The Best Dan Wesson

The Best Dan Wesson Part 1

Authentic 6-inch .357 Magnum CO2 Model

By Dennis Adler

The CO2 powered Dan Wesson Model 715 from ASG (which has the brand name licensing rights) is offered in several versions, but two in the original Model 715 configuration with the correct crane-mounted cylinder latch and a 6-inch barrel.

The CO2 Dan Wesson Model 715 is offered in several versions, but only two in the original Model 715 configuration with the correct crane-mounted cylinder latch and a 6-inch barrel.

Although Dan Wesson is now part of CZ-USA, there was a time in the mid 20th century when the company was, what some pundits considered, the renegade division of Smith & Wesson. At the time when Daniel B. Wesson II left the company co-founded by his great grandfather, Smith & Wesson was in its third year of ownership by U.S. conglomerate Bangor-Punta (a former Fortune 500 company primarily known in the sport boat industry), which had purchased S&W from the Wesson family in 1965. Three years later, Dan Wesson decided to start his own firearms manufacturing company under his own name, but using a revolutionary pistol patented by arms designer Karl Lewis (formerly with Browning and High Standard). The new handgun, first known as the Model 12 and improved to the better known Model 15, (and later Model 15-2) featured interchangeable barrels. This was to become the hallmark of the Dan Wesson revolvers, a trait still carried on to this day. The original Dan Wesson line, however, had an uphill sales battle, which was compounded by Dan Wesson’s death in 1978. Going through a succession of owners, including a brief period by the Wesson family, in 1996 the company was purchased by New York International Corp. and CEO Bob Serva. In 2005 a revitalized Dan Wesson (under the company name Wesson Firearms) was sold to CZ-USA, which maintains a special Dan Wesson division, including the famous Model 715.

One of only two CO2 powered Dan Wesson models with the original-style crane-mounted cylinder latch release, the high polish gunmetal grey pellet model (and nickel BB version) are the most authentic of the ASG Dan Wesson revolvers.

One of only two CO2 powered Dan Wesson models with the original-style crane-mounted cylinder latch release, the high polish gunmetal grey pellet model (and nickel BB version) are the most authentic of the ASG Dan Wesson revolvers.

The original Dan Wesson design was not only distinctive for its interchangeable barrels but for a different type of cylinder latch mounted to the cylinder crane, rather than on the frame behind the cylinder (like S&W). Lewis said his design gave the gun greater strength, which in fact it did. The interchangeable barrel mounting method also gave the guns exceptional accuracy, making them popular with competitive shooters and handgun hunters. The Model 15-2 and 715 (which was the stainless steel version) along with other designs, including a line of Model 1911 semi-autos, has kept the company in the spotlight for decades, though no more so than today under the CZ-USA banner, where the Model 715 is still manufactured in the famous Pistol Pack with three barrels.

The latest Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolver is the basis for the top two ASG CO2 versions.

The Dan Wesson .357 Magnum is the basis for the top two ASG CO2 versions.

The ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 is a nearly exact copy of the current cartridge-firing guns.

The ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 is an exact copy of the current cartridge-firing gun.

On air with the Model 715

The CO2 powered Dan Wesson Model 715 from ASG (which has the brand name licensing rights) is offered in several versions, but only two in the original Model 715 configuration with the correct crane-mounted cylinder latch and a 6-inch barrel. This is the pellet cartridge firing model with a rifled barrel designed for greater accuracy. It also has a very distinctive, high polish gun metal grey finish and correct Hogue rubber combat style grips for a solid hold. (There is also a nickel finished BB cartridge version with a smoothbore barrel).

The BB cartridge version of the Dan Wesson Model 715 has a nickel finish.

The BB cartridge version of the Dan Wesson Model 715 has a nickel finish.

The full length vent rib barrel shroud on the Model 715 (again like the .357 Magnum version) is engraved with the Dan Wesson signature on the left side and .357 Magnum and the Dan Wesson signature on the right. It is a handsome looking gun that is not overdone with graphics, but rather looks more like the high end cartridge revolver it is based upon. I really like this model more than any of the other Dan Wesson revolvers, even the 2-1/2 inch barrel length snub nose tested last year.

The pistol has a fully adjustable rear sight with click stops for elevation and windage.

The CO2 Model 715 has a fully adjustable rear sight with click stops for elevation and windage. 

The pistol has a good quality windage and elevation adjustable rear sight and an easily acquired serrated ramped front that is dovetailed in and pinned. From almost any angle this looks like the actual Model 715 except when you catch a glimpse of the well hidden rear safety, which is mounted on the right side just above the grips. It’s as subtle as a manual safety can possibly be.

The Model 715 comes with six pellet-loading cartridges, which seat the pellet at the back of the shell (three are shown loaded) where the primer goes on a real centerfire pistol or rifle cartridge.

The Model 715 comes with six pellet-loading cartridges, which seat the pellet at the back of the shell (three are shown loaded) where the primer goes on a real centerfire pistol cartridge.

Another feature that really makes this a great target pistol is the barrel shroud, which is drilled and tapped for mounting an optics rail, making this an ideal 4.5mm pellet firing target gun; just as the 6-inch Dan Wesson Model 15-2 and Model 715 became in the late 20th century. The ASG Dan Wesson pellet model certainly lives up to the gun’s legacy as a target pistol. Just how well, we will find out Thursday in Part 2.

4 thoughts on “The Best Dan Wesson

  1. Did you see the announcement from Crosman and Pyramyd Air? Crosman is introducing a replica Remington 1875 revolver, and Pyramyd Air is now accepting pre-orders for it.


    • Absolutely. Will be available in a few months. That completes the Old West series of Colt, S&W and Remington. Of course, there were other famous western guns, so there’s more to come in the future. The Remington is a very close copy of the famed Model 1875.


  2. This is as close to a real firearm as it gets . The valve area has been shortened and the profile is virtually identical to the 357 , and it fits into a holster made for the357 perfectly. The finish is great and the revolver looks and handles like the real deal . Would like to see a 4 inch version . Umarex should take a close look at this revolver and come out with a pellet firing Colt Python



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