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Old 01-01-2010, 10:51 PM
magoo magoo is offline
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Default 629-1


I've been offered a very nice 629-1.

Apprx when were they made? Did S&W recall them for a defect and how can I tell if the mods were performed?

TIA, Adam
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Old 01-01-2010, 11:22 PM
ssgmac ssgmac is offline
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Default 629-1

629-1 1982-87 no recall according to the
Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson 3rd Edition by Jim Supica & Richard Nahas, should be your next purchase before any S&W firearm purchase. Just my opinion. Good luck!!!
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Old 01-02-2010, 11:51 AM
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Vulcan Bob Vulcan Bob is offline
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No real issue's that Im aware of, love mine. Plus one for the book!
Stay safe people!
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:44 PM
MMA10mm MMA10mm is offline
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There was a recall.

It was on the cylinder due to substandard material of one lot of stock that was let in. I believe if you have the box, it was marked with an "M" in red, IIRC (this is going by memory from 10 years ago, so don't read this as gospel...).

I've got one I got new in 1985, and I shot some really heavy handloads in it (such that I would never shoot today), so I never sent mine in, because if it lived through those handloads, it will live through any sane handload or factory load...

You can call S&W's 800 number and give them the serial number, or e-mail them. They may know if it was already checked. If it has never been checked, they cannot tell you by the serial number if it is OK or not. You will HAVE to send it in to them.

The other issue with these is that they are pre-endurance package guns. This means they are susceptible to early wear symptoms (such as end-shake and cylinder unlocking/rotating backwards) and sometimes even the trigger and hammer pins break off. These are all issues that can be fixed at the factory. In my experience they show up rarely, and only if the gun is shot A LOT with HEAVY loads.

I shoot mine almost exclusively with mid-range loads with lead bullets now, so it should last forever without further worries. I have a later 629-4 for heavy loads now.
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Old 01-03-2010, 02:25 PM
C J C J is offline
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Was it the 629-2E that first included the endurance package MMA10mm? I have a 629-2 without the E and I was wondering if I should consider the upgrades.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:19 PM
MMA10mm MMA10mm is offline
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C.J. -

While I own or have owned four S&W 629s, I'm not what you would call an expert. I get my information from here and John Taffin's excellent article on the S&W 29 & 629 series here: Smith &Wesson's .44 Magnum as well as 25 years of shooting those four S&Ws (and a Ruger, plus several carbines in 44 Mag).

The Cliff's Notes version is this:

The Model 29-4 (stainless equivalent: 629-2) had the radius stud package to reduce metal stress and try to prevent the studs from breaking off and a strengthened Yoke & Crane to reduce end-shake. (629-2Es were a transitional model with enhancements that were not added at the beginning of production, such as the hardened yoke. But the -2 had the radius stud package from the beginning, AFAIK.)

The Model 29-5 (stainless equivalent: 629-3) bolt and bolt notches lengthened, hand radiused and some other internal changes to resist unlocking and reverse-turning of the cylinder. Some were available with full-lug barrels and unfluted cylinders and some were still traditionally-styled in those areas.

The Model 29-6 (stainless equivalent: 629-4) Full-lug barrels only, drilled and tapped for scope under the rear sight, Hogue rubber grips only - no more wood grips... (I've got one with a 5" barrel, and it's heavier than my 6" bbl 629-1. Easy shooting, convenient to carry, MUCH poorer trigger than the 629-1, but it will last forever with the way I load 44s these days.)

I believe they discontinued the blued model after this, and only the stainless 629-5 continued (someone double-check me on that). This variation has MIM hammer and trigger, internal firing pin (no firing pin on the hammer any more), CNC cylinder stop, and was the beginning of disappointment for traditional S&W enthusiasts. Soon thereafter the Internal Lock came along to cement the loathing of the new models...

Personally, I like the traditional style, look, and manufacturing, and so I don't want a 629-5 or later... That's why I bought the -4. It has all of the strength upgrades, but with traditional styling and construction. I'd still like to find a -3 with the old-style barrel and fluted cylinder, because I'm not really thrilled with the full-lug barrel, but if I fall into one at a good price I do, if not, I don't...

Now, all that said, I don't believe you can send your gun back and get the enhancements. (Again, I'm not as expert as the other guys here, so maybe they'll chime in and correct me.) Of course, if you can, I imagine it would be expensive-enough to just go ahead and find a -3 or -4 to buy... They're still out there for around $500-$600 in fine shooting shape.

Lastly, keep in mind that all of these upgrades were geared around people who shot their guns HARD (as in silohouette shooters or teenage kids who thought loading manual maximums were just suggestions...) My 629-1 has some goodly end-shake and will unlock and rotate backwards occasionally with max loads, but I shot several thousand rounds a year through it when I first got it, and the majority of those loads were a couple grains over the max load with 250gr Thompson-style GC lead SWCs... Nowadays, I've gotten a LOT smarter, and 95% of my 44 Mag loads are mid-range with 7.5grs of W231 and a 265gr LSWC for just under 1000 fps. This is a mild load on the gun and the shooter, that still has some power. IF you can do the same thing, and shoot light to medium loads 95% of the time, I'd not worry about the upgrades or buying a heavier-duty variation at all...

Hope that helps.
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44 magnum, 629, endurance, fluted, hogue, model 29, ruger, scope, supica, thompson, unfluted

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