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Amsdorf 05-30-2013 12:28 AM

Go Ahead, Make My Day ... Shooting the 44 Magnum
"Go ahead, make my day."

Had a great outing with my "new" Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum:

The S&W Model 29 was made famous in the Dirty Harry series of movies and brought great attention to the .44 Magnum cartridge, which had been developed by Elmer Keith in the 1950s based on his extensive research and reloading, and personal use, of .44 Special cartridges that he loaded to very high pressures.

The first Model 29 revolver was built by Smith and Wesson in December 1955 and released to the public in January 1956.

The .44 Magnum is based on a lengthened .44 Special case, loaded to higher pressures for greater velocity (and thus, energy). The .44 Magnum has since been eclipsed in power by the .454 Casull, among others; nevertheless, it has remained one of the most popular commercial large-bore magnum cartridges. When loaded to its maximum and with heavy, deeply penetrating bullets, the .44 Magnum cartridge is suitable for short-range hunting of all North American game—though at the cost of much recoil and muzzle flash when fired in handguns. In carbines and rifles, these are non-issues.

The release of Dirty Harry in 1971 gave rise to enormous interest in the Model 29 revolver, the Model 29-2. The "real" Dirty Harry Model 29 has a 6.5" barrel. The Model 29 in this video has the 8" barrel.

S&W's production of a large N-frame revolver in .44 Magnum began in 1955; the Model 29 designation was applied in 1957.[1] It remained primarily the province of handgun enthusiasts, some law enforcement personnel and hunters until 1971, when Clint Eastwood made it famous as "the most powerful handgun in the world" in the movie Dirty Harry. After the movie's release, retailers had trouble keeping the Model 29 in stock.

At the time of its introduction, the Model 29 was the most powerful production handgun. There were a number of custom, or wildcat, calibers that were more powerful, as in the old Howdah pistols of the 19th century. Elmer Keith's achievements in maximizing the power and performance of the .44 Special was the inspiration and driving force behind the introduction of the .44 Magnum by Smith & Wesson. His intention for the new round was to be used in sidearms for hunters of large, dangerous game, rather than for self defense, though with today's specialty cartridges, it can be a good defensive round.

The Model 29 will chamber and fire .44 Special cartridges, as the .44 Magnum was developed from the .44 Special. The Magnum case is slightly longer to prevent magnum rounds from being chambered and fired in handguns chambered for the .44 Special.

In the late 1990s, Smith and Wesson discontinued production of many models of revolvers, including the 'basic' Model 29; since then, at various times, the model, in limited or 'custom' configurations, has been manufactured in as many as 10 evolutions.

The Model 29 featured in this video is a Model 29-3, manufactured in the early 1980s. The revolver shown was purchased by a gentleman who used it only a couple times and then tucked it in his gun safe, a common event, given the heavy recoil and noise of the .44 Magnum.

SRK97 05-30-2013 02:19 AM

feeling lucky punk? Great buy I hope to have one someday.

danolator 05-30-2013 12:58 PM

Great vid & post. Thanks.

Amsdorf 06-01-2013 02:11 PM

Thanks, Dan, glad you liked it.

SSGN_Doc 06-02-2013 03:23 AM

I had a 29 with the 8+ inch barrel. the barrel length was the only thing I didn't like about it. Sold it. I'd like to find another with a 4 to 5 inch barrel instead.

Of course that long barrel and the sight radius that went with it made it a very accurate revolver.

Amsdorf 06-02-2013 12:31 PM

SSGN, yup, the barrel length is VERY long on that thing, at nearly 8.5" inches. My older eyes do appreciate the long sight radius. I may sell mine and hold out for a shorter barrel. These revolvers tend to retain most, if not all, of their value, particularly when you buy them used, so...I like to trade, sell, swap and enjoy a variety of firearms.

My EDC, and my defensive shotgun and rifles are the only items I hang on to. Everything else is up for grabs. It's how I enjoy the shooting sports, getting to enjoy a wider variety of firearms this way.

winds-of-change 06-02-2013 01:26 PM

i will be shooting one of these revolvers today. I'm looking forward to the experience.

SurfGuitar 06-03-2013 12:28 AM

Several years ago I had a nickle plated 4" model 29-2, now I don't mind a 4" barrel on a .38Spl / .357 Magnum, but on a .44 Magnum I like at least 6". I traded that gun in for something else, and went without a .44 Mag in my arsenal for quite a while. I just recently came across a brand new "Classic Series" model 29-10, blued with the 6.5" barrel.....(the original Dirty Harry revolver in a slightly modernized form).....and did not hesitate to purchase it....

I shoot a lot of steel plate and dueling tree matches, I reload most all my rounds with 200Gr. lead with 8.7Grs. of Unique.....a .44 Spl. load, however I do have a few rounds of 200Gr. JHP's with 23.5Grs. of 2400 for those occasions when I want that full feel and experience of what a .44 Magnum is.....;)

I enjoy this model 29 far more than my previous one, also having those aging eyes, the longer sight radius helps, and having that extra barrel length helps tame the recoil a bit....

6 round group on paper @ 15 yards.....

Shooting the steel plates.....

winds-of-change 06-03-2013 03:46 AM

Okay, I shot one of these revolvers today. Four rounds and I was done. I'll shoot any gun handed to me but this one was a handful. :o

SurfGuitar 06-03-2013 01:21 PM


Originally Posted by winds-of-change (Post 1266067)
Okay, I shot one of these revolvers today. Four rounds and I was done. I'll shoot any gun handed to me but this one was a handful. :o

I assume from your post that you fired full power factory loads, and yes a steady diet of those will wear you out quickly. That's why I load my .44 Magnum's to .44 Spl spec's, far milder, easier to control with no loss of accuracy......

Also, if you shoot heavy loads like the OP in this thread, you will feel more recoil than if you shot 240Gr. Federal AE, or 185Gr. PMC Bronze...both still have a kick, but not like that Buffalo Bore 270Gr. load....

Many years ago while shooting at an indoor range, the guy next to me was shooting 300Gr. silhouette loads from a Ruger Super Blackhawk, every squeeze of the trigger that gun ended up over my head.....:eek:

Normal .44 Mag's kick like a mule, but those rounds kicked like an elephant.....

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