Tanner's Gun Reviews

   By Mike Coviello (Tanner)
 

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Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver Review

If you can afford a Smith & Wesson 617 Revolver get one. Its solid, high quality, stainless steel, shoots 10 rounds of 22LR ammunitionand is made by Smith & Wesson. This gun should last a lifetime.

  
  

Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver
Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver

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I have had my Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver for a little over two years and have put over 17,000 round thought it with no real problems (except once as noted below). This gun will shoot practically any brand of 22lr ammunition and will shoot it all day long without problems. The revolver is extremely accurate and the grip feels good in your hand.

 

For A 22 Caliber Handgun, It's A Beast

For a small caliber handgun, the Model 617 is a heavy chunk of iron. It has a weight of 44.2 ounces and is made of stainless steel.

S&W 617 REVOLVER PICTURES









- All Pictures -


For Self Defense

The bad thing about using a Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver for self defense is that it shoots 22LR ammunition which is touted a being too small and too weak to be used in defensive situations. The good about this gun is that it holds ten rounds that will shoot quickly and accurately and is heavy enough to steady shaky hands in a self defense situation.

Model 617 For Little Old Ladies

One day I was shooting at the range when a guy shooting next to me comes over to my booth and asks me what I was shooting. I showed him my Smith & Wesson Model 617 10 shot revolver. From the looks of it he said he thought it was a .357 magnum and was surprised the it held 10 rounds. He called his mother over to look at it. His mother appeared to be a frail women in her sixties or seventies. She was looking to buy and gun and came to the range to try different guns to see which was best for her. I let her try both of my Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol and my Smith & Wesson Model 617 revolver. She liked the Smith & Wesson Model 617 revolver best and asked me how much it cost and where I bought it. I was a little surprised that she chose the revolver because it was so heavy and had a heavy trigger pull but I guess she liked it anyway. I told her it was fairly expensive and I purchased it online. I got the impression that she would have loved to take it home with her.

It's Not A Carry Gun

This revolver is not designed to be used a concealed carry gun. It is too big and too heavy and shoots only .22 caliber ammunition (not suitable for self defense). You would get tired real quickly carrying this big hunk of steel around all day long.

Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver Problems

  1. Occasionally after shooting about 500 rounds through it the trigger may start to feel gritty and need to be sprayed with a cleaner/lubricant.

  2. Only once in the over 17,000 rounds that I shot through it did I have a FTF (fail to fire) problem. Simple tightening of the screw on the bottom of the grip solved the problem.

  3. After several hundred rounds the cylinder chambers may become dirty and the spent casings may become hard to eject.

  4. The sights on my gun are black and hard to see with my poor eyesight. Since I am mostly a point shooter this is not a problem for me, but if I used my sights I would probably replace them with sights most suitable to my vision.

  5. The trigger action when used in single action shooting requires only a light touch. When shooting double action the trigger is not as smooth as other guns that I have shot.

  6. The Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver is not the quickest gun to clean. Because it has 10 cylinders and one barrel the gun takes a while to clean. That's just a fact of life with all ten shot revolvers.

Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver Specifications

The medium frame Smith & Wesson Model 617, chambered for .22 LR, is perfect for target competition and combines a stainless steel frame with a full lug barrel to deliver the best featured revolver in history.

Type: Action Single / Double
Caliber
: 22 LR
Barrel Length
: 6 "
Capacity
: 10 rd
Safety: No Manual
Grips: Synthetic
Sights
: Partridge (Front); Adj. (Rear)
Weight
: 44.2 oz
Finish
: Satin Stainless

Other Smith & Wesson Model 617 Revolver Reviews

Some of the reviewers at Budsgunshop said:

  1. "Cheap way to get a lot of shooting in!"

  2. "Without a doubt it is quality. Extremely accurate. Very smooth. Love the grip, very comfortable, I would recommend this .22 revolver to anyone looking for some shooting fun."

  3. "With out a doubt the best 22lr revolver you can buy. It doesn't matter what ammo you put through this thing, it will eat it all."

  4. "It is not cheap - you can get a good semi-automatic for about half the price, but if you enjoy wheelguns, this firearm is worth every penny. And since the frame is built to handle .357 magnums, it will last forever."

 

Smith & Wesson 617 Revolver Accuracy

Message - April 8, 2012
I enjoyed your review & have some questions. Firstly, I am in my late 50's & have been shooting all of my life and also have a 686 amongst other items. I have an opportunity to purchase a brand NIB 617 6", although no longer produced, 6 shot. How accurate (with your favorite load) have you found your 10 shot to be shooting paper at 10 yards and 25 yards using a rest? Also, what have you found to be your favorite loads? I have owned 5 model 41' s, having to sell 3 in 1996 because I was seriously ill & had to move to New York City where is I was too sick to go through the process of ownership. They were great & later I was able to move back out of state. I purchased 1 41 which I had serious problems with even though brand new & sold it as S&W couldn't fix it after 2 tries! The same thing happened a second time & I swore I would never buy another as they didn't compare to my first 3. Although I don't expect the same accuracy how accurate is the 6" 617 ( I also prefer the 6 shot version which is not made any longer). Thanks in advance for your advice. Sincerely, John


Response - John
I can't tell you how accurate the gun is using a rest because I never use a rest and the limit of the indoor range that I go to is 50 feet.

I'm also not a good one to give advice about accuracy because I don't have the steadiest of hands and my vision isn't the greatest. That's why I mostly point shoot.

When I loan my gun to better "aimers" they all tell me it is very accurate.

As far as favorite loads go, I usually go for the cheapest (especially in a revolver). For 22LR, I mostly buy bulk Federal ammo and I try to stay away from Winchester brand (for 22's only).

Sorry I couldn't give you better answers to your questions.

Best regards,

Tanner

Follow-Up Message
Dear Tanner, Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I just wanted to thank you for your response to my query. The information you provided was helpful & greatly appreciated. I have already put a hold on it and will be picking it up next week. Thanks again.
Regards, John

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Buying A Used S&W Model 617 10 Shot Revolver

Message - November 23, 2011
Looking to get a used 617 revolver for target practice. I found 2- 6 inch for $525. each stainless steel pre-lock. Would these be a good buy? Is there a big difference in the 4 inch verses the 6 inch regarding accuracy. I am leaning towards the 6 inch because I have a 6 inch stainless steel Security six and would be less expensive to shoot. I love the 6 inch Ruger for accuracy and the looks of it. Looking forward to hearing back. Where is the best place to locate a used one. I also have read lots of negative about the new 10 shot being fussy with the shells the shoot and getting stuck. Thanks Don


Response - Don,
I couldn't tell you if they would be a good buy. That would depend on their age and condition. You would have to comparison shop to see if that's a good price. I have never bought or researched used 617s before so I can't tell you where a good place to buy them is.

Longer barrels tend to be more accurate. I doubt that there would be a big difference though. I own a 4" and it's very accurate. I am perfectly happy with it although I wouldn't mind a 6 inch.

If you don't want stuck shells in you chamber you will have to keep it clean no matter which model you get. My 617 is about three years old and has the stuck shell problem only when it gets dirty. No problem when it's clean. Good luck, Tanner


Follow-up Message
Is your 617 a 6 shot? May I ask why did you do a 4 inch instead of a 6 inch. Stupid question perhaps but curious only. Happy thanksgiving.
Don

Response - Don,
My 617 is a 10 shot. I don’t remember why I chose the 4 inch instead of the 6 inch barrel. Maybe I just liked the looks a little bit better or it may have been a little cheaper. A good thing about the 617s is that they seem to hold their value. I just saw one that sold at Buds Online Gun Shop that sold for $589 (6 inch). Tanner

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Smith & Wesson 617 Revolver Problem?

Message - November 7, 2011
Always thought S&W was the BEST in handguns. BUT, I couldn't be more DISSAPOINTED in my 10-shot model 617!! Bought at gun show--appeared to be in "like new" condition and confirmed with my gunsmith. First time at range began "flinging" bullets, resulting in keyholing on target. Returned to S&W with note that barrel appeard to have rough area inside--i.e. a "bad casting". Got back from Smith with note that Forcing Cone was polished. After 5o or 60 rounds at the range--same story--began to keyhole. Again sent to S&W, repeating suspicion that barrel was bad. Actually had a service technician say there was a period of time/sequence of serial number production guns that DID have "bad barrels". Also it was suggested to avoid Rem Thunderbolts because they were "too soft". Received gun from Smith--this time with note that BOTH the barrel and cylinder were replaced. Thinking this was the best possible news, recently went back to the range--this time with Winchester 22's. After about 60 rounds--same damn thing!! Has anyone else experienced this problem? Does anyone have an idea about what's causing this falure?? It's as if the barrel gradually becomes obstructed to a point of deforming the bullet, causing it to tumble in flight. Is that possible? Gary


Response - Gary
I have never had any problems with my Smith & Wesson 617 nor had I heard of anyone else having similar problems.

From what you say it can't be the barrel of the gun since you now have a new barrel and cylinder.

These are the suggestions that I can think of. Sorry, if some seem too obvious.

1. Find another S&M 617 and do a one-to-one shooting comparison with it or rent one at the range, if available.

2. Change your target type. Maybe the target that you use (paper, paper plate, cardboard?) leaves an "undefined" hole that gives the appearance of
keyholing. Try different target materials (possible a more dense cardboard) to see if there is a difference.

3. Let someone else shoot it and see if they have the same results.

4. Let other experienced shooters shoot the gun and evaluate it for themselves.

5. Clean and lubricate your gun with a different lubricant.

6. Try more and different ammunition types. Try some of the more expensive stuff to see if they perform the same.

Also, at the end of your comment you say "gradually becomes obstructed". Does this mean that with a clean gun it shoots OK? If that's the case then I would look more towards the ammo and the cleaning methods used instead of the mechanical soundness of the gun. Good luck.

Tanner

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Smith & Wesson 617 Revolver Cylinder Jams When Dirty

Message - September 2, 2011
Just bought a S@W model 617 22lr 10 shot w/4inch barrel for my wife. Shot about 500 rds through it and the spent shells started to jam in the cylinder. Is it the type of ammo or is it just dirty? James

Response - James,

The same thing happens to me all the time. It's just dirty.

I start off shooting with a clean gun. All spent cases eject fine at first with very little effort.

After a few hundred rounds, ejecting the cases gets progressively harder to the point to where I have to use a cloth between my thumb and the ejector to make pushing on the ejector easier. Sometimes it gets pretty tough.

When it gets too hard I run a bore snake through each of the cylinders. That helps me get through the shooting session until I can do a good job and clean the gun at home.

I have tried different types of ammo through the 617 and they all do the same thing when it comes to "dirtying up" the chambers, but I buy the cheapest ammo I can get in bulk. I don't know if the expensive stuff will make any difference and keep the chambers cleaner, longer.

If you don't already have one I would recommend getting a bore snake. They are not a cure, but they do help.

Best regards,

Tanner


Follow-Up - I do have a bore snake and I will try that. What do you think about shooting CCI 22lr Stingers through the model 617? Do you think they would be better?
James

Response - James

I don't know if the Stingers will shoot any cleaner. If I had to guess, I would say yes. They are sure more expensive than the 22lr rounds that I normally buy (Federal, Remington and Winchester) and may burn cleaner.

The few Stingers that I do have I save for my semi-automatic pistols (better performance).

If you can afford to shoot lots of those each session, it may be worth a try.

The last box of Remington that I shot through my 617 was so dirty that often when I ejected the spent cases I would see the residue of unburned gunpowder or crud come out with the cases. It was plainly visible on the side and grip of the gun.

Another thought would be to do a quick run through with a bore brush when it gets dirty. It might be faster and easier than the bore snake.

Tanner

Follow-Up - Went to the Range this morning, shot 200rds of CCI 22lr Stingers with no ejection problem at all. Yes they are more expensive, but they work great. Checked on prices, WALMART has the best prices, but you have to buy them in bulk. OH WELL, thanks for listening to me and for your advice.
James

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Smith & Wesson 617 Revolver Won't Shoot All Ammo

Message - July 27, 2011
I do agree that the 617 is a terrific gun, and have personally put 10's of thousands of rounds through mine. With the Speed Beez reloading blocks , I can actually shoot 400 rnds in about 20 minutes. There was one comment above that I *must* disagree with:

"It doesn't matter what ammo you put through this thing, it will eat it all."

This is just not true! It seems to really prefer plated ammo. For example, after about 90-125 rounds of the Remington bulk gold painted ammo, the gun just freezes up, the cylinder won't spin b/c it's just soooo dirty (where as on my Ruger Mark 2's and 3's, that ammo is fine). Note: I've also seen this complaint on lots of other forums as well.

Brad

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22 Caliber Revolver Bridge Sights

January 27, 2012
Do you have any 22 revolver bridge sights?
Wayne


Response - Wayne,
Sorry, I don't sell items on my website.
Tanner

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MIKE COVIELLO is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.