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Old January 31, 2013, 04:19 AM   #1
Smit
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Chiefs Special

Folks,

I currently have an opportunity to purchase a used S&W Chiefs Special. I like the looks, does anyone have any experience with these? I would greatly appreciate any input. Thanks,
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Old January 31, 2013, 07:12 AM   #2
Bowdog
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Had one years ago.Great CC weapon. Easy to hide. Do not use +P ammo. Check the timing to make sure it locks tight. Good luck
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:09 AM   #3
carguychris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smit
I currently have an opportunity to purchase a used S&W Chiefs Special.
Are you talking about a CSx-series automatic pistol or a Model 36/37/60/637 revolver?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowdog
Do not use +P ammo.
Why not?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowdog
Check the timing to make sure it locks tight.
He/she may be talking about an autoloading pistol- see above.
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:24 AM   #4
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There's a lot to know about these little revolvers. Is it stainless, nickel, or blued? How old is it? Condition? Barrel size? I seem them sell in the $500 +/- price range, if in excellent condition. They hold 5 rounds, but are easy to conceal.

I'm not aware of any semi-auto called a "Chiefs Special"?
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:35 AM   #5
carguychris
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Quote:
I'm not aware of any semi-auto called a "Chiefs Special"?
The CS9, CS40, and CS45 had a prominent "CHIEF'S SPECIAL" slide legend.

If you're unfamiliar with these pistols, they were 3rd-generation metal-frame centerfire semi-autos based on the Models 3913, 4013 (single-stack non-TSW), and 4513 respectively, but with shorter barrels, shorter grip frames, and reduced ammo capacity. They did not sell well and they don't seem to pop up for sale very often.
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Interesting, I didn't know that - learned something new!
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smit
I currently have an opportunity to purchase a used S&W Chiefs Special. I like the looks, does anyone have any experience with these? I would greatly appreciate any input. Thanks,
As is all things used, condition, condition, condition, and let the condition drive the negotiations. I love those little snubbies and I can't decide if my favorite is my Model 60 or my Model 38. Both great little guns and I'm always on the lookout for another in the used gun racks. I paid $350.00 for the last one I bought, a really nice nickeled Model 38. My lady promptly absconded with it as her carry piece and now I'm looking for another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carguychris
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowdog
Do not use +P ammo
.
Why not?
The original Model 36, Model 37, Model 60 et al were not rated for +P ammunition. Standard pressure fodder only. I understand that in recent years, SW has relaxed the rating somewhat, and I've even seen Model 60s in .357 magnum. That doesn't mean that every one of those pistols are rated for that ammunition. Again, condition, condition, condition. These little revolvers have been made since 1950 and the earlier ones are not rated for +P ammo.
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Old January 31, 2013, 10:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PawPaw
The original Model 36, Model 37, Model 60 et al were not rated for +P ammunition. Standard pressure fodder only. I understand that in recent years, SW has relaxed the rating somewhat...
My response should have been "which one" rather than "why not".

The answer is different depending on whether this is an autoloader or a revolver, and which specific model is being discussed.
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Old January 31, 2013, 11:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carguychris
The answer is different depending on whether this is an autoloader or a revolver, and which specific model is being discussed.
Ain't that the truth! When you posted about the semi-auto, I vaguely remembered S&W stamping some autos with Chief Special, but they were on the market for such a short time that I couldn't remember a model number. That's been a few years ago.

I tend to lump all .38 J-frames into the same category and consider them Chief's Specials. I guess, technically, the blue Model 36 is the only one that should hold that moniker, although the Model 60 is the one I saw most used during those days of Chiefs carrying revolvers.
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Old January 31, 2013, 11:38 AM   #10
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Everyone calls my two 60's (model 60 and 640)"chief specials", they are not. It's a common use of the handle when talking about J frames, I guess.
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Old January 31, 2013, 12:18 PM   #11
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To answer some of your questions, I was told it is a .45 auto. My FFL dealer also said it's in good condition, but I plan on taking a look at it before I make a purchase. Assuming it's in pretty good condition, what would be a reasonable price to pay?
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Old January 31, 2013, 07:13 PM   #12
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I have seen so few CS45's for sale that it's hard for me to judge value, but a search of completed GB auctions reveals a going price of around $500-$575 for very nice 95%ish examples, $750 for LNIB collector-grade guns, and a few examples with significant wear in the high $400 range. This seems consistent with other 45xx-series 3rd-gen models that aren't proverbial needles in the haystack.

I've been cautioned that availability of CS-series mags in general can be spotty, although prices aren't necessarily higher than other S&W factory mags. IOW this is one of those pistols where the number of spare mags should be a prominent negotiating point.

I know that standard 39-series mags and 391x/394x compact mags will work in the CS9, but I'm not sure about other 45xx-series mags in the CS45. OTOH it should be easy to find out because full-size 45xx-series 8rd mags are fairly plentiful, and unlike the 40xx-series and 9mm 3rd-gen guns, all of the 45xx-series pistols are single-stack. (The 40xx-series mag situation is notably bungled because S&W built single-stack and double-stack compact pistols with the same model number! )
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Old January 31, 2013, 07:16 PM   #13
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Oh yeah, +P...

The S&W metal-frame centerfire automatic pistol manual does not advise against ever using +P in the pistols, but it cautions that accelerated wear may result. I would not shoot a steady diet of .45ACP+P, but it should be able to handle small amounts with no problems.
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Last edited by carguychris; January 31, 2013 at 07:17 PM. Reason: minor reword...
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