Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday Smith #27: Model 657, 1986.
Starting in 1979, Smith & Wesson started releasing stainless versions of their N-frame revolvers with the Model 629 .44 Magnum Stainless. Seven years later it was the turn of the .41 Magnum Model 57 to get a stainless counterpart in the Model 657. The new revolver was released with a square-butt frame and was cataloged in 4", 6", and 8 3/8" barrel lengths.
Non-standard variations on the 657 abound. As had become something of a tradition by the mid-'80s, Smith released a limited run of guns with a 3" barrel, round-butt frame, smooth "combat" stocks, and red-ramp/white-outline sights during the first year of production. Like other factory snubnose N-frames, these command a fair amount of collector interest compared to their more common siblings.
The revolver pictured above, still wearing its factory stocks, was acquired from a private seller in late 2005 for $400. The going rate in these parts for a 3" stainless N-frame these days seems to be $500-$600, but it's hard to hang a value on a no-dash 3" 657 as so little information is available about them. The snubnose N-frames do have noticeably greater recoil and muzzle flip than the longer-barreled guns, and the stubby tube makes it a flamethrower, but since the gun predates S&W's "Endurance Package" modifications, I tend to avoid really heavy hunting-type loads in it anyway. As it is, it's plenty potent enough with 170gr or 210gr defensive loads.