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Old November 10, 2012, 07:33 PM   #1
Falcon642
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Smith and Wesson 329 PD, what can you tell me

I handled a Smith 329 PD in .44 mag today. I've never shot one, but the price is really good ($600), but I've got concerns.

How bad is the recoil? Would I only ever shoot .44 specials in it?

How durable is it? I know it won't take the heavy load buffalo bore and double tap stuff, but can it take a steady diet of .44 mag loads?

For people who have one, can you recommend it?

Thanks in advance guys.
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Old November 10, 2012, 10:28 PM   #2
Paul105
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Six hundred dollars is a great price. If it were me, I’d buy the gun, shoot it with a comfortable load and carry it with ammo of sufficient power to meet the threat level in my area. Any threat requiring .44 Mag power level will be at contact distance and with adrenaline dump recoil diff won’t be an issue.

The 329 is not a .44 Magnum range/plinking gun. The 329 will not handle a steady diet of .44 Magnum level loads without increased repair frequency vs. a 629. One of the most common comments you will read is that “the 329 is made to carry a lot and shoot a little”. Most people will never shoot it enough with magnum level loads (because of the recoil and cost of ammo) to experience use related problems. If you do, S&W will fix the gun at no cost (they even pay shipping).

The feature (light weight in this case) that makes the 329 so desirable for all day, every day comfortable carry is also the feature that makes it more difficult to load for, shoot comfortably/accurately and leads to increased repair frequency.

“Crimp jump” can be a problem with the 329 --, heavy for caliber bullets (300gr +) worsen this problem (depending upon velocity and nose design). I have loaded and shot 300gr Keiths, and 325gr WLNGCs at 1,050 fps in the 329– these bullets have a longer crimp to nose length (the nose of the bullet is closer to the cylinder face) and (depending on the exact nose design) with minimal bullet movement can impede cylinder cycling. For everyday carry, I have settled on a hard cast 260gr WFNGCs right at 1,200 fps. The Wide Flat Nose has a shorter crimp to nose length than other designs, which gives an extra margin of safety when it comes to crimp jump tying up the gun.


I live in Montana and the 329 has been my all day, every day carry gun for the last 5 years. I’ve shot around 9,000 rounds of 240-260gr bullets at 1,100 to 1,300 fps thru 2 guns. They have been sent to S&W for wear related repairs on several occasions (all at no cost to me). For my purposes, the 329 provides the best compromise of weight to power -- I don’t leave home without one.

Get a set of rubber girps that cover the backstrap -- Pachmyr gripper decelerators or Hogue S&W 500s (only avail at S&W online store). The open backstrap Hoges and particularly the Aherns wood grips that come with the gun exacerbate recoil.

If you do buy the 329, then shoot it enough to insure your gun doesn't have any of the following problems:

1. Make sure the ammo you chose doesn’t exhibit “crimp jump”.
2. There have been reports of the internal lock engaging under recoil.
3. Some ignition problems due to short firing pins have been reported.

FWIW,

Paul

Last edited by Paul105; November 10, 2012 at 10:35 PM.
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Old November 12, 2012, 01:34 PM   #3
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I actually considered one for a brief time but both the IL and the two-piece barrel were deal breakers for me, and would be even at your good price. That's what I would tell you, since you asked.

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Old November 12, 2012, 02:55 PM   #4
denster
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That is a great price. The 329 is a great gun but with 44mag the recoil is brutal. Much worse than my .454 Casull. If you have big beefy hands it might not be a problem. That said with .44spc or handloads in the 900 to 1000fps range it is a joy to shoot and a joy to carry.
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Old November 14, 2012, 06:54 PM   #5
totaldla
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Recoil isn't a big deal. Honestly, some people seem a little overly sensitive to me

The 329pd is the best packing revolver I own. It is all I carry when backpacking or hiking. It is an N-frame, so it is a bit large for concealed carry IMHO.

$600 is a good price and S&W's Customer Service is top notch.

I run 240gr @1220fps and 270gr @1150fps out of mine - I don't think the recoil is bad at all. But I reload so I can choose what I want (and shoot it a lot).
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Old November 15, 2012, 12:57 AM   #6
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$600 is a great price for a 329PD in good condition. I use the X-Frame grips and shoot BB Heavy .44 Special 185 grain. I also reload 200 grain XTP using 9.5-10 grains of Unique giving me about 1100-1200 fps (about the same as the BB loads). If you want a light load try 200 grain Blazer. Most other factory loads I tried in .44 magnum were pretty stout on the recoil in the 329PD. I found Federal 240 grain Hydrashoks and 240 grain BlackHills not as severe on recoil as Federal 180 grain JHP, Winchester 250 grain Partition Gold, Hornady 200 grain XTP, or Speer 210 grain GDHP. Recoil can be a big deal in this light weight revolver in my opinion. It comes down to individual sensitivity and ammunition chosen.

Note RE: above ... I got 1207 fps with Speer 270 grain GDSP and though the recoil pretty severe
............................ I got about 1250 fps with the 240 grain Black Hills and Federal loads and did find them moderate in recoil.

The 329PD is my carry revolver when I go into the outback. I got if for $700 on consignment from my local gunsmith and thought that was a good buy. I'd jump on one for $600 if a gunsmith had checked it over. Paul105 had a very good post on the 329PD I'm thinking. Good luck.
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Last edited by Hook686; November 15, 2012 at 01:10 AM.
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Old November 15, 2012, 09:56 AM   #7
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$600? Why haven't you bought it yet?

Poor poor you, you missed out!

Shoot (S**t), I'd take that 629 for my Redhawk for that price, all day long. But, maybe not.

Last edited by Redhawk5.5+P+; November 15, 2012 at 10:09 AM.
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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$600?
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:50 AM   #9
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For me, it's too thick for carry, but if I did, I'd load it with Speer 200 gr. Gold Dot in .44 Spl. It will do the job nicely.
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:58 AM   #10
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$600!?!?!?!? Where is this... I seen $800-$900
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Old November 15, 2012, 10:58 AM   #11
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If its a 329PD in good condition IMO . . . $600 is a 'no brainer'

If I saw that kind of price my first question would be "What's wrong with it ?" If the gun was good, my next question would be "What form of payment do you prefer ?" Grab it.

I have a 329PD and it is used for when I'm in the high mountain backcountry and while bowhunting. Its an excellent revolver. Lots of power in a lightweight package. I took the factory grips off of it and put them on another gun. Go with the 500 S&W grips or a custom grip. Mine is usually loaded with Keith type 255gr bullets doing around 1000fps, that is a healthy 44 Special load. (Factory available from Buffalo Bore). If I want to go heavier/faster I use a regular 4" barrel 629 or a Redhawk.


P.S. - - - now there may be a few conditions where a guy wouldnt want a 329PD, in my opinion. If he were looking for a gun to do a lot of shooting at the range and heavy 'plinking' with. Or if a guy wanted a dedicated hunting revolver. The 329PD is a lightweight carry gun. - - -But even then, given the price you quoted, it seems tough to go wrong with the purchase even if you soon sold it afterwards.

Last edited by Pointshoot; November 15, 2012 at 11:07 AM.
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Old November 15, 2012, 11:40 AM   #12
Redhawk5.5+P+
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Quote:
I purchased a 7.5 inch Ruger Redhawk over the weekend, so I'm happy to say I just joined the club.

The .44 mag, a fun way to get carpal tunnel syndrome.


Quote:
November 13, 2012, 10:32 PM
Thanks for the FYI strokch.
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Old November 16, 2012, 11:04 AM   #13
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I hope you've already bought that $600 dollar 329PD by now! That's a heck of a deal.

I have fun shooting mine with .44 Special level handloads and it is an absolute joy to carry. Full power handloads or factory magnums will leave your hand stinging after a cylinder full, but it's manageable for a handgunner with some experience. Heavy loads, e.g. 300 grainers or Garrett's specialty ammo, would be nasty, for sure.

YMMV . . .
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Old November 18, 2012, 02:20 AM   #14
Redhawk5.5+P+
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Quote:
Falcon642

I purchased a 7.5 inch Ruger Redhawk over the weekend, so I'm happy to say I just joined the club.

The .44 mag, a fun way to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
I think he screwed the pouch on that one. I don't need or want one, but I'd buy that in a NY minute. I'll still happy with my RH, but $600? WHAT THE!
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:44 AM   #15
Hal
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Quote:
$600? Why haven't you bought it yet?

Poor poor you, you missed out!

Shoot (S**t), I'd take that 629 for my Redhawk for that price, all day long. But, maybe not.
Easy young fella.....
The OP siad it was a 329, not a 629.
There's a huge difference between the two.
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Old November 19, 2012, 01:56 AM   #16
Falcon642
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Here's what happened with the $600 329.

I went back to the gun store the next day, but the 329 now had a $850 pricetag on it. I talked to the owner and he insisted that it had been mistagged the day before and wouldn't budge on the price. I showed him on my phone how I could get a NEW 329PD for $900 at grabagun. Still wouldn't budge and $850 is just out of my price range (especially since daughter #2 was born 4 weeks ago).

So I kept shopping and I found a Ruger Redhawk .44 mag, 7.5 inch blued that I got for $430. Its got a longer barrel than I'd like, but I thought the price was great so I bought it.

Another gun store has a used Redhawk .44 mag, stainless 4 inch barrel. This week I'm going to offer to trade my 7.5 inch for the 4 inch and see what the owner says.

I've attached pics of the 7.5 Redhawk and the 4 inch Redhawk. What do you think a fair deal would be?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg mms_picture.jpg (201.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Redhawk.jpg (79.2 KB, 12 views)
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Old November 19, 2012, 03:56 AM   #17
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So I kept shopping and I found a Ruger Redhawk .44 mag, 7.5 inch blued that I got for $430. Its got a longer barrel than I'd like, but I thought the price was great so I bought it.
A little long for my taste, but still a good deal.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:13 AM   #18
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If you're going to use it as a dedicated hunting piece, often with a scope mounted, then the 7.5" is the way to go. Otherwise the 4" is a handier gun by far.
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Old November 19, 2012, 07:55 PM   #19
Pointshoot
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Once in a blue moon, you'll find a gun that is mis-priced far below market. At such times you have to jump Now. The window of opportunity usually is open for only a short while.

Of course, there's no telling if you'd have said you'd take the gun at $600 when you first saw it, that they would have honored that price. But, usually if it is actually marked that way out in the open, stores honor posted prices.

I've been in similiar situations, sometimes I've jumped on it. Other times I didnt - went back later only to find the gun gone, - sold in only a few hours.
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