Smith 625 JM info


Well-Known Member
Looking to potentially purchase a Smith 625 JM. Set up for 45 ACP reloading/Mihec 68 clone casting/moon clip shooting.

Thoughts on this gun for general target fun/bowling pins/shooting cast bullets. (And, Dale53 - I have seen a # of your postings on these variants over on the Smith forum) Thanx


Active Member
I bought one the first year out. The first few months involved a few things. The throats were cut with a taper and rather short, instead of large enough for the case mouth to be able to some what headspace on the mouth. Two full moons and you were beating on it to get it to eject, got that fixed.

Trigger was pretty rough and gritty. Tore clear down and it had metal shaving everywhere in side, cleaned up and smoothed up while apart got that fixed.

Had some light strikes, tinkered with main springs and some other stuff, still issues. FYI, Federal primers were 100% but at that point they were hard to come by if at all. Cylinder and slide longer firing pin, some say issues with them but I have not had any for what I use mine for.

Grips, if your playing race games they are fine. I am using mine for BE and I have swapped around several styles myself.

I thought about the 625 from the performance center with the shorter cylinder the way it SHOULD have been to begin with. After visiting with several that bought these, the majority I spoke with had various issues with them. Worse than the JM.

Just my findings, YMMV.


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
OK, I'll show my ignorance. What is the "JM"? I bought the early 625 Model of 1989 in four inch. It was fine except for headspace being 0.045" and having to use moon clips, an ACP case didn't' even get hit by the firing pin. Wrote an article about it maybe 15 years ago. After I found out how to make cases from 460 Rowland brass, it has been a sweetheart to shoot.

452423 and Mod 1989.JPG


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
OK, looked him up on the net. He has had an exciting shooting life, and remember seeing advertisements for his grips in AR. The man has a really fast trigger finger.

358156 hp

Well-Known Member
OK, I'll show my ignorance. What is the "JM"? I bought the early 625 Model of 1989 in four inch. It was fine except for headspace being 0.045" and having to use moon clips, an ACP case didn't' even get hit by the firing pin. Wrote an article about it maybe 15 years ago. After I found out how to make cases from 460 Rowland brass, it has been a sweetheart to shoot.

View attachment 7763
Was that in "The Fouling Shot" back then? I remember a really great technical article that IIRC left no stone unturned on cast bullets in the 625. Those early guns were advertised as not needing moon clips, but I also remember JD Jones hatchet job on S&W when he received two of them in a row with an astonishing list of issues, including one bad frame. S&W replaced both guns, but never loved ol' JD again.


Redlands, Kalifornistan
I would love to have a 45 ACP/AR revolver, but examples of the JM and the PC Model 25s I have seen at shops did not impress me. Add on the horror stories from folks whose assessments I trust......well, I'm not going to roll the bones on a new S&W. If I have to finish building the thing, Ruger has their swap-cylinder Blackhawks for a lot less money than the S&W, and you get a cylinder in a second caliber (45 Colt) that can be extended well past conventional 45 Colt ballistics if you are so inclined. This same trend continued with a new S&W Model 48 x 6" I was lusting in my heart for recently. Seen in the real world, the things looked strange and out of proportion, their classic lines disturbed and askew. Ruger S/A swap cylinder to the rescue--again.

In a past life, I owned a S&W Model 25-2 in 45 ACP/AR. I kept that thing around for about 2 years, but it was a PITA to create ammo for with its .456"-.457" throats and .451" grooves. back then (1980-82) I did not have the knowledge base to overcome such hurdles readily, and for darn sure did not have the disposable income to throw at getting it fixed in any event. It shot jacketed bullets pretty well, when I could afford to buy them. I thought at the time that moon clips were about as useful as a hair shirt and not half as practical, esp. when compared to the simplicity of Auto Rim brass that had (and has) HKS speedloaders made to fit and that work well. I know that the gun gamers consider such beliefs to be heresy, and that is just peachy-keen. For them.

I wonder if a loaded Auto Rim cartridge could fit--revolve--and extract from a Ruger Blackhawk convertible 45 ACP cylinder. I haven't tried it--has anyone else?
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Active Member
Starline is making 45 cowboy, 45colt size rim, ACP length.

I bought my Ruger Bisley 45colt/ACP cylinder. Use it to shoot culls from the 625 :).

I have yet to figure out how the RedHawk is chambered to run with 45 colt and ACP in the same cylinder, I read minimal slop size?

After working the Blackhawk up to real close to top end Blackhawk only 45 colt loads, I suddenly decided I do not need a .454. I own and have shot some big thumpers in a wheel gun over the years. I found it to be quite obnoxious. However those loads did produce some excellent 50 yard groups.


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
I wonder if a loaded Auto Rim cartridge could fit--revolve--and extract from a Ruger Blackhawk convertible 45 ACP cylinder. I haven't tried it--has anyone else?
I have done three, one old model and two new model, Ruger Blackhawks cylinders from .45 ACP to .45 ACP / AR. It is easy, just center up the cylinder pin hole (may be hard to do as some are not very straight) and cut the back off just up to the ratchet. I headspace the rim at .004" but I liked them fairly tight. The ACP's still headspace on the shelf in the chamber. The cut will not even be up to the front of the extractor groove on ACP brass.

The other option is .455 Webley black powder cases, they will work in the Colt cylinders, but the headspace is longer than I like. If you have to buy brass, the 45 Cowboy is the way to do it.

However, they weight 14 tons more than the 625 and the grip feels like crosscut saw handle. I've owned about 10 in my life, but never could fall in love with them. My gun buddies always ask if I have bought any Rugers lately, 'cause they know they don't live long at my house. I have an SP101 I'm trying to peddle now. ;)


Redlands, Kalifornistan
Ruger BHs are heavy, no doubt about it. I have owned a couple convertible BHs in the past, and never had trouble getting the 45 ACP rounds to light off in the swap cylinders. Same story with the BHs in 30 Carbine--reliable ignition.


West Central AR
Of course there's always the RedHawk . It does need a special moon clip vs the common as mud 1917 clips . The AR doesn't work either but if it's Colts or S&W rimmed it's ok I guess .
Taking it a little further you can cut down all of those 30-40s and 303s with the split necks down too .

I found a ruined but complete and functional 1918 vintage 1917 and did a chamber ream to 45 S&W , it wasn't long enough for Colts and a steady diet of the +P Colts for the BH probably would be bad for it .
It HS on the case mouth and ejects clean and of course will still take the moon clips for several rimless cartridges .
Personally I like the clips . No brass to chase of fumble if you do drop some you're looking for a golf ball sized bunch not single cases . Reloads are quick . No cases can get under the extractor .
A simple tool makes unloading them a breeze with no drops . The first round in a clip is more difficult but once you get twist/roll/slide motion down it's easy enough .
The clips stack nice in tall boy script bottles .
Best of all you can call them 45 ACP clips and nobody can say it's wrong .
I won’t be much help with the JM 625, but I have a 625-4 5” and a 625-6 which was rebarreled to Mountain Gun configuration. I don’t / won’t own any of the guns with the key lock.

At one time I used Auto Rim cases for some loads, but have switched to moon clips with the ACP brass for all my 625 loads.

Favorite loads used the Mihec 68 clone or 270gr Ohaus SWC, but am now shooting the Accurate 45-200E for general use as it chambers easier in the revolver than the #68 and for my purposes is just as accurate.

Both these 625’s are a pleasure to shoot and provide more accuracy than I can muster. Cataracts don’t help out in that department. Using a JP sight on the -4 helps out.

I’m not hunting anymore and most all of my shooting is at the range at paper.

I don’t think I can add anything to Dale53’s posts as he has covered the ground well.

These two 625’s have survived my efforts at downsizing and would be among the last to go.


Well-Known Member
I got one of the 4" versions and messed about with it quite a bit at first.
finally just settled down and use the moon clips and AR cases and things go along just fine.
I did change the front sight to a glow green thingy and the bullets hit right behind it.
never tried changing it from doing that since it stays on the 6" plates consistently clear back to the metal cover on the pistol range and that's as far as I need to shoot a handgun I carry in the woods and leave in the nightstand.
I have kind of just settled on 225gr RNFP's for it in the moon clips with the occasional cylinder full of 250gr RNFP's in the AR cases.


Well-Known Member
never a Key Lock - get it/agree. (Just changed out two Series 80 1911s to Series 70s'). I have really been focusing on old Colts/Smiths (80-100 yrs old). However, my current somewhat of a problem is, I won a $500 gift certificate at the local range (shooting comp). And its gonna have to go towards something new. And just not really anything that trips my trigger that is new... Plus I want to use it towards something special...

I looked at a Colt 1911 Comp in 38 Super, but prob wouldn't shoot it much, or enjoy it as much as my 45 1911s, and dang sure don't need another caliber to tool up for... W/R/T the 625, it is a 45 ACP (very well set up for that) AND a moon clip gun or 45 AR - and I just got fully invested in those supplies for my 1917 Smith, and really enjoy it. And I have found a number of Dale's 625 post
For me the issue with the key lock on S&W revolvers (aside from the lack of its necessity) is that the frames were redesigned to accommodate the lock mechanism, which changed the attractive lines of the revolver. They have a sorta “clunky” look to them now.

Having a gift certificate still wouldn’t put me over the edge to purchase a key lock revolver. Does a guy ever have too many 1911’s? ;)

And a 1911 might make good trade bait towards a used 625. Decisions, decisions…

Hah! Have fun deciding.

Merry Christmas (he writes as the grandkids are napping)


High Steppes of Eastern Washington
But they do shoot well. This if from about 15 years ago, the best full power load I found using cut down 460 Rowland brass head spacing on the case mouth with 0.004" headspace.

Model 1989.JPG

Dang picture still will not rotate left! Fixed another one for ya, Rick :)
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Wow. Amazing how experiences differ. Only caliber I own that I can shoot the same ammo in cause dimensions are all the same using AR brass only. All are 625-8s, with the bottom one the only JM. The 5” was a custom shop model that had to be sent back brand new for some reason, but works right well now. The 625, 5” handles heavy bullets better, (SURPRISE) & has standard rifling. The top gun (polygonal rifling) is a carry piece with the 260 gr LBT’s & will hold 3” @ 25 yds doing it. The JM has a combination of the two rifling.

Killed a couple of deer with the top 4” when they snuck in too close for the Whelen to be practical. Are they competition guns? Don’t know cause I don’t compete. But if you con me into bettin with money on the line, this is what you’ll be facing. AB0D5F3E-9EA6-462A-B99E-448800128367.jpeg 664EF4C4-3DC6-43FF-9F5D-7B0EE3C9F2EA.jpeg