Smith and Wesson revolvers for the 45 acp

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  • 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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Eutectic posted this 29 October 2023

I have downsized by 45 revolver collection. The 45 colts are history, only a 1968 625 and a 6" 25-2 remain in service, both have .451- .452 throats. Both have chambers modified to eliminate the sharp headspace step.

I load mostly 45 ACP cases although some heavy loads are in Auto-Rim brass so there is no chance of getting one in a 1911 or SIG 45.

Both revolvers shoot standard target loads 200 grain SWC or RN and 4.0 Bullseye into 10 ring groups at 25 yards. Target loads account for most of my shooting.

In 2016 I designed Accurate 45-248H to get a heavy bullet with minimum seating depth. The seating depth allows 1000 fps at +P pressure. However I load to 950 fps which is easier on the gun and knocks down bowling pins with plenty of authority. Having a quick reload in moon clips has embarrassed some 1911 shooters which is part of the fun.

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Ed Harris posted this 28 October 2023

I have enjoyed reading this thread again.  These days I use Accurate 45-264H in all of my .45 revolvers, loading 3.5 grains of Bullseye in the .455 Mk2 with 0.76" case, 4 grains in the .45 Auto Rim and 6.5 grains in the .45 Colt S&W and New Service.  I load 7.5 grains in the Rugers only.

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

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Tom Acheson posted this 28 October 2023

Lots of posts here!

Almost a year ago, I posted (3) different times on this thread. 

In about 1979-80 I had a 25-2. I traded a Model 66 for it. The plan was to fool around with the 25 and my Colt 1911. That one was sent back to S&W to have a .45 Colt cylinder for it, so I guess I had a rare convertible. That 25 was traded off for an 8 3/8" Model 57 .41 Mag in 1982, which was used for several years for deer hunting.

I again got the Model 25 fever and bought one in 2018. This current  6 1/2" 25-2 has throats that are 0.455". I've never used jacketed bullets or 45 ACP ammo in it. A friend gave me a coffee can full of Lee "custom" bullets that drop out of the mold @ 0.466", weighing about 222-grains. Too fat for his needs.  Yes, some muscle is needed to size it down to 0.455" but doable. Using the RCBS Little Dandy rotor #7, it drops 3.6-grains of WST. With FC 150 primers it shoots great!

Tom

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9.3X62AL posted this 28 October 2023

I am fond of the 45 ACP and Auto Rim calibers.  

I have owned two examples of the S&W 45 ACP/AR revolvers--

     1) A Model 25-2 vintage 1979 with 6.5" barrel

     2) A Model 625-? with 4" barrel about 3 years old

My first example was accurate and tractable with jacketed bullets, but not worth a flop using castings.  The .456"-.457" throats didn't help one bit in that regard.

The 625 is a far better firearm.  All throats are a couple tenths under .452", and it is divinely accurate with all castings from 200-264 grains in weight.  I use full-moon clips of steel and plastic as well as Starline 45 Auto Rim brass.  It shoots well with jacketed stuff also--my 45 ACP carry ammo for years has been the Winchester White Box 230 JHPs, which is just the relegated Ranger SXT bullet designs in 40 S&W and 45 ACP.  

I don't and won't run my 45 ACP arms hot--my WWB JHP 45 carry loads clock a few ticks under 900 FPS from my Gold Cup.  I have run The Lyman #452423 @ 238 grains to 900-910 FPS from the 625; with a Bisley Blackhawk in 45 Colt and two Ruger 44 Magnums in the gun safe, straining the 45 ACP is folly in my view.    

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Eutectic posted this 29 December 2022

Thanks for noticing John, I corrected it.

Arnie, I guess I missed the articles on the 45 ARM. I was doing the same thing with the the LEE 454-235-WC crimped in the bottom groove seating depth 0.150 and the LEE 452-255-RF seated in the second lube groove seating depth .0235. While the 454-235-WC was 235 gr the 452-255-RF was 241 gr. Maximum loads hit 1170 fs for the 235 gr and 1098 fs  for the 241.

One thought I had back in 1980 after the 45 Winchester Magnum came out was to make a reamer and cut a model 25's chambers to 45 WM. The only problem which surfaced was the 45 WM cases had an extractor groove different from 45 ACP and moon clips would not fit. A partial angle on the headspace step would allow use without clips. The extra 0.300 case length would have increased case capacity and velocity significantly. I never did the conversion, as I figured it would affect 45 ACP accuracy but 38 Special works fine in 357 chambers so maybe not. 

Steve

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John Alexander posted this 28 December 2022

"The 45 ACP case is small, an increase of seating depth of 0.010" can push normal pressure loads up to proof pressure or above!"

========

Is the decimal point in the right place?

John

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Eutectic posted this 28 December 2022

Be still my heart! big_grin It is nice to see all the interest in 45 ACP revolvers, which are dear to me. I have had 10 45 ACP revolvers. Why?? Read my article in The Fouling Shot 150 -151 it must be LOVE.

Yes, and maybe they are nice to shoot, very useful and can be accurate. First, I would rather not deal with the large cylinder throat problem. I take a 0.451 jacketed bullet with me to gun shows. Before I even try the lock-up and cylinder fit I want to know the if the cylinder throats are close to 0.451 and even. The barrel is almost always close to 0.451 so this is important.

Then I look carefully inside the chambers with a white card in front. I look at the area of the cylinder latch cut to see if there is a depression. This is the thinnest point and any dimple indicates over pressure loads have been fired. If you are looking at a 45 Colt gun this is even more important. If everything checks we can talk price.

The older 45 ACP revolvers had a sharp transition from the chamber to the throat. This cuts up cast bullets, leads the chamber and destroys accuracy, see my FS article. I had a Clymer reamer made to modify the throat to a revolver type entrance. It has improved the accuracy of every 45 ACP revolver I have owned. If you want to rent it send me a PM.

Ed Harris recommended a cheaper fix using a 30.06 case and fine valve grinding compound to remove the sharp shoulder. He lets enough of the shoulder remain so the gun can still fire without moon clips. This modification has been incorporated by S&W in 45 ACP revolvers made since ~2000.  It improves accuracy with both cast and jacketed with no downside I have seen.

The 45 ACP case is small, an increase of seating depth of 0.1" can push normal pressure loads up to proof pressure or above!
With ~250 grain bullets like Accurate 45 -248H with a SD of 0.235", 4.9 gr.  Bullseye gives 870 fs at max pressure. You can get ~1000 fs  but you need slower powder. 7.9 gr. VV340 will do it as will 8.0 gr. Power Pistol or 11.4 gr. of Blue Dot. These loads gave case expansion equal to maximum loads from the Hornady manual in my revolvers. Work up carefully, use a pressure ring reference in YOUR revolver. No responsibility is expressed or implied for the suitability of this data.

So what do I use? Lots of 200 gr. SWC's at 750 fs, standard target loads many in Auto-Rim cases.  If I need speed loaders, 230 gr. Accurate 45-231B with 4.0 TiteGroup or Bullseye and 750 fs for fun. A max load of TiteGroup or Bullseye if the match requires full power loads. For blasting bowling pins, the extra weight of Accurate 45 -248H is a plus and 6.8 gr.of Power Pistol gives 915 fs which is plenty. Accuracy of this load over a long series is improved with a 3/8" piece of 1/2" polyethylene backer rod as filler.

Steve 

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Larry Gibson posted this 23 December 2022

I have 34 cases out of 50 WRA cases I acquired back in '69 when I got my first S&W M1917.  They've been loaded, I don't know how many times, and used in a couple M25s and numerous S&W and Colt M1917.  That included several loadings of the max Speer load of 2400 under a 255 gr SWC.  Lost the 16 cases to splits and have lightly annealed the others which are still going strong.  I only use my standard 45 ACP loads in them.  Still have my S&W M1917/25 which I use them in.  Got a box of factory REM-UMC a while back and have been shooting those.  Those cases are the older balloon head ones.  Still, with mild loads they will be fine.  Also have a hundred+ R_P cases so I'm pretty fixed for 45 AR ammo as I mostly just shoot my standard 45 ACP cartridges in the M1917/25.

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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beltfed posted this 22 December 2022

Well, Ed,

Now we know that Western also made WRA headstamped 45 Auto Rim cartridges based on the samples

I have "in hand" 

beltfed/arnie 

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Ed Harris posted this 18 December 2022

Western Catalogs, beginning just after the end of WWII had a footnote on 9mm Luger rounds and the footnote stated that Western only sold WRA brand ammunition in that caliber. East Alton produced a vast amount of 9mm Luger ammunition from 1948 until 1966, all of it with the WRA headstamp. Most Winchester 9mm Luger boxes produced after 1947 until 1958 had an A prefix on the box packing date code indicating they the ammo was made and packed at East Alton, in spite of the WRA headstamps. Beginning in 1958, the Winchester 9mm Luger boxes were all marked with the Western style box packing code.

Can't speak to the other calibers except to say that I fired large quantities of 7.62mm Ball M80 headstamped WRA 66 and it was very accurate in the converted Garands we had aboard ship.

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

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RicinYakima posted this 15 December 2022

Western bought the remains of Winchester Repeating Arms in 1931 when they went broke. The Olin family changed the head stamps to WW for commercial ammo soon there after. However, WRA was head stamped on military cases into the late 1960's. 

How soon I don't know as I have large pistol primed 357 S&W Magnum cases with both WRA and WW markings. So that was in 1935 or later. 

FWIW, Ric

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beltfed posted this 14 December 2022

Ric, 

Small matter, but I have some WRA headstamp 45 Aruto Rim brass... So it was not only Rem and Pete that loaded

45 ARs "back then"

beltfed/arnie

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lotech posted this 14 December 2022

I think it's pretty common knowledge among those who have been handloading more than a few years that the old Speer data was not pressure tested but worked up using what were believed to be "reliable" indicators of safe vs. dangerous pressures. 

I just looked up the data from Speer #6 (1964). Maximum #2400 loads using Remington folded head Auto Rim brass and a 240 gr. cast SWC were a full three grains heavier than a max. load with the same bullet in Winchester solid head brass. The lesser charged loads had a higher muzzle velocity. Lots of powder space in the balloon head brass...

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RicinYakima posted this 14 December 2022

Almost! Only Peters and Rem-UMC and R-P ever made Auto Rim cases. Balloon head cases were not made after about the 1930's, the 1950's cases were of a larger volume than post 1970 cases. The old Speer manuals were with data from "eyeballing" fired cases and not from pressure Modern Bond machines. 

The new Alliant 2400 is useable in 45 cases, but only because it is faster than the old Hercules stuff. START LOW, AS IN 10 GRAINS, BEFORE YOU GO UP! Fwiw. 

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lotech posted this 14 December 2022

Some of you may have the old Speer manuals  from the '60s with the warm Auto Rim loads using #2400 powder. I'd have to get the books out to know for sure, but I think they may have used balloon head (folded head) brass for at least some of the loads. 

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beltfed posted this 14 December 2022

Above are the 45 ARM loads mentioned above.

It is noted that I could back off the powder charge a bit and seat the lead bullets so as to cover the grease groove.

beltfed/arnie

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beltfed posted this 14 December 2022

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beltfed posted this 12 December 2022

Correction to the above :  It was the 454424/262 grains......clocked 1132fps....

 

My 45 ARM load with the 185 grain Hornady JHP grouped  1.73 inches at 50 yds

The 454424 load grouped 2.5 inches at 50 yds

'Back in the day when I had better eyesight.

The G&A article and my work was with Herco powder and bullets seated and crimped only 0.150" into case

to give about the same 'under the bullet" case volume as a 44 Special..

beltfed/arnie

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beltfed posted this 12 December 2022

Has anyone heard of or read about the 45 ARM?   as in AutoRimMagnum?

Guns and Ammo article was back in , I think late '60s -'70s.

I did some work on it in late '70s and will be getting some info on to this thread soon as I can assemble.

How about M25, velocities at 1340 for a 185 grain JHP?

And  impressive velocities out of the 452423 and the 454424 Keith SWCs

My Oehler M12 at that time said 454423/ 262 grains,   clocked 1132fps out of 6.5inch M1955.

 

belttfed/arnie

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beltfed posted this 11 December 2022

Very interesting bringing up this old post on the 45 revolvers.

beltfed/arnie

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