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Old 05-21-2007, 04:10 PM
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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. It possesses all the early features: flat latch, half-moon front sight, 5 screws, small trigger guard, pre-war style hammer spur. The grip panels are a little shorter than the later J-Frame grips. Some call this frame size the modified I-Frame. I guess if it wasn't wearing its original grips then one would have to find a pair of grips off of a Terrier in order to obtain correct fit. It does have a coil main spring. It's no oil painting condition-wise but it's a good shooter and very accurate except when I toss the occasional flier. I got it at a Fort Worth Convention Center gun show in the early '80's. It was priced less than the later Chief's Specials at the show that had ramp sights and traditional latches. The seller considered it less desirable because of the half-moon front sight. I thought it was novel so snapped it right up.




I've seen a couple with lower four-digit serial numbers. At a recent Dallas Market Hall gun show I found one with a serial number of 983.

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?
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:18 PM
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I can't answer your questions, but I can say that I would have tripped over myself trying to buy that old warrior.

You get 1,000 Cool Points.

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Old 05-21-2007, 04:23 PM
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Really nice revolver. You can tell its' a early one with the I-frame grip size and stocks and the I-frame trigger guard. Details of the engineering changes are in the "History of Smith & Wesson" by Jinks. Should list the change from the half-moon to ramp there.

Nice early Chiefs Special. Thanks for sharing.

Giz
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:37 PM
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Neat gun, I like the half-moon front sight.
I have #33618, shipped June, 1953, but it has the ramp front sight.
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:38 PM
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On the cool scale it's a 10. Nice honest ware and looks like it was taken care of. I like it.
DW
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:50 PM
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COOL!! She looks like a perfect companion for your well used model 10 you wrote about not to long ago!! Heck of a story!
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:52 PM
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Thanks.

Anyone that has early Chief's Specials ('50's and '60's) is welcome to post photos of them. I'd like to see them. I'd like to see a really nice example of a first-year Chief's so I could know what mine looked like when new.
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:02 PM
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I've already carried on about this gun over at handgunplace, amigo, but I just have to say that you made my day by posting this.

(And now the gripframe on my Model 37 looks huge to me! )
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Old 05-21-2007, 05:29 PM
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Ok, I can play. I am told this gun has been reblued, and I'd agree that at least the sideplate has (or maybe replaced), but as for the rest of it I am not sure because the stampings, those small rollmarks, looks awfully sharp to me for a reblue.
I couldn't resist it when I saw it, even if it has been reblued, you just don't see these too often any more. SN 2273, I haven't lettered it yet so I have no info at all on it. Some of you may remember this one from KTP a year or 2 ago. I should shoot some better pics of it I guess.

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Old 05-21-2007, 05:53 PM
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I'm guessing about 1957...


Tim
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:08 PM
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The older ones just scream COOL! Thanks for posting!
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Old 05-21-2007, 07:32 PM
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This is my beat-up old Chief's, ser# 33618. Shipped June, 1953. My dad carried it as a backup and off-duty gun for years.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoff40 View Post
"... Some of you may remember this one from KTP a year or 2 ago...."
Geoff, I remember handling that gun half a dozen times over 3 months or so trying to make up my mind... Thanks for removing it from my temptations!

If I didn't have #1184 at home already, near mint in the origional finish I would have jumped on it...

Lore has it that the ramp sight and half round sight were intermittant in the first 3,000 guns or so.... I believe that the barrel and half round front sight was "barrowed" from the Pre-War Terrier series....

Another interesting note is that in the Meeting Room Upstairs adjacent to the Engraving Area at Smith & Wesson, Chief's Special No.1 is currently on display..... labeled "Roy Jinks Collection", of course!

Drew
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:11 PM
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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.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
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. It possesses all the early features: flat latch, half-moon front sight, 5 screws, small trigger guard, pre-war style hammer spur. The grip panels are a little shorter than the later J-Frame grips. Some call this frame size the modified I-Frame. I guess if it wasn't wearing its original grips then one would have to find a pair of grips off of a Terrier in order to obtain correct fit. It does have a coil main spring. It's no oil painting condition-wise but it's a good shooter and very accurate except when I toss the occasional flier. I got it at a Fort Worth Convention Center gun show in the early '80's. It was priced less than the later Chief's Specials at the show that had ramp sights and traditional latches. The seller considered it less desirable because of the half-moon front sight. I thought it was novel so snapped it right up.
Can't answer your questions, but thanks for posting the pictures.

That gun is really nice looking.

I like it almost as much as my pre-Model 10, which shipped on March 14, 1949 . . . I love typing that.

The two look very similar, but I prefer the six-shot cylinder on mine.
But I'd buy yours in heart beat if I ever found an affordable one.

This one isn't my (or my picture!), but mine looks similar to this:


p.s. to whomever originally posted that picture: Thanks (I'll take it down if it is yours and you object.)
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
[Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml ]
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Old 05-22-2007, 10:47 AM
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bmcgilvray:
I hope I am not degrading the thread by posting a picture of one that was not made completely of steel. I should get a letter any day about this one that has an aluminum cylinder and has remained unshot since about 1953 (serial 27xxx). Very cool thread.
Ed
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:05 AM
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Whowee! Whowee! What a rare bird has graced our thread! I'm assuming the frame is alloy as well? The red box is cool and looks to be perfect.

Please post your findings when your letter comes in!

Hey, that bark in the background looks like pecan.
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Old 05-22-2007, 11:11 AM
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There are two barks involved. One is 8 weeks old and was chewing on my ankles during the photo session. The other is a live oak which is part of a mott of them surrounding my house. I will post info upon arrival.
Ed
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Old 05-22-2007, 12:16 PM
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I just picked up this Chief Special circa 1968.
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:49 PM
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No first year or round front sight but a nickel
from '52, a blue and a lightweight from '54.






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Old 05-22-2007, 02:55 PM
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oneoleone, that is a sweet lookin' nickeled Chief's!
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Old 05-22-2007, 02:59 PM
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JayCeeNC I just recently bought it from Lee Jarrett. It has been re-nickeled but was to pretty to pass on.
Jerry
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Old 05-22-2007, 03:50 PM
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This thread is getting better al the time. Very nice stuff guys.
DW
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Old 05-22-2007, 04:00 PM
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i have s/n 147xx

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Old 05-22-2007, 04:24 PM
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Great stuff,guys. I did just happen to buy a 'Baby Chief' on a g.b. auction last month. It was Battle creek Mi. P.D. but not marked as such. It is the small frame and triggerguard 5screw,flatlatch,ramp fr,sight #45963.IT was listed as a model 36 4screw. And I promise pictures A.s.a.p. A good friend is coming by to take shots of the whole collection. Best to all Al
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:35 PM
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Nice guns, everybody, and Ed . . . whoa! Is it really 10-some ounces, like Elmer wrote?
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Old 05-22-2007, 07:51 PM
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Erich:
It registers not quite 11 ounces on my antique postal scale.
Ed
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
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Nice guns, everybody, and Ed . . . whoa! Is it really 10-some ounces, like Elmer wrote?
Quote:
Originally Posted by smith17 View Post
Erich:
It registers not quite 11 ounces on my antique postal scale.
Ed


Just the gun for an afternoon's fun with +P158's, NOT!

Erich's right. Nice guns everybody!

The little red boxes are really cool. I also like the blue boxes without the Bangor Punta name on them. The '52 nickel is pretty eye-popping. I like the '68 gun with the clip holster. The Chief's Specials really look nice to me right up through the 60's when Bangor Punta had them. The '61 Square butt with the nice diamond grips trips my trigger. Scott's revolver has the satin blue finish rather than the later bright blue.

My first Model 36 was a 99% gun from 1966. It was a round butt and sported the flat latch and diamond grips. Must have been near the end of the run for those features. It came from a local gun shop with a story and supporting court documentation.

Seems a very old lady who lived down at Hillsboro was being constantly harassed by some fellow who was trying to bilk her out of her property. He was threatening and being verbally abusive and was at her constantly.

One day she'd had enough of him so met him at the door with her late husband's Chief's Special. Popped him right through the screen door, she did. He reeled off of the porch and fell in the yard. She went out after him and emptied the revolver into him.

They did her for manslaughter as I recall. The gun came to me with copies of depositions, court documents and the manila envelope in which it'd been stored. The guy at the polishing wheel must have been having a good day as it had a particularly pretty blue finish. Alas, I sold it when I was scrounging up the money to purchase a collectible car. Still have the factory letter around here somewhere.
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Old 05-23-2007, 12:16 PM
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Nice pieces! I just took delivery of a new nickle plated Model 36 and I wish it had that flat cylinder release on it. The latch on mine chewed the **** out of my strong hand thumb. I had to re-adjust my grip for this gun. It shoots well and looks kool, though.
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Old 06-04-2007, 02:29 PM
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Just got my letter on the Chief's Special Airweight that I posted a pic of earlier in this thread. Shipped in April of 1953 to Houston and apparently everything is original since the letter states that it wasn't until 1954 that the alloy cylinders were replaced with steel cylinders.
Another interesting thing that I didn't know was that the 605 guns that the U.S. Air Force ordered as part of the Air Crew Program were serial numbered starting with "A.F." and the numbers following that were 1795-2399. Seems as though that knowledge should keep someone from being duped by someone faking this gun.
Ed
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Old 08-10-2007, 05:37 PM
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36,6XX


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Old 08-10-2007, 05:53 PM
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JayCeeNC don't ever change anything on that gun. Those are the guns we wish could tell us stories!
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:14 PM
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This thread was within a few hours of being deleted, due to age. I will post a new pic tomorrow. Thought it had too much good info and pics to go off into nowhere.
Ed
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Old 02-26-2008, 06:41 PM
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Holy thread resurrection Batman! Smith17 is right,
and I finally got this picture thing down
This is that 'baby Chief' I bought last year.
Had big ol' uncle Mikes rubbers on it and advertised as a mod. 36.

I looked at the auction pictures closely,,, and counted 5 screws.
The stags came from a friend locally, I frame penciled on the back.











Regards ,,,Al
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:37 PM
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I had a 2 inch RB Chief from 1954 with "Mass. State Police" factory engraved (in script) on the backstrap. Like a fool, I sold it off.
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Old 02-27-2008, 05:09 AM
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Chiefs Special 584xx 1955 W/ a lot of history!

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:13 AM
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Here is my one and only safe queen, an unfired pre 36. I had to buy another to have one to shoot.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:33 AM
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Here's a Chief's Special Target, 1 of 100 made in 1955.

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Old 02-27-2008, 01:01 PM
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Have had this one in the drawer since the mid '50's, with red box and bore cleaning tool. Has exactly 120 rounds through it, now retired.

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Old 03-12-2008, 06:11 AM
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Ok, I'll do my part to keep this great older post alive. This is my latest aquisition a Pre-37 circa 1954, serial 438XX, has a steel cylinder and aluminum frame. I posted a question here elsewhere and discovered this revolver is around the transition period for the cylinder material change, John C. has a beautiful Chief's Special Airweight only 85 digits more recent than mine that has an aluminum cylinder. I tried a different set of RB J-diamond grips just yesterday only to discover that the grip horns extended above the grip frame about an 1/8". So this old revolver must have also the short grip frame common in earlier production. As can be seen the photo the old Chiefs Special Airweight has some character wear from over 35 years of carry by a retired local Sheriff department deputy detective. I going to wear it down some more because this is my new CCW gun. From a rest it will keep all 5 shots in 3" at 50' and about twice that size shooting one handed double action. Let's keep this post alive, lots of great info and some handsome old Chiefs'. Greg
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:21 AM
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oldj:
Welcome to the forum. Does your gun have the keeper screw next to the top screw, like the one in Greg's pic, right below yours? Very nice revolver.
Ed
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:07 PM
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Wow - great guns you guys - thanks for sharing
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:24 PM
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hi
well we will see if these pictures work\
i have two early chief special
the first one is a orginal nickel grips matching
condition about 96% the nickel ones are really
rare i have only seen a couple in over 30 years.
this one is serial number 1406.
the second one is a blued one i have had for over 30 years it has the orginal box numbered to the gun and the gun is about 95 %.
the serial number is 6362.
i hope you like the pictures.

jim fisher
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Old 03-12-2008, 04:59 PM
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Very nice, Jim, I don't think I've ever seen a nickled pre-Model 36.
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:56 PM
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Yes, Jim, very nice! Talk about transition. The nickle gun has both the early sight and trigger guard, the blue revolver has the newer sight and old trigger guard. Very interesting!
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:57 PM
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John, Do you or does anyone else know at what serial number range did the change from the short grip frame to the later long grip frame. I tried a set of diamond round butt J-frame grips on my Chiefs Special Airweight (SN 43841) yesterday only to find that they matched up at the bottom and screw location, but the horns at the top protruded above the top of the grip frame 1/8". Was this an itermitent change like the cylinder change on the Airweight's. Greg
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smith17 View Post
oldj:
Welcome to the forum. Does your gun have the keeper screw next to the top screw, like the one in Greg's pic, right below yours? Very nice revolver.
Ed
My gun does not have the 'keeper' screw next to the top screw. What's the story on that?
John
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
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My gun does not have the 'keeper' screw next to the top screw. What's the story on that?
John
Thanks for the welcome and the compliment on the revolver. I read the FAQs and answered my own question re. the keeper screw. (I assume this is what is referred to as the 'bug' screw found present on some early airweight models.) This one (S/N 418xx) is not an airweight, and, according to the Roy Jinks letter, was shipped in April, 1954. I got it new a few months later. Never been carried, seldom used. I've replaced it for carry with a M&P340, and it now lives in the safe.
John
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Old 03-13-2008, 06:47 PM
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Paul:
Is yours not a pre-12 with the C prefix?

On another forum recently, the bug screw monicker was thoroughly discussed and I believe it was decided that it was the large upper screw that was actually called the bug screw as it is shorter than the others and was a bugger to get threaded. The smaller screw was probably to keep the bug screw from unthreading. As I remember the discussion.
Ed
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:35 PM
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First ever nickel Chief's Special I've ever seen with the half-moon front sight. Neato!
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