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  #1  
Old 11-24-2012, 06:35 PM
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Default S&W Model 36-1

I just bought this as I had never seen a Chiefs Special with a
3" barrel. According to the GS owner a man had purchased it elsewhere (apparently a long time ago) for his wife. Recently he died and his widow brought the gun in and consigned it. The GS owner got the impression she wasn't all that fond of guns and thus didn't want it.

After some wrangling over price I got it for $375. Both the store owner and I can't find any evidence that it's ever been fired. We are not 100% sure of this, but it does seem that way.

There is some evidence that it has been carried, or at least taken in and out of a holster enough to show the tiniest bit of holster shine on the front and rear edges of the cylinder but only above two of the five chambers. There is no holster shine anywhere else on the gun, and there are no signs of wear on the stocks. Serial number is #J785445. Perhaps
one of you can tell me when this revolver was made?
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:46 PM
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Nice find! Looks like it shipped in 1981.

The (pre-36) Chiefs Special and the original model 36 came in a 3" barrel, heavy but tapered; in about 1967 the -1 with the untapered or "bull" barrel started production.

Enjoy!
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:51 PM
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Found this when I was researching a Model 36-1 I recently bought.

For models 36, 37, 38, 49, 50 and pre model number versions.

1950 = start at 1
1952 = 7369 - 21342
1953 = 28916
1955 = 55050 - 75000
1957 = 117770 - 125000
1962 = starts at 295000
1969 = ends at 786544

J serial Prefix serial numbers.
For models 36, 37, 38, 49, 50.

1969-1970 = J1 - J99999
1971-1972 = 1J1 - 999J99
1973-1974 = J100000 - J250000
1975-1976 = J250001 - J370000
1976-1977 = J370001 - J610000
1977-1978 = J610001 - J670000
1979-1980 = J670001 - J760000
1981 = J760001 - J915400
1982 = J915401 - 1J18600
1983 = 1J18601 - 1JXXXX

1955 - 4 screw side plate ends
1957 - stamping of model number at 125000
1966 - flat latch ends
1968 - diamond grips end
1975 - heavy barrel standard
1982 - end pinned barrel
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exdetsgt View Post
I had never seen a Chiefs Special with a 3" barrel.
By definition, a Model 36-1 has a 3" heavy barrel. Yours was made at the tail end of the pinned barrels. It looks great! And you got it for a very good price.
Enjoy!
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:01 PM
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Oops, so this Model 36-1 was made in 1981. So should I move it to the 1980-Present category? (I have no idea how to do this). Also, when I read about that category it says "all non-pinned barrels." But this is clearly a pinned barrel.

I have several J-frame holsters, a thumb-snap Bianchi Black Widow, a Masters pancake, a Fobus, and an IWB Bianchi. However, with the Black Widow and the Masters the barrel protrudes out the bottom and looks sort of weird. I probably should just get over it. With the very nice leather IWB it's unfortunately closed at the bottom so the gun doesn't go in far enough. Maybe it's time to go holster hunting.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:02 PM
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I have it's sister in Nickel. Great find!! Shipped September 1978.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:10 PM
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Great looking gun!
Either BellCharterOak or LOBOGUNLEATHER from here
on the Forum can set you up with a great 3" holster.
Congrats! TACC1
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:41 PM
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Thanks to all of you, and TACC1, I'll follow up on your suggestions.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:05 PM
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Now you just need a pair of Spegels for it....")

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Old 11-24-2012, 10:27 PM
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Those are beautiful, indeed. But for a round butt. Hope they make a set for a square butt.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:53 PM
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I have a 36-1 and a 37 with 3" barrel. They are two of my most carried guns.
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exdetsgt View Post
I just bought this as I had never seen a Chiefs Special with a
3" barrel. According to the GS owner a man had purchased it elsewhere (apparently a long time ago) for his wife. Recently he died and his widow brought the gun in and consigned it. The GS owner got the impression she wasn't all that fond of guns and thus didn't want it.

After some wrangling over price I got it for $375. Both the store owner and I can't find any evidence that it's ever been fired. We are not 100% sure of this, but it does seem that way.

There is some evidence that it has been carried, or at least taken in and out of a holster enough to show the tiniest bit of holster shine on the front and rear edges of the cylinder but only above two of the five chambers. There is no holster shine anywhere else on the gun, and there are no signs of wear on the stocks. Serial number is #J785445. Perhaps
one of you can tell me when this revolver was made?
These square butt Chief's Specials in both 2 inch and 3 inch were popular with NYPD back in the day. John Jovino, the S&W distributor in New York City, had a run of stainless ones made. The square butts certainly handle very well, and they make up in handling what they give up in concealment by having the square butt. Nice revolver.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:32 AM
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I recently purchased a NIB Model 36-1. Ordered two holsters for it:

The first was off of Ebay from garycs11 for $45. Great heavy built holster (see pic)

I bought another lined high rise OWB Gun Glove from Allens. This holster is in the same price range - custom made and conceals very easy. It rides high and tight to the body. Don't have pics of it - I do have a pic of the Allen Gun Glove for a Walther PP (pic 2). The Model 36 holster is basically the same style.

allen1941@bellsouth.net
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:18 AM
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Love the 36-1. I picked one up from an old gent a few months ago for $215. Was built around the same time period as yours. Mine is J782XXX so its a 1981 build.

Thanks PRM1 for posting the serial numbers/date mfg.! Very helpful.

Anyway, its used, probably 90-95% shape, clean, and shoots very well with a nice trigger. It has the slightest bit of end shake, just a fraction really, so I'm wondering if I should have it tuned by the local gun smith? My K frame model 10 locks up like a bank vault and its older!

Shoots well though. Using standard pressure 38's only. Its stock except for a BK grip adapter. Great little trail/woods walking gun.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:29 AM
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Bought mine from a local police chief who went to a 3913.

It had the oversize S&W grips , which got sold in favor of these Hogues.

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Old 11-25-2012, 12:01 PM
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Aftermarket grips for the sq but j-frame aren't near as easy to come by as for the rd butt, esp if you want boot grips. Spegel is about the only one who catalogs them as a standard item-- with a long wait or high price or both. But Jim Badger cut down a set of his sq butt combat grips for me which are very nice-- no extra charge & delivered in less than a week to boot.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:52 PM
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Here's a shot of my 36-1 in the holster I used to carry my 36 no dash. (Bianchi Black Widow thumb brake). It rides high and close and is very quick. Just don't like the barrel sticking out the bottom, but it's purely an image thing (get over it, Ted).

Hotrod150: Those are some fine looking grips. How do get hold of this Jim Badger person?

Mkk41: Those Hogues certainly make the 36-1 look more substantial.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod150 View Post
Aftermarket grips for the sq but j-frame aren't near as easy to come by as for the rd butt, esp if you want boot grips. Spegel is about the only one who catalogs them as a standard item-- with a long wait or high price or both. But Jim Badger cut down a set of his sq butt combat grips for me which are very nice-- no extra charge & delivered in less than a week to boot.

I'd love a set of those Badger grips for my sq. butt 37.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exdetsgt View Post
Hotrod150: Those are some fine looking grips. How do get hold of this Jim Badger person?
Here ya go:
Custom Wood Pistol Grips & Handgun Grips, including Smith & Wesson, Colt and Ruger Pistol Grips from Badger Custom Grips
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:45 PM
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Thanks, I just ordered a square butt rosewood.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:35 PM
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I put smooth rosewood S&W magna grips and a Tyler adaptor on mine and loved the result. Alas, those original rosewood grips aren't easily found! (No, mine are NOT for sale)

I've had both blued and stainless versions of this gun and like it very much. I think they're easier to shoot than snubs and offer about 75 FPS higher velocity and a full-length extractor rod stroke.
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:55 PM
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You can go to Badger's webpage (flyguy posted a link), & down at the very bottom there's a button to push to email him. Like I said, he cut down mine to 2-finger size from his standard 3-finger full size grips. I prefer boot grips on a j-frame but I'm sure his full-size grips are just as nice. The color and "figure" (for lack of a better term) in the laminated wood of these grips is really attractive- so much so that I ordered a set for my round-butt Chief also.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:49 PM
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Hotrod150,

I hadn't thought of that. No doubt the 3-finger grips will print more, which is the last thing I want for concealed carry, which I do daily. So I will email him and perhaps he can either cut them down or maybe by now he makes 2- finger grips. Who knows.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:53 PM
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S&W offered J frame target stocks that would fit either a RB or SB frame. I stuck this pair on my I frame gun to see how it fits my hand, and try it at the range.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:02 PM
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Baby's got back!
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:03 PM
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Here's a LOBO IWB Offset-Clip holster for a M36 no-dash 3".
It works just as well on a 2-5/8" RP in 38 S&W. (Thanks, Sip!)
You can see the BKGRIP Adaptors on there, too. SWEET!!
Hope this helps, TACC1
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColbyBruce View Post
S&W offered J frame target stocks that would fit either a RB or SB frame. I stuck this pair on my I frame gun to see how it fits my hand, and try it at the range.
I was going to suggest these same (J-frame target) grips to try. They kinda overwhelm Colby's Baby Chief, but I bet they hold well! With your 3" bull barrel, I'll bet they balance just right.

Froggie

PS See Colby, I knew Baby wouldn't stay in the corner!!!
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:46 AM
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Those grips seem to overwhelm his Model 36.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exdetsgt View Post
..... No doubt the 3-finger grips will print more, which is the last thing I want for concealed carry, which I do daily. So I will email him and perhaps he can either cut them down or maybe by now he makes 2- finger grips. Who knows.
My Badger SB j-frame boots looked & felt so great on the gun that I took a photo & sent it to Jim Badger, and suggested that he should make them a standard-order item. Since there is such a limited selection of SB j-frame boots to choose from, I think they'd be a pretty popular item.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:53 AM
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I picked up a M 36 [no dash #] from my old bosses widow cheap [$200.00] I put a set of Hogue Bantam grips on it, they are very compact and afford a good purchase. The recoil is a bit stiff with such small grips but its not a problem.
I dont think the cylinder release is factory [any body know if its original] The serial number is in the 316xxx range with no prefix number, can any body tell when it was made? I'm thinking in 1963. [same as me] the wood grips that were on it were made by a company named "Sile" or something like that and it was in a Jay-Pee holster. I will try to find the grips and take a picture of them.

Casey
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:58 AM
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I found a like new 36-1 round butt earlier this year. I set up the gun with Crimson Trace LG 305s. The grips are probably a bit much for pocket carry, but I don't think that's the forte of the 36-1 anyway. I like the little gun which offers a great trade-off between mass, sight radius and comfortable shooting. I actually tracked it down in hopes my wife might take a shine to it. That's only marginally more risky than investing in the lottery. I showed it to her recently and she remarked that it "felt right" to her. If/when she follows through on her interest with the appropriate training, I'll entrust this little gem to her care.

PC
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:32 PM
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Earthquake, the SCSW just says 1962 295000 and 1969 786544-- your s/n falls pretty close to the low end of that spectrum, so 1963-ish is probably about right. I just bought a similar vintage RB M36 myself, s/n 2126xx-- SCSW indicates 1958-1962, I'm guessing probably 1960 or so.
There's a couple different versions of the flat latch cylinder release thunbpiece, but yours looks similar to mine so I'm guessing it's the correct one. Did you get the original grips with yours? Check the inside of the RH one to see if it has the s/n stamped into it. You got a great deal for two hundred bucks-- I paid quite a bit more for mine & it's a bit of a beater.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:41 PM
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I talked to Jim Badger today. He convinced me to stick with the 3-finger grips. He told me the difference in length was less than 1/2 an inch. He said cutting one down would be lots of work, costly, and would involve a considerable wait. On the other hand, he could ship the 3-finger grips today.
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:17 PM
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A nice gun at a nice price.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:45 AM
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Must be something in the water. I've been following threads on several forums and also a couple of the auction sites. It's amazing how many of the excellent to NIB Model 36-1(s) I'm either seeing on the internet or reading about folks who just bought one all within the last few months/weeks.

Not complaining - I'm a happy camper with mine.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:15 PM
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I'm with you, I had no clue there were so many around. I worked with a bunch of detectives and we all carried 2" J-frame Smiths except for one older guy who carried a Colt Detective Special and two others who carried Model 19s with 4" barrels.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
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I talked to Jim Badger today. He convinced me to stick with the 3-finger grips. He told me the difference in length was less than 1/2 an inch. He said cutting one down would be lots of work, costly, and would involve a considerable wait. On the other hand, he could ship the 3-finger grips today.
Sounds like he's not interested in making any more, that's a shame. When I told him what I wanted, he said it would be an interesting project as he'd never made a set of boots for a square-butt j. No extra charge, & I had them in less than a week. I was hoping he'd think about making them a standard item, but from what he said he keeps plenty busy enough already that he dosn't need to expand his offerings. Too bad.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:16 PM
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Well, it is too bad. They came today, well made and with beautiful wood, but they look a bit large for a Model 36-1; however, they do fit my hand and eliminate the need for a Tyler-T.
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Old 12-04-2012, 06:52 PM
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They look really nice, but to me they take away a bit from the compact quality of the gun. Of course I've got medium sized hands. The Tyler does a good job for me on my square butt J frame.

Here's a 36-1 with a Tyler--the BK would get you to the same place:

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:02 PM
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Interesting, Cooter. Thanks for the photograph. I'm going to order one (in black, to match the gun's color). When it arrives I'll shoot 'em both, see which fits my hand best, especially when shooting, and if the Tyler-T is the winner then I'll probably sell the rosewoods.

Note: I went to Tyler's web site and they don't seem to differentiate between round butt and square butt J-frames. Or is that a Tyler made for a J-frame bits both?

Ted

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:44 PM
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Sarge, the J frame Tyler fits both the round and square but.

The BK grips are plastic, but have the benefit of having two tabs for attaching to the gun, which certainly makes them stronger. They are shaped just like the Tyler.

Whichever you decide on, best of luck to you.

The little 36-1 is a fine shooter and I'm sure you'll like it a lot. I need to find a holster for mine--my Galco works fine but it's made for the two inch and the barrel sticks out--I'd like to avoid wear on the end.

Ray at Lobo could fix you up with a nice holster--he's on this site.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:10 PM
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Thanks for the info, Cooter. I have the same holster problem. A Bianchi thumb-snap Black Widow made for a 2". Barrel sticks out, wear could occur. I'll check with Ray/Lobo.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:22 PM
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One of my favorites:

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  #44  
Old 12-08-2012, 03:22 PM
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Well, I switched out the grips, installed the originals plus the BK adapter. Also, -db- how do I get a
larger picture like yours?
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  #45  
Old 12-08-2012, 06:03 PM
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What you've got is a thumbnail--if I hold my cursor over it it jumps to a bigger size.

Looks like a nice setup--let us know how you like the way it shoots.
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  #46  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:25 PM
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Here is a comparison of the "HB" 36-1 with its 3" tapered barrel siblings the 36 and 37 no dash .

I wouldnt call the older 3" tapered barrel "Heavy" as it appears to be a longer version of the 1 7/8" snub barrel lengthened at the rear instead of the front.


The top gun is the 3" Mod 37 ,
Have not heard of a 37 with a 3" HB and imagine it kinda defeats the purpose of the Airweight frame.

Notice the differences in the amount of checkering ,
seems to have got larger then shrunk as production went into the mid 70's .

Last edited by Engine49guy; 12-08-2012 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:29 PM
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Thanks, I'd never noticed that before. Mine have definitely shrunk.

Cooter, I will shoot it Monday, and with both grips. Frankly, it's just like old home week with the original grips and the BK.
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  #48  
Old 12-11-2012, 08:02 PM
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Here's a couple of pics. Badge and both off-duty weapons. On duty
I'm required to carry a Glock.
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  #49  
Old 12-11-2012, 09:44 PM
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To the OP: Love your 36. I have a near mint 3" model 36 from the late 1960's. I paid $450 for mine a year and a half ago, and I thought I got a bargain, so I think you did great on yours.

My suggestion: SHOOT IT now and then! I liked my gun when I bought it, but I LOVED it after I shot it. Just bought my second 36 last week.

Okay, let's have a show of hands - WHO LOVES 3 " SQUARE GRIP MODEL 36's BECAUSE THEY LOOK LIKE CUTE MINI K-FRAMES?
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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 Thread, S&W Model 36-1 in Smith & Wesson Revolvers; I just bought this as I had never seen a Chiefs Special with a 3" barrel. According to the GS ...
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