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Early Chiefs' Special. Probably from 1952 or 1953 (I have two in the 367XX serial number range and they both are December, 1953 shipped). They are known by collectors as "Baby Chiefs." The trigger guard is rounded on the earlier guns, rather than "egg" shaped like later ones. It has a grip frame and grips the same size as the modified I frames, i.e. about 1/8 inch shorter than regular/later J frame grips. The grips are harder to find.

Collectors usually divide the Baby Chiefs into three categories. The first/earliest have a rounded (half nickel) front sight. Later that was changed to a ramp, but it was smooth on top. The last before they were changed had the ramp sight but it was serrated. Value to collectors increase with better condition, and earlier sights. Box and papers also increase value.
 

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Early Chiefs' Special. Probably from 1952 or 1953 (I have two in the 367XX serial number range and they both are December, 1953 shipped). They are known by collectors as "Baby Chiefs." The trigger guard is rounded on the earlier guns, rather than "egg" shaped like later ones. It has a grip frame and grips the same size as the modified I frames, i.e. about 1/8 inch shorter than regular/later J frame grips. The grips are harder to find.

Collectors usually divide the Baby Chiefs into three categories. The first/earliest have a rounded (half nickel) front sight. Later that was changed to a ramp, but it was smooth on top. The last before they were changed had the ramp sight but it was serrated. Value to collectors increase with better condition, and earlier sights. Box and papers also increase value.
You have no idea how much I appreciate your reply. You're the man! Couple more questions though.. what does the "H" mean and what would be the value of something like this?


Here's a pic of the grip it came with. Not too bad looking! But I'd love love love the wood.
471512
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. Chiefs Special. I believe it should also have a different cylinder release than the one currently on the revolver you have. Those with more knowledge will provide better info. The standard-style thumb latch started on revolvers after 1966. Some of the later models still were fitted with the flat latch after 1966 until parts ran out.
 
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Hi and welcome to the forum. Chiefs Special. I believe it should also have a different cylinder release than the one currently on the revolver you have. Those with more knowledge will provide better info. The standard-style thumb latch started on revolvers after 1966. Some of the later models still were fitted with the flat latch after 1966 until parts ran out.
Thank you! You're right, but i think it may have been replaced for esthetics or mechanical reasons in the past? It does look better better imo.
 

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You have no idea how much I appreciate your reply. You're the man! Couple more questions though.. what does the "H" mean and what would be the value of something like this?


Here's a pic of the grip it came with. Not too bad looking! But I'd love love love the wood.
View attachment 471512

The "H" is simply an internal to the factory mark that had no meaning after it left the factory. It may be a specific inspector's mark.

Those grips, while comfortable, can cause the frame under them to sweat and cause rust. If you keep them on it you should check them occasionally and wipe the frame down. A good coat of Renaissance Wax or a similar microchrystalline wax will help. If you start the hunt for period correct wood grips you have to look for the shorter "I" frame grips. J frame grips will be 1/8 inch too long.

Value is based on condition, rarity and location in the US. I paid $350 for my blued gun and $500 for my nickel. That said, I got very good prices on both of them. Nickel will bring multiples of a blue gun. A nice Baby Chief will bring a bit more to a collector than a true J frame. To a shooter there will be no real increase in value.
 

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I do like the standard-style latch also. Probably was replaced, those little buggers have been known to fly off and disappear. Happened to me with my model 360 when exercising it at the range. Was fortunate to find the latch and S&W replaced the screw. I regularly check the screws on all my revolvers since that incident.
 

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Hi and welcome to the forum. Chiefs Special. I believe it should also have a different cylinder release than the one currently on the revolver you have. Those with more knowledge will provide better info. The standard-style thumb latch started on revolvers after 1966. Some of the later models still were fitted with the flat latch after 1966 until parts ran out.
Actually the earlier guns had the cylinder release latch that is on the gun. It is probably original. They changed later in production to the "flat latches" of which there are three different types. They later went back to a latch similar to the one shown, but it has slight differences.

Here are my two Baby Chiefs. Somebody gold washed the trigger, hammer and cylinder latch on the blue one. I have since found a correct set of grips for it and removed the hideous ones shown below.

If you will look closely you will see that these guns have different iterations of the flat latch and are only 46 numbers apart. Both are later ones with the serrated ramp sight.




 

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Actually the earlier guns had the cylinder release latch that is on the gun. It is probably original. They changed later in production to the "flat latches" of which there are three different types. They later went back to a latch similar to the one shown, but it has slight differences.

Here are my two Baby Chiefs. Somebody gold washed the trigger, hammer and cylinder latch on the blue one. I have since found a correct set of grips for it and removed the hideous ones shown below.

If you will look closely you will see that these guns have different iterations of the flat latch and are only 46 numbers apart. Both are later ones with the serrated ramp sight.




I'm in love with that pearl.
 

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I'm in love with that pearl.
They are cheap knock offs that were on the gun when I got it. I sold about ten pairs of grips to a friend who sells them at gun shows and I told him he had to take them for free or the deal was off. If I still had them I would gladly give them to you.
 
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