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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the market for a new or used Smith in 44Mag. i plan on using it for a carry bear gun and would prefer it to be as light as possible. Basically 4" or shorter on the barrel. Any suggestions on what version to look for? Any ever made in 3"?
 

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Howdy and welcome to the Friendly Forum!

You are in luck.... Smith & Wesson has made many versions of shorter barreled .44 Mags that will fill your bill.

To me, a good belt gun is no longer than 4" and in that length you will have the carbon-steel 29 in Blue and Nickle, and 629 to choose from. The 629 which is stainless, is also available in a light barreled 4" version known as the Mountain Gun and it's pretty easy to pack. There was also a 3" model known as the "Trail Boss" and "The Backpacker" as well as some of the more obscure 29 & 629 issues from Lew Horton Distributors. I like the shootability of the heavier, non taper, 4" barreled standard 629 and don't find the extra weight an issue. I've worn one all over Maine, Texas and Alaska in all sorts of weather without problems.... these are adjustable sighted revolvers and fairly plentiful.

If you are looking for a fixed sight gun, your choices are somewhat limited, but there was a fixed sight 2 1/2" 629 with a round butt. Only 300 were made in 1999 before the introduction of the Keylock... (I was lucky enough to end up with two of them and they are a handful to shoot with heavy magnum loads)... Recently, more of these were made, but they have the "lawyer key" in the side. Some folks don't mind it, but I do.

I'm sure more folks will chime in here, but I have to say you will find many Smiths that will fill your needs.... some will suggest that you want the 29 "-2" which denotes those guns built from the early 1960's through the mid-1980's. These are easily identified by having pinned barrels and charging holes in the cylinder that recess the cartridge heads.... To that I would say that one of the most accurate Smith .44 belt guns I own is a later (1988) 29 "-3" that is not pinned or recessed. I wouldn't turn my nose up at these guns as they are well built and a good value as a shooter.

Best Regards,

Drew
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I know of the key and no key thing but is it as big of an issue to Smith guys as it sounds. I prefer the no-key just because most do but in reality it really does not matter. I am more concerned with quality so does that mean stick witn no key or are they all good to go?
 

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I have a couple of the three inch .44 Mags The first is a Mod 29-4 with an unfluted cylinder

The next one is a Mod. 629-4

They are both great revolvers but are quite a hand full with full power loads. Also, in my area I haven't seen too many available. If you can't find one a Mountain Gun would also meet your requirements as a back up for bear. Oh, welcome01 to the forum!
Bob
 

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I would recommend a 629-3 or -4, as they have the endurance upgrades but do NOT have the MIM (Metal Injected Molded = cast) parts as the -5 and higher models do. And of course, they do not have the lock hole in the side, which as Drew correctly points out, is just another thing to go wrong on a heavy recoiling gun. I believe the stainless (model 629) will hold up better than a blued steel model (29) when used in the fashion you plan on (carrying for bear, etc.).
 

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A 4" or 5" barrel might be your best bet for controlling the heavy recoil. You might be able to get off a 2nd shot!!! :eek: It also allows more velocity to develop.......also useful against bears. That said......I think Drew is the man to listen to......as he has experience in these matters. ;) Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
toroflow said:
I would recommend a 629-3 or -4, as they have the endurance upgrades but do NOT have the MIM (Metal Injected Molded = cast) parts as the -5 and higher models do. And of course, they do not have the lock hole in the side, which as Drew correctly points out, is just another thing to go wrong on a heavy recoiling gun. I believe the stainless (model 629) will hold up better than a blued steel model (29) when used in the fashion you plan on (carrying for bear, etc.).
Exactly what I am looking for!!! Nice Smiths but I am sure you know that :D Now I just need to locate one and get a holster to fit. As for the longer barrel for more velocity I figure if I have to use the .44 the bear will be up close and personal anyway. This pistol would actually be a back-up for my .300 Win Merkel deer rife so I do have another weapon but you can never be too safe.
 

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Clubster

Let me add, that the best way I have found to carry the S&W 44 Mag,in the field, is with the DeSantis Dual Action Hunter holster worn cross draw.

For daily concealed carry with the 44, I use the Milt Sparks Summer Special.

I have been toting a S&W 44 Mag "around" since 1971. Back then, before the Summer Special I carried a 4" on duty and a 6.5" off duty Mexican carry.

For those of you that may not know, "Mexican carry" was popular in the hot regions of the South, where you stuck the "gun" inside your pants, no holster. The 6.5" was a lot more secure as the long bbl kept it from flipping out.

Same style of carry was widely used for 1911's, and other semi autos.

The GWM Davis, and Milt Sparks Summer Specials were a GIANT step foward in weapon security.

I still use one daily now.
 
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