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Posted:  7/12/2013 10:25 AM #38407
CTD Blogger

Joined: 7/14/2009
Posts: 10828
Last Post: 8/20/2014
Subject: The FEATURE S&W Governor
From I've heard all the snickering about the current proliferation of revolvers chambered for .45 Colt/.410 shotshell. Likely, I've heard some of it from me. A revolver firing shotshells has held little appeal for me until I'd gone on a trip to the Childress, Texas area for a hunt. The only thing I ever saw - other than sweaty hog hunters - was rattlesnakes. Lots of rattlesnakes. Now, there's one application in which these junior-grade cannons shine: snake eradication. I'm not talking about going out and hunting snakes by any means. What's the point in that? Snakes provide some valuable service. While I'm not a fan, I can look back across my life and honestly say I've never shot a snake - ever.

In the first place, most encounters involved other people in close proximity. Secondly, I didn't feel any particular urgency; there was distance and distance is time. Avoidance was simple and easily accomplished. I only handled one snake - he was at the end of a fallen limb I'd picked up and he was some distance away. It was too early in the season for snakes, still cold out and this thing was sluggish. While the marking pattern was subdued, it seemed familiar to me. I was able to scoop him up and flip him down into the nearby creek.

Good thing I did. Research revealed he was a copperhead with his markings reflecting the dead vegetation around him - grass hadn't started to green yet. In the city, a gunshot would have raised some alarm as well as potentially caused a Rule 4 problem.

Snake shot in handguns gets a bad rap from some. Sheriff Jim Wilson was amongst those who though the shot rounds were of dubious utility. He then faced a Mojave rattler in an area where solid rounds would pose a downrange threat to people and property. They had to move the snake from under the travel trailer into a position to hasten his demise without collateral damage. For the whole story, see his blog, Sheriff Wilson Snake Season

Why a dedicated snake gun? Because some people live and work in snake country where limiting downrange ballistic issues is critical and you can transition to the other handgun as needed for other jobs.

Is it worth it? That's why the S&W Governor was here. Besides, it was worthwhile to see how the long-chambered wheelgun worked with solid rounds at some distance.

The 30 ounce revolver with 2 ¾" barrel, six shot stainless steel cylinder and rubber stocks - the sample had S&W logo-imprinted Hogue Monogrips - the gun also featured a white front sight with tritium insert. The cylinder was long - but chambered for 2 ½" .410, not 3-inch as I found out on the range. (Note to self: read the directions. Or at least the specifications.)

So, how did it shoot? Well, you know it fired but I didn't find the gun abusive with any load tried. The Remington 225 grain lead semi-wadcutter was the toughest and it was manageable. The Hornady Triple Defense 2 ½" load features an FTX slug and two round balls. At seven yards - why seven, why not? - There were two hits 1 ¾" apart in the high part of the "-0" on the IDPA target. It looked like the two balls clustered and hit a short distance from the big hole left by the slug.

The Remington Ultimate Home Defense load has four 000 buckshot, of which three were outside the "-0," one just into the "C" zone on the left side of the target. That's quite a spread, but consider the ammo is named for home defense and that range is just over the length of a hallway in a house recently measured.

The Federal Premium 2 ½" #4 shot peppered the IDPA target from head to middle. Some pellets may have gone off the side. A plastic bottle of water was sacrificed and I found the #4 load blew through the bottle and into the ground from about 8 feet distance. A 1x2 wood stake was similarly shredded by this load. The Hornady load generated 595 fps through the screens of a Shooting Chrony Beta at 15 feet from the muzzle. The Remington 225 grain LSWC trundled along at a respectable 812 fps and the Winchester PDX1 Defender 225 grain Bonded JHP yielded 730 fps.

I sought to put five head shots on the IDPA target at ten yards from the IDPA target. One nicked the right side of the headbox, with the other five clustered nicely in the headbox. There appeared to be some tipping, the holes slightly elongated and telling me the soft lead slugs weren't completely stabilized . . . due perhaps to the long jump from cartridge to forcing cone?

The action was smooth, only a little heavy. The front sight is aces all the way, big, white and easily seen. The cylinder prevents the gun from being handy - a version in .45 Colt only with the appropriate length frame and cylinder could really be something, as would a .44 Special.

While I had .45 ACP ammo with me, I was pressed for time and didn't monkey with the clips. And yes, the .45 ACP round will vanish down into a chamber of the Governor. Ask me how I know.

If you have critter control problems or you just want to be the first kid on the block with a revolver as shotgun, the Governor is a good way to go.

Smith & Wesson

Caliber: .410 2 1/2″, .45 ACP, .45 Colt
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Action: Single/Double Action
Barrel Length: 2.75″ / 6.985 cm
Front Sight: Tritium Night Sight (Dovetailed)
Rear Sight: Fixed
Grip: Synthetic
Weight: 29.6 oz. / 839.145 g
Overall Length: 8.5″ / 21.59 cm
Height: 5.5″ / 13.97 cm
Width: 1.75″ / 4.445 cm
Frame Material: Scandium Alloy
Cylinder: Stainless PVD
Finish: Matte Black

-- Text and photos by Rich Grassi

The hits circled in red are from the Hornady Triple Defense load. The hits circled in blue are from the Remington Ultimate Home Defense load. Both fired at seven yards.

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