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Old 08-23-2009, 11:02 AM
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Default Model 29 best and worst model or years?

With different firearms there tends to be specific years that are more desirable then others and specific years that are least desirable.

Does this hold true for the Model 29 and if so which ones and why?
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:59 PM
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Great question! I don't have the answer but am subscribing to this thread in hopes of learning about one of my favorite Smiths.
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:00 PM
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Great question, I'm standing by for this one also.
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:20 PM
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This should be an interesting thread, I'll throw my opinion in. Original pre 29's and early model 29's are some of the best finished and well put together S&W's ever made IMO. But if you plan on lot's of shooting then no, dash 2's are nice as well (love that 6.5" barrel) but alas they are also not made for lot's of magnum shooting. Now with the dash 3's we lose P&R, no loss for some a major loss for others, also not a long lived magnum shooter. By now we're in the late 80's and S&W has heard of the "weakness" of the 29 and has begun to take steps to strengthen the platform resulting in the stream of dash #'d models of the 90's, these 29's while nowhere near as well finished as the original 50's/60's guns are much more long lived as magnum shooters.
Honestly it really depends on what you plan on doing with a model 29, collector? Pre or early no question, Dirty Harry? 6.5" dash 2 no question. A Shooter? post endurance pkg gun. Just my 2 cents...
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:27 PM
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I would say that the low point of 29s had to be the -3. Loss of P&R and the finishes not quite as nice as 29-2 and older. The -4 thru -6 had the endurance upgrades, so I rate them better than the -3. Also, after -6 the MIM (cast) parts (hammer & trigger) come into being, and I personally don't like them, although others find no fault in them. So IMHO, to rate the 29s, it would go something like this:
1. 29-1 and older
2. 29-2
3. 29-5
4. 29-4 & -6
5. 29-3
Not a thing wrong with the 29-3s (I have a few), but the above are my personal preferences.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for all the good information so far.

Quote:
Great question!
Thanks, chalk one up for the new guy!!!!! Yeah!!!!


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Originally Posted by toroflow1 View Post
...Loss of P&R and the finishes not quite as nice as 29-2 and older. ...
Help me out... I searched but can't find "P&R". What does that mean?
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:56 PM
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P&R = pinned & recessed...pinned barrel & recessed chambers.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:57 PM
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P&R=Pinned and Recessed.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:59 PM
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I think Nframe357 gave a very good answer, especially for the different reasons stated.

I would have to agree with toroflow's number order in general.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:31 AM
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P&R=Pinned and Recessed.
I have read about the "pinned" barrel and was going to be the topic of my next thread.

Thanks for the responses.

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Old 08-24-2009, 08:34 AM
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The best Model 29?

The one that's in your hand, when you need something that will go bang
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:43 AM
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The best 44 Magnums from a fit and finish perspective are the ones made and shipped in 1956. Since this was the first year for this model, S&W did an extra special job of polishing and fitting each gun. The early guns also hold up well when used with Elmer Keith's recommended 44 Magnum load.

Strictly from a shooting point of view, the Model 29 with the endurance package (1989) and later model variations (yes, even the Model 29-10 with the internal lock) are superior to the earlier ones.

Bill
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:56 AM
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For my purposes, I most enjoy looking for (and sometimes finding ) a nice 29-2 made up through the late-60s, but others have pointed out logical reasons why earlier, and later, guns have desirable characteristics.

If I wore the gun everyday and had need to use it with real 44 Magnum loads, I would be looking for a 29-5, with the standard barrel profile, or a similar 629, probably a 629-3, or even a 629-4, since some of those can be found with square-butt frames.

Some time ago I quit using 44 Magnum loads with >275-grain bullets. 29-2s will handle these reasonably well, but I think they are right on the edge for most 29-2s that I have. The improvements in the later guns do seem to be effective. Since these guns are usually not finished quite as nicely, they are logical candidates for holstering.

I do not care for the Python-type barrel of the Classic guns, but admit it does make them nice to shoot when firing more than 25 rounds or so in a short period of time. I also do not care for round-butt guns, which just seem inappropriate for a belt gun, and needlessly complicate the stock making process - unless one wants an enclosed backstrap.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:28 AM
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Default My model 29 experiences....

All mine are from the early to late 1970s.
My 1975 61/2" blue had iffy timing but was super accurate.

My 1976 83/8" that I used for IHMSA was very accurate but went out of time. I sent it to S&W and told them what it was used for.
Whatever they did worked great and I never had another problem after about 2,000 rounds of Sierra 240gr.jhp and 24 gr. of WW 296.

In 1977 29s were like hens teeth and a friendly dealer/distributor offered me a 61/2" blue. We opened the box and the bluing was awful as were the grips.
He got another out and it was the same. The third time was the charm - a beauty.

My 1980 m629 also went out of time and was returned. When i got it back the windage sight had to be moved all the way to the right.

The first 29s had a cylinder bolt that would back out and jam the gun, and the fix was reversing the thread which became 29-1.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:38 AM
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I've only owned one M29. My preference is toward M57/M58s however. My guys presented me this M29-2 cira 1972 when I left Fort Campbell just before I retired. It has taken one 250 lb hog in NC with 240 LSWC reload.



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Old 08-24-2009, 07:18 PM
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Default Great Timing!

Wow, great timing guys! I was just about to ask the forum about a purchase I almost made this weekend at a Central Florida gun show, and this thread may just answer my question.

I was window shopping for a Model 29, and I stumbled across one vendor that had a couple of Colt Pythons (6" bbl blue and 6" bbl nickel) and a blued Model 29-3 (6"). He was asking $1100 and $1200 for the Pythons- which seems to be about the going price these days. However, he was only asking $575 for the 29-3. It was ~95%+, and seemed smooth enough and tight (came with the standard S&W blue plastic case). I was really second guessing myself for not picking it up even though it probably would have resulted in a divorce. But after reading several different Model 29 threads, now I think I'll hold off until I find a nice 29-1 or 29-2. I'm kind of partial to P&R.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:17 PM
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Wow, great timing guys! I was just about to ask the forum about a purchase I almost made this weekend at a Central Florida gun show, and this thread may just answer my question.

I was window shopping for a Model 29, and I stumbled across one vendor that had a couple of Colt Pythons (6" bbl blue and 6" bbl nickel) and a blued Model 29-3 (6"). He was asking $1100 and $1200 for the Pythons- which seems to be about the going price these days. However, he was only asking $575 for the 29-3.
Where about was this person? I recall seeing 2-3 vendors with Pythons and a Model 29, but not with the prices you mentioned. Did you go Saturday or Sunday. I am wondering if you went Sunday and it was the same guy I saw but he lowered his prices due to it being the last day.
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:53 PM
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I have 29-3 serial # ACY8xxx wonder if late enough for endurance package???? this revolver never fired ..
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Old 09-13-2009, 07:29 PM
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I have 29-3 serial # ACY8xxx wonder if late enough for endurance package???? this revolver never fired ..
I believe the -3's with the endurance pkg were marked -3E. The -4 is the first model to have all of the endurance upgrades.

Back to the OP
Just for looking at, the 5 screw pre-models are by far the nicest. I have shot a gazillion rounds through my original 29 which is a -3 with no issues; however, I will say most of them have been more along the lines of a hot 44spl load. On that same note, since I dont really shoot hot magnum loads anymore I prefer the 60's vintage -2's for finish and reliable shooting.
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Old 09-13-2009, 10:55 PM
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I can tell you from my experience that I was purchasing model 29-2s in the late 70s and they had gone to a bluing process where the frames were one shade of blue and the barrels and cylinders were another.
I also saw a few that came through from the factory that had "push off".
The 29-3s were ok with the bluing but the fit and polishing was less than the model 29-2s.
I think that a general way of looking at it is that as time went on, the quality fell due to production costs.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:13 AM
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Thumbs up my best .44 Magnum

I bought one of the 629-3 Magna Classics when they came out new in 1990. This model (along with the Model 29 Magna Classic) were a limited edition (3000 each) which introduced the the new S&W performance upgrades for the .44 Magnum revolvers. They came with a special wood case, interchangable front sights, round butt combat grips and 7 1/2" barrel.

The gun has a high polish finish on the stainless steel and is very well fit and finished. I didn't know we're not supposed to shoot these fancy special editions back then so I DO! The gun is extremely accurate and comfortable to shoot once you ditch the combats. I use Pachmayr Decelerators on mine which moderate the recoil impact. The full underlug is also a big help.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:22 AM
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just bought a 29-3 unfired 8inch etc really nice and i intend to shoot it if its one of the endurance package revolvers serial # acy8xxx hopeing to find expert here .. no response so far maybe need to part my hair diff. if intrested gave $690.00
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:55 AM
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Personally I look for -2 guns and endurance packaged guns that are pre MIM and lock.

In regards to putting lots of rounds through the older ones, I am of the opinion that if and when I shoot one out of time, I will send it in for repair (I have a couple that need to go in at the moment). If I have shot a Model 29 beyond repair with moderate loads, then I am a happy camper and I have used it to its fullest and I deserve another.

Life is too short and bad things happen to good people. Then someone else gets to shoot those guns you were too worried about babying to shoot and enjoy.

Enjoy them with friends and family or by yourself, but enjoy the Model 29s while you can and with no regrets.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:12 AM
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just bought a 29-3 unfired 8inch etc really nice and i intend to shoot it if its one of the endurance package revolvers serial # acy8xxx hopeing to find expert here .. no response so far maybe need to part my hair diff. if intrested gave $690.00
I responded to your earlier post in this thread.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:06 AM
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Default 29-2

Have owned the S&W 29-2 in the 6.5" and 4". Both were excellent. Looking to buy a 2.5 inch 29-2.
Out of all the S&W's, the 19-3, I found for my son sitting in a box unfired at a gun shop, is the most accurrate. He hit a padlock at 102 yards, further then me eyes allow me to see clearly lately. lol!.
Sure enjoy the quality of the 29-2's, the 19-2's, and the 19-3's.
Any feedback on the 29-10's?

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Old 09-14-2009, 02:22 PM
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Not to step on Curtis's toes, or anyone else's for that matter but,

The 29-3E had the hardened yoke, and extended bearing surfaces on the yoke only. 29-4 had the self-adjusting yoke screw and the radiused stud package added. The 29-5's have all of the endurance upgrades such as the elongated bolt notch, larger cylinder stop bolt, and internal bolt block.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:46 PM
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Thank-You very much Mr. 29aholic ... didnt realize i had my answer stumbling around these diff pages smile
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:02 PM
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Thanks everyone ,A guy could get an education hanging out here ,my kinda school too
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:50 PM
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Mine's a 29-8 Mountain Gun, four inch barrel. I had to send it back to the factory for warranty work (defective cylinder release bolt), and had them do their "master revolver action package" at the same time. But now it's a really wonderful revolver. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Accurate, well balanced, & easily managed.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:55 PM
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Thank-You very much Mr. 29aholic ... didnt realize i had my answer stumbling around these diff pages smile
No problem...I get lost too at times
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:56 PM
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Found this ,, thought it was intresting Actually the full endurance package was not introduced all at once. From 1987 to 1990, in models 29-3, 29-3E, 29-4, and 29-5, the Endurance Package was introduced as a series of improvements. Interior parts were fitted tightly, studs were radiused, a new yoke retention system was designed, a bolt block was installed, and the cylinder locking bolts were cut
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:51 PM
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Great thread, very informative. I've been looking for a 29 as well.
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:29 PM
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For me, the 'best' 29's are those with a square butt and target grips. When the 29 went to round butt --- they became a lessor product to me as the round butt is very uncomfortable for me to shoot. Pinned and recessed is a plus as is a nickeled gun in my book. A stainless round butt is a low as it gets in my book.
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:33 PM
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Default Best Year for 44 Magnum

1956
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Old 09-15-2009, 02:26 PM
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This one gets me by .
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Old 09-15-2009, 11:37 PM
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Very informative thread. I guess I have the lemon of the bunch, at least according to most here, the -3.
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Old 09-16-2009, 03:43 AM
T. McIntyre T. McIntyre is offline
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So from what I gather here, would it be safe to say the 29-5 is probably the pinnacle of the Model 29s development?
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Old 09-16-2009, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc44 View Post
The best 44 Magnums from a fit and finish perspective are the ones made and shipped in 1956. Since this was the first year for this model, S&W did an extra special job of polishing and fitting each gun. The early guns also hold up well when used with Elmer Keith's recommended 44 Magnum load.

Strictly from a shooting point of view, the Model 29 with the endurance package (1989) and later model variations (yes, even the Model 29-10 with the internal lock) are superior to the earlier ones.

Bill
Since he's probably handled and owned more 29s than the rest of us combined I think it's pretty safe to go with this.

Bob
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Gun 4 Fun View Post
. . . The 29-3E had the hardened yoke, and extended bearing surfaces on the yoke only. 29-4 had the self-adjusting yoke screw and the radiused stud package added. The 29-5's have all of the endurance upgrades such as the elongated bolt notch, larger cylinder stop bolt, and internal bolt block.
FINALLY, a published concise explanation of the contents of the fabled, mysterious Model 29 Endurance Package! Thank you!

Maybe I've been looking in all the wrong places prior to this, but I was beginning to think that one needed to know the "secret handshake" or to possess a decoder ring to be able to know the details of the Endurance Package.

Thanks again,

Noah
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:06 PM
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I have one of the larger Model 29 collections. One is a nickeled 3rd change.Its finish is exquisite and the action smooth as butter.The blued 3rd change guns generally have a more thinner looking finish,but I like the non recessed cylinder when it comes to cleaning them
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:46 PM
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I recently purchased a 29-2 with a 6 in Barrel unfired. It was my first 29 and I bought it to resale but unsure after buying it if I do want to sell it. Beautiful gun.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:53 PM
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[QUOTE=Neversink n Klapperthal;140781896]I have one of the larger Model 29 collections.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:01 PM
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No way to say what is best. Too many criteria. Cheapest? Most popular? Rarest? Most accurate? Etc. Too many opinions. A super serious collector like Doc44 will want early guns in top condition. To him that's best. Somebody else would have his own concept of what constitutes best.

As for years to avoid, well, the P&R features were dropped in 1981 and many S&W lovers think the guns were reduced in refinement when that happened. Still good shooting guns, just not as fine.

But what do i know? I'm not an expert and I prefer 27s anyway.
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:40 PM
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IMO the 29-5 is the best overall.

Earlier guns were not designed to handle the .44 magnum. The 29-6 did not have the same amount of attention paid during assembly-same holds true for the 629-3 verses 629-4 from my ownership of several examples of all of them.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:00 PM
Randallsw67 Randallsw67 is offline
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Default 44 Magnum 8 /38 barrel blued

I have a Model 29-2 blued 8 3/8 barrel in wooden presentation case that has never been fired. Its serial number is N20372 Id like to know what year it was produced and the value of it? Been in my safe for many years without looking at it. Can anyone help me with this? Have a few others I need to look up also.
Thanks,
Randall
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:25 PM
rays44 rays44 is offline
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I own a blued Magna Classic. Awesome machine except for the fact that the throats measure .427. I size lead to that diameter and despite the mismatch between throat and bore, it's a fine shooter.
I have two 29-2's. One of these is fitted with a 10" Douglas barrel. All three were fed a steady diet of max loads (21.5gr/2400/240gr jacket and lead). All are as tight as the day I bought them (new in the day).
I have no experience with the 10" silhouette model from the 80's, but I am told they were somewhat lacking.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:37 PM
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I bought an unfired -3 that had been Magna-ported a couple of years ago as a shooter. It's accurate and nicely finished; I don't worry about overusing a collector's piece.

Incidentally, I would never bother with Magnaport on a revolver - it just doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference to me.
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Old 05-23-2020, 04:41 AM
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doesnt Hickock have a 29-2 with 75k rounds through it?Still tight
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neversink n Klapperthal View Post
doesnt Hickock have a 29-2 with 75k rounds through it?Still tight
Zombie thread lives. Hickoks 29 had action repairs done. Also, many of those rounds were 44 SPC or "moderate" magnums.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:57 AM
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For collecting you can’t go wrong with any of the S prefix 29’s (pre, no dash, 29-1 and 29-2).
For shooting you cant go wrong with a 29-5 Classic DX.
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44 magnum, 629, cartridge, classics, colt, combats, endshake, endurance, extractor, lock, m29, m629, model 29, mountain gun, pachmayr, recessed, round butt, sideplate, sig arms

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