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Old June 15, 2011, 09:01 PM   #1
BGutzman
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S&W Model 629 (or similar) Any thoughts

Ok Im busted, Im hooked on higher power pistols (not extreme power pistols) and my 460 Rowland has me wanting a 44 Magnum in a revolver. My intent would be occasional CCW.

I wont kid you my revolver knowledge would fit in a thimble and Im not crazy about high trigger pull weights but the sheer fun of shooting the Rowland in the Mid 44 Mag power has me wanting just a little more. (Thank you, but no the 454 Casull need not apply.)

I appreciate your thoughts and again please keep CCW in mind. (also it does not need to be a model 629, this is just a starting point
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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Well, the 629 is on the N-Frame, so it's a bit beefy. Assuming you've got a good belt and holster, however, it carries well (I carry a Model 28 in the winter).

If it's to be a defensive gun in urban situations, you might want to consider loading it with .44 Specials. The muzzle flash and report of .44 Magnum can be quite disorienting, especially without hearing protection.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:18 PM   #3
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Well, you can...

...get a S&W Model 29/629/329 in a 2.5" or 3" barrel length, and that can be used as a CCW piece. However, you can't juice the N frame up, because it wasn't designed to handle hot handloads.

For pure carry, you can't beat a Model 696. It holds 5 rounds of .44 Special, although no longer manufactured, used ones are still out there.

A .44 magnum in a defensive handgun is just not a big winner. You would be much better off with something in a .45 Colt, .44 Special, or .45 ACP. S&W makes several revolvers in large calibers (Night Guard) that work nicely as CCW revolvers.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:18 PM   #4
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I have one... dont CC it..

too small...LoL.

.. really lookin for a leather holster for my 4 inch 500mag

... I like my 629 tho... but its pretty large to conceal on a regular basis..

... In my OP.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:21 PM   #5
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However, you can't juice the N frame up, because it wasn't designed to handle hot handloads.
Can you elaborate? While a double-charge can wreck any gun, I've never known the N-Frames to be fragile.

The 696 is a good gun, but it is limited as to what you'll want to feed it. And they're expensive.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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would have to disagree pendennis.

... i have mine as juiced as it gets... no problems at all.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:33 PM   #7
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It doesnt even have to be a model 629, Im kicking the idea around for now but certainly I will be looking for a revolver to add to my collection of semi autos.

I also understand 44 Magnum may not always be the ideal carry caliber, I understand the possibility of overpenetration. I however am a physically large guy so the recoil is probably a little less challenging for me than maybe someone else.


All that said I would still use it for occasional CCW.
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Old June 15, 2011, 09:58 PM   #8
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I think what pendennis meant was that if you want to shoot .454 level or hotter loads, shoot them from a revolver designed for them. Hot 44 mag loads shouldn't be a problem because IIRC the early .44 mag loads were as hot or hotter than todays max handloads. The N-Frame will handle the hot stuff-for awhile. The Ruger platform is more suited to a steady diet of hot loads.
I don't think OP is interested in in hot loads, just a handsome revolver he can CC on occasion. The N-frame is just that, a carry gun that will handle a very powerful cartridge. Clothing and holsters will have to be chosen carefully but it's doable.
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Old June 15, 2011, 10:06 PM   #9
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Only fragility I've heard about in N frames is timing issues over the course of a lot of DA fire. Big, heavy cylinder vs small moving parts.

I know from experience that S&W will fix that under their lifetime warranty.

For the OP's purposes, a 2.5" or 3" barrel doesn't really help much as far as concealment goes, compared to a 4" barrel. The big issue with an N frame is the cylinder. I've CCWed my Mountain Gun, and found that the best way to go about it is with a pancake holster, to blend and contour in that big cylinder.

The 4" tapered barrel probably weighs about the same as one of the shorter bull barrels, but will provide a slight velocity advantage.
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Old June 15, 2011, 10:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
just a handsome revolver he can CC on occasion
You called it exactly my friend!

And no specifically I want to stick to 44 Magnum / 44 Special power, I find no pleasure in shooting the 454 Casull...
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Old June 16, 2011, 11:40 PM   #11
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FWIW early M29s and M629s have a tendency to "shoot loose" if subjected to a steady diet of hot handloads using heavy bullets. S&W fixed this by changing several minor parts; the changes were introduced as the "Endurance Package" on the M29-3E and M629-2E. The package is standard on later versions of the two guns.

OTOH these S&Ws, even the earlier versions, are plenty strong enough to handle everything an average user is going to dish out. The problems emerged as the result of Silhouette shooters pushing the limits of the cartridge and firing thousands of rounds doing it. These guns are PLENTY strong.
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Old June 17, 2011, 02:43 PM   #12
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Have always liked S&W 29s and have owned two, a 4" and a 6-1/2". Were used for range and occasional carry, was intending to take one along if I ever visited Alaska.

However, I noticed that after shooting 44 mag hunting loads, the cylinder extractor lugs (part that is moved around by the hand) displayed signs of peening, and slight distortion.

Had hardly shot them very much at all, couldn't be bothered replacing the extractors, sold both revolvers.

Am guessing newer ones have beefed up this weakness.
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Old June 17, 2011, 06:51 PM   #13
Clifford L. Hughes
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Bgutzman:

I'm not sure about carrying a N frame Smith for concealed carry. It might work with a narrow belt holster under a loose fitting shirt. As for comfort, I wore a Smith & Wesson 625 exposed when I worked at B&B sales in Westminister. California. The pistol was so comfortable that at the end of one shift I walked to my car and drove to a 7-11 before I realized that I was still packing. Using a .44 Magnum might endanger by standers when the bullet exits the target. Hand loads in the .44 special range would be prefered. I have a Smith modle 29 that is fourty-seven years old that has had thousands of rounds shot through it, most all at full power. I had it inspected at at Magna Port and I was told that the cylinder/ forcing cone gap is still within specs and it still locks up soild. The Smith 29 is a reliable and fun gun to shoot. The modern guns are more sturdy then the older modles.


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Last edited by Clifford L. Hughes; June 17, 2011 at 07:06 PM. Reason: I didn't finish the answer
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Old June 18, 2011, 07:22 AM   #14
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For a general purpose .44 Magnum, I find the S&W 629 with the 4" heavy barrel to be the best balance. With a good belt and holster, the weight really isn't a problem yet the extra weight of the heavy barrel helps to dampen recoil quite a bit. If you want a milder .44 Magnum load that still packs more wallop than a .44 Special, Winchester's 210grn Silvertip loading is a good one to look at.
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:51 AM   #15
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Clifford L Hughes, on the rare occasions I CCW an N frame, I find the opposite to be true - a pancake holster works better. It's length along the belt-line creates a longer streamline, and helps mask the thickness of the N cylinder. Shorter/narrower holsters look more like a speed bump under a shirt.

YMMV.
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Old June 18, 2011, 07:08 PM   #16
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For longevity and ability to handle hot loads I feel the Ruger Alaskan with 2 1/2" barrel can't be beat. Also the way the grip and grip frame is done it allows for a drastic paring down of material in the grip area for added concealment. I would also chose a pancake holster for carry with this gun. Smithy.
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Old June 18, 2011, 10:52 PM   #17
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629s are nice guns, but I much prefer a Redhawk

I've owned a few S&W revolvers: a 64, (stainless 4" 38/357, fixed sights) a 29, (8-3/8" 44 Magnum, blued) and a 625. (stainless 5" 45 ACP) The 625 has been the only one that hasn't underwhelmed me.

For whatever reason, the cylinder release latch didn't work right on the 64. It was a used police trade in gun that I bought sight unseen. Big mistake. Too bad, because the DA trigger on this was AWESOME.

The 29 was beautiful and accurate, but it shot loose with magnum loads, even when I used thread-locking compound on the side plate screws. HEAVY DA trigger, too.

The 625 has no problems. Smooth and consistent, medium weight DA trigger pull. Accurate. SA trigger has the cleanest break I've ever experienced on a handgun; akin to a nice light trigger on a bolt action rifle.

On the other hand, I've had (and still have) two Rugers, my SP-101 (stainless 357 Magnum, 3" compact gun) and my Redhawk (stainless 44 Magnum, 7.5" barrel)

The SP-101 had kind of a heavy, gritty DA pull. With some information gleaned from the internet, I tuned it myself; polished certain internals, and fitted lighter springs. It's good now. Admittedly, not quite as good as a S&W K frame, like my old 64 or a 10. But it is also durable. It never goes out of time, no matter how many magnums I shoot through it. The grip stud frame means that it doesn't hurt to shoot it. (although I admit I've had enough after less than a full box of magnums)

The Redhawk had a good DA and SA trigger when I got it. I fitted a lighter mainspring, and the DA pull is just fantastic now. The SA is good, but not fantastic like the 625's.

This reminds me, the SA pull on my 29 was also fantastic; true target grade.

So I guess if you're going to be mostly shooting targets with lighter loads, and more single action than double, the S&W would be good.

If you'll be shooting more DA than SA and want peace of mind that it will never shoot loose, the Redhawk is better.
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Old June 20, 2011, 11:12 PM   #18
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As a cop, I sometimes carry a 4" 629, loaded with my 215 gr handloads, hard cast swcs.
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Old June 20, 2011, 11:37 PM   #19
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Two words: Super Redhawk.

Edit: Oh, CCW. That's out, then.
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Old June 21, 2011, 05:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Can you elaborate? While a double-charge can wreck any gun, I've never known the N-Frames to be fragile.
Smith's were not designed to handle the hotter handloads like the Colt or Ruger 44 Mags. If you handload and want to really push the limits get a Ruger. They will hold up better over time with a lot of hot loads.

The early 29's were quite a bit fragile and were known to cause problems. The newer 629's have been beefed up quite a bit and will easily handle any loads I will ever shoot through mine.

While N frames are pretty big by standards of years ago, they are much trimmer and lighter than other large frame 44's made by others. I don't shoot the hottest handloads and will take the smaller lighter Smith 629 any day over the tanks made by Ruger and others. Not that the Ruger is a bad gun, I'd just give up a little potential power to get a gun that is smaller.
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Old June 21, 2011, 09:32 AM   #21
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Quote:
too small...LoL.
Disco,

That is just too funny!!! Let us know when you get the bugs worked out of your 40mmX44 worked out

That oughta' be sumthin'!!! 40mm necked down to .44!!

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Old June 21, 2011, 10:51 AM   #22
Andy Taylor
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For a CCW I would recommend the Mountain Gun version of the 629, or the M24/624 if you want to exclusivly shoot .44 Specials.
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Old June 21, 2011, 11:23 AM   #23
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The 4" barrel revolver isn't going to give you much more zip than what you can do from the Rowland. You don't get those amazing 44 mag power levels until you go the 6" and up hog legs. Barrels shorter than 4" give you less than your Rowland. The biggest upside to the revolver is the selection of bullets.

For some ideas on a lightweight revolver:
S&W329pd Information
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Old June 21, 2011, 11:45 AM   #24
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I'm wearing my N frame right now. It's a 6 1/2" 610 but the same size as the 629. I carry it in a Bianchi X15 shoulder rig with a vest, Woolrich lightweight concealed carry type. Since I always wear some sort of vest, it's become part on my "look". Very comfortable adn easily accessable when in car or sitting at desk.
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Old June 21, 2011, 12:50 PM   #25
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The early 29's were quite a bit fragile and were known to cause problems. The newer 629's have been beefed up quite a bit and will easily handle any loads I will ever shoot through mine.
I'm not aware of S&W ever changing the size of their N-Frames, or of any "beefing up." Now, the metallurgy has improved quite a bit over the last few decades, so a newer 629 might be of more durable steel than one from 1955, but not by a huge margin.

(There were some issues with hot .357 Magnum and the K-Frames, which resulted in the stronger L-Frames. Could that be what you're recalling?)

In any case, it's academic. The OP is looking for a gun to carry for self-defense. I don't imagine that's going to involve serious hunting loads. A 629 should serve him just fine.
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