S&W 547 opinions?


Jan 9, 2003
The widening gyre
Hi guys and gals:

One of LGSs (well, not so local, 40 miles away) has a LNIB S&W 547 3” in, of course, 9mm. I’ve always been intrigued by these guns and love the idea of a 9mm wheelgun that doesn’t use moonclips. Years ago I thought moonclips were the coolest thing, and now that I’m old, I don’t want the fuss. The gun comes with box and all papers and appears to the owner to be unfired. I’d shoot it, of course; I have no safe queens. He wants a pretty penny for it but I think I can talk him down to $1200. What say you all? Any personal experience with these almost-unicorns? Thanks!
Haha! Yes, kinda what I am thinking. This LGS specializes in collector pieces so when the owner says “LNIB,” it is. I shoot a metric ton of 9mm and having an unusual revolver in the caliber would be the bee’s knees.
I played with one about 6-7 years ago. IIRC, they were asking $900 at the time and I shoulda jumped on it. The ejector mechanism is very clever, but I could see the tiny lttle levers and springs not lasting thousands of rounds and replacement parts are probably unobtainium.

If its mostly going to be a collection conversation peice with occasional light shooting, Id say go for it if you can get the right price.

Probably not a great idea for a high-volume plinker or carry gun.
Thanks guys. Hmmm. Very good perspective on the long-term strength of the unusual mechanism. This little spring steel tabs in the ejector star do look mighty teeny.

Funny - the owner of this particular LGS just emailed me with a couple of new arrivals, both new in box:

S&W 625-11, scandium frame .45 Colt, 1.875” barrel. WOW
S&W 625-10, scandium frame .45ACP, 2.1” barrel. YOWZA.

I have an unnatural affection for big-bore snubbies. By weight (25oz) these are almost pocketable, if not by size. Shootability? Hmm, I don’t know. I have some 200 grain .45C and ACP loads that are pretty mild and would be controllable in those guns. I can easily tolerate similar loads in my CA .44 Bulldog at 19oz. It would be quite the trifecta to score all three of these rare S&Ws at the same time. No doubt there’d be a deep volume discount for me… oh man.
I have a SW 1911Sc , that’ scandium , Commander. I have no trouble shooting it with WWB 239 gr or the equivalent. 100 rounds or so - not a problem. True it’s a semi but a lighter gun.
I had a 4" 547 that I could shoot better in double-action than any revolver I've had before or since. It was stolen with some other guns in 1995, and every time I see one for sale online, I look for "my" serial number. :fire:
Mechanically speaking, the 547's are very interesting guns, because of the unique extractor mechanism, and the equally unique moving standing breech support for the cartridge being fired. But by today's standards, it is too bulky, and in particular, much too heavy for a 6-shot 9mm Para pistol. So, in my opinion, it's a wonderful collector's item, still an effective weapon chambered for what is probably the most popular centerfire pistol cartridge in the world, but dated as far as actually being something you would pick as a shooter. The weight does make it pleasant to shoot, thought, and the factory grips are decent on the 3-inch are decent. They offer K-frame reliablity and accuracy in a cartridge more powerful than 38 Special, but not as hard-kicking as 357. But they are heavy.

Two more points: If you have one, NEVER take the extractor apart, unless you are just wonderful with mechanical devices. I had to take mine to a gunsmith in another city after I did it, and I have no idea how he got it back together. That was probably about 35 years ago. Second, HKS made speedloaders for the Model 547, which is nice if you buy one. I bet there are some on Ebay right now.
A guy here had one back when they were regular production.
An interesting piece of machinery and shoots the least expensive centerfire.
It had a rather tough double action, I figure it was sprung for whatever burp gun primers that European customers might have. The story was that it was for a French RFP. Also a little extra to drive in the headspace pin.

Ruger had a simpler system with a loop of spring wire imbedded in the extractor. It didn't always pull stuck cases so they went back to clips. The publicity was that the Smith "umbrella" extractor would punch through the rim of a stuck case if you whacked it, then keep shooting with 5 at a time.
I originally posted this picture back in February.


I inherited all three earlier this year.

Top to bottom:

  • S&W M-1917 .45 ACP
  • S&W post-War M&P "pre-Model 10" .38 Special, nickel finish.
  • S&W M-547 9mm

Compared with most K-Frames in .38 or .357 the M-547 has a somewhat heavier trigger. (I don't have a trigger pull gauge.)

Recoil with 124 grain FMJ made by Fenix Ammunition (~1025 FPS) feels like shooting a full power .38 Special, or maybe a .38 +P. The report is somewhat sharper than standard pressure .38s due to 9mm's higher chamber pressure. I'm sure the gas escaping from the barrel/cylinder gap contributes to the sharp report. The same ammo feels much milder when shot in my Beretta M-9 or Beretta APX.

I'll shoot it occasionally but don't plan to put a high round count through it. AFAIK, if any of the parts specific to this model break, replacements are unobtanium.
My experience with the S&W 547 has been less than stellar. I have had one for about 35 years. It does work (MOST OF THE TIME). I have had the extractor override the case rims a few times, so I think it was a good idea, but not good enough to bet your life one. I my experience with auto cartridge chambered revolvers, the idea is not the same as the reality. I still have the 547 and it makes a nice range gun plus the 625, also a pleasant gun. I would consider the 625, loaded with .45 Auto Rim ammo to be a good defense revolver, but would not bet my life on the 547, unless I had no choice. My S&W model 15 in .38 Special, is far superior as a fighting handgun.

Thank you everyone! I think I’ve abandoned my plans for a 547. It’s interesting, but just too many compromises to consider further. That’s why I love this forum!
Probably for the best.
For about the same money, you could probably get a .38 K-frame and send it to TK Customs to be machined for 9mm moonclips.
vanfunk, Having owned two of the 3" 547s, I'll share my admittedly biased 2¢ worth. The extractors on both of mine were trouble free. They even extracted the higher pressure NATO, +P, IMI black tip "carbine", equivalent reloads, etc. flawlessly. Had I encountered a 3" 547 in a LGS in the condition and at the price you describe, I'd have bought it in a heartbeat. I've not seen these becoming less expensive, and some, especially the 3", have sold for much more...
Oh, man, Rock, now you have me thinking about it again. It is a 3”… it’s LNIB… ugh. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! Apologies to Don Corleone.
Oh, man, Rock, now you have me thinking about it again. It is a 3”… it’s LNIB… ugh. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in! Apologies to Don Corleone.

Well - that was even easier than expected!

Please be sure to let us all know how it shoots... :rofl:
I had one for a while. It was one of those whim buys. I think I shot it twice, maybe 60 rounds in total. I was ambivalent at best. I traded it off for something, and never regretted getting rid of it.
Eh, this is how I go with guns. I run hot and cold all the time! I can’t get out to that store until Wednesday so I have more time to obsess. :)
Yeah, TK customs turns a S&W 357 into a 9mm for about $250, IIRC.

Taurus made a medium-framed revolver with switchable 38 and 9mm cylinders, but I never ran across one in good shape.

This one made in the Czech Republic is okay. The trigger is a bit stiff, but it goes bang and is plenty good enough for cheap practice.

Single-action revolvers in 9mm and j-frames in 9mm are easier to find than medium-framed revolvers in 9mm, for whatever reason.

I bought a 547 over twenty years ago. I got it at a good price and consider it a safe queen. I do shoot it every once in a great while, but I realize some of the parts would probably be impossible to find. I'm still glad I bought it.
.357s can be converted to 9mm, but... There is the expense, and ballistics and accuracy may not be equal to a factory revolver chambered in 9mm. Been there, done that with a 686 conversion. It is now a 6-shot .357, convertible to a 7-shot 9mm. It works as advertised, but I'm not sure it's very practical, unless one has tons of cheap 9mm ammunition that simply must be shot in a DA revolver. I'd still rather have a 547..
9MMs (3).JPG