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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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  #1  
Old 12-19-2011, 09:24 PM
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Default A Scarce Li'l Baby.....

....of the THREE inch variety-





and YES, the barrel is original-









You will not encounter many. I've seen TWO in my entire career. The other one I had was #428XX. As I recall, it also had the ramped latch. I do not believe 3 inch guns will be found in the low numbers.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:30 PM
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Way cool, and I normally don't even LIKE the three inchers! Nice find.

Froggie
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:34 PM
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WOW, just WOW, I had no idea those were out there....
I have a crisp $100 bill if you want to sell it Lee!!!!!!!
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:05 PM
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Mine is #65986, but in reading the data base I learned of at least a dozen with 2 or 3 digit serial numbers, all shipped to the same address. As I remember at least one 3incher in the first dozen or so... Mine has the third type flat latch and does not have a bolt screw (trigger guard).

Last edited by SDH; 12-19-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 12-19-2011, 10:50 PM
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Mine is #65986, but in reading the data base I learned of at least a dozen with 2 or 3 digit serial numbers, all shipped to the same address. As I remember at least one 3incher in the first dozen or so... Mine has the third type flat latch and does not have a bolt screw (trigger guard).
Steven,
You got me there- I went and checked the database, and there were 11 two digit 3 inchers sent as "promo gifts" to the Brazilian commission!! I saw that years ago but forgot it. I think that is called 'grease' in big business circles.

Anyway, look again- after those 11, the next 3 inch BABY Chief is in the 305XX range. Like I say- I doubt you'll see a low number 3 inch Baby. There may be some in low numbers, but I've never heard of them.
Just for clarity- the gun you show is not a Baby.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:12 AM
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HI
Lee I agree with you. I have 45962 with the orginal red box numbered to the gun in 98% condition but I have not seen more than one other one. With yours that makes 3.
Jim

This gun was in Judys and Trevors display at the S & W meeting in 2010.

Hers a picture of the 3 inch and also a nickel 2 inch that is the only one I have seen.
jim


Last edited by bmg60; 12-20-2011 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:34 AM
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Lee, No, you will not see many of those!

A 2nd model Baby J 3 w/2nd type flat latch #42865 was listed GunsAmerica not too long ago. Is that the other one you saw?
I can e-mail you a photo if you'd like.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:34 AM
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HEY Jim,
Great guns.
When are you going to show off that REALLY rare Baby??

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Old 12-20-2011, 12:36 AM
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Lee, No, you will not see many of those!

A 2nd model Baby J 3 w/2nd type flat latch #42865 was listed GunsAmerica not too long ago. Is that the other one you saw?
I can e-mail you a photo if you'd like.
That is not it. I owned the other one I mentioned.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:06 AM
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Hi
Lee here is a picture of the display that has 6 of the Baby chiefs
in it. The display won 1 st place hand gun in washington a year ago.
The gun you are asking about is in the center of the display
a Nickel 2 inch Square butt baby chief. Thanks to lee I was able to
purchase it from lee two years ago.
great gun the only one that lee or I have ever seen.

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Old 12-20-2011, 01:18 AM
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OH BABY !!!!!!!

what a thread.



Charlie
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:25 AM
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Dang!! You guy's are sumthin' else..........nice guns indeed!
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Old 12-20-2011, 02:37 AM
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all are nice guns. kept in great shape too. S&W rules!

happy shooting
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:04 AM
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Thumbs up

I've said here before, in my opinion, these were the pinnacle design variations of the Chiefs Special. I have carried two for so long, they feel like a body appendage. Mine aren't pretty or rare.....or pretty rare. Both in the 24XXX serial range, both 2 inchers. Every 3 inch I've come across has been post 1957 M36's, so I really appreciate seeing the scarce 3 inch Baby Chiefs Special example in this thread. Thanks for posting it.

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Old 12-20-2011, 09:28 AM
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Very nice, all of the them.

Thanks for taking the time to post the pictures!

Hermon
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:09 AM
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HEY Jim,
Great guns.
When are you going to show off that REALLY rare Baby??

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmg60 View Post
Hi
Lee here is a picture of the display that has 6 of the Baby chiefs
in it. The display won 1 st place hand gun in washington a year ago.
The gun you are asking about is in the center of the display
a Nickel 2 inch Square butt baby chief. Thanks to lee I was able to
purchase it from lee two years ago.
great gun the only one that lee or I have ever seen.

Jim,
THAT would be the one!

Folks, L@@K at that square butt in the center.
I had read in Roy's book in 1977 that a square butt was introduced about two years into production- Oct, 52 in the 21,000 serial range. I had looked for one since.
I had never seen one.
I had never heard of one.
I had never seen anyone who had heard of one!

The annual meeting was in Tucson in 2010. DanM said there was a small show that weekend across town, so DanM, snw19_357, and myself jumped in the truck and headed over. We walked into that small show on Fri afternoon to look around. I doubt that 1/4 of the tables were set up. We went to one guy's table to look at a NM#3 Dan had seen before that was sleeved to 22. After that, we looked at his other stuff. In the showcase on another of his tables I saw the square butt Baby.
I'm a fairly seasoned buyer, but I'm surprised I didn't squeal like a little girl or start dancing around like Snoopy doing his 'First of May' dance.
In reality, I was kinda stunned. I held my poker face. Table holder was not there, but his associate handed me the gun. I'm not sure if I let it out of my hand or not, but he yelled for the table holder and a few minutes and a light haggle later, I owned it.
33 years.......
About an hour later, Jim owned it.
This was definitely one of the monumental finds of my career. I'd even rate it right up there with the McGivern Registered Magnum that I found years ago.
Some days are hard to forget.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:35 AM
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Steven,
You got me there- I went and checked the database, and there were 11 two digit 3 inchers sent as "promo gifts" to the Brazilian commission!! I saw that years ago but forgot it. I think that is called 'grease' in big business circles.

Anyway, look again- after those 11, the next 3 inch BABY Chief is in the 305XX range. Like I say- I doubt you'll see a low number 3 inch Baby. There may be some in low numbers, but I've never heard of them.
Digging more into the 3 inch-
The Chief rolled out in late Oct, 1950. The 11 Brazilian "promo" guns were shipped in March, 51.
Roy's book says production of the 3 inch began in Dec, 1950, only two months into production, so I'm probably wrong about low numbers not being out there. There must be SOME. They just turn up rarely in any range!
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:44 PM
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I sure like mine, even if it isn't a Baby...
It's probably the fourth 3" Chief I've owned. First one became an X with a wife, sold the second, have a -1 square butt I keep in the truck more than any other revolver. This one is the first I ever saw with a four screw sideplate and I just bought it, at a pretty good price.
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Old 09-17-2018, 05:11 PM
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Default Resurrected!

I'm not usually one who breathes life into a zombie, but I'm curious.

Several 2007 Baby Chiefs threads mention the scarcity of 3" models, and this 2011 thread identifies and discusses only five known 3" Baby Chiefs. Six years later I obtained a sixth one (not counting the 11 two-digit serial numbered ones Lee identifies as having gone to Brazil in 1951).

Can it still be true that we don't know of more?

The six in my data base are blue, yet one 2007 thread lists a nickel 3" Baby Chiefs as one available back in the day. Where is it (or are they)?

To condense my data base and not force you to go ferret these out of the thread, here are the ones I show:

45962 (bmg60 reports owning it in this thread)
42865 (Hondo44 reports in this thread seeing it on a GunsAmerica auction back in 2011)
42829 (I bought this from Lee; he reported it in this thread)
38284 (Lee reports it in his first post in this thread)
305XX (Lee reports it in this thread as the lowest known sn at the time)
30375 (the rusty one I bought in December 2017) shipped July '53 ( Rusty, etched 3" Baby Chiefs -- hammer down - range day at post #55 )

I'm ringing the bell to find out if anyone has seen more and is willing to help those of us who track such things add them to the current knowledge base.

Resurrecting this thread came to mind because I showed both of mine at the Laramie gun show last weekend. Several knowledgeable folks told me they had never known a 3" Baby existed.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:01 PM
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42829 (I bought this from Lee; he reported it in this thread)

Just so ya know-
I had already sold 42829 when I started this thread.
That's why I said in Post #1:
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You will not encounter many. I've seen TWO in my entire career. The other one I had was #428XX. As I recall, it also had the ramped latch.
I sold it to a collector friend before 2011. He added the correct box. I think 42829 is the first one I had ever seen.


Anyway, years later, that collector was thinning out, and sold it to another friend of mine. A few years after that, that friend was thinning out, and I sold it for him.
Can I sell it for you?
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Old 09-17-2018, 09:40 PM
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Can I sell it for you?
Inasmuch as I appreciate the offer, Lee, I'm still in love.

Occasionally I sell a spare '60s or '70s Chiefs, and I did trade a duplicate Baby away to get a lower sn, but it's not likely any more of my Babies will leave the nest anytime soon.

Thanks,

Bob
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:11 PM
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Hi guys, please initiate me. What qualifies as a Baby Chief ? I collect antiques and Victories and have only ever owned one Chiefs spec. thanks
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:28 PM
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Hi guys, please initiate me. What qualifies as a Baby Chief ? I collect antiques and Victories and have only ever owned one Chiefs spec. thanks
That which you can spot across a good size room is the (essentially) round trigger guard----as opposed to oblong.

Beyond that, these guys have forgotten more than I know about them----and can likely identify myriad other differences.

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Old 09-17-2018, 10:30 PM
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Howdy jayn.32 and welcome aboard.

Here's an image that shows you a Baby (left) and the subsequent Model of 1953.

Basic differences:

1. Look at the trigger guards. The Baby is small and rather round; and the later model is more ovoid.

2. Look at the grip frames. The Baby is shorter by ⅛".

3. Another not-obvious-in-my-photo difference relates to the number of screws. Baby Chiefs had five and the Model of 1953 had four. The one eliminated was at the front of the trigger guard.

4. Additionally, the cylinder release changed, too, to a different, steeper ramped flat latch.

My highest serial numbered Baby shipped in May '54. My lowest serial numbered Model of 1953 shipped in August '54, but I'm aware of a few that shipped in June '54.
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File Type: jpg 3-inchers, May '54 Baby Chiefs & April '55 Chiefs.jpg (59.8 KB, 93 views)
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:35 PM
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Bob,

Checking my database, I have 42820 3" rd butt, ramp sight.
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:41 PM
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Again, I learned something today, here.
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Old 09-17-2018, 10:44 PM
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Bob,

Checking my database, I have 42820 3" rd butt, ramp sight.
Thanks Jim. Do you know if it's blue?
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:01 AM
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Howdy jayn.32 and welcome aboard.

Here's an image that shows you a Baby (left) and the subsequent Model of 1953.

Basic differences:

1. Look at the trigger guards. The Baby is small and rather round; and the later model is more ovoid.

2. Look at the grip frames. The Baby is shorter by ⅛".

3. Another not-obvious-in-my-photo difference relates to the number of screws. Baby Chiefs had five and the Model of 1953 had four. The one eliminated was at the front of the trigger guard.

My highest serial numbered Baby shipped in May '54, and my lowest serial numbered Model of 1953 shipped in August '54.
Bob,

How do these serial #s compare to yours?

45963 serrated ramp sight, highest known # Baby J, has fine knurled early hammer, no ship date known
4989X earliest known # Model of 1953, 4 screw, 2” no ship date known
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Old 09-18-2018, 01:03 AM
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Thanks Jim. Do you know if it's blue?
Yes, it has a blue finish.
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Old 09-18-2018, 03:54 PM
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Bob,

How do these serial #s compare to yours?

45963 serrated ramp sight, highest known # Baby J, has fine knurled early hammer, no ship date known
4989X earliest known # Model of 1953, 4 screw, 2” no ship date known
Yes, on 45963. I found that info on post #25 of "The Really Old Chiefs Special Thread" from 2007.

I show nine "Model of 1953" Chiefs Specials, though, that are earlier than the number you listed.

Here are three blue, 2":

460XX -- shipped September '54
463XX -- shipped June '54
464XX -- shipped June '54

47475 -- nickel, round butt, 4-screw, 2", rosewood presentation grips. Lettered as having "shipped" to H.O. Austin, S&W Sales Manager for "demonstration purposes" on August 30, 1954. This one's mine.

I also list these:

475XX, blue, 3" -- shipped June '54
475XX, blue, 3" -- shipped June '54
483XX, blue, 2" -- shipped July '54
484XX, blue, 2" -- ship date unknown
493XX, blue, 3" -- shipped Jan '55

Hope this fills in a few holes.
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Old 09-18-2018, 06:47 PM
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....of the THREE inch variety-


You will not encounter many. I've seen TWO in my entire career. The other one I had was #428XX. As I recall, it also had the ramped latch. I do not believe 3 inch guns will be found in the low numbers.
Lee that would have been a red box. I have a real nice red 3" Chief Special, round butt, box SN: 29966 (number faint on bottom of box), if you need it.
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:24 PM
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Thanks for the info. These are really interesting. A whole new thing to look for at the next show!
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Old 09-18-2018, 09:50 PM
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Lee that would have been a red box. I have a real nice red 3" Chief Special, round butt, box SN: 29966 (number feint on bottom of box), if you need it.
Thanks for posting that, Sal. Earliest known box, at least. Must have been a 3" shooter in the box, eh?
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Old 09-18-2018, 11:49 PM
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Default 3" Chief Special, round butt, red box SN: 29966

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Thanks for posting that, Sal. Earliest known box, at least. Must have be a 3" shooter in the box, eh?
Bob, Box is EMPTY

Amongst books, catalogs, papers, stocks (grips), leather, cartridges, loading tools and other S&W paraphernalia I have a hoard of old boxes and display cases that I accumulated over the past 30 years. The majority of the boxes are odd models / configurations, most of them older than 1965 with the majority from the 1930s to the 1950s. in the 1980s and 1990s I was purchasing boxes and books from Don Mundell and Ernie Rice when they were advertising in the old GunList (in the pre-internet days) as Pack N Postal Service.

On this one, all I have is the box. I have no gun of this description to place inside it. Of course, always a stray ray of hope I might find the correct or near correct serial numbered S&W to go inside. I coupled correct boxes (correct to the model with near serial numbers) for all my baby chiefs and early Chief Special Airweights.

This 3" box is about a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. Serial number on the bottom is faint but clearly readable. I don't need it although another member might.

I once sold a member 6 x .357 magnum 3+1/2 gold picture boxes, one or two of them nickel. He needed them all for himself. All the RM boxes (other than those mated to my RMs) I sold at peak a few years back. I still have similar style pre-war .38-44 HD boxes and many other types, too.

They are cardboard gold. Sal
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Old 09-19-2018, 03:42 PM
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Lee that would have been a red box. I have a real nice red 3" Chief Special, round butt, box SN: 29966 (number feint on bottom of box), if you need it.

Sal,
I don't keep collectible small frame guns.
I let M&Ps and N frames keep me broke.


Thanks anyway.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:22 PM
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Gentlemen, I once posted a pre-war non-registered magnum on this forum. Pardon going off topic, but Lee and Jim both responded to me, not trying to buy it with a low offer to a non collector, but to inform me what a treasure that I had. Both advised that it was worth a “lot of money”.

These guys are tops in my book.

The revolver in question was written up as being issued to a Texas Ranger in the mid 40s. I met with Jim at the Dallas collectors show where he told me the revolver was older. A call to S&W revealed a ship date of 1940 to a distributor in Houston. Additional research tells me that TXDPS changed inventory procedures in the mid 40s, so that is where current records begin.

I will take time to photograph the revolver and the paper trail that I posses from the mid 40s until it was sold to me, to whom it was last issued.

My purpose for going off topic is that there are honorable folks around this forum.

Thank you Lee and Jim,

Jack Therwhanger, Region Commander, Ret. TXDPS
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