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Old 05-19-2017, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by JSR III View Post
Well boys and girls, since I am new to the antique market and have recently purchased a few model ones, (already own a model 2 army), I decided to continue the collection and have purchased this model 3.

As others have stated, it appears to be a 6" .44 Double Action Frontier. The stocks are homemade wood replacements so wondering what should go on this gun. I read that they can be either walnut or black hard rubber with S&W monograms. Serial number is 5439.

Questions and issues:

Will any model 3 stocks fit this revolver?

In the closed position holding the barrel and the grip in each hand, I can rock the gun ever so slightly forward and back. In other words there appears to be a little play in the frame and the catch. Is this normal or something that should be corrected?

With the gun closed, the cylinder spins freely. If the hammer is cocked, it will lock into place and not move. It locks up on all 6 chambers when thumbing the hammer back but there is a little play in the cylinder once in this locked position.

Since I am a newbie to the model 3, I know absolutely nothing about these guns other than the fact that I felt that I should own one.

Any thoughts or furthering of my education will be greatly appreciated.

PS: I just also noticed that there is a little forward and back movement of the cylinder with the gun closed.
Jim, You've found one in just about average condition.

The key wear point on all top breaks are the latch and vertical post wearing, 2nd only to the pivot pin / pin hole bore. It is usually the vertical posts that wear before the latch does.

If it's just a tad loose in there a good smith can give it a little helpful bend or build up some solder either on the vertical posts or on the latch then contouring it to shape.

The cylinder is not supposed to rotate with the hammer down all the way. It is supposed to rotate when on the first safety click. Another repair that perhaps a spring or cylinder stop mechanism or most times that and the double set of stops on the cylinder start rounding off.

This model, as most top breaks are very sensitive in in regard to the hammer stops (at hammer / sear engagement points ) had to be sharpened, it could be done ... ONCE ....by a good gunsmith using fine, blade shaped India stones by hand. Once someone takes a file to it, it's all over but the crying.

Make sure the gun is empty (I know you know this but ... ) Pull the hammer all the way back to the single action firing stop. Put both your thumbs behind the trigger spur and push forward.

If the hammer "pushes off" or won't stay back on the full back notch, most likely the hammer will not be able to be fixed. Then you've got yourself a double action only version

Those hammers are near impossible to find. For some reason, that model above all others, had what I surmise were "soft" hammers. The full back lock stop on those .44 DA 1st are the most common to wear, fatigue or fail when compared to all other top breaks.

If you get it to a good smith to make sure it's safe to fire you'll have lots of fun with it. Keep the loads light, e.g. Gallery load specs.
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