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Old 09-11-2020, 06:35 PM
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Default My first M39-2

Had posted several weeks back that I wanted a basic M39 and was more than a little surprised at what they were showing up for on the usual auction sites.

Met a friend this past week who is a large collector and had a few spare 39's and even a 439.
The 439 was sold before I got there, so that left this basic M39-2. SCSW shows the 39's S/N as being a 1977-78 production.

I traded him even a Colt Combat Commander, blued 9mm for it. No box, had work done to it rendering it completely 'unoriginal' and honestly, I was just a little tired of it. We each got two original mags.

Guess I wasn't paying much attention to these guns in 1977-78, but I did not really remember the black plastic grips on 39's. (Delrin - or just plastic?) Remember them on 59's (pretty ugly), but not on 39's.

Got to wring out the 39 on the range and was very pleased. That trigger reset really shines. Accurate and zero bobbles.

Trying to source a good leather CC holster, began to dig through my 'box o' holsters' and found a very good fit from models designed for 3" M1911's.
So, have a Kirkpatrick pancake and a Wild Bill's Speed Scabbard that should work fine.

Now - those grips have gotta go.
I'd be OK with some decent S&W original wood, but a friend has a set of Grashorn stags on his 39 with the S&W escutcheons - SO nice....

Thanks to those who helped me along on my prior post inquiring about M39's.
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:16 PM
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My 39-2 has Wooden Grips with SW emblem - believe they are original - never seen plastic have not seen that many Gen 1 39 series
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Old 09-11-2020, 07:51 PM
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Those look like the same aftermarket resin grips I found on Ebay for my 639. I use them so the original wood grips won't get scratched up and I like black grips on stainless pistols anyway.
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Old 09-11-2020, 08:14 PM
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The original wooden grip panels are fairly easy to find, but as with all things Model 39 related, the prices are going up quickly. Grashorn is making his elk stag grips at pretty reasonable prices if you really want to make it your own.

As for the plastic mag followers, I bought a similar vintage example for my dad from the original owner back in 1979 and that’s what it came with. It’s only been in recent months that I’ve even become aware of the stamped steel followers, nice though they are. I would say the mags are fine but the ugly grips should go.

The other “upgrades“ I did on the gun which I have now inherited from Dad were the fully adjustable sights and an ambidextrous decocker safety from a Model 439. That’s how I made it “mine!” You can pick the features that will make that one “yours.”

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Old 09-11-2020, 09:12 PM
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As for the plastic mag followers, I bought a similar vintage example for my dad from the original owner back in 1979 and thatís what it came with. Itís only been in recent months that Iíve even become aware of the stamped steel followers, nice though they are. I would say the mags are fine but the ugly grips should go.

Froggie.

My understanding was the Metal Followers on Mags were unique to the original Model 39 not the 39-2. Also I understood the original 39 mags with metal followers can be problematic as well as expensive - even more expensive than the correct 39-2 mags with plastic followers which are going at $40+ if you can find them.
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Old 09-12-2020, 06:53 AM
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I'm not in love with those grips, but they are better than those rubber handles.
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:32 AM
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I'm not in love with those grips, but they are better than those rubber handles.
Have to agree. I figured the black plastics were a very late, just-before-the-end of the 39 production factory feature, and since I wasn't a S&W geek then, just took no notice.

Since the s/n shows this as a 1977-78 gun, I can well remember that was a time when nearly standard procedure, especially for a serious working gun was tossing whatever Walnut/Rosewood/Goncalo Alves came on whatever and putting Pachmayrs in place.

Already been surfing eBay. As one would predict - some are listed that really ought to have gone in a dumpster or used for kindling. Some OE's look pretty good and the sellers have priced them like uber-valuable artifacts.
Some are acceptable and priced fairly. A little refinishing would bring them around.

Some made by Thai children look nice and if my bid for OE's doesn't work out may be under strong consideration.

Looked at Grashorns - and of course very nice, but he puts the escutcheons in the wrong place - they're placed like 1911 grips. Looks wrong.
And this 39 has enough wear on it that Grashorns would be like putting a designer dress on the one of the homelier girls in the class.
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:13 AM
gmborkovic gmborkovic is offline
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Hello ACEd, what problem did the metal followers have?
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:07 AM
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Nice Model 39-2! No, the black plastic stocks are not original, the factory stocks for the 39, 39-2, and x39 were wood. As for trigger reset, the S&W design was blessed with a very short and crisp SA reset. The only other pistol that I have used that has a better reset would be high-end or well tuned 1911's.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:38 AM
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Hello ACEd, what problem did the metal followers have?
Iím curious about this too. While most of my 39 series mags have the black ďplasticĒ follower and work smoothly and without problems, I recently acquired one with the stamped steel (ďfigure 8Ē) follower and in what little time Iíve had to shoot it, it has done great. Are you perhaps talking about the very early flat followers used In the very first Pre-Model 39 mags, ACEd? Iíve never even seen one of those and have no experience with how they function.

IIRC, my Model 52 mags have the stamped steel followers and they manage to feed 38 Specials reliably.

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 09-12-2020, 10:57 AM
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Old Corp, I’m curious about the escutcheons being in the wrong place... they have to line up with the screw holes in the frame, don’t they? I haven’t seen them in person, but the pix look nice.

Somebody (maybe Keith44??) had a pair of stags listed on the “For Sale” page a few days ago. They had what knife collectors would call a “pocket worn” finish that would really complement a well loved older 39.

I’ve got some slabs of stag with lots of surface character... I’ve been meaning to drag them out and see whether they are wide enough to use on my 639 Franken-Smith.

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Old 09-12-2020, 11:58 AM
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Old Corp, Iím curious about the escutcheons being in the wrong place... they have to line up with the screw holes in the frame, donít they? I havenít seen them in person, but the pix look nice.
.

Froggie
Froggie - M39 OE wood grips always have the escutcheons just above the top screw hole.
The Grashorn's I saw on his site show the escutcheon dead-center, ala' a M1911. That's what I'm referring to.
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:52 PM
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My first pistol was a 39. Ended up selling it to my brother. Replaced it years later with another which was a former Illinois State Police issued one. The second one was eventually stolen. The first one was a real shooter and I always loved the alloy frame and felt like it was very balanced. For the record, the first oneís safety snapped in half and Smith & Wesson replaced it for free. S&W wanted to analyze the parts even though the pistol was way past them covering any repair. AND..... that was almost 30 years ago when it happened. I havenít replaced it again mainly because of where the prices have gone. Both pistols had wooden grips.


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Old 09-12-2020, 01:54 PM
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Don't know if they would fit or not , but what about 639 wooden grips ?
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:57 PM
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Default An all original 1977 Model 39-2

Mine is an original package for 1977 however was missing a spare magazine. I have not gotten a definitive answer as to whether 39-2 shipped with a spare magazine or not.

Mine came with all box contents and I found a original 39-2 black plastic follower S&W stamped mag off of flea-bay. It was expensive but at least I can hit the range.

Pics show the original wood grips.
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Old 09-12-2020, 02:43 PM
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Hello Charlie, nice clean, complete 39-2. As far as two mags shipped, I can tell you during the 1970s, that every 39-2 we got from the dist. had two mags. Spare wrapped in paper. They came in with a spare and they left with the customer with the spare. Nice gun.
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Old 09-12-2020, 04:01 PM
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Don't know if they would fit or not , but what about 639 wooden grips ?
Actually that was a common frame shape so that several S&W autos used the same grips - even the M52 .38 Spl. Wadcutter target pistol used those grips, along with the 439, 639, etc.
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Old 09-12-2020, 11:16 PM
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Old Corp, are you commenting on the location of the medallion that shows the S&W logo? The escutcheons are the metal cups that surround the screw heads to strengthen the grip material and keep them from wearing through as the screws are tightened. I think if you asked Mr Grashorn he might make you a pair of grips with the medallions located wherever you wanted them. I've actually considered leaving them off altogether.

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Old 09-13-2020, 09:20 AM
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Old Corp, are you commenting on the location of the medallion that shows the S&W logo? The escutcheons are the metal cups that surround the screw heads to strengthen the grip material and keep them from wearing through as the screws are tightened. I think if you asked Mr Grashorn he might make you a pair of grips with the medallions located wherever you wanted them. I've actually considered leaving them off altogether.

Froggie
I guess I've been using the terms 'escutcheon' and 'medallion' interchangeably.
Your reference to the threaded device the grip screws pass through have always been 'bushings' in my world.

From my understanding escutcheons are also called medallions.
IMO, you'll see the term medallion used more than escutcheon because about as many people mis-spell escutcheon as they do the word Pachmayr.

BTW - for reasons unknown, I admire really nice 'medallions' on well turned out grips, be they S&W, Ruger, Colt, etc.

Others chime in!
If I'm wrong, it will not be the first time, and I'm OK with being corrected - I'm married.
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Old 09-13-2020, 09:28 AM
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Just another observation about 39 series grips. Many of the second and third generation guns have the ambidextrous safety/decocking lever, so those grips will have a notch in the top rear corner of the right grip panel to accommodate the right side lever. Original, unaltered grips from Model 39s and 52s lack this relief cut. I probably committed a sacrilege on Dad’s 39 when I added that cut, but he was left handed and wanted the ambi safety. I’m not planning on selling it anyway!

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Old 09-13-2020, 09:38 AM
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Old Corp, far be it from me to be the dictionary police, but I had to make sure we were reading from the same page. When you look up the definition of the word escutcheon, all the definitions are likely to include some mention of a hole in the middle for a key (probably the earliest definition) or a screw or bolt to go through. Thatís why I was confused about your statement... the screw holes and their escutcheons have to be in the right place to work!

That being established, I now assume you mean Grashorn mounts the silvery or golden medallion near the center of the grips, between the screws instead of at the top like the OEM grips? I would agree that probably wouldnít be all that great looking. The only reason I can think of would be for strength, but sometimes form must trump function.

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