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Old 07-24-2012, 01:46 AM
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Default Model 629 Classic

Hello to All!

I am new to the S&W Forum and recently acquired my first S&W firearm. It's a Model 629 Classic 44 mag 6.5" Revolver with a Power Port vented barrel and would like to learn a little more about the gun.

The particulars from the revolver's box end label are as follows...

Model: 629
Cal: .44
Barrel: 6-1/2
Fin: S
Stock: RB
Product Code: 103624
Serial No: CBE 48XX
Spec Order: 6183

Based on the above information, can anyone tell me...

1. Date of Manufacture and/or Date of Shipment?

2. Did this revolver come from the S&W factory with the Power Port vent, or is this Power Port likely a later added modification?

3. Unlike some other 629's I've seen online with "44 Magnum" engraved on the left side of the barrel, my revolver shows "Smith & Wesson" on the left side of the barrel with "44 Magnum" engraved just below on the barrel lug. Can anyone tell me when this change in markings occurred and which is the earlier or later version?

4. Likewise I have seen other 629's with different dash numbers; i.e, 629-6, while my revolver shows 629-4 below the s/n on the frame yoke. Can anyone explain what the different dash numbers indicate?

Thanks in advance for any information provided.
ZT
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2012, 08:54 AM
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Talking

Date of birth was probably 1996 and I can tell you it shipped with factory porting. The difference in the dash numbers represent engineering changes by S&W that were deemed large enough to warrant a dash number.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTatZAU View Post
Hello to All!

I am new to the S&W Forum and recently acquired my first S&W firearm. It's a Model 629 Classic 44 mag 6.5" Revolver with a Power Port vented barrel and would like to learn a little more about the gun.

The particulars from the revolver's box end label are as follows...

Model: 629
Cal: .44
Barrel: 6-1/2
Fin: S
Stock: RB
Product Code: 103624
Serial No: CBE 48XX
Spec Order: 6183

Based on the above information, can anyone tell me...

1. Date of Manufacture and/or Date of Shipment?

2. Did this revolver come from the S&W factory with the Power Port vent, or is this Power Port likely a later added modification?

3. Unlike some other 629's I've seen online with "44 Magnum" engraved on the left side of the barrel, my revolver shows "Smith & Wesson" on the left side of the barrel with "44 Magnum" engraved just below on the barrel lug. Can anyone tell me when this change in markings occurred and which is the earlier or later version?

4. Likewise I have seen other 629's with different dash numbers; i.e, 629-6, while my revolver shows 629-4 below the s/n on the frame yoke. Can anyone explain what the different dash numbers indicate?

Thanks in advance for any information provided.
ZT
I am fairly sure the 629-4 was the last change before S&W added the internal lock and MIM parts.

For some people, pre-lock and pre MIM S&W guns are quite desirable.

I would advise holding on to that gun
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:48 AM
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Thanks Fyimo! I appreciate your reply and the info you provided!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Invictus357 View Post
I am fairly sure the 629-4 was the last change before S&W added the internal lock and MIM parts.

For some people, pre-lock and pre MIM S&W guns are quite desirable.

I would advise holding on to that gun
Thanks Invictus! In looking through the forum, I've see a lot of discussion about IL and MIM parts. Being new to Smiths, I was not familiar with these abbreviations.

I now understand the IL refers to an internal lock incorporated into later models but have no idea how the lock works or where the "lock hole" would be located, if my gun had one. How does this new IL function and just where is the "hole" located?

I'm still not sure what MIM means, but have to guess from some of the posts I've read, MIM must refer to parts "Made in (Mexico?)"??? Is this correct?

How can I confirm your suspicion that my 629-4 has neither the IL or MIM parts?

ZT
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:00 PM
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MIM = Metal Injection Molding
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZTatZAU View Post
Thanks Fyimo! I appreciate your reply and the info you provided!



Thanks Invictus! In looking through the forum, I've see a lot of discussion about IL and MIM parts. Being new to Smiths, I was not familiar with these abbreviations.

I now understand the IL refers to an internal lock incorporated into later models but have no idea how the lock works or where the "lock hole" would be located, if my gun had one. How does this new IL function and just where is the "hole" located?

I'm still not sure what MIM means, but have to guess from some of the posts I've read, MIM must refer to parts "Made in (Mexico?)"??? Is this correct?

How can I confirm your suspicion that my 629-4 has neither the IL or MIM parts?

ZT
The "hole" would be located just above the cylinder release.
The MIM parts didn't start until the -5 in 1997, and the IL came with the -6 in 2001.
Keep your -4.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:21 PM
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MIM = Metal Injection Molding

Got it! Thanks Rotty
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:39 PM
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Post #4 in this thread has a great explanation of MIM. FAQ's
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:02 AM
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Thanks to Hillbilly77 for the info you provided and to hsguy for the link...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hsguy View Post
Post #4 in this thread has a great explanation of MIM. FAQ's
What a great thread! Beyond the post on MIM parts, there is wealth of knowledge in that FAQ thread and I am sure it will answer many of my questions.

ZT
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  #10  
Old 07-25-2012, 04:35 PM
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While nothing can be for certain, your gun may become more valuable than another 629-4 Classic in years to come simply because it is equipped with a feature - the PowerPort - that wasn't popular and was therefore dropped from production.

I had the exact gun and sold it because I also have a 6.5" 629-4 Classic without the Port and could tell very little difference in recoil or muzzle jump, which is probably why it didn't catch on.

An example of a discontinued feature making a firearm more valuable is the porting that was an option on Remington Model 700 VSSF varmint rifles back in the early 1990s. No .223, .22-250 or any other varmint caliber needs porting and it in fact robbed some velocity because the barrel was the same 26" length as the non-ported one, so basically pressure was relieved from behind the bullet two inches sooner with the porting. But despite being ballistically inferior, the ported versions of that rifle are now worth more than the non-ported ones.

I have a 6" 686-4 PowerPort that is unfired and I'm keeping it that way. Hopefully, our son will realize some added value should he ever sell it.

Ed
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:10 PM
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Default 629-4 Powerport

The disco version of your gun...



IC
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AveragEd View Post
While nothing can be for certain, your gun may become more valuable than another 629-4 Classic in years to come simply because it is equipped with a feature - the PowerPort - that wasn't popular and was therefore dropped from production.

I had the exact gun and sold it because I also have a 6.5" 629-4 Classic without the Port and could tell very little difference in recoil or muzzle jump, which is probably why it didn't catch on.

An example of a discontinued feature making a firearm more valuable is the porting that was an option on Remington Model 700 VSSF varmint rifles back in the early 1990s. No .223, .22-250 or any other varmint caliber needs porting and it in fact robbed some velocity because the barrel was the same 26" length as the non-ported one, so basically pressure was relieved from behind the bullet two inches sooner with the porting. But despite being ballistically inferior, the ported versions of that rifle are now worth more than the non-ported ones.

I have a 6" 686-4 PowerPort that is unfired and I'm keeping it that way. Hopefully, our son will realize some added value should he ever sell it.

Ed
Interesting take on the PowerPort/Value thing Ed. I appreciate your thoughts. I don't have a clue as to what this 629-4 is worth but I would appreciate any opinions on that!

I do enjoy the learning and a better understanding of what makes one piece more desirable than another. From what I've been reading about the upward muzzle flash and it's potential affect on target reacquisition and/or night vision, I think I could probably have done very well without the Power Port.

One however, cannot look too closely in the mouth of a gifted horse.

At the risk of rambling on a bit, and if anyone is interested, this gun was a most welcome gift from the estate of a good man and my cousin, whose guns I stored at his widow's request, until one or more of their young children had demonstrated a genuine interest in fireams and the maturity and judgement required for firearm use and ownership.

Fast forward a little over ten years and many here can probably relate to the good feelings associated with my return of a father's gun collection to my "second cousin, once removed" who'd gone camping with us in the Colorado Rockies as a youngster shortly after his father's death and now all grown up to be a responsible and successful young man with an avid interest in shooting, hunting, and the great outdoors.

As if that weren't enough, after sharing our good thoughts, some good hugs, and good memories of his father, I was to accept as a gift either the S&W 629 Classic or a .357 Ruger GP100 in stainless. Except for the Dirty Harry thing, I didn't know much about either of these revolvers.

I already have a couple of Ruger firearms and really do like them. I also have a very, very nice, (dare I say it here on a S&W forum?), 4" - .357 Colt Python in stainless (my very favorite revolver unless this new Smith comes to change my mind). And also, I thought, while my knees aren't what they used to be, I still see some time spent "up in the mountains" yet in my future and whether bowhunting or camping in potential bear and cougar country in the past, I've always felt a little undergunned with the .357 Python. I thought the .44 mag might be a better choice for that mission.

I still have some reservations about the upward flash of the PowerPort and the long 6.5" barrel and wonder if a more conventional muzzle flash and a shorter, more easily accessible 4" barrel may be better suited for protection from an unexpected bear or lion in the woods or in camp.

Any thoughts or comments appreciated.

ZT
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Old 07-26-2012, 02:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inspector-Callahan View Post
The disco version of your gun...



IC
Very cool inspector!

Did you do that yourself, or is that a S&W option or special edition?

Do tell a little more about the disco!

ZT
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:53 PM
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MagnaPort did the cosmetic work and an also an incredible triggerjob. It's probably the smoothest DA trigger pull of any revolver I have ever fired. Their EDM porting wasn't necessary since it was factory ported. The cosmetic work was their velvet hone finish (very nice fine glass beaded matte finish for around $75 as I recall) and they can add stripes, which are polished. Hammer/Trigger also polished. Layne Simpson did an article in Shooting Times about a 629 and 617 that had this same treatment and I got the idea there.

IC
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:51 AM
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ZT, you may be coming to the same realization that I did - that a 5" barrel may be the best of all worlds. I don't think that enough handiness is gained with a 4" barrel to offset the loss of an inch of barrel.

The photo below illustrates the overall lengths of 629s with three different barrel lengths.


The uppermost gun is a 6.5" 629-4 Classic, the middle one is a 6" 629-1 and the lower one is a 5" 629-4 Classic DX.

After handling N-frame S&Ws in all barrel lengths, I think the 6.5" full-lug ones feel decidedly muzzle-heavy and the 4" ones feel "short" for their frame size while the half-lug 6" and 5" full-lug ones just feel more well-balanced in the hand.

For what it's worth, "DX" guns were supposedly the more accurate ones during test-firing and were returned to the production area where "DX" was added to the laser-etched "629 Classic" on the barrel and the actions were reported to have been tuned somewhat. They were shipped with wood and rubber stocks, an assortment of interchangeable front sight blades and their test target. DXs with 5" barrels were only made in 1992 as -3s and and in 1993 as -4s and accordingly, their numbers are low but they are out there. They can command a good buck but I didn't think the $800 I paid for mine about two years ago was excessive.

Fortunately, new 5" 629s with MIM parts and the IL are readily available today.

Ed

Last edited by AveragEd; 07-27-2012 at 08:54 AM.
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