Custom S&W 625

S&W 625 by West Coast Armory

There are few things in this world finer than a customized double action revolver.  I’ve been shooting my 625 for quite some time now, and had reached a point where my skill at action jobs wasn’t sufficient to tune the gun up any further.  I can replace springs and mess with screws, but to give it a really good action job I had to send it somewhere.

The problem is that sending this particular gun anywhere is like sending one of my children away.  I won my first anything of any significance with this gun, so the thought of shipping it off to some gunsmith filled me with dread.  I instead pursued a local solution, getting in touch with the gunsmith at West Coast Armory in Bellevue, Washington.  I didn’t want a whole lot done to the gun; just have the action lightened up, the internals all polished, the hammer bobbed and the charge holes lightly beveled.  The other big concern was that the gun has to be reliable with factory ammo; I don’t handload and crush seat only Federal Primers, so if I’m using the 625 to review some .45 ACP ammo from BVAC it has to go “bang”.

The gun turned out very well.  The gunsmith at WCA polished all the internal parts, bobbed the

bobbed hammer and chamfered charge holes

hammer and gave it a matte finish, as well as lightening up the action without sacrificing trigger return speed.

Of course, the problem with a really good revolver action job and tune-up is that I can expend millions of pixels explaining why it’s good, but that doesn’t really help most people “get” it, because sadly many shooters will never shoot a really nicely tuned revolver.  A great revolver trigger is just, well it’s the best thing ever, and if you’ve never shot one, you’re going to have to trust me on that.

I took the 625 out to the range to give it a run with some of the aforementioned BVAC ammo.  That’s full power factory ammo, not reduced loads for USPSA.  With the old action that was about 4 pounds heavier, the fastest splits I could pull and maintain a reasonable standard of accuracy were in the .25-.30 range.  With the new trigger, I was able to decrease those split times down to .20-.25 range, which over the course of a 150 round match could produce up to a 15 second time differential.  15 seconds in a major match is forever.  More importantly, I had 100% ignition with the gun.  No failures, no light primer hits, none of that stuff that makes revolver shooters shudder in horror.  The gun worked, and it worked really well.

If you’re a wheelgun guy up in the Pacific Northwest/Seattle Area and you’re looking for an action job for your revolver, I do strongly recommend the gunsmith at West Coast Armory.  Here’s the breakdown of all the work I had done on my gun:

  • All internal parts polished
  • hammer bobbed and matte re-finished
  • chamfered charge holes
  • lightened trigger rebound spring (I already had a Wolf mainspring in the gun)

Total cost for this work is $150, which is an absolute STEAL.  If you want to tune up your wheelgun to get it ready for IDPA or USPSA competition, and you don’t want to travel far from the Seattle/Bellevue area, take it to Jim at West Coast Armory and he will do an excellent job tuning up your wheelgun.


  1. A great action job on a Smith really is hard to describe. Imagine no change in the pull or weight over the entire travel of the trigger. And to say “polishing the internals” is an understatement of what is done; there are certain parts you dare not touch without specific knowledge of what you are doing. It is not a “do it yourself” job or you run the risk of ruining the timing. So take it to someone who really knows and enjoy. You will be amazed at the difference.

    1. Richard, that’s why I sent it to the ‘smith at West Coast Armory. He did a fantastic job and reduced the pull weight while maintaining reliability with factory ammo. That’s a great action job.

      1. Ever since I started reading Grant Cunningham’s blog, I’ve been lusting after a good action job for my GP-100. I haven’t found anywhere local to me to do it, though. Guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and send it away somewhere… but I’ll need a replacement bedside gun first 🙂

      2. Absolutely, that is why paying a good pro is worth the money. Seen too many “home jobs” gone bad. Good trigger pull is not the same as light hammer fall.

  2. yeah! one day when I have the time, I’ll get mine sent to Mike Carmoney to get his action treatment done. Until then, it’s homebrew 🙁

    1. My next gun is going off to Mike for a comparison. I’m getting a second 686 for ICORE/IDPA, since it’ll be a backup gun I can afford to have it sent to Mike.

  3. I’ve been lusting after a 625 recently, partly because I like the idea of moon clips and partly because the Jerry Miculek edition has JM on n the grip which also happens to be my initials. It’s a silly reason to want one but I can’t deny the part of my brain that likes that idea.

    How is 45 acp out of a revolver vs a .38 special or .357 magnum?

    Is there a way to remove the blasted internal lock?

    1. .45 ACP out of a revolver is definitely a heavier recoiling round than a .38, but it’s not unpleasant. It is quite manageable, but will tire you out faster than a .38. And yes, the IL can be removed or disabled by a competent gunsmith. If you look at mine, you’ll notice that the lock is just gone entirely.

        1. The full sized 1911 is definitely easier on you than the 625JM. I can shoot multiple magazines weak-hand from my Springfield Operator and have no issues. With the 625JM, I’m very aware of the force of the recoil by the 4th or 5th shot.

          The 625 has definitely proven to me that I need more time at the gym to work on some Popeye forearms.

  4. We have a place called The Revolver Armorer nearby, and they were recommending a lot of the same things, including a new firing pin to replace the CA compliant one.

  5. Congrats on getting the gun set up to your liking. I hope it brings you more wins. I’ve always wanted a Colt Python and just found one NIB for 1600.00 at my local shop. I put 100.00 down on it and should have it soon. It’s not for competition, but is the 6 inch blued version. A thing of beauty. I also have an old (pre lock) 686 in the rare 3 inch version that I will probably send to your guy with your endorsement of him. That gun has a red FO front sight and if I ever get the hankering to compete in ICOR it should be accurate enough. I’m looking forward to comparing the actions of the two revolvers as the Colt has such a great reputation.

  6. May I ask what model of moon clip carrier is shown in the picture? (Thanks in advance)

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