Some of you might recognize this gun from the front page of the Sixgun Journal. It’s an early-80’s Model 29 with a nickel finish and four-inch barrel. As I have mentioned, Elmer Keith’s writings were a substantial influence on me as a kid. There was no way I was going to get through life without an ‘Elmer gun’.
The nickel 29 stayed with me a long time. I carried it for years as a MO deputy sheriff and it was my continual woods companion. It was in on a number of deer kills, including this nice buck.
The gun went to the west coast on prisoner extraditions and a well-known bad man could tell you what the business end looks like. For road patrol, I loaded it with Winchester 210 grain .44 Magnum Silvertips. Using the same sixgun for everything has its rewards. I usually qualified at or near a possible with it.
It shot pretty well to 100 yards too and I never felt ‘under-gunned’ within that distance.
The majority of its diet was reloads; everything from 200 grain cowboy action loads to 300 grain LBT’s over a charge of W296 I won’t print here. I shot it completely loose once, had S&W rebuild it and eventually loosened it again. This was a ‘Bangor Punta’ gun and while certain aspects of it were great, others were pretty damn sorry. The rear sight, for instance, was a continual aggravation and it was so sloppy that and any bump, which depressed the elevation, leaf could make it lose zero. In fact, I just flat missed two deer over this (confirmed with rested shooting) and the second time was its ‘swan song’.
If I wanted another four-inch S&W .44, I’d hunt around for a pre-lock ‘Mountain Gun’ with the round-butt frame and slim barrel profile. These later guns carry much nicer, are more durable and the sights are probably better as well. I will, however, always have a place in my heart for the four-inch Model 29, regardless of vintage.