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Ammo S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum BB revolver: Part 4

S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum BB revolver: Part 4

SW 29
S&W model 29 BB revolver from Umarex.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

This report covers:

  • Something cool
  • The test
  • Daisy Avanti Match Precision Ground shot
  • Hard to hold revolver steady
  • Hornady Black Diamond
  • Smart Shot
  • Holding steadier
  • Dust Devils
  • Crosman Black Widow
  • Double action
  • Summary

Today we shoot the S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum BB revolver for accuracy for the first time. It’s the first time because I am coming back to shoot it with pellets as well.

Something cool

Before we begin I want to show you something very cool that I found while testing today. It is a BB preform from a Daisy Precision Ground shot box. It’s a short section of wire that is fed into circular plates that roll it into a perfect sphere. This dropped out of a very old box of Daisy Precision Ground Shot.

S&W 29 BB preform
The cylinder is a BB preform that gets rolled into a perfect sphere. 

This preform weighs 7.9 grains. A Daisy Precision Ground Shot weighs 5.3-5.5-grains, so something must happen to the preform before or during the forming process. This has no relation to today’s report but I thought you would like to see it.

The test

I shot from 5 meters with the revolver rested on a UTG monopod. I was seated and used a two-hand hold. My sight picture was a 6 o’clock hold on the bull. I shot 6 shots per group and always in the single action mode until the final group. Let’s go!

Daisy Avanti Match Precision Ground shot

First up were six Daisy Avanti Match Precision Ground shot. They hit low and to the left of the bull. The group measures 1.863-inches at 5 meters. 

S&W 29 Precision Shot group 1
Six Daisy Precision Ground Shot went into 1.863-inches at 5 meters.

 I then adjusted the rear sight as high as it will go and also put in a lot of right adjustment. I shot a second group with the same BB.

This time 6 BBs went into a group that measures 1.45-inches between centers. It did move higher and also to the right. This one is a little smaller, but not that much.

S&W 29 Precision Shot group 2
On the second try I put 6 Precision Ground Shot into 1.45 inches at 5 meters. 

Hard to hold revolver steady

At this point I want to mention that I found the Model 29 very difficult to hold steady. It kept wobbling in my hand and also pulling to the left as I squeezed the trigger. As the test progressed I worked on ways to hold it steadier. I think the revolver is capable of shooting a lot better than my first two groups show.

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Hornady Black Diamond

Next to be tested were 6 Hornady Black Diamond BBs. This time I got a good hold for three shots but I found that the single action trigger pull was too heavy for me to shoot all six well. Six BBs went into 1.438-inches at 10 meters, but look at the three that are together. Their centers are only 0.225-inches apart. I think they are representative of the true accuracy of this revolver.

S&W 29 Hornady group
Six Hornady Black Diamond BBs made a 1.438-inch group, with three in 0.225-inches.

Smart Shot

Next to be tried were the heavier lead H&N Excite Smart Shot lead BBs. Six made an open 1.162-inch group. It’s the smallest group so far but I didn’t get a good feeling when shooting these. I don’t think they are right for the Model 29.

S&W 29 Smart Shot group
The S&W Model 29 put 6 H&N Smart Shot lead BBs into 1.162-inches at 5 meters.

Holding steadier

By this time in the test I was holding the revolver steadier. The front sight is very narrow in the rear notch and I’m still having some trouble keeping it from pulling to the left.

Dust Devils

Next up were some Air Venturi Dust Devils. They do fit the cartridges very loosely, but I was surprised by their accuracy. Six made a group that measures 1.413-inches between centers. I expected a group of two inches or more, so this BB works in the Model 29.

S&W 29 Dust Devil group
Six Dust Devils went into 1.413-inches at 5 meters. Better than expected.

Crosman Black Widow

The last BB I tested was the Crosman Black Widow. I have had unusually good luck with these in several tests in the recent past and I was hoping they would also be the best with the Model 29. And they were! Six Black Widows made a 0.973-inch group at 5 meters, with 5 shots in just 0.406-inches. I had finally mastered holding the revolver, plus I think the Black Widows are the most accurate BBs in this revolver.

S&W 29 Black Widow group
Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! Six Crosman Black Widow BBs went into 0.973-inches at 5 meters, with 5 in 0.406-inches.

Well there is no doubt about which BB is the most accurate in the test pistol today. I wanted to do one more test, and for that Black Widows got the nod.

Double action

Reader Snake45 said that he found his revolver did best when shot double action, so I wanted to try that. I loaded six Black Widows and proceeded to shoot them double action at another target. This time the revolver was difficult to control and wobbled from side to side. Six BBs made a group that measures 1.884-inches between centers. I do see that the cylinder advances and stops before the shot is squeezed off, and maybe with practice I could do better, but I’m not going to try. This is the end of today’s test.

S&W 29 Black Widow double action group
Shooting double action I was able to put 6 Black Widow pellets into a 1.884-inch group at 5 meters.

Summary

The S&W Model 29 BB revolver has the potential for extreme accuracy at close range. It needs the right BB to be sure and I believe that will be a conventional steel BB.

This was an interesting test. Next time we try pellets.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

52 thoughts on “S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum BB revolver: Part 4”

      • BB
        I have watched the Crosman plant tour before. And it has been some time ago. I remember seeing pellet blanks like that before. But I never seen them show anything about bb’s on that plant tour. So I don’t know.

        I haven’t been there personally so I can’t say. I just brought it up because it looked similar to the media at work.

        • GF1,

          I still am not certain, but I have seen their BB-making line in person and the blanks looked like this. They wouldn’t let me take pictures at the beginning of the line, which is where the blanks get rolled into BBs.

          BB

          • BB
            It probably is if thats what you remember.

            Has to be a heck of a machine to roll that piece of metal into a ball. I was thinking it might get stamped into a ball in a punch press die or something.

            And like Daisy say’s (Precision Ground bb’s). How the heck are they grinding a round ball?

          • GF1,

            There were two plates with spiral grooves in them. They were massiver and probably weighed 100 lbs. or so. The preforms were fed into the outer groove and were rolled as they spiralled inwards. The plates rotated in opposite directions.

            As for Daisy, they buy their BBs from China and I haven’t got a clue as to how they are made.

            BB

          • B.B., As you probably know, Crosman also buys the bbs from China now. In fact, every BB PA has (and probably everywhere else) is now made in China. Sad to me anyway

            Doc

  1. B.B.

    In the last report you mentioned a 10 lbs. trigger pull. After the FWB 600 trigger it must have felt like 10 kg, trigger pull! How can anybody shoot a gun well with a 10 ls trigger pull?

    -Y

      • Yogi,
        I used to have a really sweet S&W model 686 (which has since been passed on to my son…but I DO miss it!), stainless steel with a 6″ full-underlug barrel. That 3-pound pistol had a 3-pound (crisp!) pull in single-action mode, and a 12-pound pull in double-action mode…but it was incredibly SMOOTH, which made it great for bowling pin matches and such. But likely the only reason I shot it well was that I also had an understudy for it, a S&W model 617 (also with a full-underlug 6-inch barrel) in .22LR. I fired several hundred rounds through the 617 for every round through the 686. That’s (in my opinion) the only way to get good at double-action shooting with a revolver…shoot a lot! 🙂
        I think this revolver may be a good understudy gun for someone who has the firearm and wants to get in a lot of trigger time to improve their double-action skills with the big gun. True, you won’t have the recoil, but neither did my 617; the thing you really need is to develop the muscle memory to shoot a double action quickly and accurately.
        Man, now you are making my old arthritic fingers miss their double-action days…
        …but “twenty-something-dave” is WAY in the past! 🙂
        Happy shooting to you,
        dave

        • Dave,

          You have the right idea but the DA of this gun is very different in feel from that of a “real” S&W N or K-frame revolver. I think it feels a certain amount like the DA of a Colt Trooper Mk III/MkV/King Cobra, though.

          I too have S&W K-22s and have fired tens of thousands of rounds through them, both SA and DA.

          Happy shooting!

          –Snake

          • “…this gun is very different in feel from that of a “real” S&W N or K-frame revolver.”
            Snake, that’s too bad; it’s the main and most important thing I would have copied.
            “I too have S&W K-22s and have fired tens of thousands of rounds through them, both SA and DA.”
            Sweet!!!
            Happy shooting!
            dave

  2. BB-

    I’m definitely not a pistol shooter, but I find the MTM Pistol Rest from MTM Case Gard to be of help. Appears to offer more stability than the mono pod, unless I’m not understanding how you are using it.

    The too long/ too heavy BB preform is interesting to see. Thanks.

  3. BB,

    Great accuracy test! Thanks for the detailed report!

    I know exactly what you mean about the gun wanting to pull off to one side when shooting SA due to the heavy trigger pull. I can’t recall this ever happening with any gun I’ve ever shot, but it does with this one.

    I think if you’d stuck with the DA a little longer, you’d have had better results. After the cylinder locks up, the rest of the pull is light and very smooth, and you can achieve the desirable “surprise break” with it.

    With all my replica BB guns, I find that most shots–2/3 to 3/4 of them–will go into a central “rathole” of a certain size, with the rest being outliers in random directions. Last time I shot my M29, (36 shots SA, 42 shots DA, on one cartridge), the rathole from the SA group was a bit smaller than the DA one, but there were more outliers and they were farther out. The DA rathole was slightly larger, but had fewer outliers, and they were closer to the rathole. The DA rathole was a little lower on the target. (I was shooting from about 8 yards.)

    I believe the SA trigger pull will lighten with time and use–but it will take thousands and thousands of pulls. I’ve been accelerating the process by dry-firing SA while applying moderate upward pressure to the hammer spur. I’ve done this several dozen times–maybe 200 total–and the SA pull seems to be lighter now. I think I’m now on the low side of 6 pounds, maybe somewhere in the mid-5s. It sure seems more pleasant to pull now, though of course nowhere near the crispy 3-pound goodness of a real S&W. I’m going to keep on and see if I can get down into the 4s. BTW, I do this hammer-force dry-snapping with the cylinder rotated out to reduce wear on the hand and ratchet.

    –Snake

      • B.B.,

        I will be watching for you to get to 5 POUND trigger pull or lower. I would prefer a rifled pellet only barrel but could live with the smoothbore shooting Lead pellets.
        I just can’t feature your current trigger pull making me want to EVEN dry fire the M29 airgun. My Smith has such a sweet trigger in SA and even DA that I would probably revert to Sailor’s dialect shooting the gas gun!

        shootski

      • BB,

        There’s another factor that’s affecting the poor SA shooting. The trigger itself has a significant amount of overtravel after the sear breaks–much more than any real S&W. When you apply 7-8+ pounds of force to a trigger, and then it breaks and keeps on moving rearward until it slams into its final stop, I think that’s contributing to the “pulling off” of shots and the resulting outliers. I’m going to experiment with some sort of a trigger stop that brings it to a halt immediately after the break.

  4. Happy Friday everyone!
    Looking forward to the pellet part.
    Would you mind elaborating on what hold or how you were finding a steadier hold for the pistol?

    I haven’t held this BB revolver but if the grips are identical to the 1980’s S&W N frame grips, i never considered them to be the most ergonomic..

    Ian

    • Ian,

      The grips seem to be modeled on the ones that come on the current-production “Classic” series M29s. I’ve never held a real one but they seem to be a bit slimmer than the S&W Target grips of the ’50s-’80s. You’re right, those grips aren’t particularly ergonomic but I like their looks so much that I’ve just learned to hold and shoot them on all my K and N frame Smiths (square butts) over the last 50 or so years. The Umarex M29 grips seem to be a little slimmer than my old S&Ws, and I’d have to say they’re actually, if anything, a little more ergonomic–for me, anyway. I don’t mind the feel of the grips at all.

      I’ll say this–the gun feels better in the hand than the old Crosman 38T/C does, if that means anything to you.

    • Ian,

      What I did was use my left hand to steady the barrel, because the barrel is all that fits on the rubber strap of the monopod. As you can see, I got it to work.

      BB

  5. I got much better results using double action than single. This was with the 629 which has superb grips though. You’ve probably already got some pellets lined up ready to try but I had great results with RWS Geco and H&N Excite Econ

  6. Folks, I put a small viton oring on the ejector rod, right behind the knurling on my Gamo revolver, so in the closed position it reduces the torqing motion that occurs when shooting double action. The double action has failed now, but the single action still works. These guns I wish they made a little nicer, but it does have rifled barrel on it. Love the steel rings for the ammo management tho.
    I still like the old Colt more than the SW, just because it really is an Icon of design, IMHO, right up there with Jaguar E type, or a Citoen DS. Now I am working on getting 60 shots out of the Bandit, it is being detuned down from 13 ft/lbs. 7 grn wadcutters at about 550 fps would be great, because an FWB 600 is a bit much for me at the moment.
    I will lower the reg down from 1.3 bar to 1.1 bar, the hammerspring is so nice and light now, I can cycle the action while looking through the 21x scope and never loose my hold on the 14yd bull. I can order some more mags from P.A. when I resupply.
    It’s 10m target weather now!
    Rob

  7. A couple of personal observations on handgun accuracy.

    There is a thing about long barrels – it is said that the increased sight radius allows for a finer alignment with the target and therefore finer accuracy. That is true but the other side of the same coin is that a longer barrel shows more the natural wobble of a handheld gun. In other words, I find that a shorter barreled handgun ‘seems’ to shake less in my hands than a longer barrel counterpart. The groups on the paper say otherwise.

    Going further down that road, in my hands a red dot sight seems to shake more than a wide set of open iron sights. Further still, I remember the first time I installed a 4x long eye relief scope on a handgun. I could not believe how lively – or squirrelly – that reticle was. The bottom line is that the wobble is present all the time but the more precise the sighting system the more noticeable it is.

    Now, with my limited skills I can’t overcome a long heavy and gritty trigger. I tried to learn how to do it a few times but in the end those guns ended up either sold or in the trash. I think that the manufacturer’s risk management (lawyers), cost optimization and marketing departments do not deserve my money. I’d rather reward with a purchase those that strive to deliver a good product. (I am getting down from my soap box.)

    Henry

  8. Everyone,

    Finally returned from the outback and hopefully my whitetail addiction is over for the time being.
    Was off the grid for an extended period and of course the first thing I do upon returning home was to check on the status of Crosmans 362 release.

    What happened? Has anyone heard anything? Hope they didn’t pull the plug on this concept as I already have a steel breech sitting here at the house just dying to find a new home on top of a 362.

    I have been known to carry a wheel gun on occasion. Usually in the summer as it allows you to carry 02 shot loads next to 04 hardball. When the day is done and you are sitting in the cabin enjoying a stiff Myers’s and coke just roll the cylinder over to the last snake load and bingo, next round up is a hardball round ready for any unfortunate critter that may try to enter the cabin against your will. No loading and unloading is necessary. Just wipe the pistol down and lovingly place it on the stool next to your rack as to be at the ready should the need arise. In the AM just reverse the procedure and you are ready to go for the day. As I am a Colt kind of guy my cylinder runs in a clockwise rotation. Your Smiths run counterclockwise. This is a good thing to know because it tells you which round is coming up next. Get it wrong and you might end up with a shot shell instead of hardball. Bottom line is ” KNOW THY OWN PERSONAL WEAPON”.

    Enough of my babbling. It’s good to be able to read the blog again!

    BobF

    • BobF,

      I keep checking the Crosman web site for any word on the 362. Nothing yet. I too hope they don’t drop the ball on the 362. I may order more than one if/when they come out.

      Maybe someone has some inside information on the delay.

      Don

  9. Meanwhile I will just sit in my corner and pout because I am once again not receiving any email notifications of when you guys might comment concerning my ridiculous observations. Makes me wanna cry. 🙁

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