Sunday, November 20, 2011


It seems like the Smith and Wesson Mountain Gun series was something I should have paid more attention to, because I find several of the models that they made to be interesting guns. Not that I spend a lot of time in the mountains, mind you, but as a revolver fan, I like a good shooting sideiron and particularly something that perhaps is function over form and isn't the "same-same".

Just about any gun could be a mountain gun, I suppose. A Glock in 10mm or .45 ACP is considered a mountain gun by some I know, although I think I'd go with the 10mm loaded hot if those were the only two guns for choosin'.

I know my late 70's four inch Model 29 is remarkably similar to some of the "Mountain Guns" Smith has marketed, in fact, several are the same gun.

Likewise, it would seem, but for the caliber, that my Model 1917 with it's 5 1/2" barrel would fit the bill as well. I say, but for the caliber, because whilst .45 ACP is a great manstopper, it leaves something to be desired velocity wise in the field with larger creatures. Again, it's perfectly adequate for what we've got here in Texas that might surprise me in the woods, but I'd rather have something sort of magnum-ey if big hogs or big cats or wolves are involved. But I even think there has been at least one Mountain Gun in .45 ACP.

So the Mountain Guns I'm wanting to learn about are the ones that differed from the standard models. Tapered barrels and various non-standard barrel  lengths. Different grip sizes. I can't recall if any had unfluted cylinders or not. Interesting sights and grips.

I couldn't find a lot of organized information out there on the Mountain Gun line, since it's kinda been a special niche offering by Smith and Wesson going back "pre-web" I guess to the early 90's.

I'd like to try out some of the offerings with the 4" and 5" barrels that I saw in past gun magazines that came in .41 Magnum and .45 Long Colt. Some where 5 shot and some were 6 shot. There were several ultra lightweight guns made of alloy and aluminum and not scandium, some were at or near the regular weight for the non-Mountain Gun versions  and some were sort of a medium weight, if memory serves.

Of course, there were and are scandium versions of Mountain Guns. The 386 SC Mountain Lite in .357, the 396 SC Mountain Lite in .44 Special and the 329PD in .44 Magnum. Great guns as well.

I need to do some digging through some old gun annuals and some more online searching at the gun forums. Smith and Wesson as a company,  I have found, is famous for tacking on designations to old model numbers for new pistols, with the pistols being somewhat different, all of which leads to confusion.

For example, you have the Model 360PD, which is a scandium framed, titanium cylinder .357 J frame that weighs in at 11.8 oz. Then you have the Talo edition Model 360, a .357 with the Scandium frame and steel cylinder, weighing in at 13.3 oz. Then, if not to confuse matters more, you have the Model 360 M&P, another .357 with scandium frame, steel cylinder and 3" barrel weighing slightly more than the other two, but still a featherweight for a .357.

But I digress. One Mountain Gun I do remember liking that I saw in some article years ago was five shot version in .45 Long Colt, and it might have been built on a K or L frame, a square butt but a k frame sized square butt, a 4" or 5" tapered barrel with some nice sights with inserts.

So any links or information you might have about compendium(s) of information sources on Mountain Guns and their history would be very cool to hear about. I'm not looking to start a collection, but like with a Colt  Peacemaker from the seventies that I never could afford back then and really can't now, I'd like to have one example of that gun one day in the safe or on my belt.

1 comment:

  1. (Zack blathers...)

    I once owned a S&W .44 Magnum Mountain Gun. It was well made and very light... too light for me to handle the magnum loads... I reluctantly sold it before I retired. I considered keeping it for use with .44 special loads but...