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Old December 10, 2012, 07:50 PM   #1
Mystro
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My short ownership of a S&W 329PD....Thoughts and Observations.....

Found a nice clean used 329PD at my local dealership. I have had total titanium 357mag before so I was very interested in the 44mag. After all the 44mag is my pet caliber. Struck up a good deal and home I came. The trigger was clean but not as crisp as my SS 44mag. Build quality looked good and the Hogue grips gave good balance and the sights were outstanding. I used the same Hornady 240XTP load I use for hunting. These are not hot loads and are a tack driving load in my 629. I have loaded and shot a 454Casull for a few years without any issue at all with recoil. The 329PD with a med velocity load absolutely sucked. I mean brutal hard and abusive. I love hard kicking handguns but this gun's recoil was a sharp fast smack instead of a push. After shooting 3 rounds, the other three bullets in the cylinder had their bullets jumping past the crimp. It honestly kicked harder than any 454Casull I have ever shot and makes my 629 with 300grain hot solids feel more like a 38spl. I am a experienced handguner and could shoot the 329PD pretty acurate at 25 yards but didn't enjoy it at all. There was a extractor/cylinder defect (long story)with this gun so it went back to the my shop a hour later for a refund. I probably could have learned to tolerate the gun for what it was but I would never love it like my much more practical 629. It may have even created bad habits with my 629 and then it would get kicked to the curb. I graciously took the "out clause".
So here is the problem with the 329PD...... It's a great gun to carry but miserable to shoot (Unreasonably so).
The catch 22 is,... you should never carry a gun you don't practice a lot with. I will gladly carry my SS 629 6" anywhere and put up with the aditional weight than carry a 329PD that I will never shoot half as good or enjoy practicing with it. I know some might use this as a "bear defence" gun but still, I would rather carry a 629 6" that I can shoot precisely at a long distance than carry a gun that is so difficult to shoot under the best circumstance.
My advise on the 329PD:
The 329PD stands for 329 Palm Destruction. I would pass on this gun and stick with a Stainless Steel model.
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Last edited by Mystro; December 10, 2012 at 09:38 PM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 07:42 AM   #2
DaleA
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Well, right or wrong (and I lean toward ‘wrong’) I know many folk that carry that figure they’ll only shoot about ‘a double arms length’ distance in a self defense situation. That is, they’ll have the gun darn near touching someone when they shoot.

With a belief like that they also believe they only need to shoot the gun enough to know that it will go off when they pull the trigger and that their ammunition works without any problems like you found. For these folks a couple boxes of factory ammunition would turn out to be a life time supply.

I think you were right to get rid of it since you have other guns you like much better and I totally agree that the thing could have screwed up your shooting ability. The smart way to break a bad habit is to avoid it in the first place if you can.

For me it is pretty convincing evidence that you were getting some vicious recoil because ammo that worked in your other .44 mags was jumping the crimp in the 329.
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Old December 11, 2012, 08:03 AM   #3
Mystro
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That was really disturbing to me considering I have never had any issues with years of 454 Casull loading. I went back to the 44mag for a more comfortable platform for big game hunting.
On a side note, I forgot I was wearing my $$$ Swiss automatic diving wrist watch while firing this beast. The watch is fine and never missed a beat but after the shooting section, I started to get a sick feeling this gun could cost me big time remembering how sharp the recoil was. This is the only gun, out of years of shooting just about everything that gave me thought that it might be a good idea to take off your good automatic wrist watch.


Quote:
For me it is pretty convincing evidence that you were getting some vicious recoil because ammo that worked in your other .44 mags was jumping the crimp in the 329.
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Last edited by Mystro; December 11, 2012 at 09:43 AM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 01:26 PM   #4
spacecoast
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I would love to try one out if they weren't so darned expensive. To be honest if I carried it in something like your chest holster or a shoulder holster, or kept it around for HD (for which it would be excellent I believe) I would probably load it with light .44 specials, especially after reading your description of how it shoots.
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Old December 11, 2012, 01:32 PM   #5
9mm
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Looks painful to shoot. Saw some videos and the recoil is intence.
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Old December 11, 2012, 02:08 PM   #6
Magnum Wheel Man
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44 Special is enough in the ultra light revolvers... I don't even like to shoot the 357's in the ultra light platforms... I always wondered about those 44 Mags... I love a hard kicking gun as much as anyone, in fact my hottest Contender loads out of my 10" 45 Colt barrel will make my knuckle bleed before I get to the 10th shot, every time I take it out... works great for deer, & no worries about jumping a crimp, but I also don't intentionally whack my hand with a hammer
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Old December 11, 2012, 02:20 PM   #7
Sharpsdressed Man
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Had a 329, and yeah, it was brutal with heavy loads. But I am one of those guys that pretty much blocks out recoil; I just drum up the ghost of Elmer Keith, he enters my body, and I just tough up, chomp down on an imaginary cigar, and shoot. The only reason I DON'T own one now, is I have the heir apparent (a 2 3/4" S&W 500), and the little .44 didn't get shot as much. Along comes a left handed friend of mine, and wants my gun, left handed kydex holster and all. He still has it, and I still miss it (as my LITTLE big gun). But the .500 gets me by when I need a shot of real recoil in a handgun. For what it's worth, the 329 can be fitted with the S&W 500's type grips, which absorb recoil a little better than the stock Hogue grips.
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Old December 11, 2012, 05:32 PM   #8
Hook686
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To each his own ....

I like the S&W 329PD ... but only with .44 Special ammunition. I carry Buffalo Bore Heavy .44 Special loads, 185 grain Gold Dots at 1150 fps, and reload 200 grain Gold Dots to 1150 fps. I find this about the upper level of spending an afternoon shooting this revolver. A plus side to .44 magnum ammunition is I load the 6th cylinder with a 240 grain factory load and I know when it is time to reload. No counting shots is needed.

This is one of my three allowed carry hand guns and I might like it best for out in rural areas, or fishing/camping, .... I did put the S&W X Frame Hogue grips on it. I have never had factory ammunition jump crimp, but maybe 1 in 3 cylinders I will have the 6th chamber jump crimp when shooting my reloads. This is something I also experience with my S&W M&P 340 (.357 magnum). Never a crimp jump with factory ammunition, buth 5th chamber crimp jump with my reloads. I don't carry reloads with it either.

Different strokes for different folks.
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Last edited by Hook686; December 11, 2012 at 05:39 PM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 06:22 PM   #9
dgludwig
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Quote:
After shooting 3 rounds, the other three bullets in the cylinder had their bullets jumping past the crimp.
If I'm reading this right, bullets left their crimp with Hornady factory ammunition? This would bother me, because, as I see it, the best role for a Model 329 PD revolver is for protection on the trail where you might encounter an aggressive bear or cougar, when a light-weight but relatively powerful handgun would be on your person instead of back at camp. In this scenario, I would insist on the assurance that all rounds on board would fire, not just the first couple or so.
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