Smith & Wesson Model 617-6 160584 22 LR

The 617-6 had a good trigger in both SA and DA and a large, full-size grip. It was tight and offered good accuracy. This revolver is heavy, so don’t think of it as a lightweight trail gun.




The Model 617, this in its 6th design iteration, hence the “-6” in the model number, is an expensive rimfire revolver. As we studied and fired it, we found it to be a great choice, especially if you have a centerfire L-frame and want to train with less cost and recoil. This is a serious revolver for the wheelgun aficionado. This would also be a good choice for small-game hunting.

Our sample featured a bright stainless finish typically found on S&W’s other stainless revolvers. We like this finish, and it is easy to clean. The hammer, trigger, and sights are black and contrast nicely. Did we mention this is a beautiful gun? The 4-inch barrel uses a full underlug, so the 617 is a hefty revolver. At 39 ounces unloaded, this is not a lightweight 22 LR handgun.

The cylinder is fluted for all 10 chambers, making it easy to identify it as a rimfire revolver even though it looks a lot like a S&W Model 686. That’s because they use the same frame. The ejector fully dumps 22 LR cases when depressed. We had no issues dumping empties even after extended firing. All the chambers are countersunk. The front lock on the cylinder is located in the end of the ejector rod. A pin in the underlug snaps in place when the cylinder is closed.

ActionRevolver, Double Action
Overall Length9.1 in.
Barrel Length4.0 in.
Sight Radius5.3 in.
Overall Height5.5 in.
Maximum Width1.4 in.
Weight Unloaded39.0 oz.
Weight Loaded 45.0 oz.
Cylinder Gap0.010 in.
Frame FinishStainless Steel
Barrel/Cylinder FinishStainless Steel
Frame Front Strap Height 2.5 in.
Frame Back Strap Height 3.5 in.
GripTextured Finger Groove Rubber
Grip Thickness (max)1.1 in.
Grip Circumference (max)5.0 in.
Front SightRamped and Pinned
Rear SightAdjustable U-notch
Trigger Pull Weight (DA)13.0 lbs.
Trigger Pull Weight (SA)4.9 lbs.
Trigger Span (DA)3.6 in.
Trigger Span (SA)3.0 in.
SafetyHammer Block
WarrantyNone Written
Telephone (800) 331-0852
Made In USA

The top side of the barrel is bead blasted for a matte, non-glare finish. It also wears decorative grooves on the top side. The front sight is a plain black post pinned in place, which we like. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and if you are not familiar with S&W revolver sights, you will need to look at the manual since there is no indication for up/down nor left/right adjustment. The back bottom edge is serrated to kill glare. We would have preferred the entire shooter-facing side of the sight be serrated, not just the bottom portion.

The trigger face is smooth, and that is fine for speed shooting, except the DA trigger pull was 13 pounds. We would have liked it to be less, but it was quite serviceable. SA pull weight was just under 5 pounds, and again, we would have liked it lighter. The DA trigger pull was exceptionally smooth with no stacking. In SA mode there was no creep. This is a really good trigger, even if it is a bit on the heavy side.

The grip is S&W’s newer textured rubber with finger grooves and slight palm swell and flat butt. We like this grip. It fits average and full-size hands equally well.

Going hot, we found the 617-6 offers great accuracy. At 15 yards our best five-shot groups measured 0.78 inches with the hotter Aguila and Winchester Power-Point ammo. The milder PMC Target ammo had a best group of 0.83 inches. On average, the 617-6 shot well under one inch. This is the kind of accuracy needed for humane small-game hunting. Moving to speed shooting in DA mode, our groups opened up, and we attribute this to the heavy trigger. We did encounter a bit of splatter with the S&W, and we did note the cylinder gap measured 0.010 inches. The gap for the Ruger and Taurus measured 0.008 and 0.009, respectively.

Our Team Said: The 617-6 is a hefty, medium-sized revolver with a good trigger in both SA and DA and a large, full-size grip. It was tight and offered good accuracy. This revolver is a must-have if you own a 686 or other L-frame 4-incher. We also think this would make a great small-game hunting revolver. The cost is high, but so is the quality and performance. It’s Our Pick of the three tested here.


To collect accuracy data, we fired five-shot groups from a bench using a rest. Distance: 15 yards with open sights. We recorded velocities using a ProChrono digital chronograph set 15 feet from the muzzle.
Aguila Interceptor 22 Long Rifle 40-gr. RNSRuger LCRxS&W 617-6Taurus 922 Tracker
Average Velocity1042 fps1079 fps1079 fps
Muzzle Energy96 ft.-lbs.103 ft.-lbs.63 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.49 in.0.78 in.0.52 in.
Average Group1.69 in.0.83 in.0.81 in.
PMC Target 22 Long Rifle 40-gr. RNSRuger LCRxS&W 617-6Taurus 922 Tracker
Average Velocity804 fps840 fps834 fps
Muzzle Energy57 ft.-lbs.63 ft.-lbs.62 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group0.86 in.0.83 in.0.40 in.
Average Group1.34 in.0.89 in.0.69 in.
Winchester Power-Point 22 Long Rifle 42-gr. HPRuger LCRxS&W 617-6Taurus 922 Tracker
Average Velocity1026 fps1028 fps1079 fps
Muzzle Energy98 ft.-lbs.99 ft.-lbs.63 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group0.92 in.0.78 in.0.74 in.
Average Group1.30 in.0.96 in.0.94 in.
Taurus 922 TrackerCCI Maxi-Mag 22 Magnum 40-gr. JHPCCI Maxi-Mag 22 Magnum 40-gr. TMJFederal Game Shok 22 Magnum 50-gr. JHP
Average Velocity1149 fps1160 fps995 fps
Muzzle Energy117 ft.-lbs.120 ft.-lbs.110 ft.-lbs.
Smallest Group1.18 in.0.64 in.1.16 in.
Average Group1.56 in.0.73 in.1.23 in.

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