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Old May 22, 2013, 10:38 AM   #1
BoogieMan
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Dan Wesson high end?

I like the DW's look and feel but I have never had a chance to actually shoot one. Are they considered on the high end side? With the barrel changes are they as accurate as S&W or others?
I know the big draw is the interchangeable barrels, just wondering if its also its achilles heel.
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Old May 22, 2013, 10:53 AM   #2
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I never actually owned a Dan Wesson, but I was seriously considering one and comparing it to S&W, so I did an extensive research and collected a bunch of opinions of the owner.

Majority say, that DWs are very good quality, easily on the par with S&W. They have have a supreme accuracy, as good or even better than S&W. But their action, while decent, supposedly is not as smooth as S&W L-frame to which they are compared size-wise. As for models with changeable barrel, the quality or accuracy is not effected. However you need to use the barrel tool properly otherwise you will screw up the gun.

I hope this helps and I am sure actual owners of DW will add to it. All in all DW seem to be great revolvers. I still think I'd like to have a set with changeable barrels one day.
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Old May 22, 2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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I have a DW 15-2 in .357 magnum. It has several unique feastures, in addition to the barrel swap ability. In all honesty I feel that is a bit of a uimmick.

The trigger is nice, the lock time short & the amount of movment to cock the hammer very short, which combine to make it a good sa/da shooter. They are strong & very accurate.

The big thing with the barrels, to me is the ability to vary the tension applied by the shroud so you can actually tweak the barrel for your load just by messing with torque. You can also fine tune your barrel/cylinder gap, something you need a smith for with most revolvers. Mine spat when I first got it but I checked the gap & found that I could run all day by closing it down to 4 thou at the tightest chamber, that cured the spitting immediately!

It also has the front locking catch, which once you get used to it is actually nicer then the rear mounted push/pull types of the Smiths & Colts.

It does have 2 issues. One is it doesn't like hard primers. CCI magnums are hit & miss, literally, & the lack of accessories because its a specalty or niche gun.
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Old May 22, 2013, 12:00 PM   #4
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Boogeman If you have issues fireing primers get a new hammer spring?? Not a big deal.

DW revolvers do have shorter hammer fall and trigger pull than SW revolvers but they are atleast as good. Just takes time for a SW shooter to get use to it. I have a few DW revolvers . Both my 15-2's have wolff RP hammer springs giveingme a 2lb SA and 5 1/2lb DA trigger pull and have allways been 100% reliable. The 22lr version is as good as it gets box stock- same trigger parts as the 15-2 and the large frame revolvers have a better trigger than the 15-series as they come from the factory. Just one heavy revolver.

It is nice being able to change barrels in a couple minutes and change gap settings. Only worry with DW revolvers to me would have to do with who owned the company. Owned by the Wesson family with the revolvers made in Monson Mass. followed by early Palmer handguns are the top choices for most of use.

Good aftermarket following with EWKarms for barrels, shrouds, sights, springs and some custom made items if time is not a big deal. Aftermarket grips to from LB Custom grips and Hogue, scopes mounts from weigand. What more accessories are needed. Cz still does work on them and sells sights springs barrels and grips buy oem stuff.

I used a red dot for 20 years on mine when new. Killed a small mountain of hogs with it. Still a 3" 100 yard handgun today if I can do my job. My 44mag is just as accurate also wearing a red dot.

If your not a revolver guy then take one with you to besure all looks and feels right with any you may want to buy. That should hold true for any brand.

I bought my first 15-2 in 1976 and it has been a great shooter and hunting revolver.


http://www.ewkarms.com/

http://lbcustomgrips.com/grips/
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Old May 22, 2013, 01:58 PM   #5
micromontenegro
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I have had a few DWs, and have one on me now. As far as accuracy goes, a good, early DW will probably outshoot any other DA revolver, as metallic silhouette aficionados discovered in the 80's.
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Old May 22, 2013, 08:41 PM   #6
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What year distinguishes between an early and a late model DW?
How can I tell without seeing the serial #?
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Old May 23, 2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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The triggers are not as 'crisp' as a tuned S&W, but the barrel arrangement because it has tension on both ends like a banjo string aids with accuracy as does placing the latch forward of the cylinder. They can seem to be finicky about primers, but on a few of mine it has often been the result of over tightening the grip screw causing the main spring to bind ever so slightly.

The ability to adjust your cylinder gap is great as is being able to solve end shake by adjusting the spring tension on a ball bearing in the frame that acts as a detent for the rear end of the cylinder.

Did I also mention that you could disassemble 10 DW revolvers (with the provided tools), mixup all of the parts, then put all 10 back together again since there is virtually no hand fitting needed on any of the parts.

It's a gun that pretty much eliminated the need for a gunsmith. (At least for most normal stuff...not for the actual detail work).

Most DW fans will tell you that the guns made at the Monson Mass. Plant are the best, and luck would have it, that was also the hay day for Dan Wesson, so really most of the DW guns you'll see for sale are Monson made guns...so much so that I would love to add a Palmer and a Norwich DW to my collection on the merit of rarity alone.

Last edited by hAkron; May 23, 2013 at 12:06 AM.
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Old May 23, 2013, 09:36 AM   #8
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I have a Monson DW 15-2 .357. It is a very accurate and good gun. I would recommend it to anyone.

The DA trigger is better than a S&W in my opinion but of course this is partly subjective. The S&W has a better SA trigger (better than any other revolver in my opinion).

The interchangeable barrel feature is very cool. I picked my Dan up slightly used in 1980 and it had only the 6" barrel. Since then I scored a 2 1/2" and a 4" barrel, and the gun shoots great with all three barrels. It is very easy to switch barrels -- this is no gimmick -- it is a different gun with each different barrel.

The bluing on a Dan is very good. The EWK accessory shrouds also have good bluing, so you can buy new barrels for an old Dan. My 2.5" barrel is an EWK. It looks great and shoots great.
1980 vintage Monson Dan Wesson with a 2012 EWK 2.5" barrel:
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:31 AM   #9
wogpotter
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Regarding the hard primer issue.

If it only happens in D/A mode it is neither the spring, nor the grip screw. If it happens in both S/A & D/A mode its probably the spring. If the grip screw is tightened too much, or is too long, then you should not be able to use S/A mode as the tip of the screw blocks the bottom of the hammer from rotating far enough for the hammer notch to be engaging the sear.

There are 2 lengths of screw for the small frames, so check that as well. I swapped to a Hogue grip & had to add 2 small washers because the grip screw supplied was too long. I couldn't go back to the original either as the Hogue had a much smaller head.
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Old May 23, 2013, 10:38 AM   #10
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The ability to change barrels is a huge plus to us here in NJ

Because of how hard it is to get a handgun (some people have waited half a year and more) then you can have one gun and use it for more then one scenario without having to go through all the BS of buying a second or 3rd gun.
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:53 PM   #11
kahrguy
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Boogieman Look for a revolver made in Monson or Palmer Mass for the best revolvers. Even if one looks like heck, If its tight and clean it more than likely will impress. The owner of blue ridge blueing use to do DW blueing and can make a beater look like new again at a good price.
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:59 PM   #12
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Only thing that I dislike about my DW is the triggers are hard to work on and the DA isnt as smooth as a tuned S&W.

Also the bluing on my frame purpled.
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Old May 24, 2013, 04:47 PM   #13
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Accurate?! DW kinda ruled the roost in the Silhouette world back in the 80s. Never really ever heard anyone complain about their accuracy w/ a DW...

The stem for grip support allowing flexibility in grip shape plus barrel changeout does allow any number of solutions, tho factory support today is somewhat limited (ahem, alas).

Back in the day Colts cost the mostest, then S&Ws, then DWs, IIRC the price point pecking order. Tho you could spend some high end money on some of the BIIIIG bore DW superduper magnum cum laudes and their ammo.
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Old May 24, 2013, 05:42 PM   #14
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The Dan Wesson was designed by the same man who designed the Colt Mark
III action.
High end? Depends on how you define the term. We always joked that a DW M-15 with a vent rib shroud was a "Poor Man's Python", looked like one and as others have noted, shoots like one.
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Old May 25, 2013, 07:26 AM   #15
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They sure are purdy!


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Old May 25, 2013, 07:38 AM   #16
hAkron
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Here is a 15-2 I bought on armslist (or gunbroker, or maybe guns America). Somebody did a little jeweling on the hammer, trigger, inside if the frame, and inside of the side plate.


Last edited by hAkron; May 26, 2013 at 07:59 PM.
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Old May 25, 2013, 08:17 AM   #17
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Dan Wesson has changed ownership several times over the years. The early ones I'd consider high end, comparable to Colt or S&W at their best. Some I would rank in the same category as Taurus. Not a bad gun, but not something you'd be proud to pass along to your grandkids either. It really depends on when they were made and who was running the company at the time.

I've not kept up with them recently and could not comment on current production guns.
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Old May 25, 2013, 08:27 AM   #18
wogpotter
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The jewelling IS prety, but I hope the cutter remembered to re case harden the mechanism afterwards!
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Old May 25, 2013, 10:31 AM   #19
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My porkchop isn't beautiful, but it shoots beatifully!

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Old May 25, 2013, 12:13 PM   #20
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Nice gun micro. I bet that is a pretty rare bird down there, porkchop, 4in barrel and all.

Some years ago (around 2006/2007) I went to a gander mountain and they had a DW 15 for $250. I left it there, and didn't even look at it. I "assumed" it had to have a defect. Looking back, they wouldn't have put it out there if it actually had something major wrong with it. It was probably fine, it was a deal, and I missed it.

It seems like with DW now, and even in the last several years, the secret is out how great they were. My friend had a DW15 and it shoot as good as my Smiths. I'd say its at least as good as everything else as far as quality, some say DW had features better than the big 3. I would like one to play with, but I keep buying other stuff at the moment.
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Old May 26, 2013, 05:17 PM   #21
kahrguy
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I wonder if the new non-Wesson family revolver had a trigger different from the early models. I have 3 small frames and never seen a production s&w that was nearly as light or as smooth and the large frame pistol are better yet. Do a little polishing in only the sides and edges of the trigger group and a wolff RP hammer spring and 2 of mine dropped to 2lb SA trigger a 4 1/2lb DA pull. Mine are all monsoon mass area revolvers .
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Old May 26, 2013, 09:01 PM   #22
ClydeFrog
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cz?....

Are there any new factory made Dan Wesson revolvers out there?
I heard the firm was picked up by CZ.
I'm going to check the CZ site for new details.
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Old May 26, 2013, 10:31 PM   #23
hAkron
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The 715 was a catalog item for a couple of years...I think 2010-2011. The story is that they were using up some of the remaining parts. The one I saw in person and the few that were on gun broker featured a plastic injection molded case with compartments for additional barrels...but the gun alone was in the $1200 range, and the one I saw had the look of being made from sheet metal...not that it was, but it just didn't look like a classic 715. I don't think CZ has working tooling to produce any new from the ground up 715's nor do I think they have the inclination. Way easier to make and sell a quality 1911 than try to make a success out of the Revolver side of the buesiness, which for whatever reason just never was much of a comercial success...other than for a brief moment in the golden era of silhouette shooting.
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Old May 27, 2013, 08:14 AM   #24
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clydefrog They made a small run that sold last year of 715's and said they will make some more !! When they bought DW mainly I think for the 1911 line and name . They made some runs of the supermags atleast. Not sure about regular revolvers. Go to there site and the parts area. They had to invest in all new tooling for the regular revolver line and then they jacked the cost to a level of S&W custom line prices. I'll stay with older models.
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Old May 27, 2013, 10:56 AM   #25
hAkron
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Dan Wesson high end?

Kahrguy - I read that the tooling was history and that they were using leftover frames. Where did you hear they had new tooling? If this is true, it's great news.
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