A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Smith & Wesson Model 27-2 Range Report

The Smith & Wesson Model 27-2 is a pinnacle of handgun craftsmanship within the venerable Springfield Massachusetts manufacturer's history.Smith & Wesson Model 27-2 - 3.5 inch barrel It was built and fitted by craftsmen that are no longer working, and polished by hand prior to receiving one of the most exquisite blue finishes ever available. The Model 27 is the direct descendent of one of the most revered S&W wheelguns ever built, the Registered Magnum. It possesses a close resemblance to a previous N-Frame, the .38/.44 Heavy Duty. The .38/44 HD was developed to shoot the radically uploaded .38HV cartridge, essentially a .38 Special round, in response to law enforcement needs at the time. It was the precursor to the .357 Magnum. The .357 Magnum itself was developed as a sans pareil handgun and cartridge suited to both law enforcement and sporting use. Smith & Wesson predicted the high cost of the revolvers in the Great Depression economy to be a limiting factor on production. From the time of introduction in 1935 until 1938, .357 Magnum revolvers bore individual registration numbers and included a certificate of registration. Model 27-2 sight ribDemand for the premium handgun far exceeded expectations. With the completion of some 5,500 units, it became obvious that a limited production strategy was not practical, and individual registration stopped. Thus, the Registered Magnum became the Pre-model 27.

I purchased this Smith & Wesson Model 27-2 from a private seller at a gun show. The three and a half inch barrel is not exactly scarce on a Model 27, but it is hard to find. This example was pinned and recessed, and wore a set of target grips. The checkered topstrap and sight rib is a unique feature of the Model 27. I took the revolver to the range with a 50 count box of 125 grain Winchester White Box .357, and a Winchester Value Pack of .38 Special.

Model 27-2 cylinder openI found the revolver to already be sighted in suitably for myself. The previous owner had dabbed some orange paint on the front ramp, but I had removed that the night before. The Model 27's trigger pull was consistent throughout it's arc. Firing double action, it was not difficult to hold the sights on target. When fired single action, the revolver was a precision instrument. The heavy N frame easily absorbed the recoil of the .38 Specials. When the .357 Magnum rounds were slid into the chambers it became a fire belching weapon of the gods. This revolver was accurate on both loads, and a hell of a lot of fun to shoot. When a person considers the advantages of practicing often with your carry gun, shooting your carry loads, it is easy to understand why some would opt to carry the N frame snubbie rather than a K frame such as the Model 66.

I also own a pristine Model 27-2 with an eight and 3/8 inch barrel. I have shot that long barreled revolver only a few times, relegating it to it's wooden presentation box for my son to receive someday. This three and a half inch Model 27 is mine, and it will be shot often.

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Anonymous Jay G said...

Dammit, Xavier, you owe me a new keyboard.

There's drool all over this one...


9:24 PM  
Anonymous alex n said...

"a fire belching weapon of the gods"

You have a way with words, Xavier.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous homebru said...

All over America, the numbers 27-2 are being added to pieces of paper under the heading "I want".

10:17 PM  
Anonymous pax said...

beautiful gun, excellent report!

7:59 AM  
Anonymous rleecav said...

i like your but mine is better, a 27-2 with a 8 3/8" barrel and a nickel plated finish, oversize target grips trigger and hammer, im tryin to find a price quote, but not having any luck, do you know what its worth, im never sellin it, but i still wanna know, lemme know at rleecav@comcast.net

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Captain Ralph said...

I have one for sale. Model 27 3.5 inch 357 with custom grips. I am former law enforcement. This was my service revolver for my last year on duty, 1977. I am retiring overseas and can't take it. It is in excellent condition. I am researching the used value. Contact me if interested. captralph53@yahoo.com

10:45 AM  
Anonymous Gunner said...

Howdy Xavier,

Nice writeup on the 27:-)I really like the shorter barrel version. I just finished writing a review for the 27 on my blog. I needed a picture of the top strap since my camera went belly up. I hope you don't mind my borrowing your picture of the top strap. I put a credit under the picture for you.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have a 27-2. It was a gift from my son and I will pass it back to him when i am gone. I really like the weapon, and it is fun to shoot. Like yours mine has some paint on the front sight, what is the best way to remove this? Also I have been finding it difficult to find a holsters for my 27, any suggestions? Thanks

12:17 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Usually the paint on the front sight is fingernail polish or enamel. I've found that some laquer thinner and a bronze brush is usually effective.

A Model 27 will fit any N frame holster of appropriate length.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Son of a Gunsmith said...


Great blog. I just found you while searching for info on a service revolver (nickel plated Model 27) that i inherited from my Dad. I always loved this gun and it's great to see that so many others out there feel the same way. How can I find out if it is a (-2) or other version for my personal knowledge? THX!

9:17 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

If you open the cylinder, the model number will be stamped inside on the frame.....MOD 27-2 or the like.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. I choose a M27-2 with 3,5" barrel as my personal defense gun for concealed carry. The only thing I changed is the sight and the trigger. I put on a Meprolight night sight and the trigger I made smoother by inserting a Wolff tuning gun spring, instead of the original one. The accuracy is great, even with the shorter barrel.

regards Tom

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Mike C said...


Great site! I am prior Marine Corps and Law Enforsement and I have a love for collecting firearms and consider myself a sportsman, and I too carry 24-7. I have an Uncle that wants to sell me a model 27-2 for $100.00. Its in pretty bad shape with a lot of pitting and the blue has alomost been fully removed. the upside to this weapon is the barrel seems to be in great shape inside with no apparent rusting or pitting, but would need to be bore scoped to make sure. The serial number is N-199XXX series. Do you think the gun is worth it? If so, is there a site that you know of that can date this weapon for me? I appreciate any help you can give me...

Mike C

1:54 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

A hundred bucks? Oh yeah, it's worth it!
Only roy Jinks can date a S&W with certainty, but a fellow with the reference books and a bit of common sense can usually come pretty close.


12:18 AM  
Anonymous Gary said...

Gary from Hatboro,PA. I got a model 27-2 in 1972 when I got out of the Army. Blue finish with 6 inch barrel.Had factory target grips and target hammer put on.Used to shoot it alot , but not so much anymore. The only way I'll ever get rid of it is when I pass it on.Same goes for my Models 29 and 57. Love em all.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Werner Verboom said...

Great article and glad to be able to share with you that I am about to purchase a 27-2 with a six inch barrel, built in 1972 I believe, with aftermarket mainspring (original one still with the gun as well) and a perfect, unmarred blue satin finish. Guy I'm buying it from wants €450.00 for it, which imho is not too much for such a beautiful specimen.

Werner (from The Netherlands)

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Gary K said...

Dear X,
I am looking for my first S&W revolver, was doing some research and came across your blog. The Mod 27 has the history behind it, plus it just "looks" good. What a jewel! S&W makes a classic 27 and it sure does look good and is brand new! I am afraid of buying used unless I know the dealer is of upstanding reputation. I want the classic look, but am also looking at the new mod 627 which I think is a knock off of the 27 but in Stainless with 2 extra holes in the cylinder. Kinda modern looking, but maybe a better home protector. In any case, looking forward to pleasing the Gods with fire soon.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got a beautiful 27-2, Serial #S333xxx. It was a gift from my father-in-law. I got it 35+ years ago and fired it only once. It was too loud for him, so he put it away. It still has the wax brown paper, but I have no other info. What year was it produced??? Thanks. Max

10:39 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Anon, Contact Roy Jinks for the answer.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased a S&W .357 Model 27-2 x 8-3/8" and am looking forward to receiving it and going out shooting with it.

I also just read Chuck Hawk's take on S&W's corporate approach to the manufacture of firearms, which was a genuinely negative critique. I've always appreciated Chuck's reviews and observations.

What does the average "gun user" out there think about Chuck's comments and your opinions of S&W firearms?


8:05 PM  
Anonymous JJ said...

I think Chuck Hawks can go a little overboard on his critiques... and I am pretty sure that his negativity towards S&W does NOT extend to the earlier production guns... especially the pinned and recessed... if it does, he is full of baloney!! :-) My 27-2 3.5" blue is Sweeeeeet.

1:59 PM  

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