Smith and Wesson revolvers for the 45 acp

  • Last Post 29 October 2023
Keith posted this 03 August 2009

I have been looking for a Smith 625 or older 25 for the 45 acp/auto rim.  The newer 625s have a good reputation for accuracy but the older 25s for the little I have been able to learn can be more challenging.  The size or oversized cylinder throats seems to be the problem most often with the model 25s.  Can any of the members who have experience with these give any suggestions as to the dates of manufacture when Smith and Wesson would have made the model 25 with the .452 cylinder throats, or is this just the luck of the draw.  I am set up to cast for the smaller throats and would like to use the same loads and not introduce a new variable to the inventory.  I also prefer longer barrels and the 5 inch 625 is not easy to find.  There are on the some of the acution sites model 25s which are not in the collector price range,  and have 6 or 6 1/2 inch barrels.  I am look for some gude lines to differential between the two, and to have some idea of what to expect before jumping in.  My goal is accuracy first.

Keith DVM

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JSH posted this 03 August 2009

Keith, I was in your shoes a couple of years ago. Short and to the point on this subject. I should have bought a plain jane 25 or 625, used to do what I wanted it to do. After some searching and looking, talking etc. I went with the 625JM. A darn fine looking pistol and felt good in the hand. That is where it stopped. Cylinder is crap, forcing cone is terrible. Trigger and internals, not even close to a blued gun. This is the first brand spanking new SW I ever bought. I have had my share of used ones and could never say a bad word about them. This is th elast new one I will ever buy. It has turned into a money pit. Upside to this is, a very good learning experiance and everything I have done to it has helped. So I don't feel the effort has been frugal. Just unecessary. If you buy a new style, I suggest you tear it down to bare bones with a good honest cleaning. Mine had so uch filings in the action lube I thought it was anti sieze or some super lube Mine will shoot ball FLGC type projectiles fairly well. Lead is another thing. Throat/forcing cone is terrible. Soon to be fixed. Between the time and funds I have in this, I would be foolish to stop now. pay the price and find a good “blue” gun and be done with it. Jeff

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Dale53 posted this 03 August 2009

My experience has been quite different. I, a couple of years ago, purchased a 625-8 Jerry Miculek Special (4") new. I have been having “aging eye” problems so mounted a Red Dot sight on it. It shoots EXTREMELY well. Well under an inch at 25 yards. I did install a JM Spring kit and set the double action at 9.0 lbs and the single action at 3.0 lbs (really, a piece of cake as I didn't have to do ANYTHING in reference to smoothing the action, etc). It was and is one of the most satisfying revolvers I own. Last year, I shot it between 2000-3000 rounds. I am on track to shoot these two, collectively, about 5000 rounds this year. All cartridges are my home cast lead bullets and reloads, of course.

That one was so satisfying that I went to the OGCA last year looking for a 5” one. There was exactly ONE 625 that I found. It was a 5” 625-6 model of 1989 in as new condition (an estate safe queen by all evidence). The price was agreeable, so I took it home and mounted a Red Dot on it and it is at least as good as the JM Special but of course, does not have the JM Grips nor removable front sight. I put a spring kit in it also.

These revolvers are SO good I take both of them to the range with me and sometimes shoot one and sometimes shoot the other.

I have two friends who, after I got my JM Special, tried it and immediately ordered theirs. Theirs are as good as mine.

Here is a picture of my 625-6:

These are mostly shot with target loads (200 gr H&G #68 Clone from a six cavity MiHec mould) ahead of 4.0 grs of Bullseye or equivalent) or the same powder charge with an original H&G four cavity #130 bullet. The alloy is Wheel Weights + 2% tin. They are sized at .452". Both of my revolvers and my two friends' revolver, have cylinder throats of .452+ (you can push .452” bullets through the throats with some finger pressure).

As an experiment, I shot two different 200 gr bullets (the #68 and #130) with three different powder charges and they all went into the ten ring on the timed fire target at 25 yards. In short, they seem to shoot well with most any reasonable load. I am 74 years of age and am certainly past my shooting prime, but have shot several targets this year that I am quite proud of (95 and 96 out of a hundred on the slow fire target). These revolvers just seem to be VERY user friendly.


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JSH posted this 04 August 2009

Hello Dale, good to see you here. My 625 leading issues are going to be taken care of shortly. I must have a nack for getting the lemons? I got my BANG hammer spring and rebound spring and am going to see waht that gives me for results. He still advises to use Fed primers. I have had zero luck in finding any as of late, and refused to pay the price for a few a friend found for me. Thank god he didn't buy them then want me to pay up, $75 per 1K. Could I trouble you for a part# on the scope base for the red dot please. thanks jeff

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Ed Harris posted this 04 August 2009

My 4 inch 625 Model of 1989 looks just like the one pictured, except that I'm still using the factory iron sights. I use the Saeco #954 Cowboy bullet which is a 230-gr. rounded flatnose which drops from the mould at .455 in wheelweights. I load these as-cast and unsized, lubricated with Lee Liquid Alox and profile using the Lee Factory Crimp die with 4.5 grs. of Bullseye. From my set back and rechambered Marlin 1894 Cowboy converted to .45 ACP, an average of ten consecutive 5-shot groups at 50 yards off sandbags with iron sights is right at 2 inches. My 625 groups about the same off sandbags using iron sights at 25 yards as the Marlin levergun does at 50.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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cityboy posted this 04 August 2009

I bought a S&W 25-2 several years ago and have seldom used it. Is it still considered a top gun in its class? I am thinking of selling it but don't know what the demand is.


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excess650 posted this 05 August 2009

My 25-3 4” is another fine example.  I've shot the miniscule 152gr to 255gr, and it doesn't seem to be fussy.  Ragged hole groups at 50' were common when I was shooting at an indoor range.  My pet load with a 255gr LBT WFN is 9.5gr Blue Dot in 45 AR cases and Federal primers.  It shoots a bit high with the rear sight all the way down, but accurate.

I can't say when S&W tightened the throats on the 45s, but you can bet if it has a pinned barrel, it'll have oversize throats.

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Ed Harris posted this 06 August 2009

I used to have a Model 25-5 in .45 Colt which dated from 1984 and had huge .458 cylinder throats. Only way I got it to shoot was to take an RCBS 45-300GC .45 mould and machine off the GC heel to make a 270-gr. flatnosed mould which dropped at .459 I used this in a .455 Hand Ejector I had at the time and also with the 25-5, using 6 grs. of Bullseye in the .45 Colt and 4 grs. in the .455, casting bullets of 1:25 alloy and shooting unsized, with light film of diluted LLA. Sold both guns to the same guy when I left Ruger. Since I like the lighter punkin roller loads all my .45 revolvers are .45 ACP now, Pietta 1858 Remington and Ruger Old Army with Walt Kirst conversions, and the 625 Model of 1989. All use the Cowboy “Scofield Equivalent” load, 4.5 grs. of Bullseye for about 720 f.p.s. with 230 LFN.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Dale53 posted this 06 August 2009

JSH; My scope mounts were purchased from CDNN for about $20.00. They no longer show them on their web site. Further their “one price for all” shipping charges are rather high for inexpensive items. However, they have a close out price on the Simmons 30 mm Red Dot (I have several and they are excellent for everything up to and including .44 Magnum). These will not stand up to the really heavy hitters (.454 Casull and up) but work just fine with the more moderate calibers.

One of the absolutely BEST Red Dot sights is the Ultra Dot. I prefer the four reticule model in 30mm. 30mm seems to be the sweet spot in size (easier to “find the hole” than the 1” one and doesn't interfere with gun balance like the larger 42mm do).

Probably the most “elegant” sight base is from Weigand and the price is good, also:

In the later S&W's they are already drilled and tapped for scope mounts so they are easily installed (just remove the rear sight and install).

Red Dots have given me a new lease on my shooting life. With the dots, I am just about as good as I ever was. THAT IS GOOD!


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Treetop posted this 08 August 2009

I have an early 80s S&W 25-2 with a spare cylinder chambered in .45 Colt.  This spare cylinder stared life as a Model 27 cylinder chambered in .38/.357.  A local gunsmith named Earl Long, re chambered it and fit it to my 25-2 revolver.

After reading this post, I checked both cylinder's throats and was disappointed to find the following:

1) The factory .45ACP/AR throats were .456-.4565 inch.

2) The “converted” cylinder throats were .455-.4555 inch.

I haven't shot this gun in 15-20 years so I can't remember what sort of accuracy I was getting. 

Last winter, while “still hunting for squirrels with a .22 single shot rifle, I encountered several whitetail bucks and feral hogs, all at < 30 yards.  So  I have decided to work up a safe load, using my Lyman 454424 bullets, in either the .45 Auto Rim or .45 Colt.

I have two questions:

1) What can I do to minimize the effects of the over size throats?  Cast “hard” bullets that would resist upsetting in the throats?

2) What loads would you recommend for deer and hogs at < 30 yards in this 25-2.  Will my gun safely take the old “Keith” load of 18 gr. Alliant 2400 with the 454424, if I work up to it carefully?  This load would only be shot very occasionally when sighting in before season and when taking game. 

I am new to this forum but I'm a second generation llife long handloader.  I learned the craft from my Dad as a teenager in the early 60s.  I have been a Machinist/Tool and Die Maker since the early 70s.  Thanks for your time!

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GBertolet posted this 08 August 2009

I have a 25-2 also. Mine has .455 cylinder throats. Just about any lead bullet I shoot out of this gun works well. As long as they are big. I have been fortunate to have several 45ACP molds that cast 454 dia, casting of half lead and half wheel weights to insure bullet upset in cylinder throats. They are shot unsized using Lee Liquid Alox. I settled on the Lyman 452460 SWC bullet with 4.2 gr Bullseye. Heavier loads of Bullseye worked fine also, but I wanted a plinker load so I settled on this one. It's heavy enough to insure bullet upset. No leading what so ever. From a rest it shoots 1  1/2 inch or better at 25 yds. When I first got the gun I tried some .451 dia bullets I had for my 1911, and they leaded like crazy. So experience shows I must stick with the bigger bullets. They chamber easily even at .454 dia. I started out using auto rim cases, but it got to be a pain since none of my progressives would take the auto rim case, due to it's extra thick rim. So I switched to auto cases with full moon clips and never looked back. I bought several dozen of the moonies. I just load them up at home before going to the range and demoon when I get home. No muss or fuss. It impresses the heck out of the weekend warriors at the range who never seen anything like that.

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RicinYakima posted this 08 August 2009


1. Even though it doesn't sound logical, softer and not harder bullets lead less. If you cast, WW's or a little softer is just fine. If you are buying bullets, look for factory, soft, .454 bullets made for 45 Colts. A .455” bullet would be best.

2. If it were I, consider the 45 Colt cylinder. I would not recommend the Keith load, as it was worked up with “old” 2400 data when it was made by Hercules, and not the stuff sold now. Since a hundred feet per second isn't going to make any difference at 30 yards, I would consider 8.5 grains of new Unique, with a 255 grain bullet with the biggest flat nose you can find (Lyman 454424).

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tturner53 posted this 08 August 2009

Here's a heads up for you 625 fans. CDNN has a Limited Edition nickel finish N-frame 25 45ACP with a 3” barrel for $600 dealer price. I think the ad is still good, not positive. If you're interested go to

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excess650 posted this 09 August 2009

With those big cylinder throats I would opt for a bullet that would fill them.  The 454424 cast of WW + 2% tin should get it done.  If necessary, lap the mould to get it to drop a bullet large enough.

I like the 9.5gr Blue Dot load with 250gr bullets in AR cases.  As always, start a bit lower and work up. 

I didn't keep my 25-7 long enough to decide what was a good 45 Colt load, so I'll defer to other experience on that one.  The cylinder notches on the 45cal S&W N frames are pretty thin so don't try to make a magnum out of it.  A hardcast 255gr at 1000fps should be adequate. 

<Last winter, while “still hunting for squirrels with a .22 single shot rifle, I encountered several whitetail bucks and feral hogs, all at < 30 yards.  So  I have decided to work up a safe load, using my Lyman 454424 bullets, in either the .45 Auto Rim or .45 Colt.

I have two questions:

1) What can I do to minimize the effects of the over size throats?  Cast “hard” bullets that would resist upsetting in the throats?

2) What loads would you recommend for deer and hogs at < 30 yards in this 25-2.  Will my gun safely take the old “Keith” load of 18 gr. Alliant 2400 with the 454424, if I work up to it carefully?  This load would only be shot very occasionally when sighting in before season and when taking game.>

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Keith posted this 25 August 2009

Shortly after i started this line I found a five inch 625. I like the old blued Smiths but I like acurate revolvers more. This 625 is just like what I have read on these revolvers, easy to shot, acurtate, and shoots any reasonable load well. I really like Ed Harris,s 4.5 of bullseye with a 240 grain LBT LFN that was designed for the acp. However, the supply of hercules bullseye I have is getting low and I will be saving what is left for the 38s. So I will be trying a few other powders in the short term. Keith DVM

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Dale53 posted this 27 October 2009

I was out to the range a couple of days ago and shot my “Personal Best” with my 625-6 5½” Model of 1989:

The load was a MiHec H&G #68 clone - 200 gr SWC sized .452” ahead of the last of my P5066 (4.5 grs). This chronographs 719 fps (SD of 6) and shoots quite consistently well under 1” at 25 yards. These were shot with Auto Rim cases (Starline).

When I get a target like this (or close to it) I get on a “Natural High” - who needs drugs:dude:!!


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Balhincher posted this 28 October 2009

That is fine shooting Dale.  Makes me want to hang up a target and try some bulleseye shooting again.  I've got a model 25 but haven't done any serious target shooting with it.  I have those same two H&G designs (168 and 130) and used to shoot them a lot in my Gold Cup.  This discussion tells me I need to measure the throats on the model 25 and see what size bullets I'll need.

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Dale53 posted this 30 October 2009

Balhincher; Thanks for the kind words.

My cylinder throats on both of my 625's (625-6 and a 625-8) are .452". I can just feel the bullets enter the throat when I use the 454424 bullets or 452664 when they are sized at .452".

I have a new NOE Group Buy 454424 mould that I will be running tomorrow A.M. I will load up some for my 625's and see how they shoot.

I don't know why I am so interested in shooting heavy bullets from these revolvers as I have several .44 Magnums and two Ruger large frame .45 Colts plus a couple of .454's, but, I am. So I will continue on this path for academic reasons.

I fully believe that a good 255-260 gr Keith bullet (or LBT WFN or WLN) of the same weight at 900-1000 fps will give excellent results on close range hogs and deer. In fact, I would be REALLY surprised if you ever recover a bullet. I see “through and through” regardless of where they are hit with a moderately hard cast bullet.


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Ed Harris posted this 01 June 2015

I wanted to dust this thread off and bump it with some eye candy. This is my .45 Hand Ejector Model of 1950 Military, which is a commercial version of the M1917 with the postwar style short action and hammer block.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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Bud Hyett posted this 01 June 2015

You are somewhat at the mercy of the luck-of-the-draw, however, there is hope. I own several Model 25's in .45 Colt and have had experience with the .45 ACP in helping friends find loads for their guns. I have a 25-5 with 8 3/8 barrel, 3 T's that I will never sell because I wanted one. It has .455/.456 throats and needs a lot of care for loading.

The older guns for .45 Colt after WW II tend to have larger cylinder throats. Cylinder throats run .455, even to .457, but the guns shoot well if you are willing to work up a load. The 25-2 .45 ACP has tighter throats and shoots competitively for Bullseye matches.

S&W brought out the Model of 1989, the 25-7, because they finally realized  they needed a quality product again. There was a second run of this model in .45 ACP and .45 Colt, both are hard to find for sale today. I bought a 25-7 for a woods carry gun and immediately bought a 625 Mountain Gun because the 25-7 was too good to waste in the woods. The 625 shot as well as the 25-7.

I would look for a used 25-7 or a Mountain Gun to maximize the chance of getting a good revolver.

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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giorgio de galleani posted this 01 June 2015

I bought about thirty years ago this S&W   635-3 revolver , because I had a black splined rebated cylinder one , that  was too big to be worn in the front blue jeans pocket ( following good elmer Keith's advice ).

Put on a Pachmair grip that suited my hands and  Millet sights that suited my eyes .Last year aging eyes preferre  the fiber optics front sights .

Shot with EXTREME pleasure all manners of loads , from pin shooting hand grenades to  mousefart cowboy loads . Thousands of them , a lot for an italian , I know that you US shooters shoot much more rounds that what we europeans do . 

Used autorim brass or ACP brass ,with  and without  moon clips . All with large pistol primers

Ten years ago I had it retimed , with a new hand .

I do not know what leading is .


One thing I must confess , in these last months I am putting the 45 a little aside  , because I have  an L model S&W that shoots the  9x21 Italian rounds , that  fact to a miser scrounger like me has some appeal . Most the 9x21 shooters are private policemen ,that abandon their brass.

But nothing beats the pleasure of shooting  serious USGI  hardball power rounds , using cheap powders and soft scrap lead. A deep boom , low recoil and rewarding gon sound on the steel targets .A big bore is a big bore , Without the suffering of the full house 44 magnum ( but that is another story)

If a shooter incurs in a specimen with undersize throats , opening them is simple ,and if they are bigger than necessary , just shoot bigger soft bullets .

I am just happy  ,with no leading I use the fodder that my 1911 pistol like ( not to mention the 45USC Heckler und Koch voracious carbine) 



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