Smith & Wesson Model 69 Revolver

Gun Review: Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum

Several ideas come to mine while you study the Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum. The previous truism, ‘carried much and fired little’ is one among them. A gun for the ammunition scarcity additionally matches nicely. Twenty rounds is a exercise with this firearm, nevertheless it has punch and polish and it isn’t a gun for the casually-interested shooter.

Virgil Caldwell for TTAG

The Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum moniker normally refers to a K-frame .357 revolver the Model 66. This one, nonetheless is constructed on the marginally bigger L-frame and a five-shooter besides. Smith & Wesson’s Ok-frame revolvers earned an unenviable repute for extra put on when firing a gentle weight-reduction plan of magnum masses. The previous recommendation of feeding them twenty rounds of .38 Special for each magnum spherical usually wanted to be adopted. Unless you wish to carry an even bigger gun.

Smith & Wesson launched the L-frame revolvers to deal with points with shooting magnum masses from Ok-frame revolvers. They tended to not arise the the pressures and stresses of magnum ammunition. The L-frame Model 69 Combat Magnum options enhancements within the forcing cone, body, and lockup, making it a much stronger, extra sturdy (although solely barely heavier) design.

L-Frame Model 69 Combat Magnum (above), K-Frame Model 66 Combat Magnum

L-Frame Model 69 Combat Magnum (above), Ok-Frame Model 66 Combat Magnum (under) (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

Don’t be misled. The Ok-frame magnums didn’t blow up, however they generally suffered cracked forcing cones and magnum masses are homicide on smaller elements.

The expansive bore Model 69 Combat Magnum’s stability of energy and portability is an efficient and really helpful one. In the L-frame, Smith needed to keep up a comparatively compact revolver that might nonetheless be carried pretty comfortably. The L-frame options the identical grip dimension because the Ok body revolvers, however with a bigger 5-round cylinder.

While the Model 69 was in the beginning launched with a 4.25 barrel, the extra concealable Combat Magnum model has a 2.75-inch barrel, making it work very nicely for hid or out of doors defensive carry. Even with its expansive bore chambering, this versatile wheel gun is much extra helpful than it’s possible you’ll suppose. It’s primarily designed to be carried quite a bit and fired sparingly with Magnum masses, but when loaded with .44 Specials it’s a really pleasant revolver to shoot that delivers surprisingly good accuracy.

Some might query the knowledge of chambering a comparatively mild weight (34.Four oz) revolver in .44 Magnum. Shooting lengthy strings of magnum masses isn’t one thing you’ll in all probability wish to do with this revolver. i’ve fired maybe 100 twenty or so magnums over eighteen months and that’s a lot. i’ve little doubt the design can deal with much more, however I’m unsure my hand can. But with nicely over 5 hundred .44 Special masses fired, this piece has earned my respect.

Virgil Caldwell for TTAG

A departure from earlier revolvers is the L body’s way more sturdy lockup system. It includes a spring-loaded ball within the L body that firmly mates with a detent within the crane that’s designed to face as much as the punishment of huge bore magnum masses.

The Combat Magnum’s cylinder is 1.56 inches large and the chambers are properly polished.

Virgil Caldwell for TTAG

The barrel is a stainless-steel unit screwed into the body and lined with an outer shroud. This simplifies lining the sights up on the manufacturing facility and doesn’t appear to have an effect on the Combat Magnum’s accuracy potential.

Virgil Caldwell for TTAG

The totally adjustable rear sight and orange insert entrance ramp make for wonderful sight acquisition. They make getting the Model 69 heading in the right direction quick and exact and are very best in a defensive revolver.

The Combat Magnum’s orange insert entrance ramp sight. (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

The Model 69 Combat Magnum has spherical butt rubber grips. i’ve experimented with bigger grips, wood grips, and different sorts and discover these factory-issue grips to be the perfect for all-around use. They are snag-free underneath cowl clothes and insulate the hand nicely from arduous metal and do the perfect job potential of absorbing .44 Magnum recoil. The revolver has a bead-blasted matte end chrome steel hat is engaging and sturdy.

The Combat Magnum weighs simply 35 ounces unloaded. That’s lighter than a whole lot of .45 ACP 1911s and about the identical as a four-inch barrel Ok body .357. The set off motion is outstanding, smoother than a Model 19 Classic and a Model 27 Classic not too long ago examined. On the Lyman scale it breaks in double motion at ten kilos and 4 kilos even in single motion.

Firing the piece is simple sufficient with .44 Special masses. A 200 grain spherical at 700 fps is nice sufficient to shoot and nice for apply. The Model 69 is a pleasure to make use of and fireplace with these masses and accuracy is superb.

With the revolver within the double motion mode I used to be punching the X rings out at 15 yards. Slow fireplace single motion fireplace delivers five-shot teams of 1.5 inch or so while you take your time, so that is an correct revolver for one with such a brief barrel and sight radius.

Virgil Caldwell for TTAG

But powder puff masses shot for accuracy aren’t actually the meant objective of this revolver. The Combat Magnum is a private protection handgun and the .44 Special/Magnum spherical is used in opposition to animals, a few of them two-legged. Most assaults happen rapidly and might occur at very shut vary. A revolver may be pressed into the physique and fired repeatedly what place a semi-auto would jam.

I shot Hornady Critical Defense and XTP .44 Special masses. The 165-grain Critical Defense breaks 925 fps and the 180 grain XTP 900 fps. That’s within the .40 Smith & Wesson vary power smart.

Control with these rounds stays wonderful. Recoil is about in .45 ACP territory, maybe a bit much less. Muzzle blast and flash are much lower than .357 Magnum. This makes the Model 69 Combat Magnum a wonderful all-around, go-anywhere revolver for the devoted wheelgunner on the lookout for a defensive handgun.

For outdoor use we in all probability want one thing stronger. The expansive cats can get actually expansive. Feral canine are harmful and in my residence state wild boar have attacked and introduced down horses. And then there are bears.

Virgil Caldwell for TTAG

Not fairly in .44 Magnum territory, I loaded .44 Special Buffalo Bore 255 grain semi-wad cutters. This load makes use of the true Keith SWC with a protracted smelling appendage and sharp chopping shoulder. At 980 fps that’s a handful of recoil. The load could also be managed in double motion pairs when you take your time and that rubber grip does an excellent job of recoil absorption. This is my out of doors load of selection.

And then there are .44 Magnum masses. Most manufacturing facility 240 grain JHP masses may be downright grotesque to shoot and clock at about 1100 fps. I’d simply as quickly run the .44 Special 255 grain load for outdoor carry. In an emergency, maybe you wouldn’t discover the magnum recoil at very shut vary whereas trying to get a bear to alter his thoughts, however I discover heavier magnum masses do the job

The Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum has quite a bit going for it. While it’s in all probability most applicable as a purpose-designed outdoor protection revolver, it’s fairly helpful for hid carry as nicely for many who are inclined to hold the load. In the wild it’s lighter than most .44 Magnum revolvers, however affords loads of very actual energy. Its L-frame dimension is a bit bigger than most quick barrel .357’s however the expansive bore Combat Magnum affords wonderful management and loads of punch with .44 Special masses, too.

In quick, the Combat Magnum remains to be alive and really nicely.

Specifications: Smith & Wesson Model 69 .44 Magnum

Caliber: .44 Magnum
Action: Single/double motion
Finish: Matte chrome steel
Grips:  Soft rubber
Sights:  Adjustable rear, ramp entrance
Capacity:  5 rounds
Weight: 35 ounces
Overall Length: 7.75 in.
Barrel Length: 2.75 in.
Width: 1.5 in.
MSRP: $854 (about $780 retail)

Ratings (out of 5 stars):

Reliability * * * * *
This is a top quality chrome steel revolver. It is dependable in each circumstance.

Accuracy * * * * *
Accuracy is superb, particularly by quick barrel revolver requirements.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Well-balanced with good, recoil-absorbing rubber grips. This is presumably the proper dimension for a defensive revolver.

Fit and Finish * * * * *
The bead-blasted matte end on the chrome steel wheel gun is engaging and properly accomplished.

Concealed Carry  * * * *
I carry expansive weapons, however the L-frame Model 69 isn’t as flat as a 1911 or as simple to pack as a GP100 or Tracker revolver. Carried on the hip in cooler climate with a canopy garment works nicely.

Overall: * * * * *
The Model 69 Combat Magnum is a helpful, versatile revolver that may fill a whole lot of completely different roles relying on the masses used. It’s an nearly very best mix of a hid carry gun mixed with a really succesful expansive bore out of doors critter protection revolver.

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