Monday, October 4, 2010

In search of the perfect grips for a Dirty Harry Special .44 Magnum

When I first bought my S&W 29-3 .44 Magnum 4" barrel (at left), I found the factory target grips (at right on a S&W 21 .44 Special that I foolishly traded away) were a bit rough on my soft office-worker hands when firing magnums. So I bought a set of Pachmayr Decelerator grips for the 29 and put the 29 grips on the 21.

The round-butt Rosewood grips that came on the 21 were not to my liking and the 29 square-butt grips made it feel better in my hand. They were fine for shooting .44 Specials, but not magnums. And then I found a dealer who had a Sig P226 .357 Sig he was willing to trade for the S&W 21 and it was gone. That was my first Sig pistol and since I now have four more, I should call that trade a success. But I still miss that Model 21 and will probably get another one some day.

But as good as the Pachmayr grips shoot, they sure ain't pretty, so I continued to seek some nice-looking wood grips for the 29 that would also shoot good. I know that Herrett's makes custom grips for the 29, but they just cost too much for this poor boy. And even though Dirty Harry had some Herrett's grips for his 29, I just couldn't bring myself to spend more than $100 for a set of grips.
Then a customer traded in a S&W 29 with the factory target grips customized for his hand. I tried them out and they fit my hand, too. They've been carved and sanded down into finger-groove grips and whoever did the work did a very nice job. I traded the shop my factory target grips for this custom-carved pair and we were both happy. It's hard to sell a gun with custom anything done to it. The custom work may have been just what the previous owner wanted, but it usually isn't what anybody else really wants.

In this case, the grips felt good to me, but I found that while they're fine for shooting .44 Specials, there just ain't enough wood there to hold onto when shooting .44 Magnums. Back to the drawing board.

Then I finally tried something I shoulda thunk uv to start with, I looked on the S&W website for grips and found these N-frame square-butt Rosewood combat grips with S&W medallions. And only $79!
They look great, they feel great and come Saturday I'll try them out to see if they shoot great. I'm betting they will. Every now and then, even a blind hog finds an acorn. S&W grips from S&W, why didn't I think of that?

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