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Made a Pistol swap today
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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 5:44 pm    Post subject: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Here is a good one for you guys.
A while back, I read an article on the Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44Mag with a 4" barrel.

I'm not a big fan of a .44Mag, but this one, I fell in love with. For toting around the North Woods etc., it looked like a great gun. NOT that I needed it, I just kind of wanted one. Very Happy

Last week, at my Pistol League that I run, I brought my Model 36 Chief's Special to shoot.
A good friend of mine shot it, and said that he was looking for a Model 36, so I asked him how much is it worth, because I might go on a hunt for a Model 29.
Long story short, he had a Model 29 with the 4" barrel.[How's that for dumb luck?]
His Smith is in pristine condition, where mine is tight, but has seen a lot of use inside of a holster.
It didn't seem to bother my friend, so, tonight, I'm looking at my New Model 29 .44Mag.

Any good loads that you guys can share with me, I'd appreciate.
I bought the dies, and had a box of 500 cast bullets that I was going to use. [a guy at the gunshop gave me a good load using Tite Group powder]
BUT when I checked my box of bullets, I had picked up a box of .45's, so I'm stuck until Tues. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

Anyway, I think that I got a good deal today.

Eric

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shrpshtrjoe
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 5:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Sounds like ya did good Very Happy Congrats. It should be a shooter.
Joe

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FALPhil
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 6:01 am    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

I had a Smith 29 for years. Hunted with it. Plinked with it. Reloaded for it. After about 10 years, it became a safe queen. I had started participating in combat pistol leagues with 1911s. So, after not shooting the 29 for over 4 years, I sold it and the reloading dies and about 300 bullets as a package deal. It was fun while I was shooting it, but I don't really miss it.

I think that if I was to get back into a big bore revolver now, it would be a 45 Long Colt.

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Eric, sounds lke a good trade! I suggest looking in "Handloader" magazine for some loads. Seems there was an article recently about .44 Mag loads. I've been loading the Speer 270 gr JSP for hunting but haven't taken anything with it yet. I have some Speer 210 gr Gold Dot JHPs loaded for testing when I get the time.

FALPhil, I got one of the new Ruger Redhawk 4" .45 Colts earlier this year. So far, with some limited shooting, I like it. That big Hogue grip takes some getting used to. I've been shooting some 200 grain cast RNFPs and JHPs over Universal Clays and some 300 gr cast TCs, also over Universal Clays. Even the 200 gr bullets took down metallic silhouette rams at 50 yards with authority. The 300 grainers were managable but not fun.

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 3:19 am    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Start your loads out low to mid-range so you don't develop a flinch.
with a short barrel there is a lot of flip involved in the recoil.

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Vince
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Eric, I'd say your have been kissed on the "male appendage" by a fairy mate...what a deal.

I'm green with envy. A 4" .44 Mag is something I always wanted but simply couldn't afford out here.

Cheers, Vince

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

My brother owned one with an 8" barrel and it was too much for me. Not that I couldn't shoot it well just that I would get tired of shooting it very quickly. I am too recoil sensitive for a big bore with hot loads. I use a 45 Colt but with mild loads.

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 4:57 am    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

The two loads that I most commonly shoot in my .44s are 250-grain Keith semi-wadcutters and 270-grain LBTs...both cast bullets.

With the 250 grain bullets, I load 21 grains of Alliant 2400 (right at 1,400 fps from a 5 1/2" barrel). The 270-grain bullets get 19.5 grains of 2400 (1,300 fps out of the same barrel). Both are pretty much top-end loads so work up to them. Don't try Elmer Keith's old favorite load of 22 grains of 2400 and a 250-grain bullet since 2400 is a little hotter today than it was in his day and should be reduced by 1-2 grains. Also remember not to use magnum primers with 2400...not only are they not necessary, even Alliant cautions against their use.

A few things you want to watch when using cast bullets:

Make sure that you use flat-based or gas-checked bullets. Those bevel-based bullets are easy to get but will lead your bore much easier than flat-based due to gas-cutting.

Make sure to choose a bullet size that fits your revolver. The bullet should be a match to the throat, which should be the same or .001" larger than your bore. In other words, if you have a .429" bore, you should use .430" cast bullets...if your throats allow. All of my .44s have bores between .430 and .4305" and all the throats have been opened to .431". This allows a better gas seal in the cylinder as the bullet obturates and allows the bullet to squeeze slightly in the bore.

The right lube is extremely important. Lubes that are too hard will not work and those that are too soft will only get used up in the first few inches of barrel. Correctly lubes bullets should leave a "star" shaped pattern on the muzzle-crown after several shots. This proves that the bullet is staying lubed for the entire trip down the barrel.

When using cast bullets, make sure that all traces of any copper fouling is removed from your bore. Lead has an affinity to copper and any copper residue will promote fouling. Also be sure to clean thoroughly after shooting lead bullets since lead fouling can (and will) attract moisture and result in corrosion.

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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Well, I have two pretty good loads worked up for the 29.

My light load is 6.5gr of W-231 with a 240gr LRNFP bullet.
Shoots very accurate, and no more recoil than a .357.

My heavy load is 22gr of H110 with a Hornady 240gr HP/XTP bullet.
She bites, but on a rest at 25yds, it will put three holes pretty much overlapping each other.

I tried a batch of 23.5gr H110, but I had a much better group with the lighter loads. That is usually the case. It also smacked much harder.

I tried a light load that was recommended to me using 5gr of TightGroup with the 240gr LRNFP.
It sounded like a Black Powder gun, and smoked just as much, with a group about the size of a volley ball at 25yds.
That is when I went to my trusty W-231 Powder.

A friend at the Pistol League tonight said that she had the old wood grips for my Model 29 that I could have, so next week, I'll take off the Pachmar Grips for the better looking Smith & Wesson Grips.

Eric Very Happy

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Handloader
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Good trade and for a marvelous handgun. Model 29s evolved over their production run with the later ones showing some of the initial engineering changes that gave some enhanced reliability.

Earlier Model 29s were prone to have frame stretch with the hotter loads. When the 44 Mag was introduced by S&W, the most common bullets were either cast or swaged. The advent of jacketed bullets increased pressures enough to cause premature increase in cylinder gap. My preSeries has been back to Smith twice for shimming.

So, if you have an earlier model, shoot it often, but shoot it with some of the more mild loads for the longest life.
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RePete
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Don't forget that if you want to shoot it a lot, go with 44Special loads, easier on the hands.

Just pick up 44/45 cal Hoppe's Tornado brush to help remove the lead ring in the cylinder.

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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Made a Pistol swap today Reply with quote

Hi Gang, thanks for all of the information and advice.

I took Handloaders suggestion, and settled on a light target load using 6.5gr of W-231 with a 240gr RNFP cast bullet. It shoots lights out at 25 yards and has no more kick than a 230gr Hardball .45ACP load.

For hunting, I ordered a box of 320gr WFN Cast bullets from Double Tap Ammunition Company.

Eric

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