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Old 04-02-2022, 01:05 PM
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Default Model 639 early style - some rookie questions

While I still like and enjoy my Browning Hi-Power double stack 9mm, some years back I came into a Smith & Wesson Model 39 and instantly took a shine to it. Even though single stack it was equal to my BHP in handling and accuracy, and you can't beat blue steel (slide at least) and walnut.

Or...so I thought until recently coming into a Model 639. Cosmetically, the stainless frame and slide and magazine(s) are attractive, and it handles almost the same as my Model 39. Trigger seems same under dry fire, haven't had it to the range yet.

Since I could never find a owners manual (original or repro) for my Model 39, and I realize that the 639 is 2nd Generation I thought you experts would know some answers to my questions

I downloaded off the Inet years ago a disassembly instruction for a Model 59 that said it was the same as a Model 39. Is this instruction also valid for 639? I ask because I don't honestly know the difference between 1st and 2nd Gen and I don't want some spring or small part jumping out and getting lost.

I only got the gun and two original stainless 8 round mags. No box or docs so don't know product codes, hence more questions. S/N A 8304XX puts it 1983 per SCSW 4th but this one seems to be "early" style with rounded trigger guard. Can you confirm if these early styles are usually good to go mechanically, or was there problems causing S&W to change quickly to squared off, "saw tooth" trigger guard?

There is a left side "safety" lever, but the right side has a hole in slotted round piece. Is this open because the safety is ambidextrous and can be changed out for lefties? Is there a "cover" (i.e. plastic or stainless) that pushes into the center hole to keep out dirt and crud?

The 639 has the same extractor (short and narrow) as my 39-2 so am I correct in thinking no problems like the wider long ones had in 1st Gen?

The magazines are nice and tight and the one doesn't even appear to have been used at all. Both have "Y" fork black plastic followers, and S & W stamped on the floorplate. Am I correct in thinking they are original to 2nd Gen 639?

I got this from a pawn shop who really doesn't know much about S&W semi's had no box, docs, or info of value. Negotiated price was right for me (close to $600 OTD) for gun and 2 original mags, but I really need to minimum field strip under better lights here at home, and maybe detail strip if warranted before hitting the range. With grips off there are zero signs of any rust, pitting, even grime that comes with age, usually under the grips (walnut originals), so I was pleasantly surprised.

Lastly do any of you have an idea where I might obtain a owners manual and possibly a "cover" (if it has a name and part no. I don't know) for the right side safety lever hole.

I need to fully understand the operation of this "safety" before any loaded range time. With empty mag inserted, rack the slide puts hammer at full cock, pushing down with left thumb on safety lever, releases the hammer and full bang would occur..so there is clearly something I'm not understanding about this device. Please enlighten me if you would be so kind.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for any replies to this "S&W semi rookie"
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Mod 39-2 left side.jpg (61.0 KB, 105 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 639 a.jpg (59.1 KB, 127 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 39-2 right side.jpg (65.3 KB, 100 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 639 b.jpg (63.4 KB, 138 views)
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Old 04-02-2022, 01:36 PM
gmborkovic gmborkovic is offline
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Hello Charlie B, nice gun. I have a 639 upper on a 39-2 frame.
Should have a screw in lever on the right side. Try some of the parts stores. Just keep the screw tight. They will work loose.
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Old 04-02-2022, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
While I still like and enjoy my Browning Hi-Power double stack 9mm, some years back I came into a Smith & Wesson Model 39 and instantly took a shine to it. Even though single stack it was equal to my BHP in handling and accuracy, and you can't beat blue steel (slide at least) and walnut.

Or...so I thought until recently coming into a Model 639. Cosmetically, the stainless frame and slide and magazine(s) are attractive, and it handles almost the same as my Model 39. Trigger seems same under dry fire, haven't had it to the range yet.

Since I could never find a owners manual (original or repro) for my Model 39, and I realize that the 639 is 2nd Generation I thought you experts would know some answers to my questions

I downloaded off the Inet years ago a disassembly instruction for a Model 59 that said it was the same as a Model 39. Is this instruction also valid for 639? I ask because I don't honestly know the difference between 1st and 2nd Gen and I don't want some spring or small part jumping out and getting lost.
Essentially the same for field stripping.

As to detail stripping, 2nd gen (639) has a firing pin safety and 1st gen (39/59) does not.


Quote:
I only got the gun and two original stainless 8 round mags. No box or docs so don't know product codes, hence more questions. S/N A 8304XX puts it 1983 per SCSW 4th but this one seems to be "early" style with rounded trigger guard. Can you confirm if these early styles are usually good to go mechanically, or was there problems causing S&W to change quickly to squared off, "saw tooth" trigger guard?
No problems.

S&W changed to the hooked trigger guard because it was fashionable at the time.

It went out of fashion so they changed back.

Quote:
There is a left side "safety" lever, but the right side has a hole in slotted round piece. Is this open because the safety is ambidextrous and can be changed out for lefties? Is there a "cover" (i.e. plastic or stainless) that pushes into the center hole to keep out dirt and crud?
Your 639 is set up with an ambidextrous (or dual sided) safety, and yours is missing the right side lever and its attaching screw.

They were notorious for the screw shooting loose and the lever getting lost.

They can sometimes be found at Numrich, Midway, or Brownells.

Quote:
The 639 has the same extractor (short and narrow) as my 39-2 so am I correct in thinking no problems like the wider long ones had in 1st Gen?
You are correct.

Quote:
The magazines are nice and tight and the one doesn't even appear to have been used at all. Both have "Y" fork black plastic followers, and S & W stamped on the floorplate. Am I correct in thinking they are original to 2nd Gen 639?
They sound correct, but I would need to see pictures.

Quote:
I got this from a pawn shop who really doesn't know much about S&W semi's had no box, docs, or info of value. Negotiated price was right for me (close to $600 OTD) for gun and 2 original mags, but I really need to minimum field strip under better lights here at home, and maybe detail strip if warranted before hitting the range. With grips off there are zero signs of any rust, pitting, even grime that comes with age, usually under the grips (walnut originals), so I was pleasantly surprised.

Lastly do any of you have an idea where I might obtain a owners manual and possibly a "cover" (if it has a name and part no. I don't know) for the right side safety lever hole.
Someone probably has a pdf file on the O.M.

The "cover" you seek is the right side safety lever mentioned earlier.

Quote:
I need to fully understand the operation of this "safety" before any loaded range time. With empty mag inserted, rack the slide puts hammer at full cock, pushing down with left thumb on safety lever, releases the hammer and full bang would occur..so there is clearly something I'm not understanding about this device. Please enlighten me if you would be so kind.
Your S&W safety is a "hammer drop" safety.

It drops the hammer while simultaneously blocking the hammer from striking the firing pin.

Quote:
Thanks for listening, and thanks for any replies to this "S&W semi rookie"
You're welcome!

John
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Old 04-02-2022, 04:01 PM
jsbethel jsbethel is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
I only got the gun and two original stainless 8 round mags. No box or docs but I really need to minimum field strip under better lights here at home, and maybe detail strip if warranted before hitting the range.
Lastly do any of you have an idea where I might obtain a owners manual and possibly a "cover" (if it has a name and part no. I don't know) for the right side safety lever hole.
http://www.marxcollector.com/S_W/S&W_459.pdf

The single-sided safety body is available from Numrich - Safety, Manual | Gun Parts Corp.

The ambi lever and screw are not available.


Your pistol falls within the serial number range of a recall -

RECALL: This warning is issued for Smith & Wesson 9mm Semiautomatic Pistols which were shipped from the factory between May 1, 1983 and February 26, 1986. Included are Models 439, 459, 469, 539, 559, 639, 659 and 669 but only with serial numbers in the following ranges:

A745000-A865000 and TAA0001-TAL9999

The pistols within the serial number ranges listed above must be inspected for function from the half-cock notch. The safety mechanism will function in a perfectly satisfactory manner in many of these pistols, as well as in all pistols with serial numbers outside these ranges and in all pistols shipped from the factory after February 26, 1986.

Every one of these models bearing a serial number within the ranges listed above should be carefully inspected by the owner for this special condition. To determine if your pistol has this condition, do the following:
1.Point the muzzle in a safe direction.
2.Completely unload the pistol. Check both the magazine and chamber to assure they are empty of live rounds.
3.With your finger off the trigger, operate the manual safety with the unloaded pistol fully cocked and fully uncocked so that you can recognize how the manual safety looks and feels when it is fully in the safe position. The hammer will fall from the fully cocked position into the "at rest" position when the manual safety is moved down toward a safe position. When you are thoroughly familiar with placing the manual safety fully in the safe position, place it up in the fire position.
4.With the manual safety in the fire position, place the hammer in the half-cock notch:

For the Model 439, 459, 539, 559, 639 and 659, put the hammer of your pistol in the half-cock notch by pulling the hammer to the rear slowly until you hear the first click and then releasing the hammer so that it catches between the full cock and the "at rest" position.

For the Model 469 and 669, put the hammer of your pistol in the half-cock notch by inserting an empty magazine and slowly pulling the trigger until you hear the first click and then releasing the trigger so that the hammer catches between the full cock and the "at rest" position.
5.With the hammer in the half-cock notch, push the manual safety down toward the safe position. If you can push the manual safety fully into the safe position and the hammer falls into the "at rest" position, your pistol does not require modification. If you cannot push the manual safety fully into the safe position or the hammer does not fall into the "at rest" position, your pistol is being recalled for modification free of charge.

Recalled pistols should be sent promptly to a Smith & Wesson Warranty Service Center for modification. Call 800-331-0852 for the name and location of the one nearest you or for answers to any questions you may have. Law enforcement departments who have pistols, which exhibit this condition, should contact the Smith & Wesson Service Department to arrange for modifying the pistols.

Last edited by jsbethel; 04-02-2022 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 04-02-2022, 08:23 PM
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Congratulations on getting the gun I personally regard as the finest 9mm semi-auto S&W ever built. Others may argue, but we know, don't we? Get all the checks done for safety then buy a bunch of ammo... you'll need it because this gun is so much fun to shoot. My 639 was the basis of an ongoing project I refer to as my "Franken-Smith".
BTW, my 39-2 had a post factory ambi safety, and I too lost the right side lever and screw. Bummer! I know it's annoying to have that slot and empty screw hole, but your pistol will work perfectly fine without the second safety lever. If you can't find a replacement lever and screw, you might spring for a complete Gen 3 ambi safety that uses a pin and spring instead of the screw to secure the right side lever. Problem solved.

Froggie

PS I’m adding a picture of “Frankie”. If you look closely you can see the difference between the Gen 2 safety with a screw on one of his slides and the Gen 3 safety with just a pinhole on the other one. Like the monster that inspired his name, “Frankie” is still a work in progress with parts being changed etc.
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File Type: jpg 2A94964B-7DC7-41DC-A04B-BDA38CE2B4ED.jpg (40.4 KB, 56 views)

Last edited by Green Frog; 04-02-2022 at 08:32 PM. Reason: Add PS and picture
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Old 04-03-2022, 09:43 AM
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Default Model 639 old recall- still some questions

This Forum always amazes me..so many good folks, vast "been there, done that" expert knowledge, always willing to help other people with top drawer advice, tips.

All of the above posters deserve my most sincere thanks for helping me get my "new to me" Model 639 up and running after my many questions yesterday. Thanks to JohnHL for the detailed disassembly Manual on this 639 (which is different than the Model 39 one I had), and the nice answers to my questions, and thanks to jsbethel for the recall info. as well.

I did search the parts houses and found what you all were saying, that is the safety lever and screw for the right side are simply not available, and the available single side safety body is more $ than I want to spend for cosmetics, so I'm going to run as is for now.

I did very carefully, and repeatedly, perform the test noted in jsbethel's post, and I printed off a copy of the recall from the AFTE Journal July 1986.

Important to note that my 639 SEEMS to operate correctly with empty mag, empty chamber in that yes from safety lever in up position (fire), it can be physically pushed to lower position (safe) AFTER I have slowly pulled the hammer back to first click (half cock). At this point the hammer has dropped to the "at-rest" position which I THINK is about 1/16" away from full down hammer position.

I have to say I think I'm seeing "at rest" but I'm still not sure. When I just engage the safety it does indeed drop the hammer, then when I push the safety lever up with my thumb (like I was going to fire the gun) I do notice that the hammer moves towards the firing pin about 1/16" or so and the rigger now has resistance and will pull through in DA.

What I'm still not positive about is that little drop from at rest to full down seems to be pretty healthful (not in noise audible, rather than appearance) Is this drop enough to allow the firing pin to engage a primer enough to cause a discharge?

I'm going to maybe attempt the same movements with some 9mm snap caps to see if I'm OK.

I have inspected the frame closely and cannot find ANY factory rework marks, and I don't see the typical two dot (punch marks) that would indicate this gun was factory repaired.

Are there any members out there who may have had the factory recall accomplished and can post a pic of the factory marks. My understanding from seeing a 2017 post was that the factory replaced the sear release lever to satisfy this recall.

I'll probably call S&W Customer Service in the morning, but getting answers has been hit or miss with previous calls, and I'm not sure anyone is still employed that can help with older discontinued models like this.

Finally do you folks that actively shoot the Model 639 run the gun wet or dry as to lube on the slide. I don't have a Owners Manual for my 39-2 or this 639, and I do run my BHP and WWII 1911A1's on the wet side with Rem Oil. I don't use slide grease as I was never taught that way.

Some magazine pics are attached. I believe they are original to this gun.

Again........thank you all for the great advice and tips!!!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Mod 639 left frame a.jpg (69.6 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 639 right frame.jpg (108.6 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 639 mags -a.jpg (71.1 KB, 30 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 639 mags -b.jpg (36.0 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg Mod 639 mags -d.jpg (100.0 KB, 34 views)
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Old 04-03-2022, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
I'm going to maybe attempt the same movements with some 9mm snap caps to see if I'm OK.
You might consider using an old fashioned #2 wood pencil. Drop it, eraser first, into the barrel. Point pistol at ceiling. If the firing pin launches the pencil upward, it would detonate a primer. Obviously, empty gun and magazine, no live ammo anywhere in the room.
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Old 04-03-2022, 03:38 PM
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Since I have used 3 different slides with my 639 (the original, a 439 and a 915 slide) I take a stronger approach to testing the hammer drop safeties. I size and prime an empty shell case and put it in the chamber of my otherwise unloaded gun and try the hammer drop at least a couple of times, then fire the primed case to prove to myself all is as it should be. Pointed in a safe direction all along, this is a perfectly safe but quite positive test for function of the fire control group.

I tend to run mine fairly dry... just the lightest touch of oil or grease on the rails. More than this just tends to be unnecessarily messy.

BTW, both single and double stack versions of all three generations of these guns have their proponents, but the single stack seems to give the most natural comfortable fit to the hands of the most shooters, and to me, at least, the Gen 2 in stainless just seems to check all the boxes to be the best all around 9mm out there. I hope you'll enjoy yours as much as I have mine.

Froggie
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Old 04-03-2022, 03:45 PM
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What model in stainless marked the mag body with a "S"?
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Last edited by gmborkovic; 04-03-2022 at 03:57 PM. Reason: expand
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Old 04-03-2022, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
This Forum always amazes me..so many good folks, vast "been there, done that" expert knowledge, always willing to help other people with top drawer advice, tips.

All of the above posters deserve my most sincere thanks for helping me get my "new to me" Model 639 up and running after my many questions yesterday. Thanks to JohnHL for the detailed disassembly Manual on this 639 (which is different than the Model 39 one I had), and the nice answers to my questions, and thanks to jsbethel for the recall info. as well.
You're welcome, Charlie!

And to give credit where it is due, it was jsbethel who provided the link to the excellent disassembly manual.

Quote:
I did search the parts houses and found what you all were saying, that is the safety lever and screw for the right side are simply not available, and the available single side safety body is more $ than I want to spend for cosmetics, so I'm going to run as is for now.

I did very carefully, and repeatedly, perform the test noted in jsbethel's post, and I printed off a copy of the recall from the AFTE Journal July 1986.

Important to note that my 639 SEEMS to operate correctly with empty mag, empty chamber in that yes from safety lever in up position (fire), it can be physically pushed to lower position (safe) AFTER I have slowly pulled the hammer back to first click (half cock). At this point the hammer has dropped to the "at-rest" position which I THINK is about 1/16" away from full down hammer position.

I have to say I think I'm seeing "at rest" but I'm still not sure. When I just engage the safety it does indeed drop the hammer, then when I push the safety lever up with my thumb (like I was going to fire the gun) I do notice that the hammer moves towards the firing pin about 1/16" or so and the rigger now has resistance and will pull through in DA.
Your 639 is operating correctly and the recall repair is not needed.

Quote:
What I'm still not positive about is that little drop from at rest to full down seems to be pretty healthful (not in noise audible, rather than appearance) Is this drop enough to allow the firing pin to engage a primer enough to cause a discharge?

I'm going to maybe attempt the same movements with some 9mm snap caps to see if I'm OK.
That is exactly the way your pistol should operate, so there is no cause for concern.

Two things that will allay your fears:

1) The 2nd gens incorporate a firing pin safety that blocks the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear, so the hammer can not move the firing pin even if it struck it hard.

This is unlike the the 1st gens (39/59) that have no firing pin safety and the firing pin can impact a primer if dropped.

2) Perform the "pencil test" as described by Jeppo to prove all is well.

Quote:
I have inspected the frame closely and cannot find ANY factory rework marks, and I don't see the typical two dot (punch marks) that would indicate this gun was factory repaired.

Are there any members out there who may have had the factory recall accomplished and can post a pic of the factory marks. My understanding from seeing a 2017 post was that the factory replaced the sear release lever to satisfy this recall.

I'll probably call S&W Customer Service in the morning, but getting answers has been hit or miss with previous calls, and I'm not sure anyone is still employed that can help with older discontinued models like this.
Again, your pistol was "fixed" before it left the factory so no "witness marks" would be present.

Quote:
Finally do you folks that actively shoot the Model 639 run the gun wet or dry as to lube on the slide. I don't have a Owners Manual for my 39-2 or this 639, and I do run my BHP and WWII 1911A1's on the wet side with Rem Oil. I don't use slide grease as I was never taught that way.
Stay towards the "dry" side.

Very little lube is needed.

A little on the frame rails, a small drop on the barrel bushing, a small drop on the hammer pivot.

Quote:
Some magazine pics are attached. I believe they are original to this gun.
Those appear to be the correct mags for your pistol.

Quote:
Again........thank you all for the great advice and tips!!!!
And a gracious "You're welcome" to a gracious member.

John
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Old 04-07-2022, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmborkovic View Post
What model in stainless marked the mag body with a "S"?
Mike,
The one stainless mag that came with my 639 and the two I bought afterward specifically for it looked like a stainless version of the lat 39-2 mags, down to the style of the stainless base plate. Each one has a black plastic follower and a capital S down near the bottom of the right(?) side IIRC. BTW, I also got a Metalloy treated single stack mag with the steel X-follower (and of course no S).
As we have said here previously it seems like any 39-series mag will fit in any first or second generation 39 series pistol and work well.
Froggie
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Old 06-20-2022, 02:14 PM
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Thanks, jsbethel for your post above: http://smith-wessonforum.com/141435084-post4.html

I just got around to checking my 559 and found it fails the described assessment. With the hammer on half cock, the safety/decocker lever won't move fully to the safe position and the hammer doesn't move off half cock.

I don't see this as a significant safety issue, particularly one that merited a recall. I could be overlooking something significant. I guess it would be preferable to be able to lower the hammer and safe the gun if half-cock caught the hammer. But it seems simple enough to drop the magazine and eject the round in that situation. Alternatively, one could pull the hammer back and then drop it with the hammer drop/safety lever. With my gun, that drops the hammer to the safe position and not all the way down to the firing pin. Perhaps that's not a guaranteed outcome with pistols having this defect.

It may be this is all about an "inoperable safety" when the hammer is on half-cock. Probably a corporate liability concern, but I don't see it as a problem for my use - unless I'm missing something.
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Old 06-20-2022, 04:43 PM
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Congrats on your 639 pistol. I purchased mine in 1984 new for my off duty weapon. I was lucky enough to have a S&W Armorer in our dept. who repaired my ambi safety as I am left handed. I have thousands of rounds thru that gun without any failure to fire or ambi problems. Enjoy!
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Old 06-20-2022, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Krogen View Post
Thanks, jsbethel for your post above: http://smith-wessonforum.com/141435084-post4.html



I just got around to checking my 559 and found it fails the described assessment. With the hammer on half cock, the safety/decocker lever won't move fully to the safe position and the hammer doesn't move off half cock.



I don't see this as a significant safety issue, particularly one that merited a recall. I could be overlooking something significant. I guess it would be preferable to be able to lower the hammer and safe the gun if half-cock caught the hammer. But it seems simple enough to drop the magazine and eject the round in that situation. Alternatively, one could pull the hammer back and then drop it with the hammer drop/safety lever. With my gun, that drops the hammer to the safe position and not all the way down to the firing pin. Perhaps that's not a guaranteed outcome with pistols having this defect.



It may be this is all about an "inoperable safety" when the hammer is on half-cock. Probably a corporate liability concern, but I don't see it as a problem for my use - unless I'm missing something.
I have the same issue with mine - hesitant to send a irreplaceable pistol back via USPS for recall/repair.


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Old 06-20-2022, 06:45 PM
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I never knew about the recall until I read this thread. The 639 I picked up a couple of weeks ago failed the test, but I'm not going to send a pistol that has been out of production for over 35 years back to S&W, even if they'll take it, for a problem that really doesn't affect me. My 639 shoots well, the safety/decocker works as designed, and now I'm aware of the issue with the hammer at half-cock (IMO a potential, not an actual, problem deserving of a recall).
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Old 06-20-2022, 09:47 PM
RWJ RWJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
I did search the parts houses and found what you all were saying, that is the safety lever and screw for the right side are simply not available, and the available single side safety body is more $ than I want to spend for cosmetics, so I'm going to run as is for now.

FWIW, GunPartsCorp does show the right side lever for the Model 669 (Part # 335050), which should fit the same as yours, I think , but no screw, as well as some blued ones for the various blued guns of the same general configuration (469, Part # 335020, 539 & 559, Part #326870), that might possibly work. Locating the screw would be another matter, as the original was probably a Phillips head (thread pitch unknown), but you might be able to find one of similar size, perhaps of the Allen-variety.


Just a thought


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Old 06-21-2022, 11:18 AM
JohnHL JohnHL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Save Ferrous! View Post
Looking at the parts, I would bet all they do on the recall is machine off the half-cock hook that traps the sear and leave it as a shelf that lets decock happen. So no new parts.
They fit a new sear release lever.

No machining of anything.

John
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Old 06-21-2022, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Save Ferrous! View Post
Hmmmm. I wonder how it pushes the hammer off the sear with the hook in the way?

Will model 39s decock from half cock?

The main spring (hammer spring) pushes on the hammer at all times, trying to force the hammer to the at-rest position.

It is the sear which catches on the single action notch (to allow single action firing) and the half cock notch in the event of an inadvertent hammer fall.

The sear release lever (if properly fitted) pushes the sear clear of the both the single action notch and the half cock notch on the hammer to facilitate de-cocking.

John
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Old 06-24-2022, 07:17 PM
Danny Abernathy Danny Abernathy is offline
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That safety does not use a screw!! There is a small spring with a cap that fits over the spring and then slips into the matching hole in the lever as it is put into the slots on the safety itself. To remove this a small rod or pin is inserted into the hole in the lever holding the spring down allowing the lever to be taken off.
I may have all the parts you need to put this together but please don't try to put a screw in there.
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