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Thread: S&w m329pd ....

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    Thumbs up S&w m329pd ....

    There have been numerous discussions on this site about the Smith M329. Some like 'em, others think the recoil is too vicious. Another group seems to think that nothing less than a M500 (a "real man's gun") is up to the job. I'm of the opinion that for daily Alaska woods carry, the heavy handguns are annoying to wear. I've been thru 3 different 44 magnums - a Blackhawk, M29 6" and a M629 Mountain Gun. All of them were annoying to wear ALL the time in the woods. They ended up left at home, on the truck seat or, in winter, in the bag of my dog sled. After a number of moose incidents with my dog teams, it became apparent, that the pistol had to be on my person to be of immediate use. So I bought the lightest, quality 44 Special available at the time .... the Smith M396 Mountain Lite. 18 ounces unloaded, 21 ounces loaded. Had the S&W Performance Center do an action job. For ammo, I use Buffalo Bore's "Heavy 44 Special" ammo ... hardcast 255 gr gc at 970 fps in my pistol. A potent load for the little beast. Several years later, S&W released the M329PD. Had it been available in the late 90's, I would have grabbed one.

    After participating in many of the threads on the M329, and being particularly impressed with BrownBear's opinion and experience, I have no longer resisted the temptation. I found a new-in-box M329PD at the Airport Way Fred Meyers (miss-marked?) for $779. Bought it immediately. It was priced at $950 at Sportsmans Warehouse, $940 at Wal-mart, and $979 at Frontier Sporting Goods. Must have been a pricing error. I'm happy.

    Still haven't fired it. Probably won't until it is made perfect (?). I've installed M500 grips. It is being shipped next week to the S&W Performance Center for an action job. I'm particularly interest in a somewhat lighter, smoother double action trigger pull. S&W is then sending it to Magnaport for porting, and then back to me. Then, as far as I'm concerned, it will be perfected. And I intend to shoot it alot. I've been shooting my M396 for about a decade and am quite used to the violent muzzle jump with the stout Bufffalo Bore loads. I expect the "perfected" M329 to be more comfortable to shoot than the M396. Once the project comes together, I'll report the results. (I'm going to start with Buffalo Bore's M329 specific loads, and then begin rolling my own.)

    Should be a fun project. Thanks to BrownBear and Murphy and all the others with real Alaskan experience who post on here for the great information from them that's really doin'.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Keep us posted about how the modifications work out. I bought a lightly used 329 for just over $600 off here earlier this year. I've only shot it about 5 times (50 rounds total?), but thus far I am very pleased with it. The recoil is manageable, and even my 5'0" small-framed wife enjoys shooting it. Best of all, I don't leave it at home. I never notice I'm wearing it, even when riding my mt. bike or carrying my newborn on hikes. Like yourself, I found myself leaving my heavier guns at home in the past. It's great having a firearm that is cabable but not so heavy as to be noticeable. I hadn't previously considered porting or action work, but if your experience is positive I may consider it.

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    Default Action work and porting

    Brian M ....

    Check back for prior M329 threads. BrownBear's postings about his M329 w/ action job and magnaporting are instructive. Of particular note .... he practices using double action and a high rate of fire, anticipating self defense against bears. Impressive.

    I have magnaported my 330 Dakota. Originally the muzzle jump was, I thought, too extreme. After magnaporting, I can spot my own shots thru the scope, and am back on target much faster. Haven't had a handgun m.ported before. Interested to see how it works on the M329.

    What ammo/loads are you using in your M329?

    Rick

  4. #4

    Default Good Decision

    Rick,

    I think you will really like your decision to get this gun. This was my first summer with mine and I really liked it alot. Fishing or hiking all day, you hardly notice it, and as such, you will have it with you.

    Hiker
    "Happiness is a warm gun - bang bang, shoot shoot!"
    -Lennon/McCartney

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    My 44 Mag. S&W Mdl. 29 with 6" barrel, weighs 3 lbs., 6 oz. loaded, and I NEVER leave it at home, if there is any chance, I might need it.

    As a matter of fact, I constantly search for places and excuses to take it with me. And, It's FUN to shoot, not just manageable. Hyuk, Hyuk.

    Smitty of the North
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    Default pocket gun

    The big difference with the 329 PD is that you can just drop it in your jacket or coat pocket - you don't have to have a holster to carry it around. I can drop mine in my pocket if I get out of the car for a break or take a stroll on the coastal trail in the afternoon. The lighter weight makes it comfortable to carry without a holster while the SS guns are a big heavy for pocket carry.


    While my 629 isn't a problem to carry on a planned outing I'm much less likely to strap it on when I step out of the card or house for a short break. Convience is the big point here - my larger guns are just take a lot more effort to prepare for carrying.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Default never left at home ....

    Everybody has different needs and opinions.

    On the Iditarod, or in training, or guiding dog team tours, the standard M29 and Mountain Gun spent the entire time in my sled bag. Dog mushing is a cross between ice fishing and cross country skiing. Periods of minimal work, with sessions of running, breaking trail, doing camp and dog chores, etc. The standard Smith 44's were highly annoying and belonged in the sled. Wearing one for 24 hours a day was distracting, a pain in the keister. And, so I replaced them both with the M396, which I am willing to wear ALL the time in the woods. I even shot a moose with it. About 20 yards. Full side to side penetration, and exit. Down and, shortly, dead. I shoot my small beast well .... and find it the most bang for the smallest package, i.e., efficient, and more than adequate. These large bore, lightweight S&W's are specialized tools, filling a special niche for the few that need them. Not everyone does. Most are likely better served by the standard weight M29s and M629s and Rugers, etc.

    My new project is to tune a M329PD to my needs and preferences. Some here have similar interest in the M329. This thread was directed to them. It was not intended to start another pointless argument about woods carry pistols or who's more macho. Each to his own. I still have my Mountain Gun, but don't carry it any more. For me, my M396 is better. And I expect the perfected M329 to be even better. I'm curious to see just how controllable it will be after magnaporting. I'm sure it will be easier to shoot than my little beast (Which will be magnaported after the M329 comes back .... should have done it years ago.).

    And then, I intend to tailor 44 mag handloads for it, and try to become as practiced in double action as BrownBear is. Fun project.

  8. #8

    Default Buffalo Bore 255s

    Rick,

    In mine, the Buffalo Bore round made for this gun are fine with the standard rubber grips. I think with your modifications, you will be able to use custom make bigger loads that shoot reliably and comfortably. I will be interested in hearing how it goes.

    BTW - I took my wife to the range last week, her first time ever shooting a handgun, and she had 2.5 inch patterns at 10 yards and several snowmen with the 329 shooting 240 grain 44 specials.

    Hiker
    "Happiness is a warm gun - bang bang, shoot shoot!"
    -Lennon/McCartney

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    Default 329 Recoil tolerance tip

    Learned something new this summer -

    Next time, after shooting your 44 Spls with this pistol at the range or wherever, if you start wincing (at least to yourself) after couple cylinders of 44 Mags, try this. Off the record, my enthusiasm for practice fades quick when bullet weight is 300 gr or more.

    Take your wife with you, especially if she has very little shooting experience.
    Let her shoot first - like I did.
    Shoot the 44Spl - maybe a lighter round - 165gr then up, say 240gr.
    Then shoot Mags.
    For every step up in bullet weight, just let her shoot first.

    Changed my perspective on the heavier loads. First time out, I let her shoot 44Spls and 2 boxes later, I told her next time we'll shoot Mags.
    She didn't whimper a'tall while shooting. Next time, if she whups a box of 300gr Mags downrange without a complaint, should I cowboy up and pull out the 320grainers?

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    Rick:
    I considered the M329.

    I agree that “Everybody has different needs and opinions.” Just lemme state mine, and I’ll leave it to those who “have a similar interest in the M329”, if that's what you prefer.

    The recoil from extremely lightweight beeg bore handguns is so brutal, that it will likely be “left at home” more often, when going to the range. In other words it likely won’t be fired enough in practice, to be as useful as a heavier, more pleasant to shoot handgun.

    Granted, if you are just looking for something to pack around, they might have an advantage, but when it comes to actually using if for it’s intended purpose, I suspect it would be much less effective, for most everyone.

    You can make it a point to NOT “leave a practical to shoot, handgun at home”, just as easily as forcing yourself to practice with a lightweight, and psyching yourself in, to do so.

    Practical to shoot, versus practical to carry. Take your pick. I’m satisfied with my choice. The only reason I’d ever consider one again, would be for if I was still running, (Anything heavy bounces.) and I’d load it down considerably.

    Smitty of the North
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    I sent mine to Bowen for his package. It turned a out very nice. It is my all day out gun not in the bag on the 4 wheeler or boat etc. its in the holster on my hip.310 Garrets and 300 grain Hornady xtp hp reloads fill the bill for ammo. The Bowen job was pricey but worth it in the end. I love this gun.

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    Default Bang

    Decided to shoot the new M329 before I send it off to the Performance Center. Otherwise, I would have not idea what difference Magnaporting made.

    Put 4 2-litre pop bottles filled with water at 25 feet. Used Buffalo Bore's M329 specific .... 255 hard cast GC at approx 1250 fps. Expected to get walloped, after all the complaining I've heard from those that disliked the experience. I broke the first 2 w/ 2 rounds, the second 2 w/3 rounds .... double action. (I want some day be as proficient as BrownBear.) I was quite surprised just how easy the M329 was to shoot. The recoil wasn't nearly as abrupt as my M396 44 Special with Buffalo Bore ammo.

    I will admit that I changed the grips out for S&W's M500 grips .... they are nice. The recoil is not unpleasant. I suspect that my long association with my M396 (Little Beast) made shooting the M329 not such a big deal. Shooting it for practice will be easy enough. I can't see any reason to shoot my M629 Mountain Gun at all anymore. I think the M329 is fun to shoot and, with out dinkin' around, can be shot accurately. i checked the sight regulation at 50 feet and it was good to go.

    I'm leaving tonight for moose camp. Think I'm going to take the new pistol .... I'll send it off when I come back. Fun toy, and a great tool.

    I think that Magnaported it will be a ***** cat.

    And - Smitty OTN - it wasn't even close to brutal.

    Happy Trails.

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    Default By the way, ....

    The double action mentioned above was not "fast" double action, but slow, "2 stage trigger" double action, if you know what I mean.

    J-FRAME ....

    I've been considering Mr. Bowen's offering for the M329 (I've had good, quick work from the Performance Center, though.) How long did it take your completed pistol to be back in your hands? How do you like the new sights? What do you think of the lanyard ring and do you use it? He sure does beautiful work. I assume you read his article on his M329. Interesting.

    Happy Trails. Rick

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    The odd thing to me is the lack of mention of the one basic fact about carring any handgun."You carry them a lot more than you shoot them".

    I think the 329PD is the perfect choice for anyone that feels they need more fire power.

    I would like to point out that to be able o tell what magna porting really does for you, you'll need a bone stock 329 to shoot side by side. I know that ever time I've sent out a pistol to have ported I had no memory of the before. Now you only have the after.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    What ammo/loads are you using in your M329?

    Rick
    Sorry for the delay in responding. I use the Buffalo Bore 240gr. hard cast. Like you, I didn't find the gun brutal to practice with at all, and my wife enjoys shooting it as well.

    There was a bear attack in our neighborhood last week. The lady that lives in the house directly behind ours was jumped on while out walking her dog about a quarter mile from our house. When my wife heard about it last night, she immediately got our 329 out of the gun safe so that she would have it on her neighborhood walk today. If it were a heavier, larger gun I am certain that she wouldn't carry it. That alone is worth the purchase to me.

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    Rick shoot me a e mail and I,ll call you

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    This is a video clip of a guy shooting a S&W 329 PD after porting.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lzri...eature=related
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    ...Still haven't fired it. Probably won't until it is made perfect (?)...
    I was going to tell you it might be a big mistake to not shoot it first,

    then I saw another post that you did shoot it,

    with pretty good results.



    I bought two identical .41 magnums once, then had one of them mag-na-ported.
    Side-by-side, I could barely tell the difference.



    I have a 357 magnum snubby and it blasts me in the face with powder particles!


    I don't shoot my 329 for fun but I love carrying it.

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    Porting does not reduce recoil it does reduce the amount that the muzzle rises during recoil. I would not port a gun that i was going to use lead bullets in or one of such a big caliber that a quick follow up shot was really possible porting or not. The problem I found with lead bullets and port you will always have a dirty front sight after a few shots and keeping it clean at the ports is a pain.No more porting for me but each to his own.

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    When I talked to you I didnt realize you had not shot your 329 yet. Let us know when you do and your thoughts

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