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Thread: S&W 629 versus Super Red Hawk Hunter

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    S&W 629 versus Super Red Hawk Hunter

    I have been wanting a 44 mag for a while and the stars may just align in the next month or so to make it happen. The original eye catcher was a S&W 629-6. I originally thought it was a classic with the full underlug but it just had the standard underlug. Relizing it balanced well without the full underlug has me relookimg at Red Hawk Hunter model (the non Hunter models with short underlug and round barrels just don't do it for me). I still have to get some more hand time but hoping you guys can share the good the bad or the ugly with either. I will more then likely feed it a main diet of moderate Keith style semi-wadcutters and the occasional box of full bore ammo to take hunting. If price was the same which is going is one better(more accurate) then the other or is it mainly just personal preference? Thanks for the help sorry for the novel!

  2. #2
    Boolit Bub

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    With the diet you will be feeding them it will all boil down to personal preference. Both will do an excellent job however I think I could get the better trigger out of the Smith. If you are considering hot rodding them at anytime I would lean towards the Ruger.

    Or if you have my particular disease get both

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    BHIll ...both that idea is good on paper until my wife uses one on me. Lol. The Smith I was looking at did have a really nice stock trigger already.

  4. #4
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    I think it boils down to how much you will pack it. You can wear the Redhawk out if you are a determined individual who thinks reloading data is only a suggestion. The Smith will shoot loose with a continued diet of warm loads. Will you have it on your hip in rough country for 5 miles a day? 629 wins all the time, only at a range and tree stand the Ruger does it for that, IMO.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  5. #5
    I've had 2 629's and a SRH. I'm Ruger fan first, but the Smith does have a superior trigger IMO. I shot 300 gr. boolits at IHMSA matches and the SRH is a joy to shoot, at the end of the day your shooting hand shoes no wear. If packing, the 629 would be my first choice.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have both a Redhawk and a S&W Mtn Gun in 44 Magnum. F-250 4x4 vs. Mustang GT. I don't push Lyman #429421 or #429244 past 1200 FPS in any S&W 44 Magnum. In the RH or SRH, those loads are almost docile. Gianni above was right on the money.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    What are you setup to reload?
    Do you plan on buying more 44cal firearms in the future?

    ruger ='s .432"
    s&w ='s .430"

    Years ago I owned a marlin 1895 & a ruger sbh (excellent combo), both in 44cal. They both ate .432" cast bullets. Bought a s&w 624 and it also shot .432" bullets. Later on I ended up with different contender bbl's and a 629 and they were extremely accurate with .430" bullets. Add to the mix I've always owned ca bulldogs and the 1's I've owned preferred .430" bullets. Slowly thinned the herd and now I only cast/size .430" bullets for the 44cal's (down to 3 of them).

    Kind of a dumb way to decide which firearm to buy/choose. But you have to feed them after you buy them.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Currently on the same fence. Looking at another 44 magnum. The 629 has a great trigger and shoots accurately. I personally am not a Ruger fan simply because I don't like the looks or the trigger pull. Sure the Ruger is stronger but then again who shoots full house 44 mag loads every time out? To me the S&W is a highly tuned watch and the Ruger is a pocket watch. If the Ruger had a decent trigger pull I would probably purchase one but until then I'm aiming at the 629 or a decent 29.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrest r View Post
    What are you setup to reload?
    Do you plan on buying more 44cal firearms in the future?

    ruger ='s .432"
    s&w ='s .430"

    Years ago I owned a marlin 1895 & a ruger sbh (excellent combo), both in 44cal. They both ate .432" cast bullets. Bought a s&w 624 and it also shot .432" bullets. Later on I ended up with different contender bbl's and a 629 and they were extremely accurate with .430" bullets. Add to the mix I've always owned ca bulldogs and the 1's I've owned preferred .430" bullets. Slowly thinned the herd and now I only cast/size .430" bullets for the 44cal's (down to 3 of them).

    Kind of a dumb way to decide which firearm to buy/choose. But you have to feed them after you buy them.
    Interesting. I'll have to contact my brother who owns a Red Hawk Ruger 44 mag and see how his bullet diameter is getting along. I think he purchases .430 for his Ruger and his Beasley.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Smith based on your criteria. And it's prettier with a superior trigger. The first .44 Magnum set the bar for "Classic".

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    The S&W is typically more refined out of the box and less weight. If 240 grain bullets suite your needs I would go with the Smith. If you want to use heavy for caliber bullets I would go with Ruger. A trigger job on the Ruger won't set you back far.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
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    I have a 29-3, a 629-(8 ?), a Redhawk and a super Redhawk. All of which are excellent shooters. If you plan on going to bear country and carrying this gun I would go with the Super Redhawk. I have put some very high pressure rounds through mine without any ill effect. If it is just going to be a range gun for fun and pleasure, get the one you can afford. The S&W will always bring more money in a resale then the Ruger.
    A vote for anyone other then the conservative candidates is a vote for the liberal candidates.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Thanks for all the insight. Most of the hunting I do is WI whitetail and I stand hunt about 80% of the time and probably walk close to a mile at max other times, so weight doesn't make much of a difference. This would be my first .44 magnum so .430/.432" is not to big of a deal. At this point I do not have a lot of doubles in calibers so there is a good chance this would remain my only .44 magnum.

    Gianni when you say it shoots loose, this is my concern with the 629, how much and how hot of loads would it take to be noticeable? My guess is its main diet would be 180-240 bullets with CFE Pistol, Win 231, Unique ect for powder. Plus maybe 100-250 "full power" H110/240 bullets to practice for hunting season and actually hunting. If I go to the range to shoot it for fun I would probably go through 2-300 rounds each trip a couple times a month.

    On a side note I have a GP100 that I polished and swapped springs and it has a pretty good trigger... but that Smith's was beautiful.

    Being that the Smith I am looking at is a -6 how hard is it to pull the internal lock and fill the Clinton hole?

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    I have a 686-6 with the lock. It has no effect on anything in my opinion the trigger is fantastic. I don't see a need to do anything with it. The 629-6's that I have tried were great and NO different trugger wise than the 29 I shot.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    As far as shooting loose, my 6 inch M29 no dash has been pushing lead (240-250 grain) for many years with no degredation. I bought it used many years ago so can't say what the first owner did to it but I have not hot roded it. The critters I have shot with it stayed shot so, for me, it has plenty power with standard loads. The trigger and action are superlative and in a class not to be achieved by a Ruger. Decide if you want a fine handgu or a piece of field artillery.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I have a m29 and shoot it all the time I do not believe that a Smith will
    shoot loose with normal shooting
    I don't shoot heavy boolits though ,over 260 or so grains
    if you try and shoot a day at the range with full packed to the top case full of h110 out of it
    your gun will not be the only thing complaining
    buy what you like but for me Ruger has not had a good track record
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I don't care for the Super Redhawk--It's too heavy to suit me. I have a 29-2 8 3/8 and a 7.5 Redhawk that I hunt with. The 629 will most likely have a better trigger. If you are concerned about Buffalo roaming in your home, the the SRH can withstand loads that will beat the smith up. Personally, I'd go with the Smith.
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Some years back, I read a quote by the late Elmer Keith concerning the use of his #429421 in the Model 29-series S&W revolvers--"1200 FPS is all you need". He was not real happy that the original ammunition loaded at the time of the caliber's intro in the mid-1950s claimed 1450 FPS. Even with his 240 grain x 1200 FPS loads, he limited himself to about 500 rounds per year to save wear and tear on his hands.

    Most folks that buy Ruger large-caliber revolvers celebrate the acquisition in Ruger fashion--by assembling Mastodon Flattener loadings and running them gleefully through their RHs and SRHs. That was fun in my late 20s and into my 30s when I was still immortal and impervious to pain and good sense. And it IS FUN. No doubt about it.

    But as I dodder on into my early 60s, it occurs to me that the most-blooded game rifle I own is my great-grand-dad's ranch gun--an 1873 Winchester carbine in 44/40 WCF. In its service years, it accounted for several dozen deer and at least 2 black bears that my grandmother saw getting whacked on our mountain ranch. Any critter stealing her fresh-baked pie from a cabin window sill got his karma leveled mui pronto. Depression years were hard times.

    That carbine runs a 200 grain flatnose about 1100 FPS, and that might be optimistic with factory ammo. Still, it made venison and rehabbed bears quite effectively if you respected its range limitations and basketball trajectory. Assessing those Keith-level 44 Magnum loads in THAT light, today's SAAMI-level 44 Magnum ammo at 36K PSI is very close to what Keith sought originally in the caliber. That power level exceeds my old 44/40s specs by roughly 20%-25%. Just sayin'.

    90% of my 44 Magnum shooting these days gets done with #429421 running 900-1000 FPS, 8.2 to 9.0 grains of Unique or 9.0-10.0 grains of Herco. The Mtn Gun goes afield about 5x as often as the boat anchor Redhawk, and the RH may be headed to my youngest daughter in AK as a bear dissuader. She is much like her father at age 27--young, strong, full of resolve but perhaps a mite light on caution. The RH would be a good fit for her. Fortuna favorat fortis (Pliny).
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  19. #19
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    I am not really in a position to say but friends that wanted to push 300 grainers at book maximum needed a rebuild inside of two years. Some hand and shim work. I do believe that a Smith wears much faster shot DA than SA. I also think if you keep your loads less than 100 fps than book maximum it will last many years. If you have other concerns ball powders seem to promote throat erosion faster than flake or stick but I shoot a lot of ball.
    FWIW, my 5.5" Redhawk, standard not Super has 0.4295" throats.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    [...] The Smith will shoot loose with a continued diet of warm loads.
    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I am not really in a position to say but friends that wanted to push 300 grainers at book maximum needed a rebuild inside of two years. Some hand and shim work. I do believe that a Smith wears much faster shot DA than SA. I also think if you keep your loads less than 100 fps than book maximum it will last many years. [...]
    Unsure as to your definition of 'warm' loads - to me, it appears that you are describing hot loads ??

    I don't believe that the 629's will shoot loose with 'warm' loads (any moreso than typical revolver wear&tear), but perhaps we are thinking of different levels.

    My father's pre-M29 (~1959??) was a little loose & did need a timing job, but 50 years in the Alaskan bush with zero maintenance can do that.
    I am also thinking that Smith has improved their alloys since then as well.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check