At the (only virtually held) IWA 2021, Umarex presented, among other things, a true movie classic as a CO2 version: the Smith & Wesson Model M29 in .177/4.5mm BB caliber. It was immediately clear to us that the replica of such a legend must of course be looked at more closely. But here we were spoiled for choice, because the manufacturer lists three barrel lengths: 3 inches, 6.5 inches and 8 3/8 inches. With two versions of the 629, Umarex also offers replicas of the stainless steel version of the revolver in its catalog. Our testers opted for the M29 as a six-and-a-half-incher – in other words, the golden mean. But before we get to the test of the replica gun, we first took a look at its legendary archetype.
The original: the classic Model 29 revolver from the US manufacturer Smith & Wesson
The Model 29 from the well-known gun manufacturer from Springfield in the US state of Massachusetts already saw the light of day in 1955, even if it did not have the model designation at that time. It was the first revolver with a large N-frame set up for the caliber .44 Magnum. The model designation used today followed two years later. For a relatively long time, this gun led a rather shadowy existence. Thus, the M29 was occasionally used by police officers, as well as by hunters. In the case of the latter, it should be noted that in the United States the hunter is often allowed to hunt with the handgun.
This shadowy existence came to an abrupt end in 1971, when the first installment of the "Dirty Harry" movie series hit theaters. The main character played by Clint Eastwood, Inspector Harry "Dirty Harry" Callahan, carried and used such a revolver and helped the model to gain unexpected popularity. Among other things, the description of the revolver as "the most powerful handgun in the world" in the film is said to have caused the Model 29 to be out of stock at all US gun dealers for some time. Even today, the movies are still very popular, and with them the S&W Model 29. Accordingly, the gun is still available for purchase, now in its tenth iteration "29-10". Umarex therefore enters a great legacy here with the Smith & Wesson approved version for carbon dioxide cartridges.
The current Umarex replica of the Model 29 in caliber .177/4.5 mm BB uses carbon dioxide (CO2) as a propellant gas
Upon first removal from the beautifully designed cardboard box, the weight of the gun is immediately noticeable in a positive way. It weighs a whopping 36.86 oz/1045 grams unloaded and without the cartridge, which is only slightly less than the original (around 45.85 oz/1300 g). This is due to the design of the revolver. Umarex manufactures the barrel and the frame – including controls – entirely from metal. Externally, the only plastic is in the form of the grip panels. The familiar S&W logo is also embossed into the grips, but the screw, which is only mimicked, is less attractive: this detail could have been solved better.
Above this is the cylinder release: this also serves as a safety here, because if you push it backwards, it locks the hammer and trigger. The revolver can then no longer be fired. The rest of the operation is the same as the original: the gun works in both single and double action.
The rear sight of the revolver can be adjusted by the shooter in windage and elevation. The corresponding front sight has a bright red insert to facilitate target acquisition. The surface finish matches the revolver, a mirror finish according to the manufacturer.
Visually, there are also markings on the gun: on the barrel, the original caliber designation ".44 Magnum" is enthroned on the left side, on the right side the manufacturer's designation "Smith & Wesson".
On the left side plate are the inscriptions for the barrel release and safety, respectively, and on the other side the S&W logo. On the underside of the underlug (tubular extension under the barrel), Umarex has laser-engraved the mandatory legal information about the gun, including the caliber (4.5 mm) and the "F in a pentagon" logo.
Sophisticated method of faithful shooting with the Umarex S&W Model 29 replica
To shoot, the first thing that needs to find its way into the revolver is a twelve-gram CO2 cartridge. The receiver for this is located in the grip. To remove the grip panels, the left panel has a kind of nail notch on the underside. This allows the shooter to easily remove it, revealing the space for the cartridge. To insert the latter, the shooter simply unscrews the screw on the underside of the grip, inserts the cartridge, and taps it back into place by screwing the screw in. The process requires a corresponding hex key, which has been conveniently and captively integrated permanently into the left grip. With many guns of this type, you can hear a hissing sound during the process, unlike with the Umarex M29. The design seems sophisticated, and pressure loss did not occur in the test. After all, Umarex has equipped millions of CO2 guns with this system over the past 30 years.
Next, the six loading shells can be loaded with .177/4.5 mm steel BBs. These shells feature a longitudinal bore and have a rubber insert towards the base. This has two functions: first, it seals the loading shell against the recoil shield. It also holds the loaded BBs in place. From here on, the shooter operates the gun in the same way as the original. The "cartridges" go into the cylinder and the revolver is ready to fire. Alternatively, the shooter also has the choice of proceeding less true to style: the loading shells remain in the cylinder and are merely reloaded with BBs. Umarex also offers speedloaders to load one full cylinder at a time.
Umarex Smith & Wesson Model 29 specs and price
|Model:||Umarex S&W M29 6.5 in.|
|Caliber: ||.177/4.5 mm BB|
|Cylinder Capacity:||6 rounds|
|Dimensions (L x W H): ||308 x 44 x 163 mm|
|Barrel Length: ||6.5”/165.1 mm|
|Sights:||Adjustable rear sight and fixed front sight|
|Energy:||3 joules Maximum|
|Weight: ||1045 g|
|Notes:||CO2 revolver in all-metal construction for loading shells. Open and adjustable sights. Loading by loading shells. Trigger and hammer safety.|
Test conclusion: Dario Nothnick's opinion of the Umarex replica of the M29
Umarex introduces the M29, a beautiful copy of the legendary revolver in a CO2 version. The gun is an absolute eye-catcher, thanks to its attractive finish and all-metal construction. Even if the grip panels could use some improvement. On the one hand, the revolver is great fun for action shooting. On the other hand, it is also an exciting showcase piece not only for fans of classic revolvers, but also for movie enthusiasts. The Umarex Smith & Wesson M29 is usually available for immediate delivery through specialty retailers and in the corresponding online stores.
What we liked:
What we found less good:
|Fidelity to the original model and S&W markings||Grip panels with slight quality defects|
|Loading shells look like real cartridges||Bluing partly with small bubbles|
|Can be used with a speedloader|
|Elevation and windage adjustable rear sight|
|Single and double action possible|