The dash 3 represents the change from counterbored chambers and the pinned barrel. If you have heard of P&R, or pinned and recessed, this refers to those guns that have both - a pinned barrel and counterbored chambers. The dash 2 was the last of the model 29's to have those features. Other models also changed at that same time period, but may have different dash numbers due to the number of engineering changes of the particular model. The model 19 changed to non P&R at dash 5, for example. I am no expert, however, and experts abound here that could give you much greater detail.
These changes have no effect on the function or accuracy of the firearm, people seem to like the older guns better, just because they don't make 'em that way anymore. And, I admit - I have a few P&R guns, just because I like them.
Cherish your Dad's 44 magnum, I bet you think about him whenever you handle or shoot that gun. That's a good thing.
Last edited by viceunit; 09-07-2011 at 10:03 PM.
Reason: more words