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Dan Wesson vs 627?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by westernrover, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I'm looking for a revolver for training and practice on my range. I'm going for skill-acquisition and I want a tool that won't hinder me. I've been shooting a DAO J frame. I started shooting a much larger Ruger SA and found I shoot the bigger, heavier, longer gun better (no surprise). So I'm looking for a bigger DA. The things I'm certain of is that it will be .38/.357 Magnum and that I'd like it to weigh up to 48 ounces (my Ruger is 45) and that it should have a barrel longer than 4" and an overall length not much more than 11". I want a smooth trigger, and I'm willing to pay ~$1000 for quality.

    I'm considering these revolvers:
    revolvers.png


    I like the N frame as long as it has a grip like the one shown. I've handled a .44 with the same grip and I like it. The rubber over-molded grips are too big for my hand. The target grips like on the Classics might work, not sure. I dislike the traditional grips on the Ruger SA. The L frame has a lower bore-center than the N, but it also has less mass and one less chamber. If I bought the 686 shown, I'd pay to have the PC do an action job on it. The factory-PC 686 has the rubber grips I don't like. I think the 5" barrel is just the right length for me. The 6" L frames and 6.5" N frames are 12" overall and I find that's too long for how I carry it around outdoors or sit in the truck.

    The 627PC seems like the shortest path to get what I'm looking for. But I'm weary of S&W quality. The last three I bought all sucked and had to go back, some of them multiple times. They were regular or pro-series, but not PC guns. Maybe PC will be better?

    Why not a Ruger? I considered the Redhawk but think it will be too big for me. The GP100 might be fine, but I expect it to be equivalent to a standard 686 and I have better options to upgrade the Smith. The MC isn't offered with a longer barrel.

    A local guy has a stainless Monson 15-2 for sale. It has a 6" barrel. It's not the one in the picture, but it looks the same. Since it's well-used, it might cost me quite a bit less than a new S&W PC. It's a bit longer and heavier than what I think I want, and it's only 6 shot instead of 7 or 8. I haven't seen it in person or handled it, but I believe the DW's are high quality.

    In my circumstances, I won't be able to handle a PC-tuned gun or a DW unless I order it or go bug this private seller. I can handle and rent standard 686's, but not where I could compare it to anything PC-tuned or DW. So I'm thinking, should I drop a thousand bucks to order a 627PC or buy this guy's DW and see how I like it?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
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  2. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I just purchased a Dan Wesson 744 (44 mag stainless) with an 8" barrel a week ago. The 8" barrel with the heavy 8" shroud is a little on the heavy side but it shoots very smooth with all that weight. I am going to purchase a 6" barrel with a lite 6" shroud for my 744. Feedback from the Dan Wesson says this is a very nice well balanced combination. I assume you know but for others that do not know the Dan Wesson revolvers were designed so that the barrels can be replaced by the user in less than 5 minutes and the Dan Wesson "Pistol Packs" come with the revolver and 3 or 4 more barrels of different lengths. 2.5", 4", 6", 8" and 10" barrels are available and are still manufactured by CZ (the current Dan Wesson owners) and will interchange with the old Dan Wesson barrels with no alterations required. The Dan Wesson you pictured has a heavy barrel shroud. The light weight barrel shroud DW revolvers have the lug under the barrel cut back to where the extraction rod starts... to save weight. You can use a light weight shroud with a barrel that came with a heavy shroud.

    While we were waiting at the pawn shop for the background check to go through I struck up a conversation with the owner and he showed me several guns. I really liked his Performance Center S&W model 25 (45 LC blued finish). The SA break on the DW 744, S&W 25 and Colt Python were all pretty much indistinguishable to me. The width of the trigger on the PC 25 was wider than the other two triggers which seemed nicer while dry firing them side by side a few times. That extra trigger width was a nice aspect of the PC S&W 25. The double action pull on the DW 744 was the shortest and best of the three in my opinion.

    I did a lot of research before driving 4 hours each way to purchase the DW 744 from a private seller (Oregon requires private transfers go through a FFL.... hence the pawn shop). From everything I read my understanding is that the Dan Wesson Revolvers are every bit as over built as a Ruger with the trigger and refinement of the S&W's. The tensioned barrels are supposed to be some of the most accurate which is why the Dan Wesson revolvers have been so popular with silloute shooters.

    The cylinder lock on the Dan Wesson revolvers are in front of the cylinder instead of behind the cylinder like S&W, Ruger, Colt, etc. My understand is that DW specifically designed it this way because it providers a tighter lockup that is stronger and more consistant than rear locks. My other revolvers are a Webley top break and a Nagant which is a gate load like single action Colts. For me the cylinder release button being in front of the cylinder felt natural and instinctive... I believe many S&W shooters take a bit to get used to the cylinder release location on a DW.

    6 round vs 8 round?.... Yeah, a 8 round revolver would be pretty cool... but I have never held one of the S&W 8 round revolvers so I don't know if there are any negatives.

    I have a long hand with long fingers and the stock nylon DW 744 grip is a bit small for my hand but still comfortable to shoot. I just received the Hogue rubber grip with finger groves and like it a bit better. Because the DW grips are stud mounted possible grip shapes and sizes are pretty much infinite.

    P.S. I had sold myself on a S&W Peformance Center 625 (I have looked at them in the past and like 45 lc) before the Dan Wesson add came up locally... I am VERY pleased with my decision! The Rugers I handled while looking at options didn't have the trigger break I was after. I believe I got a great deal on my DW 744 with 8" barrel, scope and mount at $700. According to the Dan Wesson forum this was a screaming deal. How much is the Dan Wesson you are looking at? I might want to pick up a DW 715 if the price were right. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  3. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    The best route, IMO, is to buy a regular gun and have a revolver guy, who knows what he's doing, work over the action (not just the trigger). When I was looking for a 686 to shoot in IDPA, the PC 686SSR was right around $1k. I got a used 686 and sent it to Apex Tactical for their full house IDPA setup and came out spending about the same amount...but the action was much nicer.

    The 15-2 has a frame about the size of a L-frame and a cylinder about the size of a K-frame.

    They have outstanding accuracy and their actions are very tuneable...but finding folks to work on them is a bit harder.

    The nice thing about a DW is that if you don't care for the size/style of the barrel, you can easily change it. The barrels used to be available in everything from 15" to 2.5" and available with four different barrel shrouds (plain, plain vent rib, heavy, heavy vent rib)
     
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  4. kbsrn

    kbsrn Member

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    I would suggest an older smith. I have serverla that I’ve put thousands and thousands of rounds through. They just get better with time.
     
  5. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I'm glad you replied with some other ideas. I think the current SSR's are Pro Series not Performance Center guns. As far as I know, they don't have action jobs. Their price is a couple hundred dollars less than PC models. What is the turnaround time on an Apex Tactical setup? I could ask Apex, but since they don't even advertise the work or services at all on their website (they just mention how well known they are for it), I have to figure the answer is, "if you have to ask..." I'm not completely impatient, but there are a number of other one-man-shops out there for gunsmith or engraving work where the wait lists are over a year.
     
  6. brutus51

    brutus51 Member

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    Spent a lot of time looking for a 686 pre-lock and couldn't find any that weren't over priced.
    Wound up buying a new Dan Wesson 715 and I'm glad I did. Very accurate and I love the interchangeable barrels.
    Single action trigger pull is on par with a Smith but the double action is the best I've ever experienced.
     
  7. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    From what I've seen of the PC or Pro guns, they have little (more likely, no) tuning beyond S&W's standard offerings; they're just configurations not available in their standard line-up. If you're looking for a new N-frame .357 S&W, you're likely looking at an 8-shot Pro or PC gun. But you'd still likely need it tuned to get the most out of it. It's a rare factory action that can't be improved (often greatly) by a good revolver 'smith. If you're open to an L-frame .357 (i.e. a 686), I'd follow the advice of @9mmepiphany and get a standard 686 (6-shot, please :cool:)and get it tuned. You'll have a much better gun in the end.

    Randy Lee at Apex was the gunsmith for competitive runNgun revolver shooters, but it's not clear to me he's even doing these action jobs any longer. I seem to recall he wasn't, but I'm betting @9mmepiphany would know. At any rate, if you're not competing, you really don't need an Apex action job to have a good revolver, and there are other viable options.

    I've never shot a Dan Wesson, so I really can't comment. They have a reputation for stellar accuracy, and I'm a sucker for an accurate revolver, so they've always piqued my interest. The multiple barrels seems like a nice option. Like S&W's though, I'd expect they could be improved with a good action job.
     
  8. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    Cant speak to modern dan wessons but the old ones (monson) are great. I prefer a ruger over a modern smith & wesson any day, others im sure will disagree. Rugers actions are every bit as good as a smith once tuned and a little bit of clean up and polishing goes a long way on the ruger. Ive got a 6" gp100 that i find a bit much to carry but shes sweet on the range. Ive just had bad luck with smith and wesson and although i think generally their fit and finish is better than ruger they just arent what they used to be. I got a late 70s model 66 for $400 unfired a few years back but sold it because i just never shot it. If you find a vintage pistol pack in reasonable condition i would buy it , but it will certainly run about double your $1000 budget if all the parts are there. I know, im not much help.
     
  9. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    As MrBorland mentioned, there really isn't much difference. It is more about features offered than about additional handwork.

    Even in days gone by, PC work could only go so far as they were restricted to in-house parts

    That is likely closer to the truth than many want to believe.

    They took their revolver work off the site when they moved from CA to AZ. At least part of the reasoning was that he wanted to get caught up on his revolver backlog. He never felt comfortable with a long waitlist like you'd see at Turnbull.

    Their parts manufacturing has taken a lot of the pressure off the revolver side of the business, but that side needs attention also.
     
  10. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    They continue to service existing customer's revolvers, but I'm not sure if they are taking new work. They have on-going work in developing revolver modifications.

    I had my 686 tuned there because I'm part of the "family." Even then it took almost two months and cost almost as much as I paid for the revolver.

    I should add that my revolver cylinder was described as FUBAR'd when they received it due to machining marks and lack of finish work. This was a used 686 which someone has shot more than a little and which didn't feel "horrible" when I got it...many folks would have rated it's action better than "pretty good"

    This is very true. There are quite a few good pistolsmiths out there, but don't fall into the temptation of "shopping price." The three main categories I break S&W tuners into:
    1. Spring changers - they change out the main and rebound springs...hopefully not cut or loosen the strain screw
    2. Parts polishers - they usually polish the rebound slide, the inside of the frame, and maybe the trigger engagement surfaces
    3. Tuners - They adjust the alignment and specs of all moving parts (including the cylinder), some will even adjust the timing

    Avoid the 1st, but the second might very well meet your needs

    I've only shot some of the original revolvers and their accuracy were everything I've ever read.

    The actions can definitely improved with some work. The issue was that they were only surface hardened. Ones I've seen that were tuned had their action parts coated in hard chrome/electroless nickle before they were worked on
     
  11. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    I know the Pro Series means very little. I have one. It's cut for moon clips and has "Pro Series" etched on it. There's no action work done on it. But the Performance Center 627 has chromed trigger and hammer, and it has a trigger stop. Besides that, it's claimed to have a "PC tuned action." S&W offers a couple of gunsmithing packages:

    Master Revolver Action Package ($165)


    MasterRev.jpg
    • Trigger Stop
    • Chamfer Charge Holes
    • Polish Rebound Spring, Hammer Stud and Yoke Barrel Bosses
    • Detail Lockwork Surfaces
    • Stone Hammer and Trigger Contact Areas
    • Test Fire for Function
    The "Combat Revolver Package" appears to include all of the above plus some additional services:

    Combat Revolver Package Medium/Large Frame (Stainless $265 / Carbon $325)


    CombatRev.jpg
    • Glass Bead Finish
    • Tuned Action
    • Trigger Stop
    • Chamfer Charge Holes
    • Test Fire For Function

    So it seems I could take a standard S&W and have the PC perform the work in these packages. If I bought a Performance Center 627, wouldn't most of this work have already been done to it?
     
  12. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I've been reluctant to say anything because MrBorland and 9mmepiphany know WAY more than I about the topic. However, I just want to caution you about having too high of expectations regarding S&W PC guns. I only have one, and that is a tiny sample size. But.......

    The trigger on my 686 PC is pretty nice though I'm guessing more experienced folks would say it still needs work. However, I had to send it back for light strikes in DA. They replaced the firing pin with a longer one. It seemed fine, but two days ago I was getting light strikes again. Checked the strain screw and got less than a 16th of a turn out of it before it was really tight. And I still got a substantial number of light strikes afterward. I'm thinking about contacting S&W AGAIN. It may be easier to swap out for a standard mainspring and maybe a new or longer strain screw.

    Additionally it has a cosmetic issue that ticks me off considering the price I paid. However it is a very accurate and fun gun to shoot, so I want to keep it.

    Please just realize that all they seem to be are nonstandard offerings subject to the same faults and hit or miss QC that S&W seems comfortable with nowadays.

    Like I said though, that's just been my limited experience. Samples of one can give a poor impression.
     
  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    I really couldn't say for sure, but my money would be on...maybe not. I don't think every PC revolver comes with Chamfer(ed) Charge Holes, but they might have been subtle in the examples I've examined

    I don't think that is completely accurate, since you don't know how much of the work listed under the Master Revolver Action Package is covered under "Tuned Action". What I see as the big difference for your extra $100 is the Glass Bead Finish
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    It is unfortunate that you want a barrel longer than 4.2" as the Match Champion is an excellent value.

    In the last year I've been able to shoot 4 different examples and been fairly impressed with 3. Unfortunately the forth example suffered from sluggish reset...I suspect someone cut on the springs trying to get a lighter trigger stroke.

    The other 3 had had their springs replaced, I believe it was either with Wilson or Wolff, and was easily more than comparable to the S&W SSR. I guess the "factory honing" was very effective. They were all very shootable...plus I have a Ruger pistolsmith nearby
     
  15. Doublehelix
    • Contributing Member

    Doublehelix Contributing Member

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    I just bought my first revolver, so take this with a large grain of salt...

    I got a new S&W 686+, and then sent it pretty much right away to a "local" (2 hour drive) smith with a great reputation for revolvers and had him work on it. It came back feeling like a total different gun. Well worth the cost of admission IMHO.
     
  16. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Lots of great feedback already, just a couple of points to add:

    1) L- and N-frame smiths have huge service lifetimes under most conditions. Used is an option to really look at. I have a few S&W revolvers around... none of them were bought new. In fact, all of them were at least 25 years old when I acquired them. All of them had at least somewhat better triggers than I could have gotten OOB new, and were a little less expensive to boot. Also, no lock, which is a big deal to some people.

    2) You can change out grips on revolvers very easily. Don't get fixated on whatever factory-installed (or prior user-installed) grips are on a gun that you're looking at. You can change that with a small flat-head screwdriver and a few bucks for the new grips. Never buy a revolver for the grips, and never walk away from a revolver you otherwise like just because it has the "wrong" grips on it.
     
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  17. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Agreed, except my take would be probably not ;)

    Used to be, PC guns were somewhat tuned and a little special, functionally speaking. I haven't seen any evidence of that in the last few years, though. MIM througout, and little evidence of any real tuning. The factory chamfering I've seen is also very conservative, so while I might be extrapolating too far, my suspicion is that you'd get a much better overall job having an independent (but capable) gunsmith do the work.
     
  18. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    MrBorland is exactly correct. You buy a PC gun then have a revolver smith work the action. Add about $400 to the cost of the gun to make it sing.

    ^^Very well said.
     
  19. Lucky Derby

    Lucky Derby Member

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    Don't worry about the grips. Easy & (normally) cheap to change.
    PC guns have saddly become nothing more than a marketing tool, unlike years gone by.
    Of the new guns out there, the GP100 MC gets my vote, if you can live with the 4.2" barrel.
    Otherwise a used S&W is the way to go. IMHO.
     
  20. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    Just get yourself a Model 28 Highway Patrolman. Its got the heavy frame you want and is available in 4 or 6 inch barrel lengths. Normally they have very nice actions and if you want it extra smooth, you can either send back to Smith for an action job or most any good gunsmith can slicken it up. You can find a real nice one in the $600-700 range pretty easily and there is a countless number of aftermarket grips if you don't like what its wearing.
     
  21. robhof

    robhof Member

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    As a long time Dan Wesson owner, I would go with the Dan, most accurate revolver I've ever shot right out of the box. The Monsons had great Quality control and are becoming collectable, Cz/DW still carries many parts and there are after market makers of barrels and shrouds, added benefit is the interchangeable barrel, mskr longer or shorter to see what works best for you.
     
  22. robhof

    robhof Member

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    Dan Wessons are the way to go, most accurate out of the box. DSCN0765.JPG
     
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  23. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    What you're telling me here makes sense, but I have not had favorable experience with used gun shopping. For example, LGS had a nice used N frame last summer, but they were asking $1800. If I drive a bit, I can find more than the rare sighting of a large used revolver at a LGS at something like Cabelas/Bass Pro. The ones I've examined there usually have problems like excessive end shake or poor lock-up, and they're not at bargain prices either. How about Armslist? Well, if I take the advice to seek out a Model 28 Highway Patrolman (reasonable advice, I agree), the first two that come up are $1250, and $1150. Admittedly, a few more come up at $700-800, but they're far from local. Whether they're asking top dollar or not, it's hard to say whether I'd get my money's worth without even being able to examine the gun in person. I have been to a gun show, but I found overwhelmingly the vendors had junk and wanted well over retail store prices for anything that was new or not obviously defective. They'd discount the garbage, but anything decent they'd treat like treasure. It was more like a salvage lot.

    I'm familiar with changing grips and have changed grips on my revolvers numerous times. But I would say that on average I've paid $100 for a set of grips. Some rubber jobs are much less, but other finer grips are considerably more, but none were as little as a few bucks. What I know is the grips on the PC 627/327/329 work for me, and if I buy a revolver with other grips, I'm going to be have to change them out. I just saw some of the PC grips (take-off's) advertised for $100. I could buy those, or pay for the next closest thing from Altamont, which would be a bit less even with shipping, but might not work out. Grips are not insignificant at all when you have to try two or three before you find one that works for you.
     
  24. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

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    Westernrover, I've had plenty of luck on Gunbroker finding deals on good older Smith's. My 686-0 was about 500 and is the sweetest shooter I own. Recently scored a LNIB 3" 60-15 for under 400 delivered.

    Also, if you like the PC grips from S&W, Arhends actually makes them and can be bought direct for well under 100 in your choice of wood and finish.
     
  25. westernrover

    westernrover Member

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    Thanks for the tips. So how do I get a good gun on gunbroker? Getting a great price aside (I'm not asking how to get over on anybody), what do I need to do to get a good revolver? Do I need to do anything other than look at the pictures and descriptions, and hope it's a good one? I understand how to check out a revolver in person, but I don't know how gunbroker works. If I buy a gun, the money transfers, the gun is shipped to my nearest agreeable FFL, and I take transfer of it there and then the white elephant is mine, for better or worse.

    My experience with older, used revolvers is the lockup is often poor. Less common is cylinder end shake and barrel face (forcing cone) erosion. I haven't seen one with a significant timing problem. On new guns, the barrel to cylinder gap is almost always excessive. I've seen cranes that didn't mate properly with the frame. Defective/broken rear sights. Rough chambers. Poor fitting or damage on the wood grips. Finish defects. End shake and lockup are usually tight.

    I would love to discover that gunbroker is a treasure trove of well-crafted revolvers.
     
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