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This is the second installment in the Team Erhardt Project IRC series which appears on The Shooting Wire.
“We are in the revolver kingdom. Those brilliantly crafted devices, the hallmark of unnamed genius engineers of Hartford, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts, dominate both the law enforcement and the civilian imagination.” – Stephen Hunter, Pale Horse Coming
Nobody romanticizes the revolver, or any gun for the matter, like Stephen Hunter. However, truth be told, I was never a fan of the wheelgun.
I didn’t much care for the way it fit in the hands, nor its long heavy trigger pull. These ergonomic obstacles left me less than enthusiastic about shooting revolvers, yet here I am gearing up for the International Revolver Championship.
Outside of the obvious “gee, I could get a free gun out of this” motive for shooting the match, you might ask what made me embrace the wheelgun. Simply put, Randy Lee.
Back around 2002-03 when I was working for NSSF with Michael Bane on the media education seminar program I got the chance to meet Lisa Farrell at an event we were hosting at the Chabot Gun Club in Casto Valley, California. Lisa was a multi-time Women’s IRC Champion and she had a 627 built by the one and only Randy Lee.
For those unfamiliar with it, the 627 is one of Smith & Wesson’s large N-frame revolvers whose design lends itself to competition…especially for those of us with larger hands.
Chambered in .357 Mag./.38 Spcl. and outfitted with a bright fiber optic front sight and a giant wooden Hogue Big Butt grip, Lisa’s blaster looked like a competition gun. But it was still a revolver. And I didn’t much like them, remember.
Then, I got to shoot it.
With the grip, the sight and the overall weight and size, the 627 felt very good in the hands. It felt like something I might want to shoot. But, when I pulled the trigger, well, let’s just say that’s when my world view on wheelguns changed forever.
From the factory her 627 had roughly a trigger pull of 10 lbs. But the silky smooth, lightweight trigger pull of this Randy Lee custom creation came in at a gorgeous, hot steamy 4 lbs. of pure shooting sex appeal.
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
When I shot Lisa’s gun the heavens opened. Bright golden sunlight spilled forth. Music played, and angles sang their heavenly song of clang, clang, clang.
Now, all of a sudden, I liked shooting a revolver. I wanted a revolver. No, I wanted one like Lisa’s. Big, beautiful and built for speed. But it had to be a 627 done by Randy Lee. I didn’t want just a factory 627. No, that would not do. It had to be customized and transformed from a factory 627 into wheelgun perfection.
In other words, I wanted Achilles AFTER Thetis dunked him in the river Styx, because that’s pretty much the difference between a factory 627 and one coming out of the venerable House of Apex.
Which brings us to the present.
Preying once again on Paul Pluff’s delusional assumption that I know what I’m doing, I told him about my new Team Erhardt Project and asked him for either an M929 Jerry Miculek Signature Model, introduced back in January, or a 627 V-Comp.
Assuming that Smith & Wesson would want a rock star of the shooting world such as myself campaigning with the brand new M929, I expected that would be the gun I received. However, due to shipping issues and availability I learned it would instead be the 627 V-Comp headed my way, and not the Jerry Miculek Signature Model.
Honestly, I think their excuses were simply lies to spare my feelings and disguise the fact that the Miculek family would have absolutely ‘none of that’ when it came to the idea of a gun with Jerry’s name on it appearing in my hands…ever.
So, I got a 627 V-Comp.
Among all the S&W revolvers, the V-Comp is aesthetically the most pleasing in my opinion. Its two-tone appearance with a five inch barrel and full-length under lug ending in a silvery compensator sets it apart from other wheelguns in the catalog.
If you’re one for pouring over the numbers, you can find all the factory specs here on the S&W website.
The revolver arrived about three weeks ago and when I got the word I immediately ran over to Riley’s in Hooksett to pick it up. If you’re from outside the New Hampshire area then the name Riley’s means nothing to you, but in your area there’s probably that gun shop that every serious shooter knows of and shops at. Riley’s is that same shop in the Granite State.
After the requisite completion of the 4473, and spending way too much time browsing and quizzing the staff on what was and was not selling in the current market – by-the-way, thanks guys for help and the info…it’s greatly appreciated – I ran home to do what everybody does with their new gun.
And of course, that would be fondle and drool over it.
A few hours of giving it my best Gollum impersonation, complete with the constant murmuring of “my precious,” and it became time to pack up the gun for its trip to California. That is where it currently resides, resting in the genius hands of that Randy Lee guy who will take it from Performance Center excellence to jaw dropping “Holy Mother of God this is awesome.”
And in doing so he will no doubt make me fall in love once again with the idea of shooting a revolver.
If only he could make me fall in love with the idea of practicing. Now that would be some trick.
– Paul Erhardt
You can also follow the Team Erhardt Project (or avoid it entirely) on Twitter at @TheShootingWire, use hashtag #TeamErhardt.
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