A Little Old School - Dan Wesson 357 Mag

A Little Old School - Dan Wesson 357 Mag

This is a discussion on A Little Old School - Dan Wesson 357 Mag within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My background in guns is fairly recent - adding up to only a handful of years. I've always seen myself as a semi-auto kind of ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array ev239's Avatar
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    A Little Old School - Dan Wesson 357 Mag

    My background in guns is fairly recent - adding up to only a handful of years. I've always seen myself as a semi-auto kind of guy. I like the quick action, large capacity and slim design. The kid in me always screams 'NEAT' when I handle one. Most of my collection of handguns have been semi's with the only revolvers being my wife's guns. I've always liked the look of her Ruger SP101, though it never 'spoke' to me the way my semi's have. Her little & light Charter Arms .38 is so convenient to tuck into pants. It's hard not to ignore their place in the gun world. Easy to load (read - no pinching fingers loading a magazine), simple to maintain (worn springs are much less an issue), quick pointing & intuitive in shooting (no flying brass to bounce off your head or drop into your shirt). All these things I've appreciated, but they never really captured my interest. To be honest we probably would never owned a revolver if my wife hadn't picked one for herself.

    Now why would I go out and buy a revolver for myself? Well, all the above came into the decision plus I felt we had a need for one. I'm constantly reviewing our home protection needs and though I know that the weapon of choice for HD is a shotgun I decided (at least for now) to hold off on that purchase. Here are my reasons for doing that. A shotgun is truly an intimidating weapon. Do I think I can handle one, of course. Do I think my wife can handle one, sure. But, neither of us have ever shot one. I'm of the mindset that if you're going to use a weapon you'd better practice with it. I don't make it to the range nearly as often as I'd like and living in the burbs like we do we're limited with the number of ranges available to us. None of those ranges (all indoor) allow shotguns so our chances of being able to practice with a shotgun would be very infrequent.

    So long story short, I decided a medium/large frame revolver would fit the role as a trusty HD weapon. Since my wife's Ruger is a 357mag, I figured to keep ammo simple and stick with the same caliber. It's a known man stopper and in a larger heavier revolver would be much easier to shoot. So once that decision was made I switched into my research mode to find one that met the requirements, was fairly inexpensive (we're not wealthy) and that caught my fancy.

    That's how I came across Dan Wesson revolvers. These are innovatively designed and largely under appreciated in the gun world. They are overly built strong revolvers of modular design that allow fast switching of barrels to larger or shorter lengths. You can see that their cylinder latch is located in front of the cylinder on the crane instead of behind the cylinder which was done partly for strength and partly to keep the trigger mechanism simple. About that trigger, it's different than any revolver I've ever felt. It has both a lighter & shorter (much shorter) stroke than my wife's SP101 which aids in it's outstanding accuracy.

    Dan Wesson has changed hands several times over the course of time, most recently being acquired by CZ-USA so though parts aren't nearly as bountiful as they are for S&W's or Ruger's they can be found. I contacted CZ and they even have new barrels that can be purchased in all kinds of sizes from 2.5" - 10". I don't know how well I'd be able to hold it with a 10" barrel, but it's cool you can get them new from them. If you really search, I've heard you can even find 15" barrels that had been made in decades past.

    So anyway, I found this revolver for sale locally and jumped on it. It's a Model 15 with a 4" barrel sporting large rubber target grips. It didn't include the barrel wrench which is used to swap out barrels and adjust cylinder gap, but it did include this Bianchi holster. The holster originally had a snap on it, but I cut it off and refinished it so it would have an open top. The gun has it's share of wear on it (I might try re-bluing it for kicks), but it works like a dream and even though it doesn't have adjustable rear sights it hits point of aim for me.


    I know this forum is for concealed carry and most likely I won't be trying to CCW this revolver, but I have thought about it and in the future may work on a couple holster designs to see how they work. I am looking into replacing the over large grips with smaller ones and maybe I'll splurge and get the 2.5" barrel to turn it into a snubby.

    This in one revolver that makes that kid in me scream 'NEAT'!
    Mine: Glock 36............Wife's: Ruger SP101 3"
    -------Ruger SR9....................Ruger SR9c
    -------S&W SW99 .45.............Charter Arms Undercover

    Hidden Defense - Personal gun & holster designs/reviews.


  2. #2
    Member Array S3ymour's Avatar
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    Nice looking wheel gun.
    "All war is deception" --Sun Tzu
    MOΛΩN ΛAB…

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Gunnutty's Avatar
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    I've always liked the old Dan Wesson pistol packs with the different barrel lengths. They are massive and well built. Good find, I'm sure it will serve you well.
    We will be much better off when we learn to deal with things as they really are, instead of how we wish them to be!

  4. #4
    Member Array Fozzy Bear's Avatar
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    Always nice to see another DW driver around here...

    My second one came with a 2" barrel, and I experimented with it as a carry gun... but being "overbuilt" as you put it (and you're right, BTW) makes it a much better nightstand gun then CCW (IMHO). It's heavy, and wide... the two worst things a ccw can be...

    I have a 6" barrel on mine at the moment and it works great for me in the same role that you bought it for... "Nightstand gun that my wife can use." Of course, I DO have experience with a shotgun and consider my remmy 870 to be my "primary" HD weapon. But my wife is, well, lets be honest, scared of the shotty. So the DW is there for her if she needs it.



    .

    On a side note: I saw an 18 inch barrel for them once. - Almost bought it just for the ""you'll never believe what _I_ found"" value of it.
    ...
    ...
    Heisenberg may have slept here
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  5. #5
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    Nice.

    I've got one with a 6 " vent ribbed heavy barrell that I shoot a lot. It is the most accurate handgun I own. It absloutley loves cast 158 grain Keith style bullets.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  6. #6
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    My ignorance may show but aren't Dan Wessons's on the steep side?
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

  7. #7
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    My ignorance may show but aren't Dan Wessons's on the steep side?
    Only if they are new.
    Fact of the matter is...most people don't recognize the name so they usually go pretty cheap used. Dan Wesson pistols became popular when silhouette shooting did, Dan Wessons holding most of the accuracy records. They were chambered in some off the wall calibers too, the .445 Dan Wesson the .44 Maximum and the 357 Maximum to name a few.

    Their .44's and .45 LC's were known to be the strongest designs made.

    Heres a pretty good article about everything you wanted to know about the Dan Wessons.
    Dan Wesson Revolvers
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
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  8. #8
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    Nice, I owned a DW at one time, had the 2 inch and 4 inch barrels for it. Superb accuracy and fun to shoot. Grips may be a little hard to find but with the short grip frame it is easy to modify grips to fit any hand.

  9. #9
    New Member Array royal7's Avatar
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    Hey - its great to see other Dan Wesson fans out there! I have a .44 with a 6 inch barrel and killed a bull elk with it. Its the best feeling and most accurate handgun I own.

  10. #10
    Member Array Pizza Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ev239 View Post
    So anyway, I found this revolver for sale locally and jumped on it. It's a Model 15 with a 4" barrel... and even though it doesn't have adjustable rear sights it hits point of aim for me.
    I'm going strictly on memory here (at my age that can be a problem), but I believe the fixed-sight Dan Wessons were Model 14's and the adjustable sighted ones were the 15's (in the medium frames). I perused the article that Hotguns linked, but found only one mention of the 14, and it wasn't definitive.

    Nice gun. Enjoy your find.

    Adios,

    Pizza Bob
    Last edited by Pizza Bob; May 3rd, 2008 at 07:49 AM. Reason: condensed quote

  11. #11
    Member Array ev239's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Pizza Bob. I didn't know that!
    Mine: Glock 36............Wife's: Ruger SP101 3"
    -------Ruger SR9....................Ruger SR9c
    -------S&W SW99 .45.............Charter Arms Undercover

    Hidden Defense - Personal gun & holster designs/reviews.

  12. #12
    Senior Moderator
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    I'm going strictly on memory here (at my age that can be a problem), but I believe the fixed-sight Dan Wessons were Model 14's and the adjustable sighted ones were the 15's
    That is correct. It looks like ev239's is a 14.
    I dont think that the 14's have been made for quite some time.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
    http://bobbailey1959.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
    Member Array UtahRSO's Avatar
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    I bought a Dan Wesson mod. 15 in 1974. It came with a 2.5" bbl. and a 6" bbl. I've always wished I had a 4" instead of the 2.5", but the 6" filled my requirements at the time.

    I don't think I've EVER shot factory .357's through it, only factory .38's and reloaded .357 brass (somewhat short of full power).

    I'd be really interested to know how it stands up to .357 factory. The cylinder seems about the same size as the S&W Combat Magnum, so I imagine it would be fine for awhile. But I remember reading the Combat Magnun shot loose after many full loads fired through it.
    "None who have always been free can understand
    the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom
    to those who are not free."

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    While semi automatics outclass the revolvers in the capacity department, it doesn't mean that revolvers are any less effective in handling most social encounters gone awry. Police officers and sheriff deputies carried revolvers for years and faced a lot of bad guys armed with semi automatics and still won most of the gun battles. Your Dan Wesson should serve you well for a good self defense handgun. P.S. I keep a Ruger SP101 .357 magnum revolver with a 3 1/16" barrel for home defense. This is a revolver that fits both my wife's hands and mine.
    God bless our troops!

  15. #15
    Senior Moderator
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    I'd be really interested to know how it stands up to .357 factory.
    Better than anything else.
    I was shooting some reloads that chronoed at 1800 FPS. That was by the book.

    They were very accurate.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


    AR. CHL Instr. 07/02 FFL
    Like custom guns and stuff? Check this out...
    http://bobbailey1959.wordpress.com/

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