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  1. #1
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    S&W 38 Special Model #?

    Hi folks,
    My buddy wants to sell an old S&W 38 special snub nose 5 shot double action revolver BUT we can find a Model Number on it anywhere. It's been in a leather hostler a lot of it's life so a large amount of the bluing is rubbed off the weapon. There is also a small nick out of the wood handle on the left side where the handle attached to the flame. I like the gun for wife because she has smallish hands BUT we can't figure out what it's worth,,,,,, especially in it's condition............. he said the guy who he bought it from was a guy he worked with at "the railroad" and this guy who was the original owner was a railroad police or something like that...........he bought it from this guy bout 12-15 years ago and think it may be about 30-35 years old............... I might be able to get some pictures of it and post them but not today..............
    Last edited by crabs; 07-07-2011 at 04:38 PM.

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    Did you look on the crane for a model number? It might not have one, sounds like a Chiefs Special, in 1957 they started stamping the model number on the Chiefs Special and they were known as a model 36 from then on. If it's a Chiefs Special, it is over 50 years old. We would at least need the serial number on the butt, you can x out the last few numbers if you want.

    Does it look like this?

    Let go of anything that stops you from having everything…DM

    Dom





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    Not enough info to positively ID it from your post but it does narrow it down a bit. If you post the serial number (X out a couple of digits) we can tell you when it left the factory. This number is found on the butt of the frame. Does it have an exposed hammer? If so, chances are it is a Chiefs Special. Open the cylinder and in the crane area of the frame, is there a model number there? Say "36-1" or "Mod 36", or something like that.

    ETA: Dang. Dom was a faster typer than I was.
    Last edited by Forester; 07-07-2011 at 04:45 PM. Reason: Slower than Dom.

  4. #4
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    There were no model numbers on S&Ws until 1957, so a couple pictures would help, OK, maybe more than three (we like pictures). And a barrel length measurement (from the cylinder to the end of the barre)
    Price depends on condition, location, condition and condition

    Holy Smokes Dom!, That thing is bigger than an X frame!
    My friends call me 'Mick'
    Save the Second Amendment, take a kid shooting!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    Does it have an exposed hammer? If so, chances are it is a Chiefs Special.
    Yes, exposed hammer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Forester View Post
    Open the cylinder and in the crane area of the frame, is there a model number there? Say "36-1" or "Mod 36", or something like that.
    That's where the serial number is but just the number only,,,,,, NO model number ........... I looked all over the gun.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunter View Post
    Did you look on the crane for a model number? It might not have one, sounds like a Chiefs Special, in 1957 they started stamping the model number on the Chiefs Special and they were known as a model 36 from then on. If it's a Chiefs Special, it is over 50 years old. We would at least need the serial number on the butt, you can x out the last few numbers if you want.

    Does it look like this?

    It looks much like that BUT there are NO "grips" in front of the wooden handles for your fingers to hold on to........ I'll try to post pictures of it later today if possible and it's serial number (minus the last two and I'll put XX's in there spot)

  7. #7
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    That is just a removable Tyler-T-grip.
    Let go of anything that stops you from having everything…DM

    Dom





  8. #8
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    Ok, here we go guys. The number on the "crane area" is 4 96X X ,,,,,,,,,, there is another number on the butt end of the handle, it is 574XX
    the Barrel length is 1 -3/4" from the cylinder to the end the barrel.
    Here's the pictures, as you can see it is NOT in good shape ascetically but it seems to function well.









    So what model is it?
    How old is it?
    AND, what's it worth?
    Thanks a bunch for any help!

  9. #9
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    well, it is a square-butt chiefs special from about 1955. since it is not yours, i will be straight with you! it is pretty rough! my dad just bought a minty one, just like it, made in 1963, and he gave 400.00 out the door for it. square butts are a little harder to sell than the more compact round butts, and they tend to bring a little less. if it was me, i'd have a hard time giving over 150.00, or maybe 175.00 for it. if it works correctly, it is officially a shooter. only you can decide what that is worth to you!

  10. #10
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    oh, i forgot to say: welcome to the forum!

    and after i reread your first post, i saw that you were asking about the model number. before 1957, s&w used names instead of model numbers. the gun in question is a "chiefs special". after 1957, it became the model 36. this one has a "square butt" frame configuration, as opposed to a "round butt", as pictured by crabs, earlier. it also has a "flat latch" that was changed to the sculpted type latch in about 1966, and it has "diamond grips" (little diamond around the screw hole), which are probably serial numbered to the gun, and were discontinued in 1968.

    these guns were not rare at all, but lots of them have endured hard use through the years, so they are becoming more scarce. if this was your grandfather's gun that was passed down to you, i wouldn't have mentioned a value at all. but since you are considering buying it, and asked about its value, i posted the above info! condition is pretty much everything with old guns that are not insanely rare. collectors who want to fill a slot in a collection always try to find the best example thay can, and will pay a premium price for a fine specimen. one that has been through the wringer is worth a lot less.


 

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