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  #51  
Old 07-03-2008, 08:55 AM
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A bump for the thread, and a good excuse to post this pic (again). Great looking guns!

s/n 175xx
Letter says shipped Oct. 1952



Dressed for goin' out on the town.

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  #52  
Old 07-03-2008, 09:01 AM
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I'll play, 1953 Baby Chief, would say 99%, came from a Land Cruiser buddy, it was his uncles, came with some paperwork from Mayor Daly..about registering it in Chicago

I forget the S#, think its 36XXX


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Old 07-03-2008, 06:39 PM
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Here's mine made in 1963. I carried it in the DB for a few years.
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  #54  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:47 PM
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This model 36 no dash, serial# 2010XX belongs to my Mother. She bought it used at a gunshop while we were recently on an out of town doctor visit. She has only recently gotten into collecting/obtaining S&Ws, although she is a lifelong hunter and shooter. She sent off for a factory letter not long after obtaining the gun. When the letter arrived she read it, and said she wished this gun could talk. The letter states that the gun was part of a Japanese Government contract and that it was shipped from S&W on 12-8-1960, and was delivered to Nikko Industries in Tokyo, Japan.

I don't know how this little gem made it from Japan to south Mississippi, but I bet it was some trip


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Old 07-14-2008, 10:08 PM
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An old beat up S&W model 36.

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Old 07-14-2008, 10:19 PM
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An interesting thread.
It is a really good chance to learn much about early Chief's.
For several decades, many have referred to the early Chief's that have the short grips and small trigger guards as the "Baby Chief".

I can address a few points:
Quote:
Some call this frame size the modified I-Frame.
Remember- NO Chief's Special is built on the I frame. The I frame cyl is too short to accept a 38 Spec.

Quote:
Does anyone out there know the approximate serial number range when the last of the Chief's Specials with the half-moon front sight were made?
I doubt we will ever know. The first five years of the steel and alloy Chief's contain a JUMBLE of mixed features and intermingled variations. Several more points I will make show this well.
There are THREE front sight variations on the Baby-
Half Moon
Smooth Ramp
Serrated Ramp
The smooth and serrated ramps appear mixed in serial number ranges.

Quote:
Apparently this one was made in late 1950 or early 1951 but shipped to Oshman's Hardware Store in Houston, Texas in March of 1952 according to the S&W factory letter. The revolver's serial No. is 2018.
Possible, but not probable. The Chief's were hot little items, and sold like hotcakes. I doubt any sat in the vault more than a few days. More likely, it was built out of sequence due to the "batch system".

Quote:
You can tell its' a early one with the I-frame grip size and stocks and the I-frame trigger guard.
I think we should get away from the "I frame" references. It confuses the newbies. Should we say that a 686 has a "K frame" grip and trigger guard?

About 1953-54, the small frames, both I and J, were modified by lengthening the grips and enlarging the trigger guards. A few Airweight Chief's were made with a BABY size frame. BUT, notice that on page 1 we have a steel Baby in the 33,000 range and on page 3, we have a steel Baby in the 36,600 range,
BUT on page 2, we have an airweight with 1953 features(LARGE TG & LONG grips) in the 27,000 range!!

All blued Baby Chief's I have seen have SATIN Blue.
I have seen a few Baby Chief's with 3" barrels. All had ramp sights.
All Baby Chief's I have seen with original grips had magnas.
I have never seen a SQUARE butt Baby.
The Chief's Special, if you include the Airweights, would make a very interesting collection with all the variations.
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  #57  
Old 07-15-2008, 07:00 AM
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Might as well add this one to the mix.
Chief's Special Airweight, serial# 43926, shipped in January, 1954.

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  #58  
Old 07-15-2008, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Possible, but not probable. The Chief's were hot little items, and sold like hotcakes. I doubt any sat in the vault more than a few days. More likely, it was built out of sequence due to the "batch system".
Thanks Lee! Seems reasonable when you put it that way.
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Old 07-15-2008, 11:13 AM
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Here's a nice old Pre-36 that I got at the annual meeting. SN9108, smooth ramp sight, small trigger guard and flat latch.

I love these little guns.

Bill
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  #60  
Old 07-17-2008, 05:44 AM
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BTW- I object to the title of this thread, since none of "The Really Old Chief's Specials" are as old as I am!
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Old 07-17-2008, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by handejector View Post
BTW- I object to the title of this thread, since none of "The Really Old Chief's Specials" are as old as I am!
Except for Ed or Alan I think you got dibs on the old thing.
DW
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:19 AM
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Except for Ed or Alan I think you got dibs on the old thing.
DW
Don't forget I've seen you, my friend- you ain't gettin' carded on a dark night with Ray Charles workin' tha door!
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  #63  
Old 07-17-2008, 06:17 PM
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I don't know if it counts as really old, since it dates from 1960 0r 1961 or so, but hopefully it's close enough:
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:36 AM
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DW and Lee, you both look like an ad for an assisted living facility. It does take a long time to get that gruesome looking. Good thing these Smith's hold up better than we do.

DW, I guess this means I won't get a discount on my grip work, will I?
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:07 PM
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Lee,
Wait til you get really old!
This February, 1956 version shipped while I was (probably) sitting in the principal's office during 5th grade!
Don
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Old 07-18-2008, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHENRY View Post
Lee,
Wait til you get really old!
This February, 1956 version shipped while I was (probably) sitting in the principal's office during 5th grade!
Don
have you thought about trading it for a cane gun? or maybe a 4 barrel walker
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by depicts View Post
DW and Lee, you both look like an ad for an assisted living facility. It does take a long time to get that gruesome looking. Good thing these Smith's hold up better than we do.

DW, I guess this means I won't get a discount on my grip work, will I?
In true retail fashion I will artificially raise the price 30% and give you a 20% discount.

Hey, you can pick on me all you want. If you can't take it you shouldn't hand it out.
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Old 07-18-2008, 04:19 PM
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Quote:
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Hey, you can pick on me all you want. If you can't take it you shouldn't hand it out.
DW
Paul, it's just that I know how much abuse we Vietnam vets can put up with! How we don't get upset or angry!! Go for it.
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Old 07-18-2008, 07:36 PM
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Here are my old Chiefs.
Top one 12XX
Middle one 427,XXX purchased new by me in 1966
Bottom one 36,XXX

Both baby chiefs purchased in the last 3 years.


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  #70  
Old 07-19-2008, 01:10 PM
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Great gun and pic BlackAgnes!
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Old 07-19-2008, 06:27 PM
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Glad this thread is still around.
I went to the gunshop with my son today and saw 2 36's. I jotted the ser #'s down on the back of my hand and looked at the S&W catalog when I got home. It's a little vague on dates, and I thought I could probably get some input as to when these may have been manufactured.

Both are 2".

1 is #58J9xx
and the second is #AWW90xx.

From what the catalog says, ... I'm thinking the 58J .. 70's ?? and the AWW ... 80's ??

Neither has the box or any paper work. 58J is the nicer of the 2 and the asking price is 339.00 on each of them.

Thanks for any info.
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Old 08-20-2008, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by depicts View Post
DW and Lee, you both look like an ad for an assisted living facility. It does take a long time to get that gruesome looking. Good thing these Smith's hold up better than we do.

DW, I guess this means I won't get a discount on my grip work, will I?
I just saw this- that's really cold.

Actually, I think you have DW and I confused with Gary G. and Don W.

They would never let DW and I live in the same facility- they couldn't handle THAT...
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Old 09-07-2008, 04:53 AM
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This one needs a little help but I thought the 4 digit serial # made it collectible. The grips are not correctly #'d. anyone have an extra set of magnas?
serial # 1168

Dan


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Old 09-12-2008, 04:55 PM
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If you'll let a youngster in herei s my '58-'59 1456XX 36 no dash SB, w/matching SN stocks. Pretty sure its been re-blued but for the price I got it for I didn't complain, picked it up a couple years ago for $300 OTD.









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Old 09-12-2008, 09:13 PM
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Here are some pics of my first year 36.
Serial number 23XX


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Old 09-12-2008, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
Enjoying seeing the old Chief's Specials showing up for this thread.

John, your 1953 revolver still appears to have the early trigger guard and hammer spur. I suppose it has the short grip frame as well. Your revolver has the neat S&W logo on the left side. Mine has no logo. Yours has the satin blue finish and is an attractive old blue gun.

Tim, your revolver was made the same year I was. It looks much better for its age than I do. The factory did a great job polishing and bluing the Chief's Specials along about then.

Geoff, I wonder if your early Chief's went back to the factory for a refinish. I imagine you've already checked the grip frame. I'd like to know when it was shipped. It's serial number makes it a near kin to mine.

I suppose the square butt is 1967 or later.
Bryan,

You are not too much the worse for wear considering your age...

I'll bet you would look as good as new if Gene Williams were to re-blue you....

Chuck
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:08 AM
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This thread is still going, good!....not really mentioned in SCSW is that these early Chief's had at least 4-5 incarnations of hammer design, (these are my own observations) with very slight differences in thumb spur length, angle(s) of the curve, width of the thumb spur, and the checkering on them. I have owned several early 5 shot 38 J frames and seen many others, and there is no question about the variations. It must have taken a couple of years +/- for the factory to finalize a hammer design, all the while producing Chief's. It may be as many as 6 slightly different hammers I have seen, but I have not kept records or notes, hindsight being always 20/20 if I could go back and start again I would this time photograph each of the different hammers I have seen. You can see some of the subtle differences if you look carefully at the pics in this thread.
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Old 09-13-2008, 08:25 AM
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It ain't the age Chuck, it's the miles. Repaired a valley in the roof yesterday in anticipation of coming rains and sure am stiff from the trips up the ladder and standing on the extreme pitch.

CITYREPO61; You're little Chief's is less than 300 numerals away from mine. Even with worn finish it's still attractive. Wish it could talk. I'd like to know the results of a letter if you ever get one.
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:59 AM
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I want to pass this down to my son, it was my father's.I'm told it's from the early 50's. So am I. Should i have it restored or leave it the way it is. All opinions welcome. I have the grips that came with it.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:11 PM
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I wouldn't restore it. It would loose it's history, and the connection to his GF.

And, if times ever get really bad, the collector value would be diminished as well.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
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I'm told it's from the early 50's. So am I. Should i have it restored or leave it the way it is. All opinions welcome. I have the grips that came with it.

Leave it alone - it looks beautiful. It's quite valuable just the way it is. It's very cool to have a gun in the family passed down from one gereration to the next.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:11 PM
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Love the old school CS guns.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:16 PM
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Always something to learn-

In a recent thread- early pre-36 Chief Special I learned that later Baby Chiefs came with the "Ramped" flat latch. I think I had noticed that on some before and wondered if they were replaced or natural. (I forget)
It is so hard to get a bunch of them in one place for comparison!

Anyway, a few days ago, I picked up another-
Top gun is 7755, early latch, smooth ramp sight.
Bottom is 42037, Ramped latch, serrated ramp sight.




There are THREE sight varieties on Baby Chiefs-
Half Moon
Smooth Ramp
Serrated Ramp
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:46 PM
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Great thread. Nice to see some of the "old timers".
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:41 PM
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Somehow I have overlooked this thread. These are the first S&Ws that I actually started to collect. The others I just had. In the past 14 years I have had about two dozen of these beauties. Twelve still reside with me in WY. MY two with the half moon sight are #99 (Aug 1951) and #1807. I have several more below 10,000 but all are ramp sights.
Right now I could not post pics, even if I wanted to as I am in Cocoa Beach, FL and the guns are in WY.
As Lee has pointed out there are several variations of the "flat latch" and the ramped sight. All of the ramps were serrated, but some were buffed flat before bluing, for unknown reasons. Also these could be ordered in hi polish blue, matte (standard) or nickle.
The trigger guard and grip frame were changed at the same time, sometime after S/N 41,000 (approximate). It would seem that the change also happened when the frame changed from five screw to three screw. I have not observed any four screw variations, but I know I have not seen everything...yet.
I have accumulated some data from Roy and other SWCA and forum members on the Chief Specials and would be happy to share anything I have with fellow members when I get home...about June 28, 2010.
eamil me any time at: thombraxtonins@yahoo.com
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  #86  
Old 06-16-2010, 12:43 AM
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Thom,
I don't agree about all the ramps being serrated, and some polished off again!
The smooth ramps seemed to appear first in my observations over the years. Then, soon after, serrated ramps appeared, and they are intermingled heavily among serial numbers for a time, then the smooth fades away.
The smooth ramps I have had are fully as tall as the serrated ramps. If serrations had been polished off, they would have to shorter.

There are DEFINITELY Chiefs with 4 screw sideplates after the conversion to the large guard and long grips.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:58 PM
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Default Chiefs Special (Baby Chief)

Hi

Here are the Varations of the Baby Chief in 4 Guns.
1. Half moon front sight in (Nickel) Serial Number 1406 all orginal with
Matching grips.
2. Half moon front sight in (blued) serial Number 3729 all orginal with
Matching grips.
3. Ramped fron sight (smooth) serial number 6362 all orginal with
Matching grips
4. Ramped front sight (serrated) serial number 45962 all orginal with
matching grips. in the Rare (3 inch) Barrel length.

I also have the orginal boxes for all 4.
the rarest two guns are the nickeled half moon sighted gun and the
3 inch gun. this is the only 3 inch gun in the Baby chief I have seen.

If any body has a early nickel gun that is orginal or a 3 inch i would
like to see pictures and serial numbers.
I hope this helps.
Jim Fisher

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  #88  
Old 06-22-2010, 05:18 PM
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from 1955 sn 716XX



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Old 06-22-2010, 07:14 PM
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Default I used one of these in the Air Force

We did a lot of traveling where we were armed, when I first started it was with an old 45 automatic. When our group got the "Chief Special" it was a great day for us. A lot easier on the body to carry it on an airplane all day
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbrack View Post
We did a lot of traveling where we were armed, when I first started it was with an old 45 automatic. When our group got the "Chief Special" it was a great day for us. A lot easier on the body to carry it on an airplane all day

What did you do in the USAF?

I was a cop.

T-Star
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:49 PM
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Got this 1956 from its original owner.
Both the gun and its box are like a time capsule.
Don
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Old 07-27-2010, 07:55 PM
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Here is one I dug out, this has me stumped - I cannot date it as the SCS&W book does not tell of one in the gray box, and the s/n 98J839 is not there either. This one is unfired, 36 no dash, I am guessing mid 60's. Anyone have a clue ? What is value of one like this nowadays ?
Thanks,
Rick
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Old 07-27-2010, 08:52 PM
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"Half moon front sight in (blued) serial Number 3729 all orginal with
Matching grips."

Haven't gotten to review the thread to see if there is a half-moon front sight variation with a later serial number than this because I'm called away to supper.

What is the latest half-moon sight model seen by the Forum? Does anyone have a notion of when the last barrel with the half-moon front sight was screwed into a frame?
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Old 08-15-2010, 07:40 AM
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Proud owner of sn#37852. Baby Chief/serrated ramp/larger latch. I paid $125 for it in '97. Was well used but she can still put 5 rounds into the head of a B-27 target at 15 yards. Trigger is smooth as glass.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCeeNC View Post

So would we be incorrect to call these SIX screw guns?
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkk41 View Post
So would we be incorrect to call these SIX screw guns?
No, it's a 5-screw. I don't have my guns at home right now, but I believe it lacks the screw in front of the trigger guard.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:58 PM
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Hope it isn't getting too far afield to remember these variations of the Chief Special...the hammerless. These two shipped in '53 and '54.

Their box labels clearly show their linage to the Chief Special before the sobriquet of "Centennial" was applied. Two versions of the flat latch also shown here.

Bob




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Old 08-16-2010, 11:25 AM
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Hi Bob;

Love the little revolvers and seeing the two different style latches side by side. Also love the look of the "high-horn" grips (stocks for the Picky-Euniced). I'd even be willing to put a pair of those grips on my Model 642 if I could locate some.

I once had a mid-1960s Chief's Special like the one Palmetto Sharpshooter is featuring. I was a rank S&W novice and despised the look of the cylinder latch on it which appeared to me to be some aftermarket abomination. Love seeing the little Chief's with the early style latches now. Funny how one's tastes change.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:28 PM
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My part to keep this thread going,two I have.The top one is model marked 694xxx from about 1968.The bottom one is Sn.573xx from about 1955 or so.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:54 PM
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Wow, there are almost 15,000 views on this thread now. I guess I should join in the festivities. This was one of the last non-model marked Chiefs Specials. The Gibbs holster is later, probably 1970's but for $5.00 I couldn't resist.

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