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Old 07-27-2016, 12:33 AM
Jon166nt Jon166nt is offline
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Default Top break ID help please

Hi there, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post so bear with me. I just inherited this old top break but need help identifying what exactly I have. It was in really rough shape when I got it. I have it cleaned up now but still can't make out a serial #. On the bottom of the grip there appears to be a three digit number starting with 7 but that's all I can tell for sure. The barrel measures 5-3/4", it has fixed sights, strain screw, butt swivel, and hammer. Let me know if you need more info. Thanks
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Old 07-27-2016, 12:36 AM
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Another pic
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Old 07-27-2016, 07:30 AM
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I'm fairly certain that this isn't a Smith & Wesson. It may be chambered in one of the common Smith & Wesson calibers, but it's likely made by one of S&W's competitors like Iver Johnson, Harrington & Richardson, or the like.

The finish looks to be completely worn off (was some sort of wire brush taken to it?) and I see a lot of empty screw and pin holes, so I'm thinking that this is a parts gun at best. Since it came to you from family you may just want to keep it as is as a heirloom.

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Old 07-27-2016, 08:55 AM
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It is one or another of the vast sea of European knockoffs of the early S&W Double Action. Probably made in Belgium or Spain.

Low dollar value to start with, it is incomplete and likely to remain the Family Paper Weight. Sorry.
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:57 AM
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Thanks Mike. Yes all of the finish has been removed. When I got it it was totally rusted and seized up, I soaked it in vinegar and then scrubbed by hand until it was clean. I know it's in rough shape and missing all of the screws and pins but I think I'll still make a project out of it.... Whatever it is ha.
Jon.
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Old 07-27-2016, 08:59 AM
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Don't be sorry. I never value my guns by what there worth to others, I can never bring myself to sell them anyway haha. Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:10 AM
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Just for my own education though can you tell me how you determined that it's not a smith and Wesson? Thanks
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Old 07-27-2016, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jon166nt View Post
Just for my own education though can you tell me how you determined that it's not a smith and Wesson? Thanks
The outline of the gun doesn't match anything that Smith & Wesson made. The basic top latch design was copied pretty shamelessly throughout the later half of the 19th century, but the Smith & Wesson guns had lines and contours that didn't vary a whole lot in the time that they were produced.

To be sure of this I flipped through one of my well-illustrated reference books. Sure enough, none of the guns matched what you showed in the photos.

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Old 07-27-2016, 09:46 AM
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Welcome to the Forum. I purchased a Belgium made 44 DA years ago, knowing it was a foreign copy, but the holster rig made me buy it. It does function and I shoot it occasionally. I am posting pictures of that gun along with a S&W 44 DA for comparison. Your best bet is to find some good photos of an original 44 DA and make your observations.

To me the first thing I notice when looking at a copy is the hammer. The Belgium guns often show a large oversized hammer as compared to a S&W. Other observations are front sight is often placed well back of the muzzle, no double set of cylinder notches, wrong shaped trigger guard attached with screws, wrong shape butt-frame, and the placement of screws is different than a S&W. The list can go on with many more differences, but maybe an overall comparison should also include the quality of manufacture. My 44 DA copy is much more crudely manufactured than any S&W ever made. Workmanship, fit, action, etc. are all inferior to the real deal.
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Old 07-27-2016, 10:57 AM
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This one is pretty close. As can be seen the copiers were pretty shameless about markings. This particular copy came from a Russian Officer who ended up fighting for the Whites in the Civil War. I got it from the family who ended up in Upstate NY.
Russian officers were required to purchase their own side arms - swords, pistols/revolvers etc. Most of the revolvers offered by the Officer Supply stores were Liege or Spanish copies, although there are ads for original S&Ws.

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Note the Liege proof on the cylinder face.

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An ad from the turn of the century- it says "Revolver system Smith and Wesson" but not manufctured by S&W.
Joe

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Old 07-27-2016, 12:48 PM
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. . . As can be seen the copiers were pretty shameless about markings . . .
Joe
You are right about that, plus they had little to no idea what they were stamping on these Belgium copies. "SCHOFIELD 44 S&W CTGE"
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Old 07-27-2016, 04:52 PM
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"...I think I'll still make a project out of it...."

It should keep you busy for a few years.
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Old 07-28-2016, 12:32 AM
Jon166nt Jon166nt is offline
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"...I think I'll still make a project out of it...."

It should keep you busy for a few years.
I guess we'll see.....

Thanks for all the info everyone, I appreciate it.
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