Below is my review of the Smith and Wesson Model 610 revolver, which is chambered for two cartridges traditionally reserved for semi-automatic pistols: 10mm Auto and .40 S&W. It is a firearm that I’ve wanted to own for quite a while, and just recently was able to find and buy.
The Smith & Wesson Model 610 is a rather unique revolver, in that it is chambered for both 10mm Auto and .40 S&W – two rimless cartridges generally reserved for semi-automatic pistols. The reason that revolvers generally don’t come chambered for rimless cartridges is that without a rim at the base of the cartridge, the revolver’s ejector has nothing to push against to remove the spent cartridge. A dowel rod could be inserted from the front of the cylinder to push the cartridge back and out, but that would time consuming to say the least. The solution is to use moon clips, which are ring shaped metal or plastic pieces that hold multiple rounds together, and give the ejector something to push against in order to remove the moon clip and the rounds it holds. An added benefit of moon clips is that they allow for incredibly fast reloading. The Model 610 uses full moon clips, which hold 6 rounds together for easy loading and ejecting. Two moon clips are provided along with the revolver, and more can be purchased rather easily. The same moon clips work with both .40 S&W and 10mm Auto. Firing 10MM doesn’t require the use of moon clips, if one is willing to use a dowel rod to push the spent casings out of the cylinder, while moon clips must be used with .40 S&W.
My Model 610 has a 3 7/8 inch long barrel, holds 6 rounds, and weighs in at 42 ounces. A slightly heaver model with a barrel just under 5.5 inches in length is also available. It is a single/double action revolver built on the Smith & Wesson’s N frame, and has a quite shiny Satin Stainless finish. The double action trigger pull requires just under 8.5 pounds of force, while the single action needs just under 4.5 pounds. Hogue rubber grips are supplied from the factory.
Smith & Wesson introduced the Model 610 revolver, then discontinued it when sales were slower than expected. Then they reintroduced it when enough people expressed interest. The cycle continued for years, and even when the Model 610 has been in production, it has remained relatively rare. I’ve been trying to find one at my local gun stores for years, with no luck. I was able to occasionally find a used one online, but often for more than $100 over the price a brand new one should have cost. So, I added the Model 610 to my wish list on a few online gun stores’ websites, so that I would be notified if they got one in stock. Month after month passed, and I didn’t see any in-stock Model 610 revolvers at my local gun stores or online. Then, on the same day I got my bar exam results, I got an email from BudsGunShop.com, saying that they had just gotten a Model 610 revolver in stock. During the last month, I had already purchased a Browning BT-99 and a Smith & Wesson 22A, along with the accessories and ammunition that accompany most gun purchases. As such, I thought I was done buying news guns for a while, since money sadly doesn’t grow on trees. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a brand new Model 610, so I bought it right away. It turns out that the Model 610 I bought was the only one Bud’s had in stock, and they remain sold out as I write this article.
The Model 610 is an “N” frame revolver, which means that its frame was designed to be tough enough to handle the recoil from .44 magnum cartridges. As such, it is quite sturdy. At the same time, the moving parts operate very smoothly. The satin stainless steel is beautiful – and this is coming from a person who generally prefers black polymer pistols. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the fit and finish of this revolver.
The Hogue rubber grips are comfortable to hold, and make it easy to keep a grip on to the Model 610 as it recoils. Speaking of recoil, I’ve found the felt recoil on this steel framed revolver is considerably lighter than the felt recoil on polymer pistols chambered for .40 S&W. I’m more accustomed to the block-like grips on semi-automatic pistols, but had no problem with the transition to these grips. The single action trigger pull is very nice, perhaps one of the best handgun triggers I’ve ever pulled. The double action trigger pull is much heavier than I’ve become accustomed to from firing semi-automatic pistols, but it is workable. I find that I’m more accurate so far firing in single action mode.
The Smith and Wesson Model 610 is a revolver, which by definition pretty much means excellent reliability. Revolvers are mechanically simple, so there are fewer parts to break than on a semi-automatic pistol. Also, unlike semi-automatic pistols, revolvers don’t rely upon a cartridge firing properly in order to feed the next cartridge. If a round fails to fire in a semi-automatic pistol, that round must be manually ejected before the next (hopefully non-defective) round can be chambered and fired. In a double action revolver, the shooter need only pull the trigger again to fire the next round. As far as reliability goes, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Simply put, this seems to be the most accurate handgun I own. I first took it to the (outdoor) range this last Saturday, which was the first time it was snowing for the season. I was rather cold, and it was windy. I’m not a fan of the cold. Yet I shot noticeably smaller groups than I have with any other pistol chambered for .40 S&W, even under much better conditions. My fiancé also fired my Model 610, and found that her accuracy was better than with my polymer framed semi-automatic pistols such as the Springfield XD (not that the XD’s accuracy is bad by any stretch of the imagination). I’m guessing this greater accuracy is due to the very light single-action trigger, and the light recoil that one gets when firing a 42 ounce stainless steel revolver.
The reason I wanted a Model 610 was that I like revolvers, and like having as few different cartridges around as possible. By purchasing a revolver chambered for .40 S&W, I was able to avoid the need to buy and store another type of ammunition, while being able to use the existing ammo that I’ve stocked up on for target practice and self defense purposes. Having fired the Model 610, I came to appreciate it not just for the convenience of sharing existing ammo, but also as a great gun in its own right. I find it to be very accurate, ultra reliable, and a joy to shoot. If you’re lucky enough to find one in stock, and are a fan of .40 S&W, I would say to buy it on the spot.