I'm a sixgunner, through and through. Most of my attention lately has been directed toward the Ruger Blackhawks/Super Blackhawks, but I've been down the pike with the DA revolver, too.
Around 1980 or so I bought a Smith & Wesson Model 29 from a friend of mine. Pretty plain, stock gun, recessed chambers, 6 1/2" barrel. But that gun sure grew on me. It was too big for me for good DA shooting, but great for single action work. And I fed it some pretty fire-breathin' handloads. But I could topple the rams at 200 meters pretty easily. Before long, the loads took their toll on the gun, and the action locked up. The pivot pins inside the frame had sheared off.
I got in touch with Smith & Wesson, and found that the Model 29 had been updated. Send it back to the factory and it would have the endurance package installed. It stayed awhile, waiting for the new machinery to be installed. In the meantime, the full-lug barrel had been introduced.
I asked about having one installed on my gun, would the top-strap take the strain, etc. I was assured it would, and S&W would install an 8 3/8" full lug barrel on my gun. When I finally got the gun back, the front sight had that awful red plastic insert. Removing this, I finally got out to the range. At 100 yards this long snouted gun shot as well as a .30-30 rifle.
After the original trials with this barrel, I decided I wanted a handier length. I went to my gunsmith here in Memphis, Bob Mason, asking him about having it re-barreled. He told me he could shorten the barrel to 6" for less than the cost of a new barrel. Well, he did it, and now the gun sports a 6" barrel. At just over 15,000 rounds through it, it is one of my most fired guns.
A couple of years later, I had Smith & Wesson make me up a 5" full lug Model 29, which has about become my favorite DA revolver.
My gun pictured above is probably the nicest shooting handgun I have ever shot. I guess because it's got that port in front of the front site, it seems to push back rather than jump up when fired. Those grips fit my hand much nicer than the Hogue's that came on in. The measured trigger pull is 2.2 lbs and very, very crisp. And, of course, it's much more accurate than I am. It will hit the gong at 100 yds. 8 of 10 times if I do my part.