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Old 09-22-2011, 12:31 AM
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Default You speak American?

Shipped Jan, 1874
No Letter yet.
I am working on documenting the history.
It was owned by four generations going back into a Lawman's career in a very interesting part of the southwest. He was definitely a Lawman in the 1890's, and likely the 1880's.
Stay tuned for more details.....


Cal 44 S&W American
Grips are old elephant ivory.





Four notches.....



I'm certainly no authority on #3's.
Has anyone seen a swivel plugged this way?
The gun wears the original nickel, and this screw is nickeled. It also has manufacturing characteristics consistent with the other screws in the gun that are slightly unusual.
Factory plug?
Aren't serial numbers normally centered?


//////////////////////////
10-12-2018
Edited to add:


The letter-






I bought this gun from a man in Texas. He was the fourth generation to own the gun, but had no family to pass it on to.

This is part of an affidavit that he furnished with the gun. I have deleted the rest because it is just the genealogy of the chain of inheritance and he wanted his privacy protected:



Of course, I bought the gun with no premium added for the story.
I did some research on the net and did find some references to the deputy in a county adjacent to Lincoln County in the early to mid 1880s, which was just after Garret's time as sheriff of Lincoln. I intended to do more research, including reading the books about Billy the Kid to see if they contained any references to the gun's owner.
However, after posting the gun here, I took it to the Tulsa show. A man made me an offer I couldn't refuse and I sold it. He was quite enamored with the gun. Later in the show, I walked by his table, and it was quite obvious all kinds of S&W #3s were his specialty.
So, I never did more research.
Who knows? Maybe this gun whacked Billy over the head some Saturday night, or maybe it and Joseph were at the shootout at Stinking Springs.
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:45 AM
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Holy Frejole'.....Is that mastodon ivory? Serious character there. I wonder how "notable" the notches were?
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Old 09-22-2011, 01:03 AM
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Wow. To imagine what that gun has been through.
You have quite a firearm there, Lee.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:54 AM
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What Cartridge is that?

Totally breath-taking S&W you have there!
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:55 AM
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I'll be waiting for the outcome as well. TACC1
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:30 AM
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Amazing find... I am curious about its history now, don't light the candle if you're gonna leave us in the dark!
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:40 AM
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First post edited to answer questions.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:04 AM
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Now all we need is the lawman's diary telling how it won it from Virgil Earp in a card game. Seriously classy.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:26 AM
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Even as rugged lookin, old and beatup, it still has an admirable beauty to it.. much like a strong, fine, good lookin woman. Or an old 60's muscle car. All just things of beauty that make you actually want to stop and admire them for awhile. Almost like an Arizona sunrise. The rich history behind that amazing piece makes it nearly priceless in my book. What a piece, keep the history comin, this things amazing.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:01 AM
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Lee, the frames were drilled for a lanyard ring and plugged with a screw if the ring wasn't installed. The serial number was stamped off-center. I see nothing unusual. Nice 2nd Model American. Mike #283
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:10 AM
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What a beauty! Anxious to hear more about the history of the revolver, it's a rare find. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:41 AM
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This realy a great piece. But did Smith and Wesson deliver a two tone revolver in that time?
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:07 PM
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Very interesting and I hope you can access a complete history and post it here.
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thuer View Post
This realy a great piece. But did Smith and Wesson deliver a two tone revolver in that time?
Thuer,looks like its just the cylinder has lost a little more nickel than the rest of the gun.
nice gun though.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:20 PM
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that American is in a fantastic used condition, a treassure to own,can't stop looking.....and drooling
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokey View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thuer View Post
This realy a great piece. But did Smith and Wesson deliver a two tone revolver in that time?
Thuer,looks like its just the cylinder has lost a little more nickel than the rest of the gun.
nice gun though.
That is correct- the gun is all nickel.
A daily used gun had a rough life-
Black Powder.
Corrosive primers.
Sandy and/or wet holsters.
Sweaty men and sweaty horses.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaher94087 View Post
Lee, the frames were drilled for a lanyard ring and plugged with a screw if the ring wasn't installed. The serial number was stamped off-center. I see nothing unusual. Nice 2nd Model American. Mike #283
Thanks, Mike. I'm drawn more by the #3's all the time.....
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:02 PM
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Yes. You are right. I didnt look closely. Anyway I do need a new glases.
It is still a great piece.
I do love the model 3 revolvers.
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:30 PM
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That revolver is truly a fine example of pride in a product that was trusted and used every day. What a statement about the man who carried it and the history of this great country. Nice addition to your collection, Lee.
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Old 09-22-2011, 03:39 PM
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Lee, Mike is correct. The gun either had a lanyard swivel that was later removed and the hole plugged with a screw, or it left the factory with the plug screw. I would seriously doubt if a factory letter will tell you if it was shipped with, or w/o a swivel, as the shipping records for American models are very sparse as to what details the gun might have possessed when shipped. Nice find. Ed.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:01 PM
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Lee: "I'm drawn more by the #3's all the time.....". How about a 'quik' list? You'll need an American, 1st Model (you have the 2nd); a Russian 1st, 2nd & 3rd; Schofield 1st & 2nd (Wells Fargo also?); New Model Number 3 Single Action in all the various chamberings (blue and nickel and the various barrel legnths); the Target Model (32-44 & 38-44 minimum); then there's the Turkish Model; Japanese Army, Navy and Artillery, Australian and Argentina marked ones; the Frontier and the .38 Winchester. Throw in a Kelton thumb safety and the .320 Revolving Rifle to round out the single actions. Double Actions are fewer in models but very challenging nontheless. You'll need the 1st Model (aka. Navy); Wesson Favorite; a Frontier and a .38 Winchester. You should be able to find these in thirty years or so. Good Luck hunting. Mike #283
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Old 09-23-2011, 08:36 PM
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Don't forget LL's and Tulas!
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:13 AM
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That is truly AWESOME!
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Old 09-25-2011, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sprefix View Post
I wonder how "notable" the notches were?
Probably pretty notable to at least four people......
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:27 AM
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Do you have the lawmans name? Perhaps someone knows more about him. What a great piece of history to have in your collection. I want one.
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:34 AM
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That's pretty awesome....the cylinder shows use consistent with the history, black powder and corrosive primers in an environment where cleaning it everytime you shot it wasn't gonna happen....the notches seem to speak for themselves...and the ivory tells me the owner had a lot of pride in his big iron.....hope the provenance can be proven....
Finds like this set this site apart from all the others I visit....
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:57 AM
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Do you have the lawmans name? Perhaps someone knows more about him.
Yes.
The gun came from his family. I'll tell it all when I get more provenance in hand.
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:13 AM
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What a nice find.
She seems to me to have the 4th type barrel and gas collar, which would make her a 3rd model American. Serial number range 20000-32800. Shipping dates for this series being May 1873 to Dec.1874. She may or may not have come from the factory with the lanyard ring installed. However it looks like a factory installed screw, as they went to be nickeled once complete. Guns of this butt style did have the serial number off centred forward on the butt as your example shows.

Last edited by Ballarat; 09-26-2011 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:50 PM
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That is so cool! I need to figure out how to subscribe to the thread. Real history you can hold in your hand!
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:35 AM
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Question Hey Lee

Is there an end to this story I missed??
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Old 02-10-2017, 05:37 PM
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The first post in this thread states "no letter yet". Was a letter ever obtained? If so, can you post it?
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Old 02-10-2017, 07:07 PM
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Well, shoot. Almost six years after the original post, and I've added my name to the list of people waiting to hear the story!

What a gun. Those ivory stocks will bring tears to your eyes, won't they?

I believe the word "deadly" would apply to this revolver.
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Old 02-12-2017, 05:52 PM
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I believe that "deadly" would apply to the man that wielded it.

Buck
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:17 PM
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Lee,
Did you ever get more information on this American? I stumbled across this thread and am also intrigued about its history.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
Yes.
The gun came from his family. I'll tell it all when I get more provenance in hand.
Nearly seven years have passed. We’re still waiting.
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Old 05-10-2018, 07:35 PM
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Nice. I have a first issue US, but no ammo. That's nice you have the ammo to display with it. I would love to have 6 rounds. Great piece.
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Old 05-13-2018, 07:28 AM
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Hello mR. Administrator,

I've had to go back at those photos so many times and stare at them.. that's the exact sixgun I still hope finding someday, without having to bargain with my fiancče..
A fantastic, right amount of mix: used condition, and kinda sexual appealing from that largely remaining nickkel... My compliments, think you must be super-proud owning it.

In absolute terms (speaking for myself of course) being my tastes and interests rather - say - various, just two things could presently beat that American - 1), still one more live concert of goddess singer Melanie Chisholm (former 'Sporty Spice') with me again in the third row of the crowd, and 2) finding a certain model of high-altitude US helmet from the late '50s, to finally end my small collection of military aviators' equipments.

Well, #1 is still possible (would be the seventh instance), #2 borders the impossible, and an American sixgun like your's who knows?, but I see it pretty well hard to do.

Tastes are tastes ah ah.. but, a fantastic revolver obviously.
Greetings from this horribly rainy (as of today, 10 days non-stop) corner of North-Western Italy. Ciao - Franco.

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Old 10-12-2018, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosier45 View Post
Lee,
Did you ever get more information on this American? I stumbled across this thread and am also intrigued about its history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by epj View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by handejector View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSR III View Post
Do you have the lawmans name? Perhaps someone knows more about him.
Yes.
The gun came from his family. I'll tell it all when I get more provenance in hand.
Nearly seven years have passed. We’re still waiting.


Sorry!
I forgot about this thread.


The data I have is now added to Post #1.
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Old 10-12-2018, 04:39 PM
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Fascinating! The thread precedes my join date so I am glad I got to see it. Thanks, Lee!
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Old 10-12-2018, 04:54 PM
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One thread like this is worth the price of admission for an entire year! Simply amazing.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:06 PM
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So you sold it. Are you still in contact with the buyer? Just wondering if he did any further research on the gun over the years.

I'm sure the price he paid made it worth your while, but it would have been hard for me to let go of something like that.
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Old 10-12-2018, 05:28 PM
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I never saw the buyer again.
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Old 10-12-2018, 08:27 PM
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The Deputy would have been 16 yrs old at the time of the Kid's death and the gun would have been unsold for 7 yrs if he bought it new.
Hmmmm
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Old 10-12-2018, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
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The Deputy would have been 16 yrs old at the time of the Kid's death and the gun would have been unsold for 7 yrs if he bought it new.
Hmmmm

You failed math, right?
The Kid was actually killed on Joseph's 22nd birthday!
He was about 2 months older than the kid.


Joseph was a few months short of 15 when the gun probably shipped to the Distributor Robinson in New York in 1874. I don't know if he truly bought it new or not. I also don't know how long it took Robinson to sell 40 nickel Americans to individuals, hardware stores, gun shops, and general stores across the continent. I also don't know how long it took those stores to sell a nickel gun with ivory grips.


Maybe he was 15 when he bought it. Maybe he was 17. I don't know.
I do know that I bought TWO guns (with MY money) when I was 14, but Bob Berryman DID make my Mom step inside the store both times to take possession.
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Old Yesterday, 05:15 PM
The Gila Bender The Gila Bender is offline
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You speak American? You speak American? You speak American? You speak American? You speak American?  
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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Thanks for the update Lee. I'd give that old American a good home here in the Great American Southwest, if given the opportunity.

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