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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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Old 03-16-2020, 09:29 AM
meadowlark meadowlark is offline
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First time posting. Great informative forum..
I have three pistols - a P08 Luger, a S&W 380 EZ and this
S&W 38 stub nose (see pics) that I'd like to get some info on. I believe it was made in the late 50's. A couple of things puzzle me though. There is no trade mark? and the mfg info near the trigger looks worn off. Do you think it's possibly due to age, wear, or excess brushing? This was acquired a few years ago by my wife in a swap trade (Glock that she didn't like shooting) and outside of normal shooting and cleaning I haven't done anything else since she acquired it.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:46 AM
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It is a Model 36. S&W went to model numbers around 1957-58. It sort of looks like it has been refinished but an expert will be along shortly and make it all clear.

Five chambers in the cylinder - right? Have you removed the stocks to see if they have the s/n stamped on them? Is the s/n on the bottom of the butt?
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:46 AM
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You have a Model 36 no dash. Without the serial number, I can't give you a date of birth. It looks to have been polished and refinished. If it were factory refinished. there would be a mark under the grips. I doubt it was redone at the factory because they would not have likely polished out the trademark on the sideplate.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:47 AM
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and welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-16-2020, 09:50 AM
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I can't see the model #, but it could be a Model 60 or a Model 36 that has been refinished in nickel or chrome.
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Old 03-16-2020, 10:24 AM
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Welcome from Virginia

Pics below are my 1965 Model 36 no dash with original box and documents. The trademark logo should be on the left side and could be large or small depending on how early your gun was. Would need serial number to determine probable year.

Your gun does appear refinished, or chromed at least to me but we will need to wait for some real experts to comment.

For me the condition of the stocks (appear well worn) doesn't jive with the overall finish.

Your gun has what is called a "flat latch" rather than the contoured latch like mine and there is a "premium" associated with flat latch versions of the Model 36, however that would be countered by the finish modification.

Remove the grips and see if there are any markings on the frame. If you can post some pics with the grips off and there maybe other tell-tales that the real experts on this Forum can comment on.

Be careful when selecting ammo if you intend to shoot. I don't believe these Chiefs Specials were rated for 38 Special Plus P.
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:08 AM
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The yoke cut is marked “MOD 36” so it’s a carbon steel Chief Special made between 1957 and 1966. The serial number on the butt would help us narrow it down.

The gun was originally blued or nickel plated, but it’s been heavily polished and the factory finish is completely gone. I can’t tell from the photos if the gun was left in the white (bare metal) or it received an aftermarket finish like Metalife, Metaloy or Robar.

If it is bare metal, make sure to keep the gun well oiled or it will develop rust quickly. You might also consider having it blued. I’d probably test it by cleaning an inconspicuous area with alcohol and applying a drop of white vinegar. Wait about 15 minutes and see if the spot is starting to turn light brown. If so, it’s bare metal. Wipe the spot spot with alcohol and oil it.
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Old 03-16-2020, 03:52 PM
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Nickel guns had color casehardeed hammers and triggers. Pretty sure sign of a refinish to see those parts in bright silver.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:24 AM
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Hi Targets Guy,
Yes 5 chambers and it is stamped MOD-36 with the dash. I removed the grips and they are not stamped but the s/n number is at the bottom. (see pic)

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It is a Model 36. S&W went to model numbers around 1957-58. It sort of looks like it has been refinished but an expert will be along shortly and make it all clear.

Five chambers in the cylinder - right? Have you removed the stocks to see if they have the s/n stamped on them? Is the s/n on the bottom of the butt?
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:28 AM
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Sadly its been heavy polished. I carried 1 for years as a primary weapon.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:28 AM
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Hi jimmyj, please see my reply to Target guy re:Model #. Not sure about refinishing. Looks like it's been wired brushed but again not sure.

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I can't see the model #, but it could be a Model 60 or a Model 36 that has been refinished in nickel or chrome.
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:59 AM
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Hi Charlie,
Here' two pics with the grips removed. The Model is MOD-36 (with the dash). I believe the trade mark was brushed off but there is no indication there ever was one. I posted a closeup pic earlier today of the SN that is stamped under the left side grip.
The ammo I used was CCI 38 Special +P without a problem.


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Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
Welcome from Virginia

Pics below are my 1965 Model 36 no dash with original box and documents. The trademark logo should be on the left side and could be large or small depending on how early your gun was. Would need serial number to determine probable year.

Your gun does appear refinished, or chromed at least to me but we will need to wait for some real experts to comment.

For me the condition of the stocks (appear well worn) doesn't jive with the overall finish.

Your gun has what is called a "flat latch" rather than the contoured latch like mine and there is a "premium" associated with flat latch versions of the Model 36, however that would be countered by the finish modification.

Remove the grips and see if there are any markings on the frame. If you can post some pics with the grips off and there maybe other tell-tales that the real experts on this Forum can comment on.

Be careful when selecting ammo if you intend to shoot. I don't believe these Chiefs Specials were rated for 38 Special Plus P.
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Old 03-17-2020, 11:24 AM
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Hi rolandj,
Sorry, I thought I posted this picture with my original message!


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Ser. # is located on the bottom of the grip frame, unless it's been buffed out.
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Old 03-17-2020, 05:11 PM
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Hello Meadowlark;

Thanks for posting the serial number on the butt. According to our "bible" Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 4th Edition, when the Model 36 first came into being in 1957, the serial number range was 117770 to 125000. The next published year is 1962 with serial number 295000. So...yes....your s/n 132227 probably was cranked out after 1957, but before 1962. That is about the best that can be done for you without sending for an actual Factory Letter, which may not be worth it in your case because of the finish condition.

As a side note the original post you said the s/n was in the pics but what showed is 86946 which should be an assembly number to keep certain components matched during the assembly and finishing operations. I blew up the photo of the number in the yoke but all I can ascertain is that it does appear to have 5 digits, and I see at least an 8, 6 so if you use a magnifying glass and those two 5 digit numbers match then fine, at least they are original to the gun.

Next is the R stamped very clearly on the left frame with grips removed. Normally the R would stand for a Factory refinish job, however there is no diamond or circle preceding the R and no date code stamp which as I understand it were common for factory jobs in those days.

I doubt the gun is "in the white" meaning bare metal, because your original post said you (or your wife) have shot and normally cleaned the gun, and I think it would be impossible to avoid hidden rust spots if shot, carried, handled, without total disassembly.

The flat latch supposedly did not disappear until 1966 per SCSW 4th, however my 1965 has the newer contour (called standard) latch so we never say never with all things S&W.

1967 was the first year for Model 36 dash 1.

As others have posted, your gun should have a case hardened hammer and trigger, another indication of a refinish by someone, somewhere, probably not S & W factory.

Your grips are diamond magnas which are correct for that period and from the condition of wear on the grips, I believe the rest of the gun may have been in poor condition from storage or handling or ??? If that were the case then maybe former owner did the heavy buffing, or had it professionally refinished, but the buffing sure was deep enough to remove the trademark Logo and flatten the letters on the registration lines.

All in all...you have a nifty little J Frame that the wife is happy with, and you don't have to worry about value, so keep it, enjoy it, and don't worry about it.

I would still caution about using Plus P in an older, early J Frame. Why tempt fate!
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
Welcome from Virginia

Pics below are my 1965 Model 36 no dash with original box and documents.
From your serial # your Chiefs Spl is likely from the last half of 1968. That explains the standard thumb piece (began in 1966) and began the non-diamond grips (ended in 1st half of 1968).

Does the stamped serial # on the inside of the right grip match the gun's #?
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:45 PM
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HEAVILY buffed and either bare metal or (more likely since hammer and trigger are white) hard chrome finish. Ruins any real monetary value. But if it works you can carry and use it.
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Old 03-18-2020, 11:57 AM
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Thanks Charlie for all the info on this 38. It's interesting that you mention the SN would indicate mfg between 57 and 62 but then you also mentioned that the "dash" didn't start until 67. This could be an indication that this 38 is a mixed bag. Since it appears it's not worth much we'll just continue to use it as a shooter. The yoke # is the same as the frame # (see pic). BTW - no rust that I can see anywhere. Lastely, what ammo would you recommend?

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Originally Posted by cmansguns View Post
Hello Meadowlark;

Thanks for posting the serial number on the butt. According to our "bible" Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 4th Edition, when the Model 36 first came into being in 1957, the serial number range was 117770 to 125000. The next published year is 1962 with serial number 295000. So...yes....your s/n 132227 probably was cranked out after 1957, but before 1962. That is about the best that can be done for you without sending for an actual Factory Letter, which may not be worth it in your case because of the finish condition.

As a side note the original post you said the s/n was in the pics but what showed is 86946 which should be an assembly number to keep certain components matched during the assembly and finishing operations. I blew up the photo of the number in the yoke but all I can ascertain is that it does appear to have 5 digits, and I see at least an 8, 6 so if you use a magnifying glass and those two 5 digit numbers match then fine, at least they are original to the gun.

Next is the R stamped very clearly on the left frame with grips removed. Normally the R would stand for a Factory refinish job, however there is no diamond or circle preceding the R and no date code stamp which as I understand it were common for factory jobs in those days.

I doubt the gun is "in the white" meaning bare metal, because your original post said you (or your wife) have shot and normally cleaned the gun, and I think it would be impossible to avoid hidden rust spots if shot, carried, handled, without total disassembly.

The flat latch supposedly did not disappear until 1966 per SCSW 4th, however my 1965 has the newer contour (called standard) latch so we never say never with all things S&W.

1967 was the first year for Model 36 dash 1.

As others have posted, your gun should have a case hardened hammer and trigger, another indication of a refinish by someone, somewhere, probably not S & W factory.

Your grips are diamond magnas which are correct for that period and from the condition of wear on the grips, I believe the rest of the gun may have been in poor condition from storage or handling or ??? If that were the case then maybe former owner did the heavy buffing, or had it professionally refinished, but the buffing sure was deep enough to remove the trademark Logo and flatten the letters on the registration lines.

All in all...you have a nifty little J Frame that the wife is happy with, and you don't have to worry about value, so keep it, enjoy it, and don't worry about it.

I would still caution about using Plus P in an older, early J Frame. Why tempt fate!
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:03 PM
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Hi Hondo44,
Thanks I appreciate your input. Could you explain please what the "thump" piece is. Excuse my ignorance but I'm new to 38's.
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Old 03-18-2020, 12:09 PM
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Thanks Art Doc,
Hard Chrome finish looks good but from what I've learned from you and others looks don't increase value unless original. As mentioned earlier we'll use it for shooting only.


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HEAVILY buffed and either bare metal or (more likely since hammer and trigger are white) hard chrome finish. Ruins any real monetary value. But if it works you can carry and use it.
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:04 PM
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you have a great shooter and carry piece. Enjoy
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Old 03-18-2020, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
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Hi Hondo44,
Thanks I appreciate your input. Could you explain please what the "thump" piece is. Excuse my ignorance but I'm new to 38's.
Jim meant to type "thumb" piece, which is the latch that you slide forward to open the cylinder.

I've typed it the same way before myself.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muley Gil View Post
Jim meant to type "thumb" piece, which is the latch that you slide forward to open the cylinder.

I've typed it the same way before myself.
Also called the "latch".The proper name is the cylinder release.

In S&W, Rossi, and Taurus, push it forward. On Colt, pull to the rear. On Ruger, press it in. On Webley and Enfield No. 2's, push down and forward.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:03 PM
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Although the 36-1 began in 1967, it only applied to the 3" heavy barrel.

The 2" became a -2 in 1988 and there was no Mod 36-1 with 2" barrel.
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Old 03-19-2020, 09:56 AM
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Hi Jim,

Thanks for the information!
I think I misinterpreted what was meant by the "dash". I thought they were talking about the dash between MOD AND 36 not a dash after 36. My bad!


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Although the 36-1 began in 1967, it only applied to the 3" heavy barrel.

The 2" became a -2 in 1988 and there was no Mod 36-1 with 2" barrel.
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Old 03-19-2020, 10:28 AM
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Welcome from the Commonwealth of Virginia
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Old 03-19-2020, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowlark View Post
Thanks Charlie for all the info on this 38. It's interesting that you mention the SN would indicate mfg between 57 and 62 but then you also mentioned that the "dash" didn't start until 67. This could be an indication that this 38 is a mixed bag. Since it appears it's not worth much we'll just continue to use it as a shooter. The yoke # is the same as the frame # (see pic). BTW - no rust that I can see anywhere. Lastely, what ammo would you recommend?
The dash numbers on the mod 36 are not used as the other frame sizes! The mod 36-1 is the stamping for the 3" Heavy Barrel version!
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Old 03-20-2020, 01:50 AM
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Meadowlark,

Why there's no assembly # on the frame in the yoke cut:

ASSEMBLY (factory work) #s: These multi-digit numbers of 3 to 5 digits, are on the yoke at the hinge, in the ‘yoke cut’ on frame opposite the yoke near the hinge (usually accompanied with the inspector’s letter or # code stamp of approval, but not always), and inside of the sideplate, for the pre war and early post war period thru ~early 1958.

After 1957 Model #s were assigned and stamped on the frame in the yoke cut. The serial # was soon after added in the ‘yoke cut’ as well and the assembly # moved to the left side of the grip frame parallel to the butt. More currently beginning in the 1980s we see non-matching multi-digit numbers parallel to the butt left or right side, and inside the side plate. Once the gun is shipped, the only use for the assembly # is to confirm the three parts it's stamped on, are original to the gun. These are still in use to this day.
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Old 03-20-2020, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowlark View Post
Hi rolandj,
Sorry, I thought I posted this picture with my original message!
Based on the SN in the photo, this one is more likely from the late 1950s than the late 1960s.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:50 AM
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Thanks Jim,
Your information is greatly appreciated. I'm still learning...


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Meadowlark,

Why there's no assembly # on the frame in the yoke cut:

ASSEMBLY (factory work) #s: These multi-digit numbers of 3 to 5 digits, are on the yoke at the hinge, in the ‘yoke cut’ on frame opposite the yoke near the hinge (usually accompanied with the inspector’s letter or # code stamp of approval, but not always), and inside of the sideplate, for the pre war and early post war period thru ~early 1958.

After 1957 Model #s were assigned and stamped on the frame in the yoke cut. The serial # was soon after added in the ‘yoke cut’ as well and the assembly # moved to the left side of the grip frame parallel to the butt. More currently beginning in the 1980s we see non-matching multi-digit numbers parallel to the butt left or right side, and inside the side plate. Once the gun is shipped, the only use for the assembly # is to confirm the three parts it's stamped on, are original to the gun. These are still in use to this day.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:54 AM
meadowlark meadowlark is offline
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Thanks Alan I think you and Jim (above) agree. I don't think this matters much anymore as it is not a "collector" item but a nice "shooter"



Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
Based on the SN in the photo, this one is more likely from the late 1950s than the late 1960s.
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:49 PM
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KEN L KEN L is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meadowlark View Post
Hi rolandj,
Sorry, I thought I posted this picture with my original message!
Most likely shipped Aug/Sep 1958 time frame. As others have noted, heavily buffed and re-finished.
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