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#3725404 - 01/27/10 Smith & Wesson model 59

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 133
Loc: NC, USA
Just received a model 59 9mm smith and wesson pistol. Can anyone tell me if this is a good pistol, reliable?

What type of ammo should I shoot for defense. 124 or 115 grain?


RV 728 BP
#3725593 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: BANGFLOP]
T LEE Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 02/20/01
Posts: 72288
Loc: Punta Gorda, FL
Good pistol if a bit bulky in the handle for me, I would use the 115's for SD. They are a bit faster and usually open up well.
George Orwell was a PROPHET, not a novelist!!!

Old cat turd!

#3725601 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: BANGFLOP]
wildhobbybobby Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 12/27/09
Posts: 2576
Loc: Michigan Yooper
I owned a couple and they were reliable with ammo that was somewhere near the length of a ball round. Mine didn't like short 95 grain HP ammo. I would expect the 59 to work fine with any 115 gr. or heavier bullet. Most any modern JHP would be OK. Sources I respect say the CorBon DPX 115 gr. +P is the best defensive round in 9mm, but there are lots of other good loads.. However, the 59 was made prior to +P and +P+ ammo availability and if it was mine, I would use a standard pressure 115 gr. load like the new Hornady Critical Defense load or the Speer Gold Dot.

They are nice pistols but a bit more finicky about ammo than later guns.

Edited by wildhobbybobby (01/27/10)
Life is like a purple antelope on a field of tuna fish...

#3725919 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: wildhobbybobby]
runninmike Offline

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 112
Loc: Native Montanan in TX
that's a dang good old 9mm

#3725928 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: runninmike]
redcloud Offline

Registered: 01/02/10
Posts: 34
Loc: SW Wyoming
I have a 59 and a 39. I think the 39 S&W 9MM was S&Ws first modern auto. The 59 was made for the Navy as I recall. I like the 39 better. Its smaller. They both will shoot anything I put in them. I prefer the 115.

#3726259 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: redcloud]
41magfan Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 11/18/09
Posts: 972
Loc: NC Foothills
I had a Model 59 back in the 70's - it shot OK. As noted previously, most of S&W's 1st Generation centerfire pistols could be a bit ammo sensitive. If you stay with standard weight loadings between 115-125 grains they were pretty reliable. Most 1st Gen pistols performed best if well lubricated, as well.
The uninitiated are always easily impressed.

#3727487 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: BANGFLOP]
Eremicus Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 18881
Loc: Placerville,CA,USA
I knew several rather well. Their owners found them very nice but they would not take much really hot NATO class ammo. By today's standards that would be the +P+ stuff.
Ditto with the 90 gr. ammo such as the Super-Vel stuff of that era. Some of them, anyway, wouldn't feed it reliably. If your's won't, it will show up in 20-50 rds.
All this doesn't mean it's not a good gun, it just needs to have some testing. Even the modern designs sometimes are flawed. E

#3727799 - 01/27/10 Re: Smith & Wesson model 59 [Re: Eremicus]

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 133
Loc: NC, USA
Thanks for the input! VERY helpful. Took her to the range today . The gun was already very dirty, so I left it that way just to see how it would perform. I picked up some Winchester 115gr fmj 100 pack from walmart. (white box) Out of 100, three had a very low report and failed to eject the case. When I extracted the fired case I got a handful of green powder looking stuff in my hand. I also picked up some Federal 115gr JHP's all the FMJ (except for the 3) and all the 115 gr JHP's feed flawless and I was surprized at how accurite and easy to handle this little pistol was. I was plinking at 6" steel popers and had no problems. Some of you mentioned the fat handle. I does feel alittle big in my hands until I shoot it, then it is quite comfertable.

Over all I think it will be a great little gun.


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