The Smith & Wesson Model 27 was the first purpose built revolver to fire the .357 Magnum cartridge, designed in 1935 and has remained in production right up to the present day. The Model 27 is avaliable as an N-Frame double action revolver in a variety of finishes and individual touches.
The Model 27 appeared in 1935 in the guise of the "Registered Magnum", firing in the newly released .357 Magnum cartridge, becoming a product that was almost exclusive to Smith & Wesson . The Model 27 was built to the customers demands (bar the frame size) meaning that any barrel length upwards of 4in could be ordered. Likewise the trigger, hammer, grips and front sights were also built to order, leading to a backlog of orders for Smith & Wesson in the "Registered Magnum's" four year production life.
After 1939 production of the "Registered Magnum" became more standardised, as the name changed to the Model 27 (as well as the name of ".357 Magnum" to the revolver itself). The barrel lengths became standardised to the most popular of those ordered in the catalogue (4in, 6in, 8.375in, 8.625 and 10.375in) reducing the cost, and allowed Smith & Wesson to invest time and money on finishing processes.
The main features of the Model 27 such as the double action mechanism, frame size and other components have remained in the Smith & Wesson designs to the present day, being famed for being strong and reliable when using the .357 Magnum.
The Model 27 was the first purpose built firearm for the .357 Magnum cartridge, designed in 1934. As the .357 Magnum used a newer powder, which would produce higher pressures and higher muzzle velocities than the older .38 Special (which the Model 27 can also use), and was virtually exlusive to the Model 27 until the release of the Model 28 (which was heavily based on the Model 27) the .357 Magnum market was almost completely exclusive to Smith & Wesson.
The Model 27 has been in production for the best part of 80 years, and as a consequence has appeared in several variations, and indeed formed the basis of other Smith & Wesson products.
Smith & Wesson "Registered Magnum"Edit
The "Registered Magnum" was the first guise of the Model 27, being avaliable in virtually any configuration of grips, triggers, barrel lengths etc. before being withdrawn in 1939 after four years of production and large sales figures.
Smith & Wesson Model 28Edit
The Smith & Wesson Model 28 was a less expensive version of the Model 27, lacking the finishing processes of the Model 27 making it less expensive for sales to police forces. The Model 28 would enter production in 1954 before leaving production in 1986.
Smith & Wesson Model 29Edit
The Smith & Wesson Model 29 was an alternative to the Model 28 and Model 27, firing the larger .44 Magnum cartridge rather than the .357 Magnum. Despite the larger size of the .44 Magnum cartridge the original frame of the Model 27 was maintained on the Model 29.
Smith & Wesson Model 627EditThe Model 627 was designed in 1989, promoted as the "Model of 1989", with a stainless steel frame, six-shot unfluted cylinder, round butt, S&W combat stocks and a 5.5in barrel. The Model 627 is given a matte finish (rather than that of the stainless steel of the original). This was produced by the Smith & Wesson Performance Centre as opposed to Smith & Wesson themselves.
Later the Smith & Wesson Performance Centre produced the "Snub Nose" Model 627, which featured an eight-shot cylinder and 2.625in barrel. The "Snub Nose" Model 627 was otherwise identical to the Model 627.
Smith & Wesson Model 327Edit
The Model 327, introduced in 2008, is an eight-shot scandium framed version of the Model 27. The Model 327 has its own variant known as the 327NG (Night Guard).
The Model 27 placed Smith & Wesson in a new era of revolver popularity as well as placing them in a market virtually exclusive to themselves. The .357 Magnum cartridge became a popular cartridge for police forces across the world, opening the Model 27 to the police market in the US.
Although the less expensive Model 28 would surpass the Model 27 in police forces, the Model 27 became a popular firearm for FBI agents. Several other public figures claim the Model 27 as a good firearm, such as General George Pattern, whose Model 27 was fitted with ivory grips, whom referred to his Model 27 as his "killing gun".