Dating smith wesson pre 36 revolver

Bodyguards are sometimes confused with the Centennial models—now referred to as the Models 40 and 42.The Centennial was introduced during the company’s centennial anniversary, 1952—hence the name—and differs from the Bodyguard in that the hammer is fully concealed and the grip frame has a built-in safety that must be compressed to allow the revolver to fire.A bit more than a half century later—1949 to be exact—Carl Hellstrom, the first head of the company not from the Wesson family, had the engineering department revamp the I-frame in order to produce a smaller .38 Special revolver.

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He initiated the research in producing the Chiefs Special in an all-stainless steel revolver.

Production of what would become known as the Model 60 began in 1965, and by the fall of that year the new stainless steel revolver was debuted to the same IACOP as the original Chiefs Special.

(Note: It is very difficult to differentiate between the S&W Model 37 and the all Steel Model 36.

About nine years ago I was honored to be a guest at the Smith & Wesson factory in Springfield, Mass.

Sales and demand quickly outstripped the company’s capability to produce the Model 60.

Initially the Model 60 was made with a bright polish of the stainless steel, but problems with the hammer and trigger, and an outcry from police officers who did not like the flashy polish on their revolvers led to the company going toward a brushed stainless steel finish.The first Chiefs Specials had fixed sights, but beginning in 1955 a target- or adjustable-sight variation was made in limited runs.It has been produced off and on over the years in round- and square-but versions with blue or nickel finish.Sales were brisk, but the small, round-butt grip frame made the revolver difficult to control with duty ammo.Two years after its introduction, the factory began producing a square-butt version of the Chiefs Special for those whose hands were larger than average.A contest to name the new gun was conducted at that conference.

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