Nope, it’s not a 625cc motorcycle. This is another gun story.
It starts with the 1911 .45, the US Army’s semi-automatic handgun adopted that same year. Then came World War I, and suddenly the Army didn’t have enough of the .45 autos to go around. But they loved the cartridge. The answer was to have both Colt and Smith & Wesson adopt their existing large-frame revolvers to the .45 ACP cartridge and issue those revolvers to our troops to backfill the handgun need. The Government designated the new revolvers as Model 1917s.
After the war, Colt stopped making new Model 1917s, but Smith & Wesson continued the line and it became their Model 25 target revolver, which is still in production today.
After World War I, the War Department released the Model 1917 revolvers as surplus guns for sale to the civilian market. The used military guns were super cool, with their massive size, lanyard rings on the bottom of the grips, and “US” markings. I bought a military surplus Colt M1917 when I lived in Texas 40 years ago for, I think, $100. Then I sold it for about the same amount, and as has been the case with nearly every gun I ever sold, I’ve been kicking myself ever since. I really liked that old Colt and I wish I still had it.
Somewhere along the line, a funny thing happened. Shooters realized that the .45 ACP round in a revolver just flat works, both as a target proposition and for defense work. I’ve been hooked on the concept for a long time.
Which brings us to the point of this story, and that’s my Model 625 Smith & Wesson. It’s a 4-inch-barreled stainless steel N-frame revolver chambered for the .45 ACP, it’s a direct descendent of the original US Army Model 1917 Smith & Wesson, and I love it.
It’s one of Smith & Wesson’s “Performance Center” models (that’s their specialty shop for producing precision custom revolvers). Mine is a real honey. At the police target combat distance of 7 yards, it literally puts those big old .45 slugs through the same hole, which is what I intend to do when we get together for our next milsurp match on the 21st of May. If you’re in the area and you want to shoot with us, drop me a line. We get more than a few CSC riders at our milsurp matches, and we always have a great time.