S&W 617 Out of the Box and into the Match Review!

Patrick Kelley never ceases to entertain with his Out of the Box and into the Match review series. This time around, Patrick chose to get a brand new Smith & Wesson 617 revolver and try it out at a Steel Challenge match. He had been in the market for a .22 LR revolver, but had yet to settle on one. Enter the 10 round, double action 617! Like previous episodes of this series, Mr. Kelley only gave the S&W 617 a quick cleaning and lubing before shooting it. No other alterations were made on this stock firearm. Armed with a brick of Fiocchi .22 Long Rifle ammo and his superior shooting skills, Patrick put the rimfire revolver through its paces! Take a few minutes to watch how the S&W 617 performed at the match:

Out of the box, Patrick had a few worries about the quality. The fit and finish were off between the barrel and frame, something that is disappointing when you drop good money on a firearm from one of America’s oldest brands. He also thought the trigger was a little too heavy, clocking in around 12 pounds. On his first string, the S&W 617 had a couple misfires, but with a fresh coat of oil, you can sometimes have an issue with the revolver’s firing pin not slamming forward hard enough. Unfortunately, it seemed these light fires continued to occur throughout the match. After taking it home to do some work on it, he found that the revolver came with a short firing pin, leading to the amount of soft hits. Patrick mused that the headspace may be a bit too large, leading to the need for a longer firing pin. Combined with the fit and finish problems, Patrick was quite displeased.

Not every gun is a winner, but for the cost of this revolver and the name engraved on it, you’d think the quality would be much better. Mr. Kelley suggested that if you want to get one yourself, get your hands on it in person so you know what level of quality you’re getting.

Have you had the same experience with the S&W 617? Let us know in the comments!

Video courtesy of Patrick Kelley. Give him a like or follow to help him keep making these videos. Firearm courtesy of Smith & Wesson via DefenderOutdoors.com. Got a question for Pat? Leave a comment on his video or on here and he’ll get back to you as soon as he can!

12 Comments On This Article

  1. With the finish being off, and the barrel cant, I would have selected a different revolver at the dealer. They should have sent it back to S&W.
    The continual misfires would have been sending letters and the revolver to S&W for a complete overhaul.

  2. I brought my 617 in 2012 and concur that the double action pull is somewhat heavy I don’t think it’s 12 lbs, though I haven’t treasured it..The single action pull is great as are all my S&W revolvers. I have purchased a kit to reduce the DA pull but haven’t got around to installing it yet. I haven’t had any issues with failures to fire. I have used it in numerous plate matches and it is accurate. I’ve tried both DA firing and SA firing using a two hand hold and cocking with the thumb of my off-hand. I’ve done OK with both methods but would prefer to use DA after reducing the trigger pull.

  3. I had the old model 617 in 6 shot. Never had a moments problem with it. Abused it pretty good, bouncing around in the truck, tractor and combine. Not real religious about cleaning it either. Gave it to my son and wish I could have it back. That said, something about these new models just doesn’t sit well with me. The fit and finish just isn’t quite there compared to my old one.

  4. I bought my 617 in the 80s and its my nicest revolver even though it’s a 6 shooter . With a spring kit it’s really slick in double action. Guess they haven’t been improved. With the 6″ barrel it’s like shooting a rifle, little recoil and very accurate.

  5. A $700 piece of crap!! I have a couple of S&W’s revolvers that I bought over 35 years ago that are great guns, but I’ll never buy one made in recent years. S&W is not a gun manufacturer anymore, they’re junk dealers today, and their junk is way overpriced.

  6. It’s too bad about S&W, all my old ones are works or gun manufacturing art. My Model 34 Kit gun From 1980’s is smooth as a baby’s butt with a 4″ barrel if you’re going to pay that much for new “junk” you may as well pony up for an old one if you can find it. Fit and finish and trigger pull (pre-lawyer) is excellent. There is no comparison!

  7. Well, it’s now 2018. Bought a 617 and checked it out before doing any paper work. All 10 chambers were out of time and one would need a block and tackle to bring the hammer back.
    My gun shop sent it right back to S&W. Waiting for it to return. I’ll reply again after I fire it. Hope it does fire, though.