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Old 05-03-2017, 12:35 PM
Judgesherpa Judgesherpa is offline
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Hi
Just joined S&W Forum today.
Got this family hand me down gem last week.
Need help Iding it. Sent email to S&W but too excited to wait.
Serial #s match 3079
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:58 PM
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Taking a stab - much more knowledgeable folks than me - but could be a Model Number Three ?

Do you know the caliber?
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:09 PM
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Hello Judge and welcome. Go back and stand in line for some more hand me downs. That is a pretty ole S&W. Best
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:11 PM
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I think it is a new model #3 Target
44 Russian caliber is my guess...?
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judgesherpa View Post
I think it is a new model #3 Target
44 Russian caliber is my guess...?
I was looking at those sights as well - standby - experts will be around to help you. (PS I am not one of them)

Nice looking family heirloom...... good for you to have it.
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:15 PM
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I took it to a gun shop.
They could not positively identify it.
They told me it was a very special firearm, it was in amazing condition, and do not shoot it. Just keep it forever...
That depends on the value I guess....lol
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:17 PM
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Could be a New Model #3 Target. Very strange for it to have the Russian trigger guard. It has the characteristics of a target chambered in .32-44 or .38-44. Also, I believe it has been refinished at some point in its life.
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:01 PM
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Welcome to the Forum. I am going to be contrary here, based on a couple of pictures, but I think you have a refinished S&W New Model 3. I took the liberty of enlarging a couple of troubling areas in your pictures.

First, is what looks like dishing around the sideplate. These parts were originally fitted while on the frame, leaving only a trace of a seam visible. Second, the hammer stud looks flat and it should be rounded and the pin hold below is dished with what looks like micro-pitting around the pin. Other opinions will come along and I would be happy to be proven wrong. Since it is a family heirloom, the condition does not matter much if you are going to pass it on to a family member down the road.

It is a very uncommon revolver with both the target sights and the spur trigger guard, but there is another image of the same model target revolver with the spur trigger in Roy Jinks book Smith & Wesson 1857 - 1945. I think a factory historical letter would be warranted, since many factory target revolvers were ordered by individuals and sent directly to them. Factory records would record who ordered the revolver. If it is in 44 Russian, chances are that it was manufactured the 1st year of production - 1878.

Check the left side of the butt-frame under the rubber stock for a set of numbers and does it have an asterisk near the serial number indicating a factory return and maybe a factory refinish?
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post
It is a very uncommon revolver with both the target sights and the spur trigger guard, but there is another image of the same model target revolver with the spur trigger in Roy Jinks book Smith & Wesson 1857 - 1945.
Yep page # 190
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:26 PM
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Gary, I agree on your finish points as I saw the same thing. I do believe it is a NM#3 Target because of the low SN with the later short ejector housing and single barrel address line. Most likely it shipped after 1900 and acquired the small trade mark stamp similar to the ones on the Ladysmith. The SCSW 4th says the Russian trigger guard was an option and adds a premium. The question for me is what caliber it is.
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:34 PM
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You may be right Guy. I forgot that this model was reported to have all frames stamped and manufactured before 1899, making all antiques. The question of when it was shipped needs a letter to be sure, but the low serial number frames would have been manufactured early in production as I guessed 1878 was the manufacturing date of the frame and not the ship date.

Perhaps the OP can measure the length of the cylinder? It looks like it might be a 1 7/16" to me?
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:46 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

I know diddly squat about the older revolvers but I have to agree on the refinish thoughts. When I enlarged the photo showing the S&W emblem my first thought was that someone had buffed the gun but not S&W. I could be mistaken but enlarged it looks like there are streaks in the finish and the factory would never have done that back then.

One can normally be suspicious when a gun turns up in such good condition as these were usually used as tools and not collectors items so finding one in near mint condition is extremely rare.

It is a family heirloom and as such has value well above what its worth as a tool.

I agree that a letter might reveal some very interesting history as many times these guns were shipped to famous folks and not just the local hardware store. Shipping to a well known old time shooter would increase its value even if refinished.

Should you go that route, please update the story.
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Old 05-03-2017, 03:47 PM
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Hello Judge, it is probably refinished some time in its past. It may have been Grand dads ole pistol hangin on a nail out in the shed and somebody got it freshened up a bit. It is still a gem. Best
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Old 05-03-2017, 05:01 PM
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I agree with others that it is a New Model No. 3 Target, except for the unusual trigger guard spur. References give the SN range of these as 1-4333, with those above 3645 having the longer (1-9/16") cylinder length. These began production in 1887 and were catalogued until 1910. As noted, the frames of all No. 3 revolvers are considered by BATFE as having been manufactured prior to 1899. The real question is what is the caliber of yours? I'd think it would be .32-44 or .38-44. To me, it also appears to have been refinished at some time.

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Old 05-03-2017, 07:09 PM
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I agree with most all of you, that it has been refinished at some point, and not too bad a job, but definitely not a S&W job. The Russian trigger guard is very confusing and really needs a letter to properly identify. You don't see too many target models of that vintage, and I am really curious as to the caliber.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:17 PM
Judgesherpa Judgesherpa is offline
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Hello everyone, I just got home from work.
I regards to the finish....or refinish.
Prior to taking the pics, I oiled it pretty heavily with Break Free CLP
There are streaks from that application. I did not wipe it completely.
The cylinder measures 1 9/16
The barrel length is 6 1/2
The bore is super clean, and has great rifling.
This relic feels so good to hold!
Again, thank you
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:23 PM
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no asteric
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:42 PM
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Please take a pic of the rear of the cylinder with light shining through and we can probably tell you the caliber.
Do you have any 44 cal ammo? Even 44 Mag or 44 Special would be useful for trying them in the chambers. They won't go all the way, but if they go at all, it is 44 Russian caliber.
Take a closeup of the sideplate on the left side after you wipe it, and we can confirm the suspected refinish. It does appear to be refinished.

ALSO- a pic of the serial number on the butt would be useful.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowe View Post
You may be right Guy. I forgot that this model was reported to have all frames stamped and manufactured before 1899, making all antiques. The question of when it was shipped needs a letter to be sure, but the low serial number frames would have been manufactured early in production as I guessed 1878 was the manufacturing date of the frame and not the ship date.

Perhaps the OP can measure the length of the cylinder? It looks like it might be a 1 7/16" to me?
I agree with the entire evaluation, but doubt if the refinish is factory with a sanded flat hammer axis stud and black vertical top posts.

Yep, longer cylinder, hmm.

Is there a secret about the Caliber. If it is in the .44 range try a .44 R and a .44-40 to know for sure. Could also be a .32-44 or .38-44.

Can also just be a put-together. Have to check if all numbers match. Reminds me of some later Jap contract guns that were ordered with the Russian trigger guard tang but those are usually later in the SN range.

BUT, you never know until you do all your homework !

Something like this with a single line barrel address ... at a "glance", would expect it to have a 5 digit serial number from toward end of the production range. Also check the mechanical condition.

Check the number on the butt, the face of the cylinder, the latch and the cylinder recesses (visible only with the barrel open and latch raised).

Remove the grips and take a look for any marking, numbers, etc on the flat part of the frame under the grips.
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:30 AM
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Theses are the serial numbers
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:37 AM
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No markings at all under grips on flat part of frame
pretty clean there too...
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:44 AM
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The fourth # matches too
(the one only visible with latch raised)
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:50 AM
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Left side plate wiped clean
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Old 05-04-2017, 01:18 AM
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Whatever it turns out to be, it is way cool and I like it.
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Old 05-04-2017, 06:56 AM
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Really nice, and welcome to the forum from North Dakota
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:22 AM
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The numbers are all sharp, the case colors perfect, the gun looks new. I am no expert, but I'd like to see an expert evaluate the revolver in hand. Please send for that letter.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:26 AM
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Regardless of the outcome, you have a very neat looking gun and one that any collector would love to own.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:32 AM
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A very nice example, and highly unusual if it had Target sights from the factory. A letter as mentioned above and a careful in-person examination by a knowledgeable collector or dealer familiar with the model would confirm matters. Enjoy!
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:04 AM
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One fact you can always take to the bank is that the guns that left the S&W factory in the 1800s were literally perfect. That gun does not meet the inspection criteria of the era. Your pictures show light brushing of the metal and not a high polish of the era. The trigger guards were case hardened and almost all fade to grey over time. Yours is deep blue with the same brush marks. The sideplate still shows dishing quite clearly. No change in my opinion on a refinish.

You made one observation that is interesting to me and that is the long cylinder with the early serial number. S&W historian Roy Jinks, states the change from short to long cylinder was around 30,000 and your gun is just over, but there has been evidence the cylinder was transitioned at a higher number, BUT no big deal, since the frame of that revolver could have sat in an inventory bin for a very long time before being built.
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:18 AM
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For sure, it is not a .44 so that makes it certain to be a NM #3 Target. Can you determine if the bore is .32 or .38? I'd expect that at that SN the cylinder would be shorter, but anything is possible. At least to me, it does not appear to have an original factory blued finish. Or a factory reblue. Getting it lettered is strongly advised.
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:29 AM
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I think this gun is not chambered for .44 Russian. I believe it is a NM#3 Target and is either .32-44 or .38-44. It falls near the end of the SN range for the NM#3 Targets and has the short housing, single line address, longer top strap and long cylinder. The start of these features is given at SN 3644 in the SCSW, 4th. This gun with SN 3079 would now be the earliest known gun with those features. The SCSW also states that only 689 targets with these features were made in total between the two calibers.

Judge, if you have a micrometer, please measure the bore of the cylinder chambers.
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiregrassguy View Post
. . . Judge, if you have a micrometer, please measure the bore of the cylinder chambers.
That measurement is taken from the front of the cylinder. The possibilities are 32, 38, 44, 45, along with some other rare calibers not listed here.

Give us the best guess you can of the bore diameter.
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Old 05-04-2017, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judgesherpa View Post
Theses are the serial numbers
It is either a .32-44 or .38-44, I cannot accurately distinguish with photo. Try a .38 Special (only for diameter ... do not shoot it should it fit ). If the .38 fits it is likely a .38.44. If the .38 is too big it is likely a .32-44. It could also be one of the less seen smaller calibers like 320 RR or .32-20 Winchester, etc. ... only a letter from S&W will be able to verify the caliber it had been manufactured in.

Only thing bothering me now is the single line barrel address. LIFT the clasp to look into the barrel Recess. Clean with a Q-tip if dark in there. Grab a picture of the SN in there.

Toward the end of production the single line barrel address was the newest style with some of them actually roll stamped with the Caliber. That's another subject we won't get in to as to why S&W felt they should not stamp the caliber on most of their early guns.

Also, a picture of the frame flat s under the grips.

We'll get you narrowed down to a few more precise possibilities or "the" actual accurate determination.
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Old 05-04-2017, 11:50 AM
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Charge holes sure look like my .38-44 Target.
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Old 05-04-2017, 04:02 PM
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I will get that measurement this weekend. And the pic under the grips. I'll include the fourth serial #.
The # in the barrel recess under the latch is clean and bright, and is the same # as the other three locations, and just as crisp.
This piece spent many years in Back Bay Boston, and before that probably in Cambridge, Ma. That is where we originated from after taking the boat over...but I have no clue when it came into our family. My great great may even be the original purchaser..?
Also, we are not a gun family...which is interesting. My Mom hated guns.
My Dad was Army in Korea and Nat Guard for ever after..
Master Sargent I think, or is it Sargent Major.. what ever, a bunch of stripes over and under..
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:47 PM
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. . . My Dad was Army in Korea and Nat Guard for ever after..Master Sargent I think, or is it Sargent Major.. what ever, a bunch of stripes over and under..
Those stripes are chevrons and rockers. Master Sergeant (MSG) has three over and three under. So does a Sergeant Major (SCM), except the Sergeant Major has a star in the middle. There is also a Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and a Sergeant Major Of The Army. It is a high rank for an enlisted man to achieve, so you might want to find out . . .
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  #37  
Old 05-06-2017, 12:10 AM
rct269 rct269 is online now
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The gun has been refinished. As noted earlier, the latch posts are blued---should be in the white (as should the entirety of the muzzle----muzzle and rib----which has yet to be shown)----never mind any other typical refinish clues which may be present. The trigger guard also appears to be blued---should be case hardened.

The Russian style trigger guard was definitely an option. I own the (Duffy) gun (noted above) pictured in N&J (page 190), and it letters right down the line----including the trigger guard (the spur of which is checkered).

Ralph Tremaine

Last edited by rct269; 05-06-2017 at 12:15 AM.
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  #38  
Old 05-09-2017, 02:14 PM
Judgesherpa Judgesherpa is offline
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Hi
38 S&W caliber
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  #39  
Old 05-09-2017, 02:28 PM
Judgesherpa Judgesherpa is offline
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Also, any idea on the value?
I took it to a gun smith today to get the caliber.
He said it does not look refinished.....? Not sure what to make of that, since the majority here deems it is based on enlarging my photos...?
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  #40  
Old 05-09-2017, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judgesherpa View Post
Also, any idea on the value?
I took it to a gun smith today to get the caliber.
He said it does not look refinished.....? Not sure what to make of that, since the majority here deems it is based on enlarging my photos...?
You joined our group only a few days ago. Even as such, some tenured, experienced S&W collectors took you in as if you were an old time home boy. No less than 5, vigilantly studied and experienced S&W antique collectors (excluding myself) have responded to you honestly and above that ... factually. You must understand you asked for our honest evaluation. You have been provided such. That it may not be what you wanted to know, or different than you previously thought .. it is the truth served very gently to you. No one is dogging your gun nor your misconceive evaluation. It's still seems like a nice piece but it "is" what it "is".

You're New Model 3 Target .38-44 "is" ... without a doubt ... a refinished gun.

HOWEVER, in .38-44 caliber and "IF" it is mechanically excellent, meaning tight, crisp, hammer stops are correct and clean, no shakiness, tight lock up and no cylinder slop, with good or better rifling ... AND ... all the numbers match (frame, cylinder, barrel latch and barrel where number is visible in the recess of the rear barrel end with the latch raised), it may fetch up to $1500.00. Perhaps a tad more if someone wants it bad enough.

Once refinished every negative feature is harshly judged. Your cylinder axis pin is ground flat ( buzzer noise ), the sanding and polishing is a bit rough (more buzzing), the vertical posts are in color instead of white as is the barrel crown and front forward upper rib end. No doubt with a hands on, physical examination it will show more evidence of same.

Had it been a S&W factory refinish it could have fetched about $500 to $1000 more but yours is most surely not a factory refinish. It seems to be a decent, practical, utilitarian grade refinish but not anywhere near that of a restorative quality refinish.

If your smith thinks it has not been refinished, ask him if he wants to buy it. You won't find another smith worth his salt to tell you that is anything but a refinished New Model 3. More than likely he his just inexperienced in antique firearms. That would be an excellent finish if it were on a late WWII Hi-power or end of war Nazi luger or Beretta.

If a 32-44 and 38-44 is in 95%+ original condition ( preserved in the condition it left the factory when new) it could bring up to $5,000 in today's market.

For it to be worth any more than that, it would have to be ANIB, being absolutely drop dead gorgeous and stone cold "new" condition. Then it might fetch a bit more. Other than a ANIB exemplar showing up (which would be an extreme rarity for us S&W Antique collectors), what is quoted above is the top of the rainbow for your specific New Model 3.
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Last edited by model3sw; 05-09-2017 at 05:11 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #41  
Old 05-09-2017, 09:45 PM
Judgesherpa Judgesherpa is offline
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Thank you for your post. I in no way meant to disrespect any and all the great people who gave me information on my revolver. I felt as though I was questioning the local gun smith's opinion, and not contradicting the experts here. Apparently you misunderstood me, and I fear others may as well. I do not feel as though anyone was "dogging" it either. That never entered my mind. I appreciate all the information I have received.
Including your professional words. Thank you
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:21 PM
Buford57 Buford57 is offline
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Welcome to the forum. Many refinishers make the awful mistake of bluing the hammer and trigger. Whoever worked on your revolver knew better. We look forward to the results of your letter request.
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  #43  
Old 05-11-2017, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judgesherpa View Post
Hi
38 S&W caliber
Who said that? It may be a .38 caliber but not .38 S&W.

Here is a completed sale for one: Smith & Wesson S&W .38-44 -- Model 3 Target Single Action Revolver Antique | Lock, Stock & Barrel Investments
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  #44  
Old 05-11-2017, 07:42 AM
GHJ GHJ is offline
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This .38-44 is not to be confused with the very hot loaded other .38-44 of the 1920's and 1930's, the precursor of the .357 magnum.
The earlier .38-44 was a long cased round based on the .38 S&W of the 1870's, not the .38 special. The bullet is loaded deep into the case and when loaded in the cylinder would almost reach the end like the later 7.62 Russian Nagant gas seal revolver cartridge. Midrange load was 20 grains of black powder and 146 grain bullet and the gallery load was 6 grain black powder behind a 70 grain round ball seated on the powder.

GHJ
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