, and I suspect/hope that includes gas checked bullets.
     
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  8. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    The leading issue would alone be a deal breaker.
    Ugh....!
     
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  9. ACES&8S

    ACES&8S Member

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    I own Colts and Smith but, I love the Smith better, in the N frame pre 1985.
    Because------I don't know why, I just like the size, the grip, the feel of the older
    Smith & Wesson. I only let one go in a trade about 12 years ago then bought it back
    a year later, it was a 27-2.
    I have bought a couple on Gunbroker & they turned out perfect but any other time
    it is better to check all the boxes with hands on for any problems.
    Older is better but that's just my opinion.
     
  10. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    The PC barrels were broach-cut for a long time after the production guns switched to ECM, so you could conceivably get cut rifling in a new model, but it's debatable whether it's actually better. New barrels are not made with EDM or electrical discharge, it's electro-chemical machining that's used.

    I won't argue the old S&W have their charm. Just like pre-'64, especially pre-war Model 70 Winchesters, pre-war S&W are marvels of craftsmanship and that craftsmanship can certainly be seen to have declined over all the decades since (not just the recent ones), but it has also been incrementally replaced with technology. It is the most recent decades that we've seen the greatest contribution of technology. Not many people would opt for a box-stock early Model 70 if performance was critical. A Tikka will outshoot it.
     
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  11. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    It's gotten to the point where I've started to feel bad about badmouthing the "Classics". It has been more than a decade since my negative experiences and S&W may well have moved forward since then. I really do intend to get myself one of their new 27s if I can ever find one. Of course, if by some miracle an old 27 shows up for any kind of reasonable price...
     
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  12. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I have never heard of this “leading issue”. Please don’t tell my model 25-15 Classic. It hasn’t heard about this and has no issues whatsoever. ;)
    Of course, mine is a .45 Colt, not a .44 so maybe that’s why?

    Anyway, like I said, I have a model 25 Classic. Love the gun. When I bought it the double action pull was heavy but smooth. It has gotten better over the past few months. Single action trigger pull is also better. I didn’t freak out and swap a bunch of parts and send it out to be “slicked up”. I just shoot it.
    There’s a gent that shoots at my range that has shot Bullseye matches for almost as long as I have been alive. I am 60. He shot 6 rounds of my lighter loaded .45 and 3rounds of my hotter .45 load at 10 yards in single action at a 1” orange dot. He apologized for the “flyer”. He “was a little off to the right.” :D
    B2F13C40-5870-4047-A883-4829D1885022.jpeg

    No, I am definitely not this accurate.

    Anyway, I really like my 25-15 Classic.
    I do not care about the MIM parts or “the lock” that many have issues with. Since they hate those things so much it means more gun availability for guys like me. :p

    Here’s my model 25
    B77BE45A-3C21-4BFC-952F-62B1921A3021.jpeg
     
  13. Barr

    Barr Member

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    I once watched a YouTube video of a well-spoken gentleman that had been a factory trained SW armorer back in the 70s and 80s. He did talk about the nostalgic appeal and beauty of tHe 60s and 70s etc but he also talked about the factory defects, timing issues, hammer nose replacement, and other sundry items that an armorer sees when handling several dozen revolvers.

    By the end he was stating his position that the latest guns coming from the factory were equal or superior to the revolvers made in days of yore. The older guns when on point were par excellence but there were also a few real lemons. The newer models are much more consistent and perform longer with endurance packages on the magnums and more readily serviced by a layman. His exact phrase was, “They do not make them like they used to and thank goodness!”

    The ILS system is going to be removed on any revolvers that I own and get plugged but this opened my eyes a bit. I recently passed up a nicer SW 57 because it was too expensive and nice to be hauling in the woods in deer stands and ATV rides. Going to be looking for a 657 etc.

    The classic blued or nickeled revolvers I have will be shot and used but any high round count for competition will likely be a new revolver.
     
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  14. Targa

    Targa Member

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    The closest I have to compare is my 27-2 6” barrel and my 629-8 6.5” “Classic”, both are excellent. I have contemplated selling the 629 only because I would prefer a 6” barrel simply because it balances better (for me anyway) with the half lug.
     
  15. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I've got a Model 19-9 "Classic" and I know it's hereasy but I think it's the best Model 19 Smith and Wesson ever made. (Ducks for cover). It may not be as pretty as the old classics but darned it it didn't come out of the box with at least as good a trigger as my older ones. Maybe better. I shoot it better too. Plus IF it were to break, I can can send it back to Smith and Wesson to have them fix it. Something I can't do with my 1980 Model 19-4. (Not much chance of needing that really. The 19-4 came to me unfired outside the factory and will almost certainly stay that way.)'' And it's a long way from ugly. Just not as pretty. I can't prove it, but I suspect the modern finish will hold up better over time than the old did, but that's really just a SWAG.

    The lock, MIM parts, two piece barrels are all non-issues to me.

    Also, I did own a 27-9 for a short time some years back. I know I shot it, but I honestly can't remember anything about it, which tells me it must have shot just like I expected it to. I sold it when some other bright shiny thing caught my eye but there was nothing wrong with it. Just one of those guns that I saw in the case, bought on an impulse, but never really got attached to, so it was "expendable" when I wanted something else.
     
  16. Dave T

    Dave T Member

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    There is nothing "Classic" about the modern S&W Classics. It is a marketing gimmick. Calling something a "Classic" doesn't make it so.

    Dave
     
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  17. Targa

    Targa Member

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    ^^^I can’t disagree with that. S&W should have just stuck with the model number dash whatever designation. To add the “Classic” moniker is goofy at best, at least in my opinion.
     
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  18. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

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    I am a S&W fan but I agree with both of you.
    In the 70s Ford introduced the "Mustang II".
    You can dress a pig in a sequined tux and name it Liberace, but that doesn't mean it can play the piano.
     
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  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    I had the same questions and decided to ask someone who had enough knowledge and experience to judge as well as seeing enough new S&W N-frames go through his shop to form a valid opinion.. For my money, he runs the finest shop that handles S&W revolvers in the country and tunes the actions to a level that the Performance Center guys hate him...as the PC isn't allowed to modify the geometry of factory parts.

    His opinion of MIM parts/guns compared to the older ones is that, on average, the MIM ones are better. Not as good as the best from that time frame, but better than the average and much better than the worst. It has to do with the CNC tolerances being held and the fitting optimized...see the lack of locating pins for the ejector start. He says the actions require a lot less work to clean up.

    While you can't adjust the barrel gap on the two-piece barrels, like you can with the Dan Wesson, they do contribute to additional accuracy potential
     
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  20. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    On mine, the "grooves within the grooves" are visible to the naked eye under good light. If @westernrover is correct, your gun may be new enough that it was rifled with a different method. Hopefully can take a close look and report back. I would be very happy to have confirmation that they have given up on what strikes me as a very bad idea.
     
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  21. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I will do that. I am traveling now and will get back home later this week. I will try to get a photo of my barrel’s rifling.
    This is good info to know. I would have never thought I would have to be concerned with the rifling on a Smith & Wesson revolver.

    Thank you.
     
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  22. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    I'm assuming it's these grooves that cause leading issues. So even with following the rules of velocities with lead and having proper bullet/throat fit, the leading occurrs? This would really "bite"
     
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  23. Barr

    Barr Member

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    If bad rifling causing issues I would not hesitate to take SW up on that lifetime warranty.

    Customer satisfaction has usually been their hallmark, these are $850+ revolvers in a $400-600 plastic pistol market. If I pay 50% more I expect at least a similar if not better quality product.
     
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  24. lightman

    lightman Member

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    All of my "N" frames are old enough to be pinned and recessed. I don't own anything newer. I'm currently looking for a M-27 3-1/2inch. Love those old "N" frames!
     
  25. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I have bullet hardness and fit as perfect as I know how to make it and it does still lead. I cannot be perfectly sure it is the grooves causing the issue, but I don't know what else it could be. It is certain that the grooves make it essentially impossible to remove. I could use electrolysis but am concerned about the nickel finish.

    In the end, the gun just lives in my emergency pack in the trunk, where it does not get on my nerves. :D
     
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