Dan Wesson 715: http://cz-usa.com/product/dan-wesson-715/
Buy one on GunsAmerica: /dan wesson 357
Dan Wesson double action revolvers are back. It has been about 10 years since there have been new production DW revolvers on the market. CZ USA, which bought the Dan Wesson company in 2005, have made pistols under the name, but (until late last year) only a very limited number of revolvers. I am sure some of you reading this are familiar with the Dan Wesson’s. But I also bet there are a number of you that have no clue or think it must be a brand related to Smith & Wesson. For a little clarity lets take a look at Dan Wesson the man and a brief history of his company before we get to the review gun.
Daniel B. Wesson II was the great grandson of Daniel Wesson I who founded Smith and Wesson. DWII worked in the family business from 1938 until the company was sold in 1963. By 1968 he had formed his own company and began production of his own design of double action revolvers. These revolvers are not just some rehashing of an old K-Frame Smith– they are a totally different design with some very unique features.
The Dan Wesson company has changed hands a number of times since its founding. Dan Wesson passed away in 1978 and the company was run by his descendants for a time. CZ took ownership of the in 2005 but have mostly focused on 1911s manufactured under the Dan Wesson name.
So what makes the Dan Wesson revolvers unique? A couple of things. When you see one for the first time, you’ll notice that the cylinder latch is not in the usual place. The Dan Wesson latches are in front of the cylinders on the crane. The idea behind putting the latch on the crane is that it makes a stronger lock-up, and it does.
But, if you are used to shooting just about any other double action revolver it takes a little getting used to. While you may operate the latch on a Smith, Ruger, or Colt with your right hand, the DW latch is more easily reached with the left.
The other, and biggest difference of the Dan Wesson designs is the ability to swap barrels with ease. It is a very simple process to change out the barrels. The barrel screws into the frame with a shim behind it to set the cylinder gap. Once the barrel is attached, the shroud goes over it and a nut is used to hold everything together. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes. Why would you want to swap out barrels you ask? Lengths. Put a 2 inch on and have a great carry piece. Throw the 8 incher on and head to the range for some target shooting.
The 715 is arguably the pentacle of the Dan Wesson designs. This is the stainless model in .357 magnum and, rightfully so, the model CZ has chosen to reintroduce. Here are some specs:
- 6 shot cylinder
- 6 inch barrel (other lengths sold separately)
- Stainless Steel Construction
- Finger molded rubber grips
- Adjustable target sights
- 48oz with 6 inch barrel
- $1,168 MSRP
Fit, Finish and Function
Everything about the looks of the review gun says high quality. The stainless steel is uniformly polished to a nice matte finish. The stamping is crisp and uniform. I couldn’t find a single tool mark on the outside of the revolver. The lock work is strong and the action is crisp. The revolver locks up tight no matter how slow and easy or hard and fast I worked the action. Simply put the review gun works and functions perfectly.
The trigger on the 715 took me a little bit to get used to. The first time I pulled the trigger in double action I was surprised at how short the travel was. Even cocking the DW to shoot single action has a very short travel. I was a little concerned that with so little movement of the hammer that there might be some light primer strikes. But this was not to be. I made an effort to check the depth of most of the fired primers and they were all struck uniformly and well.
The pull on the double action is right around 10 pounds. With the short length of travel it feels a little lighter than that in reality. The reset is easy to get a feel for and I quickly became used to its feel. The single action break is about 4.5 pounds and is very crisp with very little creep and no over travel. But the short travel on the DA pull really took me a while to get a feel for. I do not mean that in a bad way. It is just different from what I am used too. The trigger on the 715 takes a little time to get used to the feel for staging your shots. I was also shooting a Python at the range at the same time I was the 715. Switching back and forth between the two was night and day. This is not a 715 vs. Python review, but I will say that once I got a feel for the DW trigger I started to prefer it.
The Dan Wesson revolvers are known for their accuracy. This one was no exception. One of the ideas behind the interchangeable barrels is that the design improves accuracy. This idea revolves around barrel harmonics. The barrel is under tension in the DW design, tension between the frame and the barrel nut. Think of it like a guitar string, the tighter the barrel nut the higher “pitch” of the barrel. There are a number of DW owners that subscribe to this philosophy. I am not sure if it is snake oil or not. I did tighten and loosen the barrel nut a little before shooting a couple of groups but I did not see any measurable difference but this was far from a scientific testing.
Snake oil and barrel tuning aside, the 715 is a great shooter. Once I got the feel for the DA trigger, I was able to shoot around 1 inch groups from 25 yards with ease. I would still drop a shot here and there but those are most assuredly on me and the learning curve of the trigger.
If you are looking for a really nice, brand new double action revolver your options have been pretty limited over the past decade or so. S&W, Taurus, and Ruger have been pretty much the only major American manufacturers with DAs on the market. CZ brought the 715 back a couple of years ago for a very limited run, we are hoping that it is here to stay this time. It sure deserves to be in regular production. This is the time of gun you add to a collection.
The new production Dan Wesson 715s are made in New York and are a great option if you are looking for a quality double action revolver. MSRP is $1,168. An odd number for a great gun.