(From a headstone at Boot Hill in Tombstone AZ.)
Until this time I have resisted purchasing anything chambered in any of the various .44 calibers. I have .22's, .223's, 6.5mm, 7mm, .30, 8mm, 9mm, .40 and .45, but nothing in .44.
That just changed. Or, well, it will on 11/22 when I can pick it up.
I dropped by to visit my favorite Merchant O'Death this morning just to see what they had on the shelves (the AR-15 drought is most definitely over, and ammo is beginning to turn up again - even some .22, though it's limited to 100 rounds per customer). "So, what's on your 'must have' list these days?" he asked. I responded "Nothing, really. I've got all the 'must haves' and now I'm down to the 'kinda wants.'"
"So what do you kinda want?"
"Well, I'll eventually get something chambered in .44."
We discussed the various Specials and Magnums (of which he had a pretty good selection of the latter in the case), then he said, "I've got something interesting!" and headed over to the display case where they keep the special stuff.
This is never a good thing to hear when it comes to my wallet.
What did he have? This:
That's a pre-2000 629-5. According to the Smith & Wesson forum it is:
a Lew Horton Model 629 S&W Hunter Competitor, 200 were made, only 90 in the US.The cylinder is unfluted with a brushed finish, the frame and 6" Mag-Na-Ported and weighted barrel slab sides are polished, barrel and frame top are bead-blasted, smooth trigger, no lock, floating firing pin. The serial number supports the "200 were made" claim.
It's freaking beautiful. I almost hurt myself whipping out the plastic. Can't pick it up until the 22nd because it's used and the shop has to hold it while the Tucson Police ensure it's not stolen property.
I think I stole it.
UPDATE: Smith & Wesson customer service says it shipped to Lew Horton in 2000, but that's all they have on it.
UPDATE II: Lew Horton says they're sending me a letter about my gun.
Lew Horton Distributing got back to me:
Thank you for your interest in Lew Horton Distributing. Your Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 629 (S&W #170049), serial number MHR0XXX, is indeed a Lew Horton Special Edition. This model was unique in the market place at that time. It was fitted with a six inch slab sided barrel that had an integral variable weight system, and featured barrel cut outs. The barrel had an integral Weaver style scope mount, and was Mag-na-Ported. The cylinder was unfluted and the cylinder edges were beveled. It was fitted with the then new style Performance Center thumb latch. The action was hand tuned by the craftsmen in the Performance Center. This gun is one of several different variations of the PC 629 Hunter that we did over the years.So not one of 200, but one of 457 ain't bad!
This gun is one of 457 units produced in that configuration. This run Model 629 was manufactured by Smith & Wesson and delivered to Lew Horton Distributing from 1999 to 2001.
This Lew Horton Special Edition is listed in the Bluebook of Gun Values under the "Lew Horton Distributing" section.
Best of luck!