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Old 09-25-2018, 03:38 PM
Halfnutz Halfnutz is offline
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I've had my eye on a 329 for years. I always thought it was a "neat" gun. The familiar lines of a S&W but with "space age" materials. Not to mention the amount of posts about how brutal it was to shoot. I really didn't find many current posts or info on the 329 so I thought I would give my 2 cents on the latest.

When I picked it up from a home based local dealer, he was impressed with the look and feel. Since he is rural, I asked "Got ammo?" "Wanna shoot it?".
He only had some 240gr lead Armscor. I really wanted to switch out the grips to the rubber ones before trying it out, but we tried it with the pretty wood ones first.
The first shots were not bad, I think the Armscor stuff is a bit anemic, but I will say, as many have said before, the recoil is cumulative. The dealer agreed. It did not split my hand open or feel like catching a baseball bat.

Outta the box... Fit, finish, and lock up all looked good. The gun has a nice and smooth DA pull, the SA pull I found was light and crisp enough that I didn't think to put my old trigger weights on it. No complaints here. The rear sight is still the "V" and the front the red fiber optic. The FO is nice and bright and I like it. The only concern I have on FO is from limited past experience, I think they can be fragile, and for that reason I've always shied away from them. The wood grips have some checkering, and the grip frame is exposed. The rubber ones that came with it have slight finger grooves, and cover the grip frame. I had almost ordered a set of X frame grips prior to taking possession, no need, S&W must've realized it made sense to include at least something similar.

On to the weekend...
Hornady Critical Defense 165gr .44 specials are a ***** cat. POI was ridiculously low. The rear sight was bottomed out from the factory, which should improve once I remember to bring an appropriate screw driver. POI was still considerably lower than the following magnum loads.

Remington 210gr Magnums started to increase felt recoil, but still not bad. I followed the manual in loading six, shooting five, and checking for bullet pull. Yep, clear out of the canalure. Not enough to lock up the gun but if you did a partial reload and left one in for the ride, I'm pretty sure you could run into problems.

Remington 240gr. HTP Magnums... now its getting fun, recoil is stout and I found myself re positioning my grip after each SA shot. It was still manageable...for a while, about 30 rounds. Did it hurt? No. But it did start to feel like work, and I decided there was no since in pushing it. I did check for bullet pull on the first cylinder full and while there was some, it had not gone past the canelure.

Still in the cupboard are some Hornady 225gr. FTX lever-evolution and some Federal Premium .240gr Hydra-shoks for another day.

Accuracy... Shot at both 10 and 25 yards, without adjusting the already mentioned low POI. At 10 yards I was able to keep them in the 10 ring on a 25 yard repair center with the 240 grainers. At 25 they were all on paper. I don't shoot a lot of revolver and I'm no Brian Zins, Hershel Anderson, or Bill Blankenship amoung others.

The next day I showed it to a buddy and let him test drive it. 4 rounds and he muttered "I'm done". I finished the last two, and I will admit, after the previous days fun, I decided on not finishing the rest of the box, besides we had beer to drink and football was coming on.

Cleaning... still trying to figure out the best, non destructive way to get the carbon off of the cylinder face and OD

The 329pd is definitely a "niche" gun to be carried a lot and shot a little. Still is a neat piece, and fun at least for a while. Illinois is Chicago Bear country, not BIG BEAR country so I have no intention of test driving any thing heavier than the 240's unless I am planning on a trip were that would seem pertinent.
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:01 PM
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Leave the carbon on the cylinder face. You may damage the coating with real aggressive scrubbing. I have left it on mine for close to 15 years I think.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:00 PM
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That was a great (and comical) write up! I've had a 329 NG on a sort of wish list mostly because it is a niche gun but am leery of the recoil. I'd rather have the SS cylinder I think than the Sc for not only the recoil but also 'cause I've heard the Sc cylinders are impossible to get all the way clean without ruining the coating from the factory. It sounds like you're enjoying your new gun. Now the only thing missing are the pics. Thanks for enabling & congrats.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:03 PM
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Nice report,there. My local FFL here in N. IL is also home based and he was recently showing me a 329 PD he had got in for a customer.
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Old 09-26-2018, 02:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Halfnutz View Post
The rear sight is still the "V" and the front the red fiber optic. The FO is nice and bright and I like it. The only concern I have on FO is from limited past experience, I think they can be fragile, and for that reason I've always shied away from them.
The Hi-Viz seem more rugged than some others (SDM, etc). They also present a fairly square outline so I changed out the V-notch blade (don't really like them either) with a .196" square notch rear sight blade, which I like better.

.

Quote:
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The rubber ones that came with it have slight finger grooves, and cover the grip frame. I had almost ordered a set of X frame grips prior to taking possession, no need, S&W must've realized it made sense to include at least something similar.
The factory rubber grips do cover the backstrap but they're not flat; too pointed for me which hurts my thumb bone.

I like the X-grips but I prefer to keep them for my X-frame revolvers. I like the Pachmayr Diamond Pro's, as a compromise size, but they still offer plenty of cushion.

.



.

.

.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 75Vette View Post
I've had a 329 NG on a sort of wish list... but am leery of the recoil.
I'd rather have the SS cylinder I think than the Sc for not only the recoil but also 'cause I've heard the Sc cylinders are impossible to get all the way clean without ruining the coating from the factory.
I believe you misspoke? The 329NG comes with a steel cylinder (27.4oz.).
If you meant a 329PD they have a Ti cylinder. The Titanium cylinders do require a milder touch in cleaning them.

For the same reasons you mentioned I replaced my 329PD's Ti cylinder as soon as I got it home. I had replaced the fluted Ss cylinder on my 629-6 with an unfluted cylinder and I used it (fluted Ss) to replace the Ti cylinder. That added 3.6 ozs to the 329PD's (25.2 -> 28.6 oz.) weight. Works for me.

.



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Old 09-26-2018, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for the catch. I was under the impression the NG cylinder was SS, not steel.
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Old 09-26-2018, 09:50 AM
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I really like my 329PD. I view it more as a 44 special gun with the ability to shoot 44 mag when in bear country. 44 specials are very comfortable out of it. Can shoot them all day long. Thereís nothing else out there in 44 special that weighs 25 ounces and holds 6 shots.
Magnums are stout. But 12 shots of the heaviest stuff is still manageable to me. If i had to defend myself with magnums in the backcountry i practice enough it wouldnít be a problem.



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Old 09-26-2018, 10:26 AM
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Thus far I have only tried some Hoppes #9 on a shop towel to clean the OD of the cylinder. It has taken some off but not spotless. The paper towel and my thumb give up before the carbon.
I've got a few pics and a short 6 round video I'll try to get posted this week.
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Old 09-26-2018, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brjr51 View Post
Nice report,there. My local FFL here in N. IL is also home based and he was recently showing me a 329 PD he had got in for a customer.
The dealer is in rural Mackinaw. Maybe the same fella. I can't imagine there are many of these sold in our neck of the woods.
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:18 AM
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OP: Smith and Wesson forum rules dictate that any new gun review needs to have minimum of 3 pictures which needs to include
1) full picture of Right side of gun
2) muzzle close up
3) target and group size
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:36 AM
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First let me state that I love my 329PD 4" revolver. I've had it for about 13 years now and shoot it a good bit. However, you need to keep your eye on the top strap shield for a groove that will wear in from gas cutting. When it gets real pronounced, either apply some J-B Weld in the groove or send the gun back to Smith and they will replace the shield for free. I've had mine back to the factory twice before I started applying J-B Weld. Others who have tried the J-B Weld have claimed that it did not work for them. My guess is that they didn't use the high temp version of J-B Weld. YMMV also! Good luck with your new revolver.
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:49 AM
Halfnutz Halfnutz is offline
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Last edited by Halfnutz; 09-27-2018 at 11:50 AM. Reason: redirected url
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Old 09-27-2018, 11:51 AM
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10yards, with 240gr Remington HTP.

Last edited by Halfnutz; 09-27-2018 at 11:52 AM. Reason: details
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Old 09-27-2018, 01:04 PM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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I've had three over the years. Still have two. Mine are equipped with the Hogue 500 S&W tamer grips. Shot around 9,000 rnds thru them (started keeping count after first negative event). Loads were 240gr to 265gr Jacketed/Cast at a chronoed 1,150 to 1,250 fps (Rem 240gr JFP factory chronoed 1,250 fps). My primary carry gun (all day every day) for the better part of a decade. Still carry one when bow hunting elk in high country. Always considered the 329 to be a primary defensive gun. For this reason, always liked the "V" notch rear and fiber optic front.

With that said, these are very specialized pieces of equipment. If shot a lot with loads equaling the above, they will require frequent trips back to the mother ship. If primary use is .44 special equiv and occasional .44 mag, then maint/repair frequency probably a non issue.

I'm a fan, but don't try to make it more than it was designed to be -- short range, up close and personal, light weight carry gun. Have run 300gr+ over max charge(s) of 110/295 -- not for continued use, but doable.

Continued shooting of hi intensity loads will wear on the anatomy, so proceed with caution.

Light weight, V notch rear, fiber optic front, and heavy recoil are not real conducive to precision accuracy. Here's a 30 round group I shot at 25 yds offhand when I was shooting them a lot. 19.3 gr A2400, 240gr Rem JHP.



One of my carry guns:



.


Been carrying it the last 3 weekends bow hunting elk here in MT.

Paul
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Old 09-29-2018, 12:26 PM
Ray F. Ray F. is offline
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I just sent mine off to S&W for inspection. It locked up on round #43. I couldn't get the cylinder to advance or swing out without some unrecommended "persuasion. No bullet creep seen. The major internet consensus (or rumor) is that it's caused by the lock getting hung up by heavy recoil. I don't know if I subscribe to that, however, because not every gun experiences it, despite stout loads. I was using Buffalo Bore Reduced Recoil.

I have the same grip as Paul and agree with what he said with exception to being a fan. I want to like it, but we're not off to a good start.

I hope to get word from S&W next week.

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Old 09-29-2018, 02:53 PM
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The major internet consensus (or rumor) is that it's caused by the lock getting hung up by heavy recoil.
The lock doesn't restrict the cylinder from being opened or closed in the normal way.
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Old 09-30-2018, 09:09 PM
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The lock doesn't restrict the cylinder from being opened or closed in the normal way.
I really hope its a fitment issue that gets fixed right away. I did notice that the anodizing under the top strap had been scraped away by the 3rd cylinder load. Donít know if thatís a clue.

I like the gun and plan to hand roll rounds and shoot it regularly. Havenít carried it yet. Eager to. Gotta get my 500 flawless rounds before it earns that right, though.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
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I really hope its a fitment issue that gets fixed right away. I did notice that the anodizing under the top strap had been scraped away by the 3rd cylinder load. Donít know if thatís a clue.

I like the gun and plan to hand roll rounds and shoot it regularly. Havenít carried it yet. Eager to. Gotta get my 500 flawless rounds before it earns that right, though.
Update: I was contacted by Smith. They consider the gun "unrepairable and deemed this a warranty issue" for replacement. I asked for specifics and await an answer. I'll post if they provide one.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
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Update: I was contacted by Smith. They consider the gun "unrepairable and deemed this a warranty issue" for replacement. I asked for specifics and await an answer. I'll post if they provide one.
Smith responded to my reply, however, they declined to address my query about what had happened. They stated 3 to 4 weeks for replacement.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:08 PM
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Almost bought a 329PD years ago but as I dont hike or backpack and already consider the Mountain gun a handful just couldnt justify it.

My buddy hikes alot in Griz country so did recommended one for him.
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Old 10-12-2018, 01:14 AM
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Always wanted a .44 and I'm a sucker for scandium alloy Smiths. I have an R8 that's a tack driver and I love as well as a 386NG, a safe queen that's been discontinued (both .357's). I ordered a 329PD two days ago and can't wait to get her! I also ordered some 255gr Buffalo Bore .44 magnums for defense and Hornady 180gr .44 specials for practice. Wanted a revolver for backup in the woods and there isn't anything in our neck of the woods it can't handle. Anxious to see if I'll need aftermarket grips to tame the magnum loads as many have mentioned. I've shot my Bond Arms .357 magnum derringer and it was manageable, though I wouldn't consider it a range gun.

Last edited by junior1954; 10-12-2018 at 01:36 AM.
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