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  #1  
Old 12-07-2011, 08:08 AM
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just put down money on a .44

Like the title says, just put down some money on my first handgun. A smith and wesson m29 .44 magnum. Just excited, and thought is share. It's a 'pinto' with a nickel cylinder and barrel, and a blue (black) frame, with original wood grips. Paying 450 for it, but I've heard of these two tones going for $2k plus...gotta love a used gun/pawn shop. I'll get some pics up tonight. Any recommendations on ammo? I'd like to keep something heavy around should I actually NEED to use it, but for casual shooting, I'd like to fire .44 special rounds through it to save money.

'go ahead, make my day"... Couldn't help it.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:54 AM
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Nice. Good price if it's in good shape. May have been assembled from parts guns, rather than factory, could be the reason for the price. As long as it works well, that's still ok. I'd just want to caution you may not be getting a $2k gun for that price, not that you're getting a bad one. Is it a pinned barrel/recessed cylinder? That's my favorite configuration for Smiths.

THE REVOLVER CHECKOUT - 10 year anniversary update. - TheFiringLine Forums

That link will give you some good info on finding out how well it's working.

If you don't reload, .44 Special or Magnum either one will be very expensive. At least you can find ammo for Magnum to do various jobs, it'll be more difficult to find useful Special ammo for any price, you're likely to have to go to a dedicated gun shop to find anything local, at least that's how it is around here.

You said it's your first but you didn't say if you have experience with others. A huge number of 29's were bought in the 70's, fired once, and sold. There's a reason for it. Full magnums are not going to be pleasant to shoot for a very experienced handgunner, and I would caution you not to even try it for a good while. Stick with Specials.

And of course this is far from an ideal handgun to learn on, you really need a .22 whether you buy, borrow, or rent. You will very likely teach yourself some very bad habits that are very difficult to break if you try to use a centerfire handgun for learning on.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:08 AM
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The condition isn't perfect...couple wear marks, and one nick in the cylinder, but decent...I'd say 90-95%. I checked for some stampings on it, and they appear to be in the right places to indicate a factory two tone, but even if it wasn't, its a decent price on a smith 44...or so was my thinking.

I guess I should have clearified, its the first handgun that's being purchased in my name. I grew up shooting everything from .22's to .357's, and .45's. I'd been in the market for a handgun loosely for a while, but last weekend spent considerable time shooting my stepdads super blackhawk ruger .44. I'm 7 feet tall, and have a fairly big build (315 lbs, 42" waist...not to get wierd on yall) and kinda felt at home with the .44. Motivated me to find one of my own. Been around guns on and off over the years, and shot a bunch of them, but I'm far from an expert. Only recently stated learning and reading about them. I have a .22 rifle and a 12 ga that I've had forever, but fairly new to owning a handgun.

Thanks for the input...I haven't looked into the ammo very much...I know its not gonna be cheap like my .22 lr to shoot, but am hoping for something like perhaps lighter Target rounds to practice with.

PS thanks for the link. Good info.

Last edited by Gearhead2012; 12-07-2011 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:06 AM
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Ah, well that's good.

The only way to make it affordable is to reload.
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Idahoser View Post
Ah, well that's good.

The only way to make it affordable is to reload.
Thanks for the good info man, been reading that link. I know next to nothing about reloading, what would be a good startng place? I know there's some equipment involved, but I'd have to look hard at the start up costs, couple with the long term cost to benefit ratio. Baby steps for now.

I'm not sure it is worth anywhere near 2k, but even the possibility there of is nice. I will probably write s&w for a letter with the serial number, and apparently for $50 bucks they'll write yoy back with all the factory specs on it, when and where it was built, and to where it was shipped. That'll tell me for sure. Eitherway, the guy has it way under priced for a smith 44, compares to other shops locally anyway. I don't think he knows Mich about em.
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Old 12-07-2011, 01:07 PM
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Yeah, I got a couple of letters from Mr. Roy Jenks at S&W before, you may get some good info or you may not. They'll only have record of what the factory did.

Reloading, hmm...

Well there's already whole forums dedicated to the subject but in a nutshell, you can have as big and complex a setup as you like, if you have the money; but you can have an efficient setup for a hundred bucks or so, I'd say.

The first thing you want is a recent edition of one of the better reloading manuals. Several different manuals is even better. It will have all the instructions and safety information, and you'll need to read up on the powders and bullets that are available so you can choose what to buy. Check your local library.

A single stage bench-mounted press will be something you get recommended pretty commonly. I would start with a Lee Hand Press myself, if you're not real sure you're going to stay with the hobby. It's a lot less expensive than a bench press, takes the same dies, and it's nice that you can still use it for some operations later on even if you do move up to a bench press later.

A die set for a particular caliber will be needed. For straight-walled pistol cartridges like the .44's, you can choose steel or carbide. Carbide costs a little more but you don't need lube. They're well worth the cost. Usually, a pair of chamberings like .44 Spl and .44 Mag can be loaded with the same die set, if you get the one made for the longer cartridge.

A die set will include the tools to remove the spent primer, size the case, flare the neck, seat the new bullet, and crimp the neck if appropriate (you do crimp the revolver cases).

In a single stage setup, you set up a die for a particular operation, do a bunch of cases, then switch dies for the next operation.

There is a "turret press" that can be set up once and left that way, you just rotate the next die into place. I haven't done this, but it looks like a pretty cool and still simpler arrangement. You can buy extra turrets for different calibers.

A full "progressive" press will do several things at the same time. After it's all configured, you would just pull the lever over and over, and each case will move through the stages, and after you've pulled it a few times you'll start getting finished reloaded cartridges out the end on each pull. This is the dream of most reloaders, I'm sure, but they're nowhere near cheap.

If you stick with a beginner's arrangement you'll need a 'block' to hold the prepared cases upright while you charge them with powder. A beam type mechanical scale has served many reloaders over the decades, but electronic scales have become very popular. It will need to measure in grains and be accurate to (I think it was) a tenth of a gram... don't buy on this advice, check with some reloading sites first.

Once you've weighed the powder you use a funnel to get it into the case. Another couple of methods involve scoops of a particular volume; or a "powder measure" which is adjusted to 'throw' a particular volume of powder with the flip of a lever. You still need a scale to get this 'throw' adjusted to where you want it. This of course can be added later, don't spend the money on a measure just yet.

The whole operation basically goes like this: You set up the first die, the decap/size die, and run all your cases through it. This removes the old primer and 'squeezes' down the case from where it was expanded in your gun's chamber.

At this point is where you would run it through a cleaning tumbler, if you like.

Then use a tool to clean out the primer pockets.

In here is where you would check the length of the cases. The brass tends to get stretched out and may need to be trimmed.

Now to load new primers. This can be done along with the expander die in the press, doing two steps at the same time; or there are hand primers that work so well that it's better than using the press. Either way then you set up the expander die and run the cases all through to open the neck of the cases so they'll accept the new bullet.

Charging the cases with powder, by whatever method you choose. Gotta pay attention to not double charge or get a light charge, so this is a step you don't do while watching TV or anything else.

Set up the seating/crimp die and run the cases through a final time to seat and crimp the bullets.

Now each of these steps can be done for a dozen or a thousand cases, just depends how many you have and want to load. Early on, you don't want to load a bunch until you've tested the load and find that the gun likes it. That won't happen the first time, most likely. One of the nice things about making your own (other than being able to shoot a lot more for the money) is being able to fine tune the loads. You can find what's most accurate; you can load reduced power practice loads even in the Magnum cases; lots of things you might try.

I'm very satisfied with Lee Reloading equipment, with the exception of the powder scale. They happen to be the least expensive most of the time.

I would caution you to look at the contents of the "kits" that claim to come with "everything you need". I would venture to say many of them will contain equipment that you'll immediately want to upgrade, and that the press will pretty quickly become the only part you use. I'd just buy the equipment you want, separately, and save the trouble.

Used reloading equipment can usually be counted on to be missing a few parts, so be cautious.

Your .44 is a great candidate for casting your own bullets, too. That's another whole hobby I haven't jumped into just yet.

Last edited by Idahoser; 12-07-2011 at 01:26 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2011, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idahoser View Post
Yeah, I got a couple of letters from Mr. Roy Jenks at S&W before, you may get some good info or you may not. They'll only have record of what the factory did.

Reloading, hmm...
Wow man, I can't thank you enough. That a was great, great, great write up. In all seriousness, you may have just introduced me to my next hobby, I'm always looking for stuff on craigslist, normally parts for my mustang or bronco...which btw is unfortunate you can't buy or sell guns on Craigslist...but you can buy gun stuff, like reloading equipment. I already have a lot of tools, like the bench press, bench grinder, bench polisher, scale for balancing connecting rods, and any calipers or micrometers you may or may not need.

Again man, I can't thank you enough for the write up...I really do appreciate it. I'll definitely be picking up some literature on it, and in all likelyhood tooling too. Thanks, Jared.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:41 AM
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well, it's my pleasure!

You'll certainly get different opinions too, there will be those who say don't waste your time and jump straight into a progressive press... I'm in the camp that says even if you do that later, there is still a place for the single-stage too, so I see no benefit to trying to skip over that level of trying it out.

I'm not really doing reloading myself anymore, and I couldn't say I ever was "big" into it. Did do a lot of reading, like the diesels. I still have (or rather, after all my moving around, I 'again' have) the stuff to do it, just haven't made a space and set up and actually got started.

Aside from a couple of manuals from the likes of Hornady or Lyman, the forums I'd steer you to first would be castboolits and leverguns
Cast Boolits - Dedicated To The World Of Cast Bullets!
Paco Kelly's Leverguns.com • Index page

Their direct info on loads may not necessarily apply to your gun, but you'll find inspiration and wisdom about the philosophy and processes, and you can google for specific stuff about your gun from many other sites.
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:33 AM
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Thanks man, been reading up on this ever since. Sometimes i feel like I just started reading about brain surgery...like there's way more involved and more technical sometimes than I thought. But, when you break it down, its not so bad at all. Thanks again. Jared.
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