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Discussion Starter #1
I have a .38 SPL revolver that I just inherited and need help identifying. It is a 5 shot, swing out cylinder type. Wood grips, 2" Barrel Serial Number is 21809.

Any info on the gun would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Dane
 

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One strong possibility is that it is a Chiefs Special which is also the name for a Model 36 or Model 60 (though the 60 is a stainless steel gun). Though it could also be one of the other J-frame models (37, 49, etc.)
Pictures will help a lot with more positive identification and other good information.
Welcome to the forum.
 
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Yup, that is an early Chiefs Special. What collectors call a "Baby" Chiefs Special. It has the rounder, smaller trigger guard (hence the "baby" designation) - vs the more oval shaped one with a bigger opening in front of the trigger . It is also what is known as a flat latch - in reference to the style of the cylinder release thumb piece - and it has what are known as diamond magna grips. If you remove the grips the right one should also have the serial number stamped or written in pencil on the inside surface.
The serial number places its manufacture in late 1952 - around five years before they assigned this model the model number 36. Finish in the photos appears to be somewhere in the range of 95% original or better, which is very good for a nearly 70 year old revolver.
In my area the monetary value would be around $600 +/- depending on exact condition and whether or not there is a factory original box, tools, and paperwork to go with it.
For a lot of people the family connection can be priceless.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
BC38,

Thank you so much for your help. I just got it tonight actually and I was very excited to learn more about it. The grips as well as the frame have all matching serial numbers.

Thanks again,
Dane
 

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You are welcome. You mention having inherited it. If it isn't too personal of a question, was the person who bequeathed it to you someone you were really close to?
 

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Yes, not the original owner though. It was my great grand-mothers, she carried it when she was Sheriff. Her husband died in 54' and she finished out his term and then was elected to a term for sheriff and this is the gun she carried.
 

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Yes, not the original owner though. It was my great grand-mothers, she carried it when she was Sheriff. Her husband died in 54' and she finished out his term and then was elected to a term for sheriff and this is the gun she carried.
Wow, so it has passed from your great grandmother's then passed to another family member and then to you?
That sounds like a priceless family heirloom to me - especially since your great grandmother used it in her law enforcement capacity as a sheriff. That's provenance money can't buy.
Just to help clarify the info about trigger guard shape and cylinder latch style and grips style that I was referring to, here is a photo of a later one with the larger trigger guard, newer style thumb latch, and NON-diamond magna grips, just so you can see the differences.

One other slight unique detail about the "Baby" Cheifs is that they also have a grip frame that is about 1/8" shorter than the later version. That means the grips won't swap between the Baby and the Regular versions.

472855
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That is correct, passed down from her to another family member, then me. I appreciate you showing me the difference. I am going to ask the Sheriff's department if they have any paper work on it soon.
 

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That is so cool. Enjoy it. They are great little shooters. Your great grandmother had good taste in sidearms.
 

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I agree, I will be sure to enjoy it. I certainly think she had good taste, I even have the shoulder holster she wore too, even if it doesn't fit me haha.
 

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I agree, I will be sure to enjoy it. I certainly think she had good taste, I even have the shoulder holster she wore too, even if it doesn't fit me haha.
SUPER cool. Leathergoods are easy to modify, It could probably be made to fit you at very little cost. Either extending or shortening straps. On the other hand, you might want to keep it original for sentimental reasons.

Were you fortunate enough to know your great grandmother? I knew one of mine since she lived until I was almost nine. Of the other three, two had passed on by the time I was born and the third died when I was a little over a year old. I also got to know two of my great grandfathers, one lived until I was about six or seven (I barely remember him) and another lived until I was in high school. I am the firstborn son, of a firstborn son, of a firstborn son though, so I was more fortunate than most that way. I got to know many more of my older relatives than most people my age. I just lost my last grandparent two years ago when I was 55.
 
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This is true, I might just keep the one she had original and get a good OWB holster for it instead.

I was not fortunate enough to know her, she passed 17 years before I was born.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. Great inheritance and something to cherish and pass on. Take it to the range often and enjoy!:cool:
 

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When checking with the Sheriff’s Office, also ask if there are any newspaper articles about great gramma. There should be something about her taking over the position and maybe more.

Congratulations and a hearty welcome from NE Ohio!

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #17
StrawHat, I will be sure to ask, those would be very cool to have. And thanks for the welcome.
 
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