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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I acquired this S&W a few days ago from a co-worker who wanted to trade for a rifle. Although I own some handguns I am not a collector or dealer so I don't know much about older handguns. The serial number is 577XX and is located on the butt, cylinder and inside the right grip. There is a production number 50875 on the frame where the cylinder attached. I thought it was a model 36 but I never saw one with adjustable sights. It also came with a Mershon grip adapter that I took off when I cleaned it up. I did not take any other screws off as I was afraid they would get damaged. I was told it was made in the mid 50's? Any thoughts, Thank you.
 

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Shipped 1955. That looks like a Model 50 or Chiefs Special Target. If so it's worth considerably more than a pre-Model 36 & a desirable collector piece. W/ no turn line it appears unfired. The original box, etc. would add some value too.
 

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Delta,

Welcome to the forum and you do know how to make a big splash in your first post!! That's a beauty and a scarce gun.

It's a "Model of 1953 NEW J frame, .38 Chiefs Special Target" and you're correct, a 'Pre Model 36 Target'. Yours is a 4 screw (one under the grip) from the 1st hundred made and still has the earlier Pre 1953 style hammer.

The Model of 1953 New J frame eliminated the 5th screw in front of the trigger guard with the newly designed larger trigger guard; they can only be 3 or 4 screw models. The top upper side plate, the 4th screw was eliminated next.

My tutorial on the Chief Special Target will help you date yours:

Chiefs Special Targets were un-cataloged, BLUE: Models 36, 37, 50 and earliest not model stamped,
sporadic production 1955 thru 1990. Regular production began in 1996 w/the stainless Mod 60-10

Total production reported as 2136 blue steel models in SCSW up thru 1978 and serial numbered in the Mod 36 serial range as follows:

• 312 in 1954-55, Pre Model 37 Airweight, 3 ½” barrel, reportedly but unconfirmed. These are not in the final count of 2136.

• First run of 100 in 1955, Pre Model 36, # range 55050-57919, 2” Sq butt, 2nd style flat latch, 4 screw frames, pre war style hammer.

• 14 in 1956, Pre model 36, 2nd style flat latch, new Model of 1953 target style hammer, these may still be 4 screw models.

• 198 in 1959, Pre Mod & Model 36, # range 149811-150133, 2" Sq Butt, 2nd and 3rd style flat latch. Three screw frames, bright blue; most shipped in a blue sunburst style box.

• Sporadic from 1965 — 1975, Mod 50*, 2” and 3”, Rd or Sq Butt, early w/3rd style flat latch until 1966 and/or diamond grips until 1968, a few with 3” bbl, RR front, W/O rear sight and wide trigger.
* Although assigned model #50 in 1957, not stamped Mod 50 until 1973.

• 1006 in 1966, Model 36, # 391773-392778, 2" Sq Butt. 3rd style Flat latch or standard Thumb Piece with diamond grips.

• 568 made in 1973-1975, Mod 50, # 930j45 - 936j19, 2" Sq Butt, standard thumb piece. 3 known in nickel that lettered as 36-1, SCSW p. 217, which appear to be left over from this Mod 50 production based on serial #s.

• 213 in 1975 (only 202 sold), Model 36-1 (-1 due to HB), # range 2j3134 - 2j3347 (actually 214 S/Ns), with a front sight base and pinned 3" HB (w/o barrel shroud), and Sq Butt. Appear to be the only Targets with ramp base front sight prior to the Mod 36-6s with full shroud. Special feature code on box label: G347.

• 37 in 1978, Mod 50, prefix # range 933jXX - 936jXX, 2”, Sq Butt. Unknown if they have front sight ramp base**.

• 615*** in 1989, Mod 36-6, 3" HB, front sight ramp base, full lug and Rd Butt, .340 combat trigger, black bead blasted, un-cataloged.
*** Some information indicates there were as many as 2000 M36-6.

• 1991, Mod 36-8 with full-lug, limited edition; likely rd butt, no more info known.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, you guys really know your stuff. I don't think it was fired to much as the barrel and cylinders look pretty clean. Like I said I don't collect firearms just admire and shoot them so this should make a nice addition to someone's collection. Thank you all very much for your input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, but I still have my .22 Henry Carbine left. Actually, the guy wanted my Rifle and I wanted a M&P 360 .357. I got the gun and now I have to pay for it. The former owner is supposed to be looking for the box this weekend. I did some searching for a value but I really couldn't find much on a pre 36.
 

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The folks on here are pretty good at giving you a guesstimate ballpark price...mainly because there are some SERIOUS collectors here.

It's amazing how much knowledge on old Smith's (and about anything firearm related) can be found on here. Stick sound, I'm guessing more folks will jump I with more info. However, Hondo pretty much told everything except what color shoes the guy had on that did the final assembly for it...but he could prob make a good guess.

FYI- More photos get them even more worked up...hahaha!
 
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