Range Report – 44 Special Hard Cast in the Smith and Wesson 629

I get a lot of satisfaction out of shooting “bullseye” style when I go to the range. It’s a lot of fun to put in practice time, and to see that practice time (whether dry firing at home, or range time) translate to smaller and smaller groups. It’s also rewarding to spend time with a particular gun, and to hone in your skills with that particular weapon.

Smith and Wesson Model 629 (Author's Hiking Carry Gun) - Image Copyright 2011 Ultimate Reloader

One of my favorite guns to shoot is my 4″ Smith and Wesson 629 44 Magnum. In addition to being a go-to range gun it’s what I choose to carry while hiking in the North Cascades near where I live. If I encounter a bear, I want to have something more effective than pepper spray, or my acting skills (play dead and they’ll walk away??). This a very versatile gun, and I love the fact that I can shoot full house 44 Magnum loads with it, and also 44 Special loads (in 44 Magnum brass) for all-day shooting fun.

Today I went shooting with this gun and had great results with one of my favorite loads for this gun. I shot some full-house 44 magnum loads, and then proceeded to shoot several groups with 44 special loads using hard-cast 240 grain bullets. Semi-wadcutters are great at the range because they punch nice big and clean holes in the paper that are easy to see.

Here’s one of my best groups of the day – shooting off hand (two hand hold) at a distance of 30′


I really like the loads used here. Kind of a medium 44-special, but with some kick (not the super-mild variety).

Here’s the load specifics: (use load data at your own risk, always cross-reference load data against manufacturer’s published data)

Bullet: Tru-Cast 240 grain Semi-Wadcutter hard cast bullets
Brass: Starline 44 Magnum
Powder: Winchester 231
Powder Charge: 5.2 grains
Primer: Wolf Large Pistol

Tru-Cast bullets have proven to be a great value ($50/500 for these at the time of this writing) – and have performed very well – with minimal leading in a good gun. Give them a try and see what you think!

**Edit: I was just informed that Jim is not selling bullets at this time. 🙁 I’ll let you all know if he re-opens his bullet company. Thanks.

Another good trip to the range! Hope you all are getting in some range time… Happy shooting!



7 thoughts on “Range Report – 44 Special Hard Cast in the Smith and Wesson 629”

  1. Nice shooting. I use W231 in my .45 ACP loads. Meters well and burns clean. Good stuff. Remind me not to wear my bear suit in your area.

  2. Just emailed Tru-Cast to see if they will ship to MA, and was informed that they have halted all operations. Bummer.

  3. Gavin,

    I am glad you did this post. I have the same 629 with a scope and haven’t shot if for some time now. I think I will dust it off and take it to the range this weekend. This gun has one of the nicest triggers of any revolvers I have shot.

    1. Good deal! Agree on the trigger. It’s nice to know that you can just use a S&W trigger “right out of the box” and not need a trigger job. 🙂

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