The Smith & Wesson Model 629 has been in
production for almost forty years now, with subtle changes and
improvements made along the way. The current model is the 629-8,
indicating the eighth significant change to the 629, which is a
stainless steel version of Smith’s
Model 29, which is probably the most famous 44 magnum
revolver on the planet. The advantages of stainless construction
have proven themselves over the past few decades, and while the
double-action revolver is not as popular today as are the
various polymer-framed semi-automatic pistols, there is still a
place for a strong, powerful double-action sixgun, for both
hunting and fighting.
The 629 Hunter shown here, as its name
reveals, is purpose-built for hunting. Its 44 magnum chambering
makes this revolver very useful for hunting game as large as the
big bears, if the hunter is up to the task. The 629 Hunter is
built in Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center by gunsmiths
working under the watchful eye of Tony Miele. The Performance
Center is S&W’s factory within a factory, which makes
special runs of firearms that are a cut above a standard
production gun, and they also do work on customer’s firearms.
They built the 629 Hunter for those who want and expect top
quality in a hunting revolver.
The 629 Hunter is built upon S&W’s
square-butt N-frame, which was their largest revolver frame
until the introduction of the massive
X-frame a few years ago. The Hunter wears a fluted heavy
barrel with an integral shroud for the ejector rod. The bottom
of the barrel is drilled and tapped for an included accessory
rail, and the top is drilled and tapped for an included sight
rail. Also, the top of the frame under the rear sight is drilled
and tapped for a scope mount, if desired. However, I think that
most who choose to put an optic on this revolver will use the
barrel mount, as it is sturdy, and places the optic a bit
farther out for better balance and easier use.
Like all Performance Center revolvers, the
629 Hunter is hand-fitted and hand-tuned for optimum
performance. The checkered teardrop hammer and smooth-faced
trigger are chrome plated, and the latter has an adjustable
stop. The rear sight is the familiar S&W fully-adjustable
design, and the front is an orange-glow blade, which works
pretty well in most ambient light.
The checkered wood grip feels really good in
my hand. The stocks are thinner than most N-frame square butt
stocks, which helps significantly in controlling the big sixgun
under heavy recoil. I fired a wide variety of 44 magnum
ammunition, as well as some quality 44 Special ammunition in the
629 Hunter. Recoil was quite manageable with even the heavy
Buffalo Bore ammo. Please note that while the Buffalo Bore 44
magnum +P+ 340 grain ammo will fit, do not use that ammunition
in any S&W 44 magnum revolver. The other Buffalo Bore 44
magnum ammo will work just fine, but this revolver is not built
for the 340 grain +P+ level loads. I include this information,
because it is a question that is often asked.
detailed specifications of the Performance Center 629 Hunter are
listed in the chart below. All linear measurements are listed in
inches, and the weight is listed in ounces. The revolver’s
weight does not include the accessory nor the optics rails. The
trigger pulls are listed in pounds of resistance. SA is the
single-action trigger pull. DA is the double-action trigger
pull. Height includes the sights, set to the intermediate
|Trigger Pull SA
|Trigger Pull DA
|Barrel / Cylinder Gap
||44 Magnum and 44 Special
|MSRP as of May 2016
fired the 629 for function using a variety of 44 Magnum and 44
Special ammunition. Velocity testing was done at a distance of
ten feet from the muzzle. Velocities were recorded at an
elevation of 541 feet above sea level, and are listed in
feet-per-second (fps). Velocity testing was done at a
temperature of seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, with a relative
humidity of fifty-seven percent. I also tested the 629 for
accuracy at a distance of twenty-five yards, with the weapon
secured into my Ransom Master Series
machine rest. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. TAC-XP
is a homogenous copper hollow point bullet. LFN is a cast lead
flatnose bullet. JFN is a jacketed flatnose bullet. Keith is a
cast lead semi-wadcutter bullet. XP
is Extreme Penetrator, a homogenous copper specialty bullet from
Lehigh Defense. LHP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Bullet
weights are listed in grains.
|Buffalo Bore TAC-XP
|Buffalo Bore JHP
|Buffalo Bore Low Recoil
|Buffalo Bore Lead Wadcutter
|Lehigh Defense XP
|Buffalo Bore Keith
The 629 Hunter proved to be one hundred
percent reliable. There were no failures to fire of any kind,
and all ammunition tested ejected easily after firing. The
double-action trigger pull is butter-smooth, and the
single-action pull is typical S&W perfect. The 629 is
match-accurate. This revolver is at home in the field or on the
target range. A superb hunting revolver that can double as a
target gun or for home defense. Accurate, powerful, reliable,
affordable, and made in the USA. What’s not to like about it?
The Model 629 Hunter is in production now.
Check out the 629 Hunter and the extensive line of Smith &
Wesson Performance Center firearms and accessories online at www.smith-wesson.com.
To find a Smith & Wesson Performance
Center dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Performance Center 629 Hunter
online, and have gun dealers in your are compete for your
business, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.
order quality 44 Magnum and 44 Special ammunition online, go to www.midsouthshooterssupply.com,
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