Can we talk Vintage Pistols?

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#1
Ive had an itch I have wanted to scratch for quite awhile.

Its called a Smith and Wesson Model 39.

Sure Sihrmechanic offered to put me in touch with some one that is a collector and he did give me the info but there is something about just being right there with the pistol when it comes along.

My local honey hole just got a Model 39 in. Looks clean, fixed sights, wood grip panels, slight bluing wear. Approx $550.

A coworker had a FIL pass and in the sales of some belongings I ended up buying a neat Browning, the gun that started WWI when wielded by Gavrillo Princip....

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Its got those ridiculous eagles stamped on it and shoots a dumb caliber but its a pretty neat historical pistol and one of JMBs designs.

It pairs nicely with this one also sporting those eagles...

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I shoot the High Power on occasion. At least its a caliber I have other pistols matched in and the M39 is also a 9mm so Im getting a gun with commonality of ammo, not to mention it would make a winning three of a kind mated with these two....

PA108286.JPG

Thinking to trade the Browning 1910, 1920 or whatever it is toward the M39.

I paid cheap for it. I know gun broker will show some prices but any of you vintage guys have any insight on these old guns?
 
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pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#2
Did you peeps not answer because you knew what I was going to do?

Ive got 3 of a kind now on the M39 based S&Ws.

The 39-2 is a 70s model with windage adjustable sight.

Some of the best ergonomics of any pistol ever in my opinion.

Trading in the Luftwaffe/Polizei pistol got me the new gun for $380 added two extra mags for $50 which is a real bargain judging by Gunbroker prices.

Now to get a Silent Thunder OWB and put this in the carry rotation.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#4
The FN is a Browning Model 1922 in .380 (9mmK).

It was a nice piece of history but it will do nothing but take up safe space and God knows we need more safe spaces.

Ill shoot the 39-2 and if it groups I intend it for light carry duty.

The 39-2 was in the running with the Colt Commander to be the issue service pistol in the 50s. Mil came to its senses and decided the 1911s they had are suitable. 39-2 is the US version of the Walther P38. Magazines look to be direct knock offs.

Really a "pretty" pistol with great hand feel.

Sadly Garrett Industries does not form Silent Thunder kydex for a 39-2. Its my favorite holster able to hang a Colt Combat Commander very comfortably. This gun would be well served by one. Ill have to pester GI to mold me a holster.
 

Defender3

Online Training Member
Mar 8, 2010
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NoVA
#5
I know there is some significance to the historical value of a service pistol competitor, but the 39s had horrible triggers and, IIRC, didn't they have an exaggerated feed ramp angle? Shoved the the round into the top of the barrel and then forced it into the chamber. But, when you get an itch, it has to be scratched...
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#6
Ill judge the trigger after a range trip....

The double action does seem long but not overly messy.

Single drops like a snapping icicle.

The barrel ramp is steep but Im guessing as a service pistol it was meant for ball ammo.

If I want to carry it Ill see if there is any reliable carry ammo for it.

I dont expect it will come close in accuracy to the 52-2 or 952 but if it will hold as well as my Commander it will be all I could expect.

I would like a 9mm Commander someday as the last handgun to fill the safe.
 

Defender3

Online Training Member
Mar 8, 2010
203
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NoVA
#7
Well, the Illinois State Police did adopt the M39 back in the late 60's. I can't recall who stepped up and also bought M39s once ISP blazed the trail.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#8
They were the newest thing at one time for police depts. More conservative depts stuck with revolvers while those wanting to be the "cutting edge" adopters picked them up.

CIA made a silenced version - the Hush Puppy and Ive been told they were personal weapons private purchased in Vietnam.

Mines just a safe gun.

Pics to follow.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#11
Very nice! And, yes, the 39 Suppressed's were some really, really nice guns.

I have a hankering for one of the 59's... the .38 WC auto. Dead nuts accurate target pistol.

I better buy one before they go out of sight. Prices keep going up on them.

Cheers,

Sirhr
The .38 wadcutter pistol is the 52.

They had two revisions he -1 and the -2.

Supposedly when the tooling work out and they could build no more they made the 952.

The 952 is reported to be more accurate than the Sig 210.

I can say with my poor skills it shoots great but.....

my 52-2 is more accurate.

I load my own .38, 148 grain wadcutters, and just under 3 grains of powder.

The pistol coughs and launches a wadcutter which is followed by a neat hole appearing on the target. Fun as hell.
 

awp762

Sergeant
Aug 26, 2009
429
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Bloomfield Michigan
#13
My friend bought a 52-2 years ago, wanted one ever since. Well wouldn't you know it another friend told me of a guy who was selling an S&W collection for an estate. There were several 52's (52, 52-1, & 52-2) about 15 almost all NIB with all accessories. By the time I managed to hookup with him, there were only 2 left. A NIB 52-1 & a slightly used 52-2 both with all accessories & boxes. My wife was with me when we found my friend selling these at a gun show & it was our anniversary. She got the 52-1 & I got the 52-2. Tons of fun with 148 WC & 2.8gr W231.

The only issue was getting more magazines. We paid more for the extra magazines we bought (20 of them) than both pistols combined. Bought the mags from ebay & GB 52a.jpg
 
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Ledzep

Chancellor
Jun 9, 2009
1,599
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Black Hills
#17
I absolutely love M39's and 952's. On the "one day" list for sure. Two of a very short list of handguns that gets me jazzed up when I see them.

This summer I got to shoot my first FN Hi-power, too and I was blown away. I don't know if it's all of them, but the one I shot was so stupid accurate it was jaw dropping. Punched a 1" hole out of the target with 2-3 "fliers" with 1 magazine at 10 yards.
 

USMCSGT0331

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 23, 2013
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#20
Holy shit is that Major Dick Culver's USMC Shooting Team pistol ???
Yes it is! I bought this directly from Gloria Culver and we talked for quite a while about Major Culver's shooting team career. Apparently this is one of his favorite pistols and won many matches with it! I still need to ask if she has the wood shooting team case that goes with it.
 
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Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
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#21
Back in the '70's I passed on the 39's and 59's as they would not feed 3 in a row without jamming. Must have not been using the right ammo or holding our mouths right. Never saw a 52 but I never competed nor shot bullseye.

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Personally I'm a whore for the 6906 series. Owned a 4506 and loved it . Now own and carry a 6906 and it's awesome even used with thousands of rounds thru it. But I'm not much of a competition or paper puncher. My pistols are carry guns and the DA/SA Smiths with decockers are the bomb for me.
Never could make the 39's or 59's run worth a shit.

VooDoo
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#22
Hoping to shoot the 39 on Thursday.

It will be depressing if it doesnt run.

There is a fair bit of wear on the frame slide rail anodizing, someone got it to run.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#23
Man fired up the M39 today.....

I finally learned what people hate about double/single pistols.

All I have really shot over the last 10 years has been striker fired plastic, 1911s, revolvers or a DAK Sig.

Its been 14 years or so since I had a Double/Single 226 and back than I thought it was great because I hadnt done so much pistol firing.

Today I ran double single and the first time I did it the Double shot was fine than of course because I was in revolver mindset I almost doubled the second shot.

Trigger on the M39 is fine as long as you do one or the other but double/single will take some getting used to and I really dont want to get used to it because it would mess up my other more often carried guns.

The M39 is a nice gun but Ill use it more for just plinking or field carry where I rack the slide prior to shooting steel or paper.

Nice thing about the 952 and the 52-2 is that they are single action only --------as pistols should be.........

unless they are revolvers I loves me to shoot double action revolvers, rolling that trigger consistently shot after shot.

Rolling than icicle snapping is no longer part of my skill set.
 

Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
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#24
See, I'm the other way. I have owned SA pistols....my Wife loves her 1911's. I have a bunch of Colt 1903's and have owned/trained/carried Glocks and such but always have come back to DA/SA decocker pistols. I like the extra margin of safety when holstering (or stressed out) and, for me, the first DA shot is always the best horse out of the gate. The most accurate shot is always the first DA shot *but* I practice religiously for that DA shot.

I also train with and carry DAO pistols with a Sig P290RS 9mm being my present pocket gun. I love DA/SA or DAO.

Then again I started on revolvers years ago and still train with them. I like DA but it's not for everyone.

VooDoo
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#25
I like DAO or SAO.

I used to not mind DA/SA.

I guess its good that I have shot so much with my other pistols that I know them well.

I like this pistol but I think Il lkeep it as a fun gun and not develop any yips or hesitations.

Besides why carry a 9mm when there are .45s available.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#28
Nice! You shoot that 52 yet? Any reason you went 52-2 instead of a 52-1?
I shoot mine a few times a year, Its an amazing pistol.

I went 52-2 because that was what the shop had for sale the day I walked in.

If you have a choice the -2 is probably the way to go as it has an improved extractor less prone to breakage and parts for these are getting scarce.
 
Sep 16, 2009
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#30
My two pistols should qualify as “vintage”. Both in the family since new or issued.
The 1911 since 1918 and the Woodsman since ‘39.
Both are well used and carried near daily since new. Both have worn out a few barrels and various small parts.
 

Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
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#32
Quit with the really old stuff. Or I'll have to post my sometime carry pistol built in 1922, tricked out with hard chrome and trigger/action job which is carried and cherished.

Colt1903PocketHammerless1922.jpg

.32 ACP but we shoot hot European ammo or hand loads. This pistol runs like a scalded dog...never misses a lick. I have a 1918 built Colt 1903 that shoots like a sharp pair of scissors and has never jammed or failed to go bang. These guns just plain run.

Sorry...had to post in a thread about Vintage pistols.

VooDoo
 

Vodoun daVinci

Sergeant of the Hide
Dec 17, 2017
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#35
Generally I only consider attractive guns to be ones that are blued but that three digit Colt is attractive.
The last three digits have been edited out via Photoshop so the serial is not public. It has 3 more digits..

Origianlly this pistol was blued (when it left the factory) but some moron wiped the bluing off many years ago with chemicals. Who know what they intended? I bought the gun "in the white" for a song as it was basically unfired but not collectible as it had no finish. So I sent it out for hard chrome and new sights, trigger and action job, and all that. The result is a near 100 year old pistol that is tricked and rounded for pocket carry. I love this gun and shoot it/carry it every now and then. Shoots like it looks.

My Nephew will get it when I'm done with it or die.

It's fabulous.

VooDoo
 
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sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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The Snobbiest Town in The Snobbiest State in the N
#37
Well, you deplorable bastiges did it again... I just bought a 52...

Wanted one forever. Prices are a bit down right now... so I decided it's time to pull the trigger, so to speak.

Pictures when it arrives at my FFL.

And just ordered 1,000 Wadcutter boolits... to use with the 3 pounds of Bullseye I've been hoarding. That should load me enough .38 wadcutters to last almost a lifetime at 2.7 grains per round... Almost 2K rounds per pound.... if only my .50 powder stretched so far!

Cheer,

Sirhr
 

sirhrmechanic

Command Sgt. Major
Feb 23, 2010
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The Snobbiest Town in The Snobbiest State in the N
#39
Quit with the really old stuff. Or I'll have to post my sometime carry pistol built in 1922, tricked out with hard chrome and trigger/action job which is carried and cherished.

View attachment 6961669

.32 ACP but we shoot hot European ammo or hand loads. This pistol runs like a scalded dog...never misses a lick. I have a 1918 built Colt 1903 that shoots like a sharp pair of scissors and has never jammed or failed to go bang. These guns just plain run.

Sorry...had to post in a thread about Vintage pistols.

VooDoo
That's beautiful! I have a 1908 that is unrestored, but in wonderful shape. General Officers style... but not marked. Runs great. Beautiful presentation of a very, very classic Colt!!!

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A couple of my favorite Colt ads of all time!

Cheers,

Sirhr
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#40
Well, you deplorable bastiges did it again... I just bought a 52...

Wanted one forever. Prices are a bit down right now... so I decided it's time to pull the trigger, so to speak.

Pictures when it arrives at my FFL.

And just ordered 1,000 Wadcutter boolits... to use with the 3 pounds of Bullseye I've been hoarding. That should load me enough .38 wadcutters to last almost a lifetime at 2.7 grains per round... Almost 2K rounds per pound.... if only my .50 powder stretched so far!

Cheer,

Sirhr
I think I load 2.9 in my brass. Ill check if you need info. Make sure you just crimp the top of the round (over the edge of the bullet) it helps with feeding.

There is a great article by I think Gil Hibbard regarding reloading for the 52, there is a little art involved. Ive been happy to say my reloads have been 100 percent regards operation.

I am the week link with this gun.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#42
One of these days when I come down Ma. way (Ludlow, usually) we should get together and punch a few holes in targets!

Cheers,

Sirhr
Ludlow is a still I might bit away from my AO, perhaps a trip up to SchlossNitrocellulos to pull a friction primer or two would be on the ticket.
 

pmclaine

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 6, 2011
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#48
You did well if you scored extra mags. They are tough to come by and not cheap when found.

If I came across them I'd buy them but as I only use this as a range pistol I live with the edious task of shooting 5 bullets on top of each other at a go.
 
Dec 15, 2017
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#50
Well since you guys mentioned old stuff and suppressed , here is my high condition JMB FN1899 ( one of about 2 dozen known) and my suppressed 1945 Walther P38. It is fairly quiet. I was fortunate enough to find an unissued p38 barrel on eBay and had it threaded so as to not ruin the matching barrel.
 

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