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Old 09-09-2017, 08:40 PM
plmcrzy67 plmcrzy67 is offline
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thoughts and opinions please
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Old 09-09-2017, 08:53 PM
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My personal experience and opinion, it was and is a second rate pistol compared to my Sig P229 and Browning Hi Power. I regretted buying it.

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Old 09-10-2017, 01:19 AM
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I'm going to shoot mine for the first time tomorrow. Agreed, it's definitely old school when compared to my 226, but it seems pretty well made. I'll try to provide a range report tomorrow.

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Old 09-10-2017, 02:18 AM
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I like mine just fine.
Don't own a Sig to compare it to though...
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Old 09-10-2017, 06:13 AM
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"Do you know what's a really bloody miserable car to drive? A 1963 split-window 427 Corvette. Just awful! Power steering and brakes was optional. You had to crank up the windows yourself. No traction control, no ABS. And the gas mileage is miserable! I much prefer my Prius!"

This is what I hear when people complain about the 59. And thank God! If more folks had the good sense to appreciate the original first-generation wundernines, they probably couldn't be had for such a great price.

They're accurate, and generally pretty reliable. In double-action, the trigger is very long and somewhat heavy, but realistically, you'd be a fool to choose a 59 for carry purposes (they lack a firing pin block, and a 3rd-gen can be had for just a smidge more).

Of course they're not as refined as a gun that (still) costs twice as much and has an entirely different fire control design, or a pistol made 12 years after their introduction. If you have $500-$600 to spend on a pistol, and just want the best thing you can get, get something else.

But if you're looking for the best damn thing you can get for about $275, or if you really appreciate old, cool stuff, the 59 can't be beat.
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Old 09-10-2017, 06:38 AM
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It's really more a piece of Smith & Wesson history now than the very best gun you can buy today at any price. Only one for sale in my area is $599; however, I must admit that it's in very close to brand new condition. It came from a collection of over 600 handguns and most are virtually as-new. As a collector piece, it is probably worth the money. As a gun bought to be carried or otherwise used for personal protection today, you can likely find something cheaper or for the same price that you may like better.

In other words, it all depends what you are looking for.
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Old 09-10-2017, 09:39 AM
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I have small hands and always found them "blocky" feeling. I much prefer the 915.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Wise_A View Post
"Do you know what's a really bloody miserable car to drive? A 1963 split-window 427 Corvette. Just awful! Power steering and brakes was optional. You had to crank up the windows yourself. No traction control, no ABS. And the gas mileage is miserable! I much prefer my Prius!"

This is what I hear when people complain about the 59. And thank God! If more folks had the good sense to appreciate the original first-generation wundernines, they probably couldn't be had for such a great price.

They're accurate, and generally pretty reliable. In double-action, the trigger is very long and somewhat heavy, but realistically, you'd be a fool to choose a 59 for carry purposes (they lack a firing pin block, and a 3rd-gen can be had for just a smidge more).

Of course they're not as refined as a gun that (still) costs twice as much and has an entirely different fire control design, or a pistol made 12 years after their introduction. If you have $500-$600 to spend on a pistol, and just want the best thing you can get, get something else.

But if you're looking for the best damn thing you can get for about $275, or if you really appreciate old, cool stuff, the 59 can't be beat.
Ha Ha, I have one of those bloody miserable cars it's just in the form of a 67 Pontiac Firebird. The reason I was asking for info on the 59 was that I was talking to a friend of mine about guns and he mentioned that he had one from when he was a leo back in the 70's still has box paperwork and even the original sales reciept. I don't think he plans to sell it, and I didn't ask. I just never seen one before and he peaked my interest when he mentioned it. I would however like to see that range report!! Thanks to all............Mark
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:33 AM
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First of the "Wonder nines" as they were dubbed in the 70s and 80s ...... hicap (like the Browning HP) double action (like the German autos of WWII) autos.......followed by the Sig 226, Beretta 92 and CZ75..........

rumor/fact ?????? first built for the Navy SEALS to use as "Hush Puppy's" in Viet Nam.... as an improvement over the suppressed single stack 39.
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Old 09-10-2017, 05:54 PM
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It has it's fans.
It was my first semi. Forty years ago. I did not like it at all.
I have a lot of pistols now and no 9mm, or double stack because of the 59. I know that's not the right way to do things, but that's it.
Traded it in and got a Colt series 70, and never looked back.
I have seven Smiths and they are all older revolvers.
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Old 09-10-2017, 06:12 PM
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An iconic handgun for S&W............I would never feel under-armed with one at my side.....wait, I do have one at my side in my Kramer MSP holster!

Randy
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Old 09-10-2017, 07:03 PM
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An iconic handgun for S&W............I would never feel under-armed with one at my side.....wait, I do have one at my side in my Kramer MSP holster!
It's easy to forget in these modern times (and several generations of pistol design later) how cool and desirable it was considered back in its day. I'm talking not just the pistol for itself but for the 14-round magazine capacity too. I liked the Model 39-2 for sure... but when the opportunity finally came up for me to buy one or the other, I went for a late-production Model 59 instead.

35 years later (and earlier this year), I corrected the "hole" I had inadvertently created in my collection by finally scoring my very own ANIB Model 39-2!
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:30 PM
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FWIW, a 427 wasn't available in the '63 Corvette. All '63's came through with various versions of the 327.

Having said that, the Model 59 was innovation for its time. Judging it by today's standards is very much like judging the 63 Corvette to a current Stingray.


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Old 09-10-2017, 10:45 PM
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In 1971, the idea of a double-stack, double-action American pistol was revolutionary. (The idea is so common now that it is hard to believe how revolutionary it was in 1971.) The Model 59 created the "Wondernine" era. Everyone wanted one. Including me.

I could not get one initially, since all went to law enforcement. When I finally got one, I was thrilled with it. I still have it and always loved the way it points. I still use it as a house gun.

As a point of interest, the early "Non-A" marked Model 59 magazines with the aluminum follower will hold sixteen rounds!
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sodacan View Post
My personal experience and opinion, it was and is a second rate pistol compared to my Sig P229 and Browning Hi Power. I regretted buying it.
Can you give specific details as to why you say this?
Thanks
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Old 09-11-2017, 04:29 AM
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Only one for sale in my area is $599; however, I must admit that it's in very close to brand new condition.

...

As a gun bought to be carried or otherwise used for personal protection today, you can likely find something cheaper or for the same price that you may like better.
That is an absurd price in any condition. I'd probably carry a 59 over a Makarov or (shudder) a Hi-Point, but I think that I'd much rather take the money I'd spend on one and put it into a decent used J-frame. Or just save another couple hundred and look for a Glock/M&P/etc.

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Ha Ha, I have one of those bloody miserable cars it's just in the form of a 67 Pontiac Firebird. The reason I was asking for info on the 59 was that I was talking to a friend of mine about guns and he mentioned that he had one from when he was a leo back in the 70's still has box paperwork and even the original sales reciept. I don't think he plans to sell it, and I didn't ask. I just never seen one before and he peaked my interest when he mentioned it. I would however like to see that range report!! Thanks to all............Mark
Mine doesn't do badly. That's the weird thing--every complaint people have about their ergonomics is 100% true. The sights aren't the best, either, which is something nobody's thought to complain about yet. But somehow, it shoots better than all of its faults would have you believe.

I've only had one stoppage on it, as well, and that was with 115-gr ammunition that was loaded very light to begin with.
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Old 09-11-2017, 07:42 AM
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That is an absurd price in any condition. I'd probably carry a 59 over a Makarov or (shudder) a Hi-Point, but I think that I'd much rather take the money I'd spend on one and put it into a decent used J-frame. Or just save another couple hundred and look for a Glock/M&P/etc.
Whoever is going to buy that pristine perfect, as-new Model 59 at $599 or a little less is likely not going to carry it around... nor is he or she likely to think that a good, used J-frame or Glock will fit into their collection better. Chances are actually pretty good that the buyer might already own a J-frame or two and possibly even a Glock or two as well. This will probably not have been their first rodeo.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that some Smith & Wesson collector will come along and buy it someday... just like the original 600+ gun collector who had previously wanted it in his collection.

Shooters and defensive carriers often don't "get" gun collectors. I understand that. Believe it or not, some guns are bought not to be carried daily or even used as primary self-defense weapons in the home. Some people just buy certain guns because they want one for their collection.
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:51 AM
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Shooters and defensive carriers often don't "get" gun collectors. I understand that. Believe it or not, some guns are bought not to be carried daily or even used as primary self-defense weapons in the home. Some people just buy certain guns because they want one for their collection.
What he said
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:33 PM
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Whoever is going to buy that pristine perfect, as-new Model 59 at $599 or a little less is likely not going to carry it around... nor is he or she likely to think that a good, used J-frame or Glock will fit into their collection better. Chances are actually pretty good that the buyer might already own a J-frame or two and possibly even a Glock or two as well. This will probably not have been their first rodeo.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that some Smith & Wesson collector will come along and buy it someday... just like the original 600+ gun collector who had previously wanted it in his collection.

Shooters and defensive carriers often don't "get" gun collectors. I understand that. Believe it or not, some guns are bought not to be carried daily or even used as primary self-defense weapons in the home. Some people just buy certain guns because they want one for their collection.
Oh no, I meant that even in that condition, as a collector item, I didn't think the price was that good. They're not rare, they're not highly-prized. About the only thing you could say is that they're generally in "well-used" condition. But yeah--somebody will eventually pay that for one, or the seller will come down a bit.

The thing about the Js and Glocks is more to do with the price of a more...typical 59. I figure a very worn example goes for around $250-275 (you can find them for less), and something presentable runs $300. Well, if I shop it hard, I'd bet I can get a J-frame for $350, if I don't get too picky as to which one I want. The Glock, used, should run about $425 or so.

The hardest part about finding a good, cheap, beat-up shooter of a 59 is finding a gun shop that actually took one in! For the prices that most will be looking to offer in trade, the owners will generally just hang on to them.

The 59 has a demerits on the "carry gun" front, so I think spending a little more for something else is worth it.

But as a real beater of a range gun? Easily tops the fun-per-dollar charts.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:03 AM
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Well, my trip to the range is postponed until Wednesday. I'll report back in a few days.
I will note however, that I am no fan of the magazine disconnect. But I'm not a purist about such things. I will probably use it for a truck gun if it's reliable. I received it as a gift, so I have no clue on prices here in Western Washington.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:45 AM
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Oh no, I meant that even in that condition, as a collector item, I didn't think the price was that good. They're not rare, they're not highly-prized. About the only thing you could say is that they're generally in "well-used" condition. But yeah--somebody will eventually pay that for one, or the seller will come down a bit.
If I am reading the completed auctions correctly, the last two blued NIB Model 59 pistols on GB sold for $1,200 each. There is a definite premium market out there for 1st Gen S&W pistols in very high (ideally unfired in original factory box w/everything) condition. You may not be prizing them, but someone else out there obviously is.

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But as a real beater of a range gun? Easily tops the fun-per-dollar charts.
Now there you've got the advantage on me because I know absolutely nothing about beater range guns. I don't own a single one. Dear old Dad (R.I.P.) would turn over in his grave if I ever even talked about a Smith & Wesson firearm that way, let alone owned one.

I may be missing a lot of fun, but I don't want dear old Dad coming back from the grave to haunt me.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:16 PM
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Default To further the analogy

The 63 Corvette was an innovative design, first production four wheel independent suspension. True the available drum brakes weren't the best, but they were the best available at the time. Likewise the 59 was an innovative design and led the way for other innovative products.

BTW if you have ever driven an 63 Corvette the iconic "Split Widow" is a real pain. it went away in 64.




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FWIW, a 427 wasn't available in the '63 Corvette. All '63's came through with various versions of the 327.

Having said that, the Model 59 was innovation for its time. Judging it by today's standards is very much like judging the 63 Corvette to a current Stingray.


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Old 09-12-2017, 11:04 PM
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I have small hands and always found them "blocky" feeling. I much prefer the 915.
They are "blocky" with any sized hands . . . and people complain about a Glock. The 59 cornered the market on poor ergonomics.
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Old 09-13-2017, 04:40 AM
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If I am reading the completed auctions correctly, the last two blued NIB Model 59 pistols on GB sold for $1,200 each. There is a definite premium market out there for 1st Gen S&W pistols in very high (ideally unfired in original factory box w/everything) condition. You may not be prizing them, but someone else out there obviously is.
Was the gun in question truly NIB, boxed, etc? Or was it just a gun in somebody's collection in good shape? All I heard was the latter.

Where's it for sale? If it's on Gunbroker, then there's a premium because it's marketed to a much larger audience. If it's in a local shop, shave a big chunk off that number.

And all that's presuming the sale actually completed.

Quote:
Now there you've got the advantage on me because I know absolutely nothing about beater range guns. I don't own a single one. Dear old Dad (R.I.P.) would turn over in his grave if I ever even talked about a Smith & Wesson firearm that way, let alone owned one.

I may be missing a lot of fun, but I don't want dear old Dad coming back from the grave to haunt me.
Take a perfectly good Smith and Wesson, stick it in a holster, and then pull it out. Repeat 8400 times.

What do you have now? Well, a bunch of finish wear on a great gun.

It's not going to command the same price that a clean example would--nor should it. And 95% of people are going to pass that gun right over because it's got a bunch of holster wear. They don't know anything about the internals. For all they know, it could be unfired.

It's become a beater. It's got a big ol' 25-50% off sticker on it in the form of a little missing finish. You can pick it up for cheap, and enjoy shooting it without worrying about putting a mark on a pristine gun. Wanna holster it? Go ahead. Wanna put 5000 rounds through it because it's so great to shoot? Be my guest.

These guns are great.

As for range gun--well, the 59 is, let's face it, obsolete. Its drop-safety is questionable. There are other guns in its price range that are better. There are smaller guns, guns with better triggers, and so on. If we're carrying a gun for protection, there are better choices to make. Sure, a Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless works as well today as it did over a hundred years ago--but today's .380s are smaller, and modern guns that size fire 9mm (or larger, and carry as many or more cartridges).

That doesn't make the 59 useless--it just makes it a gun to be enjoyed. Most guns that we buy are like that. What real practical use do I have for...well, 90% of my collection? None! But damn if I don't enjoy them.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:07 AM
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Was the gun in question truly NIB, boxed, etc? Or was it just a gun in somebody's collection in good shape? All I heard was the latter.

Where's it for sale? If it's on Gunbroker, then there's a premium because it's marketed to a much larger audience. If it's in a local shop, shave a big chunk off that number.

And all that's presuming the sale actually completed.
The Model 59 in question is in a local shop in the Boston area... not on Gunbroker. That particular shop has 244 used guns for sale as we speak. None of the used guns there are ever displayed in their factory boxes and I didn't ask. There are no visible signs of wear or use. It looks unfired, but who knows? The original owner is no longer with us to tell.

Anyway, enough of this. I think we've both made our points in regard to the Model 59 and how we see it today. No point in further repeating.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:36 PM
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Nah, we're on the same page. I like me sum revolvers with no turn marks, that sort of thing. They definitely warrant the prices some of them command--to have a gun, and not shoot it, is rare. Especially in the case of the 59--it was popular, but a lot of that popularity was police-use. Cops are just about as hard on their guns as cowboys.

In other words, I'm not poo-poohing the price tags some pristine guns get. They're worth it...but no, not to me. I can respect the price without paying it.

But those scratched-up shooters deserve some love, too! My hands-down best gun, if I had to pick one all-arounder, is a K-38 Target Masterpiece that someone let live in a holster for a few decades. I've considered having it refinished, but (A) I don't think I'd trust anyone with such a super shooter, and (B) I can't stop shooting it for long enough to have that done!

Some people hear "beater" and "truck-gun" and "worn" and think it's a put-down--it ain't!

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Old 09-13-2017, 08:56 PM
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thanks everyone for your response's. The good, the bad and the ugly are most appreciated...............Mark
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:05 PM
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I admit, I did not read all the back and forth regarding the Model 59 in this thread. All I will say is that the Md 59 is a very important gun in the history of S&W and American handguns (see SCSW) I bought one just for that reason and I'm very happy to have done so.
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Old 09-16-2017, 10:54 PM
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Trying to bring back a 45 year old memory...
Wasn't there an issue with the Model 59 shortly after they came out. Briefly taken out of service or recalled for modification or something? Seems like it was a big story in all the gun magazines of the time, then after six months or a year all was well. I cannot remember what the problem was supposed to have been.
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:31 AM
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Trying to bring back a 45 year old memory...
Wasn't there an issue with the Model 59 shortly after they came out. Briefly taken out of service or recalled for modification or something? Seems like it was a big story in all the gun magazines of the time, then after six months or a year all was well. I cannot remember what the problem was supposed to have been.
Oh, yes. Much has been spoken and written about the general "unreliability" and "jamomatic" nature of the Model 59. Remember Phat Phil Engeldrum? And his infamous "Handgun Tests" magazines? His 1979 issue trashed the Model 59 to an almost legendary degree. I still have a copy of it around here somewhere.

The truth is apparently a little less dramatic and less widespread than Phat Phil's magazine would have you believe. I can't speak from personal experience, but at least some Model 59 pistols were apparently not reliable out of the box, especially when using hollow point ammunition. Some have said that even after expert gunsmithing and many tries, a few Model 59's still could not be made to work reliably.

The problems were eventually ironed out in late production Model 59 pistols and in the subsequent 2nd & 3rd Gen versions. It's why I waited until nearly the end of Model 59 production to buy one.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by loeman View Post
... the Md 59 is a very important gun in the history of S&W and American handguns (see SCSW) I bought one just for that reason and I'm very happy to have done so.
As a historical handgun the Model 59 is an important bit of history as the first of the "Wonder Nines". I found one very good condition in a Mom & Pop gunshop and bought it for under $300.


Not a good photo, but a good gun

I don't carry it or even shoot it, it resides in my gun safe to be admired as the start of something good. I've even bought a brand new 5946 (from Cabellas) which remains unfired as the other end of the evolution of the double stack "Wonder Nines".

For range and carry use I have a couple of 915's that I prize as useful examples of 3G Smiths.



digiroc

Last edited by digiroc; 09-17-2017 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:37 AM
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I guess I'm a "moderate" when it comes to the Model 59.

On the one hand I appreciate its history, its status as one of the original wonder nines, and its barrel locking system. I might some day be tempted to buy one of my own just for general interest reasons.

On the other hand, the grip is blocky, the trigger reach is too long, and as someone said above, it's "generally" reliable.

And of course, my general thoughts on the Wonder Nines, coming from a 1911 back ground, is that they offered very little that the Browning Hi Power did not. I still think that way. With 13 and 15 round magazines, good triggers (once you remove the magazine safety), and the option of either the standard single action or SFS systems, the Hi Power is tough to beat in the Model 59's size and weight range. In fact, in a used Model 59's price range the FEG P9 still beats the Model 59 hands down. The DA feature just does't bring enough to the table to make it a Hi Power killer.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do carry a S&W 6906 in the summer months and I actually like it. It's light, compact, and has a decent grip, a suitably short trigger reach and a DA trigger pull that is light enough to be useable - all things the Model 59 doesn't offer.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Wise_A View Post
"Do you know what's a really bloody miserable car to drive? A 1963 split-window 427 Corvette.
That would be difficult, since the largest Corvette engine from the factory in 1963 was the fuelie 327. The 427 wasn't offered in the Corvette until 1966. And anyone who would install a 427 in a 63 split window would heavily decrease it's value. But I do agree, the metal S&W guns are a reliable bargain compared to new Sig's, & other plastic guns. GARY

Last edited by N4KVE; 09-17-2017 at 09:40 AM.
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