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.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The first models produced in 1988 had a very sharp edge at the top front of the trigger. Later models lost that edge (they were beveled or rounded at the top) and were therefore easier on the trigger finger in recoil. does this one have a sharp edge at the front top of the trigger?

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Tam said...

Both this one and the '85 624 pictured below have the sharp top edge on the trigger, while my '87-dated 629-1 has had that surface beveled noticeably.

Anonymous said...

Correction: the first run of these guns was in 1986, NOT 1988 as I said previously. I remember the sharp edge because I had just amputated the end of my trigger finger to the middle of the first joint and my stump was still raw. Testing a T&E model made it bleed somewhat profusely.

Supica says there was a 2nd run of these guns (200 in number) with round butts in 1998.

I have the same gun only with a square butt that came out of The Performance Center that Tom Kelly put together out of left-over parts he found in the factory. (Sometime in the year 2000 to 2002 time frame, can't remember for sure.) He told me my gun was one of twelve they made from these parts. My square butt gun does NOT have the sharp edge trigger which was peculiar to that 1986-1987 time period of the 1st production run.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

The Frank Family said...

Have you tried the new Ruger SR9? What's your opinion?

Matt G said...

One of the niftier specimens in your extensive stainless 3" collection of Smiths.

Tam said...

"Have you tried the new Ruger SR9? What's your opinion?"

No, I haven't, and unless I get back into slinging guns across the glass for a living, I doubt I ever will. Just not my cup of tea.

I'm sure they work well; Ruger tends to make a durable and reliable product, but I need a 9mm crunchenticker like a hen needs a flag. (...and so did the market, if you ask me. ;) )

Anonymous said...

I inherited the same gun as shown above, S&W .41 Model 657. I have been considering sell it. The author stated above “but it's hard to hang a value on a no-dash 3" 657 ”, so is it safe to say my gun is worth around 500 – 600 dollars?