This Weeks Handgun - S&W .44 Magnum


THE SMITH & WESSON MDL. 29/629/329 - .44 MAGNUM

As some of you may be aware, gun writer/hunter/shooter Elmer Keith experimented widely, with heavy handloads for all the large-caliber handgun cartridges available to him back in the 1940s and '50s. He eventually came to believe that the "right" combination was the .429-inch bullet of the .44 S&W Special, loaded to the max in a strong double-action revolver. The ultimate result, in a cooperative effort between Remington (ammo) and Smith & Wesson (revolver), was the .44 Remington Magnum, introduced in the mid-1950s.
The new case was simply the 1.160-inch .44 Special case lengthened to 1.285. The extra length is partly to increase case capacity (which is really not necessary with all powders and all loads), and partly to absolutely preclude the new cartridge's chambering in firearms designed for .44 Special cartridges.
Some years later, Clint Eastwood's movie character, Dirty Harry Callahan, described the .44 Mag as "the most powerful handgun in the world." This was true, at least in factory form, but only for a very short time; it was quickly eclipsed by the .454 Casull in 1959, and today there are several other more powerful handgun cartridges, including the most recent .480 Ruger, and .500 S&W.
One reference says this about the .44 Remington Magnum: "It takes a seasoned handgunner to shoot it well as both recoil and muzzle blast are considerable." Mind you, some revolvers are heavier than others, and longer barrels quickly add gun weight and reduce muzzle blast. The S&W isn't as heavy as other .44s, including the Ruger Redhawk and Colt Anaconda, but with either a 6 -inch or 8 3⁄8-inch barrel, recoil is less of a problem. And even more felt recoil is reduced with the heavier full lug barrel on the 629 Classic model. Of course ported barrels also help if recoil is an issue.
The Smith & Wesson .44 mag. Is availiable in the Mdl 29 (original blue steel version), Mdl 629 (stainless steel version), Mdl 629 Classic (stainless steel version with full underlug barrel), and the Mdl 329 (lighweight titanium version). Barrel lengths are 2 to 8 3/5



"So this dyslexic alcoholic walked into a bra.....
My dad purchased the M29 in the 8 3/8" barrel back in the crazy days of Dirty Harry. He handloaded all sorts of different loads for it and they would have comp shoots all the time at the Brentwood Gun Club.

I remember when we went down to the railroad trussel over Marsh Creek as a kid when he and his work partner made up some new fancy <HOT> loads to try out. They would punch out 3" holes about 4" deep in that oil soaked wood.

Dad shot his first black bear in Washington with it as it crossed the road 30-40 yards with it being chased by a pack of 13 dogs. He dropped the bear in mid stride with a 3 more quick followup shots as it was down as I watched from behind him. The bear was dead within the 20 seconds that it took the pack of hounds to jump on it.

That same gun is mine now. :smiley_rotflmao: