S&W 329 PD?s
I'd like to hear from actual owners of this pistol and listen to their experiences, please? Would also, like to see pics of any custom, either the S&W custom shop or other wise? What load do you shoot in yours, bullet weight, etc.?
my 329 was a "hard" kicker with factory or warm handloads until i changed the grip to a pachmayr. this alone improved double action work as well as accuracy.
switching to hardcast lead (255gr-300gr) with (and without) a gas check loaded 950-1000fps was the huge change making the revolver a pleasure to shoot.
penetration tests using wet and dry medium were significantly improved over jacketed soft & hollow points. in compairison penetration from 9" increased to 16" using the same bullet weight and powder combination. penetration increased further still with heavy 300gr loads. bullet obturation at lower velocity improved accuracy as well.
Check the thread, just a few threads down, for my experience thus far with my M329PD.
The grips of choice are the Hogues offered by S&W for the M500. The have a Sorbothane insert covering the backstrap and recoil lug. Very comfortable. Though designed for the M500 - X frame, they fit the M329PD - N frame perfectly.
There are other changes involved in my effort to "perfect" the Beast. Read the thread. I'll post pictures as soon as my camera returns from Ohio.
Last edited by Rick; 11-21-2008 at 13:19.
I've had mine for two years and just love it. It makes a great personal protection handgun in the field or at home. I load the 200 gr. 44 special hollow point loads for home defense and practice, and 300 gr. flat point hard cast bullets to conclude practice and for bear defense. The hi-viz front and adjustable rear sights are easy to use, the trigger is clean and crisp, and I can count on accuracy of 2" at 20 yards.
You'll hear some claims that because the gun is so light it will have intolerable recoil, which will result in less practice time, which will result in less proficiency, which will result in your death at the moment of truth because you won't be proficient with it. You'll quickly learn that these claims are made by people who have never fired the gun and haven't a clue what they're talking about, so their speculation is total B.S.
The recoil is severe. But how much so is a matter of personal opinion. I've had one large frame friend fire a single round and declare defeat; another skinny friend unloaded a cylinder full and decide it wasn't so bad.
One thing that is universally true is that the gun is light and unobtrusive enough to carry all day with no discomfort. Some heavyweight handgun owners find their sidearms to be a chore to carry for extended periods; some have admitted leaving the hand cannons behind because of it. This just isn't a problem with the 329pd - it'll be there when you need it. I carry mine in a chest holster from the time I roll out of the tent until the time I get back in and never give it a second thought.
There are a lot of other guns that can do a lot of things better than the 329pd, but if your goal is to get the smallest, lightest, most powerful gun you can, then the 329pd is the perfect solution.
After three years of use I would recommend a Smith & Wesson 44 mag in the lightweight scandium version. If you carry a rifle or shotgun, you will set the gun down at every opportunity to free your hands up for fishing or any other task. There's no sense packing a weapon for defense and a feeling of security, if you have to jog 10 yards to pick it up whenever you move about or feel threatened. So a 44 mag pistol with good hunting loads is the only way to go as far as I'm concerned, and ammo is readily available.
For years I packed a stainless steel Smith & Wesson 29 in the mountain hunter 44 mag. Heavy around the shoulders when packing it all day, but nonetheless reliable and durable. When Smith & Wesson came out with their lightweight alloy scandium revolvers they were a big seller in Alaska.
I too heard all the second-hand stories about terrible recoil, but reasoned that most of the folks who love to rock back on their heels with thumbs in their suspenders and talk, talk, talk about guns are usually full of hot air.
I wisely ignored all the hand-wringing talkers, and purchased a scandium 329PD to replace my old stainless 44 (both 4"). These alloy 329s weigh practically nothing, they handle and shoot well, have good, adjustable sights for windage and elevation, and come with grippy rubber grips.
The 329 I purchased is the most accurrate pistol I've ever shot (an unexpected surprise). I prefer over the counter 240 grain Winchester soft point ammo and get incredible accurracy with it out of this gun. I shoot double handed with the left hand gripping the wrist to steady the shot and cannot tell the difference in recoil between the 3 1/2 pound stainless mountain gun and the 1 1/2 pound alloy version. Both of them roar and punch holes in critters with a vengeance - but the new 329 is far more accurrate in my hands and has barely noticeable weight when carried.
Support your American manufacturing base, buy a Smith & Wesson lightweight 44 329 revolver with the excellent stock rubber grips and hi-vis sights. Put it in a shoulder holster where it is accessible and out of the way, then go hiking, biking, fishing or hunting.
And, by the way, you can typically sell a used 44 Smith & Wesson in Alaska for darn near what you paid for it. The old stainless job fetched $400, nearly the $495.00 original price after packing it into the field for 12 years.
SMITH AND WESSON MODEL 329PD REVOLVER - IT'S DA BOMB!
Caliber: .44 Magnum®/.44 S&W Special
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Barrel Length: 4"
Front Sight: "Light Gathering" HIVIZ® Orange Dot
Rear Sight: Adjustable V-Notch
Firing System: N/A
Grip: Ahrends Finger Groove Wood & Hogue Sq. Butt Rubber
External Safety: N/A
Finish: Matte Black
Overall length: 9-1/2"
Material: Scandium Frame, Stainless Steel Barrel, Titanium Cylinder
Weight Empty: 26 ounces
I'll second that. My wife, who is 5'0" and small framed has fired this gun and didn't think it was too bad at all. Best of all, it's a gun that she'll carry when she's out hiking alone. I can't say the same about my heavier, larger firearms, so that alone makes it worth the purchase price.
Originally Posted by GreenTea
+1 to the 329 PD being one of my favorites as well as a most definate +1 to the S&W 500 grips for it. This coupled with a lightweight chest holster and you don't even notice you are wearing the gun (I use Dave Johnson's Guide's Choice holster, great holster from an alaskan leatherworker).
Only thing I would add is don't hot load and don't shoot buffalo bore hard cast 305 + 44 mag loads through it. They stick and must be tapped out individually in my firearm. I carry corbon hard cast for four legger protection and .44 special hollow points for two leggers. With the .44 special this thing kicks almost exactly like my 642 airlight .38 special +P. A pleasure to shoot.
If any of you like the light weight, but hate the recoil, I'd trade you a 396PD (18 oz. .44 Spl) for a 329PD. The recoil on mine isn't bad at all, and it's light enough tp carry everywhere. Would rather have .44 mag, though.
Of course, you could just shoot .44 Spl in the 329, so I guess there'd be no real advantage to that deal...except maybe for me.
Has anyone had any problems with the frame or barrel? I was told a while back by a shop owner that that these frames were having some problems due to the light weight, with the .44 mag load. But, it sounds as if those problems may have been corrected.
I too have thought about getting one, and so far, it sounds like they get good reviews.
There is a recall on the S&W website but it applies to similar guns (329 without PD?) before the 329PD model number. I think they ended up going with a slightly different design due to the frame/barrel issue.
Originally Posted by Ruger01
I have had one for a few years and I am keeping it because it is so light that I end up carrying it a lot. Other guns are much more fun to shoot.
smith & wesson have a great (lifetime) warranty......and will honor it with out argument. speaking to them this last week about the 329pd they say this revolver is designed to shoot......not just carry around. this durability is to rival all steel guns. great idea.
my 329pd has shot a "ton" of hard lead bullets and is still tight, showing no measurable wear on contact parts. the frame eventually shows work use from holster and shooting style.
i tuned my revolver to improve double action work (easy spring work) and couldn't be happier!