View Full Version : Baby Browning and Chief's Special

July 13, 2009, 11:20 PM
Can anyone help me date and get a rough value for two older hand guns.

1) S&W Chief's Special - Model 36, excellent condition with holster and slightly curved wooden grip -- s/n: 206698

2) Browning -- 25 Auto by Browning in the original box. Excellent condition. I believe it is the 'Baby Browning'. Made in Belgium, s/n: 166669. From what I found, it looks like it is dated between 1954-1958.

I believe both of these models may have some historical back ground. I remember reading a story a few years ago about the introduction of the 'Chief's special' but can't find it now. Any additional historical information & / or links would be very helpful on both.

I'm afraid I didn't have my camera with me but they were both a pleasure to see and to hold. I'd like to provide some information to the owners.

Thank you.


James K
July 16, 2009, 08:32 PM
I am not sure what you mean by historical background. Usually that means a documented association with a prominent person or a historical event and that association makes the gun more valuable (think Wyatt Earp's gun from the OK Corral). Other than some such connection, the guns are guns. The pre-99 Chiefs Special is in some demand as an older type S&W (no lock, blue steel, walnut grips) but no more so than other S&W guns of the pre-modern era. Value usually runs $500 or so in 100% condition. The Baby Browning also is a gun from the past with about the same dollar value. They are (IIRC) still being made for world-wide sale, but do not meet the US import requirements.


July 17, 2009, 05:23 PM
Thanks for the information. I guess I meant general background information on each of the models themselves rather than historical information. I changed some of my internet search criteria and found some interesting history on the models and how / why they were named. I've included the links below in case anyone finds it interesting as well. Thanks again for your input.





James K
July 17, 2009, 11:00 PM
The Chiefs Special was named that because police chiefs and other officers who did not do a lot of "street time" wanted a gun that was small and light but which used the (then) police standard .38 Special cartridge. S&W's I frame was small but was chambered for the less powerful and non-standard .38 S&W cartridge. The Chiefs Special introduced a new frame size, the J frame, which was essentially the I frame with room for a longer cylinder. The gun was introduced by Carl Hellstrom at a meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in the early 1950's.

The Baby Browning was first made in 1931, but AFAIK was not imported into the US until about 1950. Its importation became illegal under GCA '68. The earlier FN/Browning Model 1905 .25 caliber pistol is sometimes called the "Baby Browning" but that is not correct and they are quite different pistols.