Smith & Wesson 629 5000 round report

| October 25, 2010 | 15 Comments

The gun:
8 3/8″ 629-6 Classic
My previous write-up: Initial Report

General Impressions
I’ve been incredibly happy with the gun. Its a boatload of fun to shoot, and it turned me from a die-hard autos-only, why would you want one of those silly old guns type of shooter into one that loves wheelguns as much as bottomfeeders. I always wanted to get trigger work done, but that desire recently intensified when I picked up a Model 64 modified by Clark Custom for PPC and felt how much nicer that trigger was. Because I’ve been shooting that 64 and another really heavy handgun quite regularly, the 629 now feels pretty much weightless in my hands, and I’d really like to send it to Clark for a bull barrel and custom heavy underlug when my budget allows. I very much prefer heavy guns, especially muzzle heavy, so I’d like as much weight as I can hold for recoil reduction and additional sight picture stability.

Ammo

400 mixed whatever I could find at Wal-Mart (Remington, WWB, American Eagle, 180 or 240 grain)
1000 American Eagle 240 grain HP
~3600 handloads, 23.0gr H110 under various 240gr lead bullets. Have since settled on Missouri Bullet 240gr LSWCs, as they have the best accuracy and zero leading.

Maintenance

It gets cleaned with Ballistol every time its shot, usually 50-150 rounds. Every 1000 rounds I pop off the side plate, soak it in Ballistol for a while, hose it out with brake cleaner, and re-lube. I lube with FP-10. When the burn marks on the side of the cylinder near the front start to get large, I put a smidge of Mothers mag polish on a patch and they wipe right off.

Wear, lockup, etc

Lockup has a little more play in it than it did new. It loosened up consistently for the first 1000 or 1500 rounds, then stopped. It passes the used revolver test sticky with flying colors, lockup is tight enough on all chambers, timing is perfect on all chambers as well. Bore is still pristine (I should probably get a pick of that, I’ll post back with that later) The gun has only had full-power magnums through it, its never seen a special or a light magnum. I guess these guns aren’t as weak as the internet told me they were when I was doing initial research on buying it.

Accuracy

Accuracy hasn’t degraded at all that I can tell, as one would expect with so few rounds, mostly lead, through it. I don’t shoot rested because I find it dull as and a crutch that inhibits advancing your shooting skills, but I can hold 20 rounds in about 3 inches at 25 yards, and I shot a 27/40 with it in Field Pistol Production (standing) at my first IHMSA match last month, so I’d say its pretty darn accurate.

Modifications

$2 high bright polish job with Mothers mag polish and a lot of time, as detailed elsewhere on the forum.
LPA TXT rear sight –
I don’t much like the stock Smith adjustable rear sights. I blacked out the white outline to get a cleaner sight picture, but you still get a lot of glare off of it and the edges aren’t sharp enough for a clean sight picture. Also it flops all over the place. The LPA sight is a simple install, just take out the two top strap screws, pull the old sight off, put the new one on, reinstall screws. The fit to the gun is excellent, and the sight offers a beautiful, glare-free and clean sight picture. The adjustment on the LPA is finer, as well. The only downside is that the gun now shoots 4 inches high of point of aim at 25 yards with the sight adjusted for lowest POI, but since I shoot this at longer distances and use six o’clock hold, this isn’t much of an issue for me.

S&W traditional vertical patridge front sight-
I don’t much like the stock red ramps, either. Even if you black out the red part, the sight picture still isn’t very clean. Bought the three-sight patridge set from Smith (different heights for 50, 100, and 200 yards) and that completely solved the problem. This gun has a quick-change front sight base, so swapping them is a thirty second job.

Nill Master Series grips-
I’ve never been a fan of plastic or rubber grips, as they always slide around in my hands. After playing with a Sig X-5 and being very impressed with the ergonomics and texture of Nill grips, I picked up a set of Nills sized for my hand for the 629, and I’m very glad I did. Not only is my grip far more secure, but the gun is much easier to shoot accurately. The palm swells fill my hand nicely, the covered back strap increases the trigger reach to the single action pull for an ideal amount of finger on trigger, and the extended weak hand pinky rest adds additional stability.

Malfunctions
2 back-to-back light strikes firing double action with around 1000 rounds through the gun.

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Smith & Wesson 629 5000 round report, 7.1 out of 10 based on 31 ratings

About the Author:

I'm an engineering improvement specialist in the aerospace industry
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15 Comments on "Smith & Wesson 629 5000 round report"

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  1. TheWiryIrishman,

    Awesome initial review and follow up review. Is S&W going to pay you for this 🙂 if not maybe they should. It should help dispel the myth of the 629 not being able to withstand a lot of magnum rounds or not being as strongly built as the Ruger Redhawk. Before I am crucified by the Ruger readers the Redhawk is surely beefier throughout it’s frame and cylinder, but this is proven fact the 629 is capable of many magnum rounds.

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  2. The Wiry Irishman says:

    I’m an S&W fan myself, but I’ve got nothing against the Rugers, just prefer Smiths. I do find it a little frustrating when people point out how much stronger Rugers are because of the beefier frames and the existence of Ruger-only loads. The frames are beefier because Rugers use castings as opposed to Smith’s forgings, thus they need more material to achieve the same strength. Also, the Ruger-only loads aren’t running a higher pressure, they’re rated for the same SAAMI specs every other gun is, the Ruger only loads have a longer OAL, and consequently heavier bullets, than the Smiths because they have a longer cylinder.

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  3. The Wiry Irishman says:

    Though the claim that Rugers are stronger because the notches for the cylinder hands are offset from the chambers is valid.

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  4. InTheAkBush says:

    Check your manuals….Just bought a S&W 629 44. mag for bear hunting since they were out of the Redhawk. BUT, I am happy, the SW is MUCH better built, much better trigger, much better machine work, much better sights and much better fell, as well as lighter.

    BUT, the SW specs said nothing over 305 grain high pressure loads….the Taurus only handles 240 by the book…Rueger handles the 340 grains by the book…Lots of people behind a counter now a days dont’ know the difference between a high pressure load and a standard load…..I had a ‘boy’ try to sell me a Taurus and was convinced it would hold a 340 buffalo bore load since it was soooo big a gun….and another walmart gun lady try to sell a customer rifled slugs for a full choke bird gun and did not know what chokes were for…

    Lesson: Read your gun manuals for pressure specs on all weapons…I’m sure the SW will handle a 340 grain Buffalo bore bullet, but how many rounds?????? I don’t want to be the guy that finds out!

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  5. The Wiry Irishman says:

    Rugers are designed to handle the same SAAMI spec pressure as S&Ws and Taurus, etc. The “Ruger only” loads you see in loading manuals, or the notes you mention from the guns manuals have nothing to do with a higher pressure, but instead cartridge OAL. Ruger cylinders are longer and can therefor accept longer, heavier bullets that wont fit in the S&W.

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  6. Mike McWhorter says:

    Hey,I’m in love with 629’s & .44 magnums?I wanting to know if the 629 has better durability & reliability than a 1911 or Glock?

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  7. Ray Garavito says:

    Just bought a 629. Took out to the range and at least one round out of 6 misfired. Hornady and Barnes. The misfires were caused by the firing pin not striking the primer deep enough. The cylinder has a fwd/aft movement of 1/16 inch so it rubs on frame when cyl is opened. The machining is not finished properly and full of burs. The worst(cheapest) adj rear sight as it has no markings so you have to memorize the diections for the corrections. Front sight was loose. The gun is GARBAGE! It going back. The grip is also GARBAGE!! Those of you that think this is a great gun must not have ever seen a properly made gun.

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  8. admin says:

    Ray,

    Did you buy this gun site unseen first like on the internet or something? I am just wondering how you are seeing these defects now and not in the store. Every manufacturer let’s a lemon leave the factory every now and again, just the same as every other manufacturer, cars etc. I bet Ford or GM won’t take care of you like S&W will.

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  9. TheWiryIrishman says:

    Mike – My guns has had more than 5000 rounds through it, every one of them full-bore near-max loads, and its still as tight and accurate as it was new. I wouldn’t worry.

    Ray – You must have gotten a lemon. All the S&W wheelguns I’ve seen are much better put together and constructed than anything else I’ve ever seen. Whether or not they’re weaker than their Ruger counterparts, well, that’s been argued constantly on every gun forum since the beginning of internet with no real resolution.

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  10. Robert Joseph says:

    I have a 629 four inch that is giving me problems. I bought the pistol used but it appeared to be in good shape. When I rapid fire the pistol in double action after about the third round the action will hang up. I took it to a gunsmith and he noted some off set divits on the extractor where the arm rotates the cylinder during cycling. He filed down the burrs and cleaned the pistol but could not find anything wrong. He then did a trigger job on the gun and after firing 12 rounds the action jammed up again. The gunsmith checked again and found that the wolf spring that he had put in was too long. He put the original springs back in and stated that he had checked the arm and a small spring attached to the arm. he said that he test fired the gun and there were no problems. I took it to the range, rapid fired and it jammed up on the third round. I will now be shipping the gun to Smith and Wesson but wondered if any one had any ideas?

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  11. Bruce Oberg says:

    I’ve had 3 Ruger pistols and all 3 broke on me, I’ve had 6 S&W’s from 357 to 44 mag and never a problem with anyone of them. My last 44 had over 10,000 rounds through it and never a problem and all were mag loads. I bought a new 629 Classic for no other reason than I wanted something new and I love it.

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  12. Chris Chatham says:

    your problem could be too little a barrel cylinder gap that closes up after a few shots heats the metal up. I met with this problem only once before on a Ruger security six.

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  13. sam colty says:

    can’t believe anyone used a car cleaner on a firearm,,,,,,,,,,,,,

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  14. Kevin says:

    Sam Colty: Brake cleaner is just a solvent not unlike Birchwood’s gun scrubber or Shooter’s xtreme cleen. It dries fast without any residue, which makes it about ideal for firearm cleaning. You can take something and put a label on it that says it’s for cars and another label that’s for guns and people will criticize someone for using the “wrong” kind without finding out what the product actually is.

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  15. Rob says:

    I laughed at the idea of using Brake Cleaner….I have been using it for years on my revolvers and pistols….!!!..cleans beautifully, absolutely no residue and metal is squeaky clean ready for any oil or lube you care to use. I have used it on delicate instruments and in the aircraft industry and it is great…just be careful around synthetics and plastics and wood…heed the warning labels and cautions and you will be fine…I always remove any grips etc when using it. I found that it can clean for a third of the cost of “special” gun cleaners. Some firearms makers will tell you what you can use or not use….follow their instructions to be on the safe side if you have any doubts.

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