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  #1  
Old 11-24-2021, 5:23 PM
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Default Looking for revolver owner feedback - S&W 617 and Ruger Redhawk .45 Auto

Hi all and Happy almost Thanksgiving!

I'd like to hear your feedback and user experiences with:

1. S&W 617
I need a nice .22 LR revolver and this one seems to be one of the best available. I love the idea of a 10 shot revolver and obviously the cosmetics, design and accuracy are going to be K-Frame good. If you don't have one of these, what do you like in a DA/SA .22 4-5" revolver? Don't want a SA revolver. This will be a fun, new shooter plinker for when I introduce new shooters (friends and relatives) to their first handgun experience.

2. Ruger Redhawk in .45 Auto
I have found a few good condition S&W 625 PC and JMs on Gunbroker. I will have to go through the hassle and money of converting to SAO to get it transferred here so getting one will likely turn into an expensive and time consuming endeavor. Fair enough.

But I then stumbled across the Redhawk in .45 Auto on the roster. Not as good looking as the 625 but obviously a decent revolver to shoot my stash of .45 ACP out of. Thoughts? Opinions? I own several Rugers and have always liked them overall but have never owned a Redhawk.

Thanks for your expertise on either of these wheelguns. I have a few plastic pistols and they are fine but wheelguns are just so much cooler and fun to shoot frankly.

As a reloader, the Redhawk or 625 are more appealing than another 1911 as I don't like chasing brass at the indoor range. I had a nice Springfield 1911 fancy schmancy model but I never enjoyed it as much as actually shooting the 625, I was forced to get rid of both a few years ago for the money.

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  #2  
Old 11-24-2021, 6:00 PM
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Have had a 617 for several years. Accurate and reliable with virtually any ammo that fits in the chamber. Fun but rarely goes to the range. Prefer my model 41s. Have toyed with the idea of the loading blocks and speed loaders. Forget the make. A little tedious to load compared to magazines for a semi.

Not a gun I would readily part with. Did add a nice set of wood grips to mine. Need to check if I have a picture.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2021, 6:08 PM
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Thanks for the feedback Tank! Much appreciated. Seems like a very nice, well crafted pistol. I bought a lot of .22 during the great ammo shortage of 2013-14. All kinds, many different brands, whatever was available. The thought of feeding a lot of this frankly "unusual" spec ammo through a semi auto seems like it would lead to frustration as .22 semi auto pistols are generally finicky about ammo.

A .22 revolver's ability to just shoot what will chamber is very appealing to me. Waxy, oily, dry, HPs, lead, copper projectiles, heck even getting some shotshells might be fun. I bet I have ten or fifteen kinds of .22 ammo in my stash.
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  #4  
Old 11-24-2021, 6:23 PM
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I believe the S&W 625 JM and PC are still on the roster. I have the PC model. It's great. I shoot 45ACP and auto rim equally.

I looked at the Ruger. It's nice. But heavy. It uses it's own moon clips, which are more expensive than the ones used for S&W and Colt. The Ruger can not use auto rim cases. The Ruger must use moon clips. Smith and Colt revolvers do not need clips, but then you would have to use a pencil or stick to eject empties.
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  #5  
Old 11-24-2021, 6:25 PM
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I have a 6” 617. It has thousands upon thousands of rounds through it, but it broke. I’d suggest upgrading the front sight post and get the speed bees loader and blocks.
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  #6  
Old 11-24-2021, 6:36 PM
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I have the 4” 617.

DA trigger is heavy, but you get used to it.

6” might be better for plinking, but could be a little nose heavy.
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  #7  
Old 11-24-2021, 7:01 PM
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Well, the Ruger can also shoot full power 45LC - like 1270ft lbs 325gr hard cast. 44mag power levels. But because of that, yes it is heavier. If you never want to shoot anything but 45ACP, maybe it is overkill.

But it is built like a tank and will laugh off all the 45ACP you can ever run through it, and no reminder of Hillary Clinton on the side either. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It was an easy choice for me.




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  #8  
Old 11-24-2021, 7:10 PM
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Skyhawk

That is a nice looking revolver!!
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2021, 7:21 PM
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I have the Redhawk in .45 Colt/ACP and really enjoy it. The factory stocks fit me very well. I mostly shoot handloaded .45 Colt rounds --its very flexible, accurate, and reliable with the stock mainspring. But, as mentioned, it is big and heavy. Barrel is 4.2". I looked at the 625 when I bought the Ruger and liked its balance and gold bead front sight, but it did not fit my hand as well. I do not like loading/unloading the moon clips, but there are tools to fix that (I just don't own any).
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  #10  
Old 11-24-2021, 8:53 PM
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I have the 4" 617 and its a great shooter. Much cheaper to shoot/train with than my nearly identical 686. I did have issues with some .22 ammo leading up the forcing cone when new, I recut/lengthened the forcing cone and its fine now. Its the perfect gun to start a new shooter on if its not too heavy for them.
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  #11  
Old 11-24-2021, 8:57 PM
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Great feedback gang, thank you. Skyhawk, your Redhawk looks better in your pics than in it does in the Ruger pics. Yes, the ability to also shoot more powerful .45 LC could be fun since I reload.

Seems like these would be a good pair of revolvers to go for. I'll be seeing my dealer next week, we'll see what they have or can get.
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  #12  
Old 11-24-2021, 9:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capybara View Post

1. S&W 617
I need a nice .22 LR revolver and this one seems to be one of the best available. I love the idea of a 10 shot revolver and obviously the cosmetics, design and accuracy are going to be K-Frame good. If you don't have one of these, what do you like in a DA/SA .22 4-5" revolver? Don't want a SA revolver. This will be a fun, new shooter plinker for when I introduce new shooters (friends and relatives) to their first handgun experience.
I have a 4inch 617. It's a nice gun, no complaints.

It is heavy for a 22 and somewhat expensive.

Another interesting option - that I haven't shot yet, but will probably buy at some point -is the Ruger LCRx.

https://ruger.com/products/lcrx/specSheets/5435.html

Appears to be about half the weight of my 617.

There is something to be said for single actions for newbies though: easy to cock and shoot, very friendly aesthetics. I have a single-six and it's great fun.

Ruger Wranglers seem to be great bargains; hard to do better in the low $200s. If I didn't already have said single-six, I would have bought a Wrangler by now!

https://www.sportsmans.com/search/?text=ruger+wrangler

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  #13  
Old 11-24-2021, 9:46 PM
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If you don't need a 10-round cylinder, stainless, or a 6" barrel some S&W Model 18s are C&R and roster exempt.

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  #14  
Old 11-24-2021, 10:52 PM
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I have a Redhawk, primarily because I wanted to fiddle around with high-octane Colt .45 loads. As a reloader, you'd probably appreciate the same.

Unquestionably, the Redhawk is built for virtually anything you could throw downrange from it. Guys at my LGS just chuckle and shake their heads at memories of what they've seen Redhawks gobble up. Not too keen on the moon clips needed to fire .45 ACP, but it is what it is, and I appreciate the option and flexibility even if it is a PITA.

The Redhawk is big, and its heavy, like others have commented, but ugly? I guess it's in the eye of the beholder .. I rather like mine for what it is (a beast!).
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  #15  
Old 11-25-2021, 4:12 AM
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I've got a 4" 617 and a 5" 617 (custom barrel) and I enjoy them both. Keep in mind you can't get a .22 revolver to have as light a double action trigger pull as a center fire.

The lowest I can go on my 617s is 7 pounds, or it won't be reliable.

Custom 617

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  #16  
Old 11-25-2021, 4:42 AM
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Have you considered a Model 63 vs the 617? A little smaller and handier, but only 8 rounds vs 10 rounds. I have the 3" Model 63. No complaints. I also believe it's a little easier to find and a bit less expensive. YMMV.
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  #17  
Old 11-25-2021, 6:18 AM
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I have a Mod 18 and its sweet. The only thing that would make it better would be that 10 round cylinder. I'd vote yes on the 617.
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  #18  
Old 11-25-2021, 7:34 AM
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I purchased an L-frame S&W 696-1 from out of state a couple of years ago, and the process to convert it to SAO for import through a CA FFL is quite simple; just remove the DA sear.

The sear basically drops back into place once the transfer to you is complete.

I have a couple of Ruger Single Sixes that I enjoy plinkin' all manner of .22 rimfire from, and a nifty S&W 351 PD, an alloy 7-shot .22 Mag snub. Weighs 11 oz empty. I'd love to have a 617 or a 63!
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  #19  
Old 11-25-2021, 8:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elSquid View Post
I have a 4inch 617. It's a nice gun, no complaints.

It is heavy for a 22 and somewhat expensive.

Another interesting option - that I haven't shot yet, but will probably buy at some point -is the Ruger LCRx.

https://ruger.com/products/lcrx/specSheets/5435.html

Appears to be about half the weight of my 617.

There is something to be said for single actions for newbies though: easy to cock and shoot, very friendly aesthetics. I have a single-six and it's great fun.

-- Michael
I was shopping for a Ruger SP-101 in .22 (8 shot) when I stumbled on a 4" 617. Nobody had the Ruger so I bought the 617. This is a very fine revolver, accurate, nice to shoot. Heavy though (40 oz.) and expensive (close to $1k). SP-101 is around 30 oz. so when I found one some months later I sold the 617 and bought the SP-101.

I also later bought the Ruger LCRx (5435 as shown in your link). Very light at a little over 17 oz. and impervious to rust. I like the LCRx better than the SP-101 for a number of reasons (weight, handling, etc.).

I kind of regret selling the 617. The weight got me though and it was too heavy for my wife to shoot comfortably. I don't think you could go wrong with it since in every other way it is a nice revolver.

Dan
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  #20  
Old 11-25-2021, 8:53 AM
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Not an owner, but I have shot plenty of S&W 617, thanks to customers coming through with them during my RSO days. Those are nice revolvers.

I've also had the pleasure of shooting Ruger's SP-101 in .22LR. The trigger pull is typical Ruger, i. e. kinda heavy from the factory. But it's a quality piece.

At present, I own a couple of Redhawks. They are big, heavy revolvers, and yes, they are built like tanks. If you want to go with loads from "mild" to "wild", the Redhawk is the ticket. The trigger pull is actually pretty nice, at least to me.

Not knocking a S&W M25 at all, BTW. They're also very good choices.
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  #21  
Old 11-25-2021, 10:23 AM
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That Model 18 is a beaut! That's one I'd love to own.
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  #22  
Old 11-25-2021, 10:56 AM
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Have the 4" and 6" 617. I find the 4" easier to shoot but the nose heavy 6" may or may not be something you prefer for stability. Both are fun to shoot and both a bit heavy DA. They are very well made and look like they will last several lifetimes if taken care of.

I have one of the new version Ruger SP101s 8 shot that is good for beginners, also fun to shoot and a bit lighter and less expensive than a 617. Not as fancy as the 617 but no issues so far with mine and the fiber optic front sight helps a bit with older eyes.

If you want to slow down the rate at which your kids burn through .22 ammo it helps to have a single six witch is also a well made .22 that takes a bit longer to load and unload and no need to worry about heavy double action trigger.

In general you can't go wrong with any of these three.
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  #23  
Old 11-25-2021, 11:36 AM
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I did some more research and did discover that I could shoot the 1,000 round case of .45 AutoRim that I scored a killer deal on from J&G a few years ago out of the S&W 625, but not the Ruger Redhawk. In 2021, ammo availability plays a big part in my gun buying decisions. I would then have 1,000 pieces of .45 AR to reload or I could shoot .45 ACP, which I also have a good stash of.

.45 LC is cool out of the Ruger, but I am leaning toward the 625 again now simply because I have quite a few thousands of rounds of ammo I could shoot out of it in stock versus trying to hunt down and build up a .45 LC ammo collection, although I could obviously shoot my .45 ACP ammo out of the Ruger. I think I got that thousand rounds of .45 AutoRim from J&G for a ridiculously low price about 5-6 years ago, like for $189? Wish I had picked up a few more cases of it.

I'm pretty set on the 617 for the .22 LR revolver, seems right up my alley.

Thanks for all of the interesting feedback and suggestions folks, you guys are great.

Decisions, decisions.
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  #24  
Old 11-25-2021, 1:00 PM
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For a range target revolver I'm very happy with the 6" S&W 617. Not too heavy nor too long for me, and really like the 10 round capacity and light SA trigger pull. I did replace the factory Hogue grips with a retro walnut set from Altamont.

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Old 11-25-2021, 3:09 PM
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4' 617 and 6" Model 17 owner here. I like them both a lot. Although it only has six shots, I prefer the weight and balance of the 6" Model 17. It has such a classic beautiful blue finish and is very satisfying to shoot. I use them strictly for plinking.
I sold my 1st Gen .22LR SP-101 because it was too compact [for me], and the trigger was meh, even after being worked on. I liked the build quality, it just didn't translate to the performance. Maybe the newer ones are better. It's not like Ruger doesn't know how to make good .22s.
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Old 11-25-2021, 5:35 PM
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I had a 4" 617, and regret selling it some time back. I have a 6", and it's fine, but really prefer the balance of the 4" version. Great quality, very accurate.
Good luck!
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Old 11-25-2021, 11:36 PM
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I have the 45 LC/Auto Ruger and it is a great gun. I have shot 45 acp, 45 Long Colt and 45 Winchester Magnum out it. The 45 Winchester Magnum is a very hot load and it really screams out of this gun. I shot Underwood 45 Winchester Magnum loads out of it and it recoils pretty good. The ammo is rated 1600 fps with a 230 grain bullet. I realize this is probably out a Grizzly so the Ruger is probably doing only about 1400 fps, but it is very hot load equal to a 44 magnum. Ruger does not recommend this ammo, but the Redhawk is a very strong revolver and I had no problems with it.
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Old 11-26-2021, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eaglemike View Post
I had a 4" 617, and regret selling it some time back. I have a 6", and it's fine, but really prefer the balance of the 4" version. Great quality, very accurate.
Good luck!
Based upon I will often have new/first time shooters shooting this gun, I too will likely get the 4" barrel version as it will be better balanced and lighter.
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  #29  
Old 11-27-2021, 10:01 AM
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Default Alternate 45 revolver

I found a 45 colt / 45 ACP BlackHawk here on Cal Guns.
Cowboy Up!
All 45 acp shoot better than I do.
320 grain 45 Colt, using Ruger specific handloads, are a M.F.
I need some pachmayr grips...
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  #30  
Old 11-27-2021, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The King View Post
I found a 45 colt / 45 ACP BlackHawk here on Cal Guns.
Cowboy Up!
All 45 acp shoot better than I do.
320 grain 45 Colt, using Ruger specific handloads, are a M.F.
I need some pachmayr grips...
Excellent! I have a Ruger Blackhawk Bisley in .45 Colt that I would like to have a 45 acp cylinder fitted to it but don't know where to turn to get this done. I contacted Ruger, no help there.

Ideally, I would like to have a non-fluted cylinder in .44 Magnum (or .44 Special) rechambered in 45 acp. Since my Bisley has a non-fluted cylinder, this would be of the same type. I would go with a fluted cylinder if that is the easiest way.

Dan
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  #31  
Old 11-27-2021, 1:11 PM
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I got a 617 a couple years ago and it’s a fun gun. Had to go back to s&w when I got it though because their quality control seems to be **** now. Been fun since I got it back though.
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Old 11-28-2021, 9:51 AM
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Default blackhawk

Ideally, I would like to have a non-fluted cylinder in .44 Magnum (or .44 Special) rechambered in 45 acp. Since my Bisley has a non-fluted cylinder, this would be of the same type. I would go with a fluted cylinder if that is the easiest way.
------------------------
Look up Hamilton Bowen. http://bowenclassicarms.com/
His custom shop is single action specialist.
Not inexpensive I am sure.

No surprise no help from Ruger.
They seem to be building everything so long as it's plastic.
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  #33  
Old 11-28-2021, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The King View Post
Ideally, I would like to have a non-fluted cylinder in .44 Magnum (or .44 Special) rechambered in 45 acp. Since my Bisley has a non-fluted cylinder, this would be of the same type. I would go with a fluted cylinder if that is the easiest way.
------------------------
Look up Hamilton Bowen. http://bowenclassicarms.com/
His custom shop is single action specialist.
Not inexpensive I am sure.

No surprise no help from Ruger.
They seem to be building everything so long as it's plastic.
I thought about Bowan and looked up their website a while ago. At first I was thinking that they were too fancy but I didn't dig down to the "options" page.

I can contact them with my project and see what they say.

Thanks for the reminder.

Dan
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Old 11-28-2021, 3:53 PM
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6in 617 10 shot is heavy but no recoil. Fun to shoot
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  #35  
Old 11-28-2021, 10:06 PM
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I had a 617, but sold it and got a K-22 instead. Much smoother and lighter trigger.
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