I received a bunch of emails from last week’s story on the reintroduction of the Dan Wesson Model 715 by CZ-USA.
Some of them centered around the gun’s MSRP, which is reported as being $1200. If the gun is of superb quality, that’s not an unreasonable figure. Think of it this way: Freedom Arms has no trouble selling their high-end single actions, and the S&W Performance Center – despite putting out some embarrassingly bad examples – seems to sell all of the expensive revolvers they can produce.
If the new DW is of sufficient quality, the price should not be a barrier except to those who’ve grown accustomed to the cheap used examples that still abound in the market. A new DW would thus have to be substantially better than the best Monson guns available to justify their price tag. I’m not sure CZ is up to the task.
Another email came from someone who contacted CZ for more details. CZ reportedly said that they’re making only 500 of these models, and that they couldn’t make any more because they didn’t have the blueprints!
The former Serva crew certainly had the plans, and if CZ-USA didn’t get them in their acquisition of DW it would be a stupendous blunder. I suspect the truth is a little more pedestrian: CZ still has the former owner’s run of 715 frames, which they realized could generate more revenue being sold than scrapped. If the writer of the email is correct in that they’re only making 500 guns, this would tend to support my theory.
It wouldn’t be the first time. When CZ-USA acquired DW from Bob Serva’s company they trotted out a few large frame models in the odd .460 Rowland chambering – coincidentally, the same chambering that Serva himself had hyped. CZ promised that other calibers would follow but the entire line quietly disappeared.
At the time I suggested the only guns CZ-USA had were those that were in process at the time of the acquisition, and that no others were likely to be made. The passing years seem to have validated that opinion, and I suspect the same thing is being done with this limited run of the 715.
All that aside there is still an opening in the market for a good quality double action revolver, and with the appropriate amount of work the DW could fill that space. As I’ve said before: it will take some re-engineering of certain parts of the gun, flawless construction quality, and a company that displays a solid commitment to the product.
So far CZ-USA has shown us all but three of those attributes.
I’m actually anxious to eat crow on this, as I’d love to see Karl Lewis’ great design back on the market. I sincerely hope CZ-USA steps up to the plate and proves me wrong, but we now have a half-decade of history which suggests they’re not going to.
-=[ Grant ]=-