Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sunday Smith #30: Model 625-2, 1989.


With the .45 ACP Model 25 continuing in production into the 1980's, it was inevitable that S&W would introduce a stainless version. Sure enough, towards the end of the decade the Model 625 appeared. Seemingly designed to be an ideal bowling pin gun, its 5" full-underlug barrel minimizing the muzzle flip from the .45 cartridge, the 625 had enough oddities to keep collectors scratching their heads for some time to come.

For starters, there never was just a plain 625 or 625-1; the first guns to hit the street were designated "625-2", and engineering changes incremented normally from there. It was also unusual for a 5" gun at the time in that it had a round-butt frame, something that was only seen on short-barreled N-frames of the era. The very earliest ones had the barrel rollmarked "Model of 1988" (despite being made in 1989) and had ramp front sights, but almost immediately this was changed to a laser-etched "Model of 1989" and a patridge-type front sight blade. Unlike other stainless guns from Smith & Wesson, which had brushed finishes, the 625 was finished in a soft matte bead-blast.

In 1990 the 625-3 debuted the longer cylinder stop notches associated with the "Endurance Package" from the 629, and the "-4" change that followed three years later introduced holes pre-drilled in the topstrap for accepting scope mounts. The 625 proved popular with competition shooters for the speed with which it could be reloaded thanks to its use of moon-clips. Indeed, when Jerry Miculek set his famous record of "six shots, reload, and six shots in 2.99 seconds", it was a Model 625 that he used.

The revolver pictured above, an early "Model of 1988" marked gun, was purchased from a friend for $450 in the Autumn of 2003. The 625 seems to hold its value better than some of its more common modern N-frame siblings, and a LNIB example could fetch as much as six bills. The sample above, given its status as a very early rollmarked gun, could bring $550 or a bit more at auction, even with the aftermarket cocobolo Hogue monogrip. A good shooter with minor cosmetic issues could probably be found for around $400, and the beauty of the finish on these guns is that any gunsmith with a blasting cabinet and a deft touch can freshen it right up.

16 comments:

Kevin said...

That's a beauty!

Were you ever able to determine if S&W made a 5" Lew Horton Special M25 in .45 Colt?

Tam said...

Best I can tell, there was a 5" untapered bbl/unfluted cylinder gun back in '89 and also the 6" tapered bbl Heritage Series guns. That's all Supica and Nahas mention at least...

Kevin said...

Hmmmm....

No, the one I handled was pre-'89, tapered barrel and fluted cylinder, square-butt. I didn't know enough then to notice if it was pinned and recessed. Maybe it was a custom, but I could have sworn he said it was a Lew Horton special.

Well, I feel better about buying the Mountain Gun now.

Don Meaker said...

I have that one! The .45 ACP revolver is my bedside revolver. All the advantages of the .45 ACP pistol (less two rounds) with the simplicity of operation of a revolver, and quick reload from another full moon clip.

My grips are the robber Original Equipment ones. I have been tempted to add a laser grip, just because it would be great fun to "play chase the laser spot" with the cats.

Anonymous said...

There was a tapered barrel, matte blued, fluted 5 inch .45LC model 24, which purported on the barrel to be a model of 1985. Not sure if it was a Lew Horton...

John B said...

I love the gun. Though my carry is a 469 Smith 9mm that I fell in love with when I first handled it in Montgomery Wards. Officer Eddie Mahoney, otherwise known as Eddie Money, was singing "I think I'm in love". That diminutive darling cast it's spell upon me and 20 some years later we finally got together.

But your description is enough to get me out prowling gunbroker and auctionarms looking for one.

the prospect of Hilly making it into the white house has turned my fixed-income ass into a gun-of-the month-club member again....

Dad too!
john b

Don Meaker said...

Now if I can just get a M-1917 to go with it!

Alex said...

Purdy, very purdy.

pstew said...

A good shooter with minor cosmetic issues could probably be found for around $400,

I want one of those $400 625's

Tam said...

"I want one of those $400 625's"

It'll take some looking, but they're out there. There was one that was a bit scuffed with no box and some ugly Pachs for an asking $450 at the last show I attended. I casually asked "What's the best you'll do?" and was told "Four out the door."

If they show lots of wear around the edges, look out for peening on the stop notches, as it's probably someone's ex-racegun and has seen a lot of fast double-action work.

Burnett Marus said...

I have a stainless .357 Model of 1989 with the unfluted cylinder, 5 in barrel and original S&W Combat Alves or contoured wooden grips. I have fired about 60 rounds with this weapon. At 15 years on the PPC course this placed 6 rounds in the space of a quarter...incredible weapon that no one seems to now much about.

Anonymous said...

I have a S&W revolver 45 acp that is marked model of 1988. I couldn't find any information at the gun stores in town. They all were unaware of this model. Does anyone know how many were made and what would be the value? Thanks in advance!

Tam said...

If it's an early roll-marked gun like the one above, and in excellent condition, figure ~$600 or so.

I can't find any good information on how many of the early "Model of 1988" roll-marked guns were produced before they switched to the later "Model of 1989" laser-etched ones.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Tam for your respond. It is exactly like the one pictured above and in perfect condition. I love this revolver and I think it will be my 8 year old son's pistol in the future.

Ribcracker said...

In a 1989 article from American Handgunner, John Taffin said it was a limited run of 5000, 1500 of which were shipped for Europen consumption.
However - Fjestad's Blue Book says, "Approx.1500 of the 5 in. barrel models had a frame stamped "625-2," roll engraved barrel with ".45 CAL MODEL OF 1988" barrel inscription and a ramp front sight. Laser engraving replaced roll engraving in 1989."
So which is it, 5000 or 1500 copies made? That would certainly make a difference to collectors.
Bud

Anonymous said...

just wondering my wife has a model of 1989 frame stamped 625-3 that was passed down to her when her father died, how much is something like that worth, how many of them were made of that model?thanks