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Old 10-20-2016, 06:39 PM   #1
DigDugDJ
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Default 1950s S&W Chiefs Special Airweight w/Aluminum Cylinder

This little pistol has sat in the safe ever since I got it. I pulled it out today and I noticed that it has not just an aluminum frame but an aluminum cylinder. I have no plans on firing it at all but am wondering what the history behind this is. Im considering putting it up for sale as prefer shooters moreso than collectors pieces.

Thanks in advance





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Old 10-20-2016, 07:59 PM   #2
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The gun should be a model 37 if model marked.If you shoot it do not use +p loads.
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Old 10-20-2016, 08:43 PM   #3
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It's a little hard to tell from the photos but I'd guess it's a pre-model 37 - a Chief's Special Airweight from the early 50's. The early ones had an alloy cylinder. If it's a later model 37 it should be stamped as such on the yoke.
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Old 10-20-2016, 09:03 PM   #4
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I have one, was my Dad's from the day it was new, he talked the S&W rep into selling him his dealers sample, they had just come out and were not yet all that available to gunshops, and Pop wanted as Backup as soon as he handled it.

I believe it only weighs between 11 & 13 ounces loaded I recall.

They were designed for the older .38 special loading of a 158 grain lead round nose at no more than 750 FPS, a very mild load, and will quickly shoot loose if fired with anything hotter, or if fired a lot even with that round.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:21 AM   #5
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I wouldn't consider that as a collectors piece, in that condition it is "just a shooter" that probably shouldn't be shot much. A lot of the M-37's cracked where the barrel entered the frame. Would make a nice carry gun but with loaded down 38's might not be real effective with stopping power.
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Old 11-07-2016, 12:11 AM   #6
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Looks like you have a 38 Chief's Special Airweight introduced in Sept of 1952. It was intended for use by plainclothes law enforcement officers. Four samples were sent to the U.S. Air force for evaluation for use by flight crews. They had problems with this gun after continuous testing and decided to go with the larger 38 Chief's Special Airweight because it was easier to shoot. your gun, the smaller Chief's Special Airweight was discontinued Jan, 1954. Don't use modern .38 spl. ammo because of the pressures, in fact don't shoot it. Your gun probably has collector value so research before you sell. All this info from "History of Smith&Wesson by Roy Jinks".
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Old 11-11-2016, 12:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnv View Post
Looks like you have a 38 Chief's Special Airweight introduced in Sept of 1952. It was intended for use by plainclothes law enforcement officers. Four samples were sent to the U.S. Air force for evaluation for use by flight crews. They had problems with this gun after continuous testing and decided to go with the larger 38 Chief's Special Airweight because it was easier to shoot. your gun, the smaller Chief's Special Airweight was discontinued Jan, 1954. Don't use modern .38 spl. ammo because of the pressures, in fact don't shoot it. Your gun probably has collector value so research before you sell. All this info from "History of Smith&Wesson by Roy Jinks".
Did you see the pics? Lots of people make the mistake of thinking old or rare equals value. Condition of the item is the most important factor for collectors.
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Old 11-11-2016, 01:08 AM   #8
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Of course condition is important to collectors and will figure in when determining value. The gun is still scarce and will fit nicely into a S&W collection.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:32 AM   #9
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Of course condition is important to collectors and will figure in when determining value. The gun is still scarce and will fit nicely into a S&W collection.
According to the just published Standard Catalog of S&W 4th edition one in fair condition with alloy cylinder and barrel is worth between $400 to $500 one as new in the box brings a value of $1300.00
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
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According to the just published Standard Catalog of S&W 4th edition one in fair condition with alloy cylinder and barrel is worth between $400 to $500 one as new in the box brings a value of $1300.00
...so it's not worth much - but it's really cool. Just don't shoot it, much or at all...
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