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Thread: S&W Model 69 .44 Mag

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    S&W Model 69 .44 Mag

    Cast Boolit brothers: Just read a long thread on the Ruger GP100 .44 Special, and the S&W Model 69 was mentioned a few times in the conversation. But, even doing a forum search, I cannot find any discussion of the S&W L fame 44 Mag. If any of you have more experiences and opinions,especially with cast boolits, please share your thoughts. Thanks.
    Last edited by Hardcast; 03-26-2020 at 06:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Nobade's Avatar
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    I thought those were chambered for 44 spl, not magnum. Could be mistaken, I wanted one when they came out but never could swing it. Guess they're pretty rare by now.

  3. #3
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    I have M69s in both barrel lengths (2 ¾” and 4 ¼”)
    Shown here next to a Kahr CW45
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    .
    Couple of groups form the 2 ¾”
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    25 yds rested on range bag, 17.5gr A2400, 265gr SWCGC 429244, deep seated in .44 Mag Cases and crimped over front drive band.
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    Some more, but with 4 ¼”
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    Doing some load development
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    Sighting in – 25yds rested on range bag, 17.5gr A2400, 265gr SWCGC 429244, deep seated in .44 Mag Cases and crimped over front drive band.
    .

    .
    FWIW,
    Paul
    Last edited by Paul105; 03-26-2020 at 09:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    My experience seems to have been atypical, but the one I have is totally unsuited to use with cast Boolits. It came stock with .4285 throats and a .429 bore, and leaded horribly—I recovered twelve grains of lead from the bore after firing less than 50 429-421’s. A load which has worked well in every other 44 I own or have owned. Doug Guy did his usual outstanding work on the cylinder but that barrel leads like crazy, still. I still have it, because it shoots well with the Barnes lead-free bullets required by the socialist state I formerly resided in for hunting, but it will be sold now that I live in the USA again. I have a Ruger GP100 that replaces it for most purposes that not only does not lead but is more accurate as well.

    However, there are several other fellows who report excellent service from theirs. One guy in particular reported shooting over 1500 rounds with no leading problems. Another gent not only has the 4 1/4 inch version but the snubbie version as well and IIRC has posted some pics of some fine groups. That’s him, just above. Mine will shoot jacketed like that but I can’t match those groups with cast.

    There were several threads about the Model 69. My google-foo is inferior, but I hope one of the more computer-savvy members can post the links.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I got one for Christmas, 4 and a1/4". I haven't shot it enough to gage it's accuracy. When the ground dries out a little more I'll try some different boolits and loads in it.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    I thought those were chambered for 44 spl, not magnum. Could be mistaken, I wanted one when they came out but never could swing it. Guess they're pretty rare by now.
    Used ones are rare, new ones can still be had.
    Political correctness is a national suicide pact.

    I am a sovereign individual, accountable
    only to God and my own conscience.

  7. #7
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    Here's a picture of the 2 3/4" barrel after several range sessions with the 17.5/2400/429244 after several range sessions.



    FWIW,

    Paul

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobade View Post
    I thought those were chambered for 44 spl, not magnum. Could be mistaken, I wanted one when they came out but never could swing it. Guess they're pretty rare by now.
    There were a couple 44 Specials made on the L frame (can't recall the model numbers), but the 69 is a 44 Mag. The 69 is readily available in both 2.75" and 4.25" barrels.

    Edit: The stainless L frame 44 Spl is the model 696.
    Last edited by Hardcast; 03-27-2020 at 12:16 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul105 View Post
    Here's a picture of the 2 3/4" barrel after several range sessions with the 17.5/2400/429244 after several range sessions.



    FWIW,

    Paul
    Paul, why are you deep seating? Is the cylinder too short to seat them in the crinp groove in magnum brass?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    My experience seems to have been atypical, but the one I have is totally unsuited to use with cast Boolits. It came stock with .4285 throats and a .429 bore, and leaded horribly—I recovered twelve grains of lead from the bore after firing less than 50 429-421’s. A load which has worked well in every other 44 I own or have owned. Doug Guy did his usual outstanding work on the cylinder but that barrel leads like crazy, still. I still have it, because it shoots well with the Barnes lead-free bullets required by the socialist state I formerly resided in for hunting, but it will be sold now that I live in the USA again. I have a Ruger GP100 that replaces it for most purposes that not only does not lead but is more accurate as well.

    However, there are several other fellows who report excellent service from theirs. One guy in particular reported shooting over 1500 rounds with no leading problems. Another gent not only has the 4 1/4 inch version but the snubbie version as well and IIRC has posted some pics of some fine groups. That’s him, just above. Mine will shoot jacketed like that but I can’t match those groups with cast.

    There were several threads about the Model 69. My google-foo is inferior, but I hope one of the more computer-savvy members can post the links.

    rintinglen,

    Is Doug Guy the Cylindersmith? I had him ream a model 36 cylinder years ago. It had very undersize throats and he made them exactly .358". I was very happy. Have a model 29 with .427" throats that I need to send him. Does your barrel have a constriction? Have you tried lapping it with bore paste? What are your throat diameters now?

  11. #11
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    Doug Guy is a member here who may indeed go by the Cylindersmith handle, but he did a superior job of enlarging and truing my cylinder throats. I heartily recommend him, in fact, I've a Webley cylinder that will be off to him once I get finished unpacking.

    My barrel is a POC that is the roughest I have ever seen on an alleged quality revolver. The grooves appear to have been scraped out with an old, chipped wood chisel. The degree of roughness was originally disguised by some oil in the bore, but had to be seen to be believed. A letter to S&W got no response. I firelapped and hand-lapped the bore, which resulted in some improvement, but it still is unacceptable. As mentioned, initially the chamber throats were smaller than the groove diameter of the bore, but even after Doug Guy smoothed and enlarged them all to .4315 (and they are IDENTICAL as far as I can measure,) leading was still severe.
    Now I have been reloading and casting since the 6O's and have had over a dozen 44's over the years, but I have never had one the would lead up like this. I use two "standard" loads, both involving the 429-421, either 7.5 grains of Unique in 44 Spl cases or 18.5 grains of 2400 in Mag cases and have been sizing .431 since the late Major George Nonte advised me to go "two thousandths over the groove diameter for best accuracy," 40+ years ago. This revolver is "unique" though not in a good way.

    I bought a Ruger GP100 3 inch which has proven to be a superior firearm.
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  12. #12
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    Wow. Sounds like you received a lemon. I do not understand why S&W would not fix the problem. As you can see from Paul's pic in a post above, he is not having any leading problem. Thanks much for the input.

  13. #13
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    Paul, I see you have X frame rubber grips on both your 69s, but the snub has a smaller grip. I assume you modified it. Belt sander or some other technique? Thanks.

  14. #14
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    Just looked up Cylindersmith's website. He no longer does this service. Quit taking work in 2014. I should have sent my model 29 cylinder to him years ago instead of letting it sit in the safe. Is anyone else doing throat reaming?

    A little more searching shows that Doug Guy and Cylindersmith may be 2 different people. Still looking.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Doug Guy is still working and is a member here, with numerous satisfied customers. Send him a PM, I think he's "DougGuy. This is a before photo of Hornady .430 (which I affirmed with my trusty Starrett) jacketed bullets protruding from the cylinder throats. If you enlarge it, you can see that they are hanging up on the Ogive.
    "Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by rintinglen; 03-27-2020 at 08:05 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rintinglen View Post
    Doug Guy is still working and is a member here, with numerous satisfied customers. Send him a PM, I think he's "DougGuy."
    Found his info on the forum and sent him an email Thanks.

  17. #17
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    The M69 cylinder will take the 429421 seated and crimped in the crimp groove but it is close to the face of the cylinder. The nose to crimp on the 429244 is shorter than the 429421. Deep seating in .44 Mag cases gives better neck tension, takes up some case volume for lighter charges, provides a bit of extra room in case of crimp jump and allows these SWCs to function thru my Rossi carbine. Basically .44 special powder capacity in a .44 Mag case. Several other benefits are described by David Bradshaw on the singleactions.com forum.

    Yes, X Frame 500 Hogues on the 2 3/4" in the first picture were modified using a belt sander and sanding block. Go real slow with the belt sander. The rubber is applied over a hard white shell which can be exposed if too aggressive, if that matters to you (didn't to me). And it does make a mess.

    Paul

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thanks Paul. The only reason I would buy a 69 is because the X frame grips work on them. Years ago, when the .500 came out, I bough a couple X frame grips for N frame use. Still have a set on my Model 629 .45 Colt Mountain gun. Yes that is correct, not a typo. Had a set on a Model 625 .45 ACP revolver but sold it in 2018 and do not recall if I left the X frame grips on it or not. I will have to do some looking. But they are now available available from Hogue for $35.00 plus shipping. They take the sting out of the the hard kickers. Previously used Pachmayr Decelerator Grippers on big bore N frames, but the Hogue X frame grips are superior.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    I have had a Mdl 69 in 4-1/4" bbl for several years now. Mine wears Hogue X frame grips. I installed a Patridge front sight and a Wolff rebound slide spring.This revolver is now one of my, if not "the", favorite .44 magnum Smith. A great load with cast boolits that I use is the MP-432-423 round HP in front of either 9.0g of Green Dot or 10.0g of Unique. Velocity is 1138fps with the Unique load and accuracy is very good. Groups from a bench rest at 25 yards are often less than 2". The cylinder throats on my revolver measure .4285, so I size the boolits to .429, and as long as they are at least Saeco 7 in hardness, the leading wash seen is very minimal and comes out easily with a wet patch of Ed's Red. If the boolits are Saeco 5, The leading becomes pronounced and I clean after 25 rounds. Oddly enuf, accuracy did not seem to suffer, but that could be because I didn't let the leading really build up.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shuz View Post
    I have had a Mdl 69 in 4-1/4" bbl for several years now. Mine wears Hogue X frame grips. I installed a Patridge front sight and a Wolff rebound slide spring.This revolver is now one of my, if not "the", favorite .44 magnum Smith. A great load with cast boolits that I use is the MP-432-423 round HP in front of either 9.0g of Green Dot or 10.0g of Unique. Velocity is 1138fps with the Unique load and accuracy is very good. Groups from a bench rest at 25 yards are often less than 2". The cylinder throats on my revolver measure .4285, so I size the boolits to .429, and as long as they are at least Saeco 7 in hardness, the leading wash seen is very minimal and comes out easily with a wet patch of Ed's Red. If the boolits are Saeco 5, The leading becomes pronounced and I clean after 25 rounds. Oddly enuf, accuracy did not seem to suffer, but that could be because I didn't let the leading really build up.
    I had to go to MP molds and look that up. Looks like a smaller version of the 452423 Lyman. Seems like it shoots well in your 69.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check