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Old 01-27-2012, 01:46 PM
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Here's an early one to start off with (in the high 1100 serial number range) that has lettered as a salesman's sample, being shipped in July, 1955 to S&W's representative for the southeastern region of the country. That's the original box, with the paper wrap inside practically undisturbed, but the booklet and tools are missing, unfortunately. Has the correct flat follower type magazine (just the one, though). It does show some evidence of being handled, holstered, and shot, which I don't regard as unexpected, given its history. Still, it's a 99%'er, at least.

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Old 01-27-2012, 01:49 PM
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Such a nice pistol. Congrats.
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:22 PM
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Beautiful example Goony,
As the lowest serial is reportedly 1001, yours would be one of the first 200 guns made.
Wondering if your barrel rollstamp says 9mm cartridge or just 9mm and if it came with a removable ejection port cover ?
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Engine49guy View Post
Wondering if your barrel rollstamp says 9mm cartridge or just 9mm and if it came with a removable ejection port cover ?
The barrel is marked "9 M.M. CTG."

The ejection port cover (aka "dust cover") wasn't an available accessory until quite some time later (well into Model 39 production), the frames of the earlier guns not even having the necessary groove for them.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:21 PM
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Great looking, rare find. I bet you are proud right now.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sophie View Post
Great looking, rare find. I bet you are proud right now.
Thank you, but this is no recent acquisition - although I no longer recall where or exactly when I got it, I've certainly had it for around two decades, maybe even longer. However, I didn't letter it until last year.
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:30 AM
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Lovely pistol; great find. I'm a delicate shade of green now; my pre-39 is a real dog.
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:28 AM
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Dog or no, still would like to see it. In fact, I was hoping for a few other photos to be posted by now to justify the "picture thread" title.
Wish I had one...
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:40 PM
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Default S&W Pre 39 Serial 1446

Here is mine
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:44 PM
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Default ACouple Of More Shots

I purchased this pistol a couple of years ago from the son of the gentleman who originally purchased it. The son said his dad purchased a large number of pistols that he never fired and the pistol looks brand new and unfired.
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:28 PM
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Default Pre-Model 39 Serial # 2277 (June 1956)

My Pre-Model 39 #2277 (June 1956) complete with original box and green/white glossy instructional booklet.
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Old 01-28-2012, 07:19 PM
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Nice pistol
Try to find a removable ejection port cover or a left stock. You will be looking for quite a while.
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:38 PM
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Here's one of the USAF/Goose Bay guns.



I'd also like to see a picture thread on the Model 39 (no dash) pistols. Anybody want to start one?

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Kevin Williams
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:56 AM
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I'm wondering how consistent the manufacturing details of these early guns we've documented so far are. They obviously all have the truncated tang, as well as the stubby safety lever and corresponding unrelieved left stock.

Do all have the "PAT'S PENDING" marking on the slide's right side? Supposedly some don't.

Another characteristic for which there seems to be some variation is the short curved relief cut at the front of the slide. Serial number 2277 above looks to me as if that cut is longer than is typical, for instance. My example is odd in this respect in that the cut on the right side is noticeably longer than the one on the left.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwill1911 View Post
I'd also like to see a picture thread on the Model 39 (no dash) pistols. Anybody want to start one?
Done. Maybe overdone.

Model 39 (non -2) Picture Thread

Steel Frame Model 39 Picture Thread
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:43 AM
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Here's my somewhat bedraggled specimen. It has a magazine with a stamped, vertical, follower instead of a flat follower that was probably originally sold with the pistol. Left grip is a replacement.

Thanks for starting the other threads: Model 39 and steel frame. I'll be posting there when I get some pix.

Kwill1911: please post the info on the "USAF/Goose Bay guns". Was this a military contract? How many guns involved, etc, etc.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
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Here's my somewhat bedraggled specimen.
Obviously carried a lot, but that's honest, honorable wear. We always have to remind ourselves that the vast majority of our "holy grail" guns were not originally purchased to be set aside and preserved so as to satisfy the lust of future collectors....
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:23 AM
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Cyrano,

There will be an article published in the summer edition of the S&WCA Journal that provides as much detail as is known about the Goose Bay guns, as well as information about other military shipments of Model 39 pistols.

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Kevin Williams
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:43 PM
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Thanks, kwill1911; guess I'll hafta join the S&WCA. Who's the author; Richard McMillan?

Gooney: Not visible, but there's an actual groove, fairly deep, in the frame insert where the strap of a holster went across it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:40 PM
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My new to me 39-2.
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:24 PM
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I think Carguy714 takes the prize for most innovative background. I'm partial to St Clair Chardonnay myself; I'll have to start saving corks.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:40 PM
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I'll throw out one more question regarding the pre-39's - were any nickeled?
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:05 PM
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I meant to mention a detail concerning my gun's box. On the bottom, written in white as is typical of this period is just "DA" (instead of the serial number as would be usual). This sort of leads me to believe that at the time there were some "SA" ones (aka Model 44's) on the shelf as well....
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:21 AM
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Gooney: Re nickeled pre 39s. In his monograph on the Model 39, Richard McMillan states:[at first] "Nickeled finish was available on special order only. However in 1960 the nickeled finish did bcome a standard cataloged option". Maybe that accounts for the scarcity of nickeled pre 39s.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:13 PM
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Those of you who own or have an interest in the pre-39 (as well as the 44 single action) pistols should have a copy of the August 1954 issue of American Rifleman, which contains an article on the impeding introduction of these models (although the 44 turned out to be a dead end). The particular examples illustrated are clearly late prototypes, as evidenced by an extractor configuration that never made it into production as well as a safety lever recess that doesn't go all the way through the slide.

Thanks to Cyrano for bringing this to my attention.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:07 AM
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Where can I get a copy of the mentioned Richard McMillan monograph on the Model 39?

I have a mint Pre-M39 with its box, papers and two flat-follower magazines still with it, one still wrapped in its original oil paper. I have been a fan since the gun first appeared in the gun press in the Mid-1950s and would like to see what Mr. McMillan says about the guns.
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:59 PM
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Where can I get a copy of the mentioned Richard McMillan monograph on the Model 39?

I have a mint Pre-M39 with its box, papers and two flat-follower magazines still with it, one still wrapped in its original oil paper. I have been a fan since the gun first appeared in the gun press in the Mid-1950s and would like to see what Mr. McMillan says about the guns.
PM sent regarding the monograph.

Can you tell us a bit more about your gun, such as the serial number range, or better yet, post some photos? Have you had it lettered?
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:10 PM
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I've run across an intriguing picture of a pre-39 in John Walter's 2008 book, The Handgun Story.

The serial number is 1070, but what caught my interest is that it has a dust cover mounted, and the frame grooves necessary for this appear to be present (which would not normally be the case with a pre-39). Now supposedly this accessory had been developed by the time the patent example was submitted, but then (along with the requisite frame grooves) didn't reappear until later on during marked Model 39 production. So what to make of this peculiar very early piece? Is it indicative, maybe, of meeting some military specification? Were the pre-39's that went to armed forces bases and units for testing specially so configured?

Thoughts, anyone?
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:17 PM
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My guess would be that it was added later since the dust cover was available as a stand alone accessory after 1958.

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Old 03-12-2012, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
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Can you tell us a bit more about your gun, such as the serial number range, or better yet, post some photos? Have you had it lettered?
Yes, I can tell you a bit more, and I will. Yes, I have had it lettered. I should take digital pictures of all of my guns, but that is a monumental task I have not yet undertaken. Sorry, no pictures at present.

My gun is Number 15XX and shipped April 9, 1956 to Evaluators Limited, Quantico, Virginia. (Anybody know anything about that firm?) As stated, it is mint and complete in its original box, with two magazines and papers. The only flaw in the package is some oil stains on the manual. I think I got it from David Carroll probably at least thirty years ago, maybe longer, but I am not sure without going into my records, which are down in the vault room, which is where I am not at the moment.

As mentioned, I have been following this model since it was announced in the gun press in the Mid-1950s, so when I had a chance to buy one years later, I did. I cannot remember what I paid, but I have always cherished the gun as one of my favorites.

In its own way, it is as significant as other milestone Smith & Wesson guns, such as the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum. Every Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol through the Third Generation models owes its linage to the 9mm Double Action Pistol.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:31 AM
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My gun is Number 15XX and shipped April 9, 1956 to Evaluators Limited, Quantico, Virginia. (Anybody know anything about that firm?)
Link to thread: Model 19 and Evaluaters Ltd Quantico VA

Big Larry there gives a definitive answer to your question (post #5).
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:45 PM
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Default Advertisement from 1956

Wouldn't you like to know where this one is now?
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:51 AM
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Great photo's of the original 39's. The information is priceless! This is Smith & Wesson's flagship auto. All the other models owe there existence to the pre-39!
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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I have a pre 39 serial number 1465. Getting it lettered now. What do you guys think? Does it look correct or has it been modified in any way?
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:19 PM
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Attachment 104852

Attachment 104853

I have a pre 39 serial number 1465. Getting it lettered now. What do you guys think? Does it look correct or has it been modified in any way?
You have a very nice pre 39 there. It appears to be original. The only common modification that might have been done, and wouldn't show up in the pictures you posted would be where they polish the feed ramp and remove the hump that all pre 39's and Model 39 no dash units had.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:37 PM
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I'll take a look to see if had been done. I spoke to kwill today and he provided me some good news. He believes that this gun is one of thirty sent to Goose Bay. Now just waiting to receive the letter request from Mr. Jinks to see if he can shed some additional light to the subject. The bad news is that I don't have the original box for it!
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:42 PM
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I'll take a look to see if had been done. I spoke to kwill today and he provided me some good news. He believes that this gun is one of thirty sent to Goose Bay. Now just waiting to receive the letter request from Mr. Jinks to see if he can shed some additional light to the subject. The bad news is that I don't have the original box for it!
I suspected this one could be special, but kwill is more of an expert on the military issued Pre 39/No dash 39 models, so I figured he would let you know if it was special. You have a nice find there, take good care of it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:49 PM
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I suspected this one could be special, but kwill is more of an expert on the military issued Pre 39/No dash 39 models, so I figured he would let you know if it was special. You have a nice find there, take good care of it.
kwill was very helpful. He sent me an article actually showing my gun listed by serial number. It was purchased at a gunshow by me in Crown Point Indiana in 1995 for $425. It being in such great shape and a 4 digit serial number, it didn't seem like a bad price. It has been stored in a safe ever since. I took it out the other day to wipe it down and figured what the hell, I'll do some research on it. I truly never expected to have a gun with this kind of history. Can't wait to get the letter for it!
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goony View Post
Those of you who own or have an interest in the pre-39 (as well as the 44 single action) pistols should have a copy of the August 1954 issue of American Rifleman, which contains an article on the impeding introduction of these models (although the 44 turned out to be a dead end). The particular examples illustrated are clearly late prototypes, as evidenced by an extractor configuration that never made it into production as well as a safety lever recess that doesn't go all the way through the slide.

Thanks to Cyrano for bringing this to my attention.
Just ordered a copy from Ebay today. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:12 PM
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Received the letter from Mr. Jinks today. It basically outlines what kwill had already informed me of. Its nice to have official documentation on this gun. Again guys, thanks for your help/input on this.
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:15 PM
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Congratulations!
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:29 AM
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I know I'm entering this thread late, but I'm new to the forum. I "unknowingly" bought a Pre Model 39 in 1980 from a gun store in Fort Wayne, IN. I was in the market for a 9mm and spotted this one. The shopkeeper said that it was traded to him by a police officer who didn't want to use a blued gun because his body chemistry would ruin it! I didn't know much about it at the time, but it was in perfect condition and it was GORGEOUS! Unfortunately there was no box, papers or tools. I knew the gun was a "Model 39" but was always curious as to why there were no model markings on the gun.

Luckily and for some strange reason I decided NOT to fire it. I just didn't want to do anything that might mar the beauty of this pistol. I own numerous pistols and revolvers and I consider this Pre Model 39 to be THE most attractive gun I own.

So I finally did a little research on this gun and learned that it is a Pre Model 39. I have a letter from Mr. Jinks coming but have not received it yet. My serial is 153X and it was probably made in 1955 or 1956. My photos are too big to post here. I'll have to rephotograph at lower res. and post later.

Added 7/19/13. Here's a couple of pics and a paragraph of the recently received Jinks letter.
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Last edited by loeman; 07-19-2013 at 01:06 PM. Reason: punctuation error
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:59 PM
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I'm late getting to this post but here's mine, #1439. Shipped Feb-7-1956 to Harvan Sporting Goods in NY, NY.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:33 PM
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I'm curious as to what the 39 was called pre model number. Was it simply 9MM AUTOMATIC? - thanks Joe
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:51 PM
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Super pistol Moosedog! I see in your photos that you have box, papers and instructions. The instructions are for a Model 39, but your pistol is a pre model 39. Is the instruction sheet original or is it later? Probably later huh, since some of the printing is in color?
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:23 PM
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I have a pre model 39 box that is strange as it has s/n 72xx on the bottom.
I put my early model 39 in it...s/n 62xx. But I don't understand why that box has a model 39 s/n on it when it is clearly a pre 39..9mm Semi Automatic box.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:42 PM
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Can you post some pictures of it?
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:00 PM
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Yes give me a couple minutes...

The top & bottom belong together. The metal blue edge fasteners are the same hue and condition. The top is more washed out than the bottom.







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Old 01-19-2014, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for the pictures. I don't have an answer other than it was probably just a leftover box. S&W did some things that look odd to us now but were just SOP back then.
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Old 01-19-2014, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosedog View Post
I'm late getting to this post but here's mine, #1439. Shipped Feb-7-1956 to Harvan Sporting Goods in NY, NY.
Does anyone have one of these manuals to show in a pic?
Is it a manual or just an instruction sheet that has green writing on it. Like shown in Moosedogs' post #43.
I am looking at a pre 39 and want to make sure I know what I am looking for in the Manual. I have heard they are worth quite a bit in and of themselves. I would hate to pay good $ for a forgery.

Mike
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