S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

S&W 327 TRR8 is an exciting new BB revolver.

Smith & Wesson’s firearm 327 TRR8 revolver is designed for self defense. The revolver is an 8-shot .357 Magnum revolver that employs a tactical rail, hence the TRR (for tactical rail revolver) designation. I wonder why S&W chose the number 327 for this revolver, because Federal Cartridge Company recently introduced their .327 Magnum cartridge that’s been touted as more effective in the real world than .357 — whatever that means.

The firearm revolver this BB gun copies retails for just a few dollars under $1,300, so you know it has to be a serious handgun! At 40-60 percent more than other models, the 327 must have a lot going for it. Its purpose is to provide a revolver that gives up nothing to the 1911A1, because it holds a similar number of rounds. Remember the comparison is being made with the .45 ACP, not a smaller law enforcement caliber; and .357 Magnum is considered to be equivalent to the big .45 as a man-stopper and superior in other aspects such as penetration. SWAT teams can now choose between a 1911-style semiauto or a revolver.

The firearm frame is made of Scandium, S&W’s lightweight metal that replaces steel. Although its large, it’s lightweight, at 35.3 oz. The BB gun is just a trifle heavier, at 35.9 oz. The firearm comes from the S&W Performance Center and has a custom-tuned trigger, trigger stop and a tuned action. That’s where the extra money goes.

I don’t own a 327 firearm, nor have I ever shot one, so I can’t evaluate the claims that it has the best trigger S&W is currently putting in revolvers or that it handles the recoil of the .357 cartridge more effectively than any other revolver. The closest handgun I have that also handles .357 Magnum recoil is a Desert Eagle pistol, and that comparison would be unfair and unbalanced in every way. This report will have to focus on the BB gun, by itself.

The prototype firearm is a high-capacity revolver, but shockingly the BB gun holds only 6 rounds instead of the 8 promised in the model name. And the size of the BB gun is on the small side. I find the finger grooves are too close for comfort. Instead of an N-frame Smith, this seems like more of a K-frame gun. I find that confusing. Isn’t the whole purpose of the gun to hold 8 shots? But looking at the BB-gun cylinder I can see there isn’t enough metal for any more than 6 rounds, so I must assume that the cylinder on the firearm is larger than the one on the BB gun. But the BB gun is about one full inch longer than the firearm, which I attribute to the angle of the grip that houses the CO2 cartridge.


Six chambers instead of eight come in the BB gun cylinder. Each cartridge holds one BB.

This revolver has a cylinder that swings out to the left side of the gun when the cylinder catch is pressed forward. And when it is pressed back, the safety is engaged. Once out of the frame, the ejection crane does not come all the way back to fully extract the cartridges from their chambers. It isn’t necessary, because the cartridges do not swell during firing the way firearm cases do. So you can simply tip the muzzle up and the cases will drop from the cylinder on their own.

The spring-loaded breech of the barrel is rounded to fit into the front of each chamber, which is the primary way the cylinder locks during firing. There is a locking bolt that engages the rear of the cylinder, as well, but it doesn’t lock very tightly. It is possible to turn the cylinder in either direction with the gun’s hammer down in the fired position.

There are six brass-bodied “cartridges” that hold one BB each, and they are used to load the gun. They are approximately the same size as a .357 Magnum cartridge, so you get the realism of handling ammo when you load the gun.

The gun comes with a speedloader to hold the cartridges and it will be used to rapidly load each cartridge by pressing all six cartridge “mouths” into a flat pellet tin filled with a layer of steel BBs. When the speedloader is inserted into the cylinder, a central release button is automatically depressed, releasing all six cartridges into the cylinder. Gravity will do the rest and the cylinder can be closed. You may need to practice this move several times to develop a feel for it, but once you do, it seems to work fine.

The sights are fiberoptic on the BB gun. While I don’t like fiberoptics in general on any gun, in this case they work because this isn’t a target gun. It is supposed to be a rapid-acquistion handgun, and these sights support that goal perfectly. All three green dots are bright in nearly any light. Your eye will pick them up quickly, and putting them in a row give you the sight picture you want. So, forget groups on paper targets and think of rolling soda cans. That’s what this gun was designed to do.


The fiberoptic dots are bright in almost any light.

Besides the open sights, there’s a Picatinny rail located atop the frame and another under the muzzle. The gun was built for optical sights. I may try that after the conventional accuracy test.

The CO2 fits neatly inside the grip with nothing showing outside. Even the piercing screw is hidden, which is what most buyers say they want.


The synthetic grip rotates open like this to accept the CO2 cartridge.

The gun fires in both the single-action and double-action modes. I’ll describe the trigger-pull in greater detail in Part 2, but for now let me say that, in single-action, it’s relatively crisp; and a single-stage pull in double-action is short and reasonably light.

This revolver is distributed by Umarex. It’s very realistic-looking, even to the matte finish that the firearm has. It will be an interesting gun to test.

17 thoughts on “S&W 327 TRR8 BB revolver: Part 1

  1. Hooray!

    Green dot front sight!

    I’ve encountered so many fiber optic rigs that put a small red dot on the front (the AirForce open sights being especially marked for a /small/ red front dot). Granted, on a handgun, where the sight radius is so much shorter, a red dot in front may not be a handicap — but with a long sight radius, putting a small dot in a spectral band that the human eye is least sensitive to (well, dark blue may be worse), while putting large easily seen green close to the eye, just seems counter productive The rear turns into a pair of large unfocused green blobs that one is supposed to fit a barely visible red pin-prick between?

    So much for the good point — I’m not a revolver person, and if the real gun looks as weird I’d really be put off… that “zig-zag” barrel effect just looks odd.


    • Wulfraed,

      By the” zig-zag barrel effect”, are you referring to the barrel profiling near the muzzle? That’s done for weight distribution.

      B.B.


      • That’s the one…

        It’s as if they ground down the upper part under the front sight, but ground down the lower part at the cylinder pin housing…

        The resultant shape looks like something I’d expect in a SciFi “ray gun”; where the actual beam emitter doesn’t need the full length of the barrel and is only out there to provide a longer sight radius.

        Oh well… At least no one has made a CO2 powered replica of the “guns” from Space: 1999 (which look to have been modeled from staple guns with the activating hand-grip removed, and a column of the guide inserts used by higher end pop-rivet tools put in as the emitter point(s) )


  2. B.B.

    On S&W 8-shooter I would like to add some info. In fact its frame is not made of scandium, but of aluminum alloy, containing ~0.3% scandium. Scandium itself is a rare metal that works as a crystal catalyser in most alloys. It improves alloy’s microstructure, refining metal’s “grain” thus making it stronger. Cylinder must be made of titanium alloy that also contains some rare metals like yttrium. I learned that when I studied gun materials for my rifle. I dreamed of Al-Sc alloys (they are widely used in Soviet/Russian aerospace industry since 1960-s) but they are _very_ expensive and very “snobbish” on the tooling side, so let dreams be dreams, and 7075 wins 🙂

    It seems that this gun is a very close relative to series of BB revolvers that are sold here under Gletcher or Dan Wesson TMs, made by guys at spmg.us. So I think that they just made a new “skin” for their same basic “powerplant”, without taking any notice to realism in capacity.

    My re-screwing of CFX is complete, now I have to evaluate the gun. Due to delays in parts production it happens just as usual – from workshop straight into battle: this Saturday I’m competing, so tests will be made in very uncomfortable and “sharp” conditions. I’ll have to zero my rifle on the range right before the match. Well, I’ll manage somehow – just as usual.

    duskwight


  3. I wonder who the market for the Look-Alike airguns are. Is the market made of firearm shooters who want something to practice with inside? Are most of the Look-Alikes sold overseas where firearms are a pain to get and are too heavily regulated? These guns don’t do much for me but they must be popular with someone.

    David Enoch


    • I have a few replicas and I think I do buy them because buying the firearms they copy are such a pain to get here BUT like a lot of airguns there’s also (at least for me) a big fun factor and what I find the most fun is getting to shoot all of my guns in the backyard or the garage.

      You can’t get a handgun (or other “restricted” firearms) here if you’re not a member of a shooting range and the BIG turn of for me is you can’t shoot YOUR handgun any other place than at the range. The law doesn’t care if you have a farm with 40 or 400 acres. No shooting of restricted firearms others than at the range and you can only transport the gun from your house to the range and back to your house, no bringing your gun in the morning leaving it in your car and going to the range after work or picking up a buddy to the range with you or going for a beer with your shooting buddies when the shooting is done… nope, straight home young man!

      So airgun replica and backyard it is for me.

      But not this revolver, I don’t care how good it shoots or work I just can’t bring myself to like the looks of it. It’s kinda like the Pontiac Aztek of revolvers to me.

      J-F


    • That /was/ the inspiration of the first generation AirSoft stuff in Japan: something that looked like the real thing, firing a projectile rated “harmless” (or nearly so).

      I actually have a pair of first generation AirSoft pistols. Though I need to design a hook to pull out the fill valve fo the Beretta 93R look-alike and see if heat-shrink tubing will function on it (the filler valve used some sort of rubber tubing to block gas from exiting, but the tubing gave out from old age — I tried a dip in liquid plastic [the stuff for coating tool handles], but it didn’t work — except to wedge the fill valve core into the magazine). Non-blowback, and cost over $150 in the mid-80s [pre-red tip]. The other is an HK look-alike using a spring piston with an unusual “cock on close” mechanism. 6mm balls were pressed into the nose of a ~9mm “shell” and loaded into the magazine. Pulling the trigger released two springs in sequence — the piston spring to propel the ball, followed by the slide spring which was supposed to run the slide to the rear, ejecting the “shell”. In practice, unless you did a very fast trigger pull, the slide spring wasn’t strong enough [on a fast pull, the piston spring recoil helped to slam the slide back]. You then loaded the next shell by releasing the trigger and /pushing/ the slide shut. No “hop-up” mechanism, though the gas gun does use the hammer fall to strike an L-shaped lever that bounces against the gas exhaust valve, and I think pulling the trigger also slides the “barrel” back to surround the ball at the nose of the magazine (lacking a movable slide, it did not strip balls from the magazine when cocking).

      OTOH: some the fanciful first generation AirSoft looked like nothing real… And I’ve seen some of them show up as guns in low-budget made-for-TV SciFi movies!

      Given the licensed (and unlicensed — I’ve seen some at a store in Cupertino that had to have a “maker’s” logo ground off for import) look-alikes now available in AirSoft and/or BB/Pellet form, is there still a market for the old “non-firing” metal replica gun? The ones that used to advertise being fully functional apart from having a blocked barrel and parts just far enough off dimensionally that one couldn’t use it as a base to build up a firing version.


      • They make nice display pieces. Especially since they’re mostly historic pieces. I bought myself a Mauser broom handle. It looks very nice and even if it was legal for me to own one I ‘d rather have the replica as the real would be a lot more costly and I’m not sure I would be willing to shoot it anyways. I wanted to buy a Peacemaker and a Luger too but I saw a Luger airgun that should reach north america one day so I’ll just wait for that one instead.

        J-F


  4. As a matter of fact, I just did some searching on the best .357 revolver looking for confirmation of the SW 686. Instead, what should I find but sentiment in favor of the Ruger GP-100 which I’d never heard of. The reasons for the Ruger were its price and that it is “built like a tank,” but they admitted that the trigger left something to be desired. The MSRP did not look that much smaller to me, so I’m sticking with the 686 which I know is supposed to have a great trigger. With the fame of the .357, releasing a .327 sounds like a crazy business decision.

    Desertdweller, no airgun would work for the titanaboa, long as a bus and a diameter that came up waist high. The blog suggestions made me feel more secure. I can understand soldiers being wary of crocodiles but not this one stunt that I saw on YouTube. Apparently, in Thailand it is popular to do stunts with crocodiles. One fellow faced a crocodile that was holding its jaws wide-open in that paralyzed, lifeless way they have. The guy rapped its snout and got no response from the crocodile. Then, he stuck his arm in the jaws, intending to yank it out, but the jaws snapped shut. Then, the crocodile came to life and executed its death roll… Pretty bad. But for a more disturbing spectacle, I would almost have to vote for a national geographic special on crocodiles which showed them mating (as these shows always seem to do). Such passionate expression with those little armored legs!

    By the way, did you know that in a confrontation between a crocodile and a tiger (which I also saw on YouTube), the crocodile had no chance? The tiger leaped and spun to mount the crocodile’s back than sank its teeth into its neck–an invincible position.

    Matt61


  5. Duskwight. Congratulations on the completion of your “baby”. To try it out in the heat of competition, shows the faith you have in your design. Good luck this weekend at the tournament. I am looking forward to a detailed write-up sometime soon. When it is convenient, of coarse. If it helps, you have a blog of airgunners on you side this weekend. I think most contributors are still celebrating July 4th American Independence Day. We had our turn in Canada, on July 1st.
    Caio Titus


  6. Hi BB,
    Thanks so much for this blog. I read it daily, but don’t comment very often.
    Please review the Browning Buck Mark spring pistol. It looks like a nice, easy to cock, low power plinker.
    I’ve come to like low powered air guns. I got the P17 last Christmas when you reviewed it, and it is now my favorite. The Browning looks like it might be the springer equivalent, though the trigger may not measure up.



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