I’m mostly interested in the older models but I handled one of these in a story the other day and I kinda like the idea of it way it handles and the idea of a 5 round smaller 44. Any thoughts or comments?
I have been seriously considering a .44 revolver purchase. I have looked into the model 69 and the 2.75" barrel version is pretty sweet. But... I've been looking real hard at the model 629. Never shot one but if it feels right in your hand....and remember to post some pics after you get it.
I figure it would mostly be specials from what I read magnums can be a real handful in the smaller L frame and short barrel depending on load. There is something about 4 inch N frames, I usually prefer them but the one locally is a 6 and it’s immaculate. I don’t they’re going to sell it any time soon either.
Here are a few. I don't hunt and concealed carry other models so three are range guns and two are just 'cause. I shoot only 44 specials or reduced 44 mag loads in these.
First the shooters...
A model 629, fine gun easy and fun to shoot but not exactly a pocket gun...it's big and heavy.
Model 29MG...Mountain Gun. Slightly lighter than the standard 29 because of the tapered barrel, Easy to handle, point and shoot. Very nice gun.
Model 69, 2.75"...Handles 44 Specials just fine w/mild loads, smooth DA trigger out of the box, light single action. Has a third cylinder lock on the yoke...very secure lockup. Down sides that some do not like...it has the dreaded lock and a two piece barrel. If those features are not a factor, it's a fine gun.
The "just 'cause" guns,,,
The obligatory "Dirty Harry" gun...a must have for any dedicated S&W afficionado
I’ve had a 4.25” Model 69 for a couple of years. I really like it, and it’s one of my very favorite S&Ws. It’s also the only .44 magnum I’ve kept very long.
I don’t live among bears, and got too crippled and (mostly) lazy to do much hunting twenty years ago. So any .44 Mag I’d buy would be for carry or fun. That certainly influences my opinion.
Every other .44 Mag I’ve had has been larger than I’d like to carry. They also beat me too much to be fun. Loading them down made them more fun to shoot but there wasn’t much I could do about the size.
The 69 is different. I don’t mind carrying it at all, even IWB. I know the cylinder diameter isn’t that much smaller than an N-frame but it’s sure enough to feel.
Recoil always gets discussed with the Model 69. When it comes to recoil, I make no excuses. I’ll say it: I’m a recoil pansy. I don’t like excessive recoil. While some do, I see no fun in shooting the hand-pounders for the sake of recoil.
I said that to say this: If there is a difference in recoil between the 29/629 and 69, I can’t measure it.
I know in my head the 69 should sting a bit more, but my hands and arms don’t know it. I’ve read some say it may be due to the lower bore axis of the L Frame. I don’t know, but that could be. Who knows? Maybe to me, after a certain point it’s all the same miserable feeling.
But the fact is, I can shoot the 69 as much in one session as any other .44 Mag I’ve had. I’ve definitely shot it more in total, and shoot it better.
If it does recoil more than an N-frame, it’s worth it because it’s a much handier gun for me. Before, I’ve thought of my .44 Magnums as special purpose guns: For hunting certain game. With the 69, it’s handy enough that I can use the versatility of the cartridge better.
Simply put, I consider it a more useful gun.
Carrying a big 29 with .44 Spl-level ammo, even stouter ones, makes little sense to me, but it seems natural in the 69. I also loaded it with my heavy 320 grain loads when in a national park a year or so ago, and that seemed natural for it too.
I've have a 629 and the 69, and for me, the 69 is much easier to carry around. It is also fun to shoot. I've been working up to a stout .44 Special load/very light .44 Mag load in .44 mag cases to use in it at around 900-1000 fps w/ 240 grs. cast bullets, to avoid/reduce powder residue in the chambers with the shorter round.