Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 4

Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 4, Part 3, Part 2, Part 1

The rail gun revolver rivalry

By Dennis Adler

Dynamic but not a duo, the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 (bottom) is a larger CO2 handgun and mounts the Walther Night Force tactical light and red laser a little better than the Dan Wesson Model 715. The DW on the other hand has better balance and handling overall. And no that is not a nickel finished model of the DW, the high polish blued smoothbore has such a highly reflective finish that under some light it appears to be nickel.

When you talk about a level playing field you also need to have two relatively equal competitors, and that we have with the ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model and the Umarex S&W Model 327 TRR8 BB cartridge firing rail equipped revolver. Rail guns are nearly always semi-autos and the list is endless from 1911s to Glocks, Sigs, Walthers and so on. When it comes to revolvers the choices are more limited. Among the handful of centerfire wheelguns are the aforementioned Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P R8, S&W Thunder Ranch and the 327 TRR8, the Chiappa Rhino 40SAR, 50SAR and 50DS, 60DS, and 60SAR models, the biggest selection of rail gun revolvers available, last, the Taurus Judge rail model, and the massive German Korth Super Sport .357 Magnum. What’s not mentioned here is a Dan Wesson model because they don’t make one, at least not in .357 Magnum. But when it comes to air pistols, Dan Wesson, via ASG, does have a rail gun and it is a near perfect match up for the only other BB cartridge firing rail revolver, the Umarex S&W TRR8. Both are, of course, smoothbore guns (but you can shoot lead or alloy pellet cartridges with them if you want), and both have excellent triggers, and sights. The big advantage seems to lean toward the S&W CO2 model because it has excellent green fiber optic sights and a longer 6.25-inch (external length) barrel vs. the ASG Dan Wesson’s 4-inch (external length) shrouded barrel. Internally, the smoothbores measure 3.5 inches for the DW and 5.44 inches for the S&W with a 0.81 inch recess from the muzzle. That gives the S&W almost a two inch advantage. Still, the Dan Wesson smoothbore has delivered some very tight 0.875 inch groups at 21 feet.

The Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 is a big air pistol with an overall length of nearly 12 inches without the light and laser unit. With a smooth trigger pull in either double or single action it is a pretty good CO2 target pistol. With the adjustable green fiber optic sights it is capable of consistently delivering 1-inch groups at 21 feet; adding the red laser brings it down to sub 1-inch groups.

Fit and Finish

The Umarex Smith & Wesson holds true to the centerfire 327 TRR8 and Performance Center R8 with a smooth, matte black finish. The centerfire guns have hard rubber grips that help absorb some of the .357 Magnum’s felt recoil. The Umarex uses hard injection molded plastic grips which look the part (since there is no recoil) but are not as comfortable in the hand as the real hard rubber combat-style grips used on the ASG Dan Wesson, which are remarkably similar to the Hogue grips on the actual .357 Magnum models. Trigger pull is really a game changer here with these two, the Dan Wesson pulling at 9 pounds, 6.5 ounces double action and 5 pounds, 8.0 ounces single action. The Umarex has an almost ridiculously smooth double action pull of 6 pounds, 12 ounces double action and 5 pounds, 3.5 ounces single action. Both revolvers easily stage the hammer for accurate double action target shooting, so it is going to come down to barrel accuracy, trigger pull, and sights.

The Dan Wesson Model 715 with the Walther Night Force tactical light and red laser mounted feels a bit nose heavy but can deliver a little better accuracy with the traget painted red. 

For looks, if you like the tactical style, then the S&W has an edge, but for my money (and perhaps yours) the high polish blued (steel grey) sheen on the Dan Wesson is hard to resist. Both have factory markings on the barrels, the Umarex with Smith & Wesson 327 TRR8 on the left side and the Dan Wesson with a deeply embossed .357 Magnum on the right. Both bear airgun manufacturers marking as well, but the DW’s are far more subtle and the guns are individually serial numbered.

Both models share the same front loading BB cartridges and speed loaders. While it is more a matter of learning how to use one over the other, the S&W CO2 model is a little faster to load with its familiar frame-mounted cylinder thumb release, vs. the DW’s crane-mounted release. The thumb release on the S&W 327 TRR8 also works as the manual safety, a pretty slick feature not found on the centerfire S&W models. The DW has the safety located behind the base of the hammer.

For what it is worth the Dan Wesson feels like a real centerfire pistol in the hand for weight and balance, the S&W is about the same weight as the actual 327 TRR8 (35 ounces) but has more of an air pistol feel about it. If you shake it, it rattles. The Dan Wesson Model 715 feels is as solid as a vault door. The DW comes in at about $30 more than the S&W, so you are paying for what you get. If you have one and want the other the good news is that they use the same front loading BB cartridges and speed loaders.

Open Sights at 21 feet          

Throwing out all previous tests, I’m shooting new targets at 21 feet using Umarex steel BBs. First up, the S&W 327 TRR8 with its green fiber optic sights and longer 8-inch sight radius. The Model 715 has matte black sights and a shorter 6-inch sight radius.

With the green fiber optic sights the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 delivered a best six rounds from 21 feet measuring 1.0 inches with overlapping hits and a dead center bullseye.

With open sights the TRR8 put six shots at exactly 1.0 inches with two overlapping and one in the red bullseye. With open sights, six rounds from the Dan Wesson delivered a 0.93 inch group. The two guns are so close that the difference in barrel length almost becomes negligible. The Dan Wesson is more accurate at the same distance with a shorter barrel.

Even with its shorter barrel the ASG Dan Wesson delivered a tighter sub 1-inch six-shot group with three overlapping hits at 21 feet. The black sights are a little harder to see but the gun shoots tighter groups, albeit often a bit low.

Adding the laser

I was not expecting to see a significant improvement with the laser on the Dan Wesson which punched six rounds into 0.81 inches, a mere 0.12 inches tighter and still under an inch at 21 feet with the 4-inch barrel.

Adding the Walther Night Force tactical light and laser also delivered sub 1-inch groups and kept the gun on center putting all six steel BBs in the bullseye.

With the red laser the TRR8 is as accurate as the Dan Wesson, delivering the same 0.81 inch overall spread. With a barrel that is almost 2-inch longer I might have expected the S&W to out perform the 4-inch ASG Dan Wesson but the DW is just a better gun overall for target shooting with or without the laser.

The S&W 327 TRR8 put six rounds at 0.81 inches, exactly the same as the Dan Wesson. The TRR8 really fits the Walther Night Force laser a little better with its longer barrel, but overall the two guns are just about equals, which means the Dan Wesson gets the nod with a shorter barrel and better overall performance, handling, fit and finish. Now, if Dan Wesson would just build a .357 Magnum 4-inch rail barrel to match the airgun!

4 thoughts on “Dan Wesson Model 715 4-inch BB model Part 4

  1. considering the barrel length difference , the DW is the winner in a 6 inch barrel version it would be a clearer winner.Despite a longer barrel and lighter trigger pull the S&W gets a tie.As stated part of that has to do not just with numbers but feel , and I have found that a short barrel solid feeling revolver can shoot as well as a longer barrel revolver. I have found that I can shoot da groups as tight with a 2 inch late model Colt Detective Special as I can with a 4 inch Colt or S&W medium frame revolver ,at combat distances of 7-10 yards. The same has appeared true with air pistols especially the Peacemakers, but that is a tale for another day, or perhaps an Experience Article


    • I would have to agree at combat distances a 2-inch wheelgun or subcompact semi-auto can be as accurate as longer barreled guns, this has been my experience as well testing handguns over the years. The Umarex Peacemakers are exceptionally accurate and fast handling models, and yes, perhaps one day we will have a Peacemaker vs. everything shootout. I know which gun you’ll be placing your bets on.


  2. The snub revolver market is one area of ccw that will not go away anytime soon . It is the best combination of size ,power, and heavy bullet weight. I have seen pictures of Bear River renditions of S&W J frame airguns. That would be a start. An airgun newColt Cobra with the rubber grips should be possible. Anyone who carries a revolver or is considering one would be interested. I know a few who might be interested in a 2.5 inch barrel Colt Diamondback



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