View Full Version : My first wheelgun - S&W 617

03-17-2012, 02:48 PM
I thought it was about time I caught up with the 19th century and got a revolver, so a few months back I bought a Smith & Wesson 617 6" with a 10-round cylinder.

Long guns aside, this is about as far from being a Kahr as possible. Being large, heavy, and a .22, it's obviously not a carry weapon. I'll report on it here anyway, since I know a few of you have interests that extend beyond Kahrs.

I've had it out a few times now, and have run an entire 525 box of Federal Champion through it. 525 bangs.

Here are a few impressions (you long-time revolver guys might find this elementary):

- At 44 oz empty, it's heavy. (In comparison, my MK9 Elite weighs in at a paltry 23 oz.) Solid steel with 6" barrel heavy. Since this is a .22, this results in almost zero recoil - almost like an air gun.
- In double action mode (this is a DA/SA gun), the trigger is really heavy. Seemed much heavier than my friend's 686 I shot a year ago, which was OK. I don't have a way of measuring it, but it's faaaar too heavy for my tastes. In single action mode (pull hammer back for each round), the trigger is very nice, although not quite as nice and light as some of my SAO guns.
- Accuracy was as good as I can shoot (nothing to brag about). I was able to get reasonably good groupings at all my usual target distances right from the beginning.
- Being a revolver, the reloads naturally pace one's shooting. No temptation to load up a bunch of magazines and blaze through them fast. 10 shots, reload, repeat. I also don't wind up with the ground littered with brass.
- Cleaning is naturally different as well, and very easy. Many people complain about how dirty .22 ammo is, but when cleaning the barrel (wipe with Hoppe's #9, then brass bore brush, then dry patches), only the first dry patch came out dirty, with follow-ups virtually clean. In contrast, the chambers (all 10 of them) were very dirty, and required multiple wet/dry cleaning cycles, although easy enough to do. One other thing I liked about cleaning it is that there weren't any hard-to-get-at places that automatics have lots of.
- Yes, it has the S&W lock on it because it is new production. Doesn't bother me because I'm never going to lock it, but some people seem to really get worked up about this.

Overall, the 617 provided a very pleasant shooting experience for me - at least in SA mode. I'm looking forward to taking it out to do a comparison with my BuckMark or Beretta 87T sometime.

Here's a picture. I'm thinking it would look even nicer with some wood grips.

03-17-2012, 03:12 PM
Now ain't that just a beautiful thing right there.

Nicely done.

03-17-2012, 03:21 PM
Give it some more practice time. I got to where I could hit quarter size targets dots at 10 yards with mine.

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03-17-2012, 03:36 PM
That's most definitely a sweet pistol. I used to backpack on the AT a ton and I carried one of the first ultra light pistols built. The airweight 317. I haven't shot one of those monsters pictured above. But I suspect the trigger pull is similar. It took awhile to get proficient at double action shooting, but I eventually became a pretty decent shot with the 1 7/8 barrel. Definitely a candidate for trigger work though.

03-17-2012, 03:54 PM
Have three S&W revolvers and think they are some of the finest in the world.
I find my 629-2 44 Magnum is reasonably accurate too.
240 gr Federal Hydra-Shok

03-17-2012, 06:44 PM
Cool, very cool! Congrats and enjoy.

03-17-2012, 06:45 PM
I thought it was about time I caught up with the 19th century and got a revolver, so a few months back I bought a Smith & Wesson 617 6" with a 10-round cylinder....
Congrats on the 617. It's an excellent revolver that seems to hold it's value pretty well. A lighter main spring might help the double action pull, but could give inconsistent ignition (been there, done that:(). The SA trigger on mine is not as good as that on my Buck Marks that have the "Heggis Flip" done on them, but I find I usually shoot the BMs better after I've been practicing awhile with the 617.
If you ever feel the need to speed up the reload, there are speed loaders available for the 617:
IMO, the 617 is a keeper; enjoy yours:)

03-17-2012, 06:49 PM
Who'd a thunk, a speed loader for a 22. Never heard of those before. Neat deal!

03-17-2012, 09:39 PM
These are great guns. I have one I bought new in the late 80's or early 90's. Mine's a wood grip, 6 shot model. Glad I got 2 speed loaders for it back in the day, I don't know if they are still available since they went to 10 round cylinders or not.

My trigger is WAY to heavy to shoot double action, except perhaps at point blank range. Not a big deal to me since I shoot a Single Six also.

As for my 22s, I have a mid 80's Rugar MK II that I'm very good with but I find the S&W 617 the most accurate, but I do better with a heavier gun.

I might try some pics of my older version, but I don't have good luck with pics on this sight (I'm sure it's on my end).

Happy shooting!

03-18-2012, 06:17 AM
If you practice with your Smith in double action you'll be able to pull the trigger to the point of release and hold for sight picture. When the sights are aligned just an ounce or two of additional pressure will drop the hammer. You should be able to shoot double action just as well as you do in single action mode. A good gunsmith can smooth and lighten that trigger pull for you. You might consider sending it back to S&W for the trigger job. My K-38 and K-22 will keep them in the 10 ring.