Monday, March 10, 2008

Sunday Smith #38: Model PC627, 2002


With the introduction of its big-bore .44 and .41 Magnum cartridges, sales of Smith & Wesson's large-frame .357 Magnums began to tail off in the latter half of the 20th Century. The introduction of the beefed-up medium-size .357 Magnum revolvers of the L-frame type in the early Eighties seemed to be the death knell for the plain-Jane law enforcement-oriented Model 28 Highway Patrolman, which bowed out of the catalog in 1986, its fate sealed by a combination of the rugged L-frames and a growing trend for law enforcement to adopt semiautomatic pistols. The traditional blued Model 27, once S&W's flagship revolver, followed it into oblivion in 1994.

As a result, although S&W issued stainless steel N-frames in .44 Magnum and .41 Magnum in 1979 and 1986, respectively, it wasn't until 1989 that the Model 627 .357 Magnum Stainless debuted, and then only as a limited "Classic Hunter" edition with a full underlug heavy barrel. While the big stainless .357 flitted in and out of the catalog over the next few years, something radical happened in the six-shooter market: Seven-shooters. In the mid '90s both Smith and Taurus debuted medium-frame .357 magnum revolvers with seven shot cylinders. The implications of this were not lost on engineers at S&W.

In 1997, Smith & Wesson showed off a large-frame stainless .357 Magnum revolver with eight charge holes in the cylinder. The gun soon became a staple of the Performance Center catalog, with its cylinder recessed for moonclips and a bewildering array of barrel lengths and configurations. Variants were even released in .38 Super with an eye towards the competition shooting market. With their exotic features and the cachet bestowed by MSRP's over the $1,000 mark, the 627's quickly filled the niche of company flagship that had been left vacant by the departure of their 6-shot blue steel forebears.

The revolver pictured above, a 627-3, was acquired in Like-New-In-Box condition from a private seller in late '02 for just over $700. A 3" V-Comp, it shipped with a removable compensator that could be replaced with an unported muzzle protector. It is rare enough to not appear in the latest edition of the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, and values on Performance Center guns are hard to fix at any rate. It is not unreasonable to assume it could fetch some $850-$900 or so at auction today. With the capacity of some semiautomatics and the wallop of a magnum wheelgun, the 627 makes a fine addition to any collection of Smith & Wesson revolvers.

16 comments:

J.R.Shirley said...

It is purty. Even with that godawful comp.

JPG said...

Was that "eight-shot .357" used by Clint Eastwood in Blood Work a 627 wthout the comp?
JPG

Tam said...

jrs,

Thanks! Did I bring it out to deer camp? I can't remember...


jpg,

Very close. The one in the movie was a 2 5/8" Lew Horton gun. The big difference between it and mine is that the 2 5/8" gun has a barrel so short that there's no locking lug at the end of the ejector rod; it uses a ball detent on the crane instead.

Anonymous said...

"something radical happened in the six-shooter market: Seven-shooters"

What happened was the so-called Assault Weapons Ban with its ten round magazine limit on semiauto's. People said 'hey, if I can only have 10 rounds of 9mm I may as well have 7 rounds of something with some punch.

Tam said...

While the release to market was well-timed, I'm going to guess that experimentation and development had started a good year or two before the '94 AWB.

Timmeeee said...

I notice that several of your guns have compensators or ported barrels.

Do you ever get hit with bullet splinters?

Tam said...

Nope.

The only time I've gotten tagged with a piece of projectile from the gun (as opposed to backsplash from a target) was back in the summer of '94 when a Rossi 971 I had carried up lazily when shooting Georgia Arms "Deerstoppers" (158gr @ 1400fps) single-action. Some jacket material shaved off on the forcing cone and a good-sized fragment half buried itself in my cheek about 3/4" below the pupil of my left eye. I was not wearing eye protection. I have done so religiously ever since...

Mannie said...

Tam,
I have been searching hi and low for the 627PC VComp that You have!!
IF You'd like to sell it,PLEASE contact Me...I'll pay a very nice price for one...
Thanks!
Mannie
"cmannie13@sbcglobal.net"

Mannie said...

A price of over $1000.00...Contact Me..I pay well!

Tam said...

The more I look into this gun, the more I realize I need to get it lettered.

The gun has a special order number on the label, the SKU isn't listed in the SCSW3E, and the s/n is XXX0001...

Caleb said...

After yesterday, I had to hit up this post and see what this gun was all about, and man now I really am coveting this gun. If only I had a bunch of money sitting around, this would be a SICK ICORE gun with a C-more on top.

Tam said...

Given the S/N, the nature of the gun, and the date of production, I really need to get it lettered.

jon spencer said...

Put it on Gunbroker with a "buy it now" at a high enough price that you would be happy to let it go. If no one buys it at the buy it now and it does not reach a price that you would even think of selling you could pull it off the auction.

GuardDuck said...

Put it on Gunbroker

I don't think I'd ever sell that Smith. Of course I have a bad habit of not selling guns.

Alan said...

I realize this is an old post, but I just purchased one of these and I can't find much information about it.
Did you have yours lettered?

Tam said...

Sadly, I never did.