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Old 05-10-2018, 09:25 PM
warsawpactarmor warsawpactarmor is offline
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Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions  
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Default Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions

Hi everyone, I recently acquired a reasonably clean Model 59, manufactured in 1976 according to both the serial number range and what S&W customer service told me. No box, one magazine, but it appears to be all-original and in good shape - some marks on the frame, some bluing worn off the the hammer and the right-hand side of the decocker/safety but the slide is in great shape.

So, I took it to the range today and put 100 rounds of Fiocchi 115gr. FMJ through it. The good news - the, shall we say, austere sights and big grip were not problems for me, and I shot it easily as well as any handgun I own. Great trigger in both single and double-action modes, and the reset is incredible. Very easy to shoot fast. Now, the bad news - I had a failure to feed every other magazine or so. Always the same type - cartridge slightly nose-up on the feed ramp, easily cleared by dropping the magazine and opening the action, and always in the middle of a string of fire. Extraction, ejection, and return to battery (other than the occasional malfunction described above) were all positive and predictable.

I had given the pistol only a cursory cleaning before shooting it, and based on their appearance I'm assuming the recoil and magazine springs are the originals, or at least very old. I'm hoping that a thorough cleaning and eventual replacement of those springs will result in better reliability. Any chance it was the ammo? The Fiocchi I used has a somewhat pointier bullet than a lot of ball 9x19 that I've seen, and the 59 has a pretty steep and narrow feed ramp.

One other thing. The magazine appears to be native to the pistol, is blued and has a "lazy ampersand" S&W logo and "9MM" on the baseplate, but no "A". The follower is peculiar - it's black and seems to be plastic, not aluminum, but doesn't have "legs", but rather two cylindrical protrusions on the underside. Most notably, it easily accepts 15 rounds, not the 14 I was expecting. Were there factory 15-rounders or is this a sign of a weak spring?

Anyhow, thanks for reading all this. I'm going to try and iron these issues out, as it's a fantastic shooter, and looks like a million bucks, as well as being a fairly historically-significant firearm. The finish and roll marks on the slide are just gorgeous. I'm sure there's some old-school Smith & Wesson collectors/shooters here laughing at my rhapsodizing over the bluing on my pitiful Bangor Punta 9mm but to me it's pretty sharp.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:42 PM
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TNZ71 TNZ71 is offline
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Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions  
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I wouldn’t look any further than replacing recoil spring and try a modern magazine. Magazine spring may need replacing.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:43 PM
Sevens Sevens is offline
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Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions  
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For sure, the easiest attempt at a fix would be to try another magazine and the good news is that a 59 will happily accept any/every S&W 1-2-3rd Gen hi-cap double stack 9mm magazine.

So, any other 59, 459, 559, 659 or 5906 or any 59xx variant or even the newest Mec-Gar equivalent will work.

It seems to me that you will need more mags anyway, no matter what, since you will likely add more S&W 1-2-3rd Gens in the future!
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:58 PM
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4T5GUY 4T5GUY is offline
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Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions  
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Nope, no one is laughing.

It's great to hear about recent owners of "new" 59's. I have three different types, and am very happy that I do. I originally just got one for a representative of 1st Gen's, to go along with my 39-2. Of course I had to get a nickel 59 to go with my new nickel 39-2.

They are all perfect running pistols. They really are part of the S&W legacy, and firearms history too. I've got a few S&W pistols, and the 59's always make me happy to see and shoot.

Jim
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Old 05-10-2018, 10:31 PM
warsawpactarmor warsawpactarmor is offline
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Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions Just picked up a Model 59, a few questions  
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Thanks folks! It's funny, I was halfway expecting it to malfunction some, a little (I'm sorry to admit) because of its reputation in some quarters (which I believe may be based largely on the early experiences of police departments and private buyers used to revolvers and shooting wacky '70s JHP 9x19 ammo) but mostly because of the old springs and hurried cleaning and lubrication. However I was really surprised by how easy it was to hit precisely and fast with it. I was expecting and would have been happy with merely acceptable results. Dry-firing it before I took it to the range, the trigger sure felt great but with live ammo I was shooting it as well as I used to shoot my German-made P226 ten years ago with ten-years-younger eyes, vastly superior sights, and thousands of rounds downrange on that particular pistol.

I know the S&W and Mec-Gar 5906 and 459 magazines are backwards-compatible with the 59 - is this true of their springs as well? I'd like to have at least one functional original factory magazine just for appearance's sake and the one I have seems fine other than perhaps its spring. Thanks again for the kind words and advice!
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:51 AM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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Sounds like you actually have a nice Model 59, but with any used semi-automatic pistol, always replace the recoil spring. As far as I know, the recoil spring is the same for the model 39,59, X39, X59, 390X, and 590X. You can spend more money on a Wolff 14 pound recoil spring, but the cheaper S&W springs work just fine. I like to replace the recoil spring in my pistol that have barrel lengths of 4 inches or more every 5000 rounds.

Also, you may have a weak magazine spring. Again, the S&W springs are fine, the Wolff magazine springs, which I do like, are a little stiffer and can sometimes solve a feeding issue.

And as for the single action trigger reset, yes, the S&W's posses a very short and very positive reset. The only trigger reset that might be better is on the 1911, but that's a whole different style of pistol.

Last edited by stansdds; 05-11-2018 at 07:53 AM.
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