Smith & Wesson 329 PD Anyone shot it?


August 2, 2003, 02:51 PM
I'm about to go hunting bear and boar in the next year or so. I wanted a good back-up gun. I really like the looks of the 329 but how does it shoot? Is it as accurate as the 629 and 29. Is the action as smooth? Recoil should be stout but that is to be expected, but how bad is it? Any reviews would be helpful, thanks.

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August 2, 2003, 02:58 PM
John Ross has posted that he loves his.

Wildalaska says that up in big griz country they are selling like sno-cones in hell.

I'm intrigued by them, and am definitely planning on getting one. All of them that I have handled have had the heavy/gritty DA that seems to be endemic to Ti/Scan wheelies out-of-the-box, but five minutes of 'smithing and some Wolff springs should clear that right on up.

August 2, 2003, 05:41 PM
I've shot it... put three Winchester 250gr. Partition Golds through it and laid the gun down, with my arm warning me VERY LOUDLY that I was facing incipient carpal tunnel syndrome! Man, that thing HURT!

If I ever buy one, it will be for use as a .44 Special gun - NOT a .44 Magnum! :what: :uhoh: :eek:

Dave T
August 2, 2003, 11:41 PM
Manager of a local shop got the first one they sold back (traded in after six shots). He was curious and since it was fired took one round of factory (I believe he said Federal) 240g JHP into the tunnel and fired one round. He looked me in the face and said his elbow hurt for three days. This guy is built like a fireplug and is anything but a wimp.

I honestly don't get the point of the ultra-lights. So you can carry it anywhere. If you can't hit (and you won't if you don't practice) what is the point???

There must be a market as Smith is selling them. As always YMMV!

August 3, 2003, 07:56 PM
How about the same gun in 45 Colt - a 325 I guess?

August 3, 2003, 09:16 PM
Recoil wise jumps more than a Mountain Gun but hurts less..I dont find any 44 "fun" anyway...

Ive never shot one with less than 300 grain HSM loads (nominal 1250fps)...white box win seems to work ok, Win 260 grain Noslers suffer back out probs as I have observed..


August 3, 2003, 09:54 PM
I'm thinking that with a bobbed hammer and .44 Maggie "Lite/Tactical" loads, it would maybe even eclipse my 296 as the "purfect purse piece". :cool:

August 3, 2003, 10:31 PM
I'm thinking that with a bobbed hammer and .44 Maggie "Lite/Tactical" loads, it would maybe even eclipse my 296 as the "purfect purse piece".

I need to start carrying a purse! :)

August 5, 2003, 03:55 AM
G'day Gulogulo1970, and et al.,

While I've not shot the 44 version. I do own the 357 mag version with the very short barrel. I can tell you from first hand experience that lighting off a 180 gr. Remington Core Loc 357 magnum hunting round was exhilarating to say the least. Myself and my other two shooting companions all experienced the same trigger finger trauma. The first joint on our trigger finger developed an impact blood blister from striking the bottom of the trigger guard under recoil. Note: this is not an enjoyable experience!

Not to be deterred, since I bought the little cannon, and to fully understand how to avoid this. I've determined that when shooting 'heavy' loads out of very light revolvers a good substantial grip is key to managing the recoil. [It is still very exciting/intense to shoot, just don't get blood blisters from blunt force trauma] Shooting this revolver in double action does mitigate the finger trauma. Apparently, when shooting in a double action mode you facilitate a solid grip as you are in the process of enhancing that grip when manipulating the trigger. That is not the case with single action operations where you can experience a somewhat compromised grip strength.

Since learning this fact, that is how I now practice with this 'hand cannon'. Firing it single action is simply out of the scope of this person's practice sessions. Now I will admit that I simply do not put as many rounds through this carry weapon as some of my others. I do enough to satisfy my needs.

If you do have the opportunity to try one of these new lite weight wonders out, hold on! Good luck to ya! Cheers!

Robert inOregon
August 5, 2003, 05:22 AM
......"purfect purse piece".

We need these!

August 5, 2003, 10:49 AM
We need these!

Yeah, what's the story on those pug-nose 625's anyway?

August 5, 2003, 12:11 PM
Tam, it's a special run by the S&W Performance Center for Lew Horton, with a Scandium frame and nicely tweaked. Details are here (

Lew Horton's sells it for - wait for it - $1,109.95!!! :what: Details here (

August 5, 2003, 12:13 PM
Yeah, I piddled with the ones they had at SHOT, but haven't seen one in the wild yet. (So to speak... ;) )

August 5, 2003, 02:46 PM
Thanks for the imput. I'm almost afraid of the gun now. I was going to shoot a Georgia Arms load that pushed a 240 grain lead bullet at about 1100 feet per second. I'm wondering how bad the recoil would be with that load? It seems like a meduim power load. People have said it would shoot 44 specials fairly comfortably.
I'm just going to use the gun as a hog and bear back-up gun and for hiking. I probably will not hunt with it. I will also load it for home & camping defense. Would I be better served with 4" Mountain gun or the 3" Trail Boss? I really have a want for .44 Smith, I just don't want to have buyers remorse after I spend a bunch of money.

August 5, 2003, 10:51 PM
I've owned a titanium 357 that had a very hard bite to it. I've fired one of these devils and it made my 454 SRH (300 gr XTP's) seem mild. The 454 pushes a little harder, but doesn't bite near as hard. The 329 is more of a wrist-wrecking snap.

August 5, 2003, 11:49 PM
Aw come on guys dont be wusses it aint that bad...


August 6, 2003, 12:01 AM
I want one. I played with one at J&G Sports in Prescot AZ, the last time I was at Gunsite. It doesn't have to be practical for me to want one.

August 6, 2003, 07:18 AM
Obviously, opinions regarding recoil are highly subjective. BUT...

I found the recoil on the 329 to be plenty stiff, but not intolerable. As stated in a previous thread, I bought the gun strictly for backpacking in the high country and I believe it's the perfect piece for that duty. I put 12 factory rounds through the gun before I decided to buy. BTW - for anyone who's interested I paid $689.98.

Will I shoot it often? No. But, I'm confident enough in my revolver skills that I doubt that fear of extreme recoil will keep me from hitting close to the mark if the situation mandates.


John Ross
August 6, 2003, 08:08 AM
Broken record mode on...

The key to this gun is hi-tech rubber grips THAT COVER THE BACKSTRAP like Pachmayr Decelerator Grippers. With them, 250s @ 1000 are pleasant, 240s @ 1400 are tolerable, and 320s @ 1200 are unpleasant but can still be shot with acceptable accuracy, i.e. 4" @ 25 yds. offhand.

NEITHER of the supplied grips are a good choice for this gun. I would advise not even firing the gun one shot until the Decelerators are installed. Seriously. You will probably hate it and that impression will be stuck in your mind forever.

Carry the 329 everywhere, and put 12 or 18 rounds of full loads through it every time you go to the range to stay current with it. Use a steel .44 for your high volume shooting.

My 329 is closing in on 1000 rounds of full power loads, which is an average of 3 cylinders 3x/week.


August 6, 2003, 12:31 PM
Funny thing John, the only way I have ever shot em is with the wood grips (albite only a few cylinders)....still not bad


August 6, 2003, 02:15 PM
Thanks guys for the information. Hey, stellarpod, where did you find it for that price? That is pretty cheap. I really want one, I don't really need one. You guys know how it is... Gun sickness, it's like Lay's Potato Chips, you can't own just one.

August 6, 2003, 07:13 PM

I bought the gun at H&H Indoor Gun Range here in Oklahoma City during their factory rep demo days a couple of weeks ago. They're a pretty good bunch of folks and do a great service to the community by projecting a highly positive image of the shooting community.

Although they're not always the lowest price in town, I've found their level of service to be as good as it gets. And on this particular occassion, the price for the 329PD wasn't bad at all!

We're fortunate to have a number of highly competitive gun stores in this neck of the woods. I patronize all of them far too much... :D

H&H Indoor Gun Range (


August 6, 2003, 11:06 PM
Tamara I'm thinking that with a bobbed hammer and .44 Maggie "Lite/Tactical" loads, it would maybe even eclipse my 296 as the "purfect purse piece".

I just have to ask. Have you thought about having Bowen making you a uber light 45lc/454 that uses full moon clips? So you could have one way ammo comminality with your 1911? :)

Chuck Perry
August 8, 2003, 02:33 PM
I just brought mine home about an hour ago. Bought a box of Blazer 44 Specials to try it out. I'll post as soon as I've had a chance to fire it.

August 8, 2003, 09:35 PM
OK here is an Factory ammo report for you based on what we have seen or have had reported to us to you know ammo without a good crimp will back out and be unusable...

Win white box 240s..OK
Win Supreme 250 Partitions...backed out
Federal 300 cast cores..backed out
UMC 44...Backed out
Blazer 44...Backed out, but one report also said OK
HSM 300 grains ..OK
Buffalo Bore 300 grain..backed out

Seems that factory ammo needs a good crimpin to hold...will try to report about Garret and Remington ammo, although Garret ammo is real scarce up here (probably due to lack of demand)...

Note...each gun is different and the aove may not be true in your 329...

Gonna get some CorBon to try...


Chuck Perry
August 8, 2003, 09:59 PM
Sounds like a job for- LEE FACTORY CRIMP DIE!!!! On a different note, I carried the big Smith concealed for a few hours tonight while shopping with the family. Carries nice, hardly notice it. Does shift around a bit, needs a decent IWB instead of just jamming it in your waist. Just too cool to carry a 4" 44 Magnum concealed.

August 8, 2003, 10:21 PM
Garret ammo is real scarce up here

I haven't seen anyone stock it at all! I thought you had to order it unless you found some at a gunshow.

August 9, 2003, 12:49 PM
Yet another reason for handloading - the expander plug needs to be turned down at least .005" smaller than bullet diameter, to get a tight bullet fit in the case. A tight crimp by itself isn't enough to stop bullets backing out.

I'm thinking 250 Keiths at 1200 fps, myself for black bears, and 200 Speers at 1200 fps for varmints, two or four legged.

That said, I'd like to have a 329, but the local shop has one at $917, and I will wait for the next sale.

Chuck Perry
August 9, 2003, 03:36 PM
Whew! I got mine for $689.

John Ross
August 10, 2003, 06:47 AM
re: Bullet Pull

Cor-Bon 300-whatevers pull badly in this gun. I have never had one of my cast loads pull, not even a 320 @ 1200, or a 250 @ 1150 in an 18-ounce 396 (worse recoil than the 329 with 320s). Cast slugs have a deeper crimp groove than the little cannelure on most jacketed bullets.


November 27, 2006, 03:14 AM
Any updates on the 329?

I have a 4" 629 and am seriously thinking about adding a 329, plan to have it mag na ported if I get the 329. Most practice would be with the 629 which is unported.

The 329 would be more for carry when hiking and such when a 357 or 10mm doesn't seem like enough.

November 27, 2006, 05:48 PM
My son-in-law and I jointly purchased a 329 several months ago. It is no surprise that a TiScan gun in 44 magnum will have substantial recoil and, make no mistake, the 329 certainly does. It is certainlly not the hand numbing, wrist mangling, arm twisting stuff that is mentioned here but it is substantial. I bought a grip for it made for the 500 S&W and affixed it to the 329 and it makes a world of difference. Still quite a bit of recoil but the gun is a lot more manageble than with either of the factory grips that come with it. For carrying a back up gun in the wilderness the 329 just can't be beat and the Hogue grips make a lot of difference.

November 27, 2006, 06:43 PM
I've had my 329 for almost 3 years now. Regular factory 240 gr. loads are stout, but tolerable. The stiffest load I've tried is the Federal castcore (300 gr., I think). Lots of recoil with those. I don't like to shoot .44 specials in mine, when I want lighter loads I use the cowboy action .44 mag stuff (I'm not a reloader, but it certainly would be useful with the cost of .44 ammo). It's sighted in with 240 grain Hornady loads right now, for the deer season. Maybe someday...

It's not a revolver that I that shoot a lot, but it's certainly one that I like to carry when I'm in bear country. I shoot it enough to keep my hand in, and practice a lot more with a Model 28. I believe that proficency with about any 4" S&W revolver, particularly one built on the same size frame, goes a long way to being proficient with other models. Even practice with a 4" model 15 is helpful.

The trigger on mine is superb. Not quite as good as my early 70s Model 28, but it's plenty good enough. I wouldn't think of using the word "gritty" to describe it.

I've shot it with both the factory wood and rubber grips. I've settled for the rubber, although I really don't see a lot of difference, I'm just trying to keep the wood grips in nice condition, I suppose. The idea of using a set of grips from a .500 sounds interesting.

One thing to consider about the magna-porting option is the noise level. Every ported gun I've ever shot (not many, admittedly) was significantly louder to the shooter than an unported version. Not sure what that would do to ones hearing in the great outdoors with no ear protection. I'd hate to be deafened right after a bear attack.

I paid $600 at Popguns in Indy one day when they had a $100 off sale. Didn't have to think about that one too long!

If you're looking for a good backcountry .44, I heartly recommend it. And the endorsement by WildAlaska is a heck of a lot more significant than mine.


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