Out of production and somewhat obscure, the Smith & Wesson Model 29 was once well known only to serious big-bore handgunners. Then in 1971, it became one of the most famous and desirable handguns of all time. Do you know why? Well, do ya?
Back in the 1950s a stumpy, vociferous and opinionated cowboy from Salmon, Idaho, was once again stirring the pot of arms and ammunition manufacturers. For decades Elmer Keith had been touting powerful revolvers for lawmen and outdoorsmen. It was Keith, along with Phil Sharpe and Doug Wesson, who developed the .357 Mag. in 1935. Keith’s strategy was simple: Take a heavy-for-caliber cast bullet-often of his own design-and crunch it over a generous dollop of (then) Hercules 2400 powder. Light it off with a magnum primer and see what it would do. Recoil was never considered. He and an ad hoc group of big-bore pistoleros , calling themselves the .44 Associates, had began experimenting under the same strategy with N-frame .44 Spl. Smith & Wesson revolvers as far back as the 1920s.
"Go ahead, make my day." Clint Eastwood, playing police detective Harry Callahan (aka “Dirty Harry”), said that line in the 1983 film “Sudden Impact.” The American Film Institute (AFI) ranks that line as number six on the top 100 all-time greatest movie quotes.