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Thread: S&W 329 Scandium Airlite 44 Mag

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    Default S&W 329 Scandium Airlite 44 Mag

    Has anyone tried the S&W 329 Scandium Airlite 44 Mag. At only 26 oz with a 4" barrel, it seams likeit would mae a great back up pistol.
    DR B

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    This has been discussed here a few times before. There are many who do not think this is a good gun as a backup, as it is difficult to practice with on a consistent basis due to the high recoil. Additionally, many feel that the 44mag is an inadequate caliber for bear protection.

    All of that considered, I recently bought one. I haven't carried it hiking yet, but I most certainly will. I shot a box at the range and found the recoil to be manageable.

    For me, it came down to the fact that I'll carry it. I simply will not carry a shotgun or a larger, heavier handgun when out on short to moderate hikes. I've been hiking and climbing without one for years. Some would consider that line of logic foolish - that if I see the value in carrying a handgun that I may as well make it an adequate one. Nevertheless, I know myself. Weighing the risks and benefits, I will choose to carry my 329. As an added benefit, my wife will also carry it when she's out hiking/climbing without me. There is no way I could convince her to carry a heavier gun, but she's excited about this one.

  3. #3

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    Great hand gun. Have had mine for about 2 years now and love it. Bestpart about the gun is its so light you dont have to worry about tuggin' your pants back up constantly.

  4. #4

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    I've owned a 329PD for a couple of years now while using an Alaska Sportsmans holster. It's a great gun to carry, there's no dispute there. I recently discovered the AK Sportsmans holster is wearing away at the trigger guard. What an unsightly blemish when this gun means the world to me. But to be fair I carry this gun in the AK Sportsmans holster almost every weekend, I'm sure wear is eventual, but is substantial wear common with this configuration? I'm not sure if it's due to the material used to build the 329PD frame or the rigid ness of the nylon used for the holster.

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    My GUESS, is that it is that the nylon isn't holding the gun tight enough like a good leather holster would, and the gun is moving inside the holster. ?? You would know better than I.

    If you think thats what's happening, I suggest you get one of those holsters from Dave Johnston, that we've been talking about. His holsters hold the gun solid, and it comes out easy too.

    Smitty of the North
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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default S&W 329 Scandium Airlite 44 Mag

    Quote Originally Posted by DR B View Post
    Has anyone tried the S&W 329 Scandium Airlite 44 Mag. At only 26 oz with a 4" barrel, it seams likeit would mae a great back up pistol.
    DR B
    Echoing comments by Brian M, people have their own reasons for if and what they carry for bear protection - but I used to fish with a buddy who repeatedly "forgot" his large frame 357 on our backpack/fishing trips. Once I decided spray wasn't ideal for every situation (close quarters), I added a pistol.

    Many who carry pistols use 44Mag or 45cal in the woods. The 44Mag was enough for an Anchorage hiker (Gary Boyd in Sept, 2004 - 44Mag/5 shots/20 ft/750#)- before I bought this gun. Later, Russell Gillespie put a 400# bear down with 3 shots from a "44 revolver" (Close Calls Alarm Residents on adn.com).

    At 26 oz, the 329PD is easy to wear - no regrets 2 seasons later; but do practice - the light weight, while good, has a downside. Good description/review at www.gunblast.com/SW329PD.htm

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    Recoil is painful, thats why I have kept my pre lock, moon clipped Mountain Gun instead of saving a few ounces.

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    I owned one and sold it. Easy to carry and expensive. To much recoil and not enough power.
    Just my $.02's worth.
    Tennessee

  9. #9

    Default S&W 329 Scandium Airlite 44 Mag

    You may want to look at the 329 discussion this fall for various opinions on this handgun. I got one this fall and have been to range now 6 or 7 times. It is no problem to practice with using 44 special. It does bite you a bit using the magnum rounds. I typically shoot a half box to a box of specials then finished up with one or two cylinders full of the magnum rounds. My experience with friends who have shot it is that each one feels the recoil differently. For me, the force is felt in the webbing between the thumb and forefinger and it does jump a bit vertically. Intially, I found it painful with the magnum rounds, but now I can fire 12 magnum rounds and not feel it the next day. I'm not sure if it is technique improving, something internal in my hand, or me just getting use to getting thumped.I have not switched out the grips on mine, but many seem to switch out to wrap-around grips for this reason.I guess moral of the story here is that I like this gun and it will work well for me, and I am willing to deal with the thump.-Hiker

  10. #10

    Default What about with heavy loads?

    For those of you that own this gun, what kind of ammo are you using in it? In my 629, I carry 300 grain hard cast. Do you think the 329 will hold up to these heavy loads? If so, that wouldn't be such a bad hiking gun.

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    Member Omulan67's Avatar
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    Default Yea it hurts!

    I've owned a 329 for several years now and I never go into the wood without it. I mountain bike in bicentennial park next to Campbell creek in Anchorage. In June the place is lousy with Brown bears. I carry it because it's weight even fully loaded is negligible. I use a pancake belt holster which keeps is close to my hip and I don't even know it's there. I keep Barnes solid brass 265gr it when I'm out and about. I use whatever relatively cheap 240gr ammo sportsmen's whse has to practice with and I use a glove and yes it still hurts after a few rounds. I know however if I run crosswise of a POed brownie the last thing I'm going to worry about is the recoil.

  12. #12

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    Its a joy to carry but if you are shooting Garrets, forget it. The only way I could justify it is to practice with mild to moderate loads and carry Buffalo Bore or Garrett for emergencies. The recoil is more than painful with Garretts and I don't expect the gun would make 50 rds before coming apart. I know I wouldn't make 50 rds before coming apart...

  13. #13

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    Has anyone pulled the trigger of a 329PD with the woods grips?

  14. #14

    Default wood grips

    I had the wood grips on for my first 3 trips to range this past fall. Since it got cold, I have been using the factory rubber grips. I didn't really notice a big difference since the backstrap is exposed and that is what thumps you.
    I'm currently using 240 grain magnum rounds at the range. Once this box is done, I will step up a little in size. Buffalo Bore makes a 255 grain low recoil round pretty much specifically for this gun which I think will be my carry round once I find it in town.

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    Omulan67:
    Im agin them lightweight, and/or short barreled beeg handguns, bigtime, BUT, I understand how it might be for your mountain biking.

    I usta run all through there a few years back, winter and summer, and all times of the day. I know that light weight can be extremely important for that, because anything heavy can really bounce around.

    For me, I think that running is the ONLY application I MIGHT consider for a 329 in 44, and Id put on Hogue grips, and wouldnt carry the powerful loads either.

    Anyway, good point.
    Smitty of the North
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    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  16. #16

    Default it can't shoot +p

    I looked into buying a 329, but decided it was too light after handling one in a sporting goods store. On a technical spec sheet its light weight looks seductive, but when I held it, the gun felt anorexic.

    One downside for Smiths in general is that they can't handle .44 mag +p the way Rugers and Dan Wessons can. The cartridges are so long they won't even fit, at least if we're talking off-the-shelf ammo from Garret. For plinking I prefer the action of a Smith, but if I'm packing a .44 as bear protection I want something that has a little more oomph.

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    Default ??????

    While, I can certainly underestand the desire for all you can get, if a Bar is fixin to chew on you, but I shouldn't think that a maximum load would be much more lethal than, say a Medium load.
    ????????
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    I haven't compared the weights and dimensions but the Superblackhawks are considerably heavier and bulker guns than the S&W 629 series guns. After considering all the options I decided to go with the 329 where weight and size are a consideration and if bulk and weight aren't an issue carry my 5" S&W .500. I just don't see where the SBH fits into my "carry in the woods" scheme of things - the weight and bulk are too much for the power level compared to the .500 round.

    Range shooting is a different story of course.



    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I looked into buying a 329, but decided it was too light after handling one in a sporting goods store. On a technical spec sheet its light weight looks seductive, but when I held it, the gun felt anorexic.

    One downside for Smiths in general is that they can't handle .44 mag +p the way Rugers and Dan Wessons can. The cartridges are so long they won't even fit, at least if we're talking off-the-shelf ammo from Garret. For plinking I prefer the action of a Smith, but if I'm packing a .44 as bear protection I want something that has a little more oomph.

  19. #19

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    Took my scandium S&W .44 airliteout for a shoot and found a problem...Only shot about 45-60 rounds through since new and all the sudden when shooting single action the trigger jumps forward when the hammer is released keeping the hammer from not discharging the round because not enough force is created with the hammer on the firing pin.Double action works just fine though.Called S&W and they had a prepaid shipping label to me in 2 days through UPS.Sent it out today and looking forward to what is found.They were VERY helpful and said it would be taken care of.
    I do love the gun because it is so easy to carry and hopefully the problem is remedied.

  20. #20
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    Hey, that's interesting.
    Thanks for posting it.
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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