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  #101  
Old 08-17-2010, 06:04 PM
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For Chief Specials I have always liked the 3" barrel. My first S&W was a 3" model 36 bought in 1963. I shot it a lot and wore it a lot and finally swapped it toward a 22/32 kit gun several years later. I had bought a model 60 and thought that I really didn't need a blue j frame. After a number of years I searched for a replacement and 3" guns were not that pleantiful. Finally I found this nice pre 36 3" serial 553XX which Roy dated as March 1956. It was my first square butt J Frame. I have the original grips but these S&W targets work well.
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  #102  
Old 08-21-2010, 03:50 AM
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Here's my a 1955 Chief Special (my birth year).....
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  #103  
Old 10-29-2010, 08:09 PM
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Default Baby Chief - early features

Guys:

I am a fairly new poster. I was surfing GunBroker today, under 'Smith 36,' and happened across this piece. I know a bit about older Smiths, and figured for under $300 delivered this was a bit of a steal. I bid 'buy it now.' The pics are off GunBroker. I am hoping it has not been reblued - looks pretty pristine. When it arrives (hope the NY dealer takes a C&R) I'll post my own pics. I welcome your thoughts.
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  #104  
Old 10-29-2010, 08:53 PM
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oc76:
Looks like an early one with the half moon sight. Good grab.
Ed
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  #105  
Old 10-29-2010, 09:04 PM
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My high half moon chief is #2043, My low ramp chief is #4668. The changeover would be between these numbers.
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  #106  
Old 10-29-2010, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcorps76 View Post
Guys:

I am a fairly new poster. I was surfing GunBroker today, under 'Smith 36,' and happened across this piece. I know a bit about older Smiths, and figured for under $300 delivered this was a bit of a steal. I bid 'buy it now.' The pics are off GunBroker. I am hoping it has not been reblued - looks pretty pristine. When it arrives (hope the NY dealer takes a C&R) I'll post my own pics. I welcome your thoughts.
Honestly, it does look refinished. I say that based on the pics though. I am seeing the bottom edge of the side plate and it just doesn't look like a sharp enough fit. Although I don't see any dishing around the screws but the S&W symbol on the right side and the address lines aren't very distinguishable. Hey, I paid $350 for a factory refinished pre-36 and still feel like it was a good price to pay so I think you still did okay with this if it is refinished. Plus, those half moon front sight chiefs don't come around very often, so good grab.
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  #107  
Old 10-29-2010, 09:50 PM
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That serial number seems very high for a half moon front sight.
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  #108  
Old 10-29-2010, 10:07 PM
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hi
I have one that is later than that it is 3729 and it has the half moon front sight. ship date is feb of 1952.
jim fisher
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  #109  
Old 10-30-2010, 01:04 AM
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JSR - that's not a serial number, it's a store inventory number, FYI.
Thanks everyone for the fast pile-on - I appreciate the opinions. I agree it looks refinished but I am half-hoping it is. Then no guilt about making it a pocket queen for those informal outdoor excursions. If it is....greased and locked up. I'll post again when she arrives.
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  #110  
Old 10-30-2010, 02:37 AM
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Default 3" Chiefs

As a big fan of the 3" SB I couldnt resist the chance to show off my favorite J frame,


Had to include this 4 digit SN# flat latch 4 screw Pre model 40 ....
Its my oldest snub and was technically advertised as a "Hammerless" Chiefs Special ,
SN# 5652 born about 1955 ??? ,
Except for a slight turn ring it appears almost unfired .



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  #111  
Old 10-30-2010, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcorps76 View Post
JSR - that's not a serial number, it's a store inventory number, FYI.
Thanks everyone for the fast pile-on - I appreciate the opinions. I agree it looks refinished but I am half-hoping it is. Then no guilt about making it a pocket queen for those informal outdoor excursions. If it is....greased and locked up. I'll post again when she arrives.
It looks to have a pretty nice refinish. The sideplate fit suggests this, and another fairly reliable clue is the hammer and trigger are blued, not case-colored, as only a few restorers (even professionals) are set up to redo the casehardening.

BTW, regarding the change-over from half-moon to ramp front sight, just received a letter on a matching half-moon CS, SN 116xx (yes, a 5-digit number), shipped 4/52. I have no good explanation how the factory went nearly 8000 numbers down the line in 2-3 months from Jim's example above except if the frame was produced earlier, then assembled and/or shipped at a much later date. Interested to read if anyone else has a 4/52 shipped CS, with which front sight and the SN.
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  #112  
Old 10-30-2010, 10:09 AM
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hi
here is one of mine \
Serial Number 6362
Remarks: Shipped May 1952

Company shipping records show
this Serial Number was shipped
with a Round Butt Frame, 2 Inch
Barrel, Blue Finish and Diamond
Checkered Grips.
This is one of the first models with
the smooth ramp front sight.
This has the original numbered box.
I think that the date is wrong on the the letter
or else the factory had a lot of frames made up
and serial numbered.

jim
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  #113  
Old 10-30-2010, 11:48 AM
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Murphy:

I saw that too, on the trigger and hammer. It's a really fuzzy pic and on some of the others on the auction it looks as if they're not blued. Someone said that even if refinished, old half-moons Baby Chiefs like that don't come 'round too often, and because of the reduced frame size will make a nice informal carry piece if it's not a collector.
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  #114  
Old 11-05-2010, 11:51 AM
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Default Centennials

Quote:
Originally Posted by Engine49guy View Post
"I like big butts and I dont know why"
As a big fan of the 3" SB I couldnt resist the chance to show off my favorite J frame,


Just found its younger brother from 1968 in a local ad for $275.00 ,


Nickel SB that was factory refinished in the early 70's,
Guessing they replaced the original diamond grips and maybe swapped the flat latch.
#267227 app DOB between 1958 and 1961


Had to include this flat latch 4 screw Pre model 40 as its my oldest and
technically was advertised as a "Hammerless" Chiefs Special ,
SN# 5652 born about 1955 ,
Except for a slight turn ring it appears almost unfired .


Gawd...I love those old Centennials. That one is gorgeous....
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  #115  
Old 11-05-2010, 04:40 PM
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Excuse me while I wipe drool from keyboard,love the older chiefs special what a great post!
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  #116  
Old 11-05-2010, 05:37 PM
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Great thread, Flat latch j frames are my weakness! To keep it going I'll offer up two more really old Chief's Specials...

Model 36 "no-dash" from '61 or '62


Chief's Special Airweight from '56


Same gun with the original black "sunburst" box

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  #117  
Old 11-06-2010, 10:15 AM
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Default Flat latch fever

Here's mine from '57:

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  #118  
Old 11-12-2010, 08:33 PM
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Default Well, guys, you were right.

Got it today....it is a for sure Baby Chief, 4-digit serial, probably 1st year...but it is definitely reblued over a polish job. Not a bad job, except for some dishing on the sideplate and blurring of the Smith logo on the left. Mechanically, perfect - nice crisp light SA pull. I had to Chore-Boy gunk from the chambers and forcing cone, but they shine unpitted like day 1 from the factory. So..for $275, I guess I did OK. It becomes a guilt-free shooter now, a nice cat-sneeze-wadcutter load gun for my pocket when I am elk hunting, or a snake-shot trail piece.
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  #119  
Old 11-14-2010, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcorps76 View Post
Got it today....it is a for sure Baby Chief, 4-digit serial, probably 1st year...
That's a beauty and for that price a very nice 1st type Baby J.

Below on the right, 2nd from top is the last Baby J in the evolution of the Chief's Special, # 33903, 1st style (out of 3 styles) flat thumblatch, and serrated ramp front sight. Centrally located in the 1953 serial range but no letter and no idea of shipping date.

Has the 'I frame size' short grip and trigger guard, and pre-war shaped hammer same as yours, but ramp front sight and barrel rib.
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  #120  
Old 11-14-2010, 06:31 PM
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Default THAT is one lovely collection!

The little LadySmith-looking piece in the top left corner is particularly intriguing. I have a Kit Gun like your top right, 4 digit, probably close to 1st year, and is in excellent shape for what has been for me a 'using gun' since 1988 when I picked it up at a Bellevue, NE, gunshow.

Yeah, the Baby Chief is now going to have useful, vice safe-queen life. Tyler T-Grip, an El Paso horsehide pocket holster, and some wadcutters.....on the trail she goes...
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Old 11-19-2010, 11:37 AM
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Can anyone give me an idea of what this might be worth? I have someone willing to sell it to me and we are trying to figure out a fair price. Gun is a '54 and looks to be in great shape, maybe 90%-95%.







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Old 11-19-2010, 05:14 PM
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if it is as nice as it looks in the pics, and has its original finish, i would think it would easily bring 500.00, probably more.
neat gun!
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Old 11-21-2010, 07:58 PM
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There was a guy walking arounf OGCA on Saturday with a very early Chief. It was serial numbered in the 5xx range. He had a red box but not original. He offered to sell it to a dealer for $2400. The gun was in excellent condition but I think he was a little high.

I have one with the half moon front sight in the 24xx range that I got for $300.

Lynn
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  #124  
Old 11-21-2010, 08:23 PM
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Default Collector prices

Hell, take a look at the 'evolution' of prices on Gunbroker since the 'crash.' My weathervane, 2nd Gen Colt SAA's, have dropped precipitously. Before, one that fell in a cement mixer brought two bills. Now, I have seen nice ones with a little wear go begging for $1,200. Unless it's a really NIB specimen - with the correct box, because the real collectors always seem to have $$ for the hole in their collection - or you luck into someone who wants what you have, count on waiting for awhile to sell. Your little Chief, if that is original finish and a matching box, should be one of the pieces that sells. It's a good time in history if you have disposable $$.
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  #125  
Old 11-23-2010, 11:56 PM
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Default Baby Chief saved from becoming scrap iron

About 4 months ago I acquired a Baby Chief #15XXX (I frame grip, non-ramped flat latch, serrated ramp sight, round trigger guard, 5 screw), with the hammer stud broken, hammer and other parts missing. I got the stud repaired and the parts replaced and now I have a fine old revolver at a reasonable price for what I have in it.

Except for the ramp sight, it looks like the above posted by KSCowboy.

Sometimes project guns do make you proud.

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  #126  
Old 11-24-2010, 12:20 AM
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Glad you were able to bring an old classic back to life. That's always very satisfying.
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  #127  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:24 PM
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Top is a short grip Baby chief in 38 special SN# 3821x,
Below is a Terrier in .38 S&W SN# 5807x

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Old 01-08-2011, 07:13 PM
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Default 1955 I think, serial #72XXX

http://i1020.photobucket.com/albums/...l/CIMG3392.jpg
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:14 PM
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:25 PM
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Moderately early Model 36, modified many years ago for the Trouser Pocket, though it also acquired a Shoulder Holster or three, an Ankle Holster ( Straps-n-Buckle era) and an IWB Holster.





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Old 02-16-2011, 04:48 PM
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Hey Oyeboteb;

What about that ribbed barrel and front sight arrangement? That's a bit different. What serial number ranges does that little revolver fall under.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:36 PM
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Posted this recently in another tread but it needed a seat at this table. 4 digit 77xx. I'm guessing first yr 1950, any help on date ? Smooth ramp sight.

Charlie




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Old 02-16-2011, 10:59 PM
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Here's another one not sure of date s/n318XXX
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Old 02-16-2011, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crsides View Post
Posted this recently in another tread but it needed a seat at this table. 4 digit 77xx. I'm guessing first yr 1950, any help on date ?

Charlie
Based on your serial #, it just made it into 1952. The front site makes it later than 1950 1st year also. But it's a Baby J.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
Hey Oyeboteb;

What about that ribbed barrel and front sight arrangement? That's a bit different. What serial number ranges does that little revolver fall under.
It was originally a Square Butt, ramped Front Sight.

Ramp Sight was filed down to what you see in the image.


Serial No. 4876xx.


I never have known quite when it was made, but, had been told by the person I had bought it from, that it dated to the early 1960s.

Served me as a daily Carry for 20 years.
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:24 AM
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How do you tell an I frame from a J frame -- I have a early cheif, small trigger guard, flat latch, ser 85## trying to know as much about it as I can?
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
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How do you tell an I frame from a J frame -- I have a early cheif, small trigger guard, flat latch, ser 85## trying to know as much about it as I can?
I frames are for the 22/32, .32 and 38 S&W cartridge and have the shorter cylinder/frame window used before the war up until 1961 when they were also made on the 1/8" longer J frame.

The difference: Chiefs Specials are for the 38 Special and are J frames with longer cylinder and frame window 1st made in 1950. Early Chief's Special J frames, 1950 thru about 1952 were called Baby J frames by collectors because they had the smaller trigger guard and 1/8" shorter grip frame which was the same size as the I Frames of the period. About 1953, all J and I frames were updated with the current and more familiar larger, egg shaped trigger guard and longer rd butt grip frame and current style square butt.
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:56 PM
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I picked up a chief's special tonight with a low 300XX serial number. Can someone please tell me when this gun was made. Thank you. It has a flat latch and serrated front ramp. Everything is matching on it and it is in very good shape. I kinda bought it on the spur of the moment not really knowing much about it except it was probably relatively old with the serial number. The gun is in very good shape other than a little blueing wear on the cylinder and one grip has a slight nick in it. I got it for $195. How did I do?

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Old 02-18-2011, 11:03 PM
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I picked up a chief's special tonight with a low 300XX serial number. Can someone please tell me when this gun was made. Thank you. It has a flat latch and serrated front ramp. Everything is matching on it and it is in very good shape. I will try to get some pictures up later.
You're in luck. The standard SN reference has a lot of holes in the J frame listings, but 28916 was shipped in 1953 so that would probably be its year too.
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  #140  
Old 02-24-2011, 03:10 PM
majake majake is offline
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Default Inherited Chief's Special

I got this from my grandfather who was a sherriff's deputy. It says airweight on the barrel and the ser# is 452xx. Im suspecting it's pretty old. Is it safe to shoot?
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  #141  
Old 02-26-2011, 02:45 AM
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I'm not currently able to check references and have a dreadful memory but yes that is a pretty early Chief's. You might be able to make a rough determination of its age just by checking back through this thread and reviewing other examples.

It appears to be as sound as a dollar in the photo but if you aren't comfortable in determining its suitability for use then just have a gunsmith check it out. Age alone has no bearing on its soundness. An Airweight could develop a frame crack but this seems to show up more in much later revolvers than yours.

That is not gospel but only a hunch I have, based on reading Forum threads discussing damaged Airweights and over-torqued barrels which seem to have occurred long after the 50s era Airweights were turned out.

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  #142  
Old 08-06-2011, 02:00 PM
lucidbassist lucidbassist is offline
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Sorry to bring up an older thread but I was hoping someone could help me out. An older neighbor of mine was trying to find some information on a revolver that was left to him sometime ago.

From the looks it does appear to be the "baby" chief model described in this thread. Its chrome in color with matching serial numbers and original wood grips. The serial number is 7###, and matches in all the original spots.

Ill try to get some pics of it when he is back home later.

Thanks!

Aaron
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  #143  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:20 PM
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murphydog murphydog is offline
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Sorry to bring up an older thread but I was hoping someone could help me out. An older neighbor of mine was trying to find some information on a revolver that was left to him sometime ago.

From the looks it does appear to be the "baby" chief model described in this thread. Its chrome in color with matching serial numbers and original wood grips. The serial number is 7###, and matches in all the original spots.

Ill try to get some pics of it when he is back home later.

Thanks!

Aaron
Aaron;

Welcome to the Forum. Photos and a listing of all stampings (particularly the caliber on the right side of the barrel) would be helpful for the ID. Nickel early Chiefs Specials are fairly scarce.
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  #144  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:40 PM
lucidbassist lucidbassist is offline
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Aaron;

Welcome to the Forum. Photos and a listing of all stampings (particularly the caliber on the right side of the barrel) would be helpful for the ID. Nickel early Chiefs Specials are fairly scarce.
Thanks, tried to get the best most in-focus pics I could. Apologize for not being the sharpest. The light out here right now is overcast and not the best.
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  #145  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:47 PM
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You have the ID correct, and it appears to be an original nickel gun. It has the slightly later barrel style with the ramp front sight. You can see the matching SN on the bottom of the grip frame and barrel. The stocks seem not to fit 100%; if they are original to the gun you'll see the SN stamped on the inside of the right panel.

The photos of nickel guns are actually best in indirect sunlight, so good choice there . Hope this is helpful.
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  #146  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:52 PM
lucidbassist lucidbassist is offline
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You have the ID correct, and it appears to be an original nickel gun. It has the slightly later barrel style with the ramp front sight. You can see the matching SN on the bottom of the grip frame and barrel. The stocks seem not to fit 100%; if they are original to the gun you'll see the SN stamped on the inside of the right panel.

The photos of nickel guns are actually best in indirect sunlight, so good choice there . Hope this is helpful.
Appreciate it, Im going to try and contact S&W to see if I can get an age on it for him. It was given to him from an old friend who was, at the time of retirement, a detective here in St. Louis.

He hasnt fired it in a long time, and I offered to clean it for him and take him to a local range. Want to see if I can find some under-powered loads first to make sure everything is good to go. I couldnt see any issues in the frame or cylinder, and the barrel looks in good shape but figured play it safe with low power loads over full power.

Aaron
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  #147  
Old 08-06-2011, 04:02 PM
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The standard S & W reference has SN 7369 in 1952, so call it as being shipped that year. 148 gr wadcutters should be fine as a low-powered target load.
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  #148  
Old 08-06-2011, 04:12 PM
lucidbassist lucidbassist is offline
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The standard S & W reference has SN 7369 in 1952, so call it as being shipped that year. 148 gr wadcutters should be fine as a low-powered target load.
Great, I'll pass all that along to him! Appreciate the time on your part to assist in getting information.

Aaron
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Old 08-06-2011, 06:13 PM
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Love these early Baby 'J's. Supposedly the square butt was introduced c. 1952. I don't imagine there were any made on the Baby J frame. I'm thinking square butt introduction had to have been introduced simultaneously with the standard J frame with the larger, egg shaped trigger guard.

Anyone have insight on this?
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  #150  
Old 12-21-2011, 12:23 AM
Elroy Elroy is offline
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Default Date the Chief

Looked around to find a Chief and found this thread.
Serial #484xx would date to what ?? '54 ??

A 4 screw Chief Special. Serrated ramp with the long guard.





The stocks are very nice and number match





There are few cosmetic issue but over all not bad.



What would be your 58 year old price point or do we have the date wrong??
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