Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 327 TRR8 revolver

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The Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P TRR8 revolver doesn’t seem to be particularly well known compared to the more popular Umarex replicas.  It’s an all-metal, 4.5mm BB shooter which internally looks to be very similar to the Umarex Ruger Superhawk and the Dan Wesson/WinGun series of revolvers.  Like them, it features removable shell casings into which BBs are loaded.  Unlike these other revolver replicas, this one shoots like a laser.  It’s one of the most accurate air pistols I have ever used, and that includes a number of pellet shooters with rifled barrels.  How can a BB shooter be so accurate?  Honestly, I have no idea but this is a pistol worthy of attention from anyone who values precision shooting.

Real steel background

A detailed look at the background to Smith & Wesson and the development of the .327 cartridge is provided in the Umarex S&W 586/686 review.  Link at the bottom of this article.

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S&W TRR8

The Smith and Wesson M&P 327 TRR8 (Tactical Rail Revolver, eight-shot capacity) is an eight-shot revolver intended for military and law enforcement use (thus M&P).  To keep weight down, the N series frame is made of a scandium alloy while the cylinder and five inch barrel are stainless steel (though the barrel is enclosed within an alloy shroud).  The pistol is chambered for .327 Magnum and .38 special rounds and features adjustable V-notch rear sights and a replaceable foresight.  Unusually for a revolver, the TRR8 features an under-barrel accessory rail and can be fitted with an upper rail.  It’s a reliable, rugged and accurate handgun which has proved very popular since its introduction in 2006.

The Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 327 TRR8

The Umarex Smith & Wesson M&P 327 TRR8 (Snappy title, eh?  To save my typing finger, I’ll just call it the TRR8 from now on) is a six shot, CO2 powered revolver with removable shell casings.  CO2 is stored in the grip, the rear part of which hinges backward to give access.  This is a licensed replica which features S&W markings and an S&W logo on the grips.  The rear sight features windage and elevation adjustment and both front and rear sights have fibre-optic inserts in place of dots.  The TRR8 is available in black or polished steel finish.  In some markets this pistol is sold as the “Umarex S&W Dominant Trait“.

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The pistol features removable shell casings into which BBs are loaded and which shoot through a light alloy inner barrel which is sprung to provide sealing with the cylinder face.  The replica is mostly metal other than for the grips.  As far as I’m aware, no 6mm version of this pistol is available.

I purchased my TRR8 in as-new second-hand condition.  However (and I didn’t notice this until it was pointed out to me later) the base of the shell casings are marked “Dan Wesson”.  Other TRR8s seem to come with shell casings which are marked “S&W”.  So, I presume the seller of my pistol got the shell casings mixed up, though I suppose it’s possible that some TRR8s come with Dan Wesson casings?  Whatever the reason, it shoots very well using these shell casings.

Spec;

Calibre: 4.5mm

Capacity: 6 round cylinder

Propellant: CO2

Barrel length: 5.4″

Weight: 2.0 pounds

Length: 12″

Sights: Fully adjustable rear, front and rear feature fibre-optic inserts.

Action: SA/DA

Packaging and presentation  2.5/5

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The Umarex TRR8 comes in a serviceable cardboard box which features the S&W logo.  It is provided with a brief user manual, six shell casings, a speedloader, an upper picatinny rail (in addition to the fixed lower rail) and an allen key for rail fixing/removal.  Overall, packaging and presentation are adequate but nothing special.

Visual accuracy  5/10

The original TRR8 has a 5″ barrel.  Umarex claim that the replica comes with a slightly longer 5.4″ inner barrel, but for some reason the replica is 1½” longer overall than the original and visually the difference looks even greater.  Just look at the pictures below – even allowing that the inner barrel is recessed from the muzzle, the replica really doesn’t look as if it has a barrel that’s just 0.4″ longer.  The TRR8 is actually longer than an Umarex 586/686 with a 6″ barrel.

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S&W TRR8 (left) and Umarex S&W TRR8 (right)

The cylinder is longer, smaller diameter and mounted about ½” further forward on the replica.  The overall effect is slightly odd, as if a TRR8 has been stretched horizontally.  Unless the Umarex TRR8 is based on some variant of the original that I’m unaware of, the profile here isn’t particularly close to the original.

The hammer, trigger guard and cylinder all look different on the replica though  the grips and safety/cylinder release do closely match the original.

Overall, this seems a slightly disappointing visual replica (though I’m open to input on this – does anyone know if the Umarex replica based on some other variant of the TRR8?).

Functional accuracy  13/15

Given that this replica features removable shell casings, the Umarex TRR8 very closely replicates the function of shooting with a real revolver.  The hammer, trigger, safety and cylinder release all work on the replica as per the original.  The weight of this replica is also good, being within a few ounces of the weight of the original.

Loading CO2 is done by hinging back the rear part of the grip and inserting the cartridge.  Piercing is done by twisting the plastic piercing tab.  Loading happens cleanly with no major loss of gas.  The rear part of the grip is then rotated forward, which also hides the piercing tab.  The rear part of the grip has slight movement when it’s closed, and the plastic piercing tab looks and feels a bit flimsy though I didn’t have any problems with it.

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One disappointment functionally is that this doesn’t replicate the eight-shot cylinder on the original.  You would imagine that if S&W can fit eight of the mighty .327 cartridges in this cylinder, Umarex might have found room for eight replica shells!  I’m guessing that this is for reason of parts commonality – the cylinder here looks very similar to that used on the Umarex Ruger Superhawk and is smaller diameter compared to the distinctive short, squat cylinder on the original weapon.

Shooting  39/40

The sights on the Umarex TRR8 are particularly fine.  The rear and foresights incorporate small fibre-optic rods which provide bright dots at front and rear.  I was sceptical at first, but these really do improve target acquisition.  Perhaps they’re just well suited to my ageing eyesight, but I found them bright, clear and very easy to use.  Even better, the rear sight incorporates windage and elevation adjustment, so it’s possible to align the point of aim and point of impact precisely.

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Six shots, 6yds, Blaster steel BBs.

Accuracy is where the TRR8 really stands out.  This pistol will place BBs precisely where you want them.  The light weight and decent sights help, but the TRR8 seems to have inherent accuracy that’s way ahead of most comparable pistols.  This is one of the few air pistols which could benefit from a laser or red-dot sight.  Or, if you want the “big game” look, what about a telescopic sight mounted on the upper rail?

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Real TRR8 fitted with telescopic sight

Even though it’s a fairly long pistol, the TRR8 feels well balanced and light.  The double action trigger pull is fairly long and slightly clunky but with a consistent and clean break point.  The single action pull is light and crisp.  The pistol fires with a satisfying bang though of course there is next to no recoil.  I had no misfires or failures to fire with my TRR8 and I got around 60 full-power shots from one CO2 cartridge.

The claimed fps for the TRR8 is 400, which sounds about right.  On a chilly autumn day and using fresh CO2 and Blaster steel BBs I saw an average velocity across the chrono of 388fps (with a high of 403 and a low of 380).

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Six shots, 6yds, Blaster steel BBs, cowboy shooting target downloaded from UBC site (see link at the end of this review).  Note the head shot.  The head on this target is just over 1″ across.  I can not only hit it at 6yds, I can place a BB precisely within the area.  I can’t do this with any other replica air pistol I own.

I admit that I’m at a loss trying to explain the accuracy of my Umarex TRR8.  The easy-to-see sights certainly help, but the BB comes from the shell casing into a light alloy, movable, smoothbore barrel which is held in place only by a light spring.  Allowing for inevitable machining tolerances in the shell casing, cylinder, barrel shroud, barrel and indexing system, this just can’t be particularly accurate.  And yet somehow it is.  It’s the same system seen on the Dan Wesson/WinGun revolvers and on the Umarex Ruger SuperHawk, none of which (in my experience) are especially accurate (though I notice that the inner barrel on the TRR8 seems to be made from heavier gauge material than seen on these other pistols).  But this isn’t just the most consistently accurate BB shooter I have ever tried, it’s also more precise than most of my pellet shooters which have rifled barrels.  With the TRR8 I can place a BB precisely where I want, shot after shotDoesn’t make any kind of sense, but that’s how it is.  Have I just been lucky that a particular conjunction of assembled parts have made my TRR8 especially accurate?  Is it something to do with using the Dan Wesson shell casings?  Does the heavier inner barrel help?  I can’t say for certain – I can only report honestly on the performance of my TRR8.

The only downside to shooting the TRR8 is the need to re-load every six shots.  I suppose you just have to accept that this is part of the revolver experience, though I can’t help wishing that Umarex had replicated the eight shots of the original.  Spare shell casings are easily obtainable (and Dan Wesson shells obviously fit) so at least it’s possible to have pre-loaded shells standing by.

Quality and reliability  13/15

The finish on the black TRR8 looks durable and well applied.  My pistol suffered from no chipping or rubbing problems.  The grip fit isn’t fantastic and the CO2 piercing tab is flimsy, but apart from this, the TRR8 looks and feels well made and put together.  I am not aware of any particular problems with this model.

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Overall Impression  13/15

When you pick up the Umarex TRR8, it feels like a nice replica.  Good weight and balance, durable looking finish and a general feeling of quality are all notable.  Then you start shooting.  And you realise it’s something quite exceptional.  This a better shooter than any BB gun has a right to be, and it’s better than many pellet shooting replicas.  If you have any interest in air pistol target shooting, you really need to try one of these.

Conclusion

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The Umarex TRR8 is well made and finished, a fair functional replica and it’s relatively cheap.  Shame it doesn’t look more like the original and doesn’t hold eight shots.  However, it is the best shooting replica airgun I own.  And I own (or have owned) a lot of replica pistols.  It’s well balanced, has a reasonable trigger action and very clear sights but most of all, it’s just phenomenally accurate.  In fact, my TRR8 was so uncannily accurate that I hesitate to suggest that all TRR8s will be the same.  But I do recommend that you urgently get hold of one of these and give it a try.  If it’s anything like mine, you won’t be disappointed!

Total score: 85.5/100

Buy:

You can buy this replica at Pyramid Air here.

Related pages:

Umarex S&W 586/686 revolver review

Gun Heaven Nagant M1895 revolver review

ASG Dan Wesson revolvers

Links:

Cowboy target downloaded from Umarex Boys Club forum

Umarex web site

Umarex Smith and Wesson 586/686

Time for a review of what is regarded as one of the finest multi-shot pellet pistols ever made – the Umarex 586/686 (the only difference between the two is finish – the 586 is black, the 686 nickel finish).  Can it really be as good as people say?

Real steel background

In 1856 partners Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson formed a company to manufacture a pistol which used a then revolutionary self-contained metallic cartridge.  This pistol, the Smith and Wesson Model 1, was an instant success and the outbreak of the US Civil war in 1861 created huge demand for this and subsequent Smith and Wesson handguns.  The company continued manufacturing a number of different types of pistol until the present day, though it has always been best known for revolvers.  The company continued to be controlled by the Wesson family until 1964 when it was bought out by Bagnor Punta, a large US conglomerate.  Since then it has had a number of corporate owners, including British engineering company Tomkins from 1987 to 2001.

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Bonnie and Clyde’s car, 1934

During the early to mid 1930s, Smith and Wesson were involved in research to develop a handgun cartridge capable of penetrating vehicle bodywork.  Police were involved in frequent fire-fights with bootleggers and gangsters and found that conventional bullets often failed to pierce the heavy bodywork on contemporary vehicles.  The result was the .357 Magnum cartridge, introduced in 1934.  This was a more powerful development of the existing .38 special round (confusingly, both are the same calibre – .357 is the nominal bullet calibre of the .38 cartridge).  The round was made 1/8″ longer than the standard .38 to prevent inadvertent loading in a .38 pistol not designed for this high pressure ammunition.

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Smith and Wesson 686 with 6″ barrel

Many handguns were designed for the  .357 round, but the extreme power of this ammunition caused vicious recoil and mechanical failures on some pistols.  In 1980 S&W introduced revolvers chambered for the .357 featuring the heavier “L” series frame, designed to withstand long term shooting with this round.  These 6 and 7 shot revolvers were available with 4″, 6″ and 8″ barrels and were constructed of blued carbon steel (the 586) and polished stainless steel (the 686).  The “L” frame revolver series is very popular and these pistols have been adopted by civilian shooters and police departments across the US.

The Umarex 586 and 686

The Umarex 586/686 are powered by CO2 (retained inside the grip and accessed by removing the right side of the plastic grip) and were originally available with 4″, 6″ and 8″ rifled barrels, though the 8″ version seems to have been dropped at some point.  Barrels and barrel shrouds are interchangeable, and some early versions were supplied with all three.  The barrel and shroud are easily disassembled by removing the inset plastic retaining nut at the end of the barrel with the supplied tool.  Pellets are held in a removable ten shot pellet holder which swings out on a crane on the left of the frame.  The pellet holder is the only part of the cylinder which rotates when the trigger is pulled.

The crane is released by pushing forward on the cylinder release on the left of the frame.  No safety catch is fitted though Umarex claim that the pistol is provided with an internal safety mechanism which prevents a loaded pistol from discharging if dropped or jarred.  There is no accessory rail fitted as standard and the 6″ version weighs a hefty 2.8 pounds.

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Early gloss finish 6″ 586

The 586 and 686 are identical other than for finish.  The 586 is black (gloss black for early models, semi-matt black for later models) and the 686 is provided in what Umarex describe as a nickel finish, but which is actually a rather matt silver.  Both models share a black rotary pellet holder, which looks a little odd on the otherwise silver 686.

Packaging and presentation  4.5/5

Like most Umarex pellet shooting pistols, the 586/686 comes in a distinctive blue hard case. The case is well padded with foam which features cut outs for the pistol, a single rotary pellet holder, CO2 and spare barrels and shrouds.  The pistol is provided with a short user manual.

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8″ 586 with 4″ and 6″ barrels

The Umarex hard cases may not be of the absolute best quality, but they’re way ahead of the packaging for most replica pistols.

Visual accuracy  8/10

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Smith and Wesson 686, 6″ top, Umarex 686, 6″ bottom

Overall this is a very good visual replica.  The profile and look of the original are well replicated and only the cast rear part of the cylinder looks notably different.  The cylinder release and adjustable rear sight are well replicated in form and function.

The only small visual anomaly on the Umarex replica is that the cylinder pawl indentations and fluting on the replica reflect the ten chambers in the rotary pellet holder rather than six (or seven in some versions) of the original.  And of course the black pellet holder on the 686 does rather stand out.

Revolvers have fewer markings than their semi-auto brethern.  The original revolver has “Smith & Wesson” engraved on both sides of the barrel, the S&W logo under the safety catch on the left side of the frame and trademark information on the right front of the frame.  The replica has the S&W logo and name on the left, but otherwise includes only Umarex markings.

Functional accuracy  8/15

Functional accuracy is fair, given that these replicas don’t have a full size cylinder.  The rotary pellet holder does swing out on a crane which is released by the cylinder release catch.  However, the 586/686s don’t really replicate the loading and operation of a revolver in the way that other Umarex products such as the TRR8 revolver or the series of Dan Wesson replicas do.

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The 586/686 cannot be field stripped.  Any disassembly requires splitting the casing halves.

Shooting  38/40

This where the 586/686 really excels.  Using fresh CO2 and RWS CO2 Target pellets, my 6″ averaged 390 – 410fps, dependent on temperature.  A little lower than the Umarex claim of 425fps, but more than enough for target shooting at 6yds.  Accuracy is very good indeed.  At 6yds, freestanding, using a two-handed grip I can generally achieve groupings in the 1¼” – 1½” range.  I imagine that the pistol is capable of sub 1″ grouping, so this is probably a reflection on my shooting technique.  The fully adjustable sights are clear and easy to use and can be adjusted to place a pellet precisely where you want.

Despite being a heavy, long gun, the 586/686 doesn’t feel unbalanced and it is comfortable to hold and shoot.  It can get tiring if you’re shooting for an extended period using a single-hand grip, but is considerably better with two hands. It is one of the loudest guns I own and I have not suffered any misfeeds or failures to fire while shooting.

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The ten shot rotary pellet holder seems easier to load than the eight shot version used on Umarex semi-auto replicas.  It also seems less finicky about having pellets bedded down in the holder and less prone to misfeeds.  When replaced, the grip covering the CO2 fits well with no looseness of rattles – unlike some other replica revolvers which store CO2 in the grip.  The CO2 pierces cleanly, without any leaks and I got around 60 full power shots from one CO2.

The double action trigger pull is fairly heavy, but smooth and consistent.  The single action pull is light, precise and consistent.

This is a delightful and very satisfying gun to shoot.  Of all my replica pistols, this is the one which feels most like shooting with a real firearm, though happily without the shoulder-wrenching recoil of real .357 ammo.

I was also able to try an 8″ version.  In theory the longer barrel should allow greater accuracy, but I didn’t find this to be true.  I found that the longer barrel unbalanced the pistol, and shooting even a full ten shot magazine quickly got tiring so that the wobbles set in.  In this case, I do feel that less is indeed more.  I haven’t tried the 4″ version, but I would imagine that power and accuracy would be very similar.

Quality and reliability  13/15

Mechanically, the 586/686 is absolutely superb.  The indexing, trigger and hammer action are creamy smooth, precise and consistent.  I’m not aware of any reliability issues with these replicas, though like any pistol, internal parts and seals do eventually wear and degrade over time.  Lubrication is important to keep a 586/686 in top condition, and achieving this effectively requires dismantling.  This can be daunting as inside you will find a complex arrangement  of pins, pawls, sears and plates.  There are also several tiny springs waiting for an opportunity to twang off into the middle distance.  However, if you feel confident, there are several good on-line guides explaining how to disassemble and re-assemble these pistols.

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Later 4″ 586 in matt finish

The finish on the early model gloss 586 is extremely good.  It doesn’t particularly resemble blued carbon steel, but it is attractive, well applied and hard wearing.  Later model 586s have a more matt finish, which is just as resistant to chipping and scratching, but to me at least doesn’t look quite as good.  I have never been a big fan of the nickel finish on the 686.  Like the nickel finish on several other Umarex pellet firing replicas, it’s actually a rather dull, matt silver.  It does seem well applied and hard wearing, but looks nothing like the shiny polished stainless steel original.  You only have to look at (for example) the beautiful shiny nickel finish on some Tanaka revolvers to see what’s achievable and in that context, the finish of the 686 is a little disappointing.  The black pellet holder on the 686 is also an anomaly – surely on a pistol in this price range it should be possible to provide something which doesn’t look as if it has been borrowed from another gun?

I’m not aware of any other pistol which exudes quality in the way that the 586/686 does.  Just pick one up and you’ll see what I mean.  More a family heirloom than a toy.

Overall Impression  13/15

This a class act in every way.  Very nicely made and finished, reliable and a pleasure to shoot.  What more can you ask from a replica pistol?  Well, I generally prefer replicas which not only look good but also replicate the operational function of the original.  The 586/686 isn’t quite so good in this respect, but it’s such a fine pistol that the first time I picked one up, I knew I had to have it.

Conclusion

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This a fantastic air pistol, in fact I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better replica pellet shooter.  No surprise that it’s also one of the most expensive replicas.  But then, as they say, you get what you pay for.  And what you get here is a beautifully finished, well made, heavy, loud, accurate and powerful multi-shot pistol.  It isn’t perfect.  Nothing is.  But it’s pretty damn close.  Flaws?  I feel that the 8″ version is too heavy and unbalanced for sustained accurate shooting.  I think the black rotary pellet holder looks stupid on the silver 686.  And I’d prefer if the whole cylinder revolved and this replica generally better reflected operating a real revolver.  But on the whole the main drawback is that the 586/686 mercilessly exposes poor shooting technique.  It’s no good trying to blame suspect accuracy on the gun – if you miss the target with this pistol the problem almost certainly lies with you.

I know what you’re thinking: “Will this replica make me a better shooter?” Well, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure. But being that this is one of the most accurate and powerful replicas in the world, you may be lucky and find that it forces you to improve your shooting technique. So, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?*

Total score: 84.5/100

Related pages:

Umarex Walther CP 88 review

ASG Dan Wesson revolvers

Air pistol lubrication

How to hit what you’re aiming at

Links

Umarex web site

* Yes, I do know that “Dirty” Harry Callahan carried an S&W Model 29 revolver chambered for .44 magnum, not a wimpy .357. I just like the quote. And you do have to wonder about a guy who feels that a 12” long handgun weighing over three pounds is a good concealed-carry choice…