Launched in 2008, the Smith & Wesson Model 629 Stealth Hunter is a Performance Center revolver designed for handgun hunting. The .44 Magnum remains in the company’s catalog, and the company expanded the offering to a second SKU.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the Stealth Hunter revolvers.
There are two versions of the Model 629 Stealth Hunter currently being made by the S&W Performance Center. While the versions share a number of features, they are substantially different.
In an effort to help you understand the features of each, I am identifying each by their SKUs.
The first gun using the Model 629 Stealth Hunter name rolled out at the 2008 SHOT Show. It uses SKU 170323 to differentiate it from the second gun in the company’s ordering and inventory processes.
The Smith & Wesson Performance Center builds these guns. As such, you can expect the revolver to be a step up from the standard wheelguns that Smith & Wesson offers (which tend to be pretty good to begin with.) For example, the action is tuned and the trigger is fitted with an overtravel stop.
The gun is built on the company’s N-frame for exceptional strength. It holds six rounds of .44 Magnum in the stainless steel cylinder. As with other .44 Magnum guns, the Model 629 can safely use .44 Special ammunition as well.
In addition to the cylinder, Smith & Wesson uses stainless steel for the barrel and frame also. A matte black finish is applied by the Performance Center to reduce reflectivity.
Speaking of barrels, Smith & Wesson opted for a long 7.5″ barrel on the Stealth Hunter. The length helps to boost ammunition performance plus increases the sight radius of you shoot with irons. Further, the weight of the barrel can help counteract muzzle rise during recoil.
To further tame the recoil effect is the use of Magna Porting. This is a process of precisely drilling or cutting holes into the gun’s barrel. These holes will vent gasses out of the gun which can counteract the muzzle rise from shooting.
The barrel is 7 1/2″ long, making the overall length of the 629 just under 13″ at 12.9″. On this model, the sights are fully adjustable with a red ramp front that is dovetailed into place and a blade notch rear sight.
However, most hunters will probably opt to add a scope or reflex sight on the barrel mount.
The synthetic grip is labeled Smith & Wesson but is made by Hogue. Smith & Wesson includes an aluminum case with the gun.
As with other Model 629 revolvers, the 170318 is built on the durable N-frame and chambered in .44 Magnum.
It also has a tuned action and overstop. However, just looking at the gun, you know there is more to the Performance Center build.
In lieu of Magna Porting the barrel, the S&W Performance Center added a muzzle brake on the revolver. A brake will minimize felt recoil and muzzle rise similar to a Magna Port. However, it does add length to the revolver – in this case about 1.1″
Smith & Wesson includes an electronic sight with the gun: the Leapers SCP-RD40RGW. The sight allows you to select a 4 MOA red or green aiming dot.
I don’t usually get excited by Leapers optics, and I am not now. Nevertheless, the optic gets good reviews on Amazon (4.1 out of 5 stars with more than 1,000 reviews.) So, it might be a good performer. At less than $50, it might even be worth picking up for another gun you already own.
I expect that Smith & Wesson will eventually swap to a Crimson Trace product since the two companies are now cousins in the same corporate family.
Another difference between the SKUs is the use of polished chrome for the hammer and trigger. Also, the sides of the barrel and the cylinder are polished stainless steel. With a matte black frame and Hogue grip, these features give the gun a vivid two-tone appearance.
As I’ve shown, these S&W Model 629 Stealth Hunters are different from the other Model 629 revolvers. Here are the specifications on the Stealth Hunter:
|caliber||.44 Magnum||.44 Magnum|
|weight (unloaded)||55.0 oz||59.4 oz|
|sights||drift adjustable red ramp front, adjustable black blade rear||red/green dot optic with fixed front red ramp and adjustable black blade rear|
|MSRP (at launch)||$1,596||$1,329|
In a time of polymer pistols, it is great to see Smith & Wesson supporting the superb craftsmanship that goes into a high-quality revolver.
I really like the Stealth Hunter handguns. They offer a lot of craftsmanship for a reasonable price. No, they aren’t as cheap as a plastic pistol, but they do represent a lot of man-hours in their creation.
Interestingly, I could not find these guns listed in the current edition of the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. This reference book has many variations of the Model 629 listed, but I failed to find the Stealth Hunter.
Guns like this one are increasingly hard to find, and they are more and more expensive as the limited number of sources is drying up. If you’ve ever had to track down a revolver-oriented gunsmith, you know what I mean.
If you are in the market for a revolver but the Stealth Hunter doesn’t grab you, definitely check out the S&W Performance Center. They offer a range of Smith & Wesson guns. Additionally, the team will work on virtually any S&W gun you might have.
The prices seem reasonable, and I hear that the turn-around time is pretty quick for the work being done. I’ve got a couple of old revolvers that are in line to make the return journey to Springfield, MA for a little tuning.
Last update: May 31, 2021
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