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Old 02-02-2018, 09:21 PM
326MOD10 326MOD10 is offline
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Default S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian (Pics Added Post 7)

Can anyone provide me some basic information on a S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian?


The serial number on her is 285XX and it was handed down from a friend's grandfather.

He was asking about it and clearly it is not an area I am very versed in.

Can anyone also point me in the direction for him to be able to get it lettered? Not sure if that is still an option with Mr. Jinks being retired.

Thanks!

Last edited by 326MOD10; 02-04-2018 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Added info.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:52 PM
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Mine is #30261, shipped October 18, 1896. It is speculative at best, because its special order characteristics (target/checkered Russian style trigger guard) could have easily been applied to a standard gun from inventory, but as a special order it's at least reasonable to suppose it was shipped shortly after it was built. Such speculation is fueled further by the letter, as the author chose to note: "Smith & Wesson only produced 3,463 units of this model in 1896 of which just over 3,000 were supplied to the Japanese Government.".

One of our members has some of the foreman's daily production logs, and may be able to determine the exact production date for your gun----this one too, for that matter.

That's the only one of these models I can speak to---my others are in the Target series.

Ralph Tremaine

"Basic information": They were produced from 1878 to 1912---numbering 35,796, in A BUNCH of different calibers. Barrel lengths ran from 3 1/2" to 8". I'll hazard a guess most were 6 1/2". Both blue and nickel finishes were available. Additional units of essentially the same gun (same only different) were produced within their own serial number range.

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Old 02-02-2018, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 326MOD10 View Post

Can anyone also point me in the direction for him to be able to get it lettered? Not sure if that is still an option with Mr. Jinks being retired.

Thanks!
To my knowledge Mr. Roy is not retired and if he's not there Don is doing letters.

go here for the letter request. http://smith-wessonforum.com/downloa...?do=file&id=17
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:23 PM
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g-dad's knowledge is exactly right---Mr. Roy is most certainly not retired!!

RT
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Old 02-03-2018, 09:00 AM
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As my friends have said Roy Jinks is not retired. As a matter of fact, we did over 2000 letters in 2017. I think the confusion is he doesn't work for Smith & Wesson any longer. He and I are employed by the Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation. Please do send in a letter request. We appreciate your interest in the history of Smith & Wesson firearms.
Don Mundell
Assistant Historian
Smith & Wesson Historical Foundation
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Old 02-03-2018, 12:20 PM
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Not only did they do over 2,000 letters, they did them pretty much RIGHT NOW---out and back---BOOM!!!

Ralph Tremaine

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Old 02-03-2018, 05:34 PM
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Default The New Model 3, .44 Russian

326MOD10 posted this thread for me. My father recently gave the revolver to me. He had been telling me about it for some time, but it had been lost during another relative's several moves. This is the story as my father re-told it to me:

My grandfather, a surgeon, was drafted into WWII. I never knew him--he died about 8 years before I was born. He was initially sent to Europe and then to the Pacific as the war progressed. There, somewhere in the Pacific Theater, another American soldier gave the revolver to my grandfather. That other soldier had somehow acquired it from a Japanese soldier.

The family oral history was that the Smith & Wesson, because it was "a Russian .44" had likely been manufactured and sent directly to Russia. It was assumed that a Japanese soldier had taken it from a Russian soldier during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 or 1905.

My grandfather brought the revolver home from the war. He had a leather gunbelt made for it. He gave the gunbelt and revolver to his father-in-law. His father-in-law died in the mid-1950s. My grandfather was given the revolver back after his father-in-law's death.

The revolver was then stored in a backyard shed in Nebraska. My grandfather died in the mid-1970s and my grandmother left it in the shed until she moved out of the house to downsize to a condo in a retirement community around 1990.

My grandmother died in the mid-1990s. The revolver was supposed to go to my father, but ended up with one of his sisters instead. She ended up moving 2 or 3 times over the next 20 years and could never find the box the revolver was packed in.

My aunt finally found the revolver and gunbelt a year or two ago. She recently gave it to my father. He has no want to own a firearm, so he gave it to me. I started to look into the history of it. From my internet "research," it appears to me the revolver is not one of the 3 generations of Russian revolvers, but instead a New Model 3 chambered in .44 Russian. My research shows they were made from 1877 or '78 until 1905 or maybe even until 1915. Of those New Model 3s, approximately 1/3 may have been sold to Japan. If this revolver was sold to Japan, it would explain the family oral history of an American soldier taking it from a Japanese soldier.

I plan to request a factory letter and whatever other research is available to get. My father and I are both very excited to see what we can find out. I appreciate all the responses given so far.

I've taken some photographs of it. I hope I can attach them here, with this being my first post on this forum.
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S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-ap1270309-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-ap1270310-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-ap1270316-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-ap1270320-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-ap1270322-jpg  

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Old 02-04-2018, 12:47 PM
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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Well, the good news is:

- All of 28111-29668, 29869-29950, 30001-30100, and 30151-30232, shipped to Takata, in 1896 and 1897

(SCSW, 4th Ed., Page 118).

Takata & Co. handled a number of shipments through the 1880s and 1890s totaling 8,754 more guns. The Takata guns were supposedly standardized as 6 1/2- inch with a blue finish and wood grips. A variety of Japanese military markings are found on many of these guns. Perhaps most often seen is one of two types of anchors – either a plain anchor, believed to be the acceptance mark of the Toyokawa Naval Base, or an anchor with two wavy lines through it, believed to be the acceptance mark of the Kure Naval Base. The location is most commonly on the bottom of the frame in front of the trigger-guard, followed by the butt, and occasionally on the knuckle of the grip backstrap. A Japanese character inside a circle is seen at the rear of the barrel address on some guns, and this is reportedly a Japanese army marking. The addition of non factory swivels is common on Japanese military New Model 3s. Mismatched serial numbers, especially mismatched cylinders, are fairly common on Japanese military NM#3s, and will not diminish the value much so long as the mismatched part is from another Japanese shipped gun. Some collectors feel that a lighter color bluing combined with a lighter orangish shade of refinished grips indicate a Japanese arsenal refinish.

(SCSW, 4th Ed., Page 118).

Carefully remove the grip panels (don't pry) by loosening the grip screw, then push on the head of the screw to pop off the right panel. A serial number should be stamped or scratched on the back of the right panel. If grips are original, it will match the gun's SN.

Also, check the locations listed above for military proof stamps.
(Page 117).
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Old 02-04-2018, 01:32 PM
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Thanks for that blast of info, Wiregrass! I truly appreciate your time and expertise.

I have never noticed any type of Japanese markings anywhere on it, but I will go and double check. Maybe I'll even get some more photos of it posted later.

As for checking under the grips for the serial number, I'll give that a go to. But, I may wait to see if someone may give me a hand if they don't want to come off easily. The serial number on the butt does match the serial number on the cylinder. Since looking over this forum, I've learned there may also be a serial number on the inner side of the barrel latch. I'll have to check and see.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:31 PM
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You may or may not find any Japanese markings on it. I own a NM3 that letters as shipped to Takata & Co. in 1891 that has no Japanese markings of any sort. It is nickel with hard rubber grips and letters as such. It also has the lanyard ring on the butt. I do not know the history on my pistol, but can only assume it would be somewhat similar to yours. You are very lucky to have that history to accompany the pistol. Please document that history and keep it with the pistol.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:33 PM
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I just checked over the revolver. There are not any Japanese markings or stamps anywhere to be seen. The only markings are the manufacturer and patent info on top of the barrel, the S&W trademark logo on one side, and the serial numbers. The three serial numbers (butt, cylinder, and latch) all match.

I took off the grips (photos attached). It was fairly gross under there, with a greasy tar-like residue. I cleaned it up and there are no numbers or markings on the inside. I assume that means the original grips were replaced at some point?
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by singleshot1891 View Post
...Please document that history and keep it with the pistol.
Thanks for your input, Singleshot.

I have asked my dad to write out the history as he knows it, so that it can be documented on paper and passed on to future generations. Knowing him, he's probably already written 2 or 3 drafts and is still working on perfecting that document.

I hope my daughter will want it one day and then continue to pass it on as a family tradition.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:43 PM
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Beautiful gun and history. Given that you found gunk under the grips, you can assume the internals have the same. Consider flushing it out through available openings with Break Free or even kerosene. Bad stuff will run out. Let dry, then lightly spray a touch of gun oil to the inside. Nice holster, too, just don't store the revolver in it. Leather tends to collect moisture and promote rust.
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripLeader View Post
I plan to request a factory letter and whatever other research is available to get. My father and I are both very excited to see what we can find out.
TripLeader,

First of all...Welcome to the Forum!!

Also...As Guy (Wiregrassguy) has already noted...Your Revolver was likely shipped to Japan!!

Some add'l info to add concerning the Shipping Info is this...When Your Letter arrives I believe you'll find Your Revolver was most likely included in a very large shipment of 1500+ NM#3s shipped to Takata & Co. Yokohama, Japan on August 12,1896!!

Hope this info is of interest!! By the way...Very Nice NM#3 Revolver & Rig!!
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Old 02-04-2018, 04:23 PM
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Is the serial number on the butt offset so the swivel misses it, or is the swivel mounted on top of the number?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TripLeader View Post
I took off the grips (photos attached). It was fairly gross under there, with a greasy tar-like residue. I cleaned it up and there are no numbers or markings on the inside. I assume that means the original grips were replaced at some point?
The number will not be stamped.
They were usually scratched by hand with a scribe, and they can be so faint you will actually miss them.
Roll the right grip around in strong light. If there, it will be in the top half. They can also be hard to read. This is 30164-




Your barrel is also numbered-

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Old 02-04-2018, 06:41 PM
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Holy cow, you guys are good!

There is the matching serial number on the barrel, covered up by the latch. And there is the matching serial number on the inside of the right grip! It is even harder to see than the example Handejector posted. I had to hold it by a lamp and hold the grip at an angle to see it. It's just barely scratched on it.

As for the serial number on the butt, it is offset so the swivel does not interfere with it.
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:43 AM
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This is a great thread!

Tripleader, if you don't mind, when you receive your letter please consider posting it here. You can blank out your personal info.

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Old 02-05-2018, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
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...Trip Leader, if you don't mind, when you receive your letter please consider posting it here. You can blank out your personal info...
Absolutely.
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Old 02-05-2018, 03:48 PM
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Very interesting. Should we say that piece is in gol-dang good shape, considering its history, which included a sojourn of years in a shed in Nebraska. And especially if it was stored in the holster, also in durn good shape.
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Old 02-08-2018, 06:29 PM
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I mailed off my application for a factory letter today. I'll let you all know when it comes in.
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Old 02-09-2018, 02:17 PM
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Congrats, thats a splendid family heirloom in beautiful original condition.

Looking forward to learning more from the letter.
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:38 PM
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I took some more photos of the old revolver. Out of appreciation for the feedback, I'd like to share them with you all.
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S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-aap1270360-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-aap1270371-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-aap1270379-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-aap1270430-jpg   S&W New Model 3 in .44 Russian  (Pics Added Post 7)-aap1270383-jpg  

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Old 02-11-2018, 10:42 PM
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Here's just a few more. I hope it's not bending the rules too much to add something a little newer into the mix.
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Old 02-12-2018, 05:02 PM
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The only way to know, for sure, is with the S&W letter from Roy Jinks but I'd be willing to lay odds that it will likely come back as a Japanese contract gun. That lanyard is a typical Japanese contract style lanyard but not exclusively. That would be no detriment to the gun, by the way. At least yours has all matching numbers. Many of the Japanese contract NM3s are not found with matching numbers. The most frequent is a mismatched cylinder to a variety of mismatched numbers with all the numbers being in the Japanese contract serial number ranges.
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  #25  
Old 03-19-2018, 08:07 PM
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Default The factory letter is in!

The factory letter was delivered on a few days ago. It confirmed what was to be expected--the revolver was delivered in a large shipment to Takata & Co. It was shipped on August 12, 1896.

The letter also documents the original configuration was a 6.5 inch barrel, blue finish, and a butt swivel. That matches the the current configuration, which has all matching serial numbers.

It's really cool to get all of that confirmed.

Now the downside. The letter came in an 8.5 x 11 inch envelope. All the sides had been opened and re-taped. The envelope was also partially creased, even though "do not fold" was stamped on it in all capital letters. Both pages of the letter itself are crinkled. There was note inside (included in the attachments). Turns out both the US Postal Service and the IRS both screwed me over on damaging my letter.

Anyway, please enjoy the history!
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  #26  
Old 04-01-2018, 11:47 PM
The Gila Bender The Gila Bender is offline
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Wow, what a great thread. TripLeader, you now have a very desirable Smith & Wesson revolver, the story of its history with your family, the historical letter, and now a story _about_ the letter. Outstanding, well done!
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Old 04-02-2018, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by The Gila Bender View Post
Wow, what a great thread. TripLeader, you now have a very desirable Smith & Wesson revolver, the story of its history with your family, the historical letter, and now a story _about_ the letter. Outstanding, well done!
Thanks. I'm glad I can share the story.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:08 AM
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Just saw this cool,gun trip leader ,cool thread lots of great information,thanks for posting all those great pics had a blast reading all this.
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