TFB Review: Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5"

by Sam.S

Does owning an iconic gun check all the boxes or does it feel like something is missing? You’d be hard-pressed to list off a top five list of legendary notable revolvers without mentioning the S&W Model 29. Sort of funny that this gun may not have sold anywhere near as well without Clint Eastwood muttering those classic words from Dirty Harry and holding this blued beauty outstretched. Today it carries a price tag to match its legend. Is it worth it to feel lucky? Let’s dive into my review of the Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic!

Note: This is for the 6.5” barreled version. They also make a 4” version. All specs and details will be related to the 6.5”.

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Specifications: Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5”

The Model 29 Classic is a part of the, well, Classic Series that S&W makes. These blued beauties with wood grips are an ode to the revolvers that really made S&W a competitive voice in the game of double-action revolvers. The Smith & Wesson Model 29 is an N-Frame revolver. It shares this quality with other S&W models such as the 25, 27, and 57 (and all of their derivatives). A reason you may not see these Model 29 Classic revolvers out in the wild very often is that even though S&W is hard at work making revolvers, they only tool up for one type of frame at a time (this was explained to me by a S&W employee). I would assume that means they make a run of N-Frame revolvers once or twice a year. The Classic Series alone probably has fewer production numbers yet.

  • Caliber: .44 Magnum
  • Capacity: 6 Rounds
  • Barrel Length: 6.5″
  • Twist Rate: 1:20″ Twist, 5 Grooves
  • Sight Radius: 220 mm
  • Rear Sight: 3.15 mm Notch, Adjustable
  • Front Sight: 3.1 mm Red Ramp
  • Cylinder Gap: 0.25 mm
  • Trigger Pull Weight: ~ 4 lbs (SA), ~ 10 lbs (DA)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH):12” x 1.693” x 6.102”
  • Weight: 48.3 oz
  • Action: Single/Double Action
  • Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
  • Frame: Carbon Steel
  • Grip: Wood
  • Finish: Blued
  • State Compliance: CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA

The MSRP of the Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5” stands at a hefty $1379. It’s a big chunk of change to bite off but if it means anything extra the original price of a Model 29 in the first few years is basically the same when adjusted for inflation. Besides it’s all steel, is blued, has pretty wood grips, a hard plastic case, and a wooden display case. That to me says S&W tries to soften the blow to the average Joe.

First Impressions: Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5”

Since we just touched on the things the Model 29 Classic comes with, it sounds like a good time to go over my first impressions. This comes in a rather large cardboard box, within the box is the modern stereotypical blue Smith & Wesson hard case. This is where the new gun is packed along with a manual, keys for the hammerlock that everyone hates, and a simple cleaning set (rod and brushes).

Most notably it comes with a protected wooden hard case/display box. The interior has loose velvet lining. When I say loose I mean super loose. It would be a lot more attractive if it was fitted.

The appearance of the gun is outstanding. The bluing is gorgeous. It’s got that luster that your fingerprints just take so much away from and yet by nature of it being a handheld tool they will always be there. It’s such a beautiful deep dark blue. The wood grips are pretty standard and boring. If anything their looks are enhanced by the bluing. Fit overall is very good. All parts are super tight and well-placed. The action is smooth as can be and the lockup is steadfast.

As with all of Smith & Wesson’s modern revolver catalog, the Model 29 Classic bears its model number inside the frame where the crane that holds the cylinder normally hides it. It will read “29-#”. In this case, my example read “29-10”. The 10 represents the most recent engineering changes to the model. They started at 29 and then worked their way to “29-10” making small changes and improvements along the way.

Range Time: Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5”

When I bought my Model 29, my wallet was already hurting so picking up some 44 Magnum ammo was piecemeal and slow going. Fortunately, my good friend Adam tossed me a box of ammo. The ammo he gave me was some older Ultramax 240gr. When I went to the range and shot it, I was surprised at how little recoil there was. I knew these were basically cowboy loads on top of being old but I was not expecting them to be that light. That was just a short-range session getting a feel for things and maybe being just a little excited to shoot what was once “the most powerful handgun in the world”.

The next range trip was more telling in that I picked up a few boxes of PMC 180gr JHP which cruises at a crisp 1750 FPS. This stuff had some pep and the Model 29 related that pep with care. Basically, yeah she bucks as she should and it was a hoot. The holes punched in the paper are as you see below. I am sure quite a bit of variation was me and my increasingly fatigued hands. I shot standing and two-handed. Not a terrible group and the sights could use some adjusting.

Ignore the 22LR holes.

Let’s talk feel with the Model 29. I don’t have small hands by any means but the Model 29 will humble any notion that your hands are giant. This is mainly to do with how wide and beefy the wood grips are. I would assume some aftermarket rubber ones or even some custom wood ones would make the handling a bit better. They will stay on mine because they just complete the look but yeah, not super comfy and a bit bulky.

Sights-wise the Model 29 Classic is well classic with the square notch rear and the rear ramp front. Super simple, easy to use, and easy to see. The double-action trigger is pretty heavy. I would say heavier than the advertised 10 lbs but still very smooth nonetheless. The single-action trigger pull is a firm wall but you won’t know when the drop is coming so we are all good there. The cylinder release button was noticeably stiff when I first got my revolver but after a couple of range sessions, it has broken in just fine. The cylinder slides out the side with ease.

Closing Thoughts: Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5”

Is the Model 29 overrated? Maybe. Was it expensive as heck? Yep. Do I regret buying one? Absolutely not. It’s a work of art. It’s art you can have fun with. It’s a literal and figurative blast and it’s hard not to fall in love with this wheelgun. If it’s on your list, I suggest moving it closer to the top for one main reason. Even though I personally don’t see S&W deleting their Classic Series that does not mean that they won’t, nor would it surprise me.

Check Prices on Smith & Wesson Model 29 Classic 6.5

These guns are made in limited batches and are sold to dealers the second they are packed up at the end of the assembly line. Their days may be numbered and when you pair that with their literal numbers being few, I’d say get one while you can cause there may come a day where the closest thing on shelves is a modern 629.

As always we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think. Do you believe that this piece of legend is worth spending your money on? Would you take this out to the range on the regular? Would this be your go-to fun gun? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.

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Writer | TheFirearmBlogWriter | AllOutdoor.comInstagram | sfsgunsmithOld soul, certified gunsmith, published author, avid firearm history learner, and appreciator of old and unique guns.

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2 of 28 comments
  • Cwo5davis Cwo5davis on May 22, 2024

    Yawn. A Hillary hole? Really?

  • Wendell Illian Wendell Illian on May 22, 2024

    Love it, Had a 629 in the 80's, got stolen along with a few other cherished guns. The only thing I could Find with the Insurance $$ Was and 8" 29. Little bit TOO Long but it was beautiful. They both Shot Superb! Lost that one in the Divorce, thank god they Still make these, the kids now days would sure be missing out if they didn't. And re-sale on the old ones would be ridiculous! Like the Pythons got for a long while. 6.5 is about perfect, Now If I could only get My 66 in 4 or 5", the 6" is too long!