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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 01-31-2021, 08:52 PM
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Default Baby Chief flat latch style

I am in the process of updating and adding information for some of my toys. After reading up on the flat latches used on the Baby Chiefs, I would like to confirm that the pictured latch is the 1st style flat latch.
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Old 01-31-2021, 08:56 PM
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Yep. S/Ns 6xx (bottom)and 12xx(top). The very earliest ones had a "regular" thumbpiece

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Old 01-31-2021, 10:33 PM
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Well, no.

Despite some who disagree with me, yours is the 2nd style flat latch.

Yours is ⅜" tall and rounded on the right side, as are both of delcrossv's.

My serial number 99, and a friend's number 101, have a flat latch that's only " tall and squared on the right side. They, in my humble opinion, were the 1st style flat latch. They are the only two of that style I've seen.

The images clearly show a difference in the latch's material difference from the screw to the edge of the latch and the squared right side.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:12 PM
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Hi Bob, so it's shorter? (front to back)? Looks that way. On mine the blue one seems narrower than the nickel one- but I'd have to pull them out to verify.

Learn something new every day.
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:52 PM
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1955 pre 49...if it helps
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:54 PM
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No, not left to right, top to bottom.

The ⅛" difference in height is so slight it's hard to detect, but the right side is relatively easy to see.
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File Type: jpg Baby Chiefs 1st style flat latch, # 99.JPG (66.3 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Baby Chiefs second style flat latch, #6855.JPG (68.4 KB, 19 views)
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Old 01-31-2021, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torizus View Post
1955 pre 49...if it helps
There's no such thing as a pre-49, which didn't come out till '59. If that was a 1955 Bodyguard it was an Airweight. The 49 was a carbon steel frame.
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Old 02-01-2021, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by two-bit cowboy View Post
Well, no.

Despite some who disagree with me, yours is the 2nd style flat latch.

Yours is ⅜" tall and rounded on the right side, as are both of delcrossv's.

My serial number 99, and a friend's number 101, have a flat latch that's only " tall and squared on the right side. They, in my humble opinion, were the 1st style flat latch. They are the only two of that style I've seen.

The images clearly show a difference in the latch's material difference from the screw to the edge of the latch and the squared right side.

Hope this helps.
Always learning here...Thank you Bob!

So which version is this on 12340 from 1952? Thanks again.
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Old 02-01-2021, 01:50 AM
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I have 5 Babies, # 765 came from the original owner and he bought it new, the latch is wedged forward with a high projection on the left end at least 1/8 "high. when you look at it, it looks like the rest of the ones above except that high projection on the left end. When you look down on the top, the right end is 1/8"thick and it rises to 1/4" thick on the left end. Two others have the latch like the ones above. Can't look at the other two I have as the are not here.

Know I can't post pictures, never have learned how Sorry
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Old 02-01-2021, 08:37 AM
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Thumbpieces... thumbpieces, thumbpieces... Good info from Hondo44, reposted from another thread: "Thumb-ing" a Ride in my Collection

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo44 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by RKmesa View Post
I have noted the variation of thumb pieces on N and K Frame guns, but for the first time, I paid attention to the ones on some of my little guys... I have exactly six Chiefs Specials in my collection... with variations in thumb pieces:

SN 26261:



SN 46042:



SN 315974:



SN J88217:



SN 89J740:



SN BEK1510:

1st photo is 1st style flat latch (2nd type thumb piece used on Chiefs)

2nd photo is 2nd style flat latch

3rd photo is 3rd style flat latch

4th & 5th photos is 4th style standard thumb piece (the 1st thumb piece used on Chiefs until ~ #111, and final style used on all I and J frames after 1966).

6th photo I wouldn't call a different style, just a manufacturing/finishing variation.
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Old 02-01-2021, 09:30 AM
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I’m confused by SN 46042 in the Hondo44/RKmesa pictures above. I’ve always said that the design features that make a baby chief are the rounded trigger guard and the short (originally I frame) grip frame.

Here we see a short grip frame with oval trigger guard. So it’s a “transitional baby chief”??

Have I just not been paying attention or is this very unusual gun?
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Old 02-01-2021, 09:37 AM
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46042 has the later trigger guard shape and is not a "Baby". Photo is there just to show the thumbpiece shape.
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Old 02-01-2021, 01:07 PM
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Richard, Danny, et al,

Any study of S&W revolvers evolves as previously unknown examples surface. That becomes more and more clear to me as I study the evolution of the carbon steel Chiefs Special/Model 36 and its derivatives (Airweight/Model 37, Bodyguard Airweight/Model 38 and Model 49, which all used the same serial number series as the carbon steel Chiefs through the early '80s).

The earliest Chiefs had the standard S&W thumb piece, but we don't know how many wore that thumb piece before the first flat latches appeared.

Hondo44's list does not include the one I've identified as the 1st style flat latch. I've only seen two (on serial numbers 99 and 101), but I would imagine there must be at least a few others.

Danny's Baby has the 2nd style, which, like the 1st, has 11 lands (or ridges).

"Baby" Chiefs Specials ran from serial number 1 to 45963. At only 79 numbers higher, Richard's 46042 is the first known "Model of 1953" Chiefs Special. It has the 3rd style flat latch, with only 10 lands and a slight ski ramp shape. That third style flat latch began around serial number 35xxx in the early fall of '53 and lasted to between serial number 51xxx and 55xxx in late '54 or early '55.

As far as we know, there were no "transitional" Chiefs with a larger oval trigger guard and a short grip handle.

My serial number 47475 has an oddball 4th style flat latch that might have been on one-off design with only 7 lands. I have not seen another like it. That Chiefs Special went to S&W's sales manager, Mr. H.O. Austin, "for demonstration purposes."

The next, 5th style flat latch, went back to 11 lands and has a steeper ski ramp. There was one more that began, perhaps, in 1959 after Model numbers began. It also has 11 lands, and it had an even steeper ski ramp. It lasted till S&W replaced the flat latch with the original style thump piece in about 1966.
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Old 02-01-2021, 07:02 PM
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My Baby Chief, in the low 21,000 serial number range shipped 10/20/52
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