Various 629s


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TwoNiner
February 7, 2011, 03:20 PM
I'm on the hunt for a good pre-lock 629 for camping and backpacking. It seems that S&W had made a variety of 629s, including 3 inch, 4 inch (mountain gun comes to mind), a 6 inch and IIRC, a 2.5 inch? I also recently came across a sold ad that said 'backpacking gun'; I believe it had a 3 inch barrel.

I'd like to get a little more familiar with the types of 629s offered throughout the years by S&W , and if available, the weights of these tools. I'm especially interested in the shorter barrel models that would be suitable for back packing. I have a 6" but believe it is a little too bulky for my purpose.

Would any of the 629 aficionados out there mind filling me in? Thanks in advance and I look forward to your replies.

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Ken451
February 8, 2011, 01:01 PM
IMO the terms like "backpacking gun", "mountain gun", etc. are nothing but advertising hype by the marketing folks and are meaningless except as catch phrases to separate you from your money.

I might want a .44 for backcountry use where large bears where a real concern. I would stick in the 3-4" range. Bigger than that and it becomes challenging to carry with a pack. Going to the real short barrels trades effectiveness for lots of flash and boom (as do the short, ported guns).

As for weights, sticking with a steel gun, you can look at current 4" specs and interpolate from there for other lengths. There should only be a few ounces difference per inch.

If I were not concerned about large bears, I'd stick with something else like a .357 or a .45.

Realize that the older (pre late 80s IIRC) 629s were not made for a steady diet of hot, heavy loads. The SW "Magnum Upgrade Project" beefed up the designs. I have a 629-3 P&R and I will not shoot heavy loads in it, that's what I have a Ruger for. More recent 629s (-5? or -6? and up) should be okay.

Ken

Sam1911
February 8, 2011, 01:30 PM
terms like "backpacking gun", "mountain gun", etc. are nothing but advertising hype by the marketing folks and are meaningless except as catch phrases to separate you from your money.

This isn't necessarily true. Or even usually true.

The "Mountain Gun" is a specific style of 629 -- pencil barrel, half-lug. Lighter than the full-barrel, half-lug version like mine.

The Magna Classic, Backpacker, Carry Comp (and CC II), Combat Magnum, and so on generally indicate some package of features. Round -vs.- square butt, a certain barrel length, type of grips, length of the underlug, etc. These packages were either production runs, Performance Center short runs, or sometimes special runs for distributors like Lew Horton.

Here's a very informative treatise that covers some of the names you'll hear: http://www.sixguns.com/range/SmithWesson44Mag.htm

Ken451
February 8, 2011, 01:47 PM
This isn't necessarily true. Or even usually true.

But is a "Mountain" gun better for on a mountain than a "Backpacker"? Is a "Backpacker" better than a "Mountain gun" for backpacking? They are just marketing terms designed to perk up someone's interest.

Does someone need different guns for when they are in the mountains than when they are backpacking?

Not saying that the variations are worthless, I'm just arguing that they colorful terms are more hype than anything else.

Sam1911
February 8, 2011, 01:53 PM
Uh. Okay. But they ARE descriptive terms that indicate specific things. If the OP wants to know about the different options packages offered by S&W, et al., then knowing what makes a "Mountain Gun" different from a "Magna Classic" or from a "Backpacker" might just make sense.

After all, a name's just a name, right?

What's the difference between a Model 10 and a 500? One just has an over-hyped name that makes it sound 50 times more impressive! (?) It still may be a good idea to figure out what the names mean before you go buy one.

halfmoonclip
February 8, 2011, 10:49 PM
Don't have a Mountain Gun, but I do have a 3" 625. I gotta tell you that after any kind of serious walking, even allowing for a stiff holster and rigid belt, it gets to be an iron lump.
Better decide just how big you need to go. I owned a Judge for about two months; just too big/heavy to tote for snakes and bears. It may be that the alloy framed ones are handier.
Currently using a 340SC as a hiker; light and easy to carry, reasonably effective on snakes, and it might do you some good as a last ditch bear gun with heavy magnum loads. If your gun is too big or heavy to always have with you, then you are apt not to take it. Too, I often walk on bike trails; yuppies get excited when they see a big iron on your hip. Better to keep it concealed.
That said, some Norwegians skied to the North Pole using sleds; they carried 4" M29s as PDWs, and they killed a polar bear that had stalked them for two days. One guy shot the bear, the other took pictures. When weight is critical, a couple revolvers are still lighter than a rifle.
Moon

Ken451
February 8, 2011, 11:35 PM
The 3" 625 shouldn't be any heavier than a steel 1911 (40 oz). Many people carry them all the time for CCW (as I have). If you had that much trouble, maybe you needed a better holster or something. A 40 oz gun isn't bad.

Ken

Sam1911
February 9, 2011, 07:49 AM
Agreed. I've done numerous half-day hikes with a 4" 629 in a belt holster and never found it tiresome, but that's going to be a highly individual thing. (Helped by a good holster and a GREAT belt.)

71Commander
February 9, 2011, 09:14 AM
Agreed. I've done numerous half-day hikes with a 4" 629 in a belt holster and never found it tiresome, but that's going to be a highly individual thing. (Helped by a good holster and a GREAT belt.)

That's the key to carrying any gun. A good belt and holster. Never go cheap on these two items. It's the difference between carrying a gun and leaving it at home.

CraigC
February 9, 2011, 11:25 AM
Regardless of how you feel about the names they place on certain guns or configurations, the term "Mountain Gun", derived from the earlier "Mountain Revolver" is a very specific configuration, with very specific characteristics unavailable on other variations. Does that mean you should choose your weapon according to its name? Of course not, that would be silly, just as silly as judging a configuration by its name. The MG differs from any other 629 in that it has a full 4" barrel, the length many of us consider to be minimum for "sporting" purposes but the slim profile is that of the earlier guns like the 1950 Target and a pinned black ramp. As opposed to the standard 629's bull barrel and integral orange insert front sight. This knocks a couple ounces off the weight with no loss in sight radius and IMHO, is much more attractive with much better sights. So while you may think the "marketing terms" are silly, we know exactly what one is referring to when they use those terms. Just like we know that the Backpacker has a 3" bull barrel. Or was that a 2"?

Action_Can_Do
February 10, 2011, 03:02 AM
I was interested in getting a 629 mountain gun a few years ago. I was disappointed when I finally got to handle one. It wasn't much lighter than a 4 inch 629 and had a narrow trigger that I just didn't like. That, plus it was a hundred dollars more than the standard 629. I didn't buy it.

Ken451
February 10, 2011, 07:31 AM
I was interested in getting a 629 mountain gun a few years ago. I was disappointed when I finally got to handle one. It wasn't much lighter than a 4 inch 629 and had a narrow trigger that I just didn't like. That, plus it was a hundred dollars more than the standard 629. I didn't buy it.
I have a very nice older ("standard") 4" 629-3 (P&R) with the target trigger and hammer. It's a very nice gun. I would consider carrying it occassionally except it has the square butt and the wide target stocks. I don't know of any stocks which would slim down the butt. I have had it in a holster for a short while and it didn't feel any different than a 1911 as far as weight goes.

Ken

David E
February 10, 2011, 03:21 PM
I don't know of any stocks which would slim down the butt.

The Hogue Monogrip and Pachmayers do, among others.

Ken451
February 10, 2011, 03:42 PM
The Hogue Monogrip and Pachmayers do, among others.
Thanks, I'll take a look.

Ken

buttrap
February 11, 2011, 12:19 AM
If I recall the Mtn Gun goes at 39 oz. Pretty much the same as a standard .45 1911.

Cocked & Locked
February 11, 2011, 11:29 PM
Here's some pics of my 629-5 pre-lock 2.5" fixed sights gun. 300 of these were made in year 2000 for Camfour Dist. Co. Rubber Hogue Mono-grips were the factory grip.

I've got Graig Spegel grips on it in these pics.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259637/390177500.jpg

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/6259637/390177498.jpg

halfmoonclip
February 12, 2011, 11:32 AM
Fellers, got an ElPaso holster and a good stiff belt for the 3" 625, and it's not that the gun is impossible to tote. You're just aware that it is there; perhaps not such a bad thing at times.
My point is that I'm not in a terribly high risk situation, and the 340SC is painless to carry in terms of convenience and wardrobe. Were I in backcountry Alaska, I'd have a different view. But for a trail walk in Westsylvania, I don't feel the need for more than the little J-gun. Did encounter a rattlesnake so big that I wouldn't shoot it with a handgun; a 12ga would have been more to the point, but that is the exception. It's the tradeoff you accept.
Fully concur on the idea of using names to describe various Smith models; numbers are just numbers, despite the hype attendant to the names. Doubt that they could sell too many pistols named 'Chickgun Special'. Well, maybe to some chicks....:D
Moon

joed
February 12, 2011, 12:18 PM
I still have 1 629-1 with a 6" barrel. Also have a MG as a 29. The MG is lighter and easier to carry but the lighter barrel doesn't help when you're shooting the heavier loads. My MG really sees use with lighter loads between the Spl and Mag.

The earlier models like the -1 and -2 were designed for a 240 gr bullet and not the 300 gr bullets some people like. S&W beefed up the later models to handle the heavier bullets with what is called the Endurance package. This came out on the later -3 and -4 models.

When I bought my first .44 Mag, a 629-1 the I talked to the gunsmith before buying it. He told me to stay away from the 300 gr bullets and the gun would last forever. I've followed that rule and shoot only 250 gr bullets through all my .44's, even the Spls. Even out of the Spls the 250 gr bullet can knock down just about anything I would want to tangle with.

Ken451
February 12, 2011, 12:19 PM
Doubt that they could sell too many pistols named 'Chickgun Special'. Well, maybe to some chicks....

My wife wanted a LadySmith when she got her CHL.

Sam1911
February 12, 2011, 03:28 PM
My wife wanted a LadySmith when she got her CHL. I would have no problem at all carrying some of the LadySmiths I've seen. WONDERFUL guns. There's one in our for-sale section that almost has me willing to start selling blood to come up with the cash...http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=566414&highlight=ladysmith

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