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Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Every Pirate has a few few firearms stashed here and there. This is a place to talk about everything from front-stuffers to machine guns and everything in between.

Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Postby Stykshooter » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:22 am

Most you know that Smith & Wesson came out with a new .44 a year or so back... the model 69. Instead of the large frame N frame that all of their .44's and .41's have been built on up until this point in time, they built this one on the smaller L frame. This required going to a five shot rather than six shot cylinder. I was excited when I first heard about them but wanted to wait a little bit to see if they had any issues before buying one. Especially since Smith was incorporating some new design changes in this revolver.

http://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/model-66

A couple of the more notable changes is the use of a two piece barrel. Conventional barrels are machined, then bored and rifled. When threaded into the frame it is a crush fit to align the sights, which causes some deformity in the area of the forcing cone of the barrel. This can adversely affect accuracy. The 69 uses a match grade round barrel the is fitted to the frame and then a stainless steel shroud is fitted over top of it like the Dan Wesson revolvers. This was done I am sure to cut manufacturing costs, but the benefit was drastically improved accuracy. The model 69 also utilized a ball and detent lock up like Smith used to use on its large bore guns but discontinued due to manufacturing costs. This smaller frame .44 actually has a stronger cylinder than the full sized guns as the lock up notches have been offset on the five shot cylinder. Once the 69 was out and I started hearing the glowing reports on accuracy from the revolver, I had to have one.

I picked one up about six weeks ago now and every time I get out to shoot it, my S & W model 69 impresses me more and more. I was at first concerned with shooting full house loads in it due to the smaller size and weight but for some reason, recoil isn't much more noticeable than with my full house 629 or Classic DX. Heavy .44's tend to kick regardless of the handgun. This being a redesigned weapon on a smaller frame, the axis of the barrel is lower than on the larger guns. This means the recoil is in more of a straight back direction rather than muzzle flip and muzzle rise.

I have about 5-6 hundred rounds through it now and every time I pull the trigger I am more impressed. I shot 120 rounds through it the other afternoon. I have found a load shooting a 240 grain cast SWC with Unique at about 1,000 f.p.s. that it really likes and I shot several groups at 25 yards yesterday that would rival a lot of P.P.C. guns that I have shot. Really surprised me at how well they shot. I have about four different hand loads with cast SWC that will keep all of the shots in the ten ring of a B-27 target at 25 yards if I do my part.

Below is a ten shot group that I shot at 25 yards with a recipe of WW 296 and a 200 grain XTP that is pushing 1,700 f.p.s.!!! Not a one hole Bullseye group but respectable for the distance and weapon.

Model 69.JPG
Model 69.JPG (95.87 KiB) Viewed 824 times


I don't know if it is the two piece barrel, or some other little trick they are doing to these guns but Smith has hit upon a winning combination. To be honest, this little 4" barrel revolver will out shoot most all full sized 29's, 57's , 657's and 629's that I have owned. I don't know how many different Smith & Wesson and Ruger .44's and .41's that I have owned over the years but this is the most consistently accurate big bore revolver that I have ever owned or shot with a variety of loads. Hornady's 225 grain FTX load will keep a full cylinder in a playing card at 25 yards.

I can't imagine a better walking around, woods gun. I generally have a .357 on my side or in my pack when I am out in the mountains but have already started replacing it with this 69. The L frame .357 I usually carry with a shorter barrel weighs 36.8 ounces. This .44 weighs in at 37.4 ounces, so basically a wash when comparing weights. I can carry it with .44 specials or my handloads at 1,000 f.p.s. for everyday use or load it up with a fire breathing, ground pounding load that I wouldn't hesitate to use against any two or four legged critter I am likely to encounter on this continent. The five shot capacity doesn't bother me as if I can't resolve any bad guy, enraged wildlife or zombie issues with five rounds of full house .44's, I'm probably in over my head anyway. I'm really looking forward to the 2 3/4" version which is supposed to be released after the SHOT show and I really hope they do a run in .41 magnum.

I really can't imagine a better walking around the farm, hiking in the mountains, under the seat of the truck gun.
You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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Re: Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Postby jeffhalfrack » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:22 pm

Sweeet !! I have lots of questions. On cast bullets in these big guns keep us up n what you feed that thing. Jeff w
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Re: Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Postby lostaro » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:39 pm

Great looking gun......stupid "child safety lock" still bothers me

Wish Smith would punt those things......only thing I don't like about my 686 :x

I don't need a .44 but feel like I owe it to myself to have one now :D

Been years since I had a .44....something fundamentally wrong with that being a self-proclaimed revolver guy :oops:
"My goal in life is to try NOT to screw up so bad that they name the screw up after me..."
"Nothing better than a campfire, cold beer and piles of dangerously undercooked meat..."
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Re: Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Postby Stykshooter » Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:49 pm

I really like this model 69. Decided to make a few accessories to help me utilize it in the woods.

69 gear.JPG
69 gear.JPG (100.25 KiB) Viewed 771 times
You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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Re: Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Postby superkodiak38 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:31 pm

Nice looking leather work there Randy, shootin' ain't too shabby either !
When you take your kid hunting and he says thank you and tells you how much he loves being in the woods with you, your day just isn't going to get any better than that.
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Re: Might just be the ultimate woods gun

Postby Stykshooter » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:20 pm

Thanks Tim.
You can tell a lot about a woman's mood just by her hands. If they are holding a gun, she's probably angry.
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