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.
50 years of the Smith & Wesson .44 Mag.: it's hard to believe, but the gun that started it all is no more
Guns Magazine, Feb, 2005 by John Taffin
Works for me. Nicely done!
Lately, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ceska Zbrojovka (CZ).
I'm picking up a 4" Nickel Model 27-2 this afternoon. It joins another 27-2, several Model 25's, a 29, a 57, a .38/44HD, a Highway Patrolman, a 625JM, a 1917, and a 3rd Model HE 1926 in .44 Special.
I think that's all, but I can't remember...:)
Yea, guns always cheer me up.
What fillibuster ?:o)
Just went plinking last Thursday with my grandfathers old N frame 38 snub revolver that has a square butt. It's a big old beast compared to the little J frames, that I have and HEAVY vs the 340 scandium widgets. Dropped in some light wadcutter target loads and at about 15 feet it made a nice "almost" one hole group (lousy shooter threw one) on the paper plate I was using for a target. Very smooth and alledgedly it has a flat spring vs a coil spring that makes it one very smooth double action little gun that can be adjusted for a very "light trigger pull" and still have reliable hits on the primers ....... I think it's an older M10, it has the additional screw at the front of the trigger guard where it meets the bottom part of the frame....., very goo condition, in a S.D. Meyers holster to boot .......:o)
So there was a fillibuster eh ?
That's it I'm buying stock in Ron Peterson Inc !
The pre-war Smiths had the incredible "long action" that particularly in the K and N frames were beyond smooth. They do use a flat spring, and the screw on the front of the grip frame is the "strain screw" and you can change the pull by messing with it (or filing it down a bit), but go to far and you'll have FTF's. (Don't ask me how I know this.)
Found a 1958 Mod 27 8 3/8th at the old J. Bland to boot.
Gun's Gifts and Gadgets is out of business !?!?? Awwwww....what about the gun room on central ? Is that still up an running ?
GG&G is now Precision Arms (new owner). The Gun Room has been gone quite some time, unless I'm thinking of something else.
I make her some nice custom loads and she can shoot it all day long without any discomfort.
I do have a large supply of .44 spcl brass around and even loaded to the max they are pussycats out of that big stainless steel N-frame.
I do love an early gun porn thread, and what's this I hear about a filibuster?
Oh, the pubbies caved again? yawn....
Yep..........no suprises from the polidiot pond today or tomorrow I suspect.
I have a few 44 mags and specials and as I get up to fish in Alaska every year I used to carry my 12 gauge slung across my back while fishing. When I got tired of that rig I went to a Bowen Ruger Bisley in 500 Linebaugh. That was a beast and reasoning aside I decided to go with a revolver using the garrett hammer heads in 310 or 330 gr flavors. Well the S&W's cylinder is too short and Mr Garrett warns against using his pills in the S&W anyway so I went with a plain old inox 5.5 inch Ruger Redhawk in 44 mag and stuff it with the Garrett 44 mag 330gr hardcasts.
I'm looking at the belt mountain solid 330's for it also. Here in the lower 48 I carry a 329PD that Bowen modified the sights on for me...stuffed with hornaday factory 240gr HP's. I got a better sight for my needs than the hiViz thingie that comes on em.
Still I am one S&W 696 and Charter Arms Bulldog Pug fan for the 44 special. I use a the CCI blazer GDHP 200 gr for that.....sweet , very accurate and a favorite plinker.
I have my eye on a new redhawk in the .454 Casull w/ a few custom features as I can stuff it with 45 colt for lower 48 or "light plinking" and when the pucker factor is high and I'm low on the food chain I'll make sure it is packed with the 454's.........it's a plan. !
A buddy of mine gave me a whole 5 gallon bucket full of mixed .44 brass a couple of years back. I got about 600 mags and 500 or so spcls out of it, so I load 'em both.
I like both the Speer and the Hornady 200 grainers for the spcl. For the mag I go with the 240 grainer Speer Gold Dots. I've been using Bullseye for so long I can just about set up the press in my sleep, but I picked up a few pounds of Unique when a local gun shop closed up so once I run out of Bullseye I'm going to try that.
The same buddy and I split a thousand lot of 7.62 LC brass. I top that one with the Sierra 168 grain BTHP match over 42 grains of Reloader 12. It's wicked accurate out of my NM M1A., although my buddy swears by Accurate powder for his.
That reminds me, I need to clean up some .45 brass, I think I'm down to my last thousand or so rounds!
I have put 14K full house rounds through my Redhawk over the period of 23 years. I keep track 'cause I load my own. Can any S&W surpass the 200 round mark (magnum loads) with out stretching?
This ain't mine but is a clone of what was done to my 329PD. I't a very good , lite, easy to carry CHL rig with a IWB Kramer thumbreak stuffed with the 44 specials 200gr Gold Dot Hollow Points.
That load yer using for the M1A sounds very close to the older Federal Match load. I have a case of those stashed away for use with my TRW / M1A. Scary accuracy.
Working up a dream rifle, or two or six........two current projects are a 375 H&H and the other is a 6.5x55......ideas ?
Well yes I think Smiths can do many more than 200 rds without any damage. I don't think they are as robust as the Redhawk though. That thing is a beast. It just doesn't have the feel of the Smith though.
I've enjoyed the .44 Special for some time. When I was with the ECSO back in the late 70's I carried a 4" 29 with warm .44 Spc. Today I carry a 3" S&W 396 in a Ken Null SMZ holster. It feels like you're not carrying anything. Only use 200 gr Gold Dot Blazer in it. Sent it back to the factory because the shroud loosened up, hope that isn't going to be something I have to do on a regular basis.
Yea, I got an idea. I want something in .50 BMG! That would just about complete the Holy Trinity of Clan Lurkers rifle collection. A couple ARs, one wicked accurate Springield M1A (TRW parts BTW, very low SN under 25XXX), and then something bolt action and mag fed in .50 for really 'reaching out and touching' something.
I do hear really good things about that 6.5 though, but I want something that really makes libs wet their pants.
Have you seen Hi-Tech Ammo? He's got some great prices on military bullet pulls. It ain't Sierra or CCI, but everything I've bought from him has been just as advertised and his service is very good.
500 of the green tip SS109s are like 20 bucks or something, and they're the genuine article. For that price I can load 'em cheaper than I can buy 'em new and that's not easy for the 5.56. He's got some other cool stuff at times, too. I picked up some 7.62 bandoliers complete with strippers, loading tool, and the carboard boxes for like 10 bucks a piece.
It's pretty cool to drop those on the bench out at the range.
I picked up a Tom Threepersons holster for my 1926. Perfect for the period.
I love my K-frame. It's an old duty .357 magnum that was kept by loving hands and all I had to do to it was get it a decent set of grips. Don't own an N-frame yet.
So I NEED one, right?
Is that thing on there to just keep the flame cutting down on the scandium ?
My grandfathers two S.D. Meyers rigs were made in the 30's for my grandfathers old 44 special and the smaller "snub"......ones in fair shape but the "border patrol" is perfect....lined with Elk from Colorado supplied by Grandfather to S.D.
Kewl History !
You're just trying to make me jealous, and you're succeeding.
Cool......I have the barrett 82A1 but "need" (honest) a 375 H&H for reasons I won't go into here....and a good Texas Deer rifle with low recoil, lightweight, etc . I have a few but just like the 6.5x55.
Thanks for the link........I'll go check it out.
I bought & shoot it just for the magnum effect. The weight is needed and when you bring up on a live target, it just come natural. Hell on hogs & coyotes using Knead 210 SWC. If just for coyotes, then 200 gr JHP. Out for just jackrabbits? Use 180 gr JHP and it field dresses them for you.
A long time ago, changed out to a gold bead blade and a V notch and started hitting more live targets @75 yrds. The gold bead helped in practice on coleman cans @400 yrds.
I didn't know what I had till I was telling an old gomer at the range about it. He asked if the elk hide had been rolled out over the lip and such and such done etc etc ....My Aunt is the one that told me when and where Grampa got it. Research and locals are the ones that led me to S.D Meyers as the maker.
Tom Threepersons's name kept popping up when I was searching for data....One from Texas and one from Canookistan.
Just can't justify the .50, but might be able to convince myself I need a .338 Lupau.