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Old 09-23-2011, 09:44 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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Default S&W M329 PD Gas Shield Erosion w/Ramshot Enforcer

I'm looking for a full house .44 Mag practice load w/the 329 -- Lyman 429244 SWCGC -- that won't erode the blast shield. I've had considerable experience with cast bullets and A2400 in the 329 (8k - 9k rounds). This combination results in blast shield erosion when loaded to or close to .44 Mag pressures. Can't remember and am too lazy to look but I've had the gas shield replaced for or five times.

dla's excellent website indicates that Ramshot Enforcer is gentler on the 329s blast shield than H110/W296, A2400, AA#9.

dla -- do you have updated info.

Anybody else with actual experience with Enforcer and its effect on the 329s blast shield.

TIA,

Paul

Last edited by Paul105; 09-23-2011 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 09-24-2011, 02:03 AM
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The erosion is as much a function of pressure as burn temperature. Full power magnum ammunition will erode the blast shield regardless of which propellant you chose. Some may accelerate it by a small amount as compared to others but all will do it.

Try this as a starting point. Use minimum charge as starting point and follow Handloading Rule #1. I doubt you will find data for that bullet exactly.

http://noslerreloading.com/phpBB2/vi...t=0&view=print

Bruce

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Old 09-24-2011, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceM View Post
The erosion is as much a function of pressure as burn temperature. Full power magnum ammunition will erode the blase shield regardless of which propellant you chose. Some may accelerate it by a small amount as compared to others but all will do it.


NoslerReloading.com :: View topic - 44 Mag load data using Ramshot powder & Nosler 240 grn J

Bruce
A very concise and factual response.
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:28 AM
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IMR4227 is the easiest on the gun to use for magnum-type loads. Erosion on the forcing cone and top strap is much less than with the ball powders and even 2400. This is a direct observation from shooting many thousands of rounds back in the silhouette days, both in my guns and others.
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:02 PM
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I agree 4227 is probably the best choice of powders for what you are looking for. BUT (there is always a but) Alliant's new Power Pro 300-MP is getting good reports all over the Internet. I can't tell you if it's less likely to erode the blast shield or not but it's worth looking into.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:16 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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Thanks for all the input.

I remembered that I have between 5 and 6 lbs of VV N110. It looks very similar to 4227 (stick vs ball), but with a burn rate closer to A2400. I bought 8 lbs sometime ago, but didn’t use much because it didn’t work well in the Dillon powder charge system. It is supposedly flash suppressed, which is a good thing in itself, and maybe contributes to LESS blast shield erosion.

I went back thru my chrono data for the 329PD, which showed 20.2 gr of VV N110 generated 1,243 fps under a 250gr Leadheads SWC Keith with an ES 24. As reference, the Remington factory .44 Mag 240gr JSPs run 1,244 fps with an ES of 19 thru the same gun in similar environmental conditions.

I loaded 25 rounds of 18.9 gr (vs. 20.0gr) VV N110 under a 265gr SWCGC, because the bullet was different (265gr SWGC – Lyman 429244 vs. Leadhead’s RCBS 250K PB right at 260gr actual). 18.9gr because that’s what my Little Dandy rotor #25 threw. Based on previous chrono work, this load should develop around 1,150 fps

Went to the range this afternoon to check extraction and POI – pretty close to dead on at 15 yards offhand with both the 329PD and a 6” 629 half lug – easy extraction in both. Plinked some 5” 25 yard target tree plates with remaining ammo – neither gun was abusive.

I’ll run some groups off a rest and also over the chrono increasing charge to 20.0gr (previous low ES) in an attempt to optimize this load for practice purposes.

Obviously it will take at least another 1,000 + rounds to answer the blast shield erosion question. I’ll probably only shoot about 30 rounds a week (10 rnds 3 days/week), so it will take some time for any definitive results.

I will update at 1,000 rounds.

Paul
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Old 09-30-2011, 11:47 PM
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As others have stated there will be some top strap or blast shield erosion from magnum loads but the damage should be limited to a certain point then not get any worse.
I've switched too to Accurate 4100 for all my magnum calibers now, which is the same powder as Ramshot Enforcer that you use. You might see how you like IMR 4227. It's a tad slower powder than the rest and less recoil and cannot be overloaded.

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Old 10-01-2011, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parisite View Post
As others have stated there will be some top strap or blast shield erosion from magnum loads but the damage should be limited to a certain point then not get any worse.
For the most part, I agree with your statement, except in the case of the 329PD.

Blast Shield eroded in half:
.

.
Top strap after the blast shield fell off in two pieces:
.

.
Different picture of top strap erosion - same gun:
.

.
S&W replaced the frame (w/same serial number) along with the blast shield.
Didn't cost me a penny.
.
In the 329, blast shield/top strap erosion is progressive and is not limited to a certain depth. I've had them replaced at least 4 times on two different guns.

Paul
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:13 AM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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I am Old School.
I use Unique and 2400 in the 44 Mag. With bullets heavier than 280gr I would use H110. I have used H110 with 240 gr cast and jacketed bullets as well, but I find 2400 works plenty good for them...

I do not own a 329, but it might be the next revolver I buy...
Probably a NG with the short barrel...

I coinsider ANY non steel framed revolver as a light duty gun. One to be carried a lot and shot not so much.

If you want to shoot a LOT, get a steel framed gun.

PS, I am still carrying the S&W Bodyguard I bought in 1972, and I have shot it a fair amount, but I have not shot it to DEATH...
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:12 AM
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It is a design issue. A faulty one in my opinion. The blast shield is not made of sufficient material to keep this from happening and they must not have intended this firearm to be shot a lot.

Either way, it seems to me to be like having a car that can go 70 mph 10 times, on the 11th, watch out because it will throw a rod sure as the world. Drive it 55 mph and that puppy will last you a lifetime. Wanna get to it's full performance level though and you have 10 times at it, no more.

Not many of us would to that. If we bought a car that did that and lived in the western states where the speed limit would allow us to drive that fast much of the time, we would be silly to do so. They make cars that are able to go to 70mph over and over and over and over and .........you get the drift, and not be harmed in the least bit as long as proper maintenance is done on them. The first car in question had absolutely no maintenance items to perform to make it last longer other than drive it slower.

Seems simple to me. You want to shoot a 44Mag, fine. You want a carry revolver that is light and still has the "punch" of that wonderful round, fine. You want to shoot a lot, that is fine too, just don't expect it from one revolver! And certainly not the one that has the "70mph" limit!

Get a new firearm that is all steel, change powders for your range practice loads (You can shoot a few of your hard core loads to impress folks standing nearby) and load the snot out of your hunting/ccw carry ammo and carry your light revolver with it.


FWIW
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:12 PM
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:50 PM
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Well, that is a much better reply from your first go 'round! THANKS!

And no, it isn't a total waste of time.

Here is how I am following your logic in having this ultra-light revolver. Which, I carry one too, only in the wimpy 38Spl.

It is a BUG though and not the first line of defense, so to speak.

At any rate, from what I am getting, you need to shoot your carry stuff in a firearm that has a lifetime of 1000 rounds. Okay, I guess I can follow that. Then, you have to send the firearm that you practiced with for a carry sidearm in to be repaired because you shot it so much in practicing to be proficient with it so you could shoot it more and that caused you to have to send it in to get it fixed 'cause it only lasts for 1000 round, well, one part of it that is.

So, buy two, carry one and send the other one in, rotate them! Or, do like a cop did not that long ago and carry a M28 or one cop I know that carried a M629 or even John Linebaugh, another of us that knows nothing according to you, who carries a M25, um, everyday, um everywhere.

So, while I do see the need for a lightweight revolver, even in the powerful 44Mag, I still don't think that you HAVE to spend all of your time shooting that firearm to be proficient with the firearm that you are going to carry. Case in point: Ruger 45/22 if you carry a 1911, any one of the good 22 caliber firearms that are made by the same maker that you have for a carry semi-auto, with the same controls and all. Or, what about the military using 22 caliber rifles for some of their training? Check the CMP store. Bolt actions and such. Now, with their 223 and 9mm firearms, recoil isn't that big of a deal so they probably don't do that much anymore.

I get it though. I understand why you do it. Just to me, it makes no sense at all. But, if the world was all like me, it would be a boring place and we all would be carrying a Glock 21 with two magazines everywhere we went, to the corner grocery store or all the way to Kalifornia!

To each his own, thanks for explaining though.
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:01 PM
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My original intent was to find a powder that would be less harsh on the blast shield/top strap of the 329. I fully understand that the 329 is a compromise, and am willing live with its limitations in exchange for the light weight – to this old man, it makes a huge difference. I have carried one almost daily for the last 5 years. I had no interest in alternative comment – only possible solutions to the original question and I appreciate all comments which addressed that question.

I do have two 329s for just the reason stated by smith crazy.

In my 2nd post I stated that maybe 30 rounds a week would be shot with the load in question.

I also have four other steel .44 Mags along with .45 Colts, a .454 C, and two .475 Linebaughs, along with lesser calibers – so, the 329 isn’t my only big “shooter”.

Where I shoot, I am, for the most part alone. When others are around, mostly we know each other and share handguns/rifles and loads at power levels someone is interested in. No need to impress anyone, or surprise (and possible hurt someone) with hot loads, the only interest is in sharing to see if the particular gun/load might be of interest/use or just experience something different or new.

For those interested, I had a chance to chrono the 265gr SWCG (429244) over 19.0gr of VV N110 – It runs right at 1,100 fps at 45 deg F.

Paul
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul105 View Post
I do have two 329s for just the reason stated by smith crazy.

In my 2nd post I stated that maybe 30 rounds a week would be shot with the load in question.

No need to impress anyone, or surprise (and possible hurt someone) with hot loads, the only interest is in sharing to see if the particular gun/load might be of interest/use or just experience something different or new.

Paul
Paul,
At least you have approached the issue with good logic. It only stands to reason that you would need two of them because of how they were designed. Good for you.

I doubt that you are all that old if you can still stand the recoil from a full house magnum load in an ultralight firearm!

And, no, I have not shot one but I do understand physics just a tad. Lighter firearms, with hotter loads = more recoil.
handloads.com has a calculator there for determining just how much, in numeric value anyway, that recoil will be.

So, with a firearm that weighs right at 1 1/2lb versus one that weighs over two, with the same load, the felt recoil is almost twice as much. Since I shoot my M629 Classic with full power loads, I have a baseline for how that "feels". Can I shoot it well? Sure. Do I like to shoot it? Absolutely! Do I shoot it with only full power loads? Yep and when I touch that thing off, if there is anyone at the range with me, they all turn and look because there is an enormous amount of noise when I do turn it on! Not trying, and I am sure that is not Paul's intent either, to impress anyone, just shooting a firearm as it was designed to be shot. Most folks are looking for 44Spl rounds to run in theirs so.............

p.s. I have no desire to shoot a M329. I have shot 3 1/2" 500S&W, 10" 460 S&W, and a host of other wrist wrenchers. The 44Mag, with full house loads, in an ultralight would seem to me to be in the same category as those. Have a purpose? Sure, just not one for me.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dla View Post
<sigh> Have you shot the 329? The 329 is not a first revolver for a noob. Personally, if you can't shoot it enough to master it, then you should carry bear spray instead. There's not much mass to dampen out shooter movement - so if your technique sucks, the bear is safe.
I'm having a hard time determining if you are pro M329 or just attacking someone with a differing opinion than yours.

What would you know about my technique? Really, dude, take a chill!
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:09 PM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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smith crazy makes an excellent point on having a gun for carry and an exact duplicate for high volume firing.

Back before I retired I shot quite a bit.

When I carried a S&W Mod 29 I had a second one for practice. When I carried a 1911 I had a second one I practiced with and shot in competition.

It was not unusual for me to shoot up to 500 rounds or more a week.
In a school or durring training 500 rounds were shot every day minimum.

Later the last few years on the job I had to carry a Glock 17.

Many times when at a school we would shoot a thousand rounds a day, for five days straight.

Bottom line is,even if your carry gun is "solid" steel, If you are a High volume shooter, I would recommend you have an identical practice gun.

If your carry gun is on a "Light metal" frame, I would probably have a steel frame practice gun.

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Old 10-10-2011, 07:22 PM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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Paul 105

Your posts have a lot of very good pertinent information in them.

How many of the 2400 rounds does it take to ruin the Blast shield?

Also, if anyone knows, can the Blast Shield be "changed at home"?

ie. If it takes xxx number of rounds to cut the Blast Shield in half, then the shooter could just put a new one in way before that happens.

Just buy a dozen of them and put one in before it becomes a problem.

I have a 325 NG, which no doubt in 45 ACP is not as hard on the Blast Shield, but I would like to have either a 329 NG or a 329 4".

While I might not shoot my 329's as much as you do in a short period of time, I think when I get one I will carry it a lot, so it will be shot a fair amount.

I also think it looks like S&W should have, and needs to, make that area of the 328 "tougher".
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:07 PM
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NE450No2

This picture was taken at 1,923 rounds and was emailed to S&W asking if this was normal -- their answer was yes. 857 rounds later the blast shield eroded in half and fell off - total round count 2,780 rounds. The frame had to be replaced along with the blast shield.




Since I've been keeping records, in addition to the above, one blast shield came apart at 3,102 rounds, another one, still intact, fell off at 513 rounds, and another one also intact fell off at 427 rounds.

Unless S&W has changed the design, the blast shield can only be installed at the factory.

Paul

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Old 10-10-2011, 09:23 PM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Good post Paul. Thanks for showing the frame and all. That is terrible in my opinion. Certainly there is something that can be done to fix this better. Am I understanding you correctly, it fell off after only 427rounds and then another one 513?

Unacceptable, purely unacceptable.

What would happen if it happened on round 1 then? Wow!

Come on Smith and Wesson, get with the program!
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:20 PM
NE450No2 NE450No2 is offline
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Paul105

Thanks for the info.
With such a wide variation in the nuber of rounds fired,
it looks like to be safe, a person should have the recoil blast shield changed when it looks like it has been eroded about half its thickness. That way the frame should not yet be damaged.

So tell me why it must go back to the factory.
It looks like the front screw of the rear sight holds it in place.

IF it MUST go back to the factory with its present design, then S&W needs to change the design so the recoil shield can be changed at home...

How much could one cost??? Three dollars, five dollars, five dollars and five cents???

I can accept that a Scandium framed S&W , especially a Magnum is PRESSING THE ENVELOPE.

But they should have been aware of this problem, and engineered it to be maintained AT HOME.

Paul, thanks again for the great info.
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:58 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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I don't know why it has to be sent to S&W for replacement. The gun still functions without the blast shield, and even though it needs to be replaced, it is not life threatening.

With all the problems and there are more than covered here, I wouldn't be without my 329s. As stated above, I recognize the limitations and can live with them in exchange for the light weight.

Paul
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:08 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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If shot a lot with upper end loads, this is a gun that needs more frequent maintenance/repair than conventional steel revolvers. It's the price that one pays for this light weight technology in a cartridge like the .44 Mag.

Anyone that is going to rely on the 329 for personal protection with "real" .44 Mag loads, needs to understand that the "lock" and crimp jump (bullet movement under recoil) can be problems.

Test your carry ammo thoroughly before betting your life on it.

Paul
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Old 10-11-2011, 04:42 AM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Paul, again, thanks for your honesty. I fully understand about not being without your M329 too.

I can tell you what I would do though, and, you can do what you want, I would change powders to one I KNEW would be less offensive to my firearm AND gave me near full magnum performance.

Here are a few I would try. IMR 4227, 2400, SR4756, AA#7, Longshot.

Paul5388 has made several comments about ball powders and flame cutting being more pronounced than other powder types, i.e. flake or stick. Those are the ones I would try first.

Another thing I would try is a near magnum load with Unique or Herco or SR4756, something in that burn rate. You don't need ALL the flash bang ALL the time. But at just a little over 400 rounds and a failure, I don't know.

It would be interesting, and you have a good firearm to prove it out, to find out if Paul's theory is correct.

I do have another question, are either one of your firearms more succeptable or have they both acted the same? Does one wear out more than the other? Just curious.

Again, thanks for your candid responses.
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  #24  
Old 10-11-2011, 09:06 AM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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Skip,

Gun 1
At 2,780 rounds the gun suffered complete blast shield failure. 427 rounds after repair the blast shield fell off.

Gun 2
Blast shield fell off at round 513 and was replaced. It then shot 3,102 rounds before complete blast shield failure.

I’m currently using a starting load of VV N110 – it is a stick powder (very similar in appearance to 4227) with a burn rate close to 2400. We’ll see.

Paul
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:23 AM
Skip Sackett Skip Sackett is offline
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Paul,
How many rounds have you fired since using VV N110? If there was wear and tear visible after only 400 rounds or so, you should have some idea after 100. Just wondering.

Again, not throwing stones at your choice or reasons behind your choice of firearms. I fully understand the NEED for a firearm like the M329. I just think that there could be some different system of blast shield designed for it. Maybe a dovetailed insert that can be replaced by the owner or something.

I do know this, as good as Smith and Wesson firearms have been in the past, there is someone that works for them that can come up with a better solution.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:35 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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As far as I could tell and IIRC, the blast shields that fell off at 400 and 500 rounds were the result of an installation/frame problem -- i.e. not erosion related. So, I'm guessing it will take 300 to 500 rounds to start to see anything.

The gun I'm working with has had 174 rounds fired to date (since the new frame/blast shield). A2400 - 26 rnds, H110 - 52 rnds, HP38 - 6 rnds, and VV N110 - 90 rnds. I took the pictures today for future comparison purposes:






I don't see any erosion at this point. The second photo shows what looks like a shallow depression in the area you would expect to see erosion. I couldn't feel anything with the figer nail or a plastic pick -- it might be light shadow and/or residue that didn't get cleaned off or stress from where the front of the shield was bent to fit under the barrel extension.

Paul
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:29 AM
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Hello Paul, I am curious how your experimenting with stick powders is going. I hope to shoot mine this weekend and am debating using some rounds already loaded with H110 for my Blackhawk, or starting the 329 on 4227 and avoiding H110 all together with it.
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Old 02-18-2012, 08:59 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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tek,


I've only shot 400 rounds total (350 w/VV N110). I just cleaned the blast shield and I can see a faint erosion line starting to show. I tried to get a good picture, but couldn't get both light and camera to cooperate. This gun is a bit slow (velocity wise) to what others have posted on different forums. Example: 21.7gr of H110 under Beartooth bullets 325gr WLNGC clocks at 1,085fps at 5 paces from the muzzle and about 60 deg F. Hodgdon lists 22.0 as max with this bullet. So, I took a look at the barrel/cyl gap. A business card that measures .009 on my calipers fits in the gap and the gap feels a bit larger than that -- this may also be contributing to some of the blast shield erosion that has started.

I've had at least 4 blast shields replaced by S&W at no cost to me (they also picked up shipping both ways). If it was me, I'd just go ahead and shoot the gun and let S&W fix whatever problem develops.

FWIW,

Paul
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:08 PM
Hammerdown77 Hammerdown77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul105 View Post
tek,


I've only shot 400 rounds total (350 w/VV N110). I just cleaned the blast shield and I can see a faint erosion line starting to show. I tried to get a good picture, but couldn't get both light and camera to cooperate. This gun is a bit slow (velocity wise) to what others have posted on different forums. Example: 21.7gr of H110 under Beartooth bullets 325gr WLNGC clocks at 1,085fps at 5 paces from the muzzle and about 60 deg F. Hodgdon lists 22.0 as max with this bullet. So, I took a look at the barrel/cyl gap. A business card that measures .009 on my calipers fits in the gap and the gap feels a bit larger than that -- this may also be contributing to some of the blast shield erosion that has started.

I've had at least 4 blast shields replaced by S&W at no cost to me (they also picked up shipping both ways). If it was me, I'd just go ahead and shoot the gun and let S&W fix whatever problem develops.

FWIW,

Paul
Is that barrel to cylinder gap within spec in the eyes of S&W? I would think that should be fixed under warranty.
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  #30  
Old 02-19-2012, 08:20 PM
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Does H110 burn that much hotter, or is it the size of the granules of powder being small enough to flow through the gap and act like a sandblaster?
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:31 PM
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tec

I don't know -- the explanation I have heard is that it's more of a sandblasting effect.

By the way, the gun used in the above test has only seen limited Hodgdon H110 use (only 3 rounds since the picture w/no erosion) -- the vast majority was VV N110 (a stick powder similar to I4227 in appearance, but faster in burn rate).

Also, the blast shields that I have had replaced were eroded with A2400.

Hammerdown,

I think S&Ws bbl/cyl gap specs are pretty generous.

Paul
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:29 AM
Shuz Shuz is offline
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Paul105--Have you tried the J-B Weld "fix" for your 329PD top strap erosion problems? Mine has been installed for quite some time now, and it is still holding up to the extent that I haven't had to re-apply it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
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Paul105--Have you tried the J-B Weld "fix" for your 329PD top strap erosion problems? Mine has been installed for quite some time now, and it is still holding up to the extent that I haven't had to re-apply it.
I'm interested in the details of your fix. What did you have to do to prep the metal? There's only .010" between top of cylinder and blast shield, so I'm curious to know how to apply a thin coat of JB. Even though I stay away from H110/W296 and use Enforcer exclusively, my blast shield is going away. I've got long over 1k rounds with this one and it will probably hold up for another 500+, but I would like to stretch it out if possible.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:34 PM
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Just thought I'd toss out an idea ... see what you can do with some razor blades to make your own replacement blast shields, even if they fail relatively soon ... replacement becomes cheap and easy, but I suspect that the razor blade stainless steel just might hold up better than the factory part.
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:57 AM
Frank46 Frank46 is offline
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I'm curious just what material is the blast shield made out of??. From looking at the pics all it appears to be is a piece of steel with a bend in it that goes under the forcing cone plus the hole for what looks like a retaining pin. Frank
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:11 AM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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Quote:
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Paul105--Have you tried the J-B Weld "fix" for your 329PD top strap erosion problems? Mine has been installed for quite some time now, and it is still holding up to the extent that I haven't had to re-apply it.
Sorry, I haven't tried it.

Paul
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:35 PM
Shuz Shuz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venomballistics View Post
Just thought I'd toss out an idea ... see what you can do with some razor blades to make your own replacement blast shields, even if they fail relatively soon ... replacement becomes cheap and easy, but I suspect that the razor blade stainless steel just might hold up better than the factory part.
According to Smith and Wesson,the bbl has to be taken off in order to replace the top strap shield. Most of us, at least not me, are not equipped to do that.
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Old 06-16-2012, 08:43 PM
Shuz Shuz is offline
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Quote:
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I'm interested in the details of your fix. What did you have to do to prep the metal? There's only .010" between top of cylinder and blast shield, so I'm curious to know how to apply a thin coat of JB. Even though I stay away from H110/W296 and use Enforcer exclusively, my blast shield is going away. I've got long over 1k rounds with this one and it will probably hold up for another 500+, but I would like to stretch it out if possible.
dla--Here's what I did: Took out the cylinder and mounted the gun upsidedown in a padded vice. I then mixed up just a scoosh of J-B Weld and applied it to the gas cut line, kinda filling it in, and then smoothed off level with the rest of the shield with an X-acto blade razor knife. No other prep was done. Hope this helps.
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