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CW2 Ralph Long
Average Member

USA
364 Posts

Posted - January 05 2017 :  8:53:30 PM  Show Profile  Click to see CW2 Ralph Long's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Have an opportunity to pick up a very good condition S&W 39-2 for about $600. Any "real life experience" that makes anyone really like or dislike this particular pistol. Are there "Bangor Punta era" serial numbers or others that might spell reliability issues with factory JHP ammo?

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed;
if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may
come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Winston Churchill

Ten Driver
Advanced Member

1683 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  03:06:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not a 39 connoisseur, but the -2 models I've encountered seem to be reasonably reliable with JHPs, particularly if the cavity isn't too aggressive (i.e., Remington JHPs). I had a 59-2 (slightly later design) that ate everything.
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
4992 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  05:40:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I had one back in the '70's - early '80's. Mine was excellent, although I read reports to the contrary. Totally reliable except for the very short 90 gr. loads Sorry I sold it. Back in the day, M29's, M60's and M39's commanded scalper's prices - if you could find them. I lucked onto an M39 and an M60 at list price, both the same place.

Jeff

jle3030
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Evan
Administrator

34116 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  12:30:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You can buy a new SIG P320 for that price!

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2939 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  12:46:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with Evan.
In 1974 I was a USN Small Arms Instructor at NAS Jax FL. The M-39 had just come into Naval service. Prior to that the only handgun options we had were WWII era 1911 .45s and S&W .38 revolvers. We started training folks on the 39. I had to learn it (rounds down range (I thank the taxpayers for footing my ammo bill!) and I liked the 39 much more than the previous two options. Since the Instructors were required to be armed at all times while on base, I started carrying one, and my qual scores were much better than with the 1911 and 38.

That was then. This is now.

I wouldn't carry a 39 today, in favor of the P320 Evan mentions, or the S&W M&Ps I prefer. There's no weight advantage, accuracy advantage, and there is a distinct capacity disadvantage.

Like the Browning Hi-Power, the 39 was great in it's day. But that day has, IMHO, passed.For a EDC gun I think there are better choices, and at the same, or lesser price.

However, if you 'just have to have one', buy all means buy it. It was a good gun.... just not as good, IMHO, as current guns.


Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.

Edited by - Chris Christian on January 06 2017 12:49:14 PM
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Malcolm
Advanced Member

USA
4008 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  12:51:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As a young, (22) rookie, I purchased a new 39-2 for my personal off duty carry, in lieu of the issued Model 59. I still have it, it has not ever been "unreliable", nor have I personally experienced the published "alleged" issues regarding the 39-2.
The $600 asking price, I find astronomical!
There are far more modern and durable (+P heavy use pistols one can buy, for a whole lot less.
That being said, are those pistols as attractive as an excellent or better condition 39-2.
Nope.
I have zero problem carrying an aesthetically ugly pistol, I can depend on.
My 39-2 has been "flawless" and accurate, as well as reliable for ME. And yes, I have used it in the past to take felony-stop violent suspects while on the job, without being concerned.

"The measure of a man's character, is how he treats someone who can do nothing for him." (unknown)
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CW2 Ralph Long
Average Member

USA
364 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  3:02:08 PM  Show Profile  Click to see CW2 Ralph Long's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Based on sound adult advice here, I'm going to hold off and see if the price goes down or the gun disappears. It'll be safer either way. I know some of you have experienced the same thing: $600 is easier to come by now than $269 when I was a rookie police officer. In '78, I opted for the Model 59 and, though it functioned well, it was just a little too big for my "little" hands. I ended up trading it for something else in the early '80s. There just wasn't enough money to buy a 59 and a 39 at the time. Guess I always liked the look and feel of the 39. It's not like I will have to go about unarmed if I don't blow my kids' inheritance!

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed;
if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may
come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Winston Churchill
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Evan
Administrator

34116 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  4:32:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I bought pone from the Commissioners office at DPD I was told he was going to approve it and bought Winchester power point jsp ammo there also. The gun was later approved but the boss had decided to run for mayor and banned all hollow point ammo because it thought it would endear him to the black community It didn't I pretty much ignored the ammo regs for the rest of my career!

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2939 Posts

Posted - January 06 2017 :  5:43:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CW2 Ralph Long

Based on sound adult advice here, I'm going to hold off and see if the price goes down or the gun disappears. It'll be safer either way. I know some of you have experienced the same thing: $600 is easier to come by now than $269 when I was a rookie police officer. In '78, I opted for the Model 59 and, though it functioned well, it was just a little too big for my "little" hands. I ended up trading it for something else in the early '80s. There just wasn't enough money to buy a 59 and a 39 at the time. Guess I always liked the look and feel of the 39. It's not like I will have to go about unarmed if I don't blow my kids' inheritance!



I hear you on the 59. It was bigger and clunkier... poor handling. The 39 was smooth and graceful. It shot better, and felt better.

But I wouldn't trade my 17 round 9mm M&P for a 8-9 round 39 (I can't remember how many rounds it held, but it wasn't 17... reference Mike in the Misc thread on this today). Much forgetfulness in later years.

But I loved the heckoutuv it in 1974.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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CW2 Ralph Long
Average Member

USA
364 Posts

Posted - January 10 2017 :  9:32:23 PM  Show Profile  Click to see CW2 Ralph Long's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
How does a S&W 39-2 in "excellent" condition for $440 out the door sound? It is pretty....Can't help it. I see Midway has nine round Model 639 stainless magazines on sale for about $26.50 and shipping. Magazines are normally $39 and up to $49 for good blued ones in online sale sites.

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed;
if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may
come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Winston Churchill
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Ten Driver
Advanced Member

1683 Posts

Posted - January 11 2017 :  02:13:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The funny thing about prices is that they're so influenced by zip code. When you asked about a 39-2 for $600 originally, I didn't blink. It sounds about what I expected here behind the Golden Curtain. An "excellent" one for $440 sounds even better. If you've got an itch, and have the cash, I'd scratch it. It's not like they're making them anymore, and none of them are going to see their condition improve. There won't be many clean ones to choose from before long.

Mike
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
4992 Posts

Posted - January 11 2017 :  05:45:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In its day, 1976, IIRC, this was one of "the" guns to have. The LEO I bought mine from had placed orders for an M60 and an M39 from two different sources, hoping to eventually get at least one of the two from either place. After a year of waiting on back order, all four guns arrived within a week, at manufacturer's list price. IIRC that was about $150 - $165.00 each. The officer was morally opposed to the scalper's prices those guns were commanding, so let the two surplus guns go for what he paid for them. I was the lucky buyer.

My point is that iconic guns eventually acquire collector status. Have you priced a minty old style M60 or a P&R M29 lately? A Python? M27? The really nice M39 will only appreciate in value. Sure wish I still had that new BHP I snapped up for $170 and turned around for $235.

Jeff

jle3030
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9431 Posts

Posted - January 11 2017 :  08:34:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I grew up when there were not a lot of different *quality* autos and the 39 was the darling of a few true handgun experts back then (George Nonte comes to mind).

I went to look at one and it felt really klunky to me. Not balanced and the slide was to high above the hand and was too thick and the DA trigger was atrocious!

So I passed them by. Flash forward and I've trained literally thousands of people in both L.E. and Military and shot a lot of guns.

I ran into a 39 (I forget the "-" but it might be a 2) for $250 and bought it - all of a sudden, after fiddling with Berettas and other fat guns, it feels great! The DA trigger is not so great but I can manage it if I take my time.

I'm not disagreeing with the above advice - the 39 is an interesting artifact with a bit of history - I would not give $600 or even $400 for one though.

If I was going to buy a single stack 9mm it would likely be a Star BKS. I turned one down at the last gun show - if it is there at the next I will not repeat that mistake! (Mind you my mission for a 9mm is not the same as others - the Sig seems to be a decent carry gun).

Jim H.

Get the Weaponcraft Journal on Amazon: Print or Kindle!
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johns961
New Member

USA
51 Posts

Posted - January 12 2017 :  05:45:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My 39-2 was my first pistol. It was great for it's time. I sold it after a year to get a S&W revolver. I always regretted selling it.
A few years ago I found one in a gun shop like new with box and papers for $420. I purchased it. I have shot it once. Nice pistol.
But, I will not carry it. I have other modern pistol I can carry if I want to. But the 39-2 is something special to me.
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Ten Driver
Advanced Member

1683 Posts

Posted - January 14 2017 :  2:14:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting to see how this discussion has evolved into two lines of thought:

1. It has some historical / collector / entertainment value;
2. I wouldn't choose it as a carry gun, because there are much better choices.

I can't find fault with either line of reasoning, and find myself in full agreement with each.

The only thing left unsaid, is what Ralph's intention would be for the gun if he bought it. ;^ )

Mike
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coopman67
Starting Member

USA
20 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  11:27:18 AM  Show Profile  Click to see coopman67's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Still carry mine as a summer/warm weather gun. Made a OWB holster for it and it is stoked with Rem 115 gr jhp. Back when it was my duty pistol 30 years ago I had Win 115 jhp silvertips in it. Call me retro, I have confidence in it.

Coop
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2939 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  1:55:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by coopman67

Still carry mine as a summer/warm weather gun. Made a OWB holster for it and it is stoked with Rem 115 gr jhp. Back when it was my duty pistol 30 years ago I had Win 115 jhp silvertips in it. Call me retro, I have confidence in it.

Coop



Can't fault carry what you have confidence in. That truly is a key to effective personal protection.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
4992 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  2:39:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by coopman67

Still carry mine as a summer/warm weather gun. Made a OWB holster for it and it is stoked with Rem 115 gr jhp. Back when it was my duty pistol 30 years ago I had Win 115 jhp silvertips in it. Call me retro, I have confidence in it.

Coop

We tend to worry too much about specific platforms. All the bullet "knows" is that it's been fired out of a gun barrel.

Any functional gun that did the job 20-50-100 years ago will not perform any worse today. Maybe better if it's been fed updated ammunition.

Jeff

jle3030
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
2939 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  2:53:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jle3030

quote:
Originally posted by coopman67

Still carry mine as a summer/warm weather gun. Made a OWB holster for it and it is stoked with Rem 115 gr jhp. Back when it was my duty pistol 30 years ago I had Win 115 jhp silvertips in it. Call me retro, I have confidence in it.

Coop

We tend to worry too much about specific platforms. All the bullet "knows" is that it's been fired out of a gun barrel.

Any functional gun that did the job 20-50-100 years ago will not perform any worse today. Maybe better if it's been fed updated ammunition.

Jeff



+1. A very astute observation. After all, the basic DA revolver was designed in the late 1800s (S&W M&P. 38). They still work. The 1911 design is kinda old too. But I wouldn't want to mess with one in the hands of a competent operator.

Just 'cause it's old don't mean it don't work as intended.


Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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RLS
Senior Member

USA
691 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  4:37:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I seem to recall that Randy had an interest in the Model 39.

Maybe I can conjure him up."Jungle gun."



Rick
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johns961
New Member

USA
51 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  6:29:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mine would shoot the Remington 115 jhp regular pressure all day.
If I recall correctly, the pistol does not have a firing pin block.
Unlike the newer pistols made today.
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5049 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  8:05:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So if someone carries the model 39, or (like me on occasion) a model 669, can we be considered 'retro'? And has a bad guy ever complained because he was shot with an 'old' gun? Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
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LittleBill
Advanced Member

4377 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  8:15:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ace

So if someone carries the model 39, or (like me on occasion) a model 669, can we be considered 'retro'? And has a bad guy ever complained because he was shot with an 'old' gun? Ace


Not right away; but he may feel cheated if he finds out about it later: "He couldn't even bother to shoot me with an up-to-date weapon?... ya know what I'm sayin'? Now a Glock 19, tha's the gun to get shot with...."

Shooting him's bad enough: surely you don't want to make him feel bad about it too....?


"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point"--- C.S. Lewis

"There are some ideas so foolish that only an intellectual could believe them"--- George Orwell

Slow Is Smooth, Smooth Is Fast

Edited by - LittleBill on January 15 2017 8:35:55 PM
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
5049 Posts

Posted - January 15 2017 :  10:10:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Should it ever become necessary, I'd want to be humane about it. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
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Malcolm
Advanced Member

USA
4008 Posts

Posted - January 16 2017 :  01:24:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ace,
I have in addition to my 39-2, a
Cherry 6906 "old school", pistol with few rounds fired through it. My brother who owns aLGS in our hometown, bought the lot of the. From the local PD who traded them in on new polymer pistols. I got to cheery pick mine out of the lot, pick-of-the litter so to speak. Have been extremely pleased with it, and the inherent accuracy as well. It favors the 124 grain loads as does my BHP. Cousins of course, but rather distant ones at that, and yes, I am fond of being retro.

"The measure of a man's character, is how he treats someone who can do nothing for him." (unknown)
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Whirlibird
New Member

USA
62 Posts

Posted - January 16 2017 :  05:05:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I may be old fashioned, but a good 39 or 59 fits my hand better
than most of not all of the poly guns.

Shot 39's for years, kick myself for everyone I got rid of.

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