View Full Version : S&W 629 44 MAG with a 3in. Barrel?! Anyone have one of these? Opinions?

December 26, 2000, 02:27 PM
Hey guys I have been looking to gwt another .44 mag. I saw one of these at a shop today. It was stainless with wood finger groove grips and a 3in barrel. It was used but mint shape. Price was $419. Is this to high? My Ruger Super Blackhawk is a pussycat,how about a 3in .44mag? OUCH huh?:)
If I ever use it for carry whats good ammo? Light Magnums?
Thanks for any input guys,Happy New Year,45automan

December 26, 2000, 02:32 PM
I don't have any info but IIRC these are pretty rare. The price sounds just about right, considering. I would pick it up if I had the cash...

December 26, 2000, 03:31 PM
low $400 sounds about right - my 3" 625 was $400 even with tax

holsters for the 3 inchers can be a problem

some say the longer barrels (4" & 5") conceal better because the longer barrel helps anchor the gun ie - the grips on the snubbies tend to cant outward cause there is so much weight above the belt.

I was going to get a Kramer made for it but they only do on custom rakes in horsehide, the holster they wanted me to order was $98 (I wanted a little steeper than the FBI tilt, and for it to ride a little lower than normal - put the cylinder about right at belt level instead of above the belt) I might still get it even though im afraid ill be overpaying.

still not sure who or what holster im going to get for it, but this POS nylon rig I have it in now SUCKS

h2o 5o
December 26, 2000, 04:39 PM
A friend of mine has a 3 inch Model 29 that he used to carry as a duty weapon, concealed (well, sort of concealed). I have a 629 Mountain Gun, 4 inch lightweight barrel. Both of these are kinda rough to shoot with full power heavy weight loads. In full power loads, my gun likes the Federal 180 grain - it kicks, but is very accurate. For general use, I use the CCI Blazer .44 Special 200 grain Gold Dot - economical, light kick, and unbelievable accuracy.

December 26, 2000, 04:42 PM
They are nice weapons, but I think that the magnum ammunition works best with a longer barrel. With a 6 1/2 or 8 3/8" bbl you get the better performance. With the 3", a louder boom and an impressive flame. They are also butt heavy, as Rusty said.

All that said, who needs a good reason to buy a new gun?? Not me! :)

December 26, 2000, 05:17 PM
I had a 3 inch 629 on the K-Frame at one time. I don't know about a price but, my gun was designed to shoot ANYTHING BUT FULL 44 Magnum loads.

I had mine in the late 80's. It must have been another run of 5,000.

[Edited by MADISON on 12-27-2000 at 10:46 PM]

Ala Dan
December 26, 2000, 05:23 PM
Greeting's All:

My personal preference is the S&W 629-5, with a 5" tube.:)
This pre-sellout S&W may very well be the finest shoot'in
iron of the revolver type, that I have ever owned.:D The
double action is fantastic, and slick as a baby's rear end.
For self-protection and/or self defense situations, I like
the UMC 180 grain JSP. Unless, you are going to shoot thru
heavy clothing, or involved in a baricade type situation;
this round performs almost flawlessly!!!:(:):D

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

December 26, 2000, 06:34 PM
OUCH huh! is an under statement for a 3 incher with full loads. I had one for several years and with somewhat reduced loads its a great shooter,surprisingly accurate.The four incher, I think is a better compromise and is still not too big to carry,-still not as accurate for me as a 6, but a great piece none the less.-Wally

Hard Ball
December 26, 2000, 06:46 PM
I have a 3 inch barreled 629 .44 Magnum. It shoots quite well. but you get a lot of muzzle blast and significant recoil. I am not absolutely sure, but I seem to remember reading that 7,000 were made. $419 seems like a reasonable price.

December 26, 2000, 06:56 PM

Take a look at the IWB holsters from AKJ Concealco. They've made a number of them for me (including one for my five inch 627). Their design allows the owner to adjust the rake over a fairly wide range. With my 627 the cylinder is under the belt for the most part. I find a GOOD belt helps a lot too. Concealco makes one, so do a number of the other custom makers.


December 27, 2000, 09:28 AM
The three inch will work well with 44Special loads. The ability to reload will also let you tailor the full Mag loads to this type of revolver. I don't recommend full 44 Mag loads in the short barrel. In either case it sounds like a nice piece.

December 27, 2000, 02:20 PM
On a side note, ElPaso Saddelry makes a #88 Streetfighter holster that is out of this world for the the $50 they want for it. The website does not do this holster justice. It is 1/4" thick saddle leather with suede lining, open top, strong side. They will make it to any specification. The quality is higher than anything I"ve ever seen, and it's cheap. I don't know how they do it. ?This would make a great holster for a 3" gun.

Hard Ball
December 27, 2000, 03:18 PM
I was wrong in remembering that 7,000 of this model were manufactured. I checked and according to "The Standaerd Catalog of Smith&Wessons" 5,000 were manufactured. The same source lists value in 1996 of $450 for mint and 400 for excellent condition.

December 27, 2000, 04:35 PM
My primary carry gun is one of the Lew Horton LE 3" 629's. The unfluted cylinder goes a long way towards adding weight / reducing felt recoil. Actually, this gun weighs almost as much as my 4-5/8" SBH.

The factory wood stocks are purty, but useless for DA shooting (IMHO). If you can find a good set of rubber grips, such as the pachmayr compacs it is much easier to shoot.

As for loads, my theory is to carry the absolute hottest loads you can shoot accurately (with control). Right now I'm using the PMC 240g JHP's (they are only 14$ for a box of 50). I carry often in rural / wilderness areas and overpenetration is not currently a concern. Critters over 200lbs are rarely encountered, but you never know...

If you like reduced power loads: My Dad owned this gun before me and he was fond of Win Silvertips (220g maybe?). Corbon makes a reduced 180g jhp load that is mellow (by .44 standards). Both of these would be much better suited for defense than the .44spl (again, IMHO).

Yeah, its loud. It does have a bit of a kick to it. I'll admit, when I am out plinking with handloads, I save the 100% stuff for the SBH, and try to shoot loads which are about 80-90% of max in the SW.

If you think you would rather shoot lower powered loads consistently, look for a 696.. they are lighter, and a tad smaller. I owned one once upon a time, and it was quite accurate... shouldn't have sold that one.

December 27, 2000, 09:30 PM
Good Stuff.

I just bought one of those myself. Mine was $540 NIB with rubber grips. Usually, I am not one to buy on impulse. So there I was, coming to buy a nice S&W .357 with a 4" barrel. I actually completed all of the paperwork before going out to the range. Once there, one of the guys let me try his brand new Lew Horton 3"BBL 629. That's was it. I was sold on the spot, ran right out and swapped it for the .357.

Like everyone else already said, the recoil is devastating. Makes my Desert Eagle .44 look like a -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- cat. Also, I'm not sure which ammo that guy was shooting but the muzzle blast was about 4 feet long. That's right FEET!! If that target was any closer he could have burned it down. Can't wait to get my pink slip.

December 27, 2000, 11:19 PM
I bought a used but not abused S&W 629 "Trail Boss" a while back and absolutely love it! I think I paid $425.00? It came with the stock wooden finger grips, magna-ported barrel, and had obviously been worked on. The SA trigger breaks at 2.5#'s, DBL action is smooth and light, and the cylinder locks up tighter than a mules a$$ during the fly season. This gun is pure joy.

...jumping slightly off subject for a moment

I spent considerable time reloading ammo specifically for this piece, and found a velocity limit of roughly 1150 FPS with 240 gr. jacketed HP's. Beyond this practical limit, very little velocity was gained with more powder, although you would think so judging by the blast and recoil. Slower burning powders like H110 or AA#9 that typically result in sizzling rounds from a longer barrel netted less velocity at near max loads than a medium powder like AA#5. If I weren’t running these rounds through a chrony I wouldn't have believed it, as the slower powders certainly "felt" more powerful to say the least. There just isn't enough "burn time" in the short barrel even though these loads were still quite punishing on the pistol, not to mention my hand. Go figure.

I strongly recommend for anybody who owns one of these short-barreled .44's to run your favorite "full power" loads through a chrony if possible, and compare the velocity to something milder. You might be surprised. How much the barrel porting on my 629 plays into this I cannot say, as I don't have another 3" without porting to compare it to. I'm sure I'm giving up some top end velocity, but I'd bet my findings would still hold true.

In any case, I can't say enough good things about this pistol. It is handsome, accurate, and fills me the joy that only a short barreled .44 magnum can! Buy one and you'll never look back.

Regards in bliss,

December 28, 2000, 12:33 AM
I like my 3" 629. I shoot 240gr XTP's and it has a noticable rise in the muzzle. I shoot my 328gr cast loads and it really gets your attention. I'd get it. I think we paid $700+ for mine about 4 years ago.

December 28, 2000, 04:18 AM
Ironically, I went into a gun shop today and they had 2 3" Mountain something or nother S&W 629s. Wow, and I had never actually seen one before. Both were NIB for about $600 or so. One had black rubber grips and four rectangular ports along the barrel that probably went at least half the length of the bbl. The other was unported and had a wooden grip. Both looked very nice, might be time to save up.

BTW, the dealer said that they are both limited ed. and not produced any more - does this mean they are pre-agreement?

Chad Young
December 28, 2000, 08:22 AM
A buddy of mine has one of these diminuative model 629s in .44MAg. Shoots much better than a 3" barrel pistol has a right to do. The only thing we found is that if we used 310 grain Hornady XTP bullets, every once in a while, the recoil would cause the bullets to wiggle loose from the unfired rounds still in the cylinder. This is even with an insanely tight crimp into the cannelure of the bullet! We had to go back to using 240gr JHP instead and save the 310gr JHP/XTPs for full-size guns.

For the record, recoil in one of these little guns is unbeleivable. I do NOT recommend them for IPSC shooting. :)

December 31, 2000, 06:49 AM
I'll second Ala Dan's recommendation of the 629 with the 5 inch barrel, although mine is the model 29-2. I picked up my 29 last week, and it's a very nice and accurate shooter. The recoil is sufficiently brutal for me, so the 3 incher would be deadly. Of course, you maybe want this. The trigger is short, crisp and light -- the best in the business. The satin finish makes it look great.

I got some Hogue grips for it today, but these leave the steel back of the grip exposed, so I wonder if the recoil will be lessened by Hogue.

As you know, the 29 is also the official Dirty Harry gun.

January 1, 2001, 12:49 PM
Another fan of the "hand held nuclear device".....I had a mdl 29 3" maybe 10 years ago.......I used primarily usa's 240gr, same as I used in the other 29/629's I had.....it was brutal in recoil, and for me absolute useless in 44mag, like the mountain revolver in 44mag, its appeared to be best suited for 44spl.....jmo...fubsy.

January 1, 2001, 03:58 PM
except that dirty harrys 44 magnum was actually a 41 magnum in the movie.

January 1, 2001, 04:17 PM
Have one by S&W Performance Center, the BackPacker. Excellent with Silvertips and either a M/D Enterprises AAP or the Kramer IWB # 2. Can be concealed under a polo shirt..I'm 6'0-255. Works and shoots great.

January 1, 2001, 06:13 PM
Those Lew Hortons are nice. Price seems right.
I am looking for the .41 mag version.
All I find are the .45LCs.