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Thread: Case for the Model 29 Smith

  1. #1
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    At 48 and a former gunsmith and a lifelong shooter, I have seen some stuff.

    I wish to make the case for the Model 29/329 DA revolver as simply the best weapon for self defense made.

    For the past 5 years I have been carrying a Model 29 S&W above all others. This after 21 years of carrying a variety of pistols and revolvers. For those looking for a lighter weight weapon, the 329 Titanium is a viable alternative. In my experience no automatic can match the S&W N frame revolver for reliability, accuracy, flexibility and power; as well as beautiful trigger pull, highest quality construction and natural pointing ability (with good grips).

    I am not alone in this assessment. Recently the famous Thunder Ranch announced that they were going to endorse a weapon as representing the very best self defense option from the average person to the expert. The 1911 crowd began to accept congratulations and write articles that basically said "Of course it is a 1911, after all Col. Cooper was a 1911 freak. We just don't know WHICH 1911 it will be (Kimber, Springfield Armory, etc.)". The G## (Glock) crowd began to write articles which said "Maybe this will be our moment". Several of the smaller manufactures (Sig, eea began to whisper about their .357 Sig being bought by Government agencies and they hoped THEY might be picked).

    Thunder Ranch picked a fixed sight 4" S&W N frame in .44 Special!

    The reason for choosing this weapon? Utter reliability. The entire concept of feeding jams, magazine spring weakness, double feeds, squib loads, failure to strip a round, failure to eject, stovepipe jams,weak hand jam, malfunction drills, extractor tension, ejector tuning, mag lips, bullet profile, feed ramp smoothness, etc. is irrelevant. There is no need to burn up 200 rounds to make sure a certain load is reliable in you weapon, because they always will be. (Is 200 rounds a good test? What happens when your shooting your $23.00 per 20 = 200 or $230.00 of test Super Zapper ammo and and you jam on round #190? Was it you or the gun? Do you clean and check the weapon for broken or mis-installed parts and then go out and buy another $230 bucks of ammo to re-test? Are you firing from the hip to check weak handed jams? (Try shooting weak handed from the hip and watch it jam).

    How many times have you been to the range and seen the bloke next to you “working” to get his weapon to feed or clearing a jam? I see it every time I go. And whilerevolver shootersremove our brass carefully, the pistol sprays hot brass all over (When one goes down your shirt, we snicker).


    Reloading speed? Look 99% of the time you are going to finish your opponent in the first 3 rounds. Cases show that if you haven’t gotten your head together by then, you will blaze the mag empty and die. Even then, with speedloaders I can reload my M29 as fast as a regular guy can reload his 1911. If you don’t carry backup ammo and you have an eight round 1911, what is your argument against the S&W eight round .357 Mag revolver? See Picture below.


    Accuracy? 2" at fifty yards (Yes, fifty). ‘Nuff said.


    Caliber? Compared to a 9mm, the 0.429 bullet is already expanded when it hits the perp. Then it opens, violently.


    Flexibility? Bullet profile is entirely irrelevant. LSWC, JHC, JHP, FMJ all fire with equal enthusiasm. Wax loads for indoor practice, shotshells, paintball, blanks, lead, lead jacketed, full copper, everything.


    Horsepower?Power can be throttled from 250 grain SWC @750 FPS (Cowboy loads) to a 165 grain JHP @1050fps in .44 Special. The same weapon in 44 magnum will take the same loads in 44 Special as well as a 180 grain bullet @1600 FPS or 320 grain LFP @1000 hunting loads. This flexibility in bullet weight is because the weapon is not relying on recoil slide speed and powder burn rate to operate the mechanisms. Power is also completely adjustable for the same reason. Conversely, +P cartridges in the automatic tend to be less reliable (more prone to jamming the gun) and can even beat some guns to death.


    And don’t discount the importance of horsepower. Shocking (Stopping) power is important. An automatic is reliable only within a narrow range of fps and bullet weight and bullet profile. A revolver can take the best bullet and best weight and push it as fast as necessary to be reliable in expansion with literally no consideration to profile or FPS or bullet weight in terms of their effect on reliability.

    Horsepower is also a factor in tactics. There is a school of thought that a weapon that makes normal cover transparent (including cars, furniture, doors, interior walls, etc) gives you a powerful edge. Bad guy uses the cover of a wall, and you shoot through the wall[/b][/i]. Bad guy ducks behind car door and you shoot through the door.[/b][/i] By denying the enemy any cover at all, you change the tactical scenario completely.



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    It's pretty too, at least the one in your picture is. I'll take 3, nice write up.

  3. #3
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    I'm occationally seen OC'ing my beloved M29 4"





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    The guy who got me interested in guns is an old law man who used to be a smith and had an FFL. I value his opinion greatly. I have a bad habbit of buying Rossi's and Bersa's and showing him my new purchase, hoping to be congradulated. without fail he instructs me to part with them and pick up a Colt,Smith,Ruger,Browning, etc. He doesn't seem to understand my limited budget as a college student.

    I'm already sold on wheelguns, and would love to pick up a .44 for bowhunting and possible carry. My question to you, wheelgunner, is what do you think of Taurus/Rossi. If money were no obstacle I'd prefer a Ruger or a Smith, but unfortunately I have to consider price. Should I save up for a Smith & Wesson, or pick up a Taurus?


    edit: I directed the question to wheelgunner because I presume he has seen the guts of the various makes and could offeran opinion on quality. But anyone else please feel free to opine.

  5. #5
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    I like the M29.
    If I choose to use a M29 I would use this 44spl load:
    .44 Special, 200gr. Speer Gold Dot Jacketed Hollow Point @ 1100fps - 538 ft./lbs. - 5.0" bbl.
    Standard pressure commercial load

    However, if I was going to carry a N-Framed wheel gun it would be a SW610, 3.5 or 4"bbl, w/bobbed hammer.
    JMHO:
    I believe 40SW and 10mm would be better for urban use than the 44spl or 44mag.
    Some folks think moon clips are a draw back, I do not hold that opinion.

    40SW fired from a N Framed revolver is easily controlled and 10mm isn't much worse.
    The 44mag would pose a challenge for most shooters causing them to form bad habits such as flinching/jerking and could result in a higher hit/miss ratio.


    MY opinion is the 44splis inferior to both 40SW and 10mm for AP use.

    My other choice in a N Frame would be a M57 or 58.
    YES, 41 mag.

    And then there is alway the M625, 45acp which would be loaded with:
    .45ACP, 165gr. JHP , 1325fps - 643 ft./lbs.


    For those wanting something more concealable the Taurus 415 would be ideal if it had a bobbed hammer.


    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

  6. #6
    Regular Member dougwg's Avatar
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    I picked up one of these for $385 brand new (.38 spl)

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/w...mp;isFirearm=Y

    Or if you really want a 44 , buy used and save!

    Personally I will never buy a Taurus/Rossi.

    Just like wrenches and other tools, buy the best and you will have far fewer disappointments in life.

    and yes, I'm a wheelgunner

    quote from another message board:

    Quality:
    1. Freedom Arms
    2. Colt, Smith & Wesson
    3. Ruger
    4. Taurus

    Strength:
    1. Ruger
    2. Freedom Arms
    3. Smith & Wesson
    4. Colt
    5. Taurus

    I will NEVER buy a Taurus.
    I would like to have a Freedom Arms and Colt but they are costly but great guns but they are really sweet but they cost a lot.
    Some of the Rugers are ugly some of them look great, they are all strong well built and reasonably priced.
    Great target/hunter right out of the box or with very minimal mods(spring kit under $20) is the Smith & Wesson.
    Did I mention I will NEVER buy a Taurus.

    Revolvers I have: (random order)

    The money pit-Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 mag (matte hard chrome, mag-na-ported, 2x leopold and more.

    S&W 629 .44 mag spring kit

    Ruger Super Redhawk .44 mag (dougwg trigger job )

    S&W 686 .357 mag bone stock

    S&W 442 .38 special bone stock

    BFR 45/70 10" barrel, 2x leopold 4"groups @ 100yrds using rest

  7. #7
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    I agree with you about Rossi.
    Have never had a problem with a Taurus revolver (there autos are another story)and some people still boycott SW.

    I would choose 44spl over .38spl any day especially from a snub nose revolver, but that is just me.

    The 4" M29 is a versatile revolver and could/would double for field use.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Hey JB,

    I would save for the Smith. The Smith will grow with you over time. If you want to add a gold bead sight or night sights, have a trigger job put on the weapon, aftermarket grips, even a laser, these things are for the future. Like building a good race engine, you have to start with a good foundation, a good block. A four or 5 inch Smith will never fail you. Check Gun Broker or GunsAmerica for specials. Best ones are 29-2's (Pinned barrel/recessed Cylinder), but there is nothing wrong with the modern guns. Some like the stainless steel weapons (629).

    Loads:

    Defense loads .44 Special

    Corbon 165 grain JHP @1050 fps 404ftlbs

    Winchester 44 Special Silvertip (Opens violently,equal or better than most top of the line 45 ACP loads, yet has a pussycat recoil. Difficult to find.)

    Plinking ammo, almost any 44 special load is fun and accurate and good practice for trigger work.

    Serious loads (Defense)

    Corbon 165 JHP @1300 fps 619ftlbs (Excellent load, very accurate)

    Winchester Silvertip 210 Grain @1250 (What I carry) Max Power Defense

    Serious Loads (Hunting)


    Long Range shooting: 210 Grain Silvertip 25 Grains of 296 for 1660 out of 8 3/8


    Hunting (light to med) : 240 grain JHP or soft point loads

    Hunting (Bear) Factory 265 JSP to 310 LSWCFP loads (Brutal recoil)

    Plinking (Any though I have found that home reloaded gun show trash electroplated bullets are not very accurate out of a 44 as they strip their jackets.)


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    Thanks for the advice. I'm not in a position to buy something right now, but as I mentioned above I have a bad habit of opting for a more affordable gun rather than saving a little for a more reputable name.

    I'd like to pick up a lever action rifle chambered in the same calber as my sidearm. I was leaning towards .44, but the 45-70 has me interested. I'm not sure how controllable a 45-70 would be, and for me a SA revolver is out of the question for serious carry in a social setting. What do you guys think of the recoil on a 45-70?

  10. #10
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    I like the 45/70. It is a time honored classic cartridge. However, the .44 mag would allow you to carry the same cartridge in your sidearm as in your rifle.

    The velocity increase turns the 44 mag into a real killer. With well constructed bullets the velocity increase is not 100 or even 200 ftps but more like 400+. This completely changes the whole picture. Where the 44 mag is a noted hunting cartridge at a range of less than 100 yards, with the added speed it becomes a 250 yard killer. Check out the table below!
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    Thanks for the table wheelgunner. You have given me alot of info to help with a decision.

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    Reloading speed? Look 99% of the time you are going to finish your opponent in the first 3 rounds. Cases show that if you haven’t gotten your head together by then, you will blaze the mag empty and die. Even then, I can reload my M29 as fast as a regular guy can reload his 1911. If you don’t carry backup ammo and you have an eight round 1911, what is your argument against the S&W eight round .357 Mag revolver? See Picture below.

    I disagree with this completely. Statistics does not predict the future and certainly using them to justify low capacity does not make the point valid.

    ***

    Goblins tend to travel in packs and we're seeing more encounters where multiple attackers are shot. You may not *need* 17+1 capacity, but it's there if you do.

    ***

    Always carry at least one full reload...ALWAYS. John Farnham (and others) have reported on several incidents where an officer was killed because he ran out of ammunition (invariably, they were off duty and carried no spare ammunition).

    ***

    The 44 Magnum is a great carry choice! It's like getting three guns in one. Reloaders have the most versatility because they can make very soft shooting target rounds or uberthumpin' fireballers! If you're out of 44 Magnum--shoot 44 Special!

    ***

    How many times have you been to the range and seen the bloke next to you “working” to get his weapon to feed or clearing a jam? I see it every time I go. And whilerevolver shootersremove our brass carefully, the pistol sprays hot brass all over (When one goes down your shirt, we snicker).
    You may pick out your brass carefully. I tilt my gun muzzle up, whack on the ejector a coupla times, and slam a moonclip in there as fast as possible.

    I do this with my K17 and TRR8 too.

    ***

    As for N-Frame reliability: hmmm..careful there. Don't get overconfident. My S&W 625's firing pin broke recently and the gun is not a year old. Problems have developed with timing. These are mechanical devices, so breakage can occur at any time. Like I tell the semi-auto guys in class: have a second gun available. I learned this early when my P220 went down...I was gunless because a $2 part broke!

    Regardless of what you choose carry, keep an identical spare around. Even if it doesn't break, if you use the gun in self-defense, the police will likely confiscate the gun.

    Don't let gunlessness happen to you

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    Agent19 wrote:
    For those wanting something more concealable the Taurus 415 would be ideal if it had a bobbed hammer.
    That looks like Kendo_Bunny's gun.

    Is that a seven-shot?
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

  14. #14
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    It is a 5 shot, 41 Magnum.
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

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    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    I’ve always loved revolvers but the engineer in me has trouble getting past the redundancy of multiple chambers. The chamber needs to be stronger than the barrel to contain the pressure, and strong is heavy. Since only one round can be fired at any one time there will always be several superfluous chambers, which means superfluous weight. In addition, it means I have to clean several chambers as well. Now, this wouldn’t stop me from buying another one (I have three, a Ruger Single Six .22/.22Mag, a Taurus Mod 85, and the mighty Ruger Alaskan in .44 Magnum) but it just bugs me.



    I can tell you from experience that using a speedloader on the Model 85 is a risky proposition. Several times I’ve gotten the speedloader (almost hopelessly) jammed when I inserted the cartridges too far.



    Amusing anecdote: When I flew Starlifters we carried the S&W Model 56, which was really the Model 15 with the short barrel. Most crew members carried it in a shoulder holster, but I didn’t like it there so I carried it on my ankle. That model 15 was heavy on my leg though, and it made we walk funny because of the weight on the outside of my leg like that. I decided to carry it so the gun was on the front of my ankle pointing down at my foot, and this worked great. One day, one of the SP guys saw this and commented, “Man, that would hurt if it went off.” I just smiled and said, “Well, bullets don’t spontaneously combust and even if they did, it would only be a one in six chance that it was the one lined up with the barrel.”

  16. #16
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    I love my carry revolver, a Smith and Wesson M15-3. I must ask the question tho. Am i at some massive disadvantage becuase i choose a .38? This gun was a gift to me, a heirloom to pass down to my son and so on. It is not ment to be a safe queen, its ment to be shot. I love the .38, great accuracy and quick follow up shots.

    Do i wish it was a m19, nope, tho i do plan on getting a .357mag in the future.

    I had considered the .41 magnum. I read a review of the m58 recently in a gun rag. Gave it good reveiws. It seems that there is a non expanding load from remington called the police load. 200+gr bullet at 1000fps. THo its non expanding.

  17. #17
    Regular Member Marco's Avatar
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    That was a LSW (Lead Semi Wadcutter), and it reflects the thinking of the time.
    The are several excellent loads for the 41 mag and I would personally choice a 170-180gr HP load @ around 1200-1400fps for urban use.
    http://www.midwayusa.com/ebrowse.exe...g=653***691***
    If you think like a Statist, act like one, or back some, you've given up on freedom and have gone over to the dark side.
    The easiest ex. but probably the most difficult to grasp for gun owners is that fool permission slip so many of you have, especially if you show it off with pride. You should recognize it as an embarrassment, an infringement, a travesty and an affront to a free person.


    ~Alan Korwin

  18. #18
    Regular Member Mainsail's Avatar
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    Mordis wrote:
    I love my carry revolver, a Smith and Wesson M15-3. I must ask the question tho. Am i at some massive disadvantage becuase i choose a .38? This gun was a gift to me, a heirloom to pass down to my son and so on. It is not ment to be a safe queen, its ment to be shot. I love the .38, great accuracy and quick follow up shots.

    I’m assuming you carry it loaded with .38 Specials, and likely with +Ps as well. I would not feel undergunned with a .38 Special at all. That’s the round the police carried for more years than any of the current calibers. The reason the police no longer carry it is that it doesn’t perform well through auto glass or sheet metal; more of an offensive shooting situation rather than defensive. In modern loadings, like +P hollow points, it’s more than adequate for protection.

    If you still don't feel safe though, send it to me. That’s the same gun I carried for ~10 of my 17 years of flying C-141Bs and I’ve always wanted to own one of my own.





  19. #19
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    Mainsail, I currently use 158gr LSWCHP +P in my gun. I trust this load with my life. I dont forsee many situations that would require me to shoot through car doors or sheet metal tho. I guess it cant hurt to have one of every revolver type laying around lol, time to get a crackin at the .357,.41,.44, .454 ect ect

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    I own a Ruger Redhawk in .44 magnum, 5 1/2 inch barrel in blue. It has a trigger pull as sweet as any Smith 29 I have ever shot. Quality is first rate, the only thing I changed was the grips, Pachmyers. I would put it up against anything out there. It is STRONG and can be taken down to bare frame with no problem. Yes, I have seen Rugers with horrible triggers, maybe I got lucky with mine, but I am very happy with it and it shoots anything I put in it. I got it two years ago and it was a good deal, $475 out the door, brand new too. Bottom right in the picture. Not too bad to carry either.
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    curtm1911 wrote:
    I own a Ruger Redhawk in .44 magnum, 5 1/2 inch barrel in blue. It has a trigger pull as sweet as any Smith 29 I have ever shot. Quality is first rate, the only thing I changed was the grips, Pachmyers. I would put it up against anything out there. It is STRONG and can be taken down to bare frame with no problem. Yes, I have seen Rugers with horrible triggers, maybe I got lucky with mine, but I am very happy with it and it shoots anything I put in it. I got it two years ago and it was a good deal, $475 out the door, brand new too. Bottom right in the picture. Not too bad to carry either.
    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

    Beautiful.

  22. #22
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    Thanks imperialism2024, I like it a lot and it is great fun to shoot too. Kinda got that "Dirty Harry" look to it.

    http://photobucket.com/firearms to see more goodies
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    Beautiful Weapon!

    A couple of points to make it a little more carry friendly. Enclosed is a picture of my current carry weapon. Instead of adjustable sights, I went for the Cylinder and Slide Extreme fixed sights, set for my load (Winchester silvertip (210gr@1250fps) at 15 yards. Front sight is SDM gold bead sight. Cylinder has been "dehorned" at factory. Hammer Spur is removed, trigger job (god what a wonderful trigger!) and the trigger smoothed and blued. Grips are Hogue square butt emulators. 5" barrel. Weapon shoots 2" at 50 yards (Yes, I said yards).

    These little changestransform it from a "regular" revolver to a no snag, utterly reliable, Monster carry weapon.
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    curtm1911: Looks even better in high-res. I have one with a 7.5" barrel, and have been meaning to get Pachmyers for it... though the factory wood grips look so nice it'll be a shame to change 'em.

    I've been contemplating for a while whether a pair of Redhawks with 5.5" barrels would be too gratuitous to carry...

  25. #25
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    imperialism2024:

    I have big hands and the wood grips, as nice as they look, are just too small for me, too much roll on firing. The Pachmyers solved that little problem nicely for me. Here is a picture of my Redhawks's Little Brother.
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