Here is the final form of the immensely popular classic Smith & Wesson .357 Combat Magnum Stainless, the Model 66-7. This one’s serial number prefix is CHL, manufactured in late 2004. The Model 66, of course, was discontinued in 2005, much to our disappointment. This 66-7 is the final variant after the K frame was strengthened and lengthened some time around 1998 with several of the 66-5s, and MIM case colored .312 smooth combat trigger and .375 semi-target cleat serrated hammer. Barrel, of course, is 4 inches, and the weight empty is a well balanced 38 ounces. This was one of the few made with the new two-piece barrel and recessed muzzle. It comes with Smith & Wesson’s patented internal lock and two keys, and it is legal for transfer to eligible California and Massachusetts residents. We rate this specimen as Very Good. Its chief detraction is moderate scouring on the side plate, right hand side of the frame, probably from strap or snap contact from normal duty wear, but with only minimal stress on the yoke screw where the revolver was serviced by the Department armorer. There is also a faint amount of scouring and buffing to the frame and sight edges, and to the cylinder surface. Otherwise, this 66-7 is very nice, and the side plate would buff out if someone has the time and talent. The recessed area of the muzzle had a moderate amount of carbon fouling, normal for this late type of revolver. We rate it as 85 percent or so finishwise, but photos should suffice for interested parties to judge finish grade for themselves. Grips are new replacement Hogue Conversion Monogrips, the best-handling combat grips on the market. This 66-7 in Excellent Mechanically. Bore and cylinder chambers are bright, clean, and excellent. Blast effect to the under side of the frame top strap is negligible and only amounts to streaking and carbon deposits with no cutting whatsoever. Lateral play to the cylinder is minimal, both with the trigger pulled and with it relaxed. Double action trigger pull is smooth and consistent, and the hammer travels 5 degrees after the cylinder times into place in all six positions. On single action, the hammer travels an additional 25 to 30 degrees after the cylinder times, and the single action trigger pull is an original tight but crisp 5 5/8 pounds. Cylinder face to forcing cone gap is .a perfect .006, and this explains the blast effect to the top strap. That area does not proceed with cutting, however, once it cures as this one has. Other specs are Red Ramp front sight and windage adjustable flat black rear sight. We have had positive experience with the later floating firing pin variant Smith & Wessons like this one, and very positive reports from our Arizona marksmen who really put them through their paces. This revolver comes in a new Smith & Wesson plastic case with two keys for its internal lock. Own one of the last specimens of a classic, the Model 66 Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum Stainless, for only $ 469.95 California certification expires August 2011; transferable, then, to civilian buyers in all jurisdictions of the United States of America
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