August 11th, 2018

Rimfire Revolvers Buyers Guide — Five Great Guns

Smith Wesson Model 617 wheelgun rimfire revolver

Don’t own a quality .22 LR wheelgun yet? Well start saving those pennies. Every serious gun aficionado should have a quality rimfire revolver. A rimfire wheelgun is also very good choice for a first handgun. Indeed, a strong argument could be made that a .22 LR revolver is THE best choice for a new shooter’s first handgun. A .22 LR revolver is easy to shoot, easy to maintain, and will last a lifetime. Once you have mastered the basics of shooting with a .22 LR, you can move on to larger caliber handguns suitable for self-defense.

TOP FIVE Reasons to Own a Rimfire Revolver:

  • 1. Rimfire .22 LR Ammunition is cheap, and now plentiful again.
  • 2. A good, full-size .22 LR revolver will be MORE ACCURATE than the vast majority of semi-auto rimfire handguns. With no magazines to jam, a good wheelgun will also be more reliable than most self-loading rimfires.
  • 3. A rimfire revolver can shoot tens of thousands of rounds, with just routine maintenance. This gun can last a lifetime and then you can pass it on to your kids.
  • 4. On a S&W revolver, it is very easy to tune the pull weight. You can have a safe double-action pull with a very light, crisp single-action release.
  • 5. It is easy to change grips and sights to suit your preference. You can also mount a scope on the top-strap.

TOP FIVE Rimfire Revolvers (Current Production)

1. Smith & Wesson Model 617, 6″ or 4″ BBL, $829.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 617
10-Shot, Stainless Steel, 44.1 Oz. (6″ barrel), 39 Oz. (4″ barrel)

Smith Wesson model 617 4 inchSmith & Wesson’s Model 617, offered with either 6″ or 4″ barrels, is extremely accurate, with a very crisp trigger, and good sights. Accuracy is better than most shooter can hold. You can learn all the fundamentals with this ultra-reliable K-Frame handgun, shooting inexpensive .22 LR ammo. The 6″ version has a longer sight radius, so it’s superior for bullseye work. But the 4″ version balances much better. The choice is yours.

The Model 617 is rugged, durable, and can give you a lifetime of shooting fun. Your Editor has owned a 4″ ten-shot Model 617 for over 20 years, and it’s still going strong. Here is a video showing the 4″-barrel version of Smith & Wesson’s popular model 617.

Hickok 45 Demos “Wonderful revolver”, a 4″ Model 617. See also Hickok 45 m617 Part 2:

2. Ruger GP100 .22 LR, 5.5″ or 4″ BBL, $829.00 MSRP

Ruger GP-100 5.5
10-Shot, Stainless Steel, 42 Oz., 5.5″ Barrel

Ruger introduced the .22 LR GP100 two years ago. Since then, it has become a good seller. This 10-shot revolver with 5.5″ barrel has a comfortable grip and triple-locking cylinder (locked into the frame at the front, rear and bottom). Many shooters like the fact that the 5.5″-barrel GP100 carries its heft more to the rear than S&W’s 6″ 617. However, we’d give the edge to the 617’s trigger. NOTE: Davidson’s also has a limited edition GP100 with shorter 4″ barrel. This Davidson’s exclusive edition 4″ GP100 is handier to carry and balances better.

3. Smith & Wesson Model 17 Masterpiece, 6″ BBL, $989.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 617 wheelgun rimfire revolver
6-Shot, Carbon (Blued) Steel, 39.9 Oz., 6″ Barrel

Smith & Wesson recently re-introduced its Model 17 Masterpiece revolver. This Blued 6-shot classic has been “re-released” with a retro-style grip. It still offers outstanding accuracy and a sweet trigger pull. For those who like the look of the original K-22 revolvers this can fill the bill. With a non-underlug 6″ barrel, this is 4.2 ounces lighter than the 6″ Model 617. The price, $989.00 MSRP, is pretty steep. It you look around you may be able to find an original K-22 for a few hundred dollars less. We’ve seen some decent examples on Gunbroker in the $700 range, but pristine K-22s are selling for over $1000 now.

4. Smith & Wesson Model 63, 3″ BBL, $769.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 63 wheelgun .22 LR rimfire revolver
8-Shot, Stainless Steel, 25.8 Oz., 3″ barrel

The 8-Shot Smith & Wesson Model 63 may be one of the most versatile revolvers on the market. With a 3″ barrel, it balances well and is easy to hold. This makes this a great training pistol for a new shooter, even a junior or a lady with small hands. The latest 8-shot version offers nice big sights with fiber-optic front insert. While we consider this a great training and plinking handgun, it can also do double-duty for concealed carry. No the .22 LR won’t match the stopping power of a .357 Magnum, but better armed than not.

5. Ruger LCRx, 3″ BBL, $579.00 MSRP

Ruger LCRX LCR-X revolver polymer composite handgun .22LR rimfire
8-Shot, Steel/Aluminum/Polymer, 17.3 Oz., 3″ barrel

The new Ruger LCRx Revolver combines traditional wheelgun features with modern composite construction. The 3″ barrel and cylinder are steel. The “frame” housing the barrel and cylinder are aerospace-grade aluminum. The rear/lower section of the pistol, what Ruger calls the “fire control housing”, is made of polymer. This cuts weight and tames felt reoil. That fire control housing holds the hammer/trigger assemblies and provides a mount for the interchangeable grips. This is really a very innovative pistol. Thanks to its weight-saving features, Ruger’s LCRx is 8.5 ounces lighter than S&W’s Model 63, though both have 3″-long barrels.

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November 22nd, 2010

Smith & Wesson Revolver Auctioned to Benefit USA Shooting

Smith & WessonSmith & Wesson has introduced a limited edition of 500 engraved Model 27, .357 mag revolvers to mark the 75th Anniversary of the .357 Magnum cartridge. The very first of the 500, serial number SFY0001, will be auctioned on Gunbroker.com to benefit USA Shooting. “The proceeds of serial #SFY0001 will benefit not only our athletes but also our various shooting programs,” said Buddy DuVall, USA Shooting Team Foundation Executive Director. USA Shooting provides training facilities for American shooting sports athletes, and supports American shooters in international competitions. CLICK HERE to see the Gunbroker auction, which runs through December 19, 2010.

75th Anniversary Smith Wesson .357 Magnum

For those who can’t afford the first of the line, the remaining 499 special edition m27s should prove desirable collectibles. Constructed of carbon steel and built on a large N-Frame, this special edition six-shot .357 Magnum/.38 Special revolver features a 6.5″ barrel and a high-polish, blued finish. Across the revolver’s barrel, frame and cylinder, there is elaborate machine engraving replicating the hand-drawn artwork of Smith & Wesson engraver David Mishichak. The 75th Anniversary m27 comes with engraved square-butt walnut grips, pinned patridge front sight and a micro-adjustable rear sight. Only 500 anniversary models will be produced with a unique serial number range from SFY0001 to SFY0500. Each Model 27 will be shipped complete with a wooden glass top presentation case.

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