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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
mrcvs mrcvs is offline
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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
rct269 rct269 is online now
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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
mrcvs mrcvs is offline
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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.

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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Last edited by model3sw; 09-05-2017 at 10:09 AM.
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