S&W M29 BB Revolver – Exclusive First Test Review
April 8, 2021
Supplied by Umarex USA
Outstanding replica of the firearm
Beautiful metal finish
Heavy trigger pull
Our sample shot low
Limited warranty period
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of $149.99, the S&W M29 BB revolver is among the more expensive CO2-powered firearms replicas. In fact – apart from some “specialty finish” models – $150 is about the top price for a CO2-powered revolver.
To justify this price, the M29 needs to be quite special. Fortunately for many people, it is: for two reasons.
Firstly it’s a beautiful reproduction of the heavy caliber Smith & Wesson firearm. Those magic characters “.44 MAGNUM” are stamped on the barrel, as we can see below.
Secondly – of course – this 8-Inch barrel version of the S&W M29 was made eternally famous in the series of films about “Dirty” Harry Callahan. And who could forget the “Do you feel lucky?” scene from the second movie? Many buyers will be attracted to this CO2-powered BB revolver for that reason alone.
If the above two reasons are ones that will color your buying decision, go ahead and make your own day! You’ll find the S&W M29 BB revolver to be great value for money.
Please Note: This test review was of a pre-production gun, as is indicated by the serial number ending in 00002. So there may be some very slight changes between our sample and full production guns. They’re unlikely to be significant, however.
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Smith & Wesson M29 CO2 BB Revolver 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Smith & Wesson M29 BB Revolver
|HAM Test Rating||93%|
|Value For Money||If you want a BB-firing M29, this is it!|
|Firearm it Copies||Smith & Wesson M29, 8-Inch barrel|
|Best BB Tested||Umarex Steel|
|Street Price at Time of Test||$149.99|
|Ammo Type||.177 BBs|
|Power Source||12 Gram CO2 cartridge|
|Useful Shots per Fill||Around 80|
REALISM – LOOK AND FEEL
This is a very realistic-looking airgun! Even at a range of 12 Inches, it’s difficult to tell from the centerfire version. So – as always – treat this BB gun with the same respect and care as you would the firearm. You’ll definitely want to keep this air pistol safely inside a case when it’s not in use!
At a weight of 43 Oz, the S&W M29 BB revolver is just slightly lighter (about 5 Oz less) than the firearm. The overall size and dimensions are spot-on, however. The overall look, balance and feel is close to identical. With the exception of the pistol grip plates, the construction is entirely of metal.
As with many recent BB revolvers, the M29 is charged by loading individual BBs into faux “cartridges”. The whole process of loading BBs into the cartridges, then the cartridges into the cylinder encourages a steadying, deliberate quality into shooting the M29.
Then – after 6 shots – each cartridge can be ejected using the built-in ejector rod. Sure it’s not fast but we’re shooting for fun and the experience here.
True, the grips are plastic. However they have the incredibly-realistic woodgrain printing that’s becoming common nowadays on BB-firing replicas. The molded checkering is very good too. There’s no complaints from the HAM Team here!
Another step forward for realism is that the mandatory “Not A Toy” warnings that spoil the realism of many replica air pistols are printed very discretely on the underside of the pistol grips. They’re there if you look on the S&W M29 BB revolver, but they don’t shout at you as they do on some other replicas.
Finally, the S&W M29 BB revolver is finished in a high gloss, electroplated “blued-effect” finish. This is done to make a close reproduction of the original.
But what color is it actually? Umarex and Pyramyd Air both say it’s black. HAM Tester Doug Wall says it’s black too. But HAM Publisher Stephen Archer thinks it’s a shiny gunmetal color – almost nickel.
Probably this is all down to the lighting under which the M29 is viewed – or photographed. You can make your own decision!
ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT
The S&W M29 BB revolver tested by HAM gave excellent accuracy for this class of airgun. Even the least accurate BBs (in this case Crosman Copperheads) were “minute of soda can” accurate at 6 Yards.
The remaining BBs in the standard HAM test suite gave 10-shot groups with a CTC in the order of 1 Inch diameter. This is excellent accuracy for a BB pistol!
Best accuracy was obtained using 5.29 Grain Umarex Steel BBs. The accuracy opened-up rather a lot at 10 Yards, however the 10-shot group was still within soda can width – just!
However, as you can see from the test targets at the foot of this review, the S&W M29 BB revolver tested by HAM shot low. In fact, about one Inch low at 10 Yards with most BBs we tested.
There’s a very nice ramp front sight, combined with a windage- and elevation-adjustable rear sight. However the rear sight could not be raised quite enough to bring the point of impact onto the bull.
If this were our own personal gun, HAM Team members would be tempted to make a DIY fix for the rear sight elevation issue. We would remove the rear sight leaf and place a suitable small washer (M3) under the rear sight leaf, thus gaining some height to bring the gun bang on target. (Don’t loose the sight leaf spring!).
It may be necessary also to replace the M3 x 5.5mm rear screw with a M3 x 6 mm screw to compensate for the thickness of the washer. But it’s not our personal gun, so we didn’t do this…
UPDATE: To answer the question asked by many people, HAM tested the M29 firing pellets. You can read what we found here.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The maximum claim for Muzzle Velocity for the M29 is 415 FPS. In HAM testing, we achieved a maximum of around 350 FPS at just 59 degrees F in our cool testing range.
All CO2-powered airguns shoot faster in higher ambient temperatures, peaking at about 90 degrees. Our 350 FPS at 59 degrees means that the S&W M29 BB revolver tested by HAM would be shooting around 412 FPS at 90 degrees F. That’s identical to the claim for all practical purposes!
The other claim for the M29 is that it’s a outstanding reproduction of the firearm original. HAM agrees 100%!
Consistency of the S&W M29 BB revolver tested by HAM was as expected for a quality CO2-powered air pistol.
The Standard Deviation – a statistical measure of variability of velocity in a string – was just 11.8 FPS. This is a good figure for any CO2-powered airgun. However – as always – the slower you shoot, the more consistent the FPS becomes. Shoot this, or any other CO2-powered airgun, rapidly and the FPS will drop rapidly.
Trigger pull weight was also pretty consistent, varying by only about 6 Ounces either side of the average in HAM testing in single action mode. That’s effectively a consistent pull for almost all of us!
Accuracy was also consistently very good. The only exception was the Crosman Copperheads. These are the lightest BBs in the HAM test suite and can be expected to have the smallest diameter. That’s probably the cause of the somewhat larger spread registered by the Copperheads, although it was still not bad…
REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION
The action of the S&W M29 BB revolver is very good. It loads, fires and ejects empties just like the firearm. HAM Tester Doug Wall described it as a “very smooth action” in his test notes.
The double action trigger pull weight is a fair match for that of the firearm. It’s in the 10 – 11 Lbs range. That’s heavy but expected. It can be de-cocked like the firearm, too.
However the single action trigger pull weight was a surprise! It averaged no less than 7 Lbs 2 Oz in HAM testing.
That’s about double that of the firearm in single action mode and about twice as heavy as we were expecting. There’s no doubt that accuracy would have been even better had the trigger pull weight been lower, too.
Below, the ejector rod operates realistically. However the faux cartridges will fall out of the cylinder of their own accord if the open cylinder is angled back.
One really good feature of the S&W M29 BB revolver is the way that the safety has been incorporated into the action. As is often the case with BB revolvers, there’s a safety, even if it’s not present on the firearm original.
In this BB gun, the designers have cleverly incorporated the safety into the cylinder lock slider.
Moving the safety fully back engages the safety. Push forward to fire, then further forward to eject. Although other CO2-powered BB revolvers have some fairly inconspicuous safeties, this one is the most impressive we’ve seen. And it works well, too!
The S&W M29 BB revolver tested by HAM gave 80 shots before the Muzzle Velocity fell below 200 FPS. It also delivered the balance of shot count and FPS we were expecting.
As we can see from this HAM analysis of non-blowback CO2 BB pistols, the M29 performance we recorded fits almost exactly on the “Trend Line” established over multiple comparable HAM tests.
Generally, the greater the FPS, the lower the shot count (within the variability of fill of the nominally 12 Gram CO2 cartridges). You can read more about this here.
As usual, the 12 Gram CO2 cartridge fits in the butt of the M29. The hex tool is built-in to the left side of the pistol grip. We like this, too, as it’s always handy and not likely to be lost.
As noted above, the S&W M29 BB revolver tested by HAM produced Muzzle Velocities that were in accordance with 415 FPS at 90 degrees F. the actual numbers at 50 degrees F are shown in the table here.
|BBs||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain||347 FPS||1.37 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain||331 FPS||1.29 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain||348 FPS||1.43 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain||334 FPS||1.33 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain||326 FPS||1.28 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
There’s no doubt it. Appearance and finish of the M29 are superb! “Very nice. The parts finish is great!” HAM Tester Doug Wall commented in his test notes.
Both cast and machined metal parts are beautifully finished. In fact you can see reflections in some of the photographs in this review…
As an officially-licensed reproduction of the M29, the Smith & Wesson trademark is prominently displayed on the side of the frame. It’s on the pistol grip, too.
BUYING AND OWNING
Umarex USA has great distribution. This means that you’re likely to find the S&W M29 BB revolver available at most any place where airguns are sold. Of course, it will be available online from Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot. They’re already taking pre-orders!
As with other Umarex BB guns, the multi-lingual Owner’s Manual is well-produced. It has clear wording and is well illustrated.
If there’s any complaint here, it’s with the warranty. It provides very short 90-day coverage. However, this is normal for Umarex replicas and it doesn’t seem to impede sales of their products…
SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.
6 YARD TEST TARGETS
10 YARD TEST TARGET
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Smith & Wesson M29 CO2 BB Revolver 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Smith & Wesson M29 BB Revolver
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.