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GUNS Magazine August 2010 - Page 8
• MASSAD AYOOB • • PHOTOS: GAIL PEPIN • Competing with the Smith & Wesson Model 625 Performance Center .45 ACP Revolver. he Model 625 S&W, a stainless steel 6-shot N-frame, is the T latest evolution of the 1917 military revolvers designed to use rimless .45 ACP cartridges, loaded multiply in 3-shot metal clips. PERFORMANCE CENTER 625 MAKER: SMITH & WESSON 2100 ROOSEVELT AVE. SPRINGFIELD, MA 01104 (800) 331-0852 WWW.SMITH-WESSON.COM ACTION TYPE: Double-action revolver CALIBER: .45 ACP CAPACITY: 6 BARREL LENGTH: 4" OVERALL LENGTH: 10.5" WEIGHT: 42 ounces FINISH: Satin stainless SIGHTS: Adjustable rear, interchangeable fiber optic front GRIPS: Slenderized Miculek style PRICE: $1,185 THE MOONCLIPPER With today’s full-moon (6-shot) clips, they’re so fast to reload they dominated the first several years of IDPA Stock Service Revolver competition so totally the organization had to create a separate Enhanced Service Revolver (ESR) division for them so folks with ordinary sixguns would stand a chance of winning. Long before IDPA, however, seasoned wheelgunners had realized these revolvers kicked soft for their power, and served as a fun “garbage disposal” for .45 ACP reloads too bluntnosed to feed, or too light to cycle in their autoloaders. The latest variation, introduced at the SHOT Show this year, comes from the Performance Center. It features an IDPA-legal 4" barrel, tapered for faster handling and lighter than the standard full-underlug 625. A removable fiber optic front sight is part of the package. It also comes with a brightly multi-colored (garish or daring, depending on taste) version of Jerry Miculek’s smooth, slim stocks. These are slightly flatter on the sides than the usual Miculek style. Finally, there is the famous Performance Center action job, complete with integral trigger stop. Trigger pulls were remarkably consistent on my Lyman digital gauge from Brownells, in both DA and SA. Double action averaged 9.16 pounds, and single action, 4.08 pounds. Both felt lighter because the trigger stroke was so smooth, and the release was so clean. The tapered hammer spur got a little sharp on the thumb, but this 4" gun is really geared for double-action, combatstyle shooting, so who cares? Springy moon clips create a bit of a headspace problem, and it’s the rare gunsmith who can get a 625’s DA pull lighter than this and still bust hard primers with 100 percent reliability. A tad more than 700 rounds went through this test gun, much of it fastloading Remington-UMC generic 230-grain FMJ “hardball.” Primer hits were uniformly centered and deep, and reliability was 100 percent. From 8 the 25-yard benchrest, the UMC ball delivered a 5-shot group in the shape of a circle a little bigger than a moon clip. It measured 2", so uniform that the best three hits were 1.9" apart. At a registered IDPA match, the mandatory chronograph recorded 848 fps for each of two shots with this stuff out of the test gun. Power factor in IDPA is velocity times bullet weight, which must equal 165,000 in ESR. This load from this revolver hit 195,040—leaving no doubt. For a carry load, Black Hills 230-grain JHP put all five in 1.85", and the best three in .65". Federal Gold Medal Match 185-grain jacketed semi-wadcutter, a light bull’s-eye load, was slightly tighter for all five with 1.55", and tied the Black Hills with 0.65" for best three. Black Accurate Hills, Federal Gold Medal and S&W are all famous for accuracy, and the best three measurements take enough human error out of the bench test to show this is clearly a target-grade revolver with the right ammunition. Since I had sighted in with the fiber optic to hit center at that distance, and the bright green dot sits below the top edge of the Patridge sight, which I used for accuracy testing TheS&WPerformanceCenter625isthenewestiterationof.45ACPrevolverandisa magnificentmoonclipper,accordingtoAyoob. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2010