The Smith & Wesson Model 25-5
December 13, 2008
The S&W model 25-5 is one of those revolvers that has gained classic status along with most of the other “N” frame S&W’s made before the lawyer proofing started with those darn framelocks that everyone loves to hate myself included.
A couple of years ago you could buy about any older S&W revolver for very little money but these days people have come to realize that these wonderful revolvers are something special and prices have increased accordingly. Most any S&W “K” frame will sell in the $450 to $500 range with “N” frames at $600 plus depending on how rare they are. I recently saw a nickel 6 inch 41 magnum marked at just under $1000! A word to the wise if you have one keep it!
My journey with the S&W “N” frame started in 1976. At that time the model 29 was the revolver to buy. Barrel length was no barrier to the price at that time. The guns were in short supply and were selling for the sum of $400 which was a lot of money at that time. In fact more than is being asked for them now. Of course there is nothing new under the sun and as soon as the supply caught up with demand the prices dropped as dealers found themselves with a lot of unsold guns on the shelf. Being a young officer at the time we didn’t make much money so I had to wait until the prices came down. My first was a blue steel beauty with a 4 inch barrel. Yea I wish I had held onto that one but as with most folks if you want something new you have to do some trading and that Colt 1911 sure looked good:-) Regardless my love of S&W revolvers was in full bloom and has never really left me in spite of the overwhelming trend toward new semi autos.
I picked up my first 25-5 with a 4 inch barrel in 1980 and I loved it! I found I could shoot this big old revolver for a long time without beating myself to death with the recoil of the 44 magnum. That and handloads were a pleasure to shoot using some of the old Kieth type lead bullets going about 750 to 800 fps.
I even carried that big boy as a duty gun for awhile until the weight finally made me change back to the model 19 which is a wonderful revolver in the “K” frame. You wear 45 ounces(depending on barrel length) on your hip for 8 to 10 hours and you’ll know what I mean. After that I relegated it to off duty carry in a cross draw holster from Bianchi. In winter it worked just fine. Back then the Winchester Silvertip was the round to use and I carried my 25-5 loaded up with the big Silvertips.
After a few years we all followed the trend and carried the wonder nines on duty. I still found myself carrying the 25-5 off duty a good bit. I decided it was time to qualify with it since it had been a while since I had taken it to the range to qualify with it. We used an indoor range at a PD close by since it was winter. I got some funny looks since I had one of those obsolete revolvers but I didn’t really care then or now. The first round fired was in dim light and the flash and boom stopped all activity on the line. I stopped firing to because I thought somebody jammed or something had gone haywire. Nope, just new guys not used to a large revolver being fired next to them:-) After clearing the line some of the young guys wanted to know what in the heck I was shooting. Of course now I’m one of the old guys so I explained what it was etc.
That gun served me very well for a good number of years. The affect it had on suspects was something to behold. You’d think I pointed a cannon at them. I eventually traded it for a Colt Delta Elite 10mm when they came out. I’ve regretted that trade more than any other after some years had gone by.
Is the revolver a viable duty or carry gun now? In my opinion yes it is. In fact there is really nothing better as a backup gun than a snubbie S&W. I prefer the S&W 642 that I can just drop in a pocket and go. I’ll probably always have a revolver of some type close by. I have confidence in them and have used them so many years they feel like an extension of my body when I point one downrange.
I haven’t made a solid conclusion yet but it seems to me that the revolver is making a comeback in popularity. Only time will tell.
By now you know this isn’t a review like I normally do but a bit of nostalgia and some personal history with a gun that I truely enjoyed shooting and trusted to save me if I needed it. So, next time you are looking over the shelves in your local gun shop and see an old S&W revolver stop and take a look. It may call out to you like they have to me.