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Smith & Wesson model 39 nickel review

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by fleetwood1976, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Active Member

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    I was a good boy last weekend and did not buy one gun. I was going to be a good boy this weekend but this find was to good to pass up. It is a 39-2 single stack 9mm. My first semi-auto was a 39 Illinois state trooper trade in that was blue. I kicked myself over and over for selling it 10 years ago for $250. Today I found one of these in worse condition than this one, Heavy holster wear, for $539.00. So I again kicked myself for selling my blued one. I decided to stop at another shop and found this, thinking it must rain nickel smith 39's on every 5th friday. The tag was turned over so I dared ask? He responded that it was an old single stack, (as if single stack was a bad form of cancer) and he had $319 on it but hoped to get $300. Well, I made his hopes come true for the day. The finish is perfect. It has been shot some and carried very little. I realize the first one I saw was overpriced, but I could not pass this up at $300. I would say at least 90%. the only wear is a little blue loss on the blued operating parts.

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    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  2. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Active Member

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    more pics

    Attached Files:

  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The original 39 had a long extractor that was its own spring and going to the external extractor was the major change in the 39-2 (for reasons unknown, there was no 39-1). That is a fairly late gun; the last Model 39-2, serial number A747148, was shipped on Feb. 15, 1983.

    Jim
  4. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Active Member

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    my smith book narrowed it down to 1978 or 1979. I would have to rate 95%+. I guess I am used to military surplus, because this smith feels great. both trigger pulls and Slide. I checked them out on the auction sights. Considering shipping and transfer on top of sale price, and condition, I think I did OK. Of course, I am a vintage collector and this is right up my ally. Many folks would rather put there $300 on a high capacity modern gun. I am looking for a .357 black hawk with 6 1/2 inch barrel from the '70s and I come home with this. It seems like the ones you are not looking for are the ones you like the best.
  5. UncleFudd

    UncleFudd Member

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    Fleetwood;
    IMHO, ya done really good my friend.
    I had the blue 39 and did as you did sold it and have kicked myself every since.
    It was a carry gun for me for a couple of years in the last century and I would love to have it back.
    I think the 39 is the only centerfire pistol that Smith ever made that was actually a quality firearm. Their attempts since then have been and continue to be abysmal, failures.

    If ya decide it will not fit in your inventory later on, let me know. I have a good place for it.

    UF
  6. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Active Member

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    Thanks fudd, I have a couple of collecting pals here locally, and they are allready druling over it. My wife and I check out thrift stores, pawnshops, gunshops and yardsales and auctions to find antiques to resale, so by being in these places every weekend, occaisionally you find a jewel at a good price. I am with you on smith quality. This gun is of the last of the golden era style of craftsman ship. You could argue this one is more of the silver era but still, the quality and style is not as good now. I can not believe how much the older generation smiths are going up in price, this indicates other people feel this way too.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The Model 39 was made to civilian standards. Later 39's, 59's and variations were made primarily for sale to police and were never made to the same standards of fit and finish as the early Model 39's. They were not failures; they sold well, are reliable, and still are used by many police departments. But they were made to sell at police budget prices, to people who didn't care much about walnut grips and high gloss finishes.

    Jim
  8. UncleFudd

    UncleFudd Member

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    I guess that if one makes it for the police it doesn't have to be so good. ???? I have to think about that, but it is true just to meet budget.
    I know what you mean about finding a jewel once in a while especially in some of the small, ranching towns I travel through on occasion.
    I have found some real jewels at bargain prices a couple of time or at least often enough to keep me checking whenever I pass through the towns in question.

    I shop for the Nylon 66 22LR rifles and have enough of them now for each of my 9 grandchildren and I have never paid more than $150 for any of them and s low as $75 for two of the first ones I found.

    You are also right about the prices on the earlier (pinned barrels) models of Smiths. The people have begun to realize the difference in quality and that unles there is obvious, damage, they are sound, accurate and will last a lifetime of shooting under normal conditions.

    Good luck, stay safe.

    UF
  9. jrg

    jrg New Member

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    Thats a beautiful gun sir. I have the 2nd generation 639, but have no opinion of it so far, as I haven't even shot it yet. Below the G21.

    [​IMG]
  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    One of the guns that I always wanted was the Model 52. I waited too long and S&W quit making it...DARN. Then last year I found one (actually two!) at a local gun shop. Boy, the prices are extremely high for these very specialized Bullseye guns that shoot a wad cutter 38 SPL cartridge with the bullet pushed all the way into the case that is loaded to pedestrian load levels. Accuracy is the name of the game for the Model 52. Anyway I picked the older first year model of the two, and left with a really light wallet, but I got one. I loaded up some ammo and shot it, and boy is it accurate.

    What's this got to do with a Model 39? Same gun, different caliber, with slightly more precision hand fitting of all parts. After tearing it down to clean it I realized that these Model 39 based guns were extremely well designed and made. I had po-poed the Model 39 because of its earlier record of eating extractors (later fixed with the separate spring version). That was a mistake... these are really nice guns, putting modern gun designs and fabrication to shame. These original Model 39 guns were indeed made at a time when S&W cared about quality, and fit and finish. If I ever come across a model 39 from this earlier period (especially blued) I would snatch it up instantly. The one pictured looks to be one I would want.

    Just my two cents on these truly neat guns!

    LDBennett
  11. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

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    You did just fine with that pistol. I have always like the feel of the S&W Model 39, and the nickel version is a nice looking gun. I'd buy one for $300 any day.
  12. runswithscissors

    runswithscissors New Member

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    Hi fleetwood1976,
    I love those nickel 59's.
    I have a 5906 and had a 5904 but actually the 1st 9mm I ever fired was a blue 59-super sweet pistola.
    Would like to get a minty 59 someday even though I've got 3 parabellums.
    Here's a shot of my only S&W 9mm.
    Thanks for posting your awesome new old guy there!
    Best-Mike
    ps. wanted to add that I think the adj sights S&W used were top notch and you wouldn't find them as good on any other brand as stock offer.

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    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  13. Michael G

    Michael G New Member

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    Garland Texas
    My 39-2 serial number starts with 276XXX. What time period would that be?
  14. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Active Member

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    my book narrows it down to 1975 or 76
  15. Michael G

    Michael G New Member

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    Garland Texas
    Thanks Fleetwood.
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