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Old 06-27-2011, 10:51 PM
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Question Model 29 cannot handle .44 Mag?

At another forum I frequent, a poster made the claim that the Model 29 will develop mechanical issues upon extensive use of .44 mag ammunition. He further stated that .44 Special should be used, and .44 Mag only sparingly, and that the Model 29 issue with .44 Mag ammunition was well known and acknowledged at Smith & Wesson forum.

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I'm looking for feedback... either confirmation that this fellow's claims are true, or any information/evidence to the contrary.

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Old 06-27-2011, 11:04 PM
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In my experience, there's some truth to this.
In 1975 I purchased a new 8-3/8" 29-2.
After several years of hunting use, I used it for revolver silhouette shooting. 240 grain FMJ with 22.0 of 2400 was my standard load.

After firing several thousand of these, it started to occasionally reverse rotate the cylinder upon firing.

Later S&W introduced the "endurance" package to address this issue.

My $0.03 - draw your own conclusions.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:27 PM
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I would tend to agree, the S&W is a fine revolver but it is not built like a safe.






I would say it compares to a Jeep, if you run it on road all the time or when off road stick to first and second gear it will last a long time, if you run it off road as fast as it will go you are going to have to put some money into it for repairs.

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Old 06-27-2011, 11:27 PM
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Most of the problems I had with my Model 29s (at that time I had two that I used most of the time, both 29-2s) were with heavier than standard bullets. When I used 240- and 250-gr bullets, I never had a cylinder "run backwards," but I sure did with the 300-gr loads.

Can you beat up a Model 29 - sure. Can you "wear one out" - sure. You can beat up and/or wear out anything. The Model 29 is what it is. It's a great machine that does well what it was intended to do. It is from an era when it was not common to shoot a lot, or to use a gun like it in competition.

As to shooting 44 Specials and recoil, etc., I am not sure why the gentlemen says what he does about the "average experienced" shooter. I know lots of guys who shot lots of 44 Magnums in their 29s, and certainly they did not limit themselves to 20-30 shots. One of my friends who had the resources to do it would routinely shoot 200-300 rounds in an afternoon - sometimes more. While a very good shot, he never struck me as exceptional in his ability to handle the gun.

Most of the problems with recoil that I am familiar with involve the 4-inch guns. They have always had a bad reputation. I don't know anyone who shot them a lot, but certainly the 6.5-inch gun was not considered abusive, and the 8-inch gun not much of a strain at all.

Those are my "recollections."
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:45 AM
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The 29/629 can shoot any SAAMI rated bullet of any weight without any problem.

Enter the Ruger/TC only loads and you've got problems.

I've been shooting 265g cast from the Lyman 429244 in my 29's and 629's at 1200fps for over 25 years and they aren't even loose yet. 2 are pre endurance and the others aren't.

Keep it to a dull roar with SAAMI approved pressures and you've got no worries.

Methinks your friend doth protest too much.
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Old 06-28-2011, 07:49 AM
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His information, while factual, starts from the premise (as I see it) that the S&W 29 is too lightly designed and one is better off buying a Ruger - BALONEY.

The caveat is - use the ammunition the gun was designed for and you won't have a problem. If you are one of those who must shoot heavier bullets and the highest pressure loads because you need to or because it just satisfies some testosterone high that validates manliness, then get a Red Hawk or a Blackhawk or spring for a Freedom Arms revolver.

While nothing said in his reply is necessarily "untrue", it ignores the fact that the problems stem from using heavier loads than the gun was designed for. I never got into silhouette shooting, and I don't encounter brown/grizzly bears when I stroll down to get the morning paper so for my purposes standard velocity/weight/spec 44 magnum ammo treats my model 29's just fine and seems to punch big holes in whatever needs it while giving me as much recoil as I care for.

On a side note, the old chestnut tossed in about the "Dirty Harry" character acknowledging the weakness of the gun and using light 44 special loads shows me this is someone who really doesn't understand what he's talking about and buys into movie myth and misinterpretation to make a point. That whole subject has been grist for other entire threads and it's one of those movie myths that just won't die. It was the result of a flubbed line by the star and wasn't considered grievous enough at the time to re-shoot the scene. But all the "experts" love to pounce on that to stir the pot . . . .


YMMV

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:25 AM
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ANY revolver will develop problems if you consistently shoot loads that are more powerful than it was designed for. I qualify with a Model 29-2, 4 inch barrel, and I can handle the recoil quite well for the 75 round course.

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Old 06-28-2011, 10:23 AM
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I just shoot lots of .44 Specials because they are pleasant, feels like my Model 14's in .38.... I have heard thousands and thousands could affect an older S&W, but how many of us will shoot thousands of hard core .44 Mags thru our guns? Very few of us...
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:06 PM
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Greetings, All,

Well, personally, I think the OP is passing along erroneous and misinterpreted information. In truth, "much ado about nothing".

I bought my M29, 8 3/8" barrel, nickel-plated, NIB, and have shot it a great deal on the range, working up loads for deer hunting. I have never used the "burn down the barn" super heavy bullet loads in it, and see no reason to do so. If I need something more than that 29 can offer, I simply shoot my FA .454 Casull, and call it good.

I think the M29 was designed very well, and made perfectly. It's a wonderful pistol, and has legions of trusting admirers, all over the world, me included. IF the OP is sincere in his questions here, and I have no idea if that is the case, then he has been misled by others, and is going to get the straight info here, which is good. IF he is NOT sincere, then he is just trying to stir the pot, and knows little about whence he speaks. My opinion, and YMMV.

As to being able to handle full "normal" .44 Mag loads in the M29, my lovely wife, Sweet Bride, can regularly hit targets out at 100 yards, off-hand, with that gun, and 240 grain hot .44 loads. Smacks then with authority, too!! If that big Smith was abusive with such loads, she would not be shooting it that well, period. For what it's worth...... Take care, and God Bless!

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Old 06-28-2011, 12:22 PM
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"I have yet to actually meet a 44 Magnum shooter who only uses that caliber in a S&W."

He just needs to get out more. I embraced hunter pistol silhouette competition in the late 1970s/early 1980s. My Model 29-2 has been shot with large quantities of 240 JHPs handloaded over heavy charges of H110 in the 31 years I've had it. It has given perfect satisfaction. No timing or end-shake issues.

Don't care if Ruger's are "built like tanks." I'm unwilling to own one of the clunky things.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:01 PM
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I ran a fair amount (400 rounds) of heavy (320 grain) 44 mag stuff through an early 629 and did run into a few problems. The recoil was brutal. Occasionally the bolt would unlatch and the cylinder would rotate. And rather frequently the ejector rod would unscrew tying up the gun. Another later gun, 629-4, I ran standard loads through didn't have any of those problems. It was more annoying than anything else. I don't think anything was stretched or anything like that, but I didn't feel like those loads were a good match for that gun.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:15 PM
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I must agree with the posters who think that the 29 series is weak...I believe it so strongly that I think that all the other posters who agree should send me those old, unsafe, unreliable, weak S&W 29's, 29-2", 629's and so on, so as to keep anybody from having such an inferior weapon. Send me your address and I will even be glad to cover the shipping cost to my dealer. I will even include a shipping box so all you do is put the gun in the box, seal it and drop it off at your dealer and my dealer will work out the shipping details!
Many people have said it best....if you use the ammunition the gun was designed for, you will have a gun that will probably outlast you. Give me ANY brand 44 mag, some handloading equipment and I will gurantee that I can make is shoot loose.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krehmkej View Post
In my experience, there's some truth to this.
In 1975 I purchased a new 8-3/8" 29-2.
After several years of hunting use, I used it for revolver silhouette shooting. 240 grain FMJ with 22.0 of 2400 was my standard load.

After firing several thousand of these, it started to occasionally reverse rotate the cylinder upon firing.

Later S&W introduced the "endurance" package to address this issue.

My $0.03 - draw your own conclusions.

I concur with the above...As I too have experienced the
same difficulties with a 29-2 that I used for handgun
silhouette shooting.

Change bullet weights and it helped, went from usin' the 240 & 265 grainers to a Sierra 220 grain match type.
Wound a heavier locking bolt spring also, if I remember right.

Hey it's a machine, things manfunction sometimes.
But, I was shooting somewhere in the neighborhood of
300-500 rounds a week through it.
* I used three different revolvers in rotation,
although one of those was my primary competition revolver.

Of course pratices pays off...
Was IHMSA state revolver champ two years a runnin' way back when.

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Old 06-28-2011, 01:44 PM
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That it can eat the power loads some people put through them at all is a testament to how well this gun was originally designed!

The Model 29 was introduced in 1955, and based on the N-frame from even earlier.

Subsequent designs for the 44 mag from competitors reflect the direction of today's modern shooters, plus they have the Model 29 as a baseline.

Know what you want, and meet your need. Be educated and you won't be disappointed.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:53 PM
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The automobile analogy seems to be closest to the truth. If a car is consistently run at red line for an extended time, the engine is going to fail at some point. Firing an excessive amount of fullest house Magnum loads for a similar extended time will no doubt cause a 29 to eventually experience a form of mechanical failure. Running any device at it's max limit all the time is a self fulfilling prophecy, but is in no way evidence of a specific car, pistol, or widget being inferior.

And as far as using Hollywood as a reliable source for factual information ...
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:02 PM
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Yes or no on this, I would still love to see S&W make an L frame equivialnt to the N frame. Add some bulk where it is needed, make it not slowly die to shoot 300 grain bullets, and put the Smith and Wesson .44 magnum back on top where it used to be. I'm not saying make the N frame capable of .500 SW mag performance, just beef it up where they could even add a .454 option or even a .475 if the window was made long enough. I'm not saying the 29/629 should go the way the 19/66 went, it would just be nice to see a S&W that didn't have to be the size of the X frame to really throw Thor's hammer down range and not beat the internals to death.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:57 PM
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...eventually, some one will think the X-frame is a bit under designed...

Another car analogy for you:

Compare a 1955 Ford to a 2012 Ford.

As to that point, how many 1955 designs of ANYTHING are still for sale by the original designer, still kicking, still doing it's job better than most? A few, but not many, and whatever they are, they are classics and timeless in the best of terms.

Know what you need, get what you need. That's it right there. If I wanted 0-60 in 5 sec, airbags, and traction control, I would not pick a 1955 car!
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:02 PM
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First 44 magnum was a Ruger Super Blackhawk. After 3,000 magnum loads it wouldn't shoot a 4" group at 25 yards. It was traded for a Ruger Redhawk, same loads shot a 2" group at 25 yards as long as I owned it. Found a M629, 8-3/8 barrel, unfluted cylinder at a very nice price in the LGS. Counter man said it was traded because the owner "couldn't hit anything with it." I bought it on the condition I could return it within a week for store credit.

I took the M629 to the indoor range with my usual box of 44 mags. Sights were grossly out of adjustment. Rounds #19 thru #24 shot 5-Xs and 1-10 on a 25 yard Bullseye target. I sold the Ruger Redhawk because it was not as accurate as the M629.

Today I have 1,600 pieces of 44 magnum brass / ammo and ZERO 44 Special brass. All the brass is on its eigth or more reloading. Over the past 3 years I've been fortunate enough to acquire 8 more S&W M29 / 629s. I have not had any poor design issues with my 5 M629s or the four M29s.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:09 PM
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My .02, Rugers are more durable but you pay the price in weight. If you are shooting lots and carrying little, the Ruger is great. Vice versa for the Smith. BTW, all my magnums are Smiths, I've owned my share of Rugers but didn't care much for the fit and finish, and didn't appreciate the additional weight in the woods.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:13 PM
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There was a fairly informative article "way back" in 1990 in Guns & Ammo that pretty much stated what many here have already mentioned about the 29.

A couple of silhouette shooters were featured and told Smith of some of the issues they experienced and actually got Smith to listen to them.

The main feature of the article was the then new 29/629 with the endurance upgrades. The accuracy of seven 629 DX revolvers tested was impressive.

My own 629-5 has NEVER fired a 44 Special. Most have been 240XTPs with H110 or 296. I can sure fire more than 20 or 30 rounds without discomfort. It is mainly the cost of 44 ammo that keeps me from shooting too many rounds - and I do reload.

The accuracy of this 629 is incredible for a mass produced revolver. I don't need to shoot loads that put down an elephant. If I really need a lot more than the 44 can deliver I'll break out the .30-06.

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Old 06-28-2011, 06:19 PM
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We all know the Ruger is a heavy duty piece, but their trigger pull is no comparison to the Smith 29. Face it folks, you probably won't wear either one out in a lifetime. I get a kick out of the semi-auto endurance tests that seem to be popular. "We fired 10,000 rds. of this, or 20,000 rds. of that, the gun never broke." Whoopee, who cares. Ask the average handgun owner how many rounds he/she shoots in a year, most have no idea, or, "well, I go to the range every week or two and shoot 4 boxes." This would be a helluva a lot of shooting for most people, a lot more than the majority, and that's not figuring that they probably own more than one gun, rotating something each time they go out. The average is most likely several boxes a year through each gun. I shoot a lot, but I'll never wear one out, nor will my children or grandchildren. We are too busy working, raising families, maintaining the business of life to worry about it. Professionals, well, that's a different story. In reality, 10 or 20 boxes per year in each gun is about it, more than likely, less. So, why worry? There are exceptions, but I'm not one of them, and I've been a frequent handgun shooter for more than 40 years, owning close to 100 guns in that time period, not counting rifles and shotguns. Shoot and enjoy, life is too short
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximumbob54 View Post
Yes or no on this, I would still love to see S&W make an L frame equivialnt to the N frame...
No! What most people who consider themselves "sixgunners" want is the S&W equivalent of the Model 29 that will stand up to a true .45-caliber magnum, like the .454 Casull cartridge, in basically the same fashion the 29 does with the original 44 Magnum. (At least among the folks I know.)

Beyond that power level, the gun will cease to be a sixgun and becomes more a mutation between handgun and carbine, doing the job of neither as well as the other two.

Not being an engineer, I can only theorize, but it would seem possible to make a slightly beefier gun, similar to an N-frame, that would still be practical to wear on a belt, for the (mythic) "average size man." The X-frame is just too big and too heavy to be practical.

Having to tune up a finely made gun every 3000 or so rounds is really no great hardship. The Model 29 does what it does just fine. Let's not tamper with it.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:29 PM
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I am the Knucklehead that the OP was referring to posting on another forum.

Now, the points that I was trying to make. I should also note that I was basing my statement on the assumption that the query was for opinions on a standard production model 29. My normal preference for barrel length in a revolver is 4 inches because I like they way they "handle". Keep that in mind. In hindsight I should have asked about what barrel length was the subject of the query. However, even with a 6 1/2 inch semi lugged barrel the model 29 can be what I find to be a bit brutal with a heavy Magnum.

1) The model 29 and it's siblings are the revolvers most prone to developing End Shake when used with a heavy diet of 44 Magnums. IMO it's a result of the Yoke Tube peening and not a result of the frame stretching. I also stated that it's not a safety issue, simply something that someone using this model with a steady diet of heavy Magnum loads need to be cognizant of and something they need to keep an eye on.

Now I ask you, what model yields the most posts about End Shake on this forum. Number one is the 44 Magnums and number two is probably the 686 due to it's popularity.

2) I've never actually met someone who only shot 44 Magnum loads in their S&W 44 Magnums. Seen lots of claims on the net but apparently they don't live in Ohio or Michigan. In fact I've only seen full house 44 Magnums used for just 20-30 rounds, after that the shooter moved to 44 spl. or equivalent loads in a 44 Magnum case. Since the difference in volume and muzzle flash is quite obvious, it's pretty easy to tell when the shooter has backed off on what he's shooting. BTW, I've also never seen any 460 or 500 Magnum shooter expend more than 10 rounds in one range session, however I expect there are people on the net who claim to shoot 100 rounds or more in one range session.

There are some shooters here who have posted extensive use of 44 Magnums for steel silhouette shooting and I do not doubt them one bit. However, a model 29 with an 8 3/8 inch barrel is considerably heavier than a model 29 with a 4 inch barrel. In fact I expect that the long barreled model 29 would feel a lot like a 4 inch 44 Magnum X frame. It's the mass of that long barrel that made extensive use of 44 Magnums tolerable and your experience isn't quite the same as shooting the 44 Magnum in a shorter barrel.

Finally, when the 44 Magnum and the model 19 were designed the Standard Operating Principle was to use the Magnums for serious work and practice with the Specials. Design decisions made in the 50's that were perfectly reasoned have proven somewhat marginal in light of the way that shooters today operate their guns. Quite simply, IMO the model 29 and it's siblings are great 44 spl. revolvers that can be used on occasion with 44 Magnums. If someone wants to shoot purely 44 Magnums, they need to be aware of it's tendancy to develop End Shake and maintain it properly. If that's done, I see no reason why they won't last well beyond any or our lifetimes.

As for the cylinder unlocking, that issue was well resolved with the Endurance Package and this was carried on with the production models following the development of the Endurance Package. BTW, I expect that problem was most prevalent in the shorter barrel lengths because mass does a lot to tone down recoil reaction forces.

Finally, I've shot just 1 round of 44 Magnum at the urging of a friend. That was enough for me, I don't have any need to beat myself silly and have enough accumulated wrist injuries to know better. However, that 6 1/2 inch model 29 loaded with 44 spl. was a real cupcake to shoot and a real hoot. BTW, that friend also tried to talk me into trying his 4 inch 460, however after feeling the effect of a 44 Magnum in that model 29 those urgings fell on deaf ears.

If you all want to call me a Wimp, go ahead. However, at 56 years old I am directly aware of the result of long term repetive stress injuries to the hand and wrist because I live with the effect every single day. Quite simply, once you pass 50 you learn that some of the things you did in your 20's and 30's while lots of fun extract a price when you get older.

In closing, I'll stand by my opinion, That the model 29 is a great 44 spl. and use of full house Magnums should either be limited or done with the thought that it will increase the maintenance requirement. I also think the 4 and 6 1/2 inch versions are too light for the energy that the 44 Magnum can produce. I'll grant that this is the opinion of someone who does have some wrist injuries, however in another 20 years you may find yourself with those same injuries. BTW, mild Tunnel Carpal, Both Wrists AND arthrytis at the base of the thumb on Each Hand. Personally, if I ever do purchase a model 629, it's going to be treated as a 44 spl..

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M29since14 View Post
No! What most people who consider themselves "sixgunners" want is the S&W equivalent of the Model 29 that will stand up to a true .45-caliber magnum, like the .454 Casull cartridge, in basically the same fashion the 29 does with the original 44 Magnum. (At least among the folks I know.)

Beyond that power level, the gun will cease to be a sixgun and becomes more a mutation between handgun and carbine, doing the job of neither as well as the other two.

Not being an engineer, I can only theorize, but it would seem possible to make a slightly beefier gun, similar to an N-frame, that would still be practical to wear on a belt, for the (mythic) "average size man." The X-frame is just too big and too heavy to be practical.

Having to tune up a finely made gun every 3000 or so rounds is really no great hardship. The Model 29 does what it does just fine. Let's not tamper with it.
"Yes or no on this, I would still love to see S&W make an L frame equivialnt to the N frame... "

Didn't you just say the same thing as what I was trying to say??? I was trying to say an L change from a K so it would go from an N to (?) with more steel where ever the engineers deemed it was needed. I'm not trying to say make a six shot X frame .44 Magnum... Maybe a X frame .444 Marlin, but that's different. I will say it different. We took the 66 and made the 686... Do that for the 29/629...
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:50 PM
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The K frame .357 is what keeps popping into my head when I read your thoughts on the 29. Specials often, magnums for carry.

Your hand issues notwithstanding, I'm OK with magnums in my 29/629 pistols which range in length from 3" to 6.5" and I shoot them all with wood Hogues - smooth, finger. The grips fit my hand and I find the recoil satisfying, but not unpleasant.

I also shoot a Spl load in a magnum case through them, but I have been known to only shoot magnums in it during a range session, in fact, most of the time. A typical session sees a box of 100 down the pipe. I have other revolvers typically and need to spread the love to them as well, so 50 to 100 per gun and somewhere around 200 ~ 300 rounds in a session.

I am close to you in age at 55, so I believe all of us are different and what's OK for one isn't so good for another and so on. One size doesn't fit all.

I've had Rugers and I just couldn't get past the triggers. They are built strong, there's no denying that. The Bisley's are catching my eye and perhaps one day I'll make the grab on a 4.5" ~ 5.5" Colt version.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Coaltminer View Post
We all know the Ruger is a heavy duty piece, but their trigger pull is no comparison to the Smith 29. Face it folks, you probably won't wear either one out in a lifetime. I get a kick out of the semi-auto endurance tests that seem to be popular. "We fired 10,000 rds. of this, or 20,000 rds. of that, the gun never broke." Whoopee, who cares. Ask the average handgun owner how many rounds he/she shoots in a year, most have no idea, or, "well, I go to the range every week or two and shoot 4 boxes." This would be a helluva a lot of shooting for most people, a lot more than the majority, and that's not figuring that they probably own more than one gun, rotating something each time they go out. The average is most likely several boxes a year through each gun. I shoot a lot, but I'll never wear one out, nor will my children or grandchildren. We are too busy working, raising families, maintaining the business of life to worry about it. Professionals, well, that's a different story. In reality, 10 or 20 boxes per year in each gun is about it, more than likely, less. So, why worry? There are exceptions, but I'm not one of them, and I've been a frequent handgun shooter for more than 40 years, owning close to 100 guns in that time period, not counting rifles and shotguns. Shoot and enjoy, life is too short
Amen! Most shooters will never see enough 44 magnums put through their model 29 to wear it out. This whole thread reminds me of the subject of K frame magnums not being able to handle a steady diet of 357 magnums. I say enjoy your revolvers and quit worrying about shooting the revolver too much and wearing it out. After all, I bought my revolvers to shoot not worry about using them too much.
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Old 06-28-2011, 10:57 PM
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I have this one and all it has shot is the rounds from the factory:



I love the "L" frame myself and I have over fifty of them that are stock and custom. The "N" frame was built to work, the big frame ruger was never carried by a LE, but for the "N" frame I bet you could almost cover the state of Texas with them. They handled the mags well and were good for parting the hair on those who though they were tuff, ha. The "N" is better than most people can understand.
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Old 06-28-2011, 11:08 PM
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Didn't you just say the same thing as what I was trying to say???
I suppose by the time I had finished writing I had confused things enough that it sounded like it.

But the answer is no. I am perfectly happy with the Model 29, just as I am with the Model 19. I shoot "specials" and magnums in both guns, and have no serious complaints. Use them as intended and it's all good news.

What I was lobbying for was a bigger gun, but not as big as the X-frame, or even close. I'd like a true .45-caliber gun, which an N-frame is not, with anything but low pressure loads. (It is my understanding that S&W always thought of the N-frame as a .44-caliber design, long before the 44 Magnum came along.) It should be built to handle 300-gr loads, maybe at 1200-1300 FPS... ?

I believe the S&W engineers could have come up with a design like that, and it could be carried on a belt and used like a handgun. Instead, we got the X-frame. Obviously, my opinions, and those of my few friends, do not amount to much in Springfield.

The gun I have in mind is a different animal than a Model 29. It shouldn't even be offered in 44 Magnum caliber. If you start to confuse the two, it will give the bean counters an opportunity to shelve the 29, just as they did the 19.

Lots of people (myself included) don't really need a .45-caliber magnum S&W DA revolver - but I would still like to have one. I have enough 19s and 29s, I guess, but I would hate to see S&W cash out the 29, as they have the 19/66 in deference to the 586/686.

We may be talking about similar guns, but I don't see the need to "improve" on the 29 for the sake of the 44 Magnum cartridge. I think that's the main difference.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:00 AM
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Super Redhawk in .454 with 7.5" barrel = 53oz

John Ross 5" 500 riding in primo Ken Null leather on a Simply Rugged belt from Rob Leahy = 57oz

Smoothness, style, toughness, pointability and versatility for that 4oz premium = priceless.

Take that Lord Humongus X frame and put a Titanium cylinder in it like the 520 and you'd be under the SRH weight. The tooling costs for a new frame are not small, wishing for a new midpoint between the N and X ain't gonna happen but Mr. Ross has addressed the issue here
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter123 View Post

I am the Knucklehead that the OP was referring to posting on another forum.


2) I've never actually met someone who only shot 44 Magnum loads in their S&W 44 Magnums. Seen lots of claims on the net but apparently they don't live in Ohio or Michigan. In fact I've only seen full house 44 Magnums used for just 20-30 rounds, after that the shooter moved to 44 spl. or equivalent loads in a 44 Magnum case. Since the difference in volume and muzzle flash is quite obvious, it's pretty easy to tell when the shooter has backed off on what he's shooting. BTW, I've also never seen any 460 or 500 Magnum shooter expend more than 10 rounds in one range session, however I expect there are people on the net who claim to shoot 100 rounds or more in one range session.

wow...you fellas from Ohio-Michigan are amazing. Not only can you not tolerate moderate recoil, but you cannot believe any one else can. Don't know anyone who's EVER shot more than 30 rounds TOTAL outta their .44mag or anyone that's EVER shot more than 10 rounds during a range session outta their X-Frame? Sure snub nosed revolvers in .44mag and .460/500 S&W mag can be brutal, but so can the recoil in lightweight .38specials. Just can't YOUR hand can't take it, don't mean the gun or someone else's hand can't. I don't shoot .38 specials in my .357s and I don't shoot .44specials in my .44mags. I generally shoot a minimum of 200 of each at a range session(they are smiths BTW). Been doing this for about once a month for years for 10s of thousands of rounds. Since it takes me a half an hour to set up and another half hour to tear down, I don't go to shoot "a box". Oh, and I generally will shoot 50 to 100 rounds outta the X-Frame per trip.

Last edited by s&wchad; 06-29-2011 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:51 AM
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My .44 mags only saw lighter loads when my children were going to be shooting them.
I dont like to go to the range unless I have at least 100 rounds of full power magnum ammo.
I bought them FOR the recoil.
My wife likes to put a few rounds out of them downrange also.
No, you dont want to be loading up ruger/tc loads.
I find the factory, or my slightly hotter magnum loads to be FUN to shoot.
Cant see turning my magnum into a pop gun.
Thats what I bought .44 spl snubby pocket guns for.


Jim
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:54 PM
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Throw my 2 cents in. I own 2 29-2's (6 1/2 Blue & 8 3/8 nickel), fired 4 or 5 thousand 240 gr reloads @ standard velocity through these guns without a problem. I don't fool around with super hot loads and/or 300 gr bullets maybe that is why both guns are still in great shape and I would not part with either one of them.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:38 PM
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I appreciate getting everyone's input, personal experiences and opinions.
Regards,
John
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:49 PM
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ONE round of 44 Mag experience and lots of opinions?

Now, my Ruger GP 100 frame is directly comparable in size to my 629s. And it's only a 357. However, that does not mean my 629s are not plenty of gun for all the in-spec 44 magnum shooting I can do.

Although, Elmer's pre-magnum N frames only saw "44 Special" ammo too. Maybe you have a point ;-)
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NFrameFred View Post
His information, while factual, starts from the premise (as I see it) that the S&W 29 is too lightly designed and one is better off buying a Ruger - BALONEY.

The caveat is - use the ammunition the gun was designed for and you won't have a problem. If you are one of those who must shoot heavier bullets and the highest pressure loads because you need to or because it just satisfies some testosterone high that validates manliness, then get a Red Hawk or a Blackhawk or spring for a Freedom Arms revolver.

While nothing said in his reply is necessarily "untrue", it ignores the fact that the problems stem from using heavier loads than the gun was designed for. I never got into silhouette shooting, and I don't encounter brown/grizzly bears when I stroll down to get the morning paper so for my purposes standard velocity/weight/spec 44 magnum ammo treats my model 29's just fine and seems to punch big holes in whatever needs it while giving me as much recoil as I care for.

On a side note, the old chestnut tossed in about the "Dirty Harry" character acknowledging the weakness of the gun and using light 44 special loads shows me this is someone who really doesn't understand what he's talking about and buys into movie myth and misinterpretation to make a point. That whole subject has been grist for other entire threads and it's one of those movie myths that just won't die. It was the result of a flubbed line by the star and wasn't considered grievous enough at the time to re-shoot the scene. But all the "experts" love to pounce on that to stir the pot . . . .


YMMV
Concerning that Dirty Harry line I think John Milius spoke out and said he ment a lighter Magnum load, not specials (probably a 180 rather than the 240 loads) and he said it was a writing mistake that it actually said special

and I can tell you from experience the remington 180's sound alot like the shots from the film and for me their easier to hit my target with, plus they sound great!

FYI the only trouble my M29-2 has given me was with the extraction of PMC ammo, where after those rounds had been shot they just woundnt come out easily, the rest were fine and its like you guys have been saying only shoot the ammo the gun was ment for and it'll last you a lifetime, specifically with the M29 the remington 180 44 magnums and magtech 240 magnums

Hell someone oughta direct that guy towards hickok45 and so he'll sound off on this recurring discussion and set him straight with his 8 inch 29 -2 and the huge amount of MAGNUM rounds he put through it since he bought it new in 1974.


and in shootability you just cant beat the M29 with a doube action ruger, the smith easily trumps in that and the shootability department, I pick up my redhawk and it feels like a downgrade in those departments, the trigger just aint nowhere near as good as the 29's and that's the most important thing about a gun!

and the 29 feels natural to my hand while the ruger feels cumbersome

Last edited by Kavinsky; 06-29-2011 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kavinsky View Post
Concerning that Dirty Harry line I think John Milius spoke out and said he ment a lighter Magnum load, not specials (probably a 180 rather than the 240 loads) and he said it was a writing mistake that it actually said special
I saw an interview with either John or Clint several years ago when that question came up and that was the gist of it - though my recollection was that Clint said he was supposed to say " it's a special light load" instead of " a light Special load" and he got the line backwards - no one paid much attention to it at the time and filming proceeded. Like I said, that's one myth that the "experts" will never let die . . . . besides, the context was for a competition shoot - not what he was carrying on the street.
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:48 AM
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I've been working my way up in power, and I am now controlling a 240gr lswc over Unique 10.0 gr, which chronographed about 1090 out of my 4" 629. I have been able to shoot 200 at a session and maintain most of my accuracy (with some resting)

At this medium level of power, do I have any worries for the gun? How about the 19 gr of 2400 loads? I'm hitting the range every weekend and I love my 44 magnum.
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  #38  
Old 01-16-2012, 04:06 AM
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Well, there's at least one guy in Ohio who regularly cranks Magnums out in their 629...me. Granted, she's a 629-5 Classic DX so recoil is a bit lesser because of the full underlug and being a -5, she has the Endurance Package.

But in the 6 years I've had it, there's never been a factory load through it OR a single .44 Special fired from it. Always 240 gr. XTP's over either H110 or Unique. (I did load 50 300 gr. XTP's once but I wimped out and used Unique under 'em. Pussycats they were, and the load was shockingly accurate in my particular specimen.)
BTW, I've always used the factory Hogues. Never tried firing it while she wore the morado grips that were also included. I'm sure they would add a bit of "authority" to the recoil. Been wanting to try one of the X-frame grips on 'er.

Anyway, I've never fired less than 150 rounds at a session through it and sometimes as much as 350 when I was testing different loads (how I love my Dillon). Fortunately for myself, one of my best friends is a gunsmith and upon my hearing about the consternation about a steady diet of Magnums, I had him check my gun for endshake and any other issues from pressure. She got a clean bill of health. I was especially worried after my first batch ever using 240 gr. XTP's over 24 gr. of H110 (1/2 a grain under max.) and got sticky cases and flattened primers. I started using a tiny bit less crimp and those issues went away.

I can't speak about the earlier iterations on earlier 29's or 629's beause I don't have much experience with them other my cuz's 8 & 3/8" 29-2. But HE shot silhouette matches with it weekly back in the 1970's and we've both burnt an awful lot of powder with it and no trouble to speak of.

Quick note to the fans of shooting Specials in the 29's: To them what ain't aware, shooting a lot of Specials will eventually build a ring of residue in the chambers that will keep Magnum rounds from fitting all the way into them. If you shoot a lot of Specials in your Magnum, please be sure to run some solvent and a borebrush through the chambers before you plan a range trip with any Magnum loads.

ETA- My first .44 Magnum was a Ruger Super Redhawk 7 & 1/2". After shooting my cuz's M-29, I couldn't stand the trigger on the SRH. Pretty good accuracy with a couple of factory loads as I hadn't yet started handloading and boy, anybody that messes up a Ruger had to WANT to do it. They are tanks.

Fascinating thread.

Last edited by beach elvis; 01-16-2012 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:24 AM
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I had a Ruger Red Hawk with the 7.5 inch barrel and it was a great revolver and I sold it and bought a S&W Model 29-2 and I have never looked back or regretted the decision. In fact now I own many Model 29-2's and a set of 629 no dash revolvers in all barrel sizes.
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  #40  
Old 01-16-2012, 10:37 AM
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Well, I shoot exclusively 44 mags out of my 29-2, 6 1/2 inch and have for 33 years. I do at this point have a cylinder unlocking problem with full power 240 and 300 grain bullets at max velocity. 240 grain bullets over 10 grains of unique still work fine. I will have to get the gun looked at soon, because I like shooting 20 grains of 2400 with a 429421 (keith load adjusted for 'new' 2400). I can't tell you how many rounds fired in this gun, but its been alot. I usually shoot 100-200 rounds a session. When I was younger I had a shooting range behind the house and shot several times a week for many years. Oh, I do live in Ohio for what that matters.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichna View Post
At another forum I frequent, a poster made the claim that the Model 29 will develop mechanical issues upon extensive use of .44 mag ammunition. He further stated that .44 Special should be used, and .44 Mag only sparingly, and that the Model 29 issue with .44 Mag ammunition was well known and acknowledged at Smith & Wesson forum.

>>>Copyrighted Material Deleted<<<

I'm looking for feedback... either confirmation that this fellow's claims are true, or any information/evidence to the contrary.
Total BS, spread by forum ninnies who wave their canes and throw their dentures at each other

I'm amazed at the stupidity of forum group-think sometimes.

What you hear is how one-toothed Billy-Bob manages to shoot 454 Casul level loads out of his Ruger SRH. Somehow he has a forum following which convinces noobs that Billy's stupidity is the norm, and S&W revolvers aren't up to the task. Usually some dense-bob will trot out a picture of a 629 destroyed by a double charge, totally off subject, as evidence that S&W Revolvers are "weak".

S&W 44 mag revolvers shoot real 44 mag loads just fine.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:59 AM
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Good to hear some more positive feedback. I hope to work my way up to controlling the 19-20 gr 2400 loads well, and shooting them weekly. I guess I'll see how many rounds she can take over the years, and see if my wrist needs servicing before the gun.

If a S&W revolver starts to get creaky with use, does their lifetime warranty cover it? Do they just repair it until its too stretched or whatever and then just send another?
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShrinkMD View Post
At this medium level of power, do I have any worries for the gun? How about the 19 gr of 2400 loads? I'm hitting the range every weekend and I love my 44 magnum.
You have the same "worries" the owner of any other S&W revolver has. Keep the gun as clean as you can. Hold your amount of really fast double-action shooting to a minimum. Check your weapon frequently for any signs of disrepair, viz. excessive cylinder- and yoke-endshake, timing problems, straight extractor rod, etc. Anyone should do that with any revolver. In other words, just do the normal things.

Others may disagree but I don't consider the 19.0/2400 load a "medium" power 44 Magnum. That is a pretty sturdy load and should approach 1300 FPS in a 6-inch gun. Nothing to sneeze at.
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:35 PM
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Default Mod 29 breakage

I have a Mod 29 which I purchased new approximately 30 years ago. I have never fired a factory .44 mag round in this firearm, I have fired thousands of mild handloads thru it. When it was relatively new the rear sight screw sheared off in the frame and the rear sight when flying past my head. I sent it back to S&W and they removed the broken screw and reinstalled the sight and returned it to me n/c. I have had the hand break twice and the last failure was with a piece I believe is called a cylinder lock. It rides in a groove in the frame under the trigger and is retained by the stud on the hand. The part broke in half and locked up the revolver solid. I checked with Numrich and Brownells looking for the part and neither could find any listing of such a part on a model 29. I finally called S&W and the tech I got ahold of new exactly what I was talking about. Apparently it is a part that is not used in all model 29's. He sent me the new lock and a new hand at no charge. Even with the failures I have experienced over the years it is still my favorite revolver.

I have another N frame Model 25 in .45 acp that was purchased new for my father at approximately the same time. It has had exactly 12 rounds put thru it. It's packed away in it's presentation case and I shoot the snot out of the model 29 instead.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:46 PM
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I have and will only fire 44 mag rounds in my 629-6 5". For me anyway that is the only reason I got a 44 mag in the first place. I don't want be caught with my pants down or less than Garrett Defender 44 mags in my gun if I should run into a bear. My gun may only see 30-40 rounds a year through it and maybe even less some years so I am not going to worry about it being able to handle the ammo I am using in it. The Garrett Defender ammo I am using is within the SAMMI recommended limits.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:58 PM
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Here has been my exoerience with my 4" and 6 1/2" Mod 29-2's I bought in the early 1970's.

They have been used for hunting, plinking, and Duty use.
They have shot a LOT of 44 Mag rounds.

The 4" has been tuned up 3 times, the 6 1/2" twice.

I do not find the Mod 29 to be "fragile" but I do not find it to be a short bar of solid steel.

It is a man made machine, and when its working it is undergoing wear.
The harder it works the more the wear, just like a vehicle, or a knife.
The more you cut with a knife the more it must be sharpened, thus the more wear on the knife.

If you shoot enough 44 Mag ammo to loosen up a Mod 29 consider yourself lucky, you are getting to shoot a bunch...

But just like a vehicle, you do not always need to drive 75MPH, any gun will last longer with lighter loads.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:07 PM
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***,I wonder what they say about the 329's..he..he..
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:24 PM
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I've had both a 5-screw Pre-29, and a still have a 4-screw Model 29 no dash. Both would unlock and rotate when firing regular Winchester 240gr JHP ammo, or Remington 180gr JPH ammo. The Model 29 handles 9.5gr of Unique with a 250gr Keith very well, and does not unlock, but regular .44 Magnum ammo from Wal-Mart will cause it to unlock every time. I am impressed how accurate this Model 29 is, it can cut clover leafs out of a target at 25 yards, and my friend and I were able to hit one gallon milk jugs with it at 100 yards pretty regularly.

Is it possible to put a strong bolt spring in these older 29's? Would that fix the unlocking problem?

Jared
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichna View Post
At another forum I frequent, a poster made the claim that the Model 29 will develop mechanical issues upon extensive use of .44 mag ammunition. He further stated that .44 Special should be used, and .44 Mag only sparingly, and that the Model 29 issue with .44 Mag ammunition was well known and acknowledged at Smith & Wesson forum.

>>>Copyrighted Material Deleted<<<

I'm looking for feedback... either confirmation that this fellow's claims are true, or any information/evidence to the contrary.

Whoever told you that.......... watch a video by hickock45 on you tube..he bought his 44 magnum in 1974 and has SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND rounds thru it.


PS.....sorry he only has SEVENTY THOUSAND thru it ...not 75...

.44 Magnum Model 29 8-inch (Close-up) - YouTube

and just for fun.... 230 yard shots with a 29....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE6EUCSiJRg

Elmer Keith Tribute: Enjoy if you never saw his vids....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRNDoVjFQJM

Last edited by KJM; 01-16-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:19 PM
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Count me in as another buckeye who uses ONLY full-power magnum loads in my .44s, who fires over 50 rounds a session without ill effects either on me or the gun. I am another one who, if I wanted to fire Specials, would buy a M24 or M624. I had one experience(with a .357) trying to clean up the extra chamber residue from a previous owner who fired 38 Specials in it, and I will never go through that again(and he even tried to keep it clean).

Use reasonable magnum loads in your .29s and don't worry about it.

Andy
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