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Thread: Model 329 Alaska Backpacker?

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    Default Model 329 Alaska Backpacker?

    What are people's impressions of Smith's new snub 329? It has a steel cylinder, which I'd think would make recoil more controllable, but I'd think the barrel is too short. It strikes me as filling the same niche as the Ruger Alaskan, but it can't handle +p loads. It's much more packable than the Ruger, though. Comments?
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    Default M329 Night Guard

    I believe you're referring to the 329 Night Guard.

    I see no advantage over the M329PD, which has a 4" barrel. The PD is very compact, and is a lightweight version of the 4" model 29s, which have a long history of stellar use here in Alaska. I doubt that the only slightly heavier 329NG will be any easier to shoot. It will still require you to adapt to shooting something very unlike what you're used to. The muzzle jump is extreme, and recoil substantial. And with the 2.5" barrel, the NG must have an impressive muzzle blast.

    For me, the M329PD is the best woods/carry option here in the Alaskan woods. But, as always .... always wear it (in the woods) and practice, practice, practice.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Alaska Backpacker...

    S&W Model 329PD Alaska Backpacker; 2.5 inch barrel?
    I happened to see one at Mt View Sports (Anchorage) today.

    Here's a pic from S&W website:
    Last edited by 6XLeech; 03-16-2010 at 23:13.

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    Default Can't handle +p loads?

    Wolfeye, Why do you say, "but it can't handle +p loads"?
    Seems like it should. I have to admit, the terminology "+p" has been confusing to me. Here's some info from Handguns magazine awhile back (quoted below). It seemed like the +P designation could also be read as "new modern safe threshold" defining a new safe pressure limit for modern handguns. If so, then it seems the 329PD should handle it (not fun for the shooter maybe).

    This came up in another thread awhile back because warranties are sometimes based on SAAMI specs. Smith&Wesson has stated their guns will shoot any ammo within SAAMI specs. For modern pistols, this should include ammo designated +P?

    Here's the excerpt about +P loads from
    (http://www.handgunsmag.com/ammunition/demystplusp_0306-7/):

    Demystifying +P: The inside scoop on +P
    By Dan Johnson

    Most shooters know the "P" in the +P designation on a cartridge headstamp stands for pressure and indicates that the cartridge is loaded to higher chamber pressures and thus higher velocities. But many are confused as to exactly how much pressure is added and how safe these high-performance loads are. I believe this confusion is contributed to by people in the industry, some by firearms companies that understandably wish to err on the side of caution in our litigious society and some by small ammunition manufacturers looking for an edge in a highly competitive market.

    Plus-P loads can, in some cases, boost the velocity of short-barreled .38 handguns enough to ensure reliable expansion. However, they do result in added stress on a firearm.

    The +P designation came about for a very simple reason. As advancements were made in the quality and strength of both firearms and cartridge cases it was determined that some of the older rounds were capable of operating safely at higher chamber pressures in modern firearms than those originally established. Since firearms--and cases, for that matter--are durable goods that last for decades, even centuries, it was not feasible to simply increase the standard pressure specifications for these cartridges. There are too many old firearms around that could not handle the increase safely. So SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute) uses the +P designation to separate the new pressure limit for these old cartridges from the old lower standard.

    It is important to understand that SAAMI is the principle organization in the United States actively engaged in the development and promulgation of product standards for firearms and ammunition. Ammo specifications are not overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or any other branch of government. Consumers should be aware that only manufacturers that are members of SAAMI are bound by the Institute's guidelines.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    Seems like it should. I have to admit, the terminology "+p" has been confusing to me. Here's some info from Handguns magazine awhile back (quoted below). It seemed like the +P designation could also be read as "new modern safe threshold" defining a new safe pressure limit for modern handguns. If so, then it seems the 329PD should handle it (not fun for the shooter maybe).
    I was under the impression also that the 329 should not use +p loads. However, after reading this post, I double checked the owner's manual and what it says is not to use " + P +" loads - i.e. loads beyond SAAMI specs. It says not to use +P in older handguns (pre-1958) but appears to allow +P for modern handguns as you have posted.

    -hiker
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    Default Alaska Backpacker.

    I stand corrected. The Ak Backpacker appears to be a variant of the Night Guard. Slightly different sights and a bright cylinder. Oh yes, and a laser engraving.

    The M329PD, tuned to my needs and druthers, with the M500 grips, and Magnaported, is my choice. After about 150 rounds post MPorting, I think it serves my use quite well. I intend, under the right conditions, to take a moose with mine. The 4" barrel, IMHO, is the ideal length in an N-frame S&W revolver for general field use. Since Magnaporting, I am able to shoot my Beast one handed (effectively), which might be a necessity under the "wrong" circumstances. Hard for me to imagine using a S&W 460 or 500 in this fashion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hiker View Post
    I double checked the owner's manual and what it says is not to use " + P +" loads - i.e. loads beyond SAAMI specs. It says not to use +P in older handguns (pre-1958) but appears to allow +P for modern handguns as you have posted.
    Interesting. The only catch I can think of is that many of the commercial +p loads are too long to fit in a Smith's chamber. +P in .44's has always mystified me, sort of like .45 lc+p's.

    As pointed out, it looks like the AK Backpacker is basically a NG with different sights & grips, and a polished cylinder. It's pretty. I'd buy one if it had a 4" barrel. I doubt it will take off as well as the PD has.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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    Default S&W limitations...

    Wolfeye, Murphy, I think explained that too, about some commercial +p loads being too long to fit in a Smith's chamber. In fact, I thought I saw a post where he was also interested in a 329 with steel cylinder. Not sure about that.

    This 2.5" is too short for me too, but Rick's setup for the 329PD w/4" is interesting - how's the muzzle blast with Magnaporting? I 've heard it not so bad. True?

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Since Magnaporting, I am able to shoot my Beast one handed (effectively), which might be a necessity under the "wrong" circumstances. Hard for me to imagine using a S&W 460 or 500 in this fashion.
    With my 460V I can do it, recoil is not bad like you would think. Only thing is I quiver just a tad under the wight of the 460V so anything past about 20 yards it would be hard to hit the vital zone one handed.

    Andy

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