Gratuitous Gun Pic: S&W Mod 648 (.22 Win Mag)

Being out of touch, as always, I failed to notice that S&W have (once again) re-released their lovely little Model 648 — only this time, it has an 8-round cylinder:

I just love the look of this piece;  a nice heavy barrel and underlug on a K-frame Smith?  Be still, my beating heart.

But it had better be a strong heart.

Longtime Readers will be aware that I am a huge fan of the .22 Mag (.22 Win Mag/WMR) cartridge, and all things being equal I would be on the hunt for one of these new 8-shooters toot sweet, so to speak.

But seriously — and I have bitched and moaned about this before — the cost of .22 Mag ammo is just foul.  When .22 LR has come down to around 10 cents per pop, its big brother stays stubbornly around 36 cents, which just sucks.  Even back in the Good Times (1999 – 2005), it was still relatively pricey, but even so, I recall paying about 15 cents per (about double that of Min-Mag .22 LR from CCI) on a bulk purchase;  and thank goodness it was a bulk purchase (5,000 rounds), because I’m still shooting ammo from that and earlier purchases.  I haven’t had the nerve (or wallet) to buy any more since then.

That kind of price just takes the ammo — and the guns which shoot them — right out of the plinking / fun shooting, and relegates it to varmint hunting.  And by the way, if I were to go varminting now, I could shoot .223 Rem ammo at 32 cent a squeeze, and save 4 cents a time over .22 Mag.  Total suckage.

And I know all about the cost/demand curve, and a pox on it:  because it’s taking this lovely revolver right off my wish list.


  1. I just purchased my first rimfire (a KelTec P17 – the rest of my collection was unfortunately lost in that boating accident back in …), but I doubt I’ll ever buy a .22 Mag until I can find a way to handload it (in all these years, somebody must’ve figured out a way to ream out…

  2. I am not a huge fan of S&W (prefer Ruger).
    That being said. The S&W model 617 (which is the 10 round 22 LR in K frame version of the model 648 – they share the K frame) is a nice piece.

    I wonder though. Why the hell the 648 is not available in a 4 inch barrel. Don’t say velocity of the round out of a 6 inch barrel – because there is a J frame (model 351 PD) 22 WMR with a less than 2 inch barrel available.

    The 648 needs a 4 inch version. The 648 would be great in 4 inch.

    As far as ammo costs. Any gun you buy today or even bought in the last 10 years. You spent FAR FAR more money in ammo than the gun is worth. For example. Sig P226 or Sig P229 at around $ 1,200 US monopoly dollars. Guess what? Two measly cases of 9MM ammo today and you’ve spent more on ammo than the gun itself. So if you see a gun that floats your boat and you can afford it. Pick it up. Guns seem to double in cost every decade so you have a good investment. And in the mean time you can enjoy the gun.

    Overall while I like the 648 by S&W, even though I am not an S&W fan, I much prefer the Ruger Single Six convertible. It has 2 cylinders – one in 22 LR and the other in 22 WMR. One gun – two calibers. And the style is nice too. Yes I know it’s single action and in general I’m
    Not a fan of single action guns, but in the 22 LR and WMR market – the Ruger Single Six is king.

    1. Well, I have two of those (blue and SS), but I wouldn’t mind a double-action one as well. Also, the 648 is pretty.

  3. That is a lovely gun, but at nearly $900 retail it is waay over priced.
    Just bought a S&W M&P 12-22 last week and I’m liking it.
    Still want a dbl action .22lr revolver, reasonably priced, though.

  4. Quick question – several years ago I was looking at rimfire revolvers and tried a double action (gentle tested trigger pull in the store without letting the hammer drop). It was atrocious. Both on the Smith and the Ruger version. Ending up buying a single action instead – Ruger Single Six with convertible cylinder. Of course I’m just a single action fan (I only own about 8 or so, before the boating accident).

    That said, the reason I heard for the double action crap trigger pull is that the rimfire requires a harder strike and thus the trigger action is worse than a modern centerfire piece. That seems to make sense, but just wondering if anyone else had better info on that. I was really set on a double action piece that held 8 or more .22 rimfire rounds, but after trying the triggers I just couldn’t see buying one.

    If there’s a better option, I can sneak out of the house and then tell my wife later “What? I’ve had that pistol for years. No I didn’t just buy it. I got that before we married. No that’s not a new box. What? What receipt? Seriously, who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

    1. The S&W model 648 and 617 (same K frame just 22 WMR vs LR) has a decent trigger for a rimfire. However, yes to your point the trigger is heavier than center fire like the similar but beefed up L frame 686 in 357 Mag.

      If you purchase a 648 or 617 and if this Is a firearm to carry in the woods or hunt with, leave the trigger alone.

      If it will be a range piece, check out the Apex Tactical “mass driver revolver hammer kit”. Amazing trigger.

      In the 617’s of two people I know – and of the numerous ones I’ve used – only one had that hammer. It’s fine out of the box but if you want a better trigger, Apex is the go to.

  5. Thanks for the write up on the 648!

    I agree that the 648 would be very nice if it was made with a 4″ barrel. That would be a nice sized kit gun although bigger than a traditional kit gun. The K frame is a really nice handling size. I’d like one for self defense when my hands get too arthritic to use 45acp.

    The Single Six with the second cylinder is really nice but there are times out in the woods where I would prefer to have a double action trigger rather than single action.

    I’ve had a S&W model 17 and a 617 6 shot revolvers. Both were absolute joys with very good triggers. The 17 was made in either ’62 or ’66 and its single action trigger broke like glass. Rather than replace parts to improve the trigger, just put a couple bricks of 22lr through the revolver and the trigger will improve over time and you’ll have fun at the range. the 17 or 617 were constant companions in my range bag. The only way to have a bad day with a 22 is running out of ammunition.

    Life is short, buy ammunition!


    1. I have to tell you that there’s a HUGE difference in the accuracy of the .22 Mag between the 4″ and 6″ barrels — at least, that’s the case with my two Single Six revolvers.

  6. Longer barrel is always good.

    I have a Ruger snubie in 22 WMR and it is easy to carry, double action works on it and at 25 yards I can ring the plate.

    Do like single action though.

  7. I have an S&W 17, one of the newer 10 shot ones. The double action pull is not that good, especially compared to older ones. I wonder if part of the issue is the changes in trigger system timing when they went from 6 to 10 chamber cylinders, or if it all falls under ‘they just don’t make them like they used to”.

    Or both, I suppose. Off to look at what Apex has to offer…

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