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Old January 17, 2021, 06:25 PM   #1
Alan0354
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Anyone have a S&W 659 that shot a lot of rounds?

I own a 659 for many years(since the 80s). I only have less than 1000 rounds through it. So far, I afraid to shoot a lot with it because I read articles that SS guns with SS frame and SS slide can have excessive wear on the rails if the SS metal of the slide and frame is not matched up. That it can cause excess wear.

When I first shooting the gun, I use normal gun oil to lube the rails, I saw the oil turned dark like with very fine particles ( powder). So I change to using 10-40 motor oil. that seems to help a lot. So I was afraid the 659 have slide and frame metal that doesn't match and cause excess grinding. So I stop shooting the gun after I proofed it is ultra reliable. ( I had to do a lot of gun smithing to make it ultra reliable, long story).

It's been over 20 years, internet and forums are popular now that I did not have at the time to ask question. So I want to get opinions from people that own and shot a lot with the 659 to tell me how well the gun hold up. Am I over worry that it's only breaking in the gun that gave me the fine particles?

It's a good gun, it's a little heavy. But I am not carrying it around, it's for home defense. I have two 14 round mag that came with the gun and I have a 20 round mag that all tested out reliably. Living in people's republic of Kalif, I can't buy any pistols that have mag over 10 rounds, So the 659 is a treasure!!!

Thanks

Last edited by Alan0354; January 17, 2021 at 06:31 PM.
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Old January 17, 2021, 09:52 PM   #2
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Uh, 1000 is nothing for an all steel gun! I shot my aluminum framed smith a lot more than that.

Many police agencies used the 659 and I'm sure they put tens of thousands of rounds out of many. 5000 is a minimum life of even the weakest designs. You will likely wear out before the gun. Shoot it as much as you can afford to.
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Old January 18, 2021, 12:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
So far, I afraid to shoot a lot with it because I read articles that SS guns with SS frame and SS slide can have excessive wear on the rails if the SS metal of the slide and frame is not matched up. That it can cause excess wear.
You can used a moly-containing grease to prevent galling, if that is a concern. Some sources say that a nickel-based antisieze would also be a good choice.
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Old January 18, 2021, 12:47 AM   #4
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Haven't encountered that yet, I would think a steel slide on aluminum frame would cause a lot more wear. IIRC galling was a problem in the early days of stainless guns until they found the right alloys to use.
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Old January 18, 2021, 01:26 AM   #5
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I took the OP's comment about stainless steels not matching up to be a reference to galling.

You are correct that the solution for galling was found years ago and should not be an issue in modern firearms--I just don't know when that solution was implemented by S&W. The OP's pistol is from the '80s and although my hunch is that it was settled by then, I don't know for sure and I can't find any definitive information on the topic.

The nice thing is that the solution for galling shouldn't hurt the gun even if galling isn't a problem with that model.
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Old January 18, 2021, 01:53 AM   #6
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My 90s Smith 915 was the cheap version of the 5900 series.

Here is a review of the 5906
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lc-0tT42DGg

A 3rd generation variant my 915 had many more than 1000 rounds down the tube during my ownership and I sold it years later at a small profit. It was a rattly gun to begin with when unloaded. But the slide only wore the finish off the aluminum frame rails a few places. Otherwise it was still in perfect working order. The steel on steel 659s were built like tanks and 3rd generation pistols could be had in 45ACP and 10mm with a slightly larger frame! Trust me on this, the worries of galling or breakage after only 1000 rounds are unfounded.

The basic design dates back to the model 39 introduced in 1955 and according to this article, was adapted to use a double column magazine for special forces and then offered as the model 59. Between revolvers and GLOCKs the Smith and Wesson Autos where adopted by many departments and served for decades.

https://www.guns.com/news/2020/06/03...esson-model-59

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Old January 18, 2021, 03:33 AM   #7
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I read quite a few review on line today(which it wasn't available in the old days). I am surprised there is no bad review, just the recall on the safety which I don't even know mine has a problem or not. That's not too bad. The complain is bulky and heavy.........Who doesn't know that?!!! It was pre-polymer days, what do you expect. That's why I am looking at only polymer guns.....I don't want to call plastic guns as they are NOT. Polymer is a very strong material. To put in perspective, one time I bought a bottle of alcohol and they forgot to take off the locking cap. I thought how hard it is to break it!!! I have big vise, sludge hammer and all the tools and bench. Guess what, after clamping on the big vise, hammered with a 5lbs hammer, I quietly went back with the leaking bottle to the store and exchange to a new bottle without the cap!!! Those polymer is TOUGH, it will not crack, it will not chip, It was compressed by the blow of the hammer that it squeezed the plastic cap of the bottle and cracked it and it started leaking. for the life of me, I could not remove the stupid cap!!! When I returned it, it only had a few scratches......after getting beat by a 5lbs sludge hammer repeatly, plying and all.

Ha, I did not know there is gun grease back in the days. Motor oil seems to work just fine. I am glad I have the 659, I definitely keeping it. hell, I have a 20 rounds mag.

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Old January 18, 2021, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Motor oil seems to work just fine...
Yep. Probably good as any and better than most. Certainly "economical".

If you want some "diversity" in your choices just do a search on this forum for "lubrication" and you'll find everything from Mobile 1 to Rem Oil to WD-40 (A very bad choice. NO, NO A VERY GOOD CHOICE!!!) to Baby Oil (how many babies do you think they have to squeeze to get a pint of baby oil?) to bacon grease (works great but it does attract bears but that doesn't matter because you have a gun for the bears but what caliber for bears...let's not go there now.).

Just for something completely different, I've had good luck with this on a 1911 style gun that I shot a lot back in the days of bullseye matches (stand up straight, put your off hand in your pocket (never mind why) and shoot with your head up.

https://www.amazon.com/Bike-Aid-Dri-.../dp/B001F2Y25G
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Old January 18, 2021, 11:55 AM   #9
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My read as well

Quote:
I took the OP's comment about stainless steels not matching up to be a reference to galling.
That is my read as well and if so, I suggest contact S&W for assist. I wish I could recall the particular grade of SS that will gall the same type or others. Not related to firearms but I have seen this happen on mechanical parts. The galling can be very serious and "quickly" apparent with very negative results. Firearms related, I have some after-market SS magazines that would gall in the SS well. worked just fine, in a carbon steel well. .....

Quote:
I own a 659 for many years(since the 80s
Same here and no issues .......

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Old January 18, 2021, 01:21 PM   #10
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I have owned and shot my 659 since my Taurus PT-99 broke in 1988 - traded in my repaired PT-99 and a wad of cash for it. While a bit heavy and a little thick in the hand, it is a rock-solid performer. No hiccups ever, and I mean ever! Other than replacing the ugly plastic grips with some nicer wood ones, I've never done a thing to it. I will dab a bit of oil on the slide before shooting it. Honestly, I don't think I need to do this, but I do.

Accuracy - pretty good; better than my Glock 19, but not as good as my CZ 75B, Hi-Power or a number of other higher end guns.

The trigger is ok, but not the best. The action could use a fluff-'n buff to make it a bit smoother. But, this isn't necessary - it's just a darn good workhorse of a gun - should last many lifetimes.

Don't forget, before the Glock became the weapon of choice for the police, many departments used the crap out of 659's and the later 5906's. The only complaints I ever heard were some cops thought they they were heavy and stuck out a bit in their holster.

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Old January 18, 2021, 02:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa
Quote:
So far, I afraid to shoot a lot with it because I read articles that SS guns with SS frame and SS slide can have excessive wear on the rails if the SS metal of the slide and frame is not matched up. That it can cause excess wear.
You can used a moly-containing grease to prevent galling, if that is a concern. Some sources say that a nickel-based antisieze would also be a good choice.
John is correct, the problem (when it existed) was galling, not wear per se. And, as John suggested, a good grease, especially one containing moly, should take care of that. In fact, even running the gun "wet" with oil should do it. Galling occurs when two metal surfaces rub against one another. If they are riding on an oil film, there is no metal-to-metal contact to gall.

I would not use an anti-sieze compound as a lubricant. Why not? Because (in a non-firearms application) I tried that a number of years ago. It was a dismal failure. A replacement bearing that should have lasted a minimum of ten years in normal service lasted a week. The next time I used grease.
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Old January 18, 2021, 03:20 PM   #12
Alan0354
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I definitely go get the gun grease.

I just want to clarify, Is galling, wearing? Meaning it's not just rough up the surface, if not grease properly, it will wear out the slide rail really fast, much more so than aluminum frame.

If I buy another gun today, I definitely go for polymer guns. I am a true believer of polymer, I am sure it's stronger than aluminum. Like in my other post, I am sure if the alcohol locking cap were aluminum, I would have cracked it and removed it in a minute. Those polymer bounce back to shape after being compressed, aluminum alloy cracks, you just cannot make aluminum flex. I remember in the military test on Sig P226 long time ago, the aluminum frame rail cracked after a few thousand rounds. They chose the Beretta F92 instead. For durability, definitely steel, just heavy. I am keeping the 659.

Last edited by Alan0354; January 18, 2021 at 03:33 PM.
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Old January 18, 2021, 04:18 PM   #13
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I didn't know that about the 659. Heck, I didn't even remember they came in stainless. If I could have gotten my hands on one I certainly would have given it a try. I have always been a big fan of handguns in stainless. Back before Christ was a corporal I carried a 459 off-duty for a short period. I think that would have been late 70's early 80's. It was terrible for that purpose; heavy, bulky, caught on things, etc., but it had double-action and packed a lot of bullets! Back then that was really something!
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Old January 18, 2021, 04:20 PM   #14
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All plastics are polymers.
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Old January 18, 2021, 04:48 PM   #15
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Making a mountain out of an ant hole.
The metal Smiths are built like tanks.
The P226 is considered one of the best combat pistols ever developed.
The Beretta 92 had a few STEEL slides crack.
Beretta won the contract based on money.
I have a CZ Pcr that just turned 1 yr, has north of 5K rounds, barely any finish wear on either the slide and ALUMINIUM frame.
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Old January 18, 2021, 04:58 PM   #16
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Galling is worse. .... !!!

Quote:
I just want to clarify, Is galling, wearing?
Galling is not like your "normal" wear. Galling actually digs into the metal. Ask any pipe fitter or electrician. If you take two dry surfaces of metal and rub them together with some reasonable force, most times they will just show rub marks. If you run the same test on "some" metals, they "catch" and even dig in to a point of damage.

Case in point is aluminum pipe fitting. If you don't lube them, they will gall together. If you are dealing with two dissimilar meatal, you will likely get a pass. Galling is more prevalent when dealing with two surfaces of "identical" metals. Black pipe fitting will probably gall up. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old January 18, 2021, 05:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan0354
I just want to clarify, Is galling, wearing? Meaning it's not just rough up the surface, if not grease properly, it will wear out the slide rail really fast, much more so than aluminum frame.
Yes ...and no.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galling

It's more like grabbing and pulling than abrasive wearing away.
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Old January 18, 2021, 05:18 PM   #18
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No issues with mine. 31 years of use as a range gun and a home defense gun.
And I bought it used.
Quite a bit of shooting in those years.
Cannot complain.
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Old January 18, 2021, 06:11 PM   #19
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Those guns are tanks. Our city PD adopted the slightly newer version, 5906, in 1994. They used those same guns for 20 years before upgrading in 2014. I have no idea how many rounds were put through them but our PD was very happy with the guns. By 2014 that gun was no longer in production or they would have bought more of the same.

Very early SS pistols did have some issues with galling, but that was resolved back in the 1980's.

FWIW, most any all steel pistol is going to be good for over 100,000 rounds. The newer plastic pistols generally last at least as long with several Glocks documented with over 300,000 rounds with no major parts breakage.

It is the aluminum framed guns that tend to have less longevity, but even at that you'd expect 30,000-50,000 rounds. More ammo than almost anyone will ever shoot. And if you can afford the ammo to wear out a gun, you can afford to buy another gun. You'd spend $10,000+ on ammo to wear out a gun.
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Old January 19, 2021, 12:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
I would not use an anti-sieze compound as a lubricant. Why not? Because (in a non-firearms application) I tried that a number of years ago. It was a dismal failure. A replacement bearing that should have lasted a minimum of ten years in normal service lasted a week. The next time I used grease.
You don't say what kind of bearing, but based on the ingredients in anti-seize, I would think it would be a really horrible choice for something like a roller bearing. Maybe not too bad for sliding contact as long as there's some clearance. It's made to prevent binding/sticking and it does that really well, but it's a sort of special purpose lubricant--not for general use. At least some types of anti-seize specifically warn against use with roller or ball bearings or in high-speed applications.
Quote:
I just want to clarify, Is galling, wearing?
Think of it as two surfaces that are supposed to slide, sticking to each other instead. So little bits from one surface are pulled out by the other surface and dragged across the surface as the two parts move with respect to each other. Instead of two hard surfaces abrading each other, you have two "sticky" surfaces sort of ripping each other apart a tiny bit at a time. It is wear, but it's a sort of unique kind of wear.

The solution is to make sure that the two stainless steel surfaces are not too similar. They can either be different alloys or can be hardened to significantly different levels. Or, one can use a lubricant that is very persistent. I once had some trouble with a folding knife that would gall and I was unable to find any oil that would deal with the problem satisfactorily. I ended up going with a dry lubricant, but I expect a grease or anti-seize would have worked just as well.
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Old January 19, 2021, 01:09 AM   #21
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The galling concern with the 659 and obsession with special lubrication is really overblown. Surfaces tend to polish smooth with modern gun steel not gall. A little oil now and then and you are good to go. Too much oil or grease makes a mess and because it attracts dirt makes a gun less reliable. The rails ae just guiding the slide from flying off the frame. It would not be unusual for there to be some rattle between the two and the most force is taken up by the recoil spring and surface of the frame that stops the barrel. Also the locking surfaces on the smith and wesson 3rd generation guns could theoretically gall against the frame but again I think the amount of pressure between the two surfaces is minimal. Wear is normal.
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Old January 19, 2021, 03:30 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by rc
The galling concern with the 659 and obsession with special lubrication is really overblown. Surfaces tend to polish smooth with modern gun steel not gall. A little oil now and then and you are good to go.
Galling was, indeed, a known problem with some of the earliest attempts at making semi-automatic pistols of stainless steel. If I remember correctly, the solution arrived at was to use different alloys of stainless for the slide and frame. Galling occurs most readily between parts made from the same alloy.

Whether or not the 659 was early enough to have been susceptible to this problem is beyond my meager knowledge.
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Old January 19, 2021, 05:14 AM   #23
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Even with blued guns slide and frame tend to be treated to a different hardness.
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Old January 19, 2021, 05:30 AM   #24
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I am pretty sure the slide of 659 is different SS composition to the frame. The frame seems to be softer, they look different all together.
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Old January 19, 2021, 09:59 AM   #25
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One more observation about the S&W 659. No doubt it is rock solid, reliable and durable. But, I've always felt that a bit of custom work could really make this pistol shine. I'm sure the trigger could be improved. I'd bet the grip could be taken down some, especially the back-strap spring housing. Also, I think a more precise barrel/barrel-busing fit could help with accuracy.

But, there was just never any company that developed any premium after market parts for the 659. For that reason it is what it is and will always be a snapshot in time of a 1980's rock-solid 9mm used by many police forces.
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