Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
August 24, 2012

Smith & Wesson Model 629 .44 Magnum Hunter Review

Over the years I have shot several .44 magnum revolvers, but for some reason I've never made the commitment to get one for myself.  I'm not sure why, other than cost, because there are many good .44 Mag revolvers on the market and each one that I have shot has been accurate and fun to shoot.  Last year, my son came into the office with the June 2011 issue of Guns Magazine and said, "We have got to get this one!"  Guns Magazine featured a review of the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Hunter titled "The King of Six Guns" and I must be honest that I immediately agreed with my son's opinion.  The photographer did a great job with the photos and the magazine had a centerfold spread that was pure art (click here to see).  After reading the article, I was sold and it was time to make the investment.  Not knowing how long it would take to receive the revolver, I waited around until September of last year to make the order thinking I would have it in time for deer season.  Little did I know that stock was out at Smith & Wesson and my revolver would be in the next manufacturing batch.  After about a 9 month wait, I got word on July 4th to come pick my new S&W .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver up at my local gun store.  It was a complete surprise and I felt like Santa had just come to visit.  I'm not sure who was more excited, my son or myself.

After receiving the pistol and dusting off my copy of the magazine to look at the article again, I immediately noticed one difference.  The cylinder on my new revolver comes fluted and matches that shown at the Smith & Wesson website.  Personally, I think S&W made the right call by going back to a fluted cylinder because I believe it looks better than the un-fluted cylinder shown in the Guns Magazine article.  OK, that's enough about their review and my opinion on the appearance of the .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver, now it is time for my own attempt at a detailed review of this Smith & Wesson revolver.

 

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Smith & Wesson website on July 7th, 2012, and gives an Overview and Specifications for the Model 629 .44 Magnum® Hunter Revolver.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Overview

  • Performance Center
         • Red Dot/ Green Dot Optical Sight Included
         • Chrome Hammer
         • Chrome Trigger with Trigger Stop
         • Muzzle Brake
         • PC Tuned Action
  • Performance Center firearms originate from standard designs or are created from the ground up. From hand-cutting and fitting to fine-tuning for precision, these firearms are top performers. Products from the Performance Center are the ultimate expression of old-world craftsmanship blended with modern technology. This firearm has all the bells and whistles you would expect from our Smith & Wesson Performance Center®, such as a custom-tuned action for which our Performance Center is well known.
  • The handgun is constructed from all stainless steel, and has a two-tone finish that sets it apart from our standard products.
  • The barrel has a few unique options like the dovetailed front sight , integral Picatinny rail , and of course the custom muzzle brake .
  • The best feature of all is the Red/Green dot optical sight that ships with this ultimate hunting handgun. I'm not sure I would consider this $40 sight as "the best feature of all", but it is a nice to have feature.

Specifications

  • SKU: 170318
  • Model: 629 - .44 Magnum® Hunter   Actually it is a model 629-7 revolver
  • Caliber: .44 Magnum® Also called .44 Remington Magnum and capable of .44 Special
  • Capacity: 6 Rounds
  • Action: Single/Double Action
  • Barrel Length: 7.5" / 19.1 cm
  • Frame Size: Large (N-Frame)
  • Front Sight: Red Ramp
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable
  • Overall Length: 14" / 36.6 cm Review revolver measured 14.37"
  • Width: 1.71"
  • Height: 6.00"
  • Weight: 57.5 oz. / 1,630.1 cm Review revolver weighed in at 54.25 ounces
  • Grip: Synthetic Hogue Monogrip
  • Frame Material: Stainless Steel
  • Cylinder Material: Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Two-Tone The black tone is their proprietary Black Magic finish
  • Other Features: Red Dot/Green Dot Sight and PC Gun Rug 1x30 Sight made by Leapers (UTG) and handgun case by Allen
  • Purpose: Recreational , Handgun Hunting , Home Protection Although this revolver can clearly be used for home protection, I would not consider home protection to be a primary intended purpose
  • Suggested Retail Price: $1329 Street pricing varies between $1100 and $1200
  • Groves: 5
  • Twist: 1 in 20"
  • Safety: Hammer Block Safety and Internal Lock with Keys
  • Made in USA

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping into the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide for yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • Very attractive two tone finish
  • Integrated muzzle break to help tame the recoil of the .44 magnum
  • Integrated top rail on the barrel shroud that give you nearly unlimited options for mounting optics
  • Performance Center attention to detail
  • Very smooth, double-action trigger pull
  • The most crisp single action pull I have felt
  • Capable of shooting 5/8" groups at 25 yards by hand from a bench
  • Comes with a UTG 1x30 Dot Sight which proved to be reliable

Pro/Con/Comment? You Decide:

  • I was a little disappointed with this revolver not having a lower single-action trigger pull weight, but some of the disappointment was relieved by the crispness of the trigger and the minimum amount of over-travel the trigger has after it breaks.  Depending on your hunting situation, a 5.7 pound single action trigger may be preferred and this particular revolver may not represent the trigger pull on all .44 Magnum Hunter Revolvers.
  • I would have liked a short Picatinny rail below the barrel to allow the use of a bipod or mounting a light, both of which have real practical applications depending on your hunting situation.

Cons:

  • I feel that Smith & Wesson could have done a better job at stating some of the information that people investing this much in a revolver would want to know (ex. black finish, number of groove, rifling twist).
  • I have said this on other S&W reviews, but I really wish they would start including an Owner's Manual that is specific to the firearm and include a schematic diagram and parts list.

 

Bottom Line:

Maybe I'm cheap, but I struggle with spending over $1000 on nearly any handgun and with the .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver having a street price between $1100 and $1200, it is most likely not a handgun that most people will purchase as an impulse buy.  However, for those in the market for .44 magnum hunting style revolver, this one should be at or near the top of your list for consideration.  The revolver is very attractive and proved to be extremely accurate.  I have no doubt that it will see some real field time over the years to come. My biggest concern with this revolver will be getting it from my son so I can hunt with it.  As always, before you make a purchase, I recommend reading reviews and visiting various forums so that you are happy with your investment.  At this time, I have had the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Hunter Revolver for just over two months, studied it in great detail while writing this review, and have had several sessions at the range.  I can honestly say that I'm very pleased with my investment.


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