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Thread: S&w 29

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    Member shaolin's Avatar
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    S&w 29

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    So after spending 3 terrifying nights in the woods I finally broke down and bought a S&W 69 44mag for Black Bear Protection.
    Now I pray this is enough gun for the job because I can't buy anything else for a long time.
    To all the 44 Mag owners out there what loads do you use for Self Defense against a Black Bear or the 2 legged varmints.
    I currently have the Winchester 240 gr JSP for protection.

    Sorry I made a mistake: The thread should say S&W 69. I wanted the 29 but the 69 was lighter but 1 less bullet capacity so I will have to do it in 5 shots.
    I am scared of the recoil so I think I will practice with the special rds then move up to magnum rds later.
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    That load will do just fine, if it is placed properly. Just like in any other defensive use, placement is everything. A heavy, hard-cast bullet is preferred by many, but just because some folks think there is a slightly better choice, that doesn't mean everything else is useless (it isn't).

    The S&W Model 29 is a classic and versatile revolver; defensive uses aside, if you get some high-quality lightly-loaded target ammo, you'll probably be surprised at how accurate one can be (given a good operator, of course).

    EDIT 5-27: I see the model we were discussing has changed. While the model 69 is probably just as mechanically accurate as the 29, it will recoil considerably harder, and for most folks, that will make it much more of a challenge to shoot well. Your idea of using .44 Special ammo initially is a good one, and I might even suggest an intermediate step of practicing with a mid-range/power .44 Mag load before stepping up to the full-house .44 magnum ammo in such a small/light revolver.

    I looked at several S&W model 69 revolvers when they first appeared in my area, and was very disappointed by the roughness and weight of the DA trigger pull. I think it approached "unusable" in the first two revolvers I handled, and only improved slightly to "horrible" on the third and fourth examples I checked. At that point, I lost interest in getting one, at least until S&W can make it borderline shootable as it comes from the box.
    denner likes this.
    "Placement is power" -- seen in an article by Stephen A. Camp
    (RIP, Mr. Camp; you will be remembered, and missed)

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    Senior Member denner's Avatar
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9Ak3mSjb2M


    It's more than enough gun. Hold on.

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    Member HGF Gold Member

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    You may want to spend some time shooting the magnum loads if that is what you plan on using for defense. I Found myself starting to flinch when when shooting full magnum loads. I'm talking completely off the paper flinch. Took some time and practice for me to be able to shoot 44 mag well. I prefer to shoot it outside as opposed to an indoor range as well. I really never gave the load I use much thought as long as it says 44 mag should be good.

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    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    The venerated .44 Magnum is not that bad on recoil. I have owned three, and still own one, but granted all of them were heavier than your Model 69. The muzzle blast is going to be something to consider with that shorter barrel length. And you are going to give up a little muzzle velocity was well. But it is still a very formidable revolver and with the right load and good shot placement, can take down a black bear.

    If the animal is broadside to you, aim form his foreleg shoulder mass. If he is facing you, shoot just under the chin. You want to bring this beast down quickly and breaking his bones while messing up his lungs and heart is the way to go.

    I've seen pictures of moose, lions, Alaskan brown bear, and even elephants taken with the .44 Magnum. You can bet someone was behind these hunters with a rifle designed for the chosen game. This caliber has taken most of the big game animals on the planet.
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    Member hillman's Avatar
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    .44 Mag is 'interesting' in a heavy revolver. Mind saying why you chose S&W over Ruger?

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    Buffalo Bore, CorBon or Double Tap loads for just about any critter you'll likely encounter.

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    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillman View Post
    .44 Mag is 'interesting' in a heavy revolver. Mind saying why you chose S&W over Ruger?
    All three of the .44 Mags I've owned have been Rugers and the one I still have is a Ruger Redhawk 5 1/2" barrel cicra 1985. I installed a set of Omark springs, Pachmayr grips, and the (then) Ruger "Hunting" sights. Very accurate and pretty comfortable to shoot.

    I used to load for .357 and .44 Magnum rounds so my .357's and .44's have had a good variety of loads through them.
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  9. #9
    Member hillman's Avatar
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    That's the gun I would carry in bear country. My puzzlement was directed to the OP. Guessing that he may have gone for 'name brand'.

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    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillman View Post
    That's the gun I would carry in bear country. My puzzlement was directed to the OP. Guessing that he may have gone for 'name brand'.
    The S&W Model 29 is a classic and one fine revolver, and of course it is the original .44 Magnum. I have handled one with the 8 3/8" barrel but never fired one. The S&W 69 the OP got looks like a fine gun and I doubt he will be disappointed with it. The one less round might give rise for concern but then it is quite a bit lighter so packing it along is going to be easier.

    If he had waited a bit and check in here first, I might have suggested that he Glock 20. Sixteen rounds of the very hot Double Tap or Underwood 10mm ammo is nothing to sneeze at and would probably be my choice.

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    This is a good video comparison 10mm and 44 mag. Definitely see why a hollow point would not be good for something like a bear skull.
    https://youtu.be/eCUFzNLHP2Q

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    Do not use Buffalo Bore "Heavy .44 Magnum +P+ Ammo - 340 gr. L.F.N. - G.C. (1,478 fps/M.E. 1,649 ft. lbs."). It should only be used in specific guns that are designed to handle that type of ammunition. S&W .44 Magnums are not listed. The manufacturer (Buffalo Bore) issued warnings regarding this:

    This new load is designed ONLY for certain firearms. They are as follows; Ruger Red Hawk, Ruger Super Red Hawk, Ruger Super Blackhawk or Vaquero, Freedom Arms Model 83, Taurus Raging Bull, Colt Anaconda and Dan Wesson Revolvers. Suitable rifles include T/C Encore, "modified" Marlin 1894 (see next paragraph), Winchester 1894, any rifle with a falling block action and the Handi Rifle. We get hundreds of emails asking if this load can be fired in S&W revolvers or some firearm other than what is in the above list. The answer is NO. The above list is all inclusive. If some shooters continue to irresponsibly use this product, we may have to discontinue it and that would be unfortunate as it is our best selling 44 mag. load and it gives great performance for those that use it responsibly however, as is always the case, irresponsible use of any product ends up penalizing responsible users. It would also be wise to read our “Technical Article” on “Dangerous Pure Lead Cowboy Bullets”, before using this (ITEM 4D) product.

  13. #13
    Member shaolin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillman View Post
    .44 Mag is 'interesting' in a heavy revolver. Mind saying why you chose S&W over Ruger?
    I like a Ruger but cost factor was the issue. The gun shop sold it to me for 730 + tax and he was asking 799 + tax so I jumped on it but I guess I should have look to see how much the Red Hawk was. I love my gp100 .357!
    The trigger on this S&W is very good.

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    Member shaolin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    The S&W Model 29 is a classic and one fine revolver, and of course it is the original .44 Magnum. I have handled one with the 8 3/8" barrel but never fired one. The S&W 69 the OP got looks like a fine gun and I doubt he will be disappointed with it. The one less round might give rise for concern but then it is quite a bit lighter so packing it along is going to be easier.

    If he had waited a bit and check in here first, I might have suggested that he Glock 20. Sixteen rounds of the very hot Double Tap or Underwood 10mm ammo is nothing to sneeze at and would probably be my choice.
    My next gun will be the Glock 10mm. I have to save up for 6 months before I can get another gun. I have been using the G23 & 36 with Underwood Extreme Penetrating bullets because the biggest bears in GA/SC rarely reach 250 lbs and I was confident that a rd to the head and neck till he be dead would get achieved by solid hits to nervous system. I like the fact that the 44 will break bones and grit and still reach deep enough but I am afraid of the recoil & blast. It will be a gun I have to shoot till I get unafraid of it.

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    Senior Member denner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaolin View Post
    I like a Ruger but cost factor was the issue. The gun shop sold it to me for 730 + tax and he was asking 799 + tax so I jumped on it but I guess I should have look to see how much the Red Hawk was. I love my gp100 .357!
    The trigger on this S&W is very good.

    The Model 69 is slimmer, weighs 10 to 15 ounces lighter and will be much easier to pack and generally will have a better trigger. You did well. If it were me with what your planning on using it for I opt for the 69 over any semi 10mm.

  16. #16
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustygun View Post
    This is a good video comparison 10mm and 44 mag. Definitely see why a hollow point would not be good for something like a bear skull.
    https://youtu.be/eCUFzNLHP2Q
    I hunted with a handgun for years and when I was using one of my .44 Magnums, I loaded it with a Speer 225gr JHP pushed by 23 grains of Hercules 2400 powder. In my Redhawk 5 1/2" barrel, this came in around 1500 fps as I recall and was very accurate. This was for deer and there were black bears in the area. Were I to specifically be hunting black bear, I would have used the 240gr Speer JSP with 22 grains of 2400. I still have some of these loads.

    The Sierra JHC would have been okay for black bear. I tested that load in thoroughly damped fine sand and spaced 2x4's and it was fine.

  17. #17
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaolin View Post
    My next gun will be the Glock 10mm. I have to save up for 6 months before I can get another gun. I have been using the G23 & 36 with Underwood Extreme Penetrating bullets because the biggest bears in GA/SC rarely reach 250 lbs and I was confident that a rd to the head and neck till he be dead would get achieved by solid hits to nervous system. I like the fact that the 44 will break bones and grit and still reach deep enough but I am afraid of the recoil & blast. It will be a gun I have to shoot till I get unafraid of it.
    Back in the late 50's or early 60's, don't recall which, Skeeter Skelton, a famous gun writer, and a friend of his tested the new .44 Magnum on slaughter steers in Texas. Shots were made to the head of the animals with the Keith 240gr load and a .30-06 rifle cartridge. In every case, the .44 Magnum penetrated further than did the .30-06 bullet and there's a good reason for this. The rifle bullet travels at a higher velocity and is longer. This translates into more rapid expansion and a large frontal area hitting the resistance of the animal's internal structures. This slows it down more quickly than what happens with the revolver ammunition. This is not to say that a .44 Magnum is more powerful than a .30-06, which of course it's not. Just that physics come into play.

    Don't worry about recoil. A firm grip on the gun will work fine. I've shot thousands of loads in .44 Magnum and have yet to find any that gave me concern. It's not a cannon, just one of the best hunting handgun calibers you can own.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by denner View Post
    The Model 69 is slimmer, weighs 10 to 15 ounces lighter and will be much easier to pack and generally will have a better trigger. You did well. If it were me with what your planning on using it for I opt for the 69 over any semi 10mm.
    For packing in the woods and trails of the eastern U.S., I'd go with a Glock 22. If I was in bear country, which most of these areas are, I would go with the Glock 20. These guns are light, wear very well on the hip, and have good capacity. Add in a couple of extra magazines and one would be very well equipped against most any threat. We even have black pumas here in western Virginia so there are some dangerous 4-legged predators which abound in our mountain forests.

    I love my Ruger Redhawk but I also love to have capacity. Stoking one of those guns I just mentioned with the right loads and you would be very well armed.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    For packing in the woods and trails of the eastern U.S., I'd go with a Glock 22. If I was in bear country, which most of these areas are, I would go with the Glock 20. These guns are light, wear very well on the hip, and have good capacity. Add in a couple of extra magazines and one would be very well equipped against most any threat. We even have black pumas here in western Virginia so there are some dangerous 4-legged predators which abound in our mountain forests.

    I love my Ruger Redhawk but I also love to have capacity. Stoking one of those guns I just mentioned with the right loads and you would be very well armed.
    \
    Another forum I read had a long thread on this general subject. It was/is western country specific, so grizzly and cougar attacks were focused on. One debated factor was the real utility of gun capacity. If you can - at most - hope for two aimed rounds...

  20. #20
    Senior Member SouthernBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillman View Post
    Another forum I read had a long thread on this general subject. It was/is western country specific, so grizzly and cougar attacks were focused on. One debated factor was the real utility of gun capacity. If you can - at most - hope for two aimed rounds...
    Grizzlies are a whole different matter than black bears. I would not want anything less than a .44 Magnum loaded with the most powerful loads I could find. A .454 Casull or perhaps a .480 Ruger would be even better.

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