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3" model 629 as a hiking gun?

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  • 3" model 629 as a hiking gun?

    I'm thinking of picking up a lightweight revolver for hiking. I'm comfortable shooting .44 mag rounds, and feel that going higher (.454 casull, .500 S&W) would be too much for my skill level. Likewise, I get the imipression that a scandium gun like the Smith 329 would also be too much - I held one in a sporting goods store and couldn't believe that people could manage to control magnum rounds in the thing.

    So, that brings me to short-barreled .44s like the 3" or 4" model 629 and the Ruger Alaskan. I'm drawn to the 3" 629, but I'm curious: does anyone think it would make an adequate hiking gun? What off-the-shelf loads would people recommend?

    Thanks.
    Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

  • #2
    Hiking gun

    If the .44 magnum is a cartridge you can handle with confidence, that is fine. A 4" 629 or Redhawk would be an excellent choice. The Ruger would be a better choice if you wanted to shoot a steady diet of the heavy loads since it is a heavier stronger frame than the 629, which could handle a reasonable amount of bear loads with no problem, like enough to practice with and know where they are going to hit, then carry them in the woods. The S&W is a smoother gun action wise. Either one is a good all around choice.

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    • #3
      629 Backpacker

      I have and often carry a 629 "Backpacker Special" with 3" Bbl. I use the 305 LBT by Buffalo Bore. They are stiff but not on the 454 level. I had a 629 Mountain Gun Recoil was about the same. I use 240 Gr. for plinking. BB offers a 340 Gr. at higher MV called 44 +P+. I haven't tried that one. They also recommend their loads for S&W guns made after 1989. Not sure why. I feel well armed with this gun in Colorado. In Alaska I carry my 454 or 500 S&W.

      Good Luck making the choice. They are all good guns.

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      • #4
        Lots and lots of relevant discussion of the 329 in a thread further down the page. Here is a link for your convenience. I've got both a 329 and a 4" 629, and from a purely carry standpoint, I don't find the difference in weight all that noticeable. Frankly, I often forget which one I'm carrying. Both are ported, and both have action jobs. Overall the 629 is easier to control in DA, but if I'm shooting the 329 regularly, even that's not a big difference.

        On the other hand, even the 4" 500 is heavy and bulky. You are ALWAYS going to know you are wearing it, even if you could shoot it well.

        Once you get your 329/629, have some fun. Go shooting with anyone fond of their 500 or 454. Shoot lots. 200 rounds is good. Do it all double action. They'll be whining and never reach the 200 mark, whether due to the high cost or pain. And they sure aren't going to be hitting anything. So much for the "advantage" of bigger rounds. Yeah, I've got both and respect them, but the ease of carry and utility of the 44 for frequent shooting turns the 454 and 500 into safe queens except for handgun hunting.
        "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
        Merle Haggard

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        • #5
          I dont know what kind of shape you are in or how much actual hiking you do, but I wouldnt discount those ultra-light scandium guns for myself. I personaly carry a modified Ruger Vaquero in 45 colt, but if I walk more than a few miles my inner hip joint starts to ache on my right side, Granted I have a touch of Aurther in there but for me at least if I know I am going to hike a fair distance I will leave the handgun in the truck and carry a my little winchester 94 trapper slung over my sholder. Seems more comfortable than a pistol despite the extra weight and size. You might also look at shoulder rigs for comfort. they make wearing a back pack troublesome, but a lot of guys prefer them to belt holsters. I have never been able to "enjoy" them, but thats just me. All of the Smith & Wesson's are well built, but some of the older 44 mags the screws would kind of work loose on the ones I had, and require tightning now and then.

          Good luck
          ďYouíve gotten soft. Youíre like one of those police dogs whoís released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.Ē Bill McNeal of News Radio

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BrownBear View Post
            .....Once you get your 329/629, have some fun. Go shooting with anyone fond of their 500 or 454. Shoot lots. 200 rounds is good. Do it all double action. They'll be whining and never reach the 200 mark, whether due to the high cost or pain. And they sure aren't going to be hitting anything. So much for the "advantage" of bigger rounds. Yeah, I've got both and respect them, but the ease of carry and utility of the 44 for frequent shooting turns the 454 and 500 into safe queens except for handgun hunting.
            There's some outstanding advice.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Alangaq View Post
              You might also look at shoulder rigs for comfort. they make wearing a back pack troublesome, but a lot of guys prefer them to belt holsters.
              I've used a bandolier holster before, which is somewhat similar. I do have to agree that putting the weight on the chest is more comfortable than hanging it on the hip. I'm trying to picture how badly a shoulder rig would interfere with a backpack; I'd prefer a bandolier, but nobody seems to make them for short-barreled handguns. I've never worn a shoulder rig, but I'd think that short revolvers would be an ideal fit.
              Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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              • #8
                For use with packs I'm real fond of my old leather Bianchi open-front or "clam shell" shoulder holsters. I don't know if they make them any more. Unsnap the retainer strap and lever down and away from your body. Never had problems with a pack, even with my 8 3/8" S&W's.

                Just checked their site and what they call X-15 looks to be the same or very similar to what I have. Then again, mine are all really scuffed up and stained from 20+ years of hard wear and sweat.

                Looks like their "Tuxedo" (synthetic) or Hawk (leather) models that hold the gun horizontal under your arm might have promise for shorter barrels. Check their site for which guns they're made for.
                "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                Merle Haggard

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                • #9
                  3" 629

                  I have and use a 3" 629 Trail Boss. It's a great gun because of the shorter barrel. I usually take it when I'm off in the woods fly fishing. I carry 300 grain hard cast, but I have never actually shot it with those rounds. I bought those rounds for bear, and to tell you the truth...I really don't want to have to shoot it with those if I don't have to. For one, I know it will hurt. Second, I don't want to have to put any undue stress on the gun if I don't have to. And third, they are a lot more expensive than normal rounds.

                  It's a comfortable gun to carry if you don't have a backpack. When I carry a backpack that has kidney pads on it, the gun and holster get uncomfortable pretty quick, but I'm sure that would be the case with any gun. I would like to get a chest holster.

                  You may want to think about a Ruger, such as the Alaskan or 4" Redhawk. These are stronger, and will handle those more powerful rounds better. I'm considering getting one of those. Personally, I think the .44 Mag is a good hiking gun, but I wouldn't want to go any lower than that.

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                  • #10
                    To each his own set of reasoning. Mine goes like soÖ..

                    I would agree that 44 Mag. is probably minimum carry for Bar protection.
                    To me 3Ē is way too short of a barrel for a 44 Mag.
                    I wouldnít shoot or even carry ammo that hurt me when I shot it, or own a gun that hurt me either. Not for very long anyway.

                    My recently purchased 44 Mag has a 6 ď barrel, and it is fun to shoot, using 240 grain Hard cast bullets, at close to 1200 fps.
                    Some, might consider it pretty hefty, and unhandy too, but itís not to me. Maybe, I just like it so much, I donít mind.

                    Iím having a hip holster made for it, but will probably get a chest holster too from the same guy. I think the ones he makes are better than any chest holster, Iíve seen. Theyíre also the easiest to put on and take off. They hold the gun securely and yet itís easy to draw.

                    I saw them at the Gun Show in E.R., and at his shop. Thereís no Website. All I got is Diamond D Leather, 907-688-0366 David Johnston.

                    I really donít know, (anymore) why so many people are so enamored with light weight rifles or handguns. Granted, I usta think that way myself. Now, Iím more interested in shootability, and that means heavier guns, and longer barrels in both rifles and revolvers.

                    I guess we change over time. I wonder if someday, Iíll be searching for lighter boom sticks. Naw, I probably wonít last that long.

                    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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                    • #11
                      I have a magnum research BFR in .454 it has a 4.5 inch barrel and is magna ported. It is a very nice gun but i shot it about 10 rounds to make sure i would be able to use it if need be and i doubt i will ever shoot another 454 round out of it because of the recoil is just misserable. And on the light rifle comment i Have a sako finlight with a zeiss 3.5X10. The gun weighs 6 3/8th pounds and the scope weighs 16 oz so it is a light set up. It is chambered in 300 wsm and with only 10 rounds through it i have got it sighted in and put a 3 shot group that could be covered by a quarter. I know i have not gotten near as group as it is capable yet. So you can have light weight and accurate. The recoil is greater on a lightweight gun but when the sights are on a moose there is no knowticable recoil. Just my thoughts.

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                      • #12
                        Here is a link to the Diamond D website that was mentioned earlier: www.davidjohnstonleather.com
                        ..."Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." - G.K. Chesterton

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                        • #13
                          alaskamace:
                          Thanks for the Website.
                          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.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the responses. It sounds like people prefer Rugers over Smiths for the reason that they can better handle a steady diet of stiff loads; I'll have to find a gun shop that carries 'em. The shopping is always fun.

                            I'm sure that switching from a 6" 629 loaded with medium rounds to a short barreled gun with hot rounds is going to make for a wakeup call when I take it to the range for the first time. I'm thinking of picking up a handgun shooting glove from Uncle Mike's in hopes that it will help tame whatever little beast I buy. :eek:
                            Tsimshian tribe, wolf clan, the house of Walsk.

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                            • #15
                              ruger 44 loads

                              I have a 4-5/8" ruger 44 mag blackhawk which I carried prior to picking up a 4-1/2" BFR in 475 Linebaugh..

                              When I carried the 44mag for factory ammo I purchased a load from Federal which pushes a 300gr WFN hard cast bullet at an advertised 1000 fps. I have not yet chronographed this to get actual velocities. Sportsman's warehouse in south Anchorage had these in stock last time I was there.

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