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Messages - Tommygun

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The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: April 14, 2005, 12:19:19 AM »
I respect Walt's opinion. I'm a big 2nd Amendment advocate and supporter of gun-owner's rights, but would never impose my desire to keep and bear arms on somebody who didn't want to. For the same reason, I don't show or "share" my guns with people whom I know are uncomfortable around them.

I think a lot of it has to do with education, and what one is exposed to. I was exposed to guns at a fairly early age by my father. He was hardly a "gun nut," but he was a very responsible gun owner, who drilled safety into my head so that it became second nature. I learned to respect firearms instead of harboring an unreasoning fear of them. I shot numerous types of guns as a boy, the result of which was that by the time I went into the military I was already a capable shot and subsequently won ribbons for pistol marksmanship during my stint in the Navy.

Shooting is fun! I recommend it to anybody. I've known many people who wanted nothing to do with guns until they finally got onto a range and actually did some plinking, and they loved it! And speaking for myself and the other shooters I know, when we're down at the range banging away at targets, we're not pretending that we're shooting somebody. The thought of using deadly force against another human being is horrifying to most shooters. The shooters I know don't even hunt animals for sport. But we also know that if a situation ever arose where we were required to defend the lives of our friends and loved ones, we have the skills and mental preparedness to do what needs to be done. You can call 911, but the tragic truth is that unlike Harry Callahan, real-life police are rarely able to stop a crime in progress. All they can do in most cases is clean up the mess afterward and try to catch the guys who did it. That's not an option that appeals to me.

In many cases, just having a gun is enough to deter a crime. I know this from personal experience. Years ago, I was driving home from an afternoon of shooting at an outdoor gun range. I had a Smith & Wesson model 25 in my car, which was almost identical to Harry's model 29 except that the 25 was chambered for .45 colt longs. (A great big, slow-moving bullet that's darned fun to shoot and has minimal recoil.)

On the way home, I spotted a rusty white van pulled off the side of the road in the opposite lane. Two young girls were on the sidewalk with their bicycles. They looked about 12 or 13, and had stopped for some reason. In front of the van, confronting them, was a skanky looking long haired dude in a dirty tee shirt. And at the very instant I passed by, I saw the guy reach out and lunge toward one of the girls!

I immediately pulled across the road and off the shoulder about 15 yards behind the van. Grabbing the gun, I climbed out and headed in their direction. The gun was not loaded, but I figured the mere sight of it would be enough to scare him away, and it was: he took one look at it, went white, scrambled into his van and burned rubber while I made a mental note of his license plate. In the meantime, a middle-aged couple had seen the whole thing, had pulled off the road, and were dashing across the street to see to the girls.

The husband approached me. I gave him the license number of the van and kindly asked him not to mention my involvement to the police, as I didn't want to be charged with brandishing a weapon in public. We shook, and I hopped into my car and sped away as they called the cops.

I wasn't trying to be "Dirty Harry." I didn't want to shoot anybody. The gun wasn't even loaded. I just wanted to make the scumbag stop what he was doing. He probably would've taken off regardless of whether I'd had a gun or not, but judging from the look on his face when he got a gander of the S&W, I'm convinced that the mere appearance of that big-bore handgun was a decisive factor.

So that's my true (absolutely true!), firsthand account of how the mere presence of a gun helped to stop a potential crime.

But this string isn't really about that, and I apologize for getting off point.

What I'm interested in is hearing more comments about the S&W model 29 (as opposed to the 629, which isn't really the same thing), from other "29" shooters and owners such as QuiGonFishing, deux and Big Al, all of whom have owned this classic revolver. And I'd love to see more photos! (Forget Internet porn: I'll take pictures of a model 29 over naked photos of Pamela Lee Anderson anytime, sick puppy that I am!)

I've been shooting my 29 about once or twice a week since I've bought it, and I've fallen in love with this gun.
I had originally replaced the factory grips with the Goncalo Alves grips I bought at the gun show, but today I replaced the Goncalo Alveses with the smaller factory grips and took the wheelgun for a spin at the range. The smaller grips aren't as pretty but they gave me much more control, and I was able to get some amazingly tight groupings all the way out to 25 yards.

This is a magnificent gun, beautifully styled and extremely accurate. Smith & Wesson should rightly be proud of it. It is the most accurate large-caliber revolver I've ever fired.  The groupings are as tight as what I used to get shooting my .22 magnum, which was an incredibly accurate gun. 

Perhaps because of the "Dirty Harry" movies, most people have tended to regard the model 29, sight unseen, as some kind of unmanageable "hand cannon," but nothing could be further from the truth. It's a sturdy gun that comfortably fills the hand but is not overly heavy, weighing only a tad under 3 pounds. With a little practice, it can be shot one-handed with a fair degree of accuracy. Not for long periods, though. Most folks shoot handguns two-handed anyway, for greater stability and accuracy. And with two hands, the model 29 is an absolute joy to shoot! Especially when shooting specials instead of magnums. (I understand why Harry preferred "light specials" instead of magnums.) I've shot Winchester .44 Rem Mag 250 grain Platinum-Tip Hollowpoints that kicked almost as bad as the 3" rifled lead slugs I occassionally put through my Mossberg pump .12 gauge shotgun, whereas the basic flat-nosed .44 Special LSWC (Lead Semi-WadCutter) target rounds I use at the range have no more kick than a light .38 special or a Hornady .22 magnum.

It's a beautiful gun, and a beautiful gun to shoot! My girlfriend was terrified to shoot this gun until I took her to the range and let her put a few .44 specials through it. Now she's in love with it!

But I'd like to see more pictures and hear more stories from other classic 29 owners and shooters like QuiGonFishing, gwb. pt deux and Big Al...

BTW, at the same gun show where I bought the model 29, I also saw a classic .44 automag identical to the one Clint used in "Sudden Impact," right down to the wooden case. It had never been fired, and the asking price was over $2,000. Guess these things are pretty rare these days...

Kindest wishes to all, and apologies for my long-windedness...

= Jack =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Favourite Harry movie?
« on: April 04, 2005, 12:00:26 PM »
I saw "The Dead Pool" when it came out, and I recall being a little disappointed. Seemed to me Clint was just going through his paces, as if he'd gotten tired of the whole thing. But I recently bought the DVD and gave it a second look, and was surprised to find that the film was actually much better than I had remembered. And it had plenty of those hilarious "Harryisms" we all love. I think the film's weakness was its somewhat contrived plot. Obsessive horror film fanatics can be a little nutty sometimes (I know one or two), but most of them are really nice people, and they hardly make for compelling villains. The bad guy in "Dead Pool" wasn't scary so much as just kind of sad and pathetic. Hardly a villain worthy of Dirty Harry. And the whole "dead pool" concept was a little weak. From a dramatic standpoint, I think it was difficult for audiences to become emotionally invested in a story about somebody who's going around bumping off a bunch of self-absorbed celebrities (Harry excluded, of course.) Still, it wasn't a bad film, thanks to Eastwood. He's one of those actors who's capable of elevating the material simply by his presence.

Favorite Harry movie, of course, is the original. It was darker and grittier, and Harry's character was more ferocious than in any of the sequels. I think the idea was that if Siegel was going to have an antagonist as nasty as Scorpio, he wanted a protagonist who was just as brutal. This is made clear in one of the original trailers on the "Dirty Harry" DVD, in which the voiceover says "This is about two killers. The one with the badge is Harry."

The Kezar stadim scene is another example. Harry hollers "Stop!", at which point Scorpio stops and holds up his hands in surrender. So Harry shoots him anyway!
Not only that, but he then grinds Scorpio's shattered leg under his heel. There were no scenes like that in any of the subsequent Harry films; I think it would be too politically incorrect to do something like that today.

Another politically-incorrect moment takes place near the end of the film, when Scorpio crashes the bus. When Harry scrambles to his feet, he doesn't give a second glance at the bus; instead of checking to see if the kids are okay, he takes off after Scorpio! I've always found that darkly amusing. You'd never see a cop/hero doing that today. But then, Harry really was a kind of anti-hero. He didn't care about the bawling kids, he just wanted to get Scorpio. I  think that coldheartedness was one of the things that made Harry's character so interesting--and so different from any other movie cop...

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: April 04, 2005, 09:19:14 AM »
Man, thanks so much, mgk! That's a big help.

(guess it always helps to read the instructions, eh?) :-[

= Jack =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: April 04, 2005, 02:08:35 AM »
Took some photos of the gun, along with a few snapshots of targets from a recent practice session at the range. Couldn't quite figure out how to upload the photos here, though, so instead I've listed a link to a personal webpage I've created called  "Dirty Harry's Gun." To check out the photos, click here:

Thanks again for the great website!


The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Meeting Andy Robinson
« on: March 31, 2005, 12:49:01 AM »
Great message string! Sometime in the 80s (I don't remember where), I read an article about famous movie villains that said Andy Robinson's acting career had actually suffered as a result of his appearance as Scorpio in "Dirty Harry." According to the article, the film was so popular--and Robinson's character so loathesome--that he was hopelessly typecast as a psychopathic killer and was only offered those sorts of parts afterward.  (Most of which he turned down.)

(On an unrelated topic, Walt wondered whether Clint would ever appear in a horror film. He actually has, in a short, unbilled cameo as a lab assistant near the beginning of "Revenge of the Creature." Don't think that really counts, though.)


The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: March 30, 2005, 08:41:27 PM »
Thanks, KC, for your kind patience. (I'm a little new at this.)

Great website, and a great forum!

= Jack =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: March 30, 2005, 08:30:44 PM »
Damnit, Big Al, sorry to hear about the government problem. It'd kill me to have to give up my 29 after having found just the right one after all these years. My heartfelt sympathies. It's completely unfair, but don't get me started on that jag. I feel very strongly about gun-owners' rights, and am an insufferable windbag when it comes to that particular issue.

Any chance of the law being changed in the UK?

Kindest  wishes,

= Jack =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: March 30, 2005, 08:04:16 PM »
Yeah, that's the exact same gun, except without the engraving and with pachmyr grips (which I replaced with the Goncalo Alves.) I recently bought a decent digital camera, so I'll take some snapshots and upload some photos of the gun in case anybody wants to take a look. Looks virtually identical to QuiGonFishing's (and Harry's). It's a beautiful gun, can't believe I found it. I guess I was in the right place at the right time.

Have to say, though, those blonde wood stocks and that gold engraving is spectacular. Not something I'd want to shoot so much as hang on the wall. What a beauty! (I have a feeling it must've cost about three or four times what mine did.)

= Jack =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Dirty Harry's Pistol
« on: March 30, 2005, 09:16:00 AM »
Great string, fellas! Good to know I'm not the only "29" fan around. Lots of shooters don't seem to be so interested in the 29 these days, what with some of the big Rugers and Tauruses and Smith's own 500 eclipsing the .44 mag in terms of "shock and awe." (I even saw a BFR wheelgun chambered for .45-70 at a recent gun show.) Still, none of them quite have the style and panache of Harry's original .44, especially for those of us who saw "Dirty Harry" on the bigscreen as teenagers. Aside from "JAWS," few other films have had such a powerful impact on our popular culture or imprinted themselves so firmly in our collective psyches. Eastwood's droll, underplayed performance and precise but casual gunplay made the film an icon for moviegoers and shooters alike. The gun itself was a character; if there were an Oscar category for best supporting performance by firearm, it would've gone to Harry's model 29. It's no longer the world's most powerful handgun, but it's certainly the most famous.

In terms of style, the classic model 29 still beats the other big-bore revolvers hands-down. Aesthetically it's a beautiful piece of machinery. There's an elegent simplicity about it, a quiet projection of power that doesn't need a ventilated rib or a big, clunky barrel to tell you it means business. I always got the feeling the other fellas were trying a little too hard. They were trying to make their guns look impressive, whereas the model 29 didn't have to "try." It just was.

Thanks for those great photos, QuiGonFishing. Gotta love those Goncalo Alves grips! I also liked what DAmbrosia said about the 629 "classic" moniker. Seems so me the "classic" S&W .44 ought to be the one Eastwood made famous, especially since "Dirty Harry" made Smith & Wesson a virtual household name.

As others have noted, the gun was very popular in the seventies. But for some reason Smith & Wesson stopped making the classic "Dirty Harry" model 29 with the blued 6.5" barrel, ramp front sight, appreviated underbarrel cylinder-stem lug and Goncal Alves grips. As the gun was so popular, I'm not sure why they did this. They came out with the 629 and other variations, some in stainless (with the abbreviated underbarrel lug), most with patridge or target front sites, and almost all with the pachmyr/hogue ergonomic rubber grips. But none with the same design or configuration as the original model 29.

Smith recently came out with a new model 29 6.5" bbl in blued finish, however it features black checkered grips and an odd barrel design with a tapered lug. Not nearly as attractive as the original. (re: Smith & Wesson's official website.)

For years I've been looking for an original 1970s-style model 29, and I finally found one at the local "Shoot Straight" gun shop. I was astounded. I looked closely at the barrel and it said "Model 29." Yet it didn't have the tapered underbarrel lug like the new 29s. It had the abbreviated lug, 6.5" barrel, ramp front site, and was identical in every way to Harry's original hand cannon. "Is this a used gun?", I asked the guy. "Nope!" he said. "Brand new, straight from the factory, never been fired."

I was confused. "But I thought Smith stopped making the 29 in this style. This is a Dirty Harry gun."

He explained that with the staggering popularity of the new .500 magnum, Smith & Wesson has begun quietly reiussing the original, classic 1970s version of the model 29--the gun that started it all--on a limited basis. Naturally, I immediately bought the gun.

The only difference was that the gun had hogue grips. Nobody does Goncalo Alves anymore. But at the gun show this past weekend I found a guy who specializes in unusual and hard-to-find pistol grips, and he had a caseful of gorgeous, brand-new checkered wood grips! I bought his best set of Goncalo Alves "N" frame grips (complete with the S&W logo) for $80 and swapped them off the 29 with a jewelers screwdriver, and now I have an honest-to-God "Dirty Harry" style model 29 that looks just like QuiGonFishing's and the one John Milius showed in the DVD interview.

I know the Goncalo Alves grips aren't as "ergonomic" as Hogue/pachmyr, but they sure fill your hand, and they make for some downright comfortable shooting--even using Win. 300 gr. magnums--compared with the recoil of the 3" lead slugs I regularly put through my Mossberg 12 .ga pump at the gun range.

I do have a question, though, which I'm hoping maybe BigAL or QuiGonFishing will be able to answer since they've both owned classic 29s: what's the best product to use to maintain those beautiful checkered zebrawood grips? Linseed oil? What do you suggest?

Thanks so much,

= Jack =



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