Monday, March 13, 2017

Sunday Smith #55: Model 745, 1988

With their Second Generation auto lineup in the mid-Eighties, Smith & Wesson offered a .45ACP pistol that was more or less aimed right at a chunk of Colt's 1911 market share. A honking-big handgun weighing in at almost 38 ounces empty, the eight-shot Model 645 was priced to undercut the classic offering from Colt and had more modern DA/SA lockwork.

One place it had difficulty making inroads was in the growing sport of action pistol shooting, where customized 1911-pattern guns from Springfield and Colt ruled the day. So based on some custom work done on personal guns by their in-house gunsmiths, Smith & Wesson released a competition-oriented variant of the Model 645, dubbed the Model 745.

The initial run came with the serial number prefix "DVC", for the IPSC motto of "Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas", or "Accuracy, Power, Speed". They also had special IPSC 10th Anniversary engraving on the slide.

The guns featured special Novak sights and a single-sided safety with enlarged paddle-like shape. Note that, unlike conventional S&W autos, depressing the safety does not drop the hammer. This is because the 745 borrows from the lockwork of the similarly competition-oriented Model 52 .38 Wadcutter gun and is single-action only.

The slide release is enlarged in a fashion similar to the safety, and the magazine release features an oversize button as well. There's an overtravel stop set in the frame behind the trigger, and checkering on the front- and backstraps.

Its parent gun, the 645, was discontinued in 1988, replaced by its Third Generation successor, the Model 4506, but the 745 continued in production for another couple years before being discontinued as well. Its own successors, the Model 845 and 945 came from the then-new Performance Center.

The gun in the photos was acquired at a gun show in Louisville, Kentucky in early '17 for $700.


Kristophr said...

Gasp. A post!

Sigivald said...

I assume you mean "Novak"?

Robin said...

That is a nice one. Back in the 80's when I was more active in USPSA there was one in a Van Nuys gunshop that I must have coon fingered two dozen times and half wrote a check for twice.

og said...

You just KEEP POSTING PICTURES. Dammit, it's not like I don't have the wantses already.

Blackwing1 said...

How's the trigger break on that as compared to a competition 1911? If it was intended to be used like that I would guess they took pains to make it light (3.5 lb?) and crisp.

And how does it take down? It would be really nifty to have a field-stripped picture of the major bits and pieces.

Thanks for the pictures...that must have been a heck of a thing to find at a fun show.

Old 1811 said...

Never saw a 745, but I carried a 645 on the job for a few years (even before Miami Vice). I loved it. It would put a full magazine into one ragged hole at seven yards. I read that it would feed empty cases. I tried it, and it did.
Alas, a financial emergency came along . . .

Robin said...

Blackwing, it strips pretty much like any Browning swinging link derived design.

Scott said...

Blackwing I had one for about eight years and the trigger wasn't quite 1911 good but it was really, really close. It would do just like my 1911's would and dump rounds into a steadily growing hole. At 7 to 15 yards once the hole hit about 2 1/2" you would just start shooting the empty space and could keep doing that for a couple hundred rounds.
The only thing I didn't like about it was the lack of an ambi safety because I am a lefty. I ended up selling it to a guy who had lusted after it for years to pay for race tires and have occasionally regretted it ever since.

Blackwing1 said...

Robin and Scott:

Thanks for the feedback!