Smith & Wesson 629 .44 Magnum Performance Center 6" - Tanaka
I have always liked revolvers. I find their mechanism and appearance attractive and the Tanaka revolvers stand head and shoulders above the competition in the airsoft world.
Although the Midnight Blue S&W M29 6.5" was my first Tanaka revolver, I had really wanted the silver Performance Center, with its custom barrel, from the very first time I had seen it.
The price was, I considered, prohibitive, at around $200 (Plus shipping and another 25% for VAT, etc in the UK) from Hong Kong suppliers and, even if I had wanted one, very few of the usual, and trusted, suppliers had them in stock.
So, when one appeared on the forums, I pursued it and, after considerable negotiation, it was mine.
In the Box
Being a used gun, a few pieces were missing, but the box was in good condition and the gun, aside from a small chafe mark on the frame, where the cylinder had rubbed through the silver paint, was equally as good.
Normally, as well as the gun, you would find Tanakas 'speedloader' (like many, I don't usually bother with it, just handstuffing BBs into the cylinder openings), the essential gas valve adaptor and a tiny O-Ring, which I don't actually know what is for, although someone informed me it is to help with a seal between the cylinder valve and adaptor).
Even though I was, by now, familiar with the Tanaka Smith & Wesson Model 29 (629 refers to the stainless version of the 29) design and quality, I was still bowled over when I opened the box.
The gun came with the same Hogue rubber grips seen on the 8 inch barreled 629 I owned for a while. The frame, aside from some details is classic Model 29, but at the front, the whole barrel assembly is replaced with a heavy compensator style unit, which lends the gun a much more modern and distinctive appearance.
External metal parts include, the sights, the hammer, the trigger, the safety/cylinder lock, the cylinder itself and the removable frame plate on the right hand side.
This gun is technically very similar to my 6.5" midnight blue M29. Aside for the colour and the Hogue grips, the most notable difference is the shape of the barrel. Whereas the 6.5" only has a short cover for the extractor rod (which, unlike those on the UHC or Marushin guns, does not function), the Performance Center has a heavily shrouded barrel, which look not unlike the Desert Eagle at the muzzle and has a number weights ahead of the extractor rod.
Atop the barrel, the foresight is dovetailed in.
The original grip look like a genuine Hogue unit with "HOGUE MONOGRIP" moulded into them. It fits to the frame, by means of a U clamp which is secures to pins on the bottom of the grip frame, a screw then passes through the bottom of the grip and taps into the clamp.
I replaced the Hogues with the wooden ergonomic grip I originally bought for my M29 and later fitted to (and sold with) my 8" 629. With this grip fitted the weight of the gun is a pretty good 880g.
The markings on the Performance Center are, as expected of Tanaka, well produced. As this is a Performance Center model, the S&W marking on the left side of the frame is replaced by the Performance Center version (nice attention to detail) and the safety/cylinder lock is a different shape to that on the standard M29/629. The right side of the frame, just behind the cradle for the cylinder, is marked with "Made in Japan" "Marcias Registradas" "Smith & Wesson" "Tanaka A S G K" under each other, as on the other M29/629 models I have seen.
On the special barrel, there is "PERFORMANCE CENTER" on the left and ".44 MAGNUM" on the right hand side.
Those barrel weights are real and removable. There are 4 units which, with the allen bolt they are attached to, weigh around 50g. Presumably, on the real thing at least, you can add and remove them separately to get the balance of the gun to your taste.
The silver finish is stainless rather than chrome and looks the same as the 8" 629 I reviewed some while ago. The light brush markings which were apparent on that gun, however, are not present on the Performance Center.
As usual, the cylinder contains fake shells (chromed in this case), and the gas system is self contained within the cylinder unit, requiring an extension nozzle to fill it with gas (which was missing on this used gun, as was the 'speed'loader, although the previous owner had managed to load all 14 rounds into the magazine, something I have never succeeded in doing and it fed them all without problem).
Each time I have fired a Tanaka S&W 29 or 629, I have being surprised by the sound and the Performance Center was no exception. These are by far the loudest airsoft guns I've heard.
Firing alongside my Desert Eagle it was notable that the BBs were not visible in flight with the Tanaka S&W, but looked leisurely from the Desert Eagle.
I carried out my standard 5m test using .25g BBs and AE Winter Gas.
The first shot went low, probably due to me being unfamiliar with the balance of the gun and being a little quick with the first shot, but once I settled the gun in my hand, the next 5 shots were all grouped tightly together, within a 2 inch (5 cm) radius. Even the outlier only extended this out to a 3 inch radius.
Click on image for bigger version in separate window.
The accuracy of the Performance Center lived up to expectations, with none of the odd misalignment problems of the inner barrel, which seem to have entered airsoft folklore as fact. I have not seen this problem with any of the S&Ws I have owned.
Over 10 shots, the Performance Center averaged 402 fps, using winter gas and .2g BBs, outdoors (around 20C).
I was able to carry out a trigger pull weight test on this gun and it produce a figure of 880g (31 ounces). This is a medium weight trigger pull.
The 629 Performance Center is another great airsoft revolver.
Its finish is not as stunning as the midnight blue and the cylinder had scraped a small section of the silver paint away, which is probably indicative of what will happen to any S&W 629 with use.
Compared with the majority of silver guns, the finish is still good and the Hogue grips, provided as standard, are leagues ahead of the Marushin Raging Bull ones.
Performance is the Tanaka PEGASUS revolver range's big winning point, though, and, once again, the 629 Performance Center delivers that in spades. Accuracy is excellent, easily up there with the best GBBs, and power is significantly superior.
As I have stated before, I believe that Tanaka, with their M29/629 revolvers, make the VERY BEST airsoft guns available today.
Weight : 860g
Realism : ****
Quality : ****
Power : ******
Accuracy : *****
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