Considering a 44 Magnum


May 3, 2013, 04:14 PM
It's been 35 years since I wrote a sentence like that...

I had a Smith Model 29 6-inch barrel back in the 70s and enjoyed what little I shot of it. Back then I was wheeling and dealing and didn't keep it long, though. Sure, it had recoil, but I felt it more as a barrel rise than a palm impact, if that's understandable, and had no problem with it.

I'm thinking of it again, but this time maybe in four-inch, still in the older M29. I still want double action and a half-lugged barrel - mostly that's for appearance sake, as I don't expect to rapid fire with it.

What do I intend to do with it? Realistically, probably not much, but as an excuse for a purchase, think for use on Texas feral hogs.

Comments are welcome, as are gel performance and penetration data.


If you enjoyed reading about "Considering a 44 Magnum" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 3, 2013, 05:15 PM
I have a four inch Model 29 and prefer it over the six inch. Seems to carry better in a holster and I cant tell much difference in performance. I can also attest to the fact that it can penetrate all the way though a Texas feral hog, or whitetail, without any trouble at all. I also carry two cylinders of birdshot for the rattle type critters.... Good luck in your search

May 3, 2013, 07:52 PM
Thanks. Do you have any links to gel penetration data?

May 3, 2013, 07:55 PM
I bought a Ruger Redhawk 4" a couple of years ago and really like it. I replaced the grips rhat came on it with a set of Pachmayr Decelerators. They fit my hand much better. That said I would love to add a 629 Smith & Wesson Mountain gun to the collection one day....

May 4, 2013, 01:38 PM
go to for gel tests.


May 4, 2013, 01:49 PM

Yeah, thanks, I did that, but I'm looking for another also. Brassfetcher's shows it exiting the block (though they do give depth of penetration in the tables).

May 4, 2013, 01:56 PM
I jest sold 4 44 mag 2 4 in 2 6 in for 825.00 each. I am getting on in my years so I decided to sale some of my guns 37 Smith and Dan Wesson Most was Smith's I keep one 44 mag. I love the 44-4 in and my 41 mag 4 in.

May 5, 2013, 04:05 AM
I have an azzload of Smith 44's but kept looking long and hard for a "cheap" 4" M29 to run around the woods of north Idaho and just recently landed this one for $500 (and I am a fan of nickel!). Keep looking, know what a quality piece is and expect to pay up to $750 or so. It will be money well invested should your desire change. (

May 5, 2013, 08:44 AM
Dirty Harry liked his 44, too!!!!

May 5, 2013, 09:15 AM
Boxhead, it appears we think alike!

Jaywalker's Rules for investing:
1. Never buy anything that isn't a good deal;
2. Never buy anything you don't mind getting stuck with if you were wrong about Rule #1.

May 5, 2013, 10:38 AM
I have both a 4" and 6" M-29's. There is total world in difference in the world when shooting them.

The 6" has been Mag-na-ported and is very controllable shooting one handed with magnum loads. I even shot a deer once that was standing under my deer stand hanging halfway out while holding onto the tree with the other hand.

The 4" is a brute. It is all business and demands your attention with same full power loads.

So it boils down to whether you are Clint Eastwood "Magnum Force" or Nick Nolte "48 Hours" fan.

May 5, 2013, 10:55 AM
I shoot my 1959 vintage, 4' model 29, the most of all my .44's. Dunno why, I just like shooting it. Went to the range the other day and I was shooting it at the 300 yard plate.

While I didn't hit it too many times, I know I scared it plenty. AND I had a lot of fun doing it next to all the others that were trying it with their benched and scoped rifles.

When I carry it hiking, it rides in this vintage Bianchi holster.

May 5, 2013, 11:52 AM
I don't know how I'll feel about shooting full power loads from a four-inch barrel, since I've never done it. It should be easier to carry than a six-inch barrel, though. If I don't like it, I can either back the loads down as far as necessary, or buy 44 Special loads, or sell it. There isn't much downside that I can see.

May 5, 2013, 02:54 PM
I've got a 4" Ruger Redhawk. I know it's not a M29 but still one hell of a revolver. I don't ever feed it a steady diet. But I've ran buffalo bores 305 gr HC lead through it and while the recoil was certainly substantial, I still managed to keep on target. Plus the stinging in your wrists goes away eventually lol!

May 5, 2013, 04:33 PM
A 5" 629 Classic is hard to beat. For some reason the 4" seems too short and the 6" feels too long. The 5" is juuuuust right.:D

May 5, 2013, 05:22 PM
highpower, I like your setup, including those dark grips.

There are other models besides the M29 variants, and probably some that will take full power loads better, but they wouldn't be what I'm looking for. I just like the Smith better.

May 5, 2013, 08:48 PM
Fan of the 4" "N" frames here.
I've a pair of 629-4 "Mountain Guns"; last of the no MIM, no lock guns.

These have accounted for a boatload of hogs and several Whitetail.

I shoot a "moderate" load with a 255 gr. KTSWC (gas check) @ just under 1100 fps. It's comfortable to shoot offhand and provides deep penetration.

May 5, 2013, 10:23 PM
I'm a fan of the 44 only I like the SBH I Preferr a single action you can't go wrong with a 44.

May 6, 2013, 06:04 AM
One of my favorites, 5" M29-2. (

May 6, 2013, 06:15 AM
If I was looking for a Model 29I would be sorely tempted to serach around for a 5" barrel model as well. To me, in an N frame, that's like the perfect balance between the carrying convenience of the 4" barrel and the extra velocity and heft of the 6" barrel.

May 6, 2013, 06:49 AM
HunterShooter - nice looking 629 Mountain Guns ! I had one just like yours that I traded away in a fit of stupidity many years ago. Thats why I keep all of them now.

I do have a Mountain Gun in 45 Colt. Someday I'll get another 44 Mag version. A no lock pre MIM gun will cost me a lot more than the one I traded away. Oh well.

May 6, 2013, 08:30 AM
I think I'd go for a five-inch barrel with the half lug. I don't see any of those for sale, though.

May 6, 2013, 09:18 AM
I think I'd go for a five-inch barrel with the half lug. I don't see any of those for sale, though.
Jay, I agree. Wish more manufacturers offered that configuration in .357 as well...

May 6, 2013, 09:44 AM
I've been considering one as well.

Although it will likely be the end of the year before I buy a new gun, I'm almost positive it's either going to be a Taurus 44 or 608 - they both have the same large frame, but one is an 8-shot .357 while the other is a 6-shot .44; I already own a .357 so it's going to come down to whether I want to add another caliber onto the list, or whether I want an 8-shot 357 added to the list.

May 6, 2013, 12:39 PM
Over the last 30 years I've consistently moved down the power range. I used to have the one 44 mag I mentioned and several 357s, starting with a 1961 Combat Magnum, then a Model 19, then a couple of Colt's in 357, including a Python or two and a Trooper, I think. I also had a Bulldog 44 when they first came out. Then there were several 1911 models in 45. I sold all of them in the 1980s. The biggest thing I have now is a Browning 9mm.

It finally occurred to me - I'm sure the 9mm is enough, but what if I'm wrong?

So, in the spirit of "go big or go home," mine will be the 44.

May 6, 2013, 08:55 PM
I own four .44 mags (that I can think of right off the top of my head). Well I guess I also have a .44 mag Ruger carbine. S&W 29 4', S&W 629 3", Ruger Super Blackhawk 7 1/2", and (of all things) a Herters.

One thing that occured to me early on is that the .44 Magnum cartridge seems to be very accurate. Every .44 I have ever owned seems to be above average in the accuracy department with any load I happened to be using at the time.

May 6, 2013, 11:39 PM
If you want to achieve the maximum power out of the .44mag then you need a Ruger.

May 7, 2013, 08:34 AM
InkEd, I don't particularly want to achieve max power. I want to achieve factory 44 Mag power occasionally but will normally shoot at lower power levels. That's plenty for my realistically non-existent needs.

I think it will be great to shoot again with a crisp Smith trigger, AND not have to chase brass. I've been missing that for the last 30 years.

May 8, 2013, 07:17 PM
Hey Jaywalker, even Harry Callahan shot .44Spl loads from his Magnum.... :D

That's the great thing about the big cartridges. Because they are expensive to buy they pretty much demand that we reload for them. And when we reload it's just as easy to make "strong enough" loads for the majority of our fun as it is to make full power "wrist wreckers".

The great thing is that my own lower power loads tend to feel more like a big push than a sharp snap like I get from my 9mm handguns. So they really do provide a widely different sort of shooting experience.

Deaf Smith
May 9, 2013, 10:30 PM
Nut'en better than a good .44. Especially the older ones.

And I prefer the older ones to. And load them down to a 240 at 1000 fps or so.


May 10, 2013, 12:04 AM
I've been playing with some lead 240gn SWC "plinker" loads that are intended to be up around 1100. Nice bump to the hands so I still know that I'm shooting a big bore. But easy to shoot all day long without fatigue or shock to the nerves from my big SBH.

Cocked & Locked
May 10, 2013, 09:07 AM
6" Colt Anaconda

4" S&W 29-3

6.5" S&W 29-2 GT Distributors

2.5" S&W 629-5 Camfour Distributors

May 10, 2013, 10:59 AM
Very nice array of Model 29's!

Yes, I love the crispness of the Smith triggers compared to my old trusty 7 1/2" Redhawk.

But my Redhawk has seen about 25 years of mostly H110 style 180gr JHP's running at about 95% of maximum load.

I did have a problem 12 years ago and had to send her back to the factory.
Seems I was getting light primer strikes. I made it clear to Ruger that I shot primarily handloads. Told them, "Do what ever you think is necessary to bring her back to race form" and I will supply the credit card.

The gun came back in a brand new box after getting a new firing pin, pin spring and recoil plate.

Total charge: $00.00

That's one reason I have so many Rugers in the safe, but when it came to ultimate power, I chose an S&W 500 8 3/8"!

I do carry the Redhawk anywhere I go on vacation or in the back country.
I used to carry with full power 240 JHP's and or JSP's.
Now I load my own 300gr XTP's.

Good luck and I envy ya for getting a new gat.


May 10, 2013, 03:39 PM
I've also sent back a firearm to Ruger and received it back, post paid and "no charge." Mine was a M77MkII rifle with headspace problems, and I was happy they dealt with my problem.

I was less happy that they returned my tuned trigger to factory (gravel) specs, however. Since triggers are important to me, I generally avoid Ruger these days. I don't dislike their models, but once I get a trigger where I want it, I don't want anyone changing it back.

May 10, 2013, 07:12 PM
Cocked&Locked, that snubbie looks tempting - short barrel, fixed sights, good grips. What's that like with full-power loads?

May 10, 2013, 07:36 PM
Although not directed to me, I have a similar 629 2.625" Performance Center and shooting full power loads though my little fire breather is nothing short of extreme pain with wood stocks. I love the gun regardless, but for range enjoyment, I feed it reduced power .44 Special loaded in full length .44 Mag brass or CCI Blazer .44 Special GDHP's in 200gr.

May 10, 2013, 07:43 PM
gtmtnbiker98, thanks. I have no doubt I will, too, even with longer barrels.

Cocked & Locked
May 10, 2013, 07:51 PM
Cocked&Locked, that snubbie looks tempting - short barrel, fixed sights, good grips. What's that like with full-power loads?

It is not fun...painful. :eek: I've shot just one full-power round one time with those Spegel boot grips. They look good but don't feel good. Slow the 240 cast bullet down with a modest dose of Unique and those grips are OK.

When shooting the more powerful stuff I put a set of K-frame (yep, K-frame) Pachmayr Compaq grips on it.

Off topic, but here is the same type K-frame Pachmayr grip on another round butt N-frame snubby.

(627-PC 357mag)

May 10, 2013, 09:17 PM
That's the 627 PC I've been wanting for several months, now. My FFL simply can't luck into one! GB need not be mentioned. Envious, that's the exact same frame size as the 629 I mentioned above. I have an awesome customer leather holster for it, made by RGrizzle.

May 11, 2013, 05:10 PM
Picked this one up a while back but, not for the bargain price some others here paid. Where do you guys find them at such low prices?

May 12, 2013, 07:24 PM
I too love teh .44 mag. IMHO, the most versatile handgun ever made. I prefer Rugers but the Smiths are nice. I have a four inch Redhawk and I love it. It is brute strong. The Redhawk trigger sucks from the factory but with some work (springs and polishing) are quite nice.

I was just called by my LGS on Friday. I was told my Bisley Blackhawk Hunter just arrived after almost a year of waiting..... This is strictly going to be a hunting handgun. Like, I needed another large bore magnum... Luckily, my old lady does not have the combo to my safe. If she saw what I bought in the last year she would kill me :evil:

May 18, 2013, 04:51 AM
As revolvers go the 44 mag is my favorite.

Actually haven't found a gun I don't like.

But if were limited to just one I feel the 44 mag is the most versatile.

Really like those Colts BTW.;)

May 18, 2013, 09:50 AM
I realized a few months ago that I have all the handguns I need. I have a boat anchor hand canon, full size semiautos and revolvers for home defense and range fun, down to pocket sized revolvers and semis for CC.

I am now a purchaser that buys guns I want, and don't necessarily need.

So IMO, you need no support from us, you need no reason other than want if you have the funds available, and you are certainly aware of the utility of a .44 mag.

I say go for it, enjoy, and don't look back.

S&W or Ruger would be my choices. I've had all bad experiences with Taurus revolvers.

May 18, 2013, 10:06 AM
Just a thought...... This is a picture of the 686 Performance Center I just picked up. They do make a 629 version as well. If you can afford it, I think you'd love it. I haven't gotten to shoot mine yet though....... Work. It seems to me to be the most adaptable full size range/competition/HD revolver design out there except for maybe the Dan Wesson multi length interchangeable barrel revolvers from the past. And there is a noticable difference with muzzle heft when you start playing with the weight system. You can balance this gun many different ways.

May 18, 2013, 11:09 AM
I've had a burning desire for one of those for quite some time! Same problem though, I've never come across one that was priced low enough to overcome my budget constraints. Someday....

Picked this one up a while back but, not for the bargain price some others here paid. Where do you guys find them at such low prices?


May 18, 2013, 01:18 PM
Interesting, the Performance Center concept. I'm more normally a basic-simplicity type, but realistically it won't be an SD model anyway, so I'll give that some thought. At least I wouldn't have to remove the rear sight to get to the drill-and-tapped sight holes underneath, and I had been considering a Red Dot Sight of some sort, anyway. I'll think about it.

May 18, 2013, 02:45 PM
here's a pic of the M29-2 I use to own: (

and here's my 5" 629: (
and another of it next to a blunderbuss I use to have: (

The 29 had the nicest trigger of any gun I've ever shot, but I wanted something stainless and easier to carry while hiking, and originally planned on getting a 4" 629. After handling a 4" 629 (and all the other S&W .44mags) though, I bought the 5" instead because it balanced so much better than the 4" or the longer barreled guns. It's my favorite handgun and probably the most accurate as well, but anymore I'm getting were I don't like big recoil and muzzle flash, so I haven't shot it for quite awhile now.

May 18, 2013, 03:22 PM
Just remember, the .44s are hard to handle as is so at least get a newer 629 with a blued front sight? The older ones with blued front sights are hard to see even with the red insert

If you enjoyed reading about "Considering a 44 Magnum" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!