I had to wait a long time for mine. It missed this years backpacking season. Next year my pack will be much lighter. 4" barrel 44Mag at approx 26oz. It's verrrry much lighter than my 4" full luged barrel SS 44Mag. Even a lot lighter than the Mountain gun (second choise).
Talking about a recoil monster! I hope that with the right loads and some practice I will learn to pull off a follow up shot in a reasonable time.
This gun is not without problems. My buddy (also an advid back packer) got his while I was mountain hopping. When I returned, we took his beast to the range. The gun has decent sights. I realy like the "HIVIS" front sight but it looks to be prone to braking off if your not careful. The trigger pull is terrible. It's not that smooth and is very heafty. When fired, it shaved the bullet's copper jacket wich struck both shooter and by stander in the face. We weren't sure of what was hitting us at the time, thouht it could be a possible ricochet.
When mine came in it had all the same mannorisms, to include spitting the copper jacket. The first time it did it, I was sure it was not a ricochet, the back stop was a 100yrds away. I felt something strike the side of my face. My fingers returned with a little blood (minor scratch). I was hard headed enough to shoot a few more rounds through it, I was struck again. This time I removed a sliver of copper jacket from my earlobe. After that the gun was cased and sent back to S&W for repair. I was also having a lot of trouble ejecting the spent casing fron the cylender. I had to tap on the ejector rod with a piese of wood.
S&W paid for the shipping (both ways) and sent the gun back in about three weeks. They stated that they replaced the cylender due to the ejecting problem and "cut" the forcing cone due to it "spitting lead." I guess "spitting lead" sounds less harmfull than "spitting copper jacket" hehehe.
It was a little discouraging to have this much trouble from such an expencive and modern gun. I know three guys including myself who own one. The third guy doesn't have to same complaints except for the poor trigger.
It's the perfect gun for me. I am allways looking for ways to lighten my pack.
Any one else out there own a S&W 329PD? Your thoughts are welcomed.
BTW, I learned a valuable lesson about eyeprotection at the rang. certainly with a new or unfamillar gun.
Test fired the 329 the other day to see if S&W fixed the problems. It seemed fine after six plus rounds. One old timer there was intrested in the gun, so I loaded it up for him. I just finished telling him about the "spitting copper jacket problem" I had before he shot it.
It was amusing watching the recoil monster buck in his hand. He was a big and burly guy who handled the recoil a lot better than I.
It was all good untill he fired the fourth round. The gun spit a pice of copper jacket that hit me on the lip! I told him to stop, as he turned he was wondering why I had blood comming from my lip. I said, "remember how S&W was suposed to fix the gun," GUESS NOT!
This is realy pissing me off! My next letter, while returning the gun, will not be so polite.
I can see my self now, using the gun in the out-back in defence against some hairy beast, only to be left with on my knees holding my bloody eye and over ten-twenty miles from a trail head.
May be I'm lucky that this season of backpacking is over LOL.
I have one that I traded for. I was amazed at how light it is. I ran a couple of boxes through it with no problems. It shoots great and is reletively accurate. I have just posted it for sale on the equipment exchange because I cannot maintain good shot groups with that much recoil.
Although its really nice, and I like it alot, its not exactly what I want.
If nobody buys it then I'll just keep it and consider it as a good lightweight artillery piece.
The first poster calls it the "beast" and it continues to injure anyone standing near by when fired after being fixed by the factory - oh, and the trigger pull sucks.
The second poster is selling his because, if I read the post correctly, he can't hit with it.
And people continue to say things like:
"It's the perfect gun for me."
" It shoots great and is reletively accurate."
Is it me or does this not make any sense?
It sounds like the perfect gun, for someone else.
The revolver will "spit" jacket fragments and unburned powder to around 180 degrees from the forcing cone junction with the barrel...thus YOU will not get the crap from it, those standing to the sides will. That said, the issue with the Scandium revolvers is the fact that the metal does the "hootchie-coochie" when the gun is fired...that is, the frames flex much more than do the steel frames. Because of this the tolerances simply cannot be held as tight with these guns as with all steel models, which flex less and heat up more slowly.
Traditional barrel / cylinder gap with a magnum S&W should be in the .004-.006 range, but the factory has loosened those tolerances over the years, and they are even larger with the Scandium framed guns. This wider gap will cause some of the problem...and there ain't much you can do about it if you want the gun to fire more than a few rounds before it seizes up.
On the other hand, the barrel and cylinder may also not be lining up correctly on this particular gun, and this CAN be fixed. It may be caused by the cylinder stop, or by a bad cut on the ratchet, or by an improperly fitted hand, which S&W should be able to tell by a relatively quick check of the gun.
Send it back again...make them get it right!
My 329 is very tight and doesn't "spit" any particles. With Magnums it is a bear to control but exceedingly shootable with specials. I bought mine to be a woods carry gun. It is light enough that I will always carry it. I traded a 629 mountain gun for it as the mountain gun was too heavy for always carry. I think the 329 requires alot of practice and discipline to master but is very accurate and will be there when I need it. I will practice with many .44 specials and mid power magnums while gradually building skill with full power magnums. The plus to developing skill with this heavy recoiling beast is the absolute absence of recoil I now perceive from my .357 sig and 9mm sig. John
It is the perfect gun for me, but it is "mission specific." Now, this gun ser#!$#@# has a lot of problems, if and when, they are worked out it will be a GREAT "special purpose" gun!
Yes, I beleave that the trigger pull sucks. I also beleave that (due to liability) most all modern guns come with crapy triggers. I like very smooth and fairly light triggers pulls on all of my pistols. The only "out of the box" mass production revolver that I own, that could not (IMO) use some sort of trigger work is my Colt Python. It is not uncommon for a modern pistol to benfit from some sort of trigger work. I guess, it's just a matter of your expectaions. Now, the spitting lead problem is just plain BS and poor Q/C.
As far as shooting tight groups with it, like as with all firearms, this will improve with practive, practice, practice! If a gun (due to harsh recoil or lack of intreast) is never or seldomly fired it's potential may never be discovered.
I hope the above makes sence to you.
No, it's not for every one, nor is a flintlock or a BMG. Although I would like to have one of each.
Thanks for the great info. I'm not sure what you mean by the part where you say that the shavings can't hit the shooter. They bit me twice in the face while "I" was shooting it. That's why I sent it back the first time. I do plan to send it back, I hope that they get it right the second time.
I wish that yours was for sale before I purchased mine. It's a lot less than I paid (+holster) and yours is provern to be trouble free.
I plan to follow your 329 training regiment. What mid to light load .44mag loads would you recomend? I'm still looking for thoes .44 specials.
I roll my own so I can pretty much make any level of power I want. However, PMC(as well as Magtech and Ultramax) load some excellant cowboy style .44 specials that are great for breaking in both the 329 and yourself. Remington makes a medium power 240 grain magnum load that is perfect for building to the next level. I duplicate the Remington load with 9 grains of Universal. I just got back from the range after dumping 50 rounds of specials and 20 or so medium magnums thru the 329. I am starting to get much more comfortable with the gun and have developed a pretty good callus on the thumb web of my shooting hand. John
What I mean is that all revolvers spit a little crap out the sides at the barrel / cylinder gap, no matter how well they are fitted. It is just a fact of life that where the bullet has to jump a gap, even a small, well-fitted one, some small amount of material will escape to the sides...this is where so-called "flame cutting" comes from at the front edge of the topstrap...that portion of the frame directly above the forcing cone. That is normal.
When you start getting jacket fragments, etc. it is a sign that the barrel and cylinder are not correctly aligned at the time of firing, but these particular guns are built with a steel barrel "liner" inside an alloy "sleeve" so, I suppose it could also be that the liner may not be correctly aligned (?) The correct use of a range rod should be able to tell any S&W mechanic worth his salt if the barrel and cylinder are lined up correctly, but .44 caliber range rods are not common, and people who know how to use them properly are even more scarce these days...a direct result of the autopistols' popularity increase over the past decade or two.
Another thing that may possibly be happening is that if they are checking a cold, clean gun for issues, it may be within tolerances...at that specific time and place...but those tolerances may change rapidly as the pistol gets dirty and heated up. I have personally sent back to the Beretta factory (USA) a Beretta 92F that would begin to fail to extract properly only after about 50 or so rounds had been fired in it. If it was clean and cold...no problem, but get it a bit dirty (these were factory jacketed rounds) and the problem would surface. That gun went back three times before I called the head gunsmith there...who happened to be a friend...and asked him to shoot at least 100rd. through it before declaring it "OK". He told me later that he thought I was crazy until somewhere around round # 65-70, when the gun began to malfunction as I had told him it would. They returned a brand-new gun to the officer who owned that one...bad extractor cut in the slide...but the extractor itself was fine.
While very rare, it IS possible for jacket fragments or gunk, etc. to fly back at enough of an angle to strike a revolver shooter, so I am not doubting your word...just saying that this fact increases the probablity that the barrel and cylinder are misaligned at the time of firing.
Raise some Hell at S&W if you need to...talk to a boss somewhere and tell them that you will never buy another S&W if this is not resolved, etc. Sometimes the squeeky wheel really does get the grease!