S&W 329 Update
A thread awhile back I stated that I would take my 329 to the range and post my thoughts. When I posted that thread it had been some time since I put any rounds through this handgun. Today I finally make the trek to the range with 75 rounds of Remington factory ammo 240gr bullets.
When I first acquired this handgun I fired a few rounds with the Hogue grips that came with the package, also wooden grips accompanied the pistol but I quickly put them away with thoughts of hand pain in my mind. With the Hogue grips and Remington factory ammo 240gr the recoil was heavy and somewhat painful with reach round, but my hands where already frozen in the brisk wind and below freezing temps.
I have put a few rounds through this pistol since but I needed to get a better feel for the 329, especially with the new 500 mag grips. I am comparing this handgun to various .22, 38spl, 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP, 357mag, & 44mag pistols I have fired in the past. I wish I could have compared the 329 with other heavy hitting handguns but I do not know many people with such firearms. So here we go.
My target was setup at 25 yards and there was very little wind. I fired one round at a time until I felt the simple open sights were spot on. The HIVIZ sights are simply awesome and are easy to locate and re-aim when recovering from recoil. I decided to fire 3 sets of two quick bursts. My first shot was a 1/4" above center and the second was a couple inches to the right relative to my first shot. Between shots it took me somewhere around a second to recover from recoil if not less. My other two sets of two where a little more scattered, but I had a few sets that mimiced my first two shots mentioned above. Basically I still need more practice with the 329.
The 500 grips are a nose hair too big for my hands but they are still quite comfortable. These grips seem to make quite the difference in recoile that is associated with the 329. Today I fired all 75 rounds in 2 hours. I did not experience much hand pain while shooting the 329. Even as I type, I have almost no pain in my hand or arm. However I did develope a blister on my index finger, thats the extent of my injuries.
I did have a few problems today. The side button to push that releases the wheel from the handgun would continously become loose. Its a small nut that tightens by a flat head screw driver. I am thinking blue locktite will solve that problem. The second was the wheel was incredily hard to open somewhere after my first 50 rounds. The rod that is used to extract bullets from the wheel loosened up. After a few twists it was tight and fixed that problem.
Now for the conclusion. I never felt the 329 was uncontrollable with the 500 mag grips. It was actually very fun to fire. The 329 did not have much rearward recoil but it mainly like to jump up and push the backbone of the grips into the web of the hand. It was still somewhat easy to recover from the recoil and the HIVIZ sights made it much easier to locate the open sights and focus them on the target. The 329 is more difficult to control than any other pistol I have fired but I did not find it excessive and worthy of carrying in the woods. I just need more practice. I will be happy when I get all 6 rounds within a 10 inch target. With that said I like the versatility of this handgun. If need be and there is no DG threat, I can load it with 44 specials and have a light yet concealable package. I give the 329 two thumbs and one blistered finger up.
I have a friend that just retired from S&W a couple of years ago. He was one of their revolver test shooters down in the basement firing range. He tested every revolver that ever came out of S&W. He did test shooting on the 500 S&W when it first came out and the 329 44 magnum. Of all the revolvers he ever fireed over his 35 years at S&W the 329 was the only one to come back and slam into the plexiglass shield that is in front of him while shooting.
I have heard that story from someone else on another forum. Wouldnt that scare the bejesus out of the shooter. Next time I have access to my desktop I will try and post the video of me firing this pistol.
If it has that kind of recoil, why do you want it? Seriously, if you cant do a fast follow-ups with factory ammo, what good is it. pretty expensive range gun IMO. of course this is just my opinion. nothing against you James.
No offense taken.
Joel, you are more than welcome to fire a few rounds if you join us for another ride, or if we bump into each other at the range. Then you'd be able to decide for yourself how bad it is. The recoil did not live up to the stories I have heard imo. That is why I would like to compare it to a 500 mag and a 629. Also if you read these stories closly some are using the wooden grips, I wonder which grips the S&W shooter was using?
I never felt the recoil was excessive to where I would restrict it to the range. I had a friend fire it and he said the recoil wasnt that bad. I still need more range time for quicker and more accurate groups.
Gotcha, I wouldnt mind cranking a few rounds off. I've always wanted to shoot one of those 329's. Curious how the recoil is compared to my 3" 629.
Roger Wilco, one day we will compare.
My 329.........my take
This thing thumps a lot more than my raging bull .480 ruger
IMHO there's only one reason to own or carry this gun
That's because you are more likely to have it with you when you need it to shoot a "charging" bear at less than 10 yards.........
If/when that happens your going to be aiming the first shot and then emptying the gun as fast as you can.........
I got a pistol because I found myself not carrying my rifle places where I needed to be "armed"...........too cumbersome to carry and wear while I was doing the work I needed to do
so I got the raging bull..........a much more formidable cartridge but I soon found myself NOT carrying that beast in situations where I really needed to be armed....... too cumbersome to carry and wear while I was doing the work I needed to do.......
with the 329 I sometimes forget I even have in the chest holster I wear.......there's not excuse to NOT carry this weapon.....it'll be there when I need it and I know I can put rounds where they need to be at the ranges I'll be firing at.........
AKCheese have you tried the larger grips? I bought mine from S&W direct for somewhere around $35. It keeps that bare metal backbone from jamming the web of your hand.
my dad has a 329 he bought when they first came out. I love the thing. If someone doesn't like theirs i'll trade you my super redhawk with a leupold scope for it. Like cheese said it's going to be on you because it's so light you don't even know it's there and I don't find the recoil to be as bad as many say. If you hold it correctly it just goes straight up and not so much back. I think it's jsut as easy to shoot as my redhawk. And we had some hot bear loads in it when I fired it the most.