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Whydah
April 09, 2016, 17:01
I have a bug to acquire a vintage S & W Model 36 w/2" bbl., aka, Chief's Special.

When did S&W begin pinning the barrels? Is there anything I should look for? I want one to shoot and maybe carry once in awhile. I'm not a collector.

Retired Bum
April 09, 2016, 17:47
I can't give you an accurate date when S&W begin pinning the barrel to the frame to prevent barrel backout. I do remember handling a Model 1902 .38 M&P which had the barrel pinned to the frame.

S&W introduced the .38 Chief's Special in 1950. They took the old I frame and lengthened it so a cylinder long enough to accommodate the .38 S&W Special round. In 1957 S&W begin using model numbers and the Chief's Special became the Model 36. S&W ceased pinning barrels on all of its revolver models starting in late 1981. However it is possible to have a pinned barrel S&W whose serial number is post 1981. S&W never threw away parts and used them until the supply was exhausted.

I have a Model 36 no dash in nickel plate with the pinned barrel and the serial number dates it to 1981. Early in the year or late I have no idea. It would take a letter from Roy Jinks to nail down the shipping date and that is something I have no interest in. I bought the M36 some years ago and it was still NIB with the little plastic bag containing the tools and the manual. And it is still NIB because I have never shot it. I wonder what it is worth these days? Probably more than I gave for it.....

And so it goes.


The Retired One

CG&L
April 09, 2016, 17:49
I don't know when they started pinning barrels, it would have been quite so time ago, but they stopped in 1982

It really isn't going to make any difference if you get a newer, non-pinned barrel if you want a shooter or a carry gun

Something important to look for is at the frame just under the barrel.
If the frame is going to crack, this is where it'll crack

BUFF
April 09, 2016, 18:25
These are stout little guns. The Model 36 Chiefs Special has a steel frame. The Model 37 Airweight Chiefs Special has an aluminum frame. The aluminum frames are the ones with a reputation for cracking at the thin part of the frame, just below where the barrel screws in. It happens but it is uncommon. Good thing to check for, though.

Beryl
April 10, 2016, 01:30
My dad gave me a pinned S&W 36 with a 3" heavy barrel, NIB, when I turned 18. I'm now 51 and I still have it.

Just so you know, if you shoot one with the factory RB grips, the cylinder release WILL cut the knuckle on your thumb. As John McCain always liked to say to Obama, "I have the scars to prove it."

Whydah
April 10, 2016, 06:16
Thanks for the info and tips, all. I haven't had any luck finding what I want, yet. S&W is re-producing the 36 in its "Classic" lineup but I have been told that some significant changes in manufacturing, i.e. CHEAP, are being used and that the new one are not that desirable. There's a regional gun show next weekend and I will go and see whats available.

RB, a local dealer recently had a LNIB blued 36 that was "pristine" according to him that he quickly sold to a customer for $999. Not sure if it had ever been fired or not. He told me that the box was worth $100.

Stoney
April 10, 2016, 10:15
Sh&t, just sold one for 500:cry:

VALMET
April 10, 2016, 10:28
These guys will get you squared away...

http://smith-wessonforum.com

nvcdl
April 10, 2016, 12:58
Shooter grade ones are still pretty inexpensive on GB

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=552010857

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=551877724

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=551884710

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=551268887

Whydah
April 10, 2016, 17:33
Shooter grade ones are still pretty inexpensive on GB

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=552010857

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=551877724

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=551884710

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=551268887

I checked those out the other day. I just would rather look at and hold in my hand one I would buy.

nvcdl
April 10, 2016, 21:16
I checked those out the other day. I just would rather look at and hold in my hand one I would buy.

You might want to consider a non-pinned one - as long as its made before mid 90s would be made of tool steel and they go for somewhat less than the P&R ones.

BUFF
April 10, 2016, 23:51
" they go for somewhat less than the P&R ones."

None of the Model 36's are recessed cylinder. Pinned before 1982-ish, yes, but only the magnums and rimfires had recessed cylinders.

Whydah
April 12, 2016, 10:01
I'm heading to a gun show next weekend to see what I can find.

nvcdl
April 12, 2016, 18:37
" they go for somewhat less than the P&R ones."

None of the Model 36's are recessed cylinder. Pinned before 1982-ish, yes, but only the magnums and rimfires had recessed cylinders.

Interesting - no longer have a pinned J frame, I just checked my heavy duty and it doesn't. Pretty sure my old 45LC model does tho.

Retired Bum
April 12, 2016, 20:18
Every time S&W makes an engineering change to its revolvers there will be a torrent of complaints from the purists and faithful.

When the pinned barrel was dropped and replaced with the crush fit barrel I heard all manner of talk at the local gun shops about crush fit barrels would unscrew from the frame over time. I bought my first crush fit barrel which was a first year production Model 686 and in the 30 plus years of shooting several thousands of rounds in it I have yet to detect any movement in the barrel. I own and have owned a few dozen crush fit models over the years and never had a problem. Frankly I am of the opinion that some people just like to bellyache about it and other engineering changes.

The ONE change I absolutely detest is the internal lock. I don't and won't own a S&W with it. Not because it might fail but because I really got pissed off when S&W caved in to political pressure under British ownership and went that route. Okay, rant off.....

And so it goes.


The Retired One

BUFF
April 12, 2016, 23:05
"Pretty sure my old 45LC model does tho."

Betcha it don't. If it does, it was done after leaving the factory, like a re-chambered .41 or .44 Mag cylinder from the P/R era.

nvcdl
April 13, 2016, 14:28
"Pretty sure my old 45LC model does tho."

Betcha it don't. If it does, it was done after leaving the factory, like a re-chambered .41 or .44 Mag cylinder from the P/R era.

It is a Model 27 converted to 45acp/45LC (two different cylinders) so it is possible the original cylinder was reamed out for 45LC.

yovinny
April 13, 2016, 15:59
If you can find one, the 3" is a much better gun.

BUFF
April 13, 2016, 17:04
It is a Model 27 converted to 45acp/45LC (two different cylinders) so it is possible the original cylinder was reamed out for 45LC.

That would be a nice gun to have and shoot.

nvcdl
April 13, 2016, 20:03
That would be a nice gun to have and shoot.

Yes - it's fun. I've picked up a Mountain gun in 45LC and have a couple 1917s so might sell it.

D P Six
April 14, 2016, 18:07
Every time S&W makes an engineering change to its revolvers there will be a torrent of complaints from the purists and faithful. .......

The ONE change I absolutely detest is the internal lock. I don't and won't own a S&W with it. Not because it might fail but because I really got pissed off when S&W caved in to political pressure under British ownership and went that route. Okay, rant off.....

And so it goes.

The Retired One

I agree with your internal lock rant. It is an unnecessary abomination. Regarding engineering changes, most were made for cost containment and not to improve the revolver. Collectors want more from their guns than just function. The new S&W's do not inspire.

Retired Bum
April 14, 2016, 19:55
D P Six,

"The new S&W's do not inspire".....

Agreed, they do not. The last S&W I bought was back in Dec 2014. A US Model 1917 made that year. The last NIB S&W purchased by me was the nickeled Model 36 I posted about 04/09/16. S&W has cheapened their line of handguns both revolvers and auto pistols. Gone are the 3rd gen all metal auto pistols only to be replaced with polymer framed models. Which is why I have hung on to my 35 year old Model 41 and equally old Model 52-2.

And so it goes.


The Retired One

SWOHFAL
April 14, 2016, 20:32
I agree with your internal lock rant. It is an unnecessary abomination. Regarding engineering changes, most were made for cost containment and not to improve the revolver. Collectors want more from their guns than just function. The new S&W's do not inspire.

They brought back the model 66 last year, IIRC, but it looks clunky compared to the old models and I wonder how good S&W's new ECM cut and two-piece barrels are.

D P Six
April 14, 2016, 22:02
''' Which is why I have hung on to my 35 year old Model 41 and equally old Model 52-2.

The Retired One

I shake too much for bullseye anymore but I keep the 52's just to look at them once in a while. We use the 41's for 22 steel plate. I apologize for drifting off the thread topic.

Whydah
April 16, 2016, 06:59
Well, I'm headed off to the gun show this morning to see if anyone there has a nice Mod. 36 to sell for not a whole lot of cash. Talked to a number of friends and acquaintances in and around LE to sniff out any possible buys. Like fishing, several told me, "Ya should have been here yesterday", or last week, or last month when a pristine specimen was sold by someone for cheap. Such is the nature of a firearms hunt.

Update: Mission accomplished. Picked up a nice specimen. Pinned bbl. Tight. No visible wear. Shot it once I got home. 683xxx serial number. Think it was manufactured in the 60's. Anyone know?

D P Six
April 16, 2016, 12:29
1969 production started around #786544 so I would guess manufacture was mid to late 60's.

Whydah
April 16, 2016, 19:25
1969 production started around #786544 so I would guess manufacture was mid to late 60's.

Thanks. The seller told me it was a 60's manufacture. I'm happy, now. Nice little piece.

OH, does anyone know what holster Dennis Franz as Det. Sipowicz carried his Mod. 36 in?

Impala_Guy
April 16, 2016, 23:08
The pin didn't do anything in the first place, like all gun barrels the s&w barrels were a "crush fit" before...IE timed just like a FAL barrel. The recessed chambers didn't do anything either but both are seen as a mark of quality and a nostalgic item by Smith collectors.

The Smiths you really want for collecting are pre model number and the "no dash" guns. All of the pre war guns and those made from 1946 up until about 1960 are the finest DA revolvers ever made. This is especially true of the large frame guns.

BUFF
April 17, 2016, 05:10
Looks like 1967-1968. I have one from 1956, but because I sweat like a, well, a pig, I always leaned to the stainless and rust resistant guns like the Models 60 and 642 for carry. Classic blue looks better, though.

Congratulations.

The blue can be protected from rust to a degree by waxing the gun, just like you do with your car. The museums use a product called Renaissance Wax on their guns and swords, but high quality automotive wax like Turtle Wax will work fine to protect blue and nickel finishes. Wax, not rubbing or polishing stuff, keep the abrasive level down.