Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Smith #35: Model 625-7, 1998.


When Colt's introduced the "Peacemaker" revolver in 1873, they also debuted one of the most enduring centerfire handgun cartridges ever loaded. Originally propelling its 255-grain lead bullet with a charge of forty grains of FFg black powder, the .45 Colt is still one of the most popular revolver chamberings in the land over one-and-one-third centuries after its conception. The new cartridge was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1875, virtually guaranteeing its commercial success.

This put Colt's arch rival Smith & Wesson in something of a bind. Smith was committed to their top-break "No. 3" design for a large-frame belt revolver, and the .45 Colt was just too much cartridge for the gun. It would not be until the debut of the S&W .44 Hand Ejectors in the first decade of the 20th Century that Smith had a revolver capable of handling the big .45 round. Smith & Wesson mostly sold the large frames in their own .44 caliber configuration, however, leaving .45 Colt variants as rare collector's prizes.

In the postwar era, a few hundred .45 Colt versions of the .45 ACP Model of 1950 and Model 25 were manufactured, but it remained scarce until a resurgence in demand for the old chambering towards the end of the 1970s. By then, reloaders were starting to experiment with very heavy .45 Colt loads to get .44 Magnum terminal performance at lower pressures and this, combined with the emerging sport of Cowboy Action Shooting meant that the .45 Colt was staging a big comeback in the marketplace. When the stainless Model 625 was released in 1989 most realized that a stainless .45 Colt wasn't far behind, and sure enough, the guns hit the shelves in 1990.

The Model 625 made the transition to the "flat-nose hammer" era in 1998, and in that year Smith made up a run of approximately 150 guns with 3" full-underlug barrels and round-butt frames for ace distributor Lew Horton. Back in the autumn of 2003 I was fortunate enough to stumble into one in trade (along with some cash) for a .223 "franken-FAL" I had been playing with, and when I realized what I had received, I felt pretty good about having made the deal. After all, there are only 149 other ones out there...

Valuation on the 3" gun pictured above is hard to make due to scarcity, but a nice example with box & docs would probably bring $800 or more, potentially a fair amount more if it is unfired, which mine most certainly is not. A more conventional 5" gun is still not a common sight, but would probably be in a more normal $500-$600 price bracket, with a 4" tapered barrel 625 Mountain Gun falling somewhere in scarcity and price between the 3" and 5" examples.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! That is a rare bird.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Tam said...

Thanks! :)

What's funny is that in my 3" stainless N-frame collection I've already scored the three rarest ones: The 625 .45 Colt, the 610, and the PC627.

Yet the 3" 625 in .45ACP, which as as common as fleas on a hound dog by comparison, yet eludes me. Maybe I'll get lucky at the next gun show. That's what keeps me going. :)

Don Meaker said...

I have one of those 625s but in 4 inch barrel, a poor man's commander. I long/lust after a S&W mountain gun in .45 Colt, but till then will have to do with my single action .45 Colt. Yeps. Just have to get along.

ajdshootist said...

I am so jealous of your collection Tam over here in the UK they banned hand guns,OK they let me keep a couple but i cannot fire them and i do so miss that always wanted a big N frame 45lc but never got the chance to own one will just have to make do with my 455 Triple Lock i surpose,have you got any of the Top Break Smiths Tam i do like those in .44rus & 44/40 or 38/40 .

Jennifer J said...

I deduce from your comments and snark that you are under-employed, but the richness of your smith stable is real treasure, to be sure. Good thing I am married, lest I seek you out and worship at the foot of your driveway (we're not worthy -see Wayne's World).
- Jason in Iowa

BobG said...

A beautiful gun, in one of my favorite calibers.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight - the 625 blued thin-barrel .45 Colt Mountain Gun I picked up a few years back just as a lark because it's fun to shoot is worth real money? Didn't Smith make a ton of those?

Tam said...

If it's blued and you bought it a few years ago, it's probably one of the '04 Model 25-13's.

Not super-rare, no, but only produced for a year. Shooting from the hip, and not doing any research, I'd figure $450-$550 depending on condition. Shoot away. :)

Tam said...

This one topped out at $455 just today, but didn't sell. I think the seller was a bit optimistic. By at least $200...

Kevin said...

Nice (and rare) piece.

I bought a 25-13 .45 Colt Mountain Gun, NIB in July of 2005. I paid right at $700 for it in Tucson, and I was happy to, since I've not seen another one since.

Kevin said...

Excuse me. "NIB" should have read "LNIB".

Tam said...

ajdshootist,

"have you got any of the Top Break Smiths Tam i do like those in .44rus & 44/40 or 38/40 ."

I only have three top-breaks thus far: Two .38's and a .32. One of the large No.3's is on my must-have list.

Montie said...

Tam,

I just discovered your blog (along with your other 2) a few days ago. I must say your knowledge is VERY good not only on your "Sunday Smiths", but even on your obscure military rifles and pistols.

I see on "View From The Porch" tht you are moving, perhaps as I am writing this. How long will it be before another posting here or on one of your other blogs?

I know I speak for all of your readers when I say, not long I hope. Good luck with the move.