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Discussion Starter #1
First, let me start with saying that I am novice when it comes to revolvers. I owned a model 19 a LONG time ago and very much enjoyed it. That revolver was sold and my experience with guns went to semi-autos and rifles. Today, I found a nice looking model 36 Snubbie in Nickle finish and went for it on an impulse.
I'd like opinions on the age - it looks like the serial number is J593074. What is the approximate year of manufacture on this 36?
The condition looks to be about a 90%, with a very slight (1/16")amount of cylinder play rolling the cylinder side to side. Everything looks otherwise to be tight and very smooth. This 38 was a law enforcenent trade in. There are very few scratches, no rust, no wear through and the Nickle finish is full & bright. The grip is not original - it is a Pachmayr rubber replacement grip. Price on this model 36 was $290.00
What are you opinions on this Smith?
Regards,
RR
 

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It was made around 1976. We like pictures, post one!
I'm trying to get a picture of what you mean exactly by 1/16th inch side to side movement, that could mean your gun needs some attention before you shoot it. Lock-up is what matters most: with the gun unloaded, cock the hammer back and hold with your thumb to prevent it from dropping while you pull the trigger (use thumb and index finger on same hand)
Now while holding this, see how much play you have in the cylinder. It should be very minimal. As you have 5 chambers, check lock up in each of them.
With the hammer at rest, action in normal carry position, its not uncommon to see a slight amount of cylinder play. The cylinder will not be tight in this "rest" position. Excessive play along the axis-moving forward and backward of the cylinder-is called endshake. It is usually easy to tighten up.
Also when you cycle the action double action, meaning just by pulling the trigger, you can check for timing: hold the edge of your thumb on the side of the cylinder while doing this, just to give a slight amount of resistance while the cylinder turns. On each of the 5 chambers the cylinder should stop turning and lock in to place before the hammer drops on the corresponding chamber.
What you describe may be normal play (probably it is), but without seeing it neither I or any other forum member can really say. The best thing for you to do is have a knowledgable dealer or gunsmith take a look at it and let you know. It only takes a minute to check and I've never seen either charge anyone to check the timing and cylinder play.
All in all, I think the 36 is about the very best value out there for us average sorts, who are unlikely to ever need more than just 2 or 3 shots to end any dire situation we find ourselves in. They are solid guns that will handle stout 38 Special loads (including +P) and with a bit of practice and familiarity they are also plenty accurate, simple and easy to learn how to use. The 38 Special is a pretty good choice for self defense IMO.
Welcome to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Geoff -
Thanks for the reply! I am actually more excited to have this nice 36 than my other, newer pistols. What I mean by the 1/16" play in the cylinder is while doing test # 3 - checking for cylinder wiggle. There is about 1/16" play, or you can turn the cylinder SLIGHTLY when rotating it with the trigger still all the way back. Compared to my friend's model 60, which has absolutely NO movement at all - his has the 'welded to the frame' feel, while with my model 36, you can turn the cylinder ever sl slightly. Honestly, I did not know to check for play front to back or do test #5 to check te timing. I was actually looking for another 9mm, but after I saw this nice little Nickle plated model 36, I fell victim to it's good looks and charm! Much more personality than a semi-auto!
It does look good and has an after market oversize grip that is MUCH more comfortable than the smaller stock grips, so I think it was probably used for shooting more than most police 38 specials. What's your opinion on this 36 and price ($290.00)?
I'm glad to find this forum -wish I'd found it sooner!
Regards,
RR
 
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