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Old 10-13-2009, 02:27 PM
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Default Chief's Special Target

Recently picked up this gun and thought it interesting. It is not model marked but came with what I believe to be the original blue two piece box. The box has the serial number in white grease pencil on the bottom and the end of the box is printed with ".38 Chiefs Special Model 36" and in grease pencil is written "TAR", I assume for target. The gun is serial 1501xx. It presently has a target trigger but there is also a standard trigger in the box, gun has Herrett grips. When I receive the shipping date I will post it.


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Old 10-15-2009, 09:55 PM
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That's a real nice revolver.

I had a similiar model in stainless, but sold it (oops!). Those Herrett stocks are made of very nice wood.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:02 AM
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Even though this gun is not model marked it shipped in 1961. Interesting in that 1957 is the commonly accepted date for the model marking of guns. It either sat in inventory for a long time or was made up from a left-over pre 1957 frame.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:56 AM
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Very interesting. I had no idea they made the Target back then, and a square butt, also! I'm sure you're aware of the 60-1s. This one shipped (to me) in 1986 (round butt).

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Old 06-17-2010, 12:21 PM
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Interesting that the box is marked "Model 36" but the gun is not model marked.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:28 PM
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Interesting that the box is marked "Model 36" but the gun is not model marked.
I found that interesting also. As near as can tell the box is original to the gun. I can't imagine these guns were hot sellers so perhaps it sat in the SW vault for a while. To me the gun is neither fish nor fowl, certainly not a target gun and I think the target sights would be a hinderence to carrying the gun for self defense. An interesting gun though, and a favorite of mine. I might letter the gun and I suspect it may turn out to be a H.H. Harris shipped item.

Larry, neat gun, I will have to keep my eyes open for one of those it would make a nice companion to mine.

Larry, I did find one of those.


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Old 06-17-2010, 03:14 PM
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To me the gun is neither fish nor fowl, certainly not a target gun and I think the target sights would be a hinderence to carrying the gun for self defense.

Larry, neat gun, I will have to keep my eyes open for one of those it would make a nice companion to mine.
You're right of course -- they are neither fish nor fowl -- but I have found many uses for mine. Think of having a small, compact, relatively powerful revolver that you can shoot with a good degree of precision, should the need arise. Mine is a favorite for carry around the farm where I might shoot a snake at 6 feet or a ground squirrel at 60 feet. It groups very well with 158 grain lead SWC and the adjustable sights allow me make sure it's "right on" with my favorite load. I really like yours!!

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Old 06-17-2010, 05:09 PM
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Very rare, and very nice revolver, sometimes call M-50 (I believe). Info in SCS&W.
I'll bet the Herretts are the same vintage.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:19 PM
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I read an entertaining article years back where the writier extolled the virtues of the Chief's Special Target. He said he had wondered for years why they had not sold many of them, but one day it hit him -- the name! His idea was that it would have attracted much more attention if they had been called something like the Trail Master -- and I couldn't disagree with him. They are very neat little hiking guns.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:29 PM
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I read an entertaining article years back where the writier extolled the virtues of the Chief's Special Target. He said he had wondered for years why they had not sold many of them, but one day it hit him -- the name! His idea was that it would have attracted much more attention if they had been called something like the Trail Master -- and I couldn't disagree with him. They are very neat little hiking guns.
Interesting point, one of the oldest ploys in marketing, sell the sizzle not the steak.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:41 PM
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I just looked at a fixed sight version that is model marked M36, a little higher serial number that the owner says shipped in 1962. This one came in a non-model box, has the serial number written on the bottom. Just another example of "no rules with Smith" I guess!
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:35 PM
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John, another nice gun for your collection. Sure wish I was going to be in Tucson to see some of these new guns you've turned up this year.

Bill
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:18 PM
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Thanks Bill, I am going to miss you in Tucson. Don't think I will be taking anything out there as I will be flying and the TSA hassle would probably be more trouble than it's worth.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:17 AM
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I read an entertaining article years back where the writier extolled the virtues of the Chief's Special Target. He said he had wondered for years why they had not sold many of them, but one day it hit him -- the name! His idea was that it would have attracted much more attention if they had been called something like the Trail Master -- and I couldn't disagree with him. They are very neat little hiking guns.

Terry Murbach. (The writer.)
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:20 AM
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I had one many years ago and sold it. H. H. Harris, the S&W distributor in Chicago, was a major supplier of these "oddities".
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:26 AM
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That is a very cool little revolver. I would love to have one of those to pair up with my 34 Kitgun.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:06 PM
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I'd love to find the records / documents of HH Harris. All of the early CST (1955-56) I either "lettered" or received a S&W Historian letter from the previous owner when I purchased ... each of the 4 "lettered" shipped to HH Harris. Years ago I researched HH Harris. I found HHH ad, in American Rifleman, I think it was November 1955. If I recall correctly HH Harris had a full page ad with the Chief Special Target featured. Sal Raimondi
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by hsguy View Post
Even though this gun is not model marked it shipped in 1961. Interesting in that 1957 is the commonly accepted date for the model marking of guns. It either sat in inventory for a long time or was made up from a left-over pre 1957 frame.
I found the same thing with my recently purchased K22. There is no model marking and it shipped in June 1958.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:08 PM
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I'd love to find the records / documents of HH Harris. All of the early CST (1955-56) I either "lettered" or received a S&W Historian letter from the previous owner when I purchased ... each of the 4 "lettered" shipped to HH Harris. Years ago I researched HH Harris. I found HHH ad, in American Rifleman, I think it was November 1955. If I recall correctly HH Harris had a full page ad with the Chief Special Target featured. Sal Raimondi
Sal;

This sounds like a good question to post to Roy, on the SWCA side. I recall he either knew or did business with him.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:26 PM
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Missed my chance at one several years ago.
Still kicking myself, although my snub M15s do help ease the pain.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:33 PM
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I have examined one serial numbered 1500XX that also did not have a model marking. The serial number was rather unevenly stamped as well, at least insofar as how deeply each digit was impressed, almost as if it was done by hand, albeit with a jig of some sort.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:44 PM
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That's a nice one, and you don't see them very often. I'd love to find one for my collection.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:10 PM
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I'd love to find the records / documents of HH Harris. All of the early CST (1955-56) I either "lettered" or received a S&W Historian letter from the previous owner when I purchased ... each of the 4 "lettered" shipped to HH Harris. Years ago I researched HH Harris. I found HHH ad, in American Rifleman, I think it was November 1955. If I recall correctly HH Harris had a full page ad with the Chief Special Target featured. Sal Raimondi
Sal, Herbie Harris was able to get some very interesting guns from S&W and many of the unusual guns found in this area do letter to Harris. I have a couple of other examples. this is a very early Model 60, all the metal parts including the medallions and grip screw were stainless. The gun was high polish when sold but shows wear from use. I have included the original order letter and some copies of ads S&W published for the gun.







This next gun is a Model 48 in factory nickel. S&W never cataloged these guns in nickel but Herbie was able to get one on special order.

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Old 08-21-2012, 01:52 AM
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John, thanks for posting the pictures and sharing your knowledge. If memory serves me correctly in the November 1955 American Rifleman HH Harris has a full page ad, showing advertising the CST. I have 2 early 60s (non-target). You've given me insight to check into them further. Further up in this same thread someone mentions what I designate as CST-V2 (chief special target version 2) the 149xxx to 150xxx range. The original production were more of a soft satin blue finish while the CST-V2s are usually all high polish blue). I have one just under 150xxx and one just over 150xxx. Both are not marked for model numbers. I don't see model numbers until a batch in appx 1966 (or there about) which I designate CST-V3 marked Model 36. I have a few CST-SS (yup, you guessed it Chief Special Target Stainless Steel) which seem to have been ordered by Lew Horton, knick named Lew Horton Specials. All marked 60-1. After that the Model 50. I stopped with anything newer than the 60-1 as in the 90s S&W mass produced a 3" version in black and other variants. Naturally, the bug that bit me first is when I read Roy Jink's History of S&W back in the 70s, stating that 114 of the original CSTs were manufacture 1955-57. Question is, exactly how many produced in the 55xxx to 57xxx serial number range, and how many in the 149xxx to 150xxx range ? I have one in the 55xxx range, (55060) and the rest are all in the 57xxx as I've seen various quotes on the production runs over they years. I've never seen one in the 56xxx range. Since I started collecting these many year back I've only passed on one that had been so beaten, rusted and poorly refinished that I just had to pass on it. What I should have done was record that serial number but did not.
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:32 AM
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Default CST-SS

Hey Sal
Your CST-SS is probably a gun from the order by Ashland Shooters Supply, Ashland, Ohio of 1985. There were 666 guns in this order with a product code of 102305. A quote from my factory letter by Mr. Jinks, "The serial numbers of this group are dispersed through a wide range of serial numbers all generally beginning with the AL prefix with one more letter".

An interesting side note! I have maintained a data base from the "Survivors List" from the Joe Miller days and your #55060 is THE lowest serial number I have. Also, I have no serial numbers in the 56xxx range!

Do I detect a renewed interest in the CST guns? ? ?
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:53 AM
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Default Survivor's list Chief Special Targets 1955-1956

Nice to know I have the oldest surviving CST. Can you share that survivor's list with me? I'm uncertain if I supplied any of my serial numbers to the survivors list ... I may have, however, if I had not I'm sure I can add "a few" (LOL) to the list ... like a dozen in the 55xxx and 57xxx range (including 55060). Sal
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Old 07-19-2016, 05:15 AM
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Hey Sal
Your CST-SS is probably a gun from the order by Ashland Shooters Supply, Ashland, Ohio of 1985. There were 666 guns in this order with a product code of 102305. A quote from my factory letter by Mr. Jinks, "The serial numbers of this group are dispersed through a wide range of serial numbers all generally beginning with the AL prefix with one more letter".

An interesting side note! I have maintained a data base from the "Survivors List" from the Joe Miller days and your #55060 is THE lowest serial number I have. Also, I have no serial numbers in the 56xxx range!

Do I detect a renewed interest in the CST guns? ? ?
jcelect SWCA#LM723

Joe, it's been you, me and only a few others collecting these from way back when, but YOU'RE the man !! Sal
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Old 07-19-2016, 08:46 AM
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Love my Chief.

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Old 07-29-2016, 11:49 PM
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I found that interesting also. As near as can tell the box is original to the gun. I can't imagine these guns were hot sellers so perhaps it sat in the SW vault for a while. To me the gun is neither fish nor fowl, certainly not a target gun and I think the target sights would be a hinderence to carrying the gun for self defense. An interesting gun though, and a favorite of mine. I might letter the gun and I suspect it may turn out to be a H.H. Harris shipped item.

Larry, neat gun, I will have to keep my eyes open for one of those it would make a nice companion to mine.

Larry, I did find one of those.


These were from an Ashland special order (in the mid 1980s) of the Stainless Steel Chief Special Target. I thought these were so hot, I purchased a few from Harrison Carrol, ( a specialty S&W, Sig 210, and Colt SAA guy) as only certain upscale dealers got these. Could not find them locally ... remember this was all in the Pre-Internet days.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:52 AM
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These were from an Ashland special order (in the mid 1980s) of the Stainless Steel Chief Special Target. I thought these were so hot, I purchased a few from Harrison Carrol, ( a specialty S&W, Sig 210, and Colt SAA guy) as only certain upscale dealers got these. Could not find them locally ... remember this was all in the Pre-Internet days.
Yes, I think is was 1986. I got Shotgun News back then. Ashland did a half-page ad for these. I thought they were slick and had a FFL buddy order one for me. When it arrived he called me. I asked how it looked and he said "That front sight takes some getting used to..."


It was my "Canoe Gun" when I fished around Mobile.
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Old 08-01-2016, 08:50 PM
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Yeah those front sights on the target model I and J frames were quite the shark fin.

The stainless Chiefs Targets finally got a sight base on the 1990, Mod 60-4, 3" HB full lug and Rd Butt limited run.

The blue Chiefs Target got the sight base for the 1st time on the 1975 limited run of the Model 36-1:

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Old 08-01-2016, 09:23 PM
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Yeah those front sights on the target model I and J frames were quite the shark fin.

The stainless Chiefs Targets finally got a sight base on the 1990, Mod 60-4, 3" HB full lug and Rd Butt limited run.

The blue Chiefs Target got the sight base for the 1st time on the 1975 limited run of the Model 36-1:

Now that is a classy looking gun.

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Old 08-01-2016, 09:28 PM
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Recently picked up this gun and thought it interesting. It is not model marked but came with what I believe to be the original blue two piece box. The box has the serial number in white grease pencil on the bottom and the end of the box is printed with ".38 Chiefs Special Model 36" and in grease pencil is written "TAR", I assume for target. The gun is serial 1501xx. It presently has a target trigger but there is also a standard trigger in the box, gun has Herrett grips. When I receive the shipping date I will post it.



The first run of the CSTs (CST-1) were very few in the 55,0xx range, NONE in the 56xxx range, and the rest in 577xx to 578xx range, are not sequential. Perhaps built in runs of 10 or 20 at a time for a total of 114 CST-1s. These were all matte finish blue. I originally corrected the Blue Book of Gun Values back in about 1995 who previously had them all listed as bright premium blue.

The next run of the CST (CST-2) are in the 149xxx to 150xxx range. I'm not sure exactly how many (likely about 200 or so ... jump in to correct me) but these were all bright, premium blue.

The box you show is correct with the TAR on the end label and should have the serial number on the bottom of the box (at one end or the other) then another series of number mid box in a white grease crayon type marker. Needless to say, the stocks (grips) are incorrect.

Back about 30+ years ago there were very few collectors of the Chief's Special Target models, including myself, Joe Cebull and a very few others.

In the pre-internet days you bought LOTS of books because the world of data was not at your fingertips. AND you subscribed to the better respected Gun classifieds, e.g. GUNLIST, etc. and traded with members of your club or clubs. Collecting of baby Chiefs was near non existent as a sub-culture collecting back then other than a sharp collector would always be attracted to a nice condition, low SN gun of the models he collects.

The early Centennials were also sought with the airweight nickel Centennial in the front running for the more desirable as many had peeled and had shown up with peeling nickel or refinished. It was (and still is) difficult to find an early Centennial Airweight with a tight original nickel finish.

Then, of course, were the Chief Special Airweight with the alloy cylinder. In the same serial number range as the Chief's special found in the 23xxx-27,xxx range and some up to the 4x,xxx range.

Roy Jinks mentions a Chief's Special Airweight Target in his 1977 (appx 1977) publication of the History of S&W. I found a Chief's Special Airweight Target, which is clearly a master gunsmith or factory conversion in the lower 100,xxx range using S&W CST front sight blade and rear target sight. It is THE only one I every saw. I still have it, hoping one day it will be blessed by the powers that be. It letters only as a standard Chief's Special Airweight with no special comments. When I found it I paid a fair value of an Airweight. The seller did not suggest it was anything odd or special and was not selling it on the premise that it was an Airweight Target.

It was not until the 1960s that the Model 50 designation was assigned to the steel frame Chief Special Target, however it was not used nor marked as such until the run of the Model 50's somewhere in the mid to late 1970s just for that one batch and never seen Model 50 designation after that.

See Joe Cebulls post here: Model 50

Chief's Special Targets produced in the 1959 to late 1960s are found as Model 36 designation.

and as Forrest Gump would say "and that's all I got to say about that".
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Last edited by model3sw; 08-01-2016 at 10:01 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-02-2016, 10:05 AM
Muley Gil Muley Gil is offline
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Originally Posted by Larry from Bend View Post
Yes, I think is was 1986. I got Shotgun News back then. Ashland did a half-page ad for these. I thought they were slick and had a FFL buddy order one for me. When it arrived he called me. I asked how it looked and he said "That front sight takes some getting used to..."


It was my "Canoe Gun" when I fished around Mobile.
My great aunt Sadie used to live on the Dog River in Mobile, near the old Air Force base. She got to fish in her back yard whenever she wanted.
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:29 PM
BUFF BUFF is offline
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My Model 50 is a blue 2 incher, 935J63. I made a note that it was 1 of 568 manufactured in 1973, from Roy Jinks' book.

My Model 60-1, the 2 inch stainless Target from Ashland Shooters Supply is ALU3228. I bought it in July, 1985. My dealer ordered me one when I showed him the ad in either ShotGun News or Gun Digest, so they were made in 1985 if not a smidge earlier.

Unusual, cute little devils, aren't they?
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:39 PM
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Leatherhead23 Leatherhead23 is offline
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Friend of mine got a Model 50 from his father recently. He is not a Smith guy...but he refuses to sell it to me. I don't blame him.

He did allow me to clean and wax it and snap a couple pics of it though...







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Old 08-03-2016, 12:10 AM
jcelect jcelect is offline
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This is a prime example why of we should never say " S&W never did that"!
All the data I have been able to accumulate on the CST group of gun of 1966 is 1006 made in #391773-#392778. Earlier this year I found a CST at OGCA and walked away from it because the serial number did not fit! ? ! ? Mr. Jinks informed a good friend, CST collector, and fellow Ohioan that #452834 is a CST and there were 4 guns in the shipment!
Just when we think we know it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joe Cebull SWCA#LM723
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Old 08-03-2016, 03:17 PM
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This is a prime example why of we should never say " S&W never did that"!
All the data I have been able to accumulate on the CST group of gun of 1966 is 1006 made in #391773-#392778. Earlier this year I found a CST at OGCA and walked away from it because the serial number did not fit! ? ! ? Mr. Jinks informed a good friend, CST collector, and fellow Ohioan that #452834 is a CST and there were 4 guns in the shipment!
Just when we think we know it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Joe Cebull SWCA#LM723
Joe, when I grow up I want to be just like you Sal
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Old 08-04-2016, 12:54 PM
Larry from Bend Larry from Bend is offline
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Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
My great aunt Sadie used to live on the Dog River in Mobile, near the old Air Force base. She got to fish in her back yard whenever she wanted.
She lived in a pretty spot. I lived on Dog River for almost two years. A buddy had a 22' boat tied to the dock and we'd go out sometimes. One year I got to take part in the Fishing Rodeo.

I did most of my fishing on the Escatava (sp) River near Pascagoula. Loads of fun.
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