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My new piece of backpacking kit - A long-winded, pic-heavy review of my new S&W Model 69 Login/Join 
Bolt Thrower
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I meant to ask about the chronograph results.
 
Posts: 9273 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Voshterkoff:
I meant to ask about the chronograph results.


LOL, sorry I misunderstood. Here's what I have so far, with the few bullets at my disposal. I'm still looking for a good heavy hard-cast bullet to use for a hiking load...most of the stuff I have is more suited for light-magnum practice loads. I haven't been able to find any factory ammo locally that interests me, yet, either.

212gr LRNFP over 10.0gr Unique: 985 fps
212gr LRNFP over 12.5gr Unique (was getting pressure signs with this one, not going to load it again): 1234 fps
212gr LRNFP over 20.5gr 2400: 1106 fps
212gr LRNFP over 21.5gr 2400: 1222 fps
212gr LRNFP over 27gr H110: 1336 fps

240gr LRNFP over 19.8gr 2400: 1159 fps

240gr XTP over 9.2gr Unique: 870 fps
240gr XTP over 10.0gr Unique: 943 fps
240gr XTP over 19.0gr 2400: 1006 fps
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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Interesting, that’s definitely a good revolver for actually toting around. I don’t have enough trigger time on revolvers to rely on one for bear defense. My frame of comparison will be 10mm and .460Rowland. Buffalo Bore and 460 Rowland both note difficulty in getting projectiles. Will you be looking at hardcast, copper, or something else?
 
Posts: 9273 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I tried three sets of Pachmeyrs before I gave up. They all were like that. They are not the same as they were 15 years ago. And this was for two different frame sizes, N and L. If you can find an old set on eBay they will work better.




Regards,

P.
 
Posts: 1220 | Location: Alabama | Registered: May 20, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm planning on something heavy and hard-cast, although with the market being what it is, I'll probably have to take what I can get.

As to the grips, Pachmayr support said they'd send me a new set. We'll see how that works out. So far they've been very responsive and helpful.
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Two things on the grips. Take the screw out and see if the trigger pull is lighter without it. On my Mountain Gun the spring pressed on the screw and threw the trigger pull all out of whack.

My solution was to leave it out. I used a little clear silicone adhesive and some electrical tape until it dries. No screw, no gaps. Been using the gun that way for about 25 years now, had them off and re-"glued" them a few times.

Been meaning to buy a 69 since they came out. The short version really convinced me. But I still haven't. I sold my 696 because it wasn't that much lighter than my MG. Other things have taken the MG's main job as well, so I really don't need a 69. The reason I haven't bought one. But it may be time to throw reason out the window.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: cas,


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Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.

 
Posts: 18937 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 92fstech:

240gr XTP over 10.0gr Unique: 943 fps

My go-to load for 240gr soft points is 10.0gr of Unique. I get roughly 1100ft/sec out of my 4" Mountain Gun, and 1400 out of the Marlin. Haven't clocked them in the 6" 29 but I'm guessing it's somewhere in between.

It's a great load IMO. Enough to ruin the day of just about anything and light enough to shoot comfortably.


________________________________________________________

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
 
Posts: 16771 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Gustofer:
quote:
Originally posted by 92fstech:

240gr XTP over 10.0gr Unique: 943 fps

My go-to load for 240gr soft points is 10.0gr of Unique. I get roughly 1100ft/sec out of my 4" Mountain Gun, and 1400 out of the Marlin. Haven't clocked them in the 6" 29 but I'm guessing it's somewhere in between.

It's a great load IMO. Enough to ruin the day of just about anything and light enough to shoot comfortably.


Yep, I think that's where I'm going to settle for my XTP load. More oomf than your average .44spcl, but still plenty shootable. IMO it's a good velocity for an expanding bullet. Guess I need to put together some gel and test that theory. It's been a few years since I've done that. Sounds like you're getting about 150 fps more out of that longer barrel in your Mountain Gun. I looked at those, too (because once upon a time they made a model 25/625 variant in .45 Colt)...but the prices people are asking these days are insane!

You also make a good point...I need a Marlin to go with this Big Grin. I already have one in .45 Colt, .45-70, .357, .30-30, and .22LR...seems like a .44 Mag is in order. I passed on a nice used 1894C for $500 a year or so ago because I thought I'd never get into .44 Mag. Wish I'd bought it now. I have JMs and Remlins both...maybe this could be my first Ruglin (if Ruger ever gets around to putting them out)!

Cas, thanks for the tips on the grips. We'll see what the new set looks like, and if they're not any better, it may come to that. I made the mistake of loctiting the screw on the current set, and now the nut is turning in the grips and it won't come out. Guess that'll be a fun little project when the new grips get here.
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Staring back
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quote:
Originally posted by 92fstech:
I need a Marlin to go with this

Yes. You do. Wink

As much as I like my 44s, I have to echo your appreciation of the 45 Colt. When I got my SAA I had to get a lever to go along with it and found a Cowboy Limited on gunbroker. Paid too much for it, but it is a sweetie, and smooth as butter. Both it and the SAA are more fun to shoot than I should be allowed to have.


________________________________________________________

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
 
Posts: 16771 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great review, 92FS....I too have a M69 Smith, (actually I've had two...son #2 got my first one and I quickly replaced it)...both of mine are/were 4" bbl'd. The newer accompanied us on a raft down the Middle Fork of the Snake in ID this summer.

Mine's been a good/great gun...heavy in recoil with full house loads (Magnum brass: 21.0 of 2400 with a 240 gr LSWC), but entirely comfortable with my usual (Skelton's .44 Spl load: 7.5 gr of Unique with a 240 gr LSWC for 950+ fps).

Both of mine improved markedly in DA with use. More so than most Smith's I've owned. And like yours, the SA was excellent & just a bit over 3 lbs...I'd not like it any lighter in fact. BTW, I've put 1500 rounds through the 1st gun and 500 through the 2nd.

Accuracy is ~2" from a rest at 25 yds with both hand cast LSWC's and Hornady's 240 gr XTP. And both guns surprised me with DA groups just a bit larger than my SA efforts. For carry where bears are not a factor, I really like the 200 gr version of the XTP, as it's much easier in recoil and expansion in water filled jugs is better.

I'm good with the issue grips from Smith, & consider them much better than the old hunk of wood called "Target" grips around since the early '80's. The much older S&W "Coke Bottle" types from post WW2 til the 80's were noticeably slimmer. But these new ones from Smith (yep...fugly as all get out) do a fine job in my use; eliminating 2nd knuckle rap while easing web abuse as well. I like 'em...but, Geez, they're FUGLY!!

Lastly and for me, and right up there in importance is the lt. weight...38 oz unloaded in my 4" bbl'd models...just about the same as my M66 and M19 Smiths...and that's about my personal limit for an all-day carry side arm. We're on a farm here in KY and my carry gun spends its days in an OWB of my own making. These Smith M69's ride comfortably at 4 o'clock no matter what I'm riding or working on..but its safe mate, a M629 5" with full lug stays locked up due to its much heavier weight.

For my use in back country & fishing, I carry in a cross chest Tanker rig that makes it handy and doesn't interfere with my back cast. This spring, up in the Smokies trout fishing, we carried both a handgun and bear spray for the large number of blk bears present...saw none but there was bear scat all over the trails.

Thanks for an excellent review...best regards Rod PS: here's my Marlin in .44 Mag...yep...they made 'em in 336's for awhile.



5th Spl Forces, Air Force Bird Dog FAC, lll Corps RVN 69-70.... We enjoy the Bill of Rights through and by the sacrifice of our veterans;
Politicians, Preachers, Educators, Journalists and Community Organizers are beneficiaries, not defenders of our freedoms.
 
Posts: 649 | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A rafting trip down the Snake sounds like a great time! My kids are finally getting old enough for us to consider something like that....we may need to do something like that at some point. Did you get any fishing in on the trip, and if so how was it?

The 2 3/4" barrel definitely seems to be a limiter as far as velocity. I don't know...maybe I should have opted for the 4". The shorter barrel makes it a lot more likely that I'll actually carry it, though. I have a 4" GP100 that is an awesome gun, and I love taking it to the range, but I never seem to carry it. It's heavy, and the longer barrel is hard to conceal...it sticks out from under my shirts (a shirt problem, I know, but I'm 6' 5" and it seems like all the shirt companies only make shirts bigger around, rather than longer as they go up in size!).

That's a BEAUTIFUL 336 Texan you have there! I have a similar one in .30-30. I actually just saw one of those on Gunbroker the other day....first I time I heard they made them in .44. I'm a sucker for a straight stock on a Marlin, and my 336 is smoother than either of my 1894s. I imagine yours shoots as good as it looks!
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm on my second model 69, the 4 inch model. They will not handle any 44 magnum loads outside of commercial rounds. I would avoid hotter loads. Hence my second one. I replaced the stock grip with a Hogue, rubber mono grip (no finger grooves). I also replaced the grip screw with a lanyard attachment so I don't loose it while hunting or hiking. Overall it's a great gun when used within its limits. By the way, my double action trigger is very nice, right out of the box.


Ignem Feram
 
Posts: 422 | Registered: October 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm on my second model 69, the 4 inch model. They will not handle any 44 magnum loads outside of commercial rounds. I would avoid hotter loads. Hence my second one.


Sounds like there's a story here...care to expand? Everything I read before buying it claimed it's up to the task, but if you have a personal experience to the contrary, I'd be very interested to hear it. I don't want to blow it up. Most of my shooting is going to be with light-magnum loads, anyway, but I'd definitely like to know if there are issues I should be watching for.
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Miazarus: No trouble with handloads through either of my M69's, and I've loaded up to 1200 fps with 240 gr. LSWC's. They're distinctly NOT FUN, I might add, but the gun handled them well with no extraction issues, nor leading. Too, I've shot handloads up to the same 1200 fps with Hornady's 200 gr XTP, with great accuracy and milder recoil. These last at 1100 fps make one heck of a carry load. But for the most part, I shoot 950 fps or a bit more...sort of +P .44 Special in either hand loaded in Special or Magnum brass.

92F....The trip down the Middle Fork was primarily a fishing trip for us. Dry flies vs. Cutthroats up to 18" or so. Lots of smoke this year plus record breaking heat elevated the water temps, so we quit fishing at 1 PM. The outfitter was Solitude River Trips, Willie Connell is the owner & head guide...absolutely first rate, Spectacular scenery and lots of wildlife. We started our kids in diapers 45 yr's ago canoeing for a week at a time in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota...they're in their 40's now and still love the wilderness trips. Do it for yours...you'll give them a gift beyond description...

I'm a daily carry guy here in KY...mostly revolvers but my 'go to town' gun is usually a P365. In revolvers, I prefer 3" bbl's for steady carry...like to carry a Smith M60 in that length over say a 4" M66. For me it's the weight, the J frame much lighter than the K...but I have no trouble with the add'l inch of bbl. length from a carry standpoint...but then I live on a farm...and KY is an open carry state so I'm not overly concerned if a bit of holster shows, even in town. From an accuracy standpoint, there's little measurable difference between my 3" and 4" guns. Shooting from a Weaver two handed bladed stance, either will produce DA groups of an inch at 10 yds with good ammunition. In my chrono work with my 4" M66 vs. the 3" M60, I've clocked ~50 fps difference in muzzle velocity. Not really worth worrying about. Primarily, I shoot FBI type loads...(950 fps) with home cast LSWC's and find them entirely comfortable in a .357, but in a .44 Spl or Magnum as well.

In my .44's, magnum or special...that's what I load and shoot 99% of the time. Skelton's load is what I like; an FBI load for a .44 bullet (in .44 Spl. brass: 950 fps with a 240 gr LSWC backed by 7.5 gr of Unique, or 8.5 gr if Magnum brass is used). I also use the latter in the .44 Mag M336 Marlin with good accuracy...~<2" at 50 yds. Gaschecks on a Lyman 429244 gc bullet are the key...and sized to 0.432+" to accommodate Marlin's usual overly large bullet seat. It's a fun gun, pretty to look at and a joy to tote through our KY thickets and meadow tree lines.

But back to the M69 Smith...you've got a good gun there, and with a good holster, It'll do for any chore that comes up. You're not losing much velocity for any use in the lower 48 in my opinion. And a steady diet of DA shooting use will give you confidence in hits out to 50 yds or so...or at least that's my limit for most any handgun shot. Again....great post/review....you write well! Rod


5th Spl Forces, Air Force Bird Dog FAC, lll Corps RVN 69-70.... We enjoy the Bill of Rights through and by the sacrifice of our veterans;
Politicians, Preachers, Educators, Journalists and Community Organizers are beneficiaries, not defenders of our freedoms.
 
Posts: 649 | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks Rod! That does indeed sound like a great trip. my son and I do a lot of bass fishing around home (Northern Indiana), but last year we got to do some trout fishing for the first time out in WY, and had a blast. He tried his hand with a fly rod...I stuck to my spinning reel with small treble-hook spinners. We both did ok...mostly little stuff, but it was a lot of fun. We do a camping trip out west every year for vacation...mostly car camping at primitive campgrounds in the mountains with plenty of hiking and fishing...but my wife and I have been talking about a river trip with the kids sometime in the next couple of years.

As to the gun...it's getting fed reloads for sure. This gun hasn't even seen a round of factory ammo yet. Even if I could find it, which I can't, I couldn't afford it. I handload everything, and am confident my stuff is as good or better than most ammo I can buy off the shelf in the store. I'm not the type to beat myself or the gun to death by trying to wring every FPS that I can get out of a cartridge...I don't have anything to prove. I'll likely load a bit of the hotter stuff for the woods and to practice so I'm proficient with it, but most of the time it'll be light magnums" or "+P Specials".

I thought about picking up some special brass, but I decided to stick with magnum since it'll simplify logistics. This is my first .44 since I started reloading, so I'm starting from scratch on components. I just recently started casting my own bullets, and got a decent deal on a 200gr Lee RNFP mold (I like SWCs, but had trouble feeding them in some of my Lever-Actions, so I've migrated towards the RNFP to mitigate that. It still has a nice wide meplat, so I imagine it'll do similar things downrange, with the added benefit of not hanging up on the top of the chamber when I run the lever hard). The bullets it drops weigh in right at 212 grains, and it's been very consistent.

I'm powder coating my bullets, and that seems to be working ok, but I found I can't be pushing them up above 1200fps, as I ended up having to scrape a bunch of lead out of the bore. I think your 950fps is going to be right around the sweet spot for this gun. I'll have to try out that Skelton 240gr load, too. Not sure why I didn't just go there first...Skeeter knew a thing or two about handloading for revolvers!
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Quick update: Replacement Pachmayr grips arrived today. Good on Lyman for following up. Unfortunately, they have the same large gap behind the trigger guard as the other set. Factory grips went back on the gun. They're not perfect, but at least they fit properly. They also clear the speedloaders better than the Pachmayrs, and I put in some practice with those today on the range.

I put another 50 rounds though it today, and cast some bullets so I could load more. I'm still struggling a bit with the heavy DA trigger and the recoil, but I got some groups that were encouraging. The gun will perform if I have the discipline to do my part...I just need to improve my consistency.
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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I wonder if the hogue finger grooves would fit you better than the stock grip.
https://www.hogueinc.com/grips...yle-grip-black-black
They also have a full size rubber with no grooves, but I don’t think that’s what you are looking for.
https://www.hogueinc.com/grips...ger-grooves-monogrip
A compact, heavily textured, no groove G10 would IMO be perfect. Probably not the most comfortable for a long range session, but would be welded to you hand when you actually need it.
 
Posts: 9273 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, I've tried the Hogue rubbers on a revolver before, and don't care for them. Too bulky, and kinda soft. Those G10s may happen down the road when funds allow...but I agree, they will probably hurt more than the rubber.
 
Posts: 4722 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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Don’t know why I spaced, but VZ grips has all sorts of G10 grips from smooth to cheese grater.
https://vzgrips.com/shop-all/r.../round-bottom-grips/
 
Posts: 9273 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Just curious, as an old handloader of 44 mags, what are your handloading goals specifically for this gun for your use on the trail, for both east and west of the mississpiip ? Just curious. I don't want to bring this up specifically without hearing your plans first. Spoiler alert: I love the 44 mag, and have quite a bit of experience with it.




Lover of the US Constitution
Wile E. Coyote School of Auto and Home maintenance.
 
Posts: 7237 | Location: Nowhere the constitution is not honored | Registered: February 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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