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How do I aim a S&W .38 Chief's Special?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by sonryhater, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. sonryhater

    sonryhater Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    A relative has given me a S&W .38 Chief's Special airweight model 36. It has a tall front blade with an integral notch in the rear. I'm used to 3-dot or adjustable sights and I don't really know how to line up the sights on this gun. I usually shoot at around 20-30 feet when target practicing. Is there a method to using sights like this, or do I just have to keep shooting until I find the correct height of the blade in the notch?

    This is the gun:

  2. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    The front sight blade is square on top. The topstrap of the frame has a groove in it. Near the back end of the topstrap, just in front of the cut for the hammer, there should be a square U that fills in part of the topstrap groove. It's not very big, but that is the rear sight. Center the front sight blade in that U, line up the top of the blade with the top of the topstrap - make them level with each other - and put your front sight in the center of the target. That should get you where you want to be as far as hitting your target. Shoot it a bunch until you know where it hits relative to your placement of the frontsight, and you should be good to go.

    Good luck!
  3. Ifishsum

    Ifishsum Member

    Jun 21, 2005
    Portland, OR
    sixgunner described the sight picture well; I have found that most fixed sight revolvers are regulated for a six o'clock hold - you rest the bottom of the target on the front sight. Of course choice of ammo can make a difference here, so by all means try both ways to find your revolver's point of aim.

    Here's a link that shows a graphic....

  4. BCRider

    BCRider Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    Pacific North"Wet" Coast of Canada
    My Model 10 using the classic 148gn HBWC over 2.7gns of Bullseye load needs the sights leveled and then held to the center of the bull instead of the 6 o'clock hold. This puts the holes at POA out to around 18 to 20 yards for my gun. If I were to try that 6 o'clock idea my shots would all be at the 6 o'clock position below the center of the bullseye.
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    Just to add, that Chief's special was sighted in at the factory with 158gr bullets. I would suggest buying 158gr ammo just to start out for practice. Also, with the sight picture so well described above use a 6 o'clock hold.

    A short barrel revolver is a very accurate handgun but it can be difficult to shoot well in the beginning. They have a heavy trigger and are less forgiving because of the very short sight radius. With enough practice you will shoot it well. I do suggest buying a set of snap caps and practice your trigger control by dry firing.
  6. Paladin38-40

    Paladin38-40 Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    Florida's Great Northwest
    Another sighting aid

    Your #36 is inherently quite accurrate. The factory grips are small which aids concealment at the expense of shootability. A set of Pachmayr grips will give your hand more purchase to maintain the sight picture through the double action trigger pull. Their Compac version is my personal choice for shooting J-frames. It covers the backstrap and provides a place for the the pinky.
  7. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

    Aug 23, 2007
    36° 31' 47.1742" X -87° 21' 34.0301"
  8. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

    Oct 26, 2008
    Peoples Republik of New Jersey
    Start with man sized target at 7 yards.
    Fire single action to get an idea where it is shooting.
    Don't aim too hard, just try to hit the center.

    Then graduate to double action pull.
    This will be hard at first but it gets easier.

    Do not use +P loads until you can put the regular rounds where you want them.
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