S&W Model 69 Combat Magnum Revolver in .44 Mag

Smith & Wesson Model 69 revolver

For the first time, a .44 Magnum ‘Combat Magnum’ will be offered by Smith & Wesson in the L-frame.  The new Model 69 revolver will look like the classic Combat Magnum revolvers (such as the recently re-introduced Model 66.)

The guns will have a 4.25″ barrel topped with a red ramp front sight and adjustable rear sight.  The stainless steel frame is glass bead finished, and the stainless steel cylinder holds five rounds.  Like the classic Combat Magnums, the top strap and barrel have ridges.

Checking the Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, it the entry for Model 69 is listed only as “experimental.”  So, I presume the company has never used this model number for a production revolver before now.

Smith & Wesson 69 Specifications

caliber.44 Magnum
capacityfive rounds
barrel length4.25"
overall length9.75"
weight (unloaded)37.2 oz
front sightpinned, red ramp
rear sightadjustable, white outline
finishglass bead

Smith & Wesson Model 69 revolver

We will have more information on the Smith & Wesson Model 69 at the 2014 SHOT Show.

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  1. That’s a phenominal revolver, but what do you ‘get’ in return for that sixth round? Two ounces lighter?

    I’ll keep my 629.

    • You also get a slimmer revolver with the Model 69. That makes for easier carry. Besides, if you can’t take care of what you need to take care of with 5 shots of .44 Magnum, then a sixth shot probably won’t make that much of a difference, anyway.

  2. Ok, so Smith has brought us an enormous and heavy revolver, which has only 5 beans on the wheel, has the new lockwork, and drum-roll- its cursed with that #@!!!xx&! keyed safety lock.

    I am underwhelmed.


    • “Enormous and heavy revolver”? Pardon me while I go laugh in the corner over that statement.

      • Brian,
        I am glad you are entertained.

        Hmmm…. let me see. It is an “L” frame with an underlug, and it weighs unloaded 37 ounces. It’s pretty big, and pretty heavy , I do not know why you would laugh in the corner. It is belt gun size, CCW folks would likely prefer a 3 inch barrel. So for holster pistol size, you only get 5 rounds. Of course, its 44 Mag which is fairly powerful, but usually considered over powerful for defense most defensive users of .44 Mag with .44 Special. So why make it a Mag?

        I regularly carry a 3″ barrelled Model 25 in .45 ACP, which is a tad bit smaller in all dimensions except cylinder than this new gun, and it has 6 shots.

        Like several others commenting here, I just think they missed on this one. What would be great would be a .44 Special or .45 ACP with a scandium cylinder and a 3″ barrel.


        • First of all, allow me to apologize if I came off a bit callous. I do recognize that the weight may be a problem for most people wishing to carry it, but it doesn’t bother me. My Ruger GP100 is heavier by a few ounces, and I actually like a handgun with some weight to it. Additionally, every S&W I’ve ever picked up always feels lighter than it really is because they’re balanced so well, so I would particularly love this new combat magnum. I also like revolvers much more than most semi-autos, and I favor steel over that scandium alloy stuff. As for the magnum over special issue, I figure it’s for versatility and marketing. I’m pretty sure just about anyone would rather the gun be able to shoot both .44 Special and the .44 Magnum, even if they don’t plan to use the magnums often or at all. Basically, the Model 69 will sell better as a magnum than as a special.

          Now, I don’t mind more compact guns, and your Model 25 sounds awesome. Personally, I would love a Ruger SP101 for concealed carry, myself. However, this is a revolver designed for .44 Magnum loads, and you can’t go much smaller or lighter than this without making it impractical or dangerous to use. I imagine this will be popular in bear country, where people might want a suitable woods/carry gun that isn’t as heavy as the other options out there. Personally, I’d get one for fun, at least, and see how I can handle it. If I can handle it well, then I certainly would carry the Model 69.

          I do respect your opinion, and if you think they missed with the Model 69, then that’s ok. I, on the other hand, don’t think they did. It has a place in the market, and I believe it will be received well, overall.

  3. Matthew Carberry says:

    Now, a 5-shot 4″ L-frame -Scandium- .45 set up for moonclips and chambered long enough for .460 Rowland for the woods, THAT would be interesting.

  4. Agree, a scandium frame .44 Special would be a much better seller.

    • You can shoot 44 Special from a gun chambered in 44 Magnum. Furthermore, Speer offers a low to midrange 44 Magnum load with 200 grain Gold Dot bullet. You get your choice between that and the lighter 44 Special Gold Dot.

      • Yep, my dad shoots more special loads out of his 629 than he does magnum, love shooting it, can blow up clays at 100 yards with it like clockwork.

  5. Frank Nowakowski says:

    years back the L-Framed, 3″ M-696′s in .44 Special languished on the shelves and were quickly discontinued. THEN shooters realized how useful a lighter weight, smaller revolver truly was in .44 Special. TRY to find a 696 today under $900. VERY tough to find and most go for four figures.

    I see this model as an extension of the 696′s and a USEFUL addition to the S&W revolver lineup. At 37 ounces I doubt full boat magnum ammo will be much FUN. But mid range loads with a cast Keith slug in the 1K fps area. Pretty nice bear protection, or a woods gun or a big game hunting sidearm, in a fairly light package, that’s very shootable.

    Yeah I HATE the lock as well. But this is still a nice option for revolver shooters.

  6. Andy in CT says:

    Talked to someone at Mag-Na-Port. $595 for a chop to 3″, inverted crown, action job and of course, Mag-Na-Port-ing. Less if you pass on the action job and porting.

    THIS is the revolver they should offer and you know? They will eventually. Probably a Performance Center gun. The problem is, it will have a short ejector. Mag-Na-Port chops but keeps the full length ejector rod.

    So yeah. 5-shot snub-nosed .44 mag. A fitting back-up to my 629.

  7. That’s the most interesting revolver development in a l-o-n-g time. Just wish it was in .45LC as I’m trying to consolidate calibers.

    Even my daughter doesn’t think an L frame is big. She loves shooting full bore .357 thru the 6″ barrel. Bought it new in 81 or 82. Any rate always felt the L frame was big enough to accomodate 5 shots of .44 or .45.

  8. Frank Nowakowski says:


    Just back from SHOT Show and I had some time with the new 66 and their new M-69 as well. #1 I hate the two piece barrel design, as well as the round butt ONLY frames. Don’t even mention the LOCK. ALL that said…I still like the M-69 revolver. I think this should be a big seller for Smith.

    Felt good in the hand. Nice balance, with a nice sight picture thanks to the black front sight.

  9. Curious…I have one of the 329PD guns, and love it, but it requires lower recoil loads, because the recoil is severe enough to cause the bullets to edge forward out of their brass cartridges from recoil…rendering it a single shot.

    Does this gun have the same issues?

    The recoil on a 329PD is actually imperceptible when shooting the gun, but having it jam up with full powered rounds sucks.

    I use the Buffalo Bore +P rounds in my Ruger Redhawks, not in my S & W 629 models, but wonder if the 69 is up to it?

    FYI – I also hate the integral locks on the S & W guns.

  10. Frank Nowakowski says:


    I don’t have the data handy, But I have loaded for a buddies 329 and we had no issues with bullets jumping the crimp. He bought a set of REDDING dies , standard old .44 Spcl/.44 mag set, but did get their profile crimp die. That die IIRC gives a bit of a taper crimp as well as a traditional ROLL type crimp.

    I trimmed 100 rds of new Starline brass to a consistent length. I loaded my own 430″, 275 gr cast, Keith style slugs with a deep crimping groove. Again I don’thave the data with me but I think I loaded 18 or 19 grains of 2400 and we got 1200 fps over my crono with that load.

    He wanted it for big bears up in AK. Recoil was brutal and follow up shots slow…but that was what he wanted. One can go too light and I think the 329′s are THERE.

    All that said…..I think if one uses good brass. Use an expander plug diameter that allows for a tight grip, As well as .430″ or even .431″ hard cast slugs with a good crimp. You should be OK.

    With mid range loads his 329 never jumped crimp. Hope this helps.

    FN in MT

    • Really…that surprises me. I have used heavy reloads in the 329 and had nothing but problems…plus I have multiple Lyman and RCBS dies…one set of Pacific Durachrome dies…and all of them jump on me. I use bullets with a cannelure and crimp them very tight in the cannelure…same result.

      Maybe the sort of die is the key? Please get me the information if you can.

      Black bears outnumber people here, and the fools at a local resort feed them, so they follow you all over the woods. Just like humans though, you simply cannot ever trust the sows…extremely unpredictable. Had to down three of them in my life…all with heavy loads in a S & W 629…but I now lean to the Ruger Redhawk 5.5″ barrel for the very hard hitting Buffalo Bore rounds.

      Buffalo bore also makes a hardened gas checked reduced recoil round for the 329PD, that is supposed to still be up to factory specs and suitable for bears…I have them…have shot them…just not at any bears.

      Recoil is not any real issue for me, as I shoot often and heavy, but do not notice it at all really…even in a .444 marlin 10″ barrel contender. Recoil seems to be mostly a mental game, as I have demonstrated often, by loading a pistol with a dummy round to watch the shooter flinch a good foot upon pulling the trigger. Some people simply are not made for the sport, and cannot even shoot the .357 magnum very well. I have small and relatively fragile hands, but with the newer grips, never have had any issues. Must be the mindset.

    • The Buffalo Bore reduced recoil rounds are not moving very slowly either…this from Buffalo Bore…though I have never chronographed them myself.

      Lower Recoil .44 Magnum Ammo – 255 gr. Keith – G.C. (1,350 fps/M.E. 1,032 ft.lbs.) – 20 Round Box

      There have been several requests for a full power 44 mag. Load that recoils substantially less than our other Heavy 44 mag. Loads, but will still penetrate deeply and be deadly on game animals.

      When S&W introduced their model 329PD, we noticed that some of those scandium revolvers would experience sticky extraction with our Heavy loads and the recoil in the light weight scandium 329PD guns was horrendous, to say the least. This recoil would some times cause bullets to “jump crimp” thus tying up the revolver.

      In order to alleviate the recoil, crimp jump and sticky extraction, we have developed this load. It is still full power, but uses a lighter weight, super hard cast, gas checked bullet and will still penetrate very deeply in big game despite its lighter weight. This load is ideal for those of you who carry the S&W model 329PD. This load will not lead your barrel.

  11. Will Cordes says:

    Just picked up my Smith & Wesson Model 69, and I was pleased to see it fits in holsters made for the 4″ Models 19/66. Since it’s heavier than my Model 329, it shouldn’t have any problems with the 300-grain handloads I’ve loaded for the six-shooter, such as the bullets jumping the crimp. I haven’t shot it, yet (the snow is still deep at my range in Missoula,MT), but the quality is there, and I’m optimistic.

  12. I just picked one up on Friday and fired it yesterday. Really like it! It will make a great field gun. Fits perfectly into one of my old GP100 holsters.

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