I found this on another site, as the owner who handgun hunts in Sweden wanted to do for his Smith & Wesson mod 29. Some may not like the new look for this guy's wants in his Mod 29, but there are serious handgun hunters and target shooters out there that want something that works best for them.
Well, this was where it all started - in a Stockholm gun auction catalogue many years ago:
I had just started competing in "magnum field shooting", a long-range paper-punching form of competition we like here in Sweden. The old m/29-2, with its likewise old fixed Leupold 2x20 - was manufactured back in the Harry Callahan days of '76, as I later learned from S&W's excellent historian, Roy Jinks. It was worn but still very nice except for a few things - such as the grips, the sights, the scope, the trigger and its very light - for recoil - barrel. Anyway, I changed the grips, got lens covers and better dials for the scope, but it still was very much of a Plain Jane gun:
As a result, especially since the results competition-wise did not match expectations, the gun languished in my safe for years. I bought another S&W .44, a 629-6 12" Extreme Hunter Performance Center model for competition, which turned out to be a great success. This gun was unscoped, though (which means another competition class in magnum field shooting) and I continued to read articles on handgun hunting by JD Jones, John Taffin and others in American Handgunner and similar magazines. Then, about last year, I had reached a point of decision: either I'd sell the cranky old gun - and lose money - or I would do something really no-limits-fun out of it. I opted for the latter solution, and began devising a gun optimized both for the magnum field shooting scoped class and future handgun hunting, where legal. It was clear that the barrel was essential: it must be long and heavy, and should include a rail system for accessories. A Millett picatinny rail was bought, as well as a new scope - the excellent Leupold 2.5x8:
On top of this, I wrote a six-page memo written on how I wanted the gun to look and work in its final coming. And then off it went to one of the best Swedish gunsmiths, Roger "Ruger-Roger" Svensson in Alingsås, close to Gothenburg (think Peoria, IL). Unlike John Taffin, I did not write specifically that he would "work his magic" on the gun - but he did, anyway!
Now, how did this happen? Well, we can obviously trace a grave form of gadgetitis here. Other than that, though, the centerpiece is a German 11" Lothar Walther barrel with the Millett rail attached to it. Together with an Uncle Mike's sling this is my basic configuration for magnum field shooting competition in the scoped class:
This is due to competition rules: the gun weighs in at 2,498 kilograms (that's about 5lbs 8oz for you people with antiquated measurement systems ;-) and the competition legal limit is 2,500 kilograms. Rules do not allow lights&lasers, either. I believe this could be a fine "still hunting" rig as well - the gun is remarkably well-balanced in this configuration.
However, for other forms of hunting, a Versa-Pod bipod with a quick-release lever as well as the Streamlight TLR-2 laser/light combo could be a great thing. As can be seen here, the light is actually attached to the barrel via a nifty new quick-release device from American Defense Mfg:
Finishing off the gun are nice, smaller customizations such as a jeweled trigger and a dual ball-bearing cylinder yoke lock:
This was not anything I asked for - they just were there when the gun got back (some three months later, no big deal in my mind). And with all the gadgets on, ze business end of the gun is quite impressive:
In its full configuration, however, the gun is at 3,157 kilograms (about 6lbs 15oz) quite a handful:
I'm going to Virginia tomorrow - hopefully seeing our great Pooh-Bah, Gary, as well - so I will present the gun's shooting results from earlier this summer in a separate post later on. Until then, take care and I'll enjoy my latte!