What's new

Found a Chief's Special Pre-36

So I was assaulted by a Pre-36 Chief's Special the other day that held me down and forced me promise I'd take it home with me. It says I'll need to feed it and clean it and exercise it and get it annual check ups and take it out to play day every week. It claims it was born in 1955 or 1956 but seems pretty spry for someone collecting SSI.

proxy.php

First thing I'll need to do is clean up those grips. They are original and show it but hopefully I can bring back the walnut appearance. It should get here by early next week and we will begin with checkup and cleaning.

The Chief's Special was introduced in 1950 and the model number designation started in 1957. Once I get it cleaned up and check timing and lockup I'll do a run against a modern "J" series as well as a Detective Special, the handgun that was its competitor and predecessor.

Colt had jumped way ahead of Smith & Wesson with the Detective Special introduced back in 1927. Smith & Wesson already had small guns like the Double Action top break I frame models but they were not up to handling the 38 Special loads of the day. And Smith & Wesson were doing really well selling Police & Military full size service revolvers so for two decades they didn't really offer any small frame modern handgun that competed directly with the Colt Detective and Banker Specials. There were the larger "K" frame Military and Police 4" and longer barreled revolvers and the smaller top brake "I" frame revolvers but the big gap with no 2" & 3" small frame swing out cylinder models.

The "J" frame though made up for its late start with probably more variations and models over the decades than the "K", "L" and "N" frames combined. I'll leave to someone younger to actually do the math.
 

simon1

Self Ignored by Vista
Dang you! And it's a flat latch P&R also!

You do know...a range report with pictures is mandatory.
 
Nice score.

That's the sweet thing about firearms. There are plenty of amazing examples out there just waiting to be found again.

We had a factory nickeled pre-detective special (year before they gave it that name). Colt traced it to the chief of police (first sale) of a notable large midwestern city.

Been sold for a while but worth sharing.

proxy.php


proxy.php
 
Nice score.

That's the sweet thing about firearms. There are plenty of amazing examples out there just waiting to be found again.

We had a factory nickeled pre-detective special (year before they gave it that name). Colt traced it to the chief of police (first sale) of a notable large midwestern city.

Been sold for a while but worth sharing.

proxy.php


proxy.php
Really nice. My Detective Special is a version 3 with the ejector shroud and bull barrel so somewhat later.

proxy.php
 
OOOooo... !!! You were well and truly assaulted by a Chiefs Special! That looks nice. Bet you'll find that it's smoother than later J-Frames when you take it out for its first "exercise."

Even though your revolver features the later, more oval trigger guard it still appears to feature the short grip frame like the very early Chiefs Specials. May be just a trick of the photograph. I gotta wonder if a later factory J-Frame stock set would be a mite too long if installed on your revolver.


Here's an early Chiefs Special that lives here. Its serial number is just a hair over 2000. It features the small trigger guard, pre-war style hammer spur, and short grip frame held over from the Smith & Wesson I-Frame. It also the flat latch of a different variant. A factory letter obtained states that it shipped to Oshman's in Houston in March of 1952. This one's satin blue finish shows that it was well-loved.


The stocks on this 1917 vintage Smith & Wesson Model 1903 .32 S&W Long will interchange with the stocks on the Chiefs Special giving perfect fit. Later factory J-Frame stocks are too long for both revolvers.


 
When it gets here I'll see if some I frame grips fit.

proxy.php

The Smith DA Model 4 actually gets carried pretty often. Of course only 4 rounds with an empty cylinder under the hammer but then at least two full 5 round speed loaders if needed. If it gets to where I need a reload I'll worry about leaving a spent case under the hammer later.

proxy.php

The old Smith is 38 S&W and actually amazingly accurate and easy to control. Even out past 15 yards it's pretty common for even an old fart like me to put that first four rounds in a fist size mark. It was most likely made in 1902 or 1903.

The Chief's Special is in the 70K range serial number with puts it later 1955 or early 1956 most likely. The interesting thing is that it shows just how popular the J frames became. Remember this is just after the War and there were tons and tons of surplus revolvers and 1911s getting sold for almost nothing yet S&W was selling tens of thousands of the J frame every year.
 
So I was assaulted by a Pre-36 Chief's Special the other day that held me down and forced me promise I'd take it home with me. It says I'll need to feed it and clean it and exercise it and get it annual check ups and take it out to play day every week. It claims it was born in 1955 or 1956 but seems pretty spry for someone collecting SSI.

proxy.php

First thing I'll need to do is clean up those grips. They are original and show it but hopefully I can bring back the walnut appearance. It should get here by early next week and we will begin with checkup and cleaning.

The Chief's Special was introduced in 1950 and the model number designation started in 1957. Once I get it cleaned up and check timing and lockup I'll do a run against a modern "J" series as well as a Detective Special, the handgun that was its competitor and predecessor.

Colt had jumped way ahead of Smith & Wesson with the Detective Special introduced back in 1927. Smith & Wesson already had small guns like the Double Action top break I frame models but they were not up to handling the 38 Special loads of the day. And Smith & Wesson were doing really well selling Police & Military full size service revolvers so for two decades they didn't really offer any small frame modern handgun that competed directly with the Colt Detective and Banker Specials. There were the larger "K" frame Military and Police 4" and longer barreled revolvers and the smaller top brake "I" frame revolvers but the big gap with no 2" & 3" small frame swing out cylinder models.

The "J" frame though made up for its late start with probably more variations and models over the decades than the "K", "L" and "N" frames combined. I'll leave to someone younger to actually do the math.

Sweet revolver. This wheelgun was my Grandfathers, Dads now has been mine for years. First handgun I ever fired and both our sons fired. As you can see no safe queen here. This gun has been on countless hunting, fishing and camping trips. Great little snubby.
smith.jpg
 
Frame too big for "I" frame grips but it looks like it had never been fired since the day it left the factory. The grips are individual number punched to the frame and cylinder.

There was two cleaning squares worth of residual gun powder in evidence and no buildup, rings or signs of use. Really minimal. Monday or Tuesday I will try to fix that.

proxy.php


proxy.php


proxy.php


proxy.php
 
Very cool. Friend of mine has an early model "J" frame detective I believe it is. Always cool to see some of the older guns be shown.
 
Very cool. Friend of mine has an early model "J" frame detective I believe it is. Always cool to see some of the older guns be shown.
IIRC "Detective" was just Colt and the Detective Special that preceded the Chief's Special by almost three decades. The Smith Chief's Special only showed up in 1950 and this one is likely 1955.
 
Yeah I guess you're right jar. There appear to be more checkering points beneath the diamond on yours than on mine. Stocks must be longer.

Yours is so cute. Actually better looking to my eye with the ramp front sight.

There was the Colt Detective Special ...


Then there was the Colt Bankers Special ....


For wimpy bankers who weren't tough enough to handle the .38 Special snub one supposes. The Banker's Special was a 6-shot snub Colt chambered or the .38 S&W (or as Colt called it the .38 Colt New Police). I toted this Bankers Special for the last week of my banking career before I retired in March of 2016.
 
IIRC "Detective" was just Colt and the Detective Special that preceded the Chief's Special by almost three decades. The Smith Chief's Special only showed up in 1950 and this one is likely 1955.

I know his was a Smith "J" frame. But thought it was referred to as a Detective. Maybe he referenced it wrong?

Model 36 Classics | Smith & Wesson

Based on S&W's classic page:


This small revolver, designed primarily for plainclothesmen and off-duty police officers, made its public debut at The International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in 1950. At the conference, the Smith & Wesson sales force asked the police chiefs to vote on a name for the new revolver. The most commonly suggested name was .38 Chief’s Special®. Designed with the needs of law enforcement officials in mind, the Chief’s Special proved to be a popular revolver for personal protection due to its size and weight. When Smith & Wesson adopted model numbers in 1957, the Chiefs Special became the Model 36.

Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers have had your back since 1950. These small revolvers were designed to fire full power rounds and are as simple and easy to use as they are reliable. Available in various calibers and with three diverse hammer designs, it is no surprise that the Smith & Wesson J-Frame has become the most popular, small-frame, defense revolver on the market.
 
I know his was a Smith "J" frame. But thought it was referred to as a Detective. Maybe he referenced it wrong?

Model 36 Classics | Smith & Wesson

Based on S&W's classic page:


This small revolver, designed primarily for plainclothesmen and off-duty police officers, made its public debut at The International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in 1950. At the conference, the Smith & Wesson sales force asked the police chiefs to vote on a name for the new revolver. The most commonly suggested name was .38 Chief’s Special®. Designed with the needs of law enforcement officials in mind, the Chief’s Special proved to be a popular revolver for personal protection due to its size and weight. When Smith & Wesson adopted model numbers in 1957, the Chiefs Special became the Model 36.

Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers have had your back since 1950. These small revolvers were designed to fire full power rounds and are as simple and easy to use as they are reliable. Available in various calibers and with three diverse hammer designs, it is no surprise that the Smith & Wesson J-Frame has become the most popular, small-frame, defense revolver on the market.
Two major differences. Smiths are "Push to Open" and turn Widdershins while Colt are "Pull to Open" and turn Deosil.

Yeast is Yeast and Vest is Vest
and never the twain shall meet,
'til Earth & Sky stand presently ...
 
Top Bottom