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Old 05-22-2014, 08:30 PM
Gazz Gazz is offline
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Default No. 3 Target

I bought this about 15 years ago at an auction and didn't really know what I was buying other than a nice large frame S&W. I probably paid to much for it then but as they say, you never pay to much, you just pay to soon. Someday I'll take better pictures.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:58 PM
mmaher94087 mmaher94087 is offline
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Nice New Model #3 Target; and in blue. Is it .32-44 or .38-44 or a standard (but rarer) New Model #3 Target in .44 Russian? Stocks appear to be turning brown from exposure to sunlight; but still a very, very nice target model.
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:15 PM
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I forgot to mention that it is in 38-44 caliber. The revolver spends its time in my safe which is dark (I think) but I have no idea how it was stored before I got it.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:00 AM
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I have a New Model No 3 Target Model revolver in .44 Russian. Is the .44 Russian rare in the target model? I would have thought that it would be the most common calibre.

Does anyone have any idea how many target models were made, either in sum total or as a percentage of total production? And perhaps a breakdown of calibres?
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:25 PM
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The objective data presented here is from Smith & Wesson 1857-1945, by Neal & Jinks. Given a serious interest in S&W products from this time period, this book belongs in your library. (!!) The subjective data presented here comes from the vapors.

Is the .44 Russian (target) the most rare of the calibers mentioned? I don't know. If Mike Maher says it is, then it is. There were 35,796 NM #3's produced in all calibers----and those calibers number FOURTEEN----including the .44 Russian. How many of those were configured as target models? I have no idea. These were "people guns"----made to kill people. They were sold to myriad foreign governments/armed services. The percentage configured as target guns is small-----undefined and unknown----at least by me.

The so-called Target models in calibers 32-44 and 38-44 are deemed to be a separate model, but I believe their numbers are included in the total noted above. There were 2,920 produced in 32-44----and 1,413 produced in 38-44. If you want to get picky about it, a smaller (included) number of each were produced with longer cylinders (1 9/16" vs. 1 7/16")----299 32-44's and 390 38-44's-----a big mistake.

I think I'm through----get the book!!

Ralph Tremaine

I decided I'm not through. There's another book---titled The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson. There are three editions. You want the third one. I have not thoroughly read the NM #3 material in this book, but one of the authors (Jim Supica) has perhaps the most comprehensive collection of these revolvers in the world. Any and everything he has to say about these guns can be taken as gospel.

I'm still not through! Given yours is a 38-44, you/one of you own what is perhaps the finest store bought target revolver ever made-----and the gun has nothing to do with it. It is well known, and easily documented, that the further a bullet has to travel through the throat/revolver cylinder, the less inherent accuracy is to be had. (Check out the custom .38 Special target revolvers of the 1950's-60's------the cylinders are the same length as a wadcutter cartridge.) The 38-44 cartridge case is the same length as the short cylinder (1 7/16"). The bullet (not a wadcutter incidentally) is seated entirely within the case. When fired, the bullet leaves the case, and is immediately in the barrel------zero throat! And that cartridge was designed not by S&W, but by one of the more savvy shooters of the day----whose name escapes me at the moment. Get some books----look it up!

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Old 05-23-2014, 01:32 PM
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I have the books and I agree with you about how invaluable they are!
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:07 AM
Dick Rumbaugh Dick Rumbaugh is offline
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I had a # 3 Target 38-44 many years back. Serial # 1817 I think. It was a renickeled beat up dog that had been rode hard & put away wet. But I believe the rarest caliber of them all. Took it in on a trade, I think I allowed the guy 50 bucks. Actually I shot the thing with 38 Long Colt ammo. But the gun is long gone now.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:21 AM
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How did i miss this post ?
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Old 09-04-2017, 01:44 PM
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Coincidentally, just after reading this post I happened to come across a Gun Report magazine ad by the late Ron Ogan, S&WCA member, advertising for sale 14 NM#3 Target models, all owned by Walter Winans, in various calibers. I believe these were guns from the Calhoun Norton collection. I've had NM#3 Targets in most of the calibers from .32/44 through .45 Schofield. Incidentally, Target models in .45 calibers will only letter as .45 Cal., as that is the way most were entered in the shipping logs, although the invoices may say .45 Ely. .45 Webley, .45 Schofield, etc. Ed.
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Old 09-04-2017, 03:42 PM
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Coincidentally, just after reading this post I happened to come across a Gun Report magazine ad by the late Ron Ogan, S&WCA member, advertising for sale 14 NM#3 Target models, all owned by Walter Winans, in various calibers. I believe these were guns from the Calhoun Norton collection. I've had NM#3 Targets in most of the calibers from .32/44 through .45 Schofield. Incidentally, Target models in .45 calibers will only letter as .45 Cal., as that is the way most were entered in the shipping logs, although the invoices may say .45 Ely. .45 Webley, .45 Schofield, etc. Ed.
Ed, if that old ad of Ron Ogan's shows serial numbers, please email me a copy. I don't recall how many I purchased from Ron Ogan, nor when I purchased them. I did buy a factory refurbished Revolving Rifle and at least one original finish New Model 3 target from Ron long before I knew "who" Walter Winans was. Sal
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Old 09-04-2017, 07:27 PM
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Sal, The ad does not show any serial numbers. Ogan hardly ever put serial numbers in his ads, for whatever reason. You were a good friend of Ron Ogans, so maybe you know why he was shy about numbers. I'll send you a copy of the ad, however, and a few other items from my Winan's file. Ed.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:02 PM
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Sal, The ad does not show any serial numbers. Ogan hardly ever put serial numbers in his ads, for whatever reason. You were a good friend of Ron Ogans, so maybe you know why he was shy about numbers. I'll send you a copy of the ad, however, and a few other items from my Winan's file. Ed.
Thank you, Ed.
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Old 09-04-2017, 11:11 PM
Driftwood Johnson Driftwood Johnson is offline
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Howdy

A couple of years ago I was attending a Cowboy match. One of my pals came up with another guy in tow. My pal wanted to test me and see if I knew what this pistol was.

It was a lovely old New Model #3 Target, chambered for 38/44. I happened to have some very low powered Smokeless 38 S&W ammo on me, and both the owner and I shot the Target model. What great fun it was. I don't remember what he told me he paid for it, but I do remember he stole it.



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Old 09-05-2017, 10:00 AM
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I had owned New Model 3s for near 20 years before Tom Blair (RIP) convinced me to enjoy them by shooting them. He added, with the proper loads there would be little risk of damage to a fine condition specimen. He gifted me .44 R and 45 S&W Schofield dies and formulas which are now updated and revised to a science by Gary (GLOWE). Thank you, Gary.

See: New Model 3 Blackpowder to Smokeless conversion ?

He went on to explain to me that for nearly 20 years (in the late 1800s to early 1900s) the New Model 3 Target took top 3 spots in most official Competitions of the day (excepting very few in that time span).

So divinely popular for the impeccable accuracy, fit, finish and craftsmanship that after the series was discontinued in 1898, there were custom orders for NM3s coming in well into 1908 and 1909 with some shipped as late at 1912, some say.

To me, the New Model 3 represents Smith & Wesson better than any other pre 1900 revolver, although they should have paid Gen George Schofield his 50 cent royalty, per gun, to continue the Schofield latch assembly.

To own a mechanically excellent New Model 3 is a highlight of S&W collecting. To own a upper condition New Model 3 is a dream come true.

When the S&W 1st Model Double Action 44 ( I "refuse" to call it a New Model 3 double action as not to taint the reputation of the New Model 3) was introduced at or near the same time as the New Model 3, it was NOT an impressive revolver. The double action was awful, the single action pull on the double action was terribly clunky and they had soft hammers.

The Triple-Lock, however, was a winner. It just took time to catch on.
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Old 10-07-2017, 11:15 PM
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Nice New Model #3 Target; and in blue. Is it .32-44 or .38-44 or a standard (but rarer) New Model #3 Target in .44 Russian? Stocks appear to be turning brown from exposure to sunlight; but still a very, very nice target model.
Mike, All New Model 3 Target models other than .32-44 and .38-44 were built by order. The NM3 Target in .44 Russian is scarce ... much scarcer than the .32-44 and .38-44, however. the scarcest configurations is in .45S&W Schofield.

There are only 2 New Model 3 Target models that have been verified in .45 S&W Schofield that I know of. One is in Neil & Jinks, owned by Robert N. Nadler and I have the other found in 2007 that came to me after a near 25 year quest to find it. Mine came from a member who since passed. He had owned since before WWII. It was originally shipped to Kansas City in 1904.

.455 and .450 are also around and not too often seen but I have seen many more .450 and .455 (.45 Ely and .45 Webley) than .45 S&W Schofield.

Ed Cornett is correct that the .45s usually letter out as just .45 Caliber. It is the depth of the original (untampered) chamfer inside the chambers of the cylinder and the fit of the cartridges that are the final verification. Also, most (if not ALL) British .45 Calibers were shipped to England.

One of the main "tells" on the British calibers is that is seems all (all that I have ever encountered and verified thus far) were shipped to England and when found, present with British proofs.

I have heard tell that there are also NM3 Target models that were ordered in .32 Revolving Rifle caliber, .32 Winchester caliber, .44 Winchester and possibly .44 Henry (rimfire) :: ED, jump in here if I am off base :: I have not ever found one in any of these fore mentioned calibers.

The most important of the assets to the New Model 3 Target models is % of original condition, then caliber and barrel length.

I have 2 New Model 3 Target models with 8" barrels in .44 Russian. 8" is an unusual barrel length.

Years ago, I owned a NM3 Target in .44 Russian with a 5" barrel (original) which I sold ONLY because the front sight had been changed to a standard (rounded) front sight with the pin hole being reamed out to a larger size. Although it was done properly, and presented in 95% condition, it wasn't "virgin" to me, thus I sold it. In retrospect, I should have kept it. I've not seen another 5" in a long time.

I disagree with SCSW4 where the authors state the New Model 3 Target variations will bring the same value as NON target sighted versions, with an explanation that the target models are more likely to be found in the upper conditions because they were generally better taken care of. This is NOT a factual assessment, I feel.

In my quest for New Model 3 Target variations over the past 30+ years, I have come upon equal percentages of beat Target Models as I have found beat standard (non-target) models.

I feel that "of" the total production of New Model 3s, approximately 10 % (or less) were Target variations (excluding the .32-44 and .38-44 which are in their own SN range).

Of all my NM3 Target variations in .44 Russian (6) and my one (1) in .45 S&W Schofield, all date newer than 1900, so do the math. I believe the newest production I have record of is approximately 1908.

Any New Model 3 shipped after 1898, when the NM3 was dropped from the product line for 1899, were by special order as best as I can determine.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:01 AM
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As an aside, and perhaps taking nit-picking to new heights, the term "New Model #3 Target" is a misnomer when applied to anything except one of the NM #3 Target series (#'s 1 to 4333), introduced circa late 1880's which were furnished ONLY as target guns. Any other NM #3 with target sights is just that.

As another aside, the commonly held belief the guns in this series were produced only in 32-44 S&W and 38-44 S&W isn't so---never mind I thought it was so for years--right up until #3914 came to live at my house. It's chambered for "38 WINCHESTER CTG"---as stamped on the numbers matching barrel---never mind (again) the factory records on this gun make no mention of the caliber. A (sort of) saving grace appears in the letter. It goes like this: "It appears to have been a special order for one unit-----." This one was shipped October 25, 1902. Given it was a special order, it stands to reason it was shipped more or less immediately after it was made/assembled.

Ralph Tremaine

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Old 10-08-2017, 12:14 AM
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As an aside, and perhaps taking nit-picking to new heights, the term "New Model #3 Target" is a misnomer when applied to anything except one of the NM #3 Target series (#'s 1 to 4333), introduced circa late 1880's which were furnished ONLY as target guns. Any other NM #3 with target sights is just that.

Ralph Tremaine
Ralph,

ANY New Model 3, FACTORY EQUIPPED AND SHIPPED with Target sights, " IS " a "New Model 3 Target" variation, being ordered with Target Sights.

I might agree that if target sights were installed afterward, it would be "just that" (a New Model 3 with target sights added).

Same goes for a 1899 Target. Any 1899 shipped with Target sights was by special order only is a 1899 Target variation.

PS: Too bad that .32 Winchester doesn't letter as same. Did you try S&WHF for shipping documents ? Sal
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:57 AM
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I'll agree with the term "variation". Beyond that, I'm inclined to disagree----but will certainly agree to disagree.

If by ".32 Winchester" you're referring to my 38-40 NM #3 Target, no I have not tried SWHF for anything on this gun---my understanding being they have nothing digitized for the time period. Yes? No?

My inclination to refer to the NM #3 Target (the series of guns introduced in the late 1880's) as such arises from the fact I've never seen/heard of it authoritatively referred to as anything else. And while it is a separate and distinct variation of the NM #3, it has only target sights---or so I'm told, and have never seen/heard different. That said, I have no knowledge of what the factory called it---and would be entirely agreeable to calling it as they did. In the meantime, you say tomato---and I'll say something else. And my teeth will continue to hurt everytime I see/hear of a NM #3 with target sights referred to as a NM #3 Target. It's kind of like chalk screeching on a blackboard.

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Old 10-08-2017, 06:18 AM
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You guys are very impressive like walking talking encyclopedias of S&W information .I for one am certainly glad this thread was reintroduced just to see two very highly esteemed collectors of not only firearms but information about firearms come to the point of agreeing to disagree makes me feel much better about all the things I don't know about these guns .Thank you gentlemen for shareing your information and advice and also for conducting yourselves as true gentlemen even if your information or thinking conflicts .Your knowledge is only exceeded by your character ,you guys are a couple of the reasons that make this forum not only interesting but down right fun to read .
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:27 AM
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I'll agree with the term "variation". Beyond that, I'm inclined to disagree----but will certainly agree to disagree.

If by ".32 Winchester" you're referring to my 38-40 NM #3 Target, no I have not tried SWHF for anything on this gun---my understanding being they have nothing digitized for the time period. Yes? No?

My inclination to refer to the NM #3 Target (the series of guns introduced in the late 1880's) as such arises from the fact I've never seen/heard of it authoritatively referred to as anything else. And while it is a separate and distinct variation of the NM #3, it has only target sights---or so I'm told, and have never seen/heard different. That said, I have no knowledge of what the factory called it---and would be entirely agreeable to calling it as they did. In the meantime, you say tomato---and I'll say something else. And my teeth will continue to hurt everytime I see/hear of a NM #3 with target sights referred to as a NM #3 Target. It's kind of like chalk screeching on a blackboard.

Ralph Tremaine
so, you've been hearing these sounds like chalk screeching a blackboard for the past 90 years of your life or is this a recent or perhaps a "selective" thing ?

A New Model 3 shipped from the factory with Target sights and a non-rebounding hammer is a New Model 3 "Target" (screech). It is just NOT in the .32-44 and .38-44 Target variation serial number range. After 1899 all bets were off. A New Model 3 shipped after 1899 was an "ordered" gun as it was no longer being manufactured ( all frames completed by 1898 ). Evidently S&W anticipated the popularity of the New Model 3 would continue, thus producing a rather large quantity of frames prior to 1899. e.g. I have and have seen other .32-44 Target models in the 31xxx and 32xxx range. How do you account for that ? It should have been continued in the .32-44/.38-44 serial number range.

Almost all 44 Russian NM3 Target models (that I have ever encountered) were shipped post 1898. I have only encountered 1 NM3T in .44 or .45 shipped prior to 1900. To be a "Target Model" :: PROPER :: it should have a non-rebounding hammer. I do have an anomaly, of sorts, a NM3 Target shipped in 1880-something in the 12xxx range cut for a shoulder stock. I originally though it was part of the Australian contract, perhaps. It does "letter" as a Target variation, cut for a shoulder stock, being shipped to Massachusetts.

In all your learned years you have never, not once before that I know of, objected to "New Model 3 Target" when referring to a Factory Target Sighted (non 32-44 and 38-44) New Model 3. This is something very new for you. Why, after ALL your years, do you just now object to this ?
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:13 PM
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That's an interesting point-----"thus producing a rather large quantity of frames prior to 1899." Is that in fact what happened, or is the fact all #3's are deemed to be antiques (as defined by whichever of the myriad laws) the result of "ATF" agreeing with a position put forth by S&W (in the person of Mr. Jinks)? I ask because the latter makes the most sense---and the latter is what I've heard tell of---somewhere---sometime---a looooong time ago.

That which makes less sense is a venture for profit, such as a firearms manufacturer, deciding to invest time/money stocking up on a particular part on the off chance they might need some someday. It strikes me, given the need for more frames someday, one could drag out the old forging dies and commence the whammity-bamming required to make them. That's the way I'd do it---but that's just me.

And I reckon the reason I'm just now objecting to what I deem to be improper terminology is because I ran out of patience---perhaps also because my very limited knowledge/interest in these guns got a new lease on life when this 38-40 NM #3 Target came along. (That would be the one (#3914) numbered within the NM #3 Target series.) Before that, I had exactly three of them---two NM #3 Targets, one 32-44, one 38-44, and one NM #3 with target sights, a .44 Russian. I figured that covered the topic quite nicely---certainly nice enough for me. As an aside, that .44 Russian is #30261 and was shipped October 18, 1896. And more to the point, the only reason I had them was because I collect target guns (from beginning to end)---and the NM #3's are the beginning---or so I'm told. And perhaps to start a new war, the end is the Model 52 series. There are no more after that---or so I say.

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Old 10-08-2017, 03:24 PM
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OK, I have been following this very civil discussion. This is what I have so far. Factory target guns have factory target sights{adj.). A non factory target gun may be fitted with adj. sights, but it is not a target gun.
Am I right? Now, a Mod-28 with a WO rear sight is just a service/field
gun with adj. sights, not a target gun. We will leave 41s, 46s, and 52s
out of this. No edit necessary. Mike
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:36 PM
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Take note:

Neil & Jinks, Smith & Wesson 1857-1945, (1966 print)

Section starts at page 169 and goes through to page 181 (1/2 of page 181) for the entire "Model No. 3 New Model" series including all known variations.

Also note, page 143, has Model No. 3 Single Action : 38-40 Winchester produced from serial number 1 to Serial Number 74 (only). The first gun shipped on April 6, 1907 and the last on December 3, 1907

pages 168, 169 and 170. ... as described on page 168 (HEADING)

" MODEL NO.. 3 NEW MODEL"
(NEW MODEL ARMY NO. 3 REVOLVER)
(NEW MODEL NO. 44)

Page 169: shows photos of 2 (exact words):

{ Model No. 3 New Model "target" }

NOTE:

top one is one of Roy Jinks' in .44 Russian, SN: 23,119
bottom one is of Robert N. Nadler's in .45 Schofield SN: 28.090

page 176 shows:

{ Model No. 3 New Model "target" } SN: 30, 261 in .44 Russian, collection of Charles Duffy.

So, I suppose you can blame me (and all others before me who use the same term) responsible for shortening it to "New Model 3 Target"

Thus, a Model No. 3 New Model with factory target sights and a non-rebounding hammer surely would not be a: New Model 3 "just that".

SKREEEEEEEECH !!!

HOWEVER, if the target sights were added afterwards, I would agree it would qualify to be "just that"... a New Model 3 with target sight (added)

I will bear the full load of any responsibility for the revision of the term for large bore,

from: Model No. 3 New Model "target",

to: "NEW MODEL 3 TARGET" (.44, 45 or whatever the case may be)

ALSO NOTE: Neal & Jinks make no reference to the select, separately numbered, .32-44 and .38-44 with Target sights as a No. 3 New Model "target" anywhere that I see.

... and yes, surely much more was learned on these since 1966. As I previously stated ... it is a work in progress as members check in and validate new found Model 3 New Model "target" revovlers.
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Last edited by model3sw; 10-08-2017 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:33 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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FWIW,,,I had and have since sold a Model 3 New Model Target (hope I got that right!).
Factory letter confirmed Nickel finish, Target Sights, 5" bbl, HR grips, 44cal (it was in 44Russian).
It had the non-rebounding cylinder and was shipped Dec 29 1915 IIRC. Pretty late I suspect

I still have a copy of the letter around somewhere.
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Old 10-08-2017, 11:57 PM
rct269 rct269 is offline
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Now there's a thought----what do the letters say?

Letter #1: February 23, 2000---"The information you have supplied---identifies the revolver in question as a New Model No. 3 Target." (It's #1610, a 38-44 S&W caliber, shipped May 13, 1893.)

Letter #2: March 31, 1998---"The information you have supplied--- identifies the revolver in question as a New Model No. 3 Target." (It's #2163, a 32-44 S&W caliber, shipped May 28, 1894.)

Letter #3: August 30 2011---"The revolver you inquired about recently is a New Model No. 3." (It's #30261, a .44 Russian caliber, shipped October 18, 1896.) The author goes on to say "This was a special order and the revolver was shipped with a 6.5 inch barrel equipped with a Paine front sight, adjustable target rear sights, special checkered Russian style trigger guard, blue finish, and checkered black hard rubber grips."----one of which is brown now, but if you turn the gun over, it looks pretty much like it did when it left the mother ship. He didn't say anything about the fire blued screws, but I'm not so sure I asked about those---seen some before. Oh, and this gun is pictured in that book Sal mentioned---the one we usually refer to as "Neal & Jinks"---page 190---revised edition---although I did see a first edition one time---two of them actually---autographed by the authors yet(!!). David Carroll has them squirreled away in his bookcase.

Letter #4: November 18, 2015---"The information you have supplied in your recent letter identifies the revolver in question as a New Model No. 3 Target." (It's #3914, a "38 WINCHESTER CTG" caliber, shipped October 25, 1902.)

Oh, and in that book Sal mentioned (N&J), (albeit the revised edition---1975) the authors refer to what I doggedly insist upon calling New Model #3 Targets as New Model #3 Targets. They refer to New Model #3's as New Model No.3, but do mention they were available with both service and target sights. They provide no guidance as to what we should call them when they have target sights, so whatever floats your boat is fine by me---even when it makes my teeth hurt. Just don't expect me to follow suit. My boat floats on what doesn't make my teeth hurt.

So it is written---for the last time---by me anyway. No applause is necessary.

Ralph Tremaine

And up there where I said "They (the authors of N&J) provided no guidance as to what we should call them (NM #3's) when they have target sights-----. Not so! Here's what they called my NM #3 with target sights in the photo caption in N&J----"New Model No. 3 "target"." A small distinction, but an entirely appropriate distinction.

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Old 10-09-2017, 01:09 AM
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I REST MY CASE !

While the jury is out ... let the readers of this post examine all the post to decide for themselves.
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Old 10-09-2017, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2152hq View Post
FWIW,,,I had and have since sold a Model 3 New Model Target (hope I got that right!).
Factory letter confirmed Nickel finish, Target Sights, 5" bbl, HR grips, 44cal (it was in 44Russian).
It had the non-rebounding cylinder and was shipped Dec 29 1915 IIRC. Pretty late I suspect

I still have a copy of the letter around somewhere.
If the letter you have was not addressed to you but rather came with the gun, addressed to Gil Lewis, sometime before 1995, that was the one I had.
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Old 10-09-2017, 11:00 AM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by model3sw View Post
If the letter you have was not addressed to you but rather came with the gun, addressed to Gil Lewis, sometime before 1995, that was the one I had.
It was a letter I sent off for in 96 or 97. I bought the gun in 94 or maybe 95, no letter came with it.
Could still have been the same gun,,just didn't shuffle the old letter along with the gun betw owners.
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Old 10-09-2017, 11:19 AM
rhmc24 rhmc24 is offline
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To keep yours company I'll show mine, .44 Russian, lettered shipped to France in 1896 --




I bought it 1950 in a used furniture store in France for $18, took it, carried it & put it to use in Africa, Belgian Congo for several months --

Last edited by rhmc24; 10-09-2017 at 11:21 AM.
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