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Old 06-07-2018, 08:47 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Found this nice early Chiefs Special today. 5 Screw with s/n 39773. Iím guessing 1952-53 based on what I saw in Std Catalog 4th Ed. Please correct me if I am wrong. Sorry for poor pictures snapped with iPad and nickel is always hard for me to photograph. Finish is great age Considered. No pitting or flaking. Needs a good loving with some Fitz. Butt Ugly plastic grips. Bore and cylinders clean as can be. Locks up like a vault. Have 2 questions. Should correct Grips have the diamond? Also do the early 5 screw j frames bring much more than the later models?
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:52 PM
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Nice early Chief. In fact, it seems to be an example of a "Baby Chief", ...check the smaller, rounder trigger gaurd. Is the ramp sight smooth, or serrated? There are three variations of front sights. Yes, it should have diamond grips, but this early a model may also take grips about 1/8" shorter than the later ones. Hondo44 or one of the other gurus will be along shortly with much more expert info than mine. And generally, early examples, particularly the Baby Chiefs, will be worth more, sometimes significantly more, given similar condition.

Nice looking gun.

Best Regards, Les
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Last edited by les.b; 06-07-2018 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Add a thought.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:58 PM
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I believe the stocks would have the diamond. My 1959 Model 10 (no dash) has the diamond.

My greatest concern would be if this is a factory nickel. Did you see a "N" stamped anywhere under the barrel, under the stocks on the frame or is there one on the face of the cylinder? I could not see one in your third picture, but if could be from the glare.

Please do not take my remark as definitive, and maybe they did not stamp them with an "N" of that vintage. ?? I see that the trigger and hammer have not been plated.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:16 PM
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The grips sure do look plastic. I got lucky with my 36 and what I thought were fake were actually Sambar.
Nice piece by the way.
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Last edited by AJ; 06-07-2018 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:17 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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It does not have the N stamped anywhere, but does have the sn stamped on cylinder and under barrel. While I'm certainly not an expert, everything is so sharp, I'm guessing the nickel is original. The Pawn Shop mgr who I trust as much as you can trust a Pawn Shop mgr told me the guy that sold it inherited it from his father who supposedly bought it new, but we've all heard stories like that before.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:15 PM
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I have a Baby Chief, serial# 33618, shipped in June, 1953, diamond grips.
I'd guess yours is 1953-54, but only a letter will tell.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:17 PM
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Congrats on a nice Baby.

I would heartily recommend you get a letter on it.

Yes, the grips should have been diamonds, exactly as les.b said.

At that serial I should think it might have shipped in late 1953 or early 1954. My blue 40171 shipped in January 1954.

Edited to add: My lettered nickel Model of 1953 Chiefs (not a Baby) sn 47475 does not have the "N" stamped anywhere.

I'm sure Hondo44 will be able to shed more light.

Again, congrats!
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Last edited by two-bit cowboy; 06-07-2018 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:19 PM
Eddietruett Eddietruett is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by les.b View Post
Nice early Chief. In fact, it seems to be an example of a "Baby Chief", ...check the smaller, rounder trigger gaurd. Is the ramp sight smooth, or serrated? There are three variations of front sights. Yes, it should have diamond grips, but this early a model may also take grips about 1/8" shorter than the later ones. Hondo44 or one of the other gurus will be along shortly with much more expert info than mine. And generally, early examples, particularly the Baby Chiefs, will be worth more, sometimes significantly more, given similar condition.

Nice looking gun.

Best Regards, Les
I just checked the grips on a newer model 36 and they are shorter by about 1/8". Guess the search now starts for a short set of diamond grips. Anyway to tell by looking if they are the shorter grips or standard length? I'm guessing ebay is my best starting point.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddietruett View Post
I just checked the grips on a newer model 36 and they are shorter by about 1/8". Guess the search now starts for a short set of diamond grips. Anyway to tell by looking if they are the shorter grips or standard length? I'm guessing ebay is my best starting point.
Hondo once told that a set of regular length diamond stocks (or grips), could be modified by sanding 1/8"th off the bottom...if you can't find the correct ones. I also think (but don't remember for sure) that I frame grips from the same period are the same length. So if say, you find a set of Terrier grips, they may fit.

Here's my Baby Chief, shipped in May 1952...serial 10,6XX for comparison, and to see what the stocks should look like...there number to the gun:



Best Regards, Les
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Last edited by les.b; 06-07-2018 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Add Photo
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:02 AM
Hondo44 Hondo44 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddietruett View Post
It does not have the N stamped anywhere, but does have the sn stamped on cylinder and under barrel. While I'm certainly not an expert, everything is so sharp, I'm guessing the nickel is original. The Pawn Shop mgr who I trust as much as you can trust a Pawn Shop mgr told me the guy that sold it inherited it from his father who supposedly bought it new, but we've all heard stories like that before.
You found a nice prize there. The serial # indicates the most likely ship date as being in the 2nd quarter of 1954.

I'm convinced it has it's original factory nickel finish. In the era of your gun, blue guns will have the B prefix to the serial# on the barrel but no letter to indicate a nickel finish.

I and J frames’ stocks are the same size for the same vintage.

I agree with others above that your Baby Chiefs Spl came with 'mini' diamond Magnas. These were used on I and J frames after the demise of the 'rd top' Service grips of pre war style, prior to the new models of 1953 for I/J frames and are indeed the same size.

The new model I and J frames of 1953 are again the same size grips; both 1/8" longer. As les.b posted above, the model of 1953 I & J frames Magnas thru 1968 will work on the Baby J frames merely by sanding 1/8" off the butt. The locating dowel position in the grip frame was not changed after 1953.

Pre 1953 I/J frame mini mag grips measure 3” high from the butt to the top of the horn.

Visibly they can be distinguished as shown below by the curved lower checkering border (note: some of the very early longer I/J grips will also have the curved border) and difference in un-checkered wood at the butt, mini Magnas on top:

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Last edited by Hondo44; 06-11-2018 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:36 AM
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Those plastic grips are beautiful

Last edited by jimmyj; 06-08-2018 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 06-08-2018, 05:44 PM
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The rear of the cylinder opposite of the serial number does lend some suspect in the photo. You can check a side plate screw as well to see if it is nickel or blue below the head face. That may shed some light. I'm not an expert but have had a few experiences.
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:03 PM
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Nice looking baby chief. I see nothing that would make me think that the gun is refinished. I don't even mind the stocks as I think they look good with the shiny finish.

I would post a WTB ad here on the forum and see if maybe someone has a set of baby J frame stocks in their wood bin. Fleabay is also a good bet but be careful that they really are the smaller J frame style by asking for the dimensions. Some sellers don't realize that the J frame chief specials had two different stock sizes.
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Old 06-09-2018, 03:19 PM
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Baby Chiefs are real jewels and getting harder to find. Yours is very nice. The hammer and trigger appear to be case hardened as they should be. A Lot of blued guns that are refinished in nickel have the hammer and trigger nickel finished also. A dead giveaway to a refinish job.
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Old 06-10-2018, 11:01 PM
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Default Van in Louisiana

I once had a Chief like the one posted by Eddie Truett that was stolen from me during a burglary of my home some years ago. I have been on the look out for a replacement.

I also had an S&W Model 31, .32 revolver, 2" stolen from my vehicle while on vacation this past Christmas visiting family in Texas.

Both of these weapons were sweet possessions and I sure would love to replace them both.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:31 AM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass, Van!
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