My first revolver, and the start of a beautiful friendship

| March 6, 2010 | 2 Comments

I have been looking for a handgun for what I would consider long range shooting. With a handgun long range shooting varies for every shooter, for some it is 25 yards some it is 50 yards others it’s 100 yards. Of course unless your skill level is like those of Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden. I myself decided to try my hand at it and acquired a S&W 629 with the 8 3/8″ barrel:

I handled several different 629s before making the purchase, but I was still amazed at the quality of the trigger. Double action was relatively light and very very smooth. It was also consistent for the full length of the pull, with no stack-up toward the end. It paled in comparison to the single action, however. I haven’t measure the weight, but I’d estimate that it breaks around a pound and half, and what’s more amazing, it does not move. When you build up to the right amount of pressure, the hammer just comes down, and for the life of me, I can’t feel anything happen with the trigger. The $1800 dollar Pardini SP I shoot bullseye with does not even come close to having this good a trigger.

I had shot .357s before, and a three painful .454s through a Contender, but I had never fired a .44, so I wasn’t sure what to expect on its first trip the range. Thinking ahead, I had obtained a padded bicycling glove before I ordered the gun, so that accompanied me to the range. With me I had a box of Winchester white box 240gr JSP .44 Mag, Two Boxes of American Eagle 240gr JHP, and one box of Remington 180gr JSP .44 Mag. I started with the Winchester at 25 yards and was pleasantly surprised to find that 1) the gun was almost perfectly sighted for point of aim at 25yards, and 2) the recoil was substantial but not in any way uncomfortable, and 3) the long sight radius makes it a real tack driver.

I took it to 50 yards next, and tried the American Eagle. I was expecting the recoil to be a little harsher than the White Box, since the White Box .45 ACP is so soft, but they were about the same. Not used to the recoil, I had developed a flinch toward the end of the box of Winchester, and with some concentration and a few breaks for dry-firing, I had it worked out by the end of the first box of American Eagle. I made it most of the way through the other box of American Eagle (I didn’t want to try the Remington that day because the gun was shooting low at 50 with the 240s, so the 180s would shoot even lower, and I had forgotten to bring a screwdriver to adjust the sights) I shot a total of 140 240gr .44 Mags that day, and either because of my bike glove or the weight of the gun (53.5 ounces unloaded) I had no discomfort, and no soreness the next day.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that after shooting the gun a little and after hours of dry-fire practice, the double action trigger had smoothed up even more. Being a semi-auto bullseye shooter and a 1911 fan, I don’t see double action trigger much, so I’m absolute trash with them. However, I found that with a little practice, I can rapidly pull the trigger while keeping the sights fixed on a light switch ~ 20 feet away. If I slow it down a little, I can keep the front sight from moving at all. I tried a little rapid fire with the 180gr. Remington the second time I took the 629 out, and found that not only good I be fairly accurate with the double action trigger, but that the recoil could be pretty controllable as well. Its got me thinking about the possibility of CCing one with a shorter barrel.

I just got back from my third range trip with the 629. I shot another 100 rounds of the American Eagle 240gr at 50 yards on B-33 50 foot pistol targets. Here’s my best, overall:

Here’s my best group. Five shots inside the 9 (if you look real close at the hole on the edge of the nine, you can tell its three) the rest of the target is all over the place and I started a bit of a flinch again and threw one outside the rings, though:

(Targets were shot standing, two handed grip, much like the picture above. I don’t like shooting supported/rested.)

As soon as I can keep all my shots in the black on the B-33s, I’m going to move out to 100 yards.

So long story short, I’m in love with this gun, and I can’t wait to go back out to the range with it. I’m hoping in a few thousand rounds I’ll be good enough to poke holes in things 200 or 300 yards away. I love the concentration and focus that comes goes hand in hand with this kind of shooting, and I love the continuous cycle of setting and meeting new goals, and I think I’ve found the perfect gun to do it with.

Written and authorized by “The Wiry Irishman” over at THR.

About the Author:

I'm an engineering improvement specialist in the aerospace industry

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