???? about the GA-86T 'CHP' guns

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Terry T

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I know that about 500 were made up with 'CHP' stamped on the left side and a few were made up without the stamp. I know that they were commemoratives and not issue guns. I know that any .38 spl. in a Security Six is unusual.

I'd like to know how these came to be. Did a Union or Police Assoc. commission them? Were they made available for purchase to all CHP officers first? Were they to be gifts or rewards for service? Were there presentation boxes? The force was much larger than just 500 even nearly 30 years ago. Any insight would be helpful.
Thanks,
Terry T
 

weaselmeatgravy

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I don't know the scoop but always assumed they were purchased as duty guns, not as special edition commemoratives.
I've never seen them in anything but the plain yellow/black cardboard box, so no fanfare.

I never bothered to pick up one with the CHP marking but have had two of the non-marked guns (sold one). Of course,
you can't tell it from this pic since the CHP marking would be on the other side, but this is one of the non-marked examples.
It has the yellow/black box with printed GA-86T label (which they often didn't bother printing for lower-production models).

GA-86T-larger.jpg
 

Terry T

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I've been digging a bit deeper and found this tread on another forum:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=351677

That talks about the S&W model 68, the California Highway Patrol model.
It appears to be stamped in the same way with 'CHP' on the left side above the trigger as the Ruger version. It is also the same configuration. My S&W book says that about 6,055 were made between 1977 and 1988.

The tread refers to the Newhall incident where CHP officers had trained with .38spl loads and then tried to use .357mag loads in the field with disastrous results. The "use in the field what you train with" mantra led to the requirement of .38spl revolvers.

Do we have any confirmation of the CHP actually taking delivery of any of the Rugers or were they made up in an attempt to get a contract and not succeed? Ruger manufacturing date appears to be 1982, right in the middle of the S&W model 68 run.

Terry T
 

chet15

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Can't help you much there Terry. I may need to get rid of the word "commemorative" for this one in the reference as I don't remember these commemorating anything either...as it just has the CHP mark on them. Would think if it was a commemorative of some sort that they would at least have some kind of CHP badge insignia or something of the sort on the topstrap like was common practice with several other commemoratives at that time.
Chet15
 

Terry T

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Chad,
These are 'feeling' to me more like an attempt to secure a contract than a commemorative piece. The similarity in the 'CHP' stamp on the S&W is VERY interesting. The similarity in the configuration to the S&W Model 68 'CHP' is striking.

It may be similar to the 150 or so SDA-85H made up to try and secure the RCMP contract (which failed).

I will try to talk to some old time CHP officers to see if I can scare up some better info. My son just joined the force so I may have some expanded contacts. :D
Terry T
 

Unconverted

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Step aside, Californian coming through.

Back in 1978 or 1979 my CHP neighbor gave me a box of CHP ammo. It was Winchester 110 grain +P+, marked "For Law Enforcement only. Not for retail sale". At the time, they could only carry .38 Special revolvers, and this was the only ammo they were allowed to carry in them. My neighbor carried a six-inch barreled S&W Model 14 to get every bit of velocity out of the round.

Ten years later, I had another CHP neighbor. He carried a S&W 686 .357 but was required to use .38 Special ammo. He was really happy when the agency finally went over to semi-autos; the S&W 4006.
 
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