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Old 10-05-2018, 01:01 AM
dutch harbor john dutch harbor john is offline
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Default .38 special snub nose

I would like help identifying 2 S&W .38 special snub nose revolvers.

Barrel: 1 13/16" serial: 6029

Barrel: 1 13/16" serial 14517

There are no letters with the serial numbers.
Thank you for your help.
dhj
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:21 AM
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PICS MIGHT HELP, dhj......
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:56 AM
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One eye Joe,
Can not figure out how to post pictures as of yet. Both revolvers are 5 shooters, ramped front sight, grooved frame sight and all steel frame. After this posting similar postings appeared at the bottom of this page. Looks like my guns appear to be Baby Chief Specials.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:19 AM
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Those SNs would be in the range of the "Baby" Chiefs Special. The BCs went up to about SN 46000.

Barrel: 1 13/16" serial 6029 - SN 63xx shipped in 5/52
Barrel: 1 13/16" serial 14517 - SN 175xx shipped in 10/52

So both of yours also likely shipped in 1952. The first BCs shipped in late 1951.
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Old 10-05-2018, 10:27 AM
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Welcome aboard from Wyoming.

If those numbers came from the bottom of the butt, bottom of the barrel and/or back of the cylinder, then, yes, you've got two Chiefs Specials. The factory might have shipped 6029 in February 1952 and 14517 in September 1952.

S&W launched the Chiefs Special in October 1950, but only 20 guns were shipped that year. Contemporary collectors call those early ones Baby Chiefs because the trigger guard is small and roundish and the butt is ⅛" shorter than the "Model of 1953," which has a larger, oval trigger guard.

The first Model of 1953 Chiefs were Airweight models with aluminum cylinders. The steel Model of 1953 didn't start leaving the factory till summer of 1954.

My photo shows the difference in the Baby and the next model.

You've got a pair of dandies there. Enjoy.
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:21 AM
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Thank you all for your quick and expert replies, I really appreciate the help.
dhj
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Old 10-06-2018, 01:40 AM
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Hope the picture comes through.
dhj
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Old 10-06-2018, 05:52 AM
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Good looking gun thanks for posting and you have two. Wow 1 for each hand .Have you shot them ? Let us know how they handle and shoot . I would have to do the gun in each hand thing at least once of course with no one looking lol.
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Old 10-06-2018, 06:00 AM
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This is the "model of 1953" referred to by two-bit cowboy in post #5. New trigger guard shape, still retains the Baby Chief hammer, 4 screw, and has serrated ramp front sight

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Last edited by OLDSTER; 10-06-2018 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:57 PM
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Nice grips Oldster. A friend has the 2 Baby Chiefs I inquired about. We do plan on a range outing. Thank you for the reply, this is a great place for info and all you folks are so considerate in your help.
dhj
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:56 AM
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Those indeed should both be Baby Chief Specials.
The one in your pic, is the higher or lower S/N? It looks like a serrated ramp FS. The lower S/N might be a smooth ramp FS. That is in excellent condition. The smooth ramp FS variation was only made a very short while. Since all the Baby Chiefs are fairly scarce, the variations on them (half moon and smooth ramp FS) are even scarcer.
Be careful, as collecting Baby Chef Specials can become quite addicting. I bought my 1st one before I knew what I had. I just bought a used SW Chiefs Special at a gun show one day. I paid very little for it and didn't think much of it. When I eventually found out through this forum what I had I was elated because I basically stole it.
However, the money I have dropped since then, chasing this ramp or that screw has more than made up for any bargain I got that day... Buyer beware the lure of the Baby Chief!
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:44 PM
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dutch harbor john

Nice that you were able to acquire two Baby Chiefs Specials. They are out there, but one does not come across them every day.

As a point of reference, here is some information no one else has mentioned. Your measurement of the barrel length is probably accurate or close. Most of these guns show an actual length of 1 7/8", so 1 13/16" is about right. However, the nominal listing for this barrel length has always been 2". In other words, it is referred to as a 2" barrel in the catalogs, box labeling and collector jargon.

Enjoy your two early J frame revolvers. They are fun to own and fun to shoot!
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Old 10-07-2018, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutch harbor john View Post
Hope the picture comes through.
The pic is fine.

This Baby Chief has the first style flat latch (of three styles). These are common on the Baby Chief, but they were not the first type of thumb piece used on this model. The first style was sculpted, just like the type used in the post-1966 period. It was quickly dropped on the CS, in favor of the flat latch seen on your gun. Later, on the "full size" Chiefs Special, the first style flat latch was replaced by the second style (sometime in the mid-1950s) and then, later in the 1950s, with the third style, which lasted until the sculpted type returned in 1966.
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbliss57 View Post
Those indeed should both be Baby Chief Specials.
The one in your pic, is the higher or lower S/N? It looks like a serrated ramp FS. The lower S/N might be a smooth ramp FS. That is in excellent condition. The smooth ramp FS variation was only made a very short while. Since all the Baby Chiefs are fairly scarce, the variations on them (half moon and smooth ramp FS) are even scarcer.
Be careful, as collecting Baby Chef Specials can become quite addicting. I bought my 1st one before I knew what I had. I just bought a used SW Chiefs Special at a gun show one day. I paid very little for it and didn't think much of it. When I eventually found out through this forum what I had I was elated because I basically stole it.
However, the money I have dropped since then, chasing this ramp or that screw has more than made up for any bargain I got that day... Buyer beware the lure of the Baby Chief!
Mbliss57
Sorry I don't know which one is in the picture. Out of town for a week but will let you know when I get back. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:57 PM
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I'm betting the one in the photo is 14517.

On another thread Hondo44 said the lowest sn he's seen with a serrated ramp front site is 6541. I'd put my money on 6029 having a smooth ramp, which makes it very special indeed that dutch harbor john nabbed one of each.

My data base has lots of holes, but it shows 11920 (shipped September '52) as the highest sn with a smooth ramp.
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-bit cowboy View Post
I'm betting the one in the photo is 14517.



On another thread Hondo44 said the lowest sn he's seen with a serrated ramp front site is 6541. I'd put my money on 6029 having a smooth ramp, which makes it very special indeed that dutch harbor john nabbed one of each.



My data base has lots of holes, but it shows 11920 (shipped September '52) as the highest sn with a smooth ramp.


Hereís a new high for a Smooth ramp FS. S/N 12178. I bought it from David Carrol in March 2017. I donít have a pic currently.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Old 10-11-2018, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbliss57 View Post
Hereís a new high for a Smooth ramp FS. S/N 12178. I bought it from David Carrol in March 2017. I donít have a pic currently.
Ah, ha. Thanks for that.

I had that sn in my data base from Roy's "ship date request" forum, but didn't know it was a smooth ramp. According to Roy, it shipped in May '52.

Cheers,

Bob
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Old 10-17-2018, 01:01 AM
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Default Baby Chief Pictures

Not very good shots but hope you can see the differences. The newer chief has the wood grips with a gold S&W medallion. The older one has black plastic grips with the S&W logo carved in it. The front ramp sight is serrated on 14517 and smooth on 6029. I like the thicker sight on 14517. Now if the rain would let up I want to see how they shoot.

Thank you all for your info and help on these chief's.
dhj
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:07 AM
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Those are beauties!

I've not seen or heard of the black rubber grips on a Baby. Does the serial number on the inside of the right grip match the serial number on the Baby's butt? I believe that would be quite a revelation if it does.
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-bit cowboy View Post
Those are beauties!

I've not seen or heard of the black rubber grips on a Baby. Does the serial number on the inside of the right grip match the serial number on the Baby's butt? I believe that would be quite a revelation if it does.
"My sediments exactly!" I've never heard of a Baby with (original) grips in black hard rubber (which is what the factory used.) If they are actually black plastic, I'm guessing they are post-factory additions. Does this matter? Only a little to the purists... those are still two very cool revolvers.

Froggie
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Old Yesterday, 12:37 AM
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Bob & Froggie,
You both were correct, the 4 digit chief's grip serial number does not match the number on the guns butt. They do seem to be made of hard rubber. I do like the feel of them. I have a box of factory lead 150 gr round nose to put through the twins this weekend. I handload, any thoughts on plinking and defense loads for these J frames? I like to cast my own.
Thanks for the help.
dhj
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Old Yesterday, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutch harbor john View Post
I handload, any thoughts on plinking and defense loads for these J frames? I like to cast my own.
Thanks for the help.
dhj
Hi DHJ:

Welcome to the Forum. Whether using reloaded or factory ammunition, I'd recommend staying with standard velocity loadings. The 148 gr. mid range wadcutter bullet would be excellent for plinking and informal target shooting. Some like to use them as self defense ammo, but reloading can be a problem due to the bullet shape, as well as a reload under potentially stressful conditions. I reloaded and shot boat loads of 148 gr. wadcutters back in the day, but found they were getting harder to come by, as well as pricier. I switched to the 158 gr. LSWC (Lead Semi-Wadcutter aka the "Keith" bullet) years ago and that has become my "go-to" ammo for plinking and small game hunting. BTW, I believe the sights on your revolvers should be regulated for the standard velocity 158 gr. bullet.

Good luck,

Dave
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Old Yesterday, 01:47 PM
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dhj,

Never mind those rubber grips not matching. I like those grips on their usual .32 Hand Ejector and .38/.32 Terrier revolvers, but I think they make that Baby Chiefs, with its cylinder cavity filled, look mighty sassy.

Can't help with reloads. I carry the 148gr wadcutters in my Babies.
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