TFB Review: Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic .357 Magnum

    Model 19 Classic

    While many firearm owners nowadays love their high-capacity polymer pistols there is still a strong segment of shooters who love their revolvers. Especially the throwbacks with deep illustrious bluing, superb accuracy and gorgeous wood grips. In this TFB review we examine a revolver just like that in the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic .357 Magnum.

    This is a revolver that pays homage to the craftsmanship and appearance of how Smith & Wesson and many companies used to produce wheelguns. For Smith & Wesson, their iconic red ramp front sight is present, you have a finish you can see your reflection in and the wood grips are crafted like they are truly art. While the appearance absolutely counts for something it is not everything. We will review this revolver to see if the look, price-point, functionality and accuracy all add up to something you may want to buy for yourself.

    Model 19 Classic

    specifications: smith & wesson model 19 classic .357 magnum

    Before making spent brass tumble to the ground it is always important to examine what you are working with. This is the complete specification listing for the Model 19 Classic .357 Magnum as presented by Smith & Wesson.

    • Red Ramp Front Sight & Black Blade, Adjustable Rear Sight
    • 4.25″ Stainless Steel Barrel w/ High Polished Blued Finish
    • Custom Walnut Wood Grips & Classic-Style Thumbpiece
    • Carbon Steel Frame & Cylinder w/ High Polished Blued Finish
    • Caliber: . 357 Magnum / .38 S&W Special+P
    • Capacity: 6 Round Cylinder
    • Action: Single- / Double-Action
    • Overall Length: 9.9″
    • Weight: 37.2 Ounces
    • MSRP: $826

    Model 19 Classic

    The Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic is one of the newest introductions into their Classic line of revolvers. Over recent years they have been bringing back some of their old models to the delight of nostalgic consumers. Smith & Wesson offers this statement about the newly re-introduced Model 19 Classic:

    The Smith & Wesson Classics series of revolvers have been enhanced with modern internal components, but mimic the look and feel of classic models. The Model 19 Classic revolver features a handsome set of walnut grips, a 4.25″ barrel, a black adjustable rear sight, and red ramp front sight.  The revolver dons a highly polished, blued finish and traditional thumbpiece for a classic look.

    Model 19 Classic

    range time: smith & wesson model 19 classic .357 magnum

    For my time at the range shooting the Model 19 Classic I brought with several types of ammunition. For an old school revolver like this I thought I would lob some equally old school ammunition down range. So I dug out some vintage Herter’s ammo I have been saving for an occasion such as this. I used two different flavors of Herter’s .357 Magnum 158 Grain FMJ plus some .38 Special reloads of my own making which were mild and purely for fun.

    Model 19 Classic

    The .357 Magnum loads tended to bark a lot, but the bite was minimal; very little recoil. The recoil being generated out of this barrel length and frame I would most closely associate with a standard polymer-framed 9mm. Your follow-up shots were pretty fast in either double-action or single-action because of the low recoil and minimal muzzle rise.

    The .38 Special loads that I handloaded were even more pleasant and mild to shoot which was not surprising at all. This revolver would be a great way to introduce someone to shooting handguns. Moderate .38 Special ammunition could give someone a tame entrance into shooting handguns while the .357 Magnum could give that same individual the “bigger” or “true picture” in regards to recoil and management of the weapon.

    Most full-framed revolvers with barrels that are 4″ or greater tend to be pretty accurate and this revolver was no exception. Out to 25 yards while shooting off-hand and no assistance from a bench the Model 19 Classic was very accurate. It exhibited point-and-shoot type of accuracy. I measured a few groups of 3 – 5 shots at 10 yards for a baseline of accuracy and they all clover-leafed in the realm of 1 1/2″ – 2″ depending on how well I was personally shooting.

    Model 19 Classic

    You could feel the double-action trigger pull mechanically walk through its progression until the hammer would finally drop. This was something that was not detracting from the trigger pull, but for more discerning shooters it is something you may notice. The trigger pull weight was moderate, if not light, but an audible and tactile feel was present.

    The traditional large handle wood grip fills your hand and makes it very easy to control. My personal preference is not to have a small, dainty grip with revolvers, but rather something larger in nature that tends to fill your hands. For a frame of reference, I am 6 feet tall, 180 pounds and have average-sized hands. I would tend to believe most all shooters would have little to no problem handling and manipulating the functions on this handgun.

    Model 19 Classic

    The cylinder ejector was a little gritty straight out of the box. A simple shot of CLP oil and it glided like butter. The factory oil could have dried and made it initially feel gritty or something else creating a tiny amount of friction. In either event, that was an issue that was easily remedied and would not be a general cause for concern in my mind.

    final thoughts: smith & wesson model 19 classic .357 magnum

    All in all, if you fancy yourself a fan of revolvers I have nothing negative to generally say about the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic .357 Magnum. It is always a good precaution to function test, handle and manipulate the controls of any firearm before shooting it at the range. By simply doing that, I alleviated the only concern I experienced which was a slightly sticky cylinder ejector rod. Otherwise, the revolver had good, crisp cylinder timing; was superbly accurate; handled well; and was gorgeous for someone who is bias to revolvers like this. In the eyes of another shooter this may not perfect for their hands or not attractive in its appearance, but that is why we as shooters have so many options to pick from. From this writer and gun lover, I give it a resounding thumbs up.

    Model 19 Classic

    In closing, I want to thank Smith & Wesson for allowing TFB the opportunity to test one of their revolvers for this review. In my experience (as a S&W gun owner and man from behind the counter) they have always done right by their customers.

    Since I am just one man, what do all of you TFB readers think?… At a price-point of $826 for the Smith & Wesson Model 19 Classic .357 Magnum, are you a buyer?… Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback!

    Model 19 Classic

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