Smith & Wesson Model 610 12462 10mm Auto

The Smith & Wesson 610 was very accurate and did a great job of taming the recoil from the heavier loads.




We wonder if, perhaps, the most commonly carried revolver of all time hasn’t been one of the small, J-Frame Smith & Wesson revolvers. Frequently chambered in 38 Special, with 1.875- to 3-inch barrels, these little pistols make a great self-defense or backup pistol. But we wouldn’t want to have to rely on one for bear defense. We wholeheartedly admit that a 38 Special beats a sharp stick, but we would prefer something a bit more substantial in that case. We sometimes see folks trying to shoehorn bear-capable cartridges into a little bitty revolver, which would also not be our first choice.

Action TypeDA/SA revolver, hammer fired
Overall Length12.1 in.
Overall Height6.1 in.
Maximum Width1.71 in.
Weight Unloaded49.6 oz.
Weight Loaded54.5 oz. with six 180-grain FMJs and moon clip
Cylinder MaterialStainless steel
Slide Retraction EffortN/A
Receiver MaterialStainless steel
FinishMatte stainless
Front Strap Height2.5 in.
Back Strap Height4.4 in.
BarrelStainless steel
Barrel Length6.5 in.
Grip Thickness (Maximum)1.25 in.
Grip Circumference5.4 in.
Magazine6-round cylinder
Rear SightAdjustable white outline
Front SightBlack replaceable
Sight Radius8.3 in.
Trigger Pull Weight Double Action11.6 lbs.
Trigger Pull Weight Single Action4.6 lbs.
Trigger Span Double Action4.0 in.
Trigger Span Single Action3.5 in.
SafetyHammer bar and action lock
Warranty1-year limited warranty, non-transferrable
Telephone(800) 331-0852
Made InU.S.A., Massachusetts

We understand the utility for this kind of concept for those who are going to “carry it a lot and shoot it a little.” We, however, like to practice with things. People tend to not practice with things that cause them considerable pain. Recoil can certainly do that, and weight is one of the best mitigators of recoil. We like weight in our big bores. The 10mm may not epitomize the term “big bore” in most eyes, but the Buffalo Bore 220-grain bullets at more than 1200 fps can get your attention. We like the weight out front on this revolver.

Our Smith & Wesson decoder ring confirms that the “6” prefix, as in Model 610, means that the handgun is made from stainless steel and there is most of 3 pounds of it in this revolver. Everything is in a satin finish that makes the 610 look like it is ready to head for the wet of Alaska right now. The barrel on our sample is 6.5 inches long and has the full underlug. This moves the balance more forward toward the muzzle and reduces muzzle flip. In the scheme of things, that means the 610 will recoil less, allowing for more comfortable shooting and faster follow up shots. The 6.5-inch barrel also creates a long sight radius, further aiding with accuracy. The top strap is already tapped and drilled in case the shooter wants to go all the way and mount some kind of optic.

The S&W 610 wheelgun ships with an adjustable rear sight mounted along with a plain-black ramped front sight. The front blade is held in its slot via a lateral roll pin. We found a number of replacement sights available at if plain old black is not your thing.

This is a round-butt N-frame revolver, which means the frame and the cylinder are both big. That also means lots of meat in the cylinder walls to handle those buffalo-stomper loads. The front edge of that big cylinder is chamfered for easy holstering. In fact, almost every forward-facing surface is rounded off in some way to ease handling. Because the Model 610 is designed for a semi-auto-type rimless cartridge that headspaces on the case mouth, moon clips must be used. Three are included in the box. If you are going to make the most use of your 610, do yourself a favor and buy the setup to load your moon clips and remove the empties after firing. Shooting sessions will be a lot more fun. We secured some extra moon clips made by Ranch Products ( as well as a moon-clip extractor tool through The moon clips require a bit more effort to set up, but finding your empties is sure a lot easier.

The hammer and the trigger are both wide, with the trigger having a smooth face and the hammer spur being checkered. Required trigger compression was a bit more than 11 pounds for double action and 5 pounds for single action. Both DA and SA pulls were smooth and crisp, just a bit heavy.

The longer barrel of the S&W 610 provided some extra velocity as well as more sight radius, which helped make this firearm the most accurate in our test, even if just by a small amount. It beat out the SIG Tacops by an average of 0.17 inch per group. One of the important things to remember about revolvers is that, while their ammo capacity may be smaller than most semi-autos, they don’t care what kind of ammo you put in them. You can put six different kinds of ammo in this revolver and it won’t matter. If something does go wrong, just pull the trigger again. But nothing went wrong with our sample. Function was flawless. With the 6.5-inch barrel, muzzle velocity and, therefore, muzzle energy was the highest of the firearms in this test. This would be a very interesting piece on which to mount a scope and then to use as a primary hunting arm. It really liked the 200-grain PMC ammo, averaging just 0.77 inch for the three five-shot groups.

Our Team Said: The Smith & Wesson 610 was very accurate and did a great job of taming the recoil from the heavier loads. We would love to wring this pistol out with a nice scope mounted on it.

Range Data

Remington 155-grain Hog HunterColt Delta EliteSIG Sauer TacopsS&W Model 610Springfield XD-M 10
Average Velocity1212 fps1200 fps1250 fps1228 fps
Muzzle Energy506 ft.-lbs.495 ft.-lbs.538 ft.-lbs.519 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.68 in.1.36 in.1.65 in.1.33 in.
Average Group1.94 in.1.75 in.1.85 in.2.03 in.
MagTech 180-grain FMJColt Delta EliteSIG Sauer TacopsS&W Model 610Springfield XD-M 10
Average Velocity1214 fps1193 fps1231 fps1210 fps
Muzzle Energy589 ft.-lbs.569 ft.-lbs.606 ft.-lbs.585 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.61 in.1.49 in.1.07 in.1.49 in.
Average Group1.93 in.1.80 in.1.49 in.1.78 in.
PMC 200-grain FMJColt Delta EliteSIG Sauer TacopsS&W Model 610Springfield XD-M 10
Average Velocity1011 fps997 fps1019 fps1017 fps
Muzzle Energy454 ft.-lbs.441 ft.-lbs.461 ft.-lbs.459 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.37 in.0.95 in.0.57 in.0.97 in.
Average Group1.83 in.1.30 in.0.77 in.1.17 in.
Buffalo Bore 220-grain Hard CastColt Delta EliteSIG Sauer TacopsS&W Model 610Springfield XD-M 10
Average Velocity1189 fps1166 fps1236 fps1200 fps
Muzzle Energy691 ft.-lbs.664 ft.-lbs.747 ft.-lbs.704 ft.-lbs.
Best Group1.80 in.0.95 in.0.77 in.1.27 in.
Average Group1.94 in.1.19 in.1.25 in.1.85 in.

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