Smith & Wesson’s Classic series of revolvers have brought a number of their famous, but otherwise discontinued wheelguns back to the market. The S&W 27 is one of those classic revolvers that certainly earned it’s spot in the series as it was previously one of their flagship firearms. If you’ve seen S&W’s more modern wheelguns like the 627 or 327, both in various configurations, they stem from the Model 27 and are chambered in .357 Magnum. Let’s take a look at the latest modification in the form of the S&W Model 27 Classic.
S&W MODEL 27 classic
Recently on TFB’s Wheelgun Wednesday, Adam wrote about his personally owned, original Model 27, in which he included a fantastic look at the history and evolution of the model. I highly recommend reading his article if you missed it. Given that Adam covered the backstory, I’ll stick to the details of the Classic edition as it was graciously lent to me by Smith & Wesson.
Model: Model 27
Caliber: 357 Magnum, 38 S&W SPECIAL +P
Barrel Length: 4″ / 10.2 cm
Overall Length: 9.3″
Front Sight: Pinned Serrated Ramp
Rear Sight: Micro Adjustable
Action: Single/Double Action
Weight: 42.1 oz / 1,193.5g
Cylinder Material: Carbon Steel
Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
Frame Material: Carbon Steel
Frame Finish: Blue
Purpose: Enthusiast, Home Protection, State Compliance
Upon opening the box for the first time, it was hard to miss the high gloss, blued finish and the cherry wood grips cut to the old, dare I say “classic” style. The modern, throwback grips look great and even have a more refined look than that of the original revolvers S&W based the Classic line on. The three-quarter sized lug under the four inch barrel looks aggressive in an old school sort of way, and also adds a bit more heft to the 27’s overall package, all while staying true to its roots. One hot button aspect to the 27 Classic is the addition of the integral lock, but there’s always the lock delete option for those that worry about it.
Picking up the 27 Classic feels natural in the hand with the grips and the 27 exudes a “business” attitude, be it punching paper, or for use as a woods gun, or even just as a “barbecue gun”. Despite the “N” frame’s ability to house 8 rounds of .357 Magnum as seen from the evolution of the 27 to the 327 and 627, the 27 Classic holds true to the first with only 6 rounds in the large cylinder. The theoretical advantage to this is that there’s more “meat” between each chamber, and should be able to take some spicy loads, but feel free to consult with Smith & Wesson before launching nuclear handloads to be sure.
The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and the front blade is a serrated black ramp. I typically prefer some sort of colored front sight, whether it’s factory inlaid or simply painted on, but the front sight is held in place with a pin and is easily replaced with an aftermarket front sight of your choosing. My guess is that preferences vary so widely based on the intended use of the revolver, so it makes sense to go “plain-Jane” on the front sight and let the end user decide what works best for them. The rear sight adjustment has tactile, audible clicks for each point of adjustment, which really adds a nice touch for more precise tuning.
The S&W 27 Classic points quite naturally, and I was able to put some dents in an old compressed gas tank at 50 yards, although the trigger took a bit of getting used to on the sample I tested. In double-action, the 27 Classic’s trigger still had the two audible clicks as the trigger and hammer move rearward, but the hammer seemed to catch slightly more than I was used to. Once I hit the catch on the last part of the trigger’s travel, it seemed just like a slightly heavier single action. In single action, the Model 27 Classic didn’t have any catch to it, and what travel remained was very smooth. I fed the 27 Classic a mix of 158 and 180 grain .357 Magnum, and a bit of .38 Special. Despite my preference for sights other than black on black, keeping my rounds on target at 50 yards was easy.
The recessed chambers for the cartridge rims wasn’t a carry-over feature for the 27 Classic, but I wasn’t expecting it. That feature was a detail that wasn’t exactly necessary, to begin with, but it did have a clean look to it. Each chamber was slightly chamfered and I had no issues loading rounds during my time with the 27 Classic.
The nice looking grips were perfect in all but one aspect. Under recoil, the top of the grip where it met the web of my hand by the thumb knuckle was harsher than I expected. The Trausch grips as typically seen on MR73’s are starting to look appealing. Wearing a glove took care of the focused recoil on the knuckle, but aftermarket grips are plentiful for anyone that finds this same issue. Aside from that, the grip was quite pleasant while at rest in the hand and the grip shape made the gun easy to control under recoil.
The new S&W Model 27 Classic is a great way to harken back to older styling and form without having to scour auction sites and pawn stores for the original Model 27’s. Aside from the slight discomfort on the grip, the Classic Model 27 was a fun gun that looked like it came straight out of a time-warp and made me feel like wearing a checkered flannel jacket. The MSRP is listed at $1,033 on Smith & Wesson’s website. I used the Model 27 Classic earlier this summer in my One-Handed Reloading article if you want to see a few more photos of it.
What do you think about the Model 27 Classic? If you have one, what has been your experience? If you’ve had a chance to handle both the original 27 and the Classic 27, what do you think about the resurrection of the namesake?