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  #1  
Old 11-14-2009, 07:15 PM
stk622 stk622 is offline
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Default MODEL 59 DEVEL?

I lurk here a lot and collect older Smith Revolvers ( try to!) and I came across this Model 59 DEVEL.... I figured guys would wanna see this!!

Edited: Gunbroker Auction # 146754676 for those interested

stkm622 - we do not allow links to live auctions, thanks for your help with this.
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:09 PM
wilshire1412 wilshire1412 is offline
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Prolly gonna get zapped, not supposed to post to live auctions. Nice pistola though!
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:15 PM
stk622 stk622 is offline
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Sorry! I saw that a thought it was a great find and didn't know I'm not supposed to do that!
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Old 11-17-2009, 01:40 AM
goldenlight goldenlight is offline
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Red face

While a very interesting pistol for the wealthy collector, it's basically a model 59 cut down to 569/6906 dimensions.

A piece of history, to be sure. But not as a shooter...!
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:34 PM
stk622 stk622 is offline
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What made this so "special" to bring this kind of money....?

As I said, I love the Revolvers and own a few but not into their semis....
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Old 11-17-2009, 11:06 PM
goldenlight goldenlight is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stk622 View Post
What made this so "special" to bring this kind of money....?

As I said, I love the Revolvers and own a few but not into their semis....
This was a modification done to very, very few Model 59's and Model 39's, in the 1970's.

All of the modification were done by hand, to reduce the size of 'full size' 39's and 59's, to make them smaller and lighter.

Back when this was done, there were virtually no 'compact' size 9mm's on the market, (none that I can think of, in the USA; there may have been 1 or 2 overseas, not available in the USA) so the Devel conversions were truly groundbreaking.

In the 1970's virtually all civilian police were still carrying revolvers.

There were many small revolvers available for police 'back-up', and civilian concealed carry; but no 'small 9mm's available for the role that small revolvers filled.

I don't know how many Devel conversions were done; not very many, that's for sure.

I can remember reading about them in a gun magazine back in the 1970's. I can't remember the price, but I remember it was VERY expensive.

The slide, barrel, frame, and magazines all had to be carefully 'cut down', machined, etc., etc., and the pistol and magazines refinished.

This amount of gunsmithing was very labor intensive, and expensive.

I threw out most of my gun magazines, sadly, many years ago. I kept a few; I'm going to look and see if I still have the issue with a Devel Model 39 conversion, on the cover.
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:34 PM
wilshire1412 wilshire1412 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenlight View Post
This was a modification done to very, very few Model 59's and Model 39's, in the 1970's.

All of the modification were done by hand, to reduce the size of 'full size' 39's and 59's, to make them smaller and lighter.

Back when this was done, there were virtually no 'compact' size 9mm's on the market, (none that I can think of, in the USA; there may have been 1 or 2 overseas, not available in the USA) so the Devel conversions were truly groundbreaking.

In the 1970's virtually all civilian police were still carrying revolvers.

There were many small revolvers available for police 'back-up', and civilian concealed carry; but no 'small 9mm's available for the role that small revolvers filled.

I don't know how many Devel conversions were done; not very many, that's for sure.

I can remember reading about them in a gun magazine back in the 1970's. I can't remember the price, but I remember it was VERY expensive.

The slide, barrel, frame, and magazines all had to be carefully 'cut down', machined, etc., etc., and the pistol and magazines refinished.

This amount of gunsmithing was very labor intensive, and expensive.

I threw out most of my gun magazines, sadly, many years ago. I kept a few; I'm going to look and see if I still have the issue with a Devel Model 39 conversion, on the cover.
All of this. The S&W 59 in it's first generation had a reputation for unreliability. Apparently some of the work that was done by Devel to enhance reliability was later incorporated by S&W into the regular production line. The pistols that were worked over by Devel were always expensive, and are now more of a collector's item than anything else...
Devel is no longer in business so there won't be any more of them produced. I want one, I just can't afford it.
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:13 PM
Model39 Model39 is offline
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I collect Model 39's, and naturally had to buy some DEVELS. I have a letter from the late DEVEL owner Charlie Kelsey which states exactly how many of each type of Smith Model 39's and 59's were produced. There are exactly 234 Full House Model 59 DEVEL conversions out there somewhere. I own number 13. There are also 318 Full House Model 39's out there. I own number 128. That's it.
Having been a patrol deputy sheriff for over 20 years, I became fascinated with the DEVEL concept, as back in my day you either carried a Colt Lightweight Commander (I still have mine), or a "J" frame (mine was a Model 60) off duty. Having an option of a compact
9MM with the custom features was really neat.
Charlie lead the way for the developement of all the great little semi's out there today. I believe that is why the value of these guns is so high.
Wayne Novak has by far the largest DEVEL collection. (You can see them on display on his website..Novak Sights). Wayne has told me that there will be a book written about the DEVELS, and I'm sure that will drive up the interest and values alot. I would suggest if you want one buy it. I would not part with mine.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:54 AM
bwh bwh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Model39 View Post
I collect Model 39's, and naturally had to buy some DEVELS. I have a letter from the late DEVEL owner Charlie Kelsey which states exactly how many of each type of Smith Model 39's and 59's were produced. There are exactly 234 Full House Model 59 DEVEL conversions out there somewhere. I own number 13. There are also 318 Full House Model 39's out there. I own number 128. That's it.
Having been a patrol deputy sheriff for over 20 years, I became fascinated with the DEVEL concept, as back in my day you either carried a Colt Lightweight Commander (I still have mine), or a "J" frame (mine was a Model 60) off duty. Having an option of a compact
9MM with the custom features was really neat.
Charlie lead the way for the developement of all the great little semi's out there today. I believe that is why the value of these guns is so high.
Wayne Novak has by far the largest DEVEL collection. (You can see them on display on his website..Novak Sights). Wayne has told me that there will be a book written about the DEVELS, and I'm sure that will drive up the interest and values alot. I would suggest if you want one buy it. I would not part with mine.
Didn't Charlie Kelsey die under somewhat suspicious circumstances a few years ago? I believe the official ruling was suicide, but his family and friends claim he was murdered and the scene set up to look like a suicide. Something like that. That's one of those things that makes the DEVELs even more collectable - there certainly won't be any more!
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:14 AM
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flagman1776 flagman1776 is offline
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I didn't save magazines from that era... but I remember when the Devel 39's first hit the press. Some of the ideas were revolutionary while some left me scratching my head. Still, were it not for the spark of Devel, the mini 9's would have been much slower coming.
Russ
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:46 AM
stk622 stk622 is offline
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Long time since this thread but that Devel wound up selling for 4500.00!!!!
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:08 AM
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mag318 mag318 is offline
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The Devels are unique and collectable but my favorite from the same era was the "ASP" by Paris Theodore. It had a weird rear sight called a "Guttersnipe". I owned 2 of these conversions one blued and a very rare stainless steel example. I really regret selling them years ago.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:43 PM
apexdc apexdc is offline
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Default Devel Model 59

I had a Devel 59 built in the early eighties. I chose the "Function and Reliability" package, but did not have the pistol cut down. I wanted to keep it full size and tailor it to my needs/desires.

At my request, I had a Packmayr grip fitted. This is the only Devel I have ever seen personally with that grip from Devel, although it is very possible they did others.

A lot of trimming and tuning was done inside. The loose barrel retainer in front is now fixed and the barrel fit is considerable tighter.

I have probably fired 1000 or so rounds through it over the years and never had a single functional issue. It shoots anything I put in it flawlessly.

But the best part is that it just feels right to me. I was recently giving a friend some pointers on a new Sig 9mm he had just purchased and my "old" Devel was an easy match for his Sig.

My Devel has always been special to me. I only recently began to know the full history of the company as well as the founder's strange demise.

I know that I still love to shoot that sucker and it is just fascinating to guys at the range.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:49 PM
apexdc apexdc is offline
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I don't know how many F&R 59's were made, but would appreciate any info anyone might have.

thanks
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:07 PM
koz5614 koz5614 is offline
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I am a big fan of the DEVEL pistols, and have a Full-House 39 and 59. I like the fact that you have a Full-House hooked trigger guard on a F&R pistol. I've never seen another one in this configuration. I believe Wayne Novak has the largest collection of these pistols. If you contact him, he could probably give you a ballpark number of F&R packages produced.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:45 AM
James&theGiant1911 James&theGiant1911 is offline
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I just reread the article on charlie and it is a sad story. They want to say that their is not enough free thinkers and inventors in our society today. That is to say that large companies including gun makers want to steal ideas make them cheaper or even over seas so they can sell them to americans for large profits. I would not even be surprised if he did not come up innovative features found on the STI in exchange for a free room. If it is accurate that novak offered him a job in his shop then he should have taken it. I would have bought products from him at novaks and have had 4 guns done by them. He was an innovator and a true craftsman. Such a waste.... I have looked at a couple of devels but they have all been to rough for the price and/ or beyond what i was willing to give for one.
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:27 PM
Tkmartindill Tkmartindill is offline
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is there anyone on the forum that could help me out,
im in the process of doing a tribute kind of chop down on a 59
if anyone owns one and a set of calipers i could get three critical measurements that would make the trial and error time of cutting down the frame way easier.

if you own a 59 full house and can help please PM me or email me

TK@Adamsarms.net

Thanks big
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:33 PM
Tkmartindill Tkmartindill is offline
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is there anyone on the forum that could help me out,
im in the process of doing a tribute kind of chop down on a 59
if anyone owns one and a set of calipers i could get three critical measurements that would make the trial and error time of cutting down the frame way easier.

if you own a 59 full house and can help please PM me or email me

TK@Adamsarms.net

Thanks big
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:53 PM
koz5614 koz5614 is offline
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What measurements do you need?
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:50 AM
apexdc apexdc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koz5614 View Post
I am a big fan of the DEVEL pistols, and have a Full-House 39 and 59. I like the fact that you have a Full-House hooked trigger guard on a F&R pistol. I've never seen another one in this configuration. I believe Wayne Novak has the largest collection of these pistols. If you contact him, he could probably give you a ballpark number of F&R packages produced.
I contacted Wayne and he believes that my DEVEL is unique. He has never seen another in the configuration that mine has. He is, in fact, working on a book on DEVEL, which should be very interesting considering the extraordinary history of the company.

Last edited by apexdc; 07-22-2015 at 12:51 AM. Reason: typo
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