I grew up watching 80’s films, so revolvers’ always seemed present in my gun repertoire. My father and grandfather both shot revolvers’ whenever they had occasion to shoot a pistol. My taste’s have changed over the years but I can still appreciate a cylinder with holes bored for six.
Today’s subject is one of those classic pistol designs that seem timeless in their execution, the S&W 629 Mountain Gun chambered in the admirable 44 Remington Magnum.
The model 629
Is a more modern version of the gun that made the 44 magnum famous, the model 29. The pistol features double and single action functions, one of the most simple and easy to not screw up designs ever. The cylinder has chambers for six cartridges, and is opened by pushing the left side release actuator. The gun comes with a rubberized grip making it easy to hold onto, and an adjustable rear sight to make sure you hit whatever you are aiming at. The four inch barrel was in very good condition, almost new to the naked eye.
The .44 Magnum
I’ve been loading .44 Magnum since I got my first wheel gun over a decade ago. I’ve found it to be a relatively easy cartridge to load, and in the interests of fun I’ve also loaded up a few .44 Specials. The .44 Remington Magnum offers big bullets going real fast, at least for a pistol. With bullets in the 200 to 240 grain class, you can shoot velocities near double that of the very popular .45 ACP.
Harnessing all this power has been the job of many strong revolvers over the years, but it has also been popular in some lever gun models. Perhaps the ultimate duo, a Winchester 94 in .44 magnum with a S&W revolver to match.
Since buying ammunition these days is still as pleasant as washing stray cats, I decided to use some of my own rolled magnums. Several comfort loads that I’m used to would do the trick. The first is my old standby, a 240 grain cast lead slug with a grease ring. Loaded with some H110 it has always been a soft and accurate shooting load, I’ve been able to reliably hit targets at deer hunting distances in the past. The next load up was some Berry’s 240 grain copper plated flat-points, loaded again with H110 which seems to be the go to powder for many of these pistol cartridges. Once I had a box of each loaded up, I headed to the mountains to see how this Mountain Gun fit in to the scenery.
On the range
One thing I appreciate about the .44 Magnum is that even though its just a pistol, it still has enough energy to shoot further distances than one would typically shoot pistols. Not exactly long range, but I like the idea of a strong handgun that a guy could actually use to sneak up on a deer and take a shot.
I started out shooting at paper targets at approximately fifteen-yards, hitting NRA targets at that range was easy, so much so that I began to try shooting some groups to see just how accurate the gun is.
Once I had convinced myself I could shoot no better at that range, I decided to shoot at a steel target fifty-yards away. A full size silhouette was still relatively easy to hit, and I stacked a bunch of lead on the front of that target for the next few minutes. The 629 seemed to like the lead bullets better than the plated ones, but both loads shot well enough for predictable hits.
The .44 is no slouch, you are quite aware of its presence every time it goes off. The soft rubber grip was very comfortable to hold onto, and its sticky quality made it easier to hold onto under recoil. The short four-inch barrel sure loved to climb, I probably need to work on my pistol driving skills, but I think it wasn’t just me.
Perhaps the thing that impressed me the most was the clean and perfect trigger break. It felt so good it reminded me of a good rifle, I think this also made the pistol so easy to shoot well. I only needed to line up the sights, and apply a touch of pressure and watch the impact through a small cloud of smoke.
There is an allure to cranking the hammer back on these heavy revolvers, like reminiscing from one of those old 70’s movies imagining a quivering villain before you as a cunning threat rolls off your lips. The heavy feel in your hand, and the impressive recoil and noise seems to command attention. Continue Reading Here…