Dan Wesson Model 715 2-1/2 inch Part 1
BBs vs. Pellets
By Dennis Adler
There is absolutely no better CO2 revolver than the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 and specifically the 2-1/2 inch snub nose model. Or should I say “models.” The excellent true to original-style features of these CO2 wheelguns makes them both ideal for indoor and backyard target practice and plinking, as well as getting a feel for carrying a traditional six-shot revolver as a personal defense handgun. Revolvers are a time-honored means of concealed, as well as open carry (hip holster and cartridge belt) since the mid 1800s. Of course, until the very end of the 19th century, there were no semiautomatic pistols, so revolvers had no actual competition, you carried a six-shooter (or five-shooter depending upon the size of the pistol) or something smaller, like a single or double barrel Deringer. The interesting thing is, that after the advent of semi-auto pistols and their general acceptance by the public (mostly small .32 caliber and .25 caliber pistols, like the Colt 1903 and 1908 Vest Pocket Hammerless models, and 1908 Hammerless version of the 1903 in .380 ACP), revolvers remained the dominant choice among law enforcement and civilians alike, well into the mid 20th century. Only the U.S. military formally adopted a semi-auto as its standard issue sidearm (the .45 ACP Colt Model 1911). Even today, revolvers represent a large percentage of personal sidearms and backup guns for law enforcement, as well as a popular choice for concealed carry use. Why? Because a revolver is simply the most durable and least complicated handgun there is. And if this were not true, there would not be innovative new revolvers in the 21st century, as well as the continued manufacture of double action and DAO designs dating back as far as the late 1920s (Westerns guns not included).
The Dan Wesson models are of a newer, mid-20th century design that have continued to be produced since the original Dan Wesson Firearms Co., founded in 1968, to the current Dan Wesson line, including 1911-style semi-autos, manufactured under CZ-USA.
The ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 line (licensed by Dan Wesson/CZ-USA) covers the standard barrel lengths of 2-1/2 inches, 4-inches, and 6-inches, with the correct original forward cylinder release design, barrel shroud, and later hard rubber combat style grips that replaced the original hardwood grips used on the .357 Magnum revolvers. The ASG models are as true to the Dan Wesson design as possible for an air pistol, which is a considerable step up from other CO2 revolvers based on actual models like Smith & Wesson and Ruger, for example.
Dan Wesson revolvers were intended to be an all-in-one design with interchangeable barrels that allowed one revolver frame to be used for anything from a concealed carry or backup pistol with the 2-1/2 inch barrel, all the way out to competition shooting with the 8-inch barrel (and at one point in the Dan Wesson series there were 10, 12 and 15-inch barrels available as well). I owned a Pistol Pack with the 2-1/2 inch, 4-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch barrels (like the example pictured above). I used the 8-inch barrel for silhouette shooting, sometimes shot the 6-inch, but mainly had the DW with the 2-1/2 inch barrel as a personal defense gun. This would have been the Dan Wesson 15-2 Series, which evolved into the current Model 715 line and new Pistol Pack version.
The ASG models look like they have the interchangeable barrel design, which is nice, visually, but the barrels are not interchangeable and you have to choose barrel lengths. The 4-inch is also not authentic because it has a built-in under barrel Picatinny accessory rail, nice option, but I’d prefer the correct barrel design. Overall, I still like the 2-1/2 inch barrel configuration best. What ASG offers is either a BB or pellet cartridge firing model, and for this series I have elected to put the BB and pellet guns head-to-head for comparative accuracy and velocity with their respective loads.
Having a choice between a smoothbore BB model and a rifled barrel pellet model at only a $10 difference in price makes you wonder why anyone would pick the BB model over the pellet pistol. For training with a CO2 revolver and wanting higher velocity and better accuracy the pellet model would seem the logical choice, but sometimes you just was a nice looking, very authentic BB pistol for good old fashioned paper target and tin can work, and if you want to shoot BBs rather than pellets, you don’t always find the exact same gun offered in either version. The ASG Dan Wesson gives you this option for all three barrel lengths, but only the 2-1/2 inch Model 715 versions share the same bright nickel finish, the other two alternate between high polish steel grey and nickel to separate BB from pellet cartridge models. This is just another reason why I prefer the 2-1/2 inch Model 715. It is just a really sharp looking revolver that gives little away to its CO2 inner working. I also like that they come in a box that can be used for storing the gun, spare cartridges, BBs, seating screw wrench, and speed loader. Some air pistols at the exact same price point come in blister packs, so credit where credit is due to ASG for delivering their guns in a box comparable to a centerfire pistol’s.
Another Tale of the Tape
Both guns are exactly the same except for the barrel liners and the type of cartridges they use. The real difference is the pellet model uses the latest rear-loading pellet shells while the BB model uses the older style front loading BB shells. The front loading shells have proven, in comparison with Peacemaker rear loading BB and pellet shells, and the older style front-loading Dan Wesson pellet shells, to have slightly lower velocities on average. And no, you can’t load BBs into the back of the pellet shells. The ASG BB shells are similar to the BB shells used for the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8, as well as (but not the same) as the front-loading BBs shells for the Bear River Schofield. The velocity differences are really not that significant, and with the speed loader that comes with the guns, it is much faster to load BBs into the front of the shells, so there is an advantage to the velocity tradeoff on the BB model.
In Part 2 we will begin comparing BB vs. pellet velocity between the two Dan Wesson Model 715 snub nose models.
[Footnote: The reason this article is publishing late Tuesday night instead of last Saturday, and Part 2 will be Wednesday night, Part 3 on Thursday, and Part 4 on Saturday, is due to something that happened last Thursday. As one of my favorite comedians, the late John Pinette, explained in one of his stand-up routines, some of the worst horror stories begin with, “Well, we were hiking…” Well, we were gardening. To make a long story short, a couple of hornets came up out of the ground and stung me on the left side of my face and left eyelid, which swelled half closed. It took a few days to recover from that along with some prescription medication. So, sorry for the lateness of this series, but things are back to buzzing along as usual. Eh, bad metaphor.]