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Old January 14, 2012, 02:10 AM   #1
Don V.
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Smith & Wesson Model 39-2

I don't know a whole lot about handguns so hopefully someone here can pass along some of their knowledge. On Dec. 28th my father passed away leaving this handgun in the safe which my mother would now like me to look into getting rid of. Let me first say that I am not trying to find someone here interested in buying the gun. That's not the help I'm looking for.

The gun is a Smith & Wesson, Model 39-2, Serial # A 697 895. Can anyone tell me the age of the gun?

The gun was never fired, still new in the box and still wrapped in the brown paper it came wrapped in. The 2 ammunition clips that came with the gun are still in the sealed, plastic bags unopened. If the gun came with any kind of manual, it is missing. Can it be replaced?

I've found similar condition guns discussed on the internet and they are priced between $350 and $500. Knowing the estimated value of the gun isn't a problem and I get the impression there isn't anything rare, unique or unusual about this gun. Although I did read something about a "drilled hole" through the hammer which this gun does not have.

Anyway, can anyone tell me the age of this gun? If the gun should have a manual with it, can a manual still be gotten a hold of? Finally, is there any good reason to keep the gun in the family? There doesn't seem to be any heirloom value in a gun that has never done anything but sit in a safe, but I what do I know?

Thank you very much.

Don
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Old January 14, 2012, 07:49 AM   #2
varoadking
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Quote:
Finally, is there any good reason to keep the gun in the family? There doesn't seem to be any heirloom value in a gun that has never done anything but sit in a safe, but I what do I know?
Seems to me that you would think of your dad everytime you looked at it. Perhaps not heirloom value, but sentimental value for sure.

I take it that this is a blued version? I was not aware the magazines shipped in sealed plastic bags. I have owner 4 of these over the years, and my lone remaining 39-2 is 130,000 numbers prior to yours.



Guessing that yours in from the '70's, but honestly, I have no real point of reference for you with that. If truly new in box, even without the manual, $500.00 would be a fair price.

Manuals pop up for many pieces on Gunbroker.com from time to time. Good luck with whatever you decide to do with it.
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Old January 14, 2012, 08:38 AM   #3
pogo2
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S&W model 39

I bought a S&W model 39 new in 1968, and still have it. I have shot it periodically over the years, and it functions very well.

Quite a few of these guns were made, and they are not rare. I would think an unfired version, new in the box, should be worth $500 or so. But if my father had owned the gun I would keep it rather than selling it.

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Old January 14, 2012, 01:13 PM   #4
Don V.
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Varoadking and pogo2, thanks for the replies.

Sorry but I wrote about the clips being sealed in plastic by just assuming they were. They aren't. The plastic bag is more of "baggie" like sleeve with a piece of tape sealing it.

Keeping the gun isn't my choice. With my fathers death, the gun now belongs to my mother. The future of the gun is her choice and there are some family friends interested in the gun. If I asked for it, I would probably get it, but I think the money would mean more to my mother right now. Besides, guns were never a father\son thing anyway. As I said, the gun was never out of the safe. I use to enjoy bird hunting and have an old Remington Express, but I lost my leg in Beruit in the early 80's, and haven't hunted since.

FWIW, my father was not the original owner. He bought it from a nuclear engineer who originally bought the gun in the sate of New York. My father bought the gun from him when he accepted a job overseas and could not take the gun with him. Again, the gun went straight into the important papers safe and never left. There isn't even a single 9mm round in the house to use with the gun.

Varoadking, thank you for the info on Gunbroker, but they don't have a manual listed. Your suggestion made me think of ebay also, but none there either although someone there does have an exploded parts list view of the gun for sale.

I do have another question. I saw a post about a gun that came with a test firing shell. Should there have been a similar shell with this gun also? Just wondering if anyone had this information or not.

Here's a picture of the gun:
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Old January 14, 2012, 02:35 PM   #5
geetarman
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I don't think a fired cartridge was required when that gun was built.

Besides the VPI paper, is there a plastic box that came with the gun? You might find the manual tucked underneath the packing. With everything else with the gun, I am very surprised the manual is not there.

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Old January 14, 2012, 04:36 PM   #6
RickB
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That gun was probably made around the time SERIAL NUMBERS became a requirement, long before the fired-case nonsense of recent times.
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Old January 14, 2012, 10:10 PM   #7
carguychris
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According to the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson by Supica & Nahas, the gun's serial number dates to 1981. This is one of the last Model 39-2's made, as it was replaced by the Model 439 around this time.
Quote:
Quite a few of these guns were made, and they are not rare. I would think an unfired version, new in the box, should be worth $500 or so.
+1, this is about right for any of the later guns.
Quote:
Besides the VPI paper, is there a plastic box that came with the gun? You might find the manual tucked underneath the packing.
The plastic boxes with foam liners didn't appear until 1997. IIRC all M39-2s were wrapped in brown "S&W" wax paper inside small 2-piece non-corrugated cardboard boxes, dark blue with silver lettering for blued guns, light grey with blue lettering for nickel guns. I assume this is the box visible in the OP's picture. The serial number should be written on the underside of the bottom half in grease pencil. And yes, this gun was produced long before test-fired cartridge cases were included.

FWIW the takedown procedure is basically the same for all metal-frame centerfire S&W pistols, and the manual of arms is also mostly the same, with one notable exception. The first-generation pistols like this one are not 100% drop-safe with the decocker/safety disengaged. They should generally be carried with the decocker/safety engaged, rather than being carried in DA/safety-off mode.
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Old January 15, 2012, 06:13 AM   #8
Don V.
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Once again, thank you everyone for the information. Yes, the gun is in a blue, hard cardboard box with silver lettering although the gun info, including serial number is on the sides of the box top and not the underside of the bottom.

There seems to be a "strong" hint that many are not thrilled with the idea of the test brass coming with guns? I assume that is a regulation put on manufacturers? Off the top of my head I can't see any problem with ensuring a gun works before being sold except it does do away with the "never fired" gun. I'm interested in knowing the thoughts about this.

Carguychris, special thanks for the 1981. Internet searches had led me to the book, but for a one time information search, I really didn't want to buy the book. I appreciate you having it. Great info also on the drop-safe. It never would have entered my mind.

Came across another suprise while going through my fathers tools. He was a tool and die maker and his percision tool boxes have been locked up on his basement tool bench since retirement. Went through them today and found this Ruger 22/45 Mark III, Target Model. No one knew it had it, and if I keep a gun, this one is it. Again, it appears it's never been fired. I hope I come across the story some day of how, when or why he had this gun.
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Old January 15, 2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Don V, the test case isn't for reassuring the buyer, it's for providing LE forensics a comparison sample in those areas that require manufacturers to provide one.

It costs manufacturers less to put a fired casing in each box, than it would cost them to sort the boxes.

So, some of us get proof cases; some don't, as their "proof case" went to a police ballistics lab.
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Old January 15, 2012, 01:06 PM   #10
Don V.
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Duh! I should have known that MLeake. Unfortunately it's not something I should have known for any reason that has anything to do with guns. A police state is right around the corner. I fear it anyway.
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Old January 15, 2012, 03:56 PM   #11
Webleymkv
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Do you want a manual strictly for informational purposes or to complete the set? If you simply want a manual for informational purpose, S&W will send you one for free if you contact them. S&W's contact info can be found on their website:

http://www.smith-wesson.com

Also, you can simply download and print a copy of the manual from the firearms section of Steve's pages:

http://www.stevespages.com
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