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S&W 329 PD for bear protection

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Franco, Nov 6, 2011.

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  1. Franco

    Franco Member

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    Just returned from Montana elk hunting (what a beautiful country) but had a small run-in with a Griz. Nothing too dangerous as he was out 150 yds, smelled me and walked away. However, it did cause me to consider buying a 44 mag to carry on my next trip.

    I know these threads can get way off course so I'm not interested in hearing "carry pepper spray", "a 12 ga slug is best" or "carry a 45-70." I know that. :banghead::banghead: I just want something on my hip for when I don't have my rifle (e.g. going for a hike, fishing, going to the "bathroom" at 2am). I want something light but powerful and am considering the 329 PD 4" barrel which is scandium and titanium (only 25 oz) -- yes I know it will kick, I have several 44s in stainless that are bad enough. But, I won't be shooting for hours at the range and likely won't feel the recoil when a Griz is charging, etc. What gun to use isn't my question (just to keep this thread on track)

    The question is whether there are load limitations on the scandium/titanium guns that should make me consider carrying a heavier handgun. I normally shoot 240gr or 300gr Hornady XTP bullets with moderate loads out of my 629 (stainless, 6" barrel). I've heard (only second hand) that these scandium/titanium guns have to be loaded light but that would defeat the purpose (IMO). Any info you all may know of? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    The 329 will take whatever load you and your wrist can take. I had one (but let a friend talk me out of it when I bought a .500 S&W snubbie) and was using 240's at full tilt. It got your attention after six rounds, and most "lightweight" shooters I let shoot it didn't really want to shoot more than two or three. I think you'll like it, and REALLY like it for the purpose you have intended. I kind of miss it, as it was so nice to carry.
     
  3. WNC Seabee

    WNC Seabee Member

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    I enjoyed my 329PD. Ended up selling it because I couldn't justify keeping it AND the 5" 629. If I did a bunch of hiking in griz country I would have kept it for sure.

    I would suggest getting the Hogue X Frame grip, it makes a HUGE difference in shootability vs the wood or standard Hogue.

    I'd also suggest getting a plug for the internal lock.

    I gave mine a steady diet of 240gr XTP loaded under 23gr of H110.
     
  4. NickW

    NickW Member

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    I too was looking at the 329PD, but ended up getting the 329NG; in any event, the weapon has more than lived up to my performance expectations; however, I did have a problem with the first batch of hand loads and some cheap factory ammunition I fired through it; specifically, if a strong crimp is not placed on the shells the bullets will walk out of the brass due to the kinetic energy placed on them during violent recoil of a scandium framed weapon, resulting in the bullet sticking out just far enough to stop the cylinder from rotating. Note: I have not had this problem with quality factory loads.
     
  5. atblis

    atblis Member

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    It's in a whole other league from the steel cylinder and steel frame guns. IMO, It's bad enough to cause nerve damage with full tilt 44 mags. I mostly shoot trail boss cast lead poofers out of mine (and it still recoils even then).

    That being said, the 329PD is a joy to carry. It sounds exactly like what you're looking for.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  7. pintler

    pintler Member

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    The question is whether there are load limitations on the scandium/titanium guns that should make me consider carrying a heavier handgun.

    I've had a 329PD since they came out. I carry Garrett's 'Defender' load that is designed for it - 310 gr at 1020 FPS. I decided on that instead of his 1325 FPS load after talking to him. Even the 1020 FPS load will penetrate several feet, which is sufficient. Nominally it can shoot any SAAMI compliant load, but there is a controllability tradeoff.

    Be sure you have enough crimp. Get a set of those shooting gloves with a squishy pad :). I have hard plastic laser grips on mine, which aren't the best grips recoil wise. It's not bad with 44 special class loads, though.

    It's a great gun. I carry mine a couple of months a year; it's been rained on for days on end, fallen into streams with me, and is going strong except for a little holster wear. I'm a cut-the-toothbrush-in-half backpacker, so I would just leave a heavier gun at home. If you're just out for the afternoon, heavier all steel models are an option, but the 329 rules for longer trips where weight matters.
     
  8. oldrevolverguy

    oldrevolverguy Member

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    The 329PD I owned was miserable to shoot. I have fired tens of thousands of handgun ammunition, much of it hot 44 mag handloads and I am not recoil sensitive in the least. The 329PD in my opinion is too light for the caliber. It did not shoot well for me even off a sandbag rest with recoil dampening gloves. The gun shot itself out of time twice with less than 100 rounds through it, so it spent more time with Smith and Wesson gun repair than with me. If the 44 mag is enough cartridge for the situations you anticipate then I suggest a 4 inch 29/629. If you are in big bear country I personally prefer the Ruger Redhawk in 454 Casull. In Texas pigs are my biggest 4 legged concern so I carry a Glock 29 in 10MM. Your mileage may vary. Good luck.
     
  9. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Is a .44 magnum enough for a grizzly bear? I'm sure the noise and muzzle flash alone would be sufficient to catch most bears' attention, but if you've actually got to stop a bear right here and right now, would that be enough caliber? I'm no expert, but I'd have a few doubts.
     
  10. pintler

    pintler Member

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    Is a .44 magnum enough for a grizzly bear?

    Handguns certainly trade off ease of carry for effectiveness, but the 44 revolver you have beats the 458 rifle you don't. People have successfully used 44s on big bears. I have heard accounts of even smaller cartridges working (357, 45ACP), but the smaller cartridges don't really let you carry gun that's all that much lighter than a 329PD. If you're going to carry the weight of a Redhawk anyway, getting a 454 or whatever might be wise; you can always download it.
     
  11. DTesch357

    DTesch357 Member

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    454 Super Redhawk Alaskan.

    They carry quite easily, and you can plink with 45 colt for fun.
     
  12. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

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    329s require a soft rubber grip that covers the backstrap. Pachmayr makes 'em.

    I have no idea why 329s are sold with the grips that come with them.

    Buffalo Bore also makes a 329 load: 255 gr Keith doing 1240 outta a 329.
     
  13. EastKY_DO

    EastKY_DO Member

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    The newer 329's come with a rubber grip that covers the backstrap and make it a little wider also. I have acquired a set for mine and they do make a difference in felt recoil. The 329 is still rowdy with magnums in it, but it's better with the new grip. Specials are no problem at all.
     
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