Skip to comments.In praise of the N Frame
Posted on 05/24/2005 11:09:16 AM PDT by Jack Black
Among the many excellent handguns available perhaps none is so beloved by so many as the classic Smith & Wesson N-Frame.
The N-Frame is the biggest traditional frame size available in a Smith & Wesson handgun. It dates back to early in the last century when it was offered as a military and police pistol in various guises, including the legendary Triple Lock. Originally offered in .38 Special and other old-school calibers it began its rise to flagship and icon with the introduction of the .357 magnum. One can argue, did the calibers make the gun or did the gun make the calibers? Following on the great and popular .357 - THE standard police caliber for much of the 20th Century - the ever popular .44 special was "magumized" and turned into the legendary .44 Mag. Filling the percieved gap between these two the .41 Mag was introduced and quickly became a cult favorite that some feel is the "just right" size for the N-Frame. The older but still popular .45 Colt and .45 ACP have continued to be chambered in the N-Frame as well.
Aside from being chambered in a variety of the most popular and very powerful handgun rounds generally available the N-Frames have achieved their popularity in part because of the wide variety of configurations they have been offered in. Major variations include he square and round-butt frames, blued and stainless finishes and barrel lengths of staggering variety. These include 2.5", 3", 3.5", 4", 5", 6", 6.5", 7.5", 8.3" and 10", with the four and six inchers being the most popular.
Recent years have seen some innovations and deletions in the product line. All N's are now round butt, but square butt grip styles are still available. Blued guns have mostly disapeared, although the occassional special edition will still feature Smith's beautiful bluing. Rubber ergo grips predominate.
Perhaps the most controversial feature is the inclusion of an intergal lock behind the cylinder release. Many old time users dislike the presence of this rather unnecessary feature, somewhat forced on S&W by a combination of bad laws, Clinton-era threats and ever increasing litigation threats from land shark lawyers everywhere.
The N frame has moved from ubiquitous police side arm to being more often owned by civilians. It remains a perennial favorite of hunters as backup, and the choice of a surprising number of individual citizens for both open and concealed carry.
The N-frame lost it's position as the biggest and baddest handgun a while ago. Smith finally bowed to the inevitable and introduced the super-jumbo sized X frame and the awesome .500 magnum.
But the N-frame remains what it has been since it's introduction. A supurb, large but not bulky, handgun, built to excellent standards of fit and finish and chambering a variety of useful and powerful cartridges. As long as a need for such a gun exists the big N-frame will no doubt continue to find favor.
The standard of standards: 6" N-Frame .44 Mag model 629.
Isn't that the same frame that the Taurus 669 was built on?
Excuse the slight misuse of my CW II ping list. thought this might interest many of you though. can someone ping the BANG! list, that's really the right one.
I've been boycotting S&W handguns ever since my wife found out how many I have.
I have the 3" Backpacker 629. A limited production weapon that is perfect in a 3" barrel, just enough to take the sting out of heavy rounds.
Not sure. I know Taurus semi-cloned a Smith a number decades ago but evolution has been seperate for a long time and apparently the internals are different now. They look a lot like Smiths.
Bless you, my good man! Things that go bang always make me feel better.
I sure like that 3" and would like to see it back in .41 MAG
wouldn't mind a Scandium N frame in 10 MM either...
Hope everyone feels free to post pix of their favorite N frames for our appreciation.
ahh, much better. PREVIEW, PREVIEW, PREVIEW
I was curious - I carried a Taurus 669 as a daily open carry when I was stationed out in Nevada. Big hands needed a big gun to fit around. Always felt real comfortable carrying it around too. Only got stopped once by Law Enforcement - and that was only because he wanted to see what it was I was carrying for loads (five .357 Federal Hydrashoks).
My "drool over" list consists of A 50BMG (from SERBU?) and a new 460 that handles 45LC and 454...adding those will complete my collection ......Getting to old to add much more....
Well it was a full moon last night !
That looks like a Model 24 with Kym Ahrends grips, but I can see its an early Model 29. Smith and Wesson went back to the early barrel profile with their Mountain Gun, made for a year in .44 mag and for two years in .45 Colt.
Sounds like a "gun running past the wife" failure to me.
Mine won't know till I die and then I doubt she'll curse me.
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