Are You Feeling Lucky? Well, Punk, We Do: Smith & Wesson’s Big M29 Revolver
I suppose that “wheelgun Wednesday” is the most appropriate day of the week to write an airgun blog on the coolest revolver we’ve ever made. Bold claim? Yes.
One of our license partners, Smith & Wesson, has been the go-to manufacturer of high quality revolvers since the 1850s. In a mere 30 years they will be celebrating 200 years of the S&W brand! That is quite something else, indeed. In these passing generations of manufacturing and development Smith & Wesson has made some very enduring handguns. The venerable Model 10 comes to mind as the service weapon of choice for hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers going all the way back from the turn of the 19th century. Many agencies continued to use the Model 10 until the turn of the 20th century, too.
The Magnum Force of Magnums
But there were other handguns that grabbed the consuming public’s attention along the way. Gun guru of the ages, Elmer Keith, was a fan putting extra powder behind the lead to create a sure-stopping insurance policy between the shooter and charging distempered animals--on four or two legs. In 1935 he developed the .357 Magnum, a cartridge based on the long running .38 Special cartridge that law enforcement used in their Smith & Wesson Model 10s. This longer cartridge generated much more power than the old .38 Special and was quickly adopted by many law enforcement agencies.
The .44 Special Magnum and Model 29 Revolver
However, Mr. Keith was not one to sit around on his laurels. No, sir, Mr. Keith was a fan of big bore revolvers, too. The rancher’s trusted .45 Colt round was good, but it just wasn’t great. The case also wasn’t suited to wildcating. Turning, therefore, to the .44 Special in 1956, Keith was able to develop the .44 Special Magnum--a round capable of pushing a 250 grain slug at 1,200 fps. To put this into perspective, the common .45 Colt round makes just over 300 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle while the .44 Magnum erupts with just under 800 ft-lbs of power. All of a sudden an outdoorsman could tote a handgun that could offer comforting assurance against anything in the wilds of North America.
Just like today, mainstream ammo development is not a solo venture. This team effort also led to the development of handguns capable of withstanding the massive pressure spike this magnum cartridge produced. One such handgun that came about as a result of the .44 Magnum’s development was Smith & Wesson Model 29. This N frame size revolver was offered in many barrel lengths, from a short three inches to an extra long piped 10 ⅝ inches. The crowd who bought this massive N frame was just exactly who Elmer Keith had in mind, ranchers, cowboys, rural law enforcement, and hunters. It sold okay as heavy duty cutting edge hardware often generates more headlines than it does sales. People like to admire and talk about such gear, but when it comes down to parting with Benjamins (ok, in 1957 you could pick one up for $150.00) the C-notes often stay tucked away or spent for a much more mundane poodle-shooter.
But then something happened. Something huge. Something that put millions of eyes directly on the super-sized Smith & Wesson-- and that something would be the film franchise that erupted around the character of “Dirty” Harry Callahan.
Seemingly overnight the Model 29 was front and center in public parlance-- people quoting lines from the movies, analyzing the left and right swing of evil power in the series, and lusting over the iconic revolver that few had ever seen in person. You know what happened next. The Law of Supply and Demand kicked into action. The prices for these big magnums started going up and up. Smith & Wesson gladly kept producing them as long as people wanted to covet the marvelous silky blued finished M29. Over time the big six-shooter was also offered in a just-as-beautiful stainless steel finish as well.Seemingly overnight the Model 29 was front and center in public parlance-- people quoting lines from the movies, analyzing the left and right swing of evil power in the series, and lusting over the iconic revolver that few had ever seen in person. You know what happened next. The Law of Supply and Demand kicked into action. The prices for these big magnums started going up and up. Smith & Wesson gladly kept producing them as long as people wanted to covet the marvelous silky blued finished M29. Over time the big six-shooter was also offered in a just-as-beautiful stainless steel finish as well.
Model 29 Airgun Replica S&W Revolver
What has been missing, up until now at least, is a licensed BB replica of this monster wheelgun. This is where the relationship between Umarex and Smith & Wesson kicks in. I know many of you are thinking, “It’s about dang time!” and we don’t blame you. But, we wanted to make something you would be proud to own, something that, like the “real steel” M29, you would want to show off to your friends and family. That moment is finally here.
Like some of our other CO2 revolvers, the Smith & Wesson M29 .177 caliber BB gun features a swing out cylinder common to double action revolvers, an ejection rod, adjustable rear sight, and, like the most recognizable movie star M29, an eight inch barrel. Visually, the finish on this replica is just nearly as stunning as the real steel version, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
This airgun version departs from the firearm in that it does include a manual safety switch (playing double duty with the cylinder release), faux wood grip panels-- necessary because of the CO2 cartridge housed within the grip-- and cartridge casings that are sized closer to the .38 Special than they are a .44 Magnum. This was done so our fans who have our other BB shooting revolvers and rifles could use the same shell casing for spares, a move we at Umarex USA are sure you will appreciate.
This is truly one replica that you cannot miss out on. Many of us older guys have been wanting one of these since our first encounter with those beady eyes and the famous gravely threat issued forth from those thin, stressed lips. Well, the wait is over! Hop on over to our airgun webstore to pick one up. And if you haven’t done so already, sign up for our Umarex Airgun Club newsletter to stay on top of all the latest Umarex news and discount codes!
Mark Davis, avid outdoorsman, family man, and outdoors writer is the social media specialist for Umarex USA.