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Old September 8, 2012, 08:45 AM   #1
smokehouse4444
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Older Model 29 with full power loads?

I tried to look for this in the search, and just wasn't finding anything. Anyone out there with an older S&W Model 29 that shoots the more powerful or +P 300gr stuff? I normally have some sort of 240gr ammo for practice, and maybe some Hydro-Shoks or Black Hills for a little more potent hunting loads. I have used the more powerful ammo like the 300gr before, and other than noticing that the spent shells seemed to be a little tighter in the cylinder when ejecting, I had no problems.
At some point, I heard that you should not shoot these powerful rounds in a M29 made prior to 1988. I wrote S&W and eventually someone wrote back and said that yes, in fact my handgun was made prior to 1988 and should not fire anything more than 240gr. I have not since, but have wondered if there is a real danger, or is it more just some "lawyerly" precautions?
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:18 AM   #2
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Model 29

Quote:
but have wondered if there is a real danger, or is it more just some "lawyerly" precautions?
There is no real "danger" to you, only to your gun (and your wallet, maybe).

Now, old model 29s are not glass eggs that break if you look at them wrong, but they are not the strongest or most durable DA .44 Mags out there TODAY. Once upon a time, they were.

Also, in that long ago time, there were no 300gr bullets ultra heavy loads for them. And it was expected that it would be rare for anyone to fire more than a few hundred magnum loads a year.

And, for that, the 29 will give years of good service before needed a tune up. When people began to use those uber heavy loads regularly, or large amounts of the "standard" MAGNUM 240gr loads, Model 29s began needing to go to the shop more often.

Everything wears, and eventualy needs a tune up "adjustment" (or sometimes more). Shooting loads heavier than the design is stressed for means more frequent repair. S&W addressed the issue with the 29-5 model, which incorporated what they call the "durability package".

Basically, if you run your car to the red line evey time you drive it, you won't get 200,000 miles from the engine (or maybe the tranny) without serious overhaul. But if you only put your foot in it once in a while, it will last a lot longer.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:44 AM   #3
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I recall that people shooting M29s in metallic silhouette competition 30 years ago had a lot of trouble with them "shooting loose". They ended up with too much cylinder play, the guns would spit like mad, became hard to cock and accuracy nosedived.

Back then I used a Dan Wesson .44 mag. They would stand up to anything.

I have a 4" M29 from that era and I don't shoot hot loads in it.

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Old September 8, 2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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Maybe...but I'll never find out.





Seriously, I'll stick to the 240 grain loads when/if I shoot magnums.
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Old September 8, 2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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All I ever shoot out of my Model 29 is 240 gr Cast SWCs and 22 grns of 2400.

Sucker is about 1380 FPS, don't know what more you want out of a 44 Mag.

I've had mine since the late 70s. Shot the crap out of it, and its still tight as a drum.

Don't see any reason to change.
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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My M-29 was made in the late '70s . It has never and will never be fired with anything heavier than 280 gr. No need for that. It's seen many silhouette matches and hunting.
Learn about ballistics - you can load hot but the poor ballistic shape means it will slow down fast so all you get for the hot load is recoil and muzzle blast .
Spitting ? about 1980 they changed the forcing cone dimensions --no more spitting.I took mine to S&W and they did it same day service !
More important than velocity for hunting is bullet construction. Use premium bullets . the 225 Barnes is available loaded by Corbon, the Swift A-frame is available from Federal. Speer's
Deep Curl can be had loaded but this is hotter than the other two.Bullet construction makes a big difference !!
Mine is in excellent condition and will stay that way .Get that "how hot can I load it? " idea out of your head !
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:29 AM   #7
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I had a beautiful late 70's M29. I would never shoot hot loads out of it. The gun wasnt built for it. A Ruger Super Redhawk is what you want for the hot stuff.
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:40 AM   #8
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Older Model 29-2's do not hold up well with a steady diet of 240 gr. loads.
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:41 AM   #9
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Thanks for the responses...some good information. This handgun has been shot on average probably about 100 times a year for about the last 15 years, so it has never seen a real steady diet of anything. Like I said, I primarily have shot whatever 240gr magnum I find to be least expensive when just shooting, and usually kept the 240gr Hydro-Shoks for hunting. Trying to remember back, I probably shot one box of 20 300gr through it in the mid 90's.
I do not, nor will I reload, so whatever I can buy is what I'll use. Suggestions for some really good rounds in 240gr that would be recommended over the H-Shoks? Primary use of this handgun is deer or boar. Again, thanks all for the information. 240 grain it is.





Here is my baby. Man I just realized, I need a much better pic!!! I need to have a woods pic with it on a tree stump with one of my knives, a watch, some bullets, and some leaves around. I'm not doing it justice for sure!
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Old September 8, 2012, 11:55 AM   #10
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If you really "need" more performance than a 240 gr bullet @ 1250 fps then you seriously need to look at a different gun. You probably aren't going to blow the gun up but it will have a short service life if pushed above that level. It really kind of depends on how long you want it to last.
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Old September 8, 2012, 12:15 PM   #11
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"[If you really "need" more performance than a 240 gr bullet @ 1250 fps then you seriously need to look at a different gun.]"

Exactly, a 240 Hardcast moving at 1250 is going to do alot a HURT ; )
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Old September 8, 2012, 07:28 PM   #12
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If you want/need something more powerful than that, carry a rifle.

Jim
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Old September 8, 2012, 08:53 PM   #13
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I agree. Handguns are very weak weapons compared to a rifle.
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Old September 8, 2012, 10:25 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies, I also received a very detailed and informative reply from Buffalo Bore. It is a fairly simple question, will the older M29 safely handle the hotter, bigger loads of today. Yes, I realize that rifles are far, far more powerful than handguns. If I am carrying my 44 mag in grizzly bear country, I think I would want to carry the most powerful round that it could safely fire, kind of like everyone obsessing about the most powerful round they can carry in any kind of SD type handgun. Now, I have to admit that I haven't run across any dangerous large bear recently here in Central Texas, but...... Anyway, thanks again for the replies, and the response from Buffalo Bore was excellent and helpful.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:00 AM   #15
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Here is another way to look at it.

I shot a Bowling Pin match yesterday. People kept saying they needed to go to heavier, hotter bullets to get the pins off the table.

I disagree. I watched people do better with 38s with SWC bullets then heavy magnums.

Before you get the pin off the table, you have to hit it. Its a time event meaning you have to get the pins off faster then the next guy. Can't do that if you're recovering from recoil.

I use 357s but its out of my rather heavy 6" Model 27 N frame. After the last two pin matches I fired, I've decided to go to a load that was more in line with 38 +P velocities. Some of my loads go completely through the pins. That is not necessary, its wasted energy. I want my bullet to stay in the pin. Something has to give. With fast bullets its the bullet passing through. With lighter loads it will be the pin.

Plus with the lighter loads comes less recoil meaning faster shots. I can use the time switching between pins finding my front sight instead of finding the pin table.

I live in big bear country for 22 years. If I want a bear gun I'll take a rifle.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
I shot a Bowling Pin match yesterday. People kept saying they needed to go to heavier, hotter bullets to get the pins off the table.

I disagree. I watched people do better with 38s with SWC bullets then heavy magnums.
I agree
I found that heavier helps a little but velocity had a limit ~1000 FPS works good, 1200 starts blowing though the pin and doesn't seem to take them off as good.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokehouse4444

Suggestions for some really good rounds in 240gr that would be recommended over the H-Shoks? Primary use of this handgun is deer or boar.

Any 240gr SOLID/FLAT point (JSP) from one of the major makers, like Winchester, Remington or Federal - depending upon which may show better accuracy in YOUR revolver.

Actually, I've had pretty good results on smaller deer (100-lb-dressed class) with 180JSP's out of a handgun (8-3/8" M29)

JMO, HydroShocks have their place, but were meant as a man-stopper, and will most likely result in shallow wounding on the much tougher hog hide/muscle.

I experienced some of that wounding, back when the .444 Marlin was first introduced in the mid-60's.
The Remington 240gr factory loads were blowing up on the near shoulder of whittail deer I shot, letting them run off to a fair-thee-well.
It turned out that Remington (at the time) was simply "regifting" their existing .44 Mag JSP's, loading them in the .444 to save a buck (?).

I switched to a premium bullet (my start in handloading), which bullet was built stronger than the one meant for lighter use.

I guess the point of my ramble is that IMHO the H-S's too lightly built (AND built to expand too quickly), for the use/game you intend to hit it with.




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Old September 9, 2012, 11:47 AM   #18
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Dude, you're in Austin. If you're not traveling to another state to go hunting then you're already overgunned. Deer in that part of the state are like cocker spaniels with antlers. A good friend of mine knocks 'em down reliably with a 30 carbine.
Even as you go up north for bigger game hunters find that a 250 gr 45 Colt at 1100 fps will go lengthwise through all but the biggest critters.
There's no need for anything larger than a 240 gr standard load.

Take that info from a guy with a 460 S&W, Super Redhawk in 454, and some blistering Colt loads that would beat that 29 to pieces.

When I go looking for piggies hear Hico, TX I take the 30 carbine and a 45 Colt with moderate loads.
All my big boomers are range toys and seldom go afield.
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Old September 9, 2012, 11:57 AM   #19
smokehouse4444
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LOL! You are correct my man. Actually, if I really get desperate, I could probably run out of my front door with my Buck knife and get me some cocker spaniel dinner. I've definitely decided to go more of a soft point instead of the hydro shok hollow-point.
I go through Hico all of the time when I take the backroads up to the DFW area to see the parents. 'preciate the post, feets.
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Old September 9, 2012, 12:52 PM   #20
feets
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I'm in DFW. I justpicked up a S&W 25-2 from Action Pawn in Round Rock.
My friend/dealer/pusher man just moved form DFW to San Antonio. He's got the run of a big spread near San Saba and they take the pigs with whatever they have on hand, including 223.
My other friend that hunts near Hico wants to use one of my handguns this year.
Not too many of my other friends hunt with handguns. They tend to stay with long guns.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:39 PM   #21
smokehouse4444
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A little off topic, but any of you M29 owners out there...which way do you turn the top screw on the rear sight to make point of impact go up or down? I know, that should be easy enough, but there were numerous problems at the range the day I took it in to test the sights. I thought CCW would bring it down, but even though it is at full CCW, it is still shooting about 4" high at 25 yds.

Also, cases seem to be sticking in the cylinder a bit more. Maybe it just needed a good thorough cleaning, but just wondering.
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Old September 28, 2012, 05:52 PM   #22
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"Unscrew" takes the point of impact up.
Scrweing "in" takes the POI down.

On windage, screwing "in" makes the POI go to the Right
"unscrewing" the windage screw takes it Left.
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Old September 28, 2012, 07:40 PM   #23
smokehouse4444
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Thanks for the info. I had not sighted it in in a long time, so I took it to the indoor range the other day to do just that, along with sighting some others in. The lane I was on has a vent that somewhat blows the target from about 15 - 30 yards, so the target is generally moving. I usually fire 3 rounds and assess. I fired one cylinder of regular Winchester 240gr jsp mags. On the second cylinder, suddenly sand poured out of the small sandbag rest I was using. The blast totally ripped it. After getting a new one, I was aiming for the upper left target and the pole that the clip on was too low. Bent the pole at more than a 90 degree angle. Took care of that when the hammer started sticking some. Fired a cylinder with some Hydra Shoks and some Buffalo Bore and the cases were sticking...

Anyway, gave it a good cleaning and I'll get it back out soon and try it again. Hopefully this time it won't be so eventful.
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Old September 28, 2012, 08:13 PM   #24
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For what its worth, here's my experience with the Model 29 S&W:

My earliest Model 29 was a 29-2, 6 1/2" barrel. My loads were 245 gr. Keith cast SWC, pushed out at 1400~1500 fps. After about 3,000 round of this I experienced difficulities and found the trigger pivot pin had sheared off. Had this repaired by a gunsmith and after another 1500 rounds or so, same thing happened, plus another pin sheared off as well. I contacted Smith & Wesson and they told me to send it in. Further telephone calls with the factory and they advised me they were making an "Endurance Package"
and when it was ready they would install it in my gun. After a couple of months Smith & Wesson called me to tell me my gun would be ready by the end of the week. I asked if they could install the full lug barrel on my gun while they had it, and they did, giving me an 8 3/8" full lug barrel. All this was of no cost to me.

After I got the gun back I put some 13,000 rounds more through the gun without a hitch, also bought a couple more Model 29s already having the Endurance Package and no problem in that respect.

As to why I shot such high velocity, I was using the gun for long range varmint shooting, out to 100 ~150 yards on groundhog, so wanted some pretty fast stepping ammunition.

I sold this gun this year, putting a total of just short of 18,000 rounds of magnum stuff through it.

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Old September 29, 2012, 12:58 AM   #25
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IIRC some people were having trouble with the cylinders coming unlatched with heavy loads in the early model 29s. The recoil would cause the cylinder latch to move foward. I think the solution was to install a heavier latch spring. But I am not sure. This is an old, long ago memory. And my memory is nothing you want to bank on. But I bet an inquiry at the S&W forum would answer that question.
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