Smith and Wesson .45 Colt Revolvers


BY Gary Chang

Originally published, 03/1998

For the collector, two Smith & Wesson (S&W) .45 Colt N-frames hold special value; 1) the 1977 “125th Aniversary Commemorative” 25-2 and 2) the 25-5 with pinned barrel and recessed chambers. However, for the shooter, they should be avoided: both have oversized chambers. Also, the 25-2 uses a short .45 ACP length cylinder which restricts usable ammunition to jacketed factory rounds.

Beginning in 1983, S&W discontinued the pinned barrel feature as well as the recessed cylinder. Along with these changes, they also reduced the .45 chamber dimension from .488-.489 to the minimum industry dimension of.483. This was much better for case life and gave a more efficient combustion. An average .45 Colt case dimension is .476, so some “field slop” still remains.

Although this new tight-chambered pistol deserved a new model designation, it retained the old “25-5” model number. No problem though, just look for the non-pinned barrel change. All later blued S&W carbon steel .45 Colt revolvers (25-7), 25-9) and any S&W stainless steel .45 Colt revolvers also may be acquired without hesitation. As an additional plus, several of these newer revolvers were factory drilled and tapped for scope bases.


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