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The aluminum framed Smith and Wesson semi-auto pistols were popular guns in the 1970's and 1980'sa. I knew two people who had them and there were no complaints. One of the shooting magazines, either Guns and Ammo, or Shooting Times did a 10,000 round torture test years ago and the gun held together just fine, except that the safety part broke, and they kept on using it for the article. Was that just advertising propaganda, or the truth?

I have read on the internet chat rooms that they do not last very long due to the aluminum frame. Are they really a bad gun? I might see if I can get one at a gun show and would avoid them if they are really poor.

Thanks.
 

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Chris: I have a 39-2 and have had it for abt 25 yrs. and only had 1 hang-up in all the thousands of rounds put thru it and that I believe was the ammo, it was one of the most popular guns for police work for a long time and probably would still be useful in most cases, I always porefered the 39 over the 59, I liked the thinner grip frame better, I still carry mine around, but have switched to the newer model 6906 when I am not carrying the kel-tec p-11, If you find a good solid one that looks like it hasnt bn put thru the mill you wont be let down. :D JIM
 

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Handgun General Discussion

Chris D,

I don't think you can go wrong with either the 39 or 59. I had a 59 for years and it was as honest as Abe, Never a problem with either one. The 39 is a lot easier to carry but you are limited as far as rounds go but both are great handguns..........Joe..........
 

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Chris D: I read that article on the S&Ws and believe the thing can function without the safety.

Years (and years) ago some friends and I were involved in the evaluation process for the Ill. State Police choice for a new duty sidearm. They were using Python 357s at the time and having serious problems with overpenetration on individuals and car bodies. They wanted another caliber that didn't have so much power and they wanted it in a doouble action auto.

We tested a whole bunch of pistols and for calibers preferred the 38 Super, however no double action autos existed in that caliber at that time, so we dropped down a ntoch to the 9mm. Of all the pistols tested, the Walther P-38 came out near the top but it was foreign manufacture and the SP wanted American made handugns, so we decided on the S&W M39.

The 39/59 are good pistols. Some ammo will cause hangups but for issue ammo at the time the 39 fed it all without problem. On one of our guns the safety came loose but it continued to function without problem for the remainder of the test and I can believe the thing would just keep shooting without failure.

As for the aluminum frame - no problems. The aluminum frame on my Commander 45 is at least as old as the Model 39 is and has had more than 10k full power rounds through it and it just keeps tickin'. I would say that if you see a nice one at a gun show and you like it, get it - it should work just fine for you. HTH. Mikey.
 

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Back about 25 years ago, I used to repair quite a few 39/59s. The safeties and the barrels were the only real common problems. The chambers in the barrels would stretch and start causing extraction problems. Continued shooting caused some cracked barrels. Other than the weak barrels and broken safeties, the rest of the gun held up quite well. I don't recall ever seeing a frame problem.

39/59s do not tolerate hot loads. With normal factory ammo, you can expect 20,000 round barrel life. Barrels are a "drop-in" and are not expensive, though not as available as they were when the guns were in production.
 

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IMHO, the 39 & 59 were Smith & Wesson's first generation autoloaders and they were pieces of junk. The company listens to the complaints and came out with their seconds generation autoloaders which showed CONSIDERABLE improvements over the previous models and were worth consideration. S&W is now out with their third generation autoloaders which I would rate as some of the best production guns ever produced, IMHO.
 

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I have carried since the early 50's Hiddy 1911's,Bob Chowed and now a CGS 1911 but in 1985 I was talked into going 9mm and bought a 469 stainless,and it has been very good except it is double on the first pull and I now have Artheritus in the fingers and need single actions,the 469 has done a Yoeman job but sits now days.
 

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Hi All,

I've had a few of them. Both nickel. I loved them, they were 39-2s. I sold the first that I bought new in the early 1980s because I was an idiot and then ran into a second three years ago that was in as good condition as the one I sold (even had the blue, metal sided box and all the orig. stuff incl. the wrapped second mag )and again did the dirty deed. Probably because I have a 3914 and absolutely love it.

Mine held up great...even though I shot a case of 500, steel, czeck, 9mm sub gun rounds through it back in the 80s. Talk about recoil (for a 9).

I only saw some nickel peeling on the bushing as I recall.

Doug
 

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I have a 39 steel frame, a 39 alum. frame, 2 39-2, a 39-13, and a 439. (I do not like the 2nd gen guns much but am pleased with the 3rd generation. My favorite is still the single stack 1st generation).

They all shoot great except for one 39-2, The Steel frame is deadly accurate, it will outshoot my Browning HighPower (Belgium).

Try the gun, if you do not like it you will easily sell it and recoup your $.


Fred
 
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