The Thunder Rolls: A different kind of .45


Smith & Wesson 625 Mountain Gun
Smith & Wesson 625 Mountain Gun

The Smith & Wesson Model 625
Mountain Gun in .45 Long Colt

By Big Jim Charles

Most of us think of the grand ole’ 1911 in .45 ACP when we think of fine fightin’ firearms in the forty five chambering.

However, from time to time it behooves us to take note of the many fine .45’s out there in different chamberings and of different makes.

Make no mistake, the grand ol’ 1911 a-1, the Legendary Slab Sided Battle Weapon to end all Fightin’ Implements is indeed an oldy and a goodie, but there are other designs we come across from time to time that are just as good in their own particular way. One such example is nestled in my inside coat pocket as I type this missive to Syd. A .45 “Long” Colt revolver of the S&W persuasion.

On a trip to my favorite firearms purveyor nestled in the mountains of Floyd County my brother Dave was eyeballing all the shiny, tricked out new Kimbers. But sitting there in the corner among all the Grand New Copies of the Government Model along with the various tactical tupperwear type ordnance was a beautifully understated and underestimated piece that harkened back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt and Elmer Keith, not the mean streets of the big cities and SWAT teams. It was a gleaming Smith and Wesson Mountain Revolver chambered in .45 Colt!

I took a look and was amazed at the price, a few hundred under what I have seen various N frame Smiths going for as of late. Seeing as how I was cash poor I asked the owner of the shop if he would be interested in a trade. Seeing as how I had more than my share of .44 Magnums and the big boomer is always a seller in my neck of the woods, the shop wizard agreed to my proposal and a few pesky federal forms later, me and my new “Hillbilly Gun” were on our way home, along with a box of Cowboy Action Shooting Ammo from Frontier.

The big gun was a good shooter. Often, when we are used to shooting semi-automatics, we tend to forget just how accurate a fixed barrel revolver with a smooth 3 pound let off can be. This was a prime example, with groups that would make me look like a liar, were I to type them in. I feel confident that those huge 255 grain lead wad cutters will be just as effective, if not more-so than the 230 grain hardball I have used to protect my hide, low these many years….

This particular Mountain Revolver was a little different. First up, it had been Magna-ported, and to be honest I don’t understand why. Unless you are shooting full-house .44 magnum loads in a four inch N-frame recoil is pretty much unnoticeable in these portable cannons. Actually the extra flash from the porting tended to throw my shooting off.

As it was an older Smith it also featured a few details I prefer to the newest N-frames. Gone is that new frame bolster that makes the good looking guns look clunky. The old grooving was carved deep into the back strap where we old timers expect it to be. Haven’t taken off the one-piece Hogue monogrips yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find a square but grip frame on this beauty, and best of all, low and behold and praise St. George, right there on the face of the hammer is the wicked, curved firing pin poised like a serpent’s tooth, right where it should be! One of the clerks told me that some of Smiths newest offerings are coming up with a small thumb safety installed, and I really can’t say I approve of it. In my honest opinion, if you want a thumb safety, buy a 1911!!!

Also, since the majority of Smith revolvers are chambered in high pressure magnum rounds, I wonder how long it will take these added on widgets to get battered out of alignment and cause the gun to not work when you need it most. Remember the FBI 10mm? I think Smith just needs to have the state of California change it’s laws instead of modifying the classic wheel gun of the 20th century for the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia.

But this will affect me and my nice Smith .45 not in the least.

I like to think of this as my “Hillbilly Gun” as when I was a boy, the big frame Smiths in .45 chamberings were very popular in my neck of the woods. Citified sissies may have relied primarily on .38’s back then, but here in the mountains Thunder rolls. With the skinny tapering barrel, this piece even resembles those old N-frames from long ago.

I can’t help but get the feeling when shooting this gun that it is the main one in my arsenal that my great-great grandpappy, George Dillon (an old time gun-fightin’ lawman in the Sid Hatfield tradition) would have approved of most.

The trigger is nice and smooth, cylinder locks up tight and the gun shoots as a good gun should. It has few of the homely modifications of the recent Smiths and the only real drawback to it’s overall look is that color case hardening on the hammer and trigger that looks so woefully out of place on a stainless wheel gun.

Comments, suggestions, contributions? Let me know