In praise of the 629 a couple months later
This is a discussion on In praise of the 629 a couple months later within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; You know I was accused of something the other day. "You're never happy" he said. Sheesh.
Well that's not true. Sometimes I am happy. I'm ...
August 12th, 2005 11:38 PM
In praise of the 629 a couple months later
You know I was accused of something the other day. "You're never happy" he said. Sheesh.
Well that's not true. Sometimes I am happy. I'm particularly happy with the Smith and Wesson 629-4. As you may or may not know depending on your internet viewing habits I rescued it at a reasonable price of $490 from a pawn shop several months ago. I don't think we here enough about people who are actually happy with something. You always here the horror stories. So here I am raking in a little good internet karma with a positive story.
My local pawnbroker likes to BS almost as much as I do. Allegedly this particular specimen belonged to a woman who "inherited" it when it was abandoned by its former owner. She kept it in the back of a drawer for over a year like some secret shame. He bought it off of her, informing me she handled it by picking it up with a cloth like it was dead animal. She was surprised it was worth anything and was more than happy to take his offer on it, and even happier than that to be rid of the thing. He told me she claimed it hadn't been fired a whole lot.
When I first got it... man it was bad. I cleaned it for about an hour and a half. It still has some powder burns on it I'm working on. I came to consider it might not be a good idea to fire it without a professional cleaning, but I was eventually so bold as to slip the plate off and have a look. I was surprised by how clean the internals were. I think this was a gun that was fired little and loved even less. I don't think the original over ever so much as applied a drop of Hoppe's to the action.
I still plan on having it cleaned professionally but since the lockup is fine and it doesn't have any real problems other than a needless powder burn on the front of the cylinder and a strange discoloration on the trigger and hammer, I've been enjoying the heck out of it. I need to borrow a Dremel and a buffing pad and I could probably take care of this minor cosmetic issue myself. However, although it's in good shape, it looks like it was tossed around a lot. There's a lot of scuffs and hairline scratches in the finish in parts. It's what you would expect from a revolver that was actually used however. It's very minor.
Being the "-4" generation, this is a particularly good vintage of the model 629. My probing revealed that this was the first generation to have the lockwork beefed up slightly. The lockwork received even more reinforcement in the 629-5 however so it's not the strongest of its series, but one thing the 629-4 has that the 629-5 does not is forged parts instead of the MIM parts. Don't get me wrong there is nothing functionally wrong with MIM, but forged parts are something I feel we should expect from Smith and Wesson in all honesty. This generation also features the elongated notches on the cylinder, and most important to me is that it's a beautiful, clean lock free piece without that ghastly hole and the runic chicken scratch that accompanies it.
This particular model is the "Classic" configuration. It is a 5" barrel with the full underlug which just looks classy and feels ever so slightly different. It could actually be a very handsome gun if I would get off my duff and have someone that knows what they're doing rebuff it and clean it up and put some wooden grips on it. However I just like to shoot it so much I keep the rubber Hogue grips on it which I like so much.
True it's a big piece of steel but it is so much fun to fire. I wonder if this one has had a trigger job because the trigger is nice.
I have discovered that the old adage that Smith and Wesson revolver are fragile is a myth. The truth is that they're designed for normal SAAMI spec loads. It's not that S&Ws are weak, it's that Rugers are very, very strong. However as much as I want to try some Ruger revolvers, I have to admit when it comes to subjective things like feel and style and ergonomics, slightly aged Smith and Wessons suit me better.
I've had about 700 rounds through it. The Magnum rounds are fun to shoot but not really controllable. I don't feel like I could do a controlled pair under stress. I'm just not that good and I'll admit it. But hey you know what, there are times when you need a lot of power or you are just sunk. And I'll have to admit that out in the sticks, this gun is more comforting than any of my other handguns because I know anything that gets hit with a run of the mill 240 grain load is not going to be happy.
Adding to this is the fact that it's my favorite platform ever. I'm growing to appreciate my Ruger and my Springfield more but they're no revolver when it comes to comfort and "perceived" accuracy. I've never had an N frame before and I think I have a new favorite. Sure its large but my ham hands fit it well.
Ergonomically it's a treat because the controls are of course very simple being a revolver and they're also quite large, and the cartridges are also large. I am really coming around to larger catridges that start with "4" because they're so much easier to handle than something like a 380 or even a 9mm catridge. I hate stuffing catridges in magazines too. Cylinders are so much easier. It is large and has quite a heft to it, but it feels balanced in the hand and it's very quick to acquire a sight picture. It holds very tight groups even unsupported and I'm 100% confident I will never be capable of shooting up to its level of practical accuracy.
On the other side of that though, yes it's a large gun but it's not so large it's completely impractical for CCW. I carry it every once in a blue moon on weekends loaded with Gold Dots in .44 Special. It's a whole different gun when shooting .44 Specials. The recoil feels slightly lesser than when I fire a .38 Spl from my 686. It's a kitten.
It may seem a little silly to house such a large catridge that's way underpowered for its size in such a large heavy gun, but you know what it sure makes for some easy shooting. It's also a large bore cartridge that is very very controllable. I think if they could get over the size of the gun, recoil shy people would enjoy a thing like this. I think someone in my mother's situation where they suffer from arthritis in the hands could really benefit from a gun like this.
I'd CCW it more often but it's just too long and heavy. It's fine when I'm wearing my jeans and my double stitched leather belt or my new metal free nylon belt which are good and stiff, but even with a stiff belt and Docker's pants it's just awkward. It's also a little hard to sit down in a chair comfortably because it pokes me from both ends that way. If you can recline slightly you don't feel it, but if you are sitting straight up it gets real obvious in a hurry.
But still on a cool Saturday evening when you're in your preferred clothing selections and free to stand up or sit in a reclining position you can't beat it. I have to admit that if I were in a different occupation with a different legal status and a different dress code, it would come with me far more often.
I think I have a new favorite handgun even if it's one that I don't get to employ as often as I like. If we lived in a truly free society free of prejudice and irrationality, I'd wear it on my right thigh everywhere I went. I only wish I'd discovered how much I liked the .44 Magnum chambering sooner.
I think I will follow it up with a lever action rifle as I've mentioned before, and at some point a Ruger so I could experiment with nuclear loads if I really wanted to, but I don't think either of those guns would avail them to much potential for a concealable personal defense tool. This gun is both fun and functional even if my circumstances limit that functionality.
August 12th, 2005 11:46 PM
VIP Member (Retired Staff)
Euc - those of us who are ''629-ers'' have a sorta love affair goin' on! The gun is made to digest the stuff and all you need do is keep stokin' it - and shooting!! Bankruptcy due to ammo useage will win over gun failure!!
I wish mine was an earlier model as I prefer older stuff but - gotta say - this 'dash 6' of mine is a pleasure - and I'd carry it with great confidence if Mr SIG was not so well esconsed!
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
- a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.
August 13th, 2005 07:41 AM
Glad your still happy with it and enjoying it
August 13th, 2005 09:18 AM
I Love mine as much as you do! You got a great deal on it, as I remember. We "629rs" gotta stick together. Hope it brings you plenty of fun at the range
August 13th, 2005 08:57 PM
If memory serves, 629-4,5,and 6 are the same gun--with 5 going to frame mounted FP, and 6 adding the lock. My MG is a 4 and very well liked.
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