My new piece of backpacking kit - A long-winded, pic-heavy review of my new S&W Model 69

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September 07, 2021, 05:32 AM
My new piece of backpacking kit - A long-winded, pic-heavy review of my new S&W Model 69
Originally posted by wrightd:
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.

Well, for around home, probably a .44 Special +P or "light magnum" load...240gr JHP around 950-1000fps. For out on the trail, a heavy hardcast load, probably a 240gr SWC, at around 1200-1300fps, but I'd be open to a heavier bullet, too, as long as it's within the safe capability of the gun. I realize I'm going to give up some velocity with the short barrel, and I'm also not looking to blow myself up by juicing things up more than I should. I have H110, 2400, Power Pistol, Unique, HS-6, Hp-38, and Titegroup on hand right now.

It's a crummy time to get into a new caliber, too...components are hard to come by. I managed to scrounge a couple of boxes of 240gr XTPs, know where there are some 240gr Sierra JHPs, got a box of some cheap cast 240gr SWCs, and I got a mold that drops 212gr LRNFP (supposed to be a 200gr mold, but they drop a little heavy). I've been shooting mostly the 212s at this point, as casting my own is the most consistent affordable source, and they are enabling me to actually put in some time with the gun (in other words, play with my new toy Big Grin).
September 09, 2021, 11:51 PM
Originally posted by 92fstech:
Originally posted by bubbatime:
I think I would go the cheap, easy route and just carry a Glock 20 with 16 rounds of 10MM.

Yeah, I considered going the 10mm Glock route, but decided against it. I like revolvers. I'm a handloader, so a gun that tosses my expensive, hard-to-find brass all over the place, bulges cases, and doesn't play nice with cast bullets just isn't a good fit for me. I'll actually shoot and practice with this gun more than I would a Glock, because I can make bullets for it and don't have to worry about losing brass.

Now if Sig ever gets on the ball and comes out with a 10mm P320, it should address most of the issues I have with the Glock, and I'll likely buy one.

I started with .44 revolvers in critter country, but switched to the G20 for the 16 rounds. Also you can slam in another 15 pretty fast. I figure if I am charged by a bear I will be under so much adrenaline I want more than 5-6 rounds to hopefully place a few where they need to go. Underwood solid cast bullets.
September 26, 2021, 01:14 AM
Got a Wilson Combat spring kit in today for the 69. I'll say I wasn't impressed at all with the QC. The hooks on the Wilson spring that go around the pegs on the hammer stirrup were incredibly rough and covered with flashing. I considered just boxing it up and sending it back, but I had to wait two weeks to get it thanks to Brownells using Fedex Economy stupidpost to ship it (it sat in Indianapolis for 10 days), so I was done waiting.

I took a jewler's file to the flashing and then polished it up with some polishing compound on a dremel polishing wheel. I tried the 13lb return spring and thought it was too light, so I went with the 14lb. The final outcome was impressive...the DA trigger pull is now quite light and smooth. Just an absolute night and day difference. I need to take it to the range, though, and make sure it ignites primers reliably.

ETA: I got out to the range today with the gun. The only ammo I had loaded was using Federal Large Pistol Magnum Primers...which are probably the easiest primers out there to ignite, so I wanted something harder. I didn't have any CCI large pistol primers, but I did have some CCI Large Rifle Primers. I figured if it can light those off, it'll light off anything, so I loaded 10 rounds with those. It fired all 10 of those just fine, as well as a bunch of the Federal-primed ammo without a hiccup. I'm going to shoot it a little more before I declare it good for carry, but things are looking good.

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