S&W Model 39

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by usscroaker, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. usscroaker

    usscroaker New Member

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    I have a S&W model 39 S/N 7452
    Can anyone tell me when it was manufactured and what is it worth.
  2. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Is it a steel frame or alloy frame? with a serial number of 7452 I would guess it would be an alloy frame, but why should I guess when you can tell us. Value is hard to dertermine with out pictures.
  3. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    if it's a steel frame you have a collector gun on your hands. very limited numbers were made. if it's a "normal" model 39 and it was made between 1955 and 1956. somewhere in the early 60's the design was changed a bit and it was a 39-2 , somewhat more reliable with a improved ejector. adopted by the Illinois state police as their standard duty gun in the mid - 60's in my opinion it never got the credit it deserved as an excelent handgun. need pictures to help determine the condition and value.
  4. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    oscarmayer: A little bit of correction, it was the extractor that was changed to make the 39-2. The original M-39 had a long, spring steel extractor set into a recess in the slide.......they had a tendency to break. In the early '60s they went to a milled, short extractor with a coil spring to maintain tension, also in a different, smaller milled recess in the slide. The ejectors remained the same in both models.
    Yes, if it happens to be a steel M-39 it's VERY rare. There are rumors of such, but I have never seen one. However if steel, it most likely a later Model 539...... a production model with a run of somewhere in the area of 3000 pieces. Here is a pic of my personal 539........modified, but carried on duty for about 12 years of my 35 year law enforcement career. This came in after I had carried one Colt Police Possitive and two different S&W wheel guns, and when our Dept. finally decided to go to the Smith autos........shows you how long ago I started, huh? We did have a couple of M-39's, but all issued guns were 39-2's and later. The early 39's were officer owned as well as was my 539. Mike
    P.S. Notice that the backstrap is alloy, like all of the original M-39's. They just kept that piece and made the short run of 539's wothout making steel backstraps.


    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  5. oscarmayer

    oscarmayer New Member

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    yep my bad..... the proper name is indeed the extractor
  6. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Acturaly the steel frame guns were made first, but the alloy guns were sold first. The sreel frame guns fall into 39000/60000-64000 and again in the range of 81000/82000. IAW the SCofS&W.
  7. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    Please explain then why my steel framed one is serial number791xxx
  8. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    :DI have absolutely no ideal, perhaps a E-mail to S&W is in order. Being an expert only in finding the dinner table I can only go by the S&W book. Perhaps it is a re issue, one returned to the factory with a cracked alloy frame, repaired and re issued with a steel frame and the same serial number( book states that was standard ). Unless you bought the gun new way back when, that is a very real possibility. Now if you bought the gun new in the box I have no other ideals other than a early series not listed.:D
  9. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    Got it new in the box thru my Dept. Not disputing your info, just that it isn't quite what I was told by the S&W folks back when I was involved with such things as a police armorer, working on nothing but S&W firearms and Remington shotguns initially. Your info has me wondering, just for personal knowlege I may decide to do a little digging. Thanks, Mike
  10. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    I would think this is a case for a S&W letter. How ever I have found that any manual, tech book. history book or whatever is out dated the second it comes off the press, and is subject for correction. Some times the errors are compounded by others relying on that information and is only caught by someone such as your self who says " Whoa, that can't be right" because you have the evidence in your hands.:D
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  11. Luis Fernando

    Luis Fernando New Member

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    ILLUSTRATING

    My pistol S&W model 39-2 (alloy frame)


    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    Luis Fernando
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    That whole area is and always has been badly confused, and based on what I have read, I don't think even the S&W folks know the whole story. One thing is interesting; the SA model was introduced to the trade first (1954); the DA model came later.

    Jim
  13. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    I believe that the S/A model is the M-52 target gun in .38 wadcutter, the M-39 did follow that one and was presented for possible miltary contract in competition with the Beretta which did become our military sidearm.
  14. Luis Fernando

    Luis Fernando New Member

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    9 mm Automatic Pistol

    Double Action Model 39

    (Shooter's Bible 1983 Edition)

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    38 Master Model No.52

    (Shooter's Bible 1989 Edition)

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]


    From Firearms 2010 Standard Catalog - Dan Shideler

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    Luis Fernando
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  15. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    Luis....Thanks! Great info......Does it show any listing for the M-539. Of course mine has no collector value since it has been altered, but I am interested, just for the knowledge. Mike
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The SA version was designated the Model 44, even though it never went beyond pre-production, with less than 100 made. It is one of the rarest S&W's. None of my references from 1954-55 give it any model number, only "the S&W 9mm pistol," so it is possible that model number was posthumous, so to speak. I can't say what is marked on the gun, because I have never seen one, or even a good picture.

    Jim
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  17. mark_baron

    mark_baron New Member

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    My 39-2 has a S/N of A297xxx. Any idea of when it was made?
  18. Luis Fernando

    Luis Fernando New Member

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    Smith & Wesson 39

    Notes: Immediately after World War 2, Carl Hellstrom (the president of Smith & Wesson at the time) saw the large number of automatic pistols used by both sides during the war and saw that the American public would be fascinated by them. He thus designed the Smith & Wesson 39 and insisted it be marketed, despite the fact that previous Smith & Wesson automatic pistols had been dismal commercial failures. The 39 seemed to also be a failure until the late 1950s, and in 1967, the Illinois State Police became the first police agency to equip with the Model 39. There was some small use by US personnel in Vietnam, and then the US Navy modified the Model 39 into a silenced weapon (the Mk22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppy"). Most Model 39s are made of blued or phosphated steel, but Model 439 variant uses a carbon finish, and the Model 639 variant is made of stainless steel. Virtually all subsequent Smith & Wesson pistols can trace their ancestry more or less to the Model 39.
    The first Model 39 was manufactured from 1954-1966. It has a steel frame and slide, but the barrel is fairly short, and it is a light weapon. Civilian versions have walnut grips; military versions (known as the Model 41, and not to be confused with the .22 Long Rifle-firing Model 41) have black plastic grips. From 1958-1959, the military version was also manufactured in a single-action version, and called the Model 44. All three have an adjustable rear sight, and all three are identical for game purposes.
    The Model 39-1 is also nearly identical, but has a light alloy frame. It was manufactured until 1971. The Model 39-2 is a Model 39-1 with a modified extractor for more reliable functioning, and it was manufactured until 1982. In 1968, Smith & Wesson started what was then a top-secret project: the Model M39-WOX-13A. (This is otherwise identical to the Model 39 for game purposes.) This weapon was designed for the US Marines, but some were given to the Navy, fitted with a silencer kit, modified for use with subsonic ammunition, and became the Mk22 Mod 0 "Hush Puppies" (elsewhere in these pages). The Model 439 began as simply a re-named Model 39-2, but it was later modified with an ambidextrous safety and squared trigger guard. The Model 539 is a Model 439 totally in steel, and is otherwise identical to the Model 39 for game purposes. The Model 639 was the long-awaited civilian stainless steel version; early models had a round trigger guard, but later versions had a squared trigger guard, and it was produced until 1988.


    ( I'am not the autor of this text)

    Luis Fernando
  19. grampawmike

    grampawmike New Member

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    Jim, VERY interesting, never knew about the M-44. Finally decided to do a little looking and, BINGO, it shows up. Old memory vs modern technology; (ie. copmputer) memory comes out on the short end. Thanks again, Mike
  20. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Hi, Luis,

    The S&W pistol program was not initiated because of the large number of pistols used in WWII, but in response to a request by the U.S. Army for proposals for a new pistol to replace the M1911A1. Carl Hellstrom didn't design the pistols, though he was in overall charge of the company and the design team that did. The Army ultimately decided that it had enough .45 pistols on hand that there was no need to adopt a new pistol at that time. (Of course, the 9mm Beretta M9 was adopted many years later, but that has no bearing on the S&W developments in the 1950's.)

    "Most" Model 39's are not made with a steel frame, phosphated or otherwise, they have an alloy frame. The steel frame Model 39 is quite rare as others have indicated.

    I have no idea what you mean by "game purposes." No one is discussing games, we are talking about real pistols. Also, I would be interested in your source for the information about a 9mm "Model 41".

    Jim
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