6 S&W Model 69 Problems That Most Users Face

The S&W Model 69 is an L-frame revolver that has a 5 rounds cylinder. It features a full-length extractor rod and a ball detent lock-up. However, you may experience a few common problems with this revolver.

The leading issue, unaligned ball detent, shooting inaccurately, sights moving, stiff trigger, and cylinder jamming is the most common S&W Model 69 problems.

In this post, I’ll go over a few common S&W Model 69 problems. For a list of this revolver’s features and specs, see the following table.

Features & Specifications of S&W Model 69 Gun:

S&W Model 69 Specs
Cartridge44 Magnum
Capacity5 Rounds
Barrel Length2.75/4.25 Inches
Weight (Unloaded)34.40/37.20 Ounces or 975.22/1054.60 Grams
Length7.8/9.75 Inches
Height5.75 Inches
Width1.5 Inches
SafetyTransfer Bar
SightsFront – Red Ramp Rear – Adjustable Black Blade
Common S&W Model 69 Problems and Solutions
S&W Model 69

Common S&W Model 69 Problems and Solutions

Problems with S&W Model 69Solutions
Leading from Firing RoundsLubricate and use heavier ammo.
Unaligned Ball DetentTake it to a gunsmith or send it to S&W.
Shooting InaccuratelyGet a barrel replacement.
Sights Moving by ItselfInspect the sights regularly and fix or replace the faulty sights.
Stiff TriggerReplace the trigger formation.
Cylinder Stuck with Live RoundsChange the cylinder.

1. Leading from Firing Rounds:

A significant issue with the S&W Model 69 revolvers is leading. With some ammunition types, this issue is also apparent.

Using ammunition with lighter grains increases your chances of leading. Additionally, if you don’t lubricate and clean your pistol, more lead will build up within.

The Fix:

To determine which types of bullets have leading difficulties and which ones do not, you must test your revolver with a variety of bullet types. However, attempt to utilize more powerful ammunition and slow-burning powder.

Make sure to lubricate and fire the hard cast bullets quickly. You can stop having problems with gas cutting by using flat-based bullets.

2. Unaligned Ball Detent:

The ball detent is an important part that is placed in front of the barrel. But some of the S&W Model 69 revolver has an unaligned ball detent.

It is not aligned with the notch on the electrochemical machining barrel. The misalignment is also noticed with the muzzle.

The Fix:

You may try to manually align the ball detent. But it will be best to take it to a gunsmith to fix the issue.

An even better suggestion would be to send the faulty revolver to Smith and Wesson for warranty servicing. They will replace the old ball detent with a new one and align it properly.

3. Shooting Inaccurately:

Some S&W owners have reported accuracy issues with the gun. The reason for bullets not hitting the target while aiming correctly is an improper alignment of the barrel.

As a result, it will shoot either to the left or right depending on how far you are from the target. If the barrel is not aligned correctly with the frame, the gun will never be accurate.

The Fix:

You may disassemble the gun to look at the barrel position. If you notice that the barrel is not straightly lining up with the frame on both sides, you have a factory fault.

Although this can occur with heavy shooting for many rounds, it is very unlikely. So, to fix this gun, you will need a barrel replacement.

While buying the gun, be sure to inspect the alignment as some guns may come this way.

4. Sights Moving by Itself:

This may happen with any of the S&W Model 69 revolvers. The rear sight of the revolver is adjustable. But if your fire rapidly, the sights may get tilted to one side of the gun.

This issue also happens when you have been firing for more than 100 to 200 rounds in a single session in the range.

The Fix:

Make sure that the sight is adjusted properly when you adjust it. After shooting one cylinder of rounds, always inspect the sights before shooting.

If the sight is tilted to one side, do not shoot with the gun. The fired round will go way out of the target.

If the issue happens with every one or two shots, you should get the sights fixed or replaced by any gunsmiths nearby.

5. Stiff Trigger:

The trigger of the S&W Model 69 may stiff on the double action mode. If you slowly pull the trigger, it will feel rough and not smooth.

You may also experience a jammed trigger after pulling it to the back. As a result, the hammer will not drop either.

This happens when the double action fly is shorter than usual. The issue may also occur with new guns as they have not been broken in properly.

The Fix:

If the fly is short, it will not show any signs of a problem if you pull the trigger rapidly. But if you pull the trigger slowly, it can slip off of the trigger and wedge against it.

The trigger system will need a replacement for this problem. It will be best if you mention the problem in detail and send the gun to S&W to replace the trigger formation.

You should also try to break into the gun by shooting at least 200 rounds after cleaning and lubricating it properly.

6. Skipping Rounds:

The S&W Model 69 may skip rounds while shooting the gun. The reason for this problem is that the cylinder stop disengaging while shooting. So, during the recoil, the cylinder will rotate.

As a result, one round may get skipped.

The Fix:

To fix this issue, you have to replace the cylinder stop of the S&W Model 69. The stock cylinder stop disengaging problem will be solved with a titanium cylinder stop.

You should contact some gunsmiths for a titanium cylinder stop to fit inside your model 69.

User Feedback on S&W Model 69

The S&W Model 69 is a great gun if you are looking forward to shooting some 44 magnums. Although the gun has received many positive and negative reviews on the forums and websites, it is one of the greatest revolvers from S&W.

In this post from Bush Craft USA, people said that they liked the experience of shooting with a gun. One particular user said that the recoil was fairly noticeable but controllable.

One user from the Smith and Wesson Forums has said that the S&W Model 69 he purchased had a smooth double-action trigger. But the dreaded lock is a feature not appreciated by everyone.

The gun also has some leading issues that many users complain about. You can look at this post on the Smith Wesson Forum for the users’ statements.

Top 3 Alternative Guns of S&W Model 69

Here are some best alternatives for the S&W Model 69:

  1. Taurus 44 Tracker
    – Has 2 models, black oxide and stainless steel with a 4-inch barrel.
    – Shoots 44 Magnum with a capacity of 5 rounds.
  2. Ruger Super Redhawk
    – Features dual chambering allowing 44 Special and 45 Colt cartridges.
    – Has a cold hammer forged barrel and corrosion-resistant stainless steel build.
  3. Smith and Wesson 329 PD
    – Shoots 44 Magnum and 44 Special with a capacity of 6.
    – Includes light gathering red dots and adjustable sights.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does the S&W model 69 cost?


What is the type of handedness of the S&W model 69 gun?

Ambidextrous handedness.

What type of manufacturer warranty is provided with the S&W model 69?

General lifetime service warranty.

What is the action type on the S&W model 69 revolver?

Single action and double action.

How much is the trigger pull on the S&W model 69?

3.5 lbs. pull with a single action and 11 lbs. pull with double action.

What are the building materials of the S&W model 69?

Stainless steel frame, barrel, and cylinder.

What type of grips does the S&W model 69 have?

Synthetic grips.


That is all about the most common S&W Model 69 problems. Follow my instructions and tips to get your S&W Model 69 fixed if it shows any of the mentioned issues.

Always ensure that you maintain your gun regularly.

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