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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 09-07-2020, 12:18 AM
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Default Model 36 -questions from a new owner

Today I was gifted an old S&W model 36 with a 6 digit serial number -#287***, it was a police officers gun which he purchased and carried till the day he passed. It was then wrapped up in paper and given to a sgt who put it up on a shelf in his closet and forgot about it for a few decades. Heís retiring and gifted it to me. Itís dry as a bone and the flat latch was extremely tight so I gave the whole gun a heavy amount of oil and Iíll let it sit overnight. The hammer looks shorter then my other j frames. Did the model 36 come
With a shorter thumb spur ?

Is there any great gunsmith that still works on theses old revolvers? Thanks
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:50 AM
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Congrats on a neat Chiefs.

Based on the entries in my database I'd guess it shipped in the spring of '63.

Should have a large coarse hammer, like the first photo. The second photo shows the small knurled hammer, which was standard on Chiefs from 1950 through late '55 or early '56.

I have seen the description of one Chiefs that said it had a special order, factory installed Bodyguard (Model 38 or 49) hammer, which is shorter than the standard Chiefs hammer.

Most likely the hammer was bobbed so it was shorter. I've seen that often on LEO revolvers.

I'd be curious to know the entire serial number for my database and whether the hammer pin is ball and socket or fork and pin. That change was reported to have come about serial number 295000.

I'm sure a competent gun smith can work on your Chiefs, but it's pretty easy to do it yourself with the proper screw drivers (so you don't bugger up the screws) and a few other basic tools.

Enjoy.
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Old 09-07-2020, 07:10 AM
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If your not comfortable with taking it apart and cleaning it, I would remove the grips, then spray it down with something like Kroil or better yet submerse it in a 50/50 bath of automatic transmission fluid and acetone. Leave it set a day or so in a sealed container. Then blast it with carb cleaner shooting it in beside the trigger and hammer while I operated it. Then a couple drops of oil.

It will dissolve any crud, dried oil, rust etc and not harm the finish.
It is my treatment for any rusty gunked up object.

Last edited by steelslaver; 09-07-2020 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 09-07-2020, 08:15 AM
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It does not have that standard hammer as shown in the 1st pic. Can I even get a replacement hammer for this gun?
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:49 AM
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Yes, you could probably find the correct hammer by posting a Want to Buy add on the forum. You'll need to know if its ball and socket (most likely) or fork and pin.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:17 AM
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Hereís the hammer. Looks broken off
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:20 AM
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Again.......
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:21 AM
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And the last two. Enjoy.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:26 AM
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Looks chipped. What kind of hammer am I looking for ? For a replacement ...
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:30 AM
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Grips are serialized to the gun. All
Original.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:19 PM
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Looks like someone bobbed the hammer to me, and like it was the large coarse hammer shown in the first picture posted by two-bit-cowboy.
Nice old Chiefs Special BTW.
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:20 PM
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Nice old gun find. Enjoy
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:43 PM
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Looks like it was chipped off. Maybe dropped ?

Action is smooth. Only issue -the cylinder release is extremely Tight!!
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Old 09-07-2020, 12:44 PM
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Guys would do that or even completely remove the spur. to make the gun less apt to snag in clothes, or in some case if they take a high grip the spur could pinch the web of hand beside the thumb. My carry guns are completely bobbed. No spur at all. I am not going to be firing them single action anyway.

By the way. with grips off, you can see it uses a ball and socket hammer
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:28 PM
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Thanks for the photos.

Definitely a standard coarse hammer that's been bobbed or broken. Mighty clean break for a dropped, broken one though.

I'm no "smith," but I've replaced a few. Pretty simple.
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Old 09-07-2020, 04:05 PM
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Square butt as well, nice.

Yes, the hammer has been bobbed, but that it part of its history. If it was mine, I wouldn't change it.

Also, is the ejector rod securely screwed in (counter clockwise)? If not, then the latch will be difficult to operate. Even a 1/4 turn can make a difference.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sistema1927 View Post
Square butt as well, nice.

Yes, the hammer has been bobbed, but that it part of its history. If it was mine, I wouldn't change it.

Also, is the ejector rod securely screwed in (counter clockwise)? If not, then the latch will be difficult to operate. Even a 1/4 turn can make a difference.
I will check that out thanks.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:05 AM
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Make sure to have some empty cases in the cylinder and some method to grip the tip of rod so that it does not mess up knurling on its tip. The cases keep the small pins that hold ejector from damage.
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:20 AM
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Nice pickup. Congrats
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Old 09-09-2020, 07:39 AM
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The ejector rod is tight.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:50 AM
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You have a wonderful old Chiefs Special with a serious history. Since the original owner seems to have had the hammer spur bobbed, either to repair damage or more likely to smooth it up for better concealment and access, I would be very hesitant to change it... this is part of the gun’s history.

Those flat cylinder releases don’t offer the same purchase for the average thumb that the standard style do, but unless you think you’re going to need to do rapid reloads under high stress conditions, I would advise leaving it alone to preserve its history as well. The flat latch is an indicator of that gun’s place and time and collectors seem to love them. My late Baby Chiefs Special has one and it never gave me any problems. If you or your gunsmith take apart the cylinder assembly and clean and lubricate it, you will probably find the latch operates more easily. Didn’t you say the rest of the gun is very dry inside?

All in all, you have a very nice revolver with a well documented history. If it were mine, I would clean and service it carefully but wouldn’t change anything... but then again, it’s your gun and your choice. Enjoy!

Froggie
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:53 AM
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I don’t want to change anything like the latch. I’m just saying the latch is tough to push open.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:44 AM
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Did you do anything to loosen up any possible dried out lubricant? Some oils get like varnish over a period of time. Lots of older guns suffer from this.

At the very least get some carb or brake cleaner. Remove grips. Spray every opening of the gun while operating it. Both ends of the ejector rod etc. Lug under barrel. Try a Small drop of light oil on each end of the center pin inside of the ejector rod. A tiny drop on the little pop out lug under the barrel. The spot you see in the center of recoil shield when cylinder is open and a drop along side the thumb piece. Work the parts and then wipe gun down with a dry rag.

Make very sure there is no debri under the ejector star. Just a bit of carbon there can cause some binding/

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Old 09-09-2020, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Frog View Post
You have a wonderful old Chiefs Special with a serious history. Since the original owner seems to have had the hammer spur bobbed, either to repair damage or more likely to smooth it up for better concealment and access, I would be very hesitant to change it... this is part of the gunís history.
Froggie
Lots of great philosophy here.

I have two '50s Chiefs with similar conditions. The '53 3" Baby Chiefs Special that the "Men" of the 106th Precinct in Queens, NYC gave their Lieutenant for Christmas that year, came to me with a broken hammer. Somebody bobbed the hammer on the '56 nickel Chiefs Special with the Pennsylvania Railroad logo.

It's funny that nobody who sees the nickel one ever mentions the hammer; they all lament the crack in the pearl grip. I wouldn't change it for all the world.

I put a replacement hammer on the Baby, but Froggie's thoughts have made me rethink that. I only shoot in double action so I'm going to put the old broken hammer back in place and always wonder, "how did that hammer get broken?"

I'm a history buff so I will preserve it as I found it, except I did have to get rid of the rust! And I like shooting with the Tyler T.

Thanks Froggie!
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Old 09-09-2020, 04:22 PM
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Nice flat latch score! As others have previously stated, I wouldn't change a thing on this gun.

I have a similar experience with same gun, even (somewhat) close in serial number, mine being 3484xx. The story on mine is it was carried by a pd detective for decades. The 'rich' patina my gun wears lines up well with the story, along with the deep wear on the included black basket weave holster. Only difference is, I had to pay for mine! Not much, though.

Kroil is probably the best product I know to loosen stuck parts. I swear by it.

Enjoy your new 36, shes a beaut!
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