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Old 07-09-2018, 05:22 PM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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Default Model 3 Russian family heirloom

My Grandfather passed a family gun to me this week. It belonged to my 2nd great grandfather and was acquired in Cheyenne Wyoming in the late 1890s from a Boston banker wanting to move out west and become a cowboy/gunfighter (So the family story goes). I have the original Collins & Morrison belt to go with it.

Attached are a couple of pics. I'm looking for some solid info before moving onto the SW historical society. The serial # is 30397 and is stamped on the butt and the cylinder. The rib on top of the barrel is stamped "Smith & Wesson Springfield Mass USA"
and the left side of the barrel is stamped "44 S&W OTQ" The nickel finish, scroll work and grips are described in letters from my 2nd great Grandfather from the early 1900s. Not sure if they are original from S&W.

Thanks in advance for any information and thanks to the forum for providing a place for me to learn.

Leonard Cheever
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Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_202958-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203005-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203018-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203114-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203513-jpg  

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Old 07-09-2018, 05:25 PM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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A couple more pics
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Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203133-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203152-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_203513-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_211909-jpg   Model 3 Russian family heirloom-img_20180708_224820-jpg  

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Old 07-09-2018, 05:27 PM
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That's an absolutely wonderful inheritance!!!
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:29 PM
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Beautiful! I'm no expert, but I believe that it's a "New Model 3" rather than a Russian. Also the stamping on its barrel is most likely "44 CTG" rather than "44 OTQ". That heirloom deserves a letter. -S2

Edit to add: Welcome to the Forum.

Last edited by Speedo2; 07-09-2018 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:48 PM
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Well just blow me over. What a neat gift. Enjoy and treasure that jewel.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:56 PM
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WOW. Very nice, and well cared for. Wonderful heirloom. You family has obviously been great caretakers. Your turn. Enjoy
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:00 PM
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My eyes aren't what they used to be. I guess CTG stands for cartridge. So I'm looking at a New Model 3 chambered in 44 Russian? There are no markings whatsoever on the gun indicating it's chambered in the Russian round but the cylinder length matched the Russian ammo specs. Gramps let me put 12 rounds through it 15 years ago, it was a pretty cool gun to shoot.

Thanks for the info
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:03 PM
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All I can say is WOW, that is absolutely incredible.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:49 PM
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Absolutely Beautiful!
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:54 PM
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That is awesome. Your family was very wise to save and provide the history of the gun.


That is an absolutely priceless treasure.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:03 PM
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Definitely a New Model #3 chambered in the .44 Russian cartridge. The engraving "looks" factory and possibly (likely?) done by one of the Young family engravers. The 'Target' sights are a plus, not to mention the engraving, as is the overall condition. Please spend the money to have it lettered and report back to us.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:12 PM
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lencheever,
Welcome to the Smith & Wesson Forum. What a grand entrance. Your revolver looks so good in so many ways.

With great interest I am awaiting the responses from the forum members that are knowledgeable about your revolver in regards to originality, opinions about the origins of the engraving, and opinions about the stocks (grips).

Can you explain the "WK" engraved on the backstrap?
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:24 PM
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WOW!

What a GREAT family heirloom.

As at least one other poster suggested, get this gun lettered!

It looks original to me in all aspects, including the engraving! If it letters as such, you have a heirloom that might approach five figures in value.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaher94087 View Post
Definitely a New Model #3 chambered in the .44 Russian cartridge. The engraving "looks" factory and possibly (likely?) done by one of the Young family engravers. The 'Target' sights are a plus, not to mention the engraving, as is the overall condition. Please spend the money to have it lettered and report back to us.
I agree that the engraving looks original.
I have seen pics of Teddy Roosevelt's
New Model 3 that has very similar engraving from approx. the same time period.
Fantastic gun!
Likely shipped circa 1900

Last edited by iby; 07-09-2018 at 08:26 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:25 PM
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Welcome. Nice entrance to the Forum. There are two examples of 44 New Model 3s in the SWCA database shipping 6 years apart, so your revolver could have left the factory around these years. They did not ship in serial number order. The pearl medallion stocks are most likely original to the gun, since those stocks were introduced in 1893. Valuable gun to a collector, but invaluable as s family heirloom.

3045X shipped in 1899
3048X shipped in 1906

Forgot to add that you must get that factory letter. It will document the originality of the gun and be something that can be handed down for generations to come. Worth every bit of the $75 fee.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:30 PM
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Also, I don't think anyone mentioned that yours is a Target Model. This is distinguished by the adjustable rear sight.

Edit: Mike Maher already mentioned this. Sometimes, when one drools so much, one misses some small details.

Last edited by mrcvs; 07-09-2018 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:30 PM
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neat, cool, beautiful,excellent,wow, just to good to be true.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:32 PM
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If the engraving is factory then maybe it's the initials of the original purchaser/owner that commissioned the engraving, I'm not sure. To add to the history, and only as accurate shooting blind, the Boston banker that purchased it came out west and was shot at only one time before he lost his !#$% and sold the gun to my family. I can only speculate on the initials but cant think of anyone but the original owner.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:36 PM
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I have the form filled out and pictures attached. I'll be sending the packet to S&WHF tomorrow. Anyone have an idea on the turnaround time?
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:08 PM
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The 6" barrel is also non standard. (61/2)
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:07 PM
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Outstanding, I agree with prior comments. Highly likely your letter will show a shipment of one to hopefully the name that matches the initials. If so, you have a good opportunity to investigate the background of that individual (the Boston banker?). Likely your letter will confirm the other special characteristics and give the factory engraving class and although it will not identify the engraver by name, I agree it is almost certainly one of the Young's which can be identified by close exam (probably Oscar). You can further confirm .44 Russian cartridge if the cylinder bores have a "step" reduction in diameter near the bullet end of the cartridge. If the letter confirms all this, you have a gun over 100 years old with special features in near original condition and with the holster and your family history just about as good as it ever gets.

cb
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:08 PM
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That beautiful 44 was a bit late for the Johnson County Cattle Wars (~1892 IIRC), but just wondering if there was any connection between the original owner-banker, possibly some of your relatives, and the "doings" up north of Cheyenne? -S2
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:55 PM
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As the accolades pour in let me just add mine:

OH WOW!
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:58 PM
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The cylinder bores do have a step. Measures roughly .457" at the load end and .427 at the business end.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:25 PM
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That is an absolute stunner. Just magnificent. And you got to shoot twelve rounds out of it! I feel like asking for your autograph.

Welcome aboard, and I can't wait to see what the letter says.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:01 AM
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Well that is a real prize as stated by so many it has a WOW factor. I am no expert so the only thing I question is the extractor which appears to be plated. I would have expected that to be in blue, but like I said I am no expert. If the extractor was suppose to be in blue that would potentially indicate non factory finish. I too will wait for the factory letter . I have to say that one can not help to be envious . You have a great family treasure as well as a potential collectable that would be a prize for anyone who collects S&W. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
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I am no expert so the only thing I question is the extractor which appears to be plated. I would have expected that to be in blue, but like I said I am no expert. If the extractor was suppose to be in blue that would potentially indicate non factory finish.
mnrivrat,

To clear things up for you a bit...Having owned quite a few "Orig." High Condition NM#3s...I can assure you NM#3 Extractor Stars are "In The White" (Not Blued)!!
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:10 AM
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Now that is how you come into a S&W forum. Thanks for shareing your revolver with us and welcome to the forum. Congratulations on being the new caretaker of such a fine firearm.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:37 AM
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One of mine is close kin to yours---#30261. It was shipped October 18, 1896.

It's interesting yours is caliber marked, and mine's not----proving once again S&W did what they wanted to when they wanted to do it (just so long as it wasn't in any recognizable order); and if anyone has a problem with that, it's just too damn bad!!

Given the absence of our usual fussing and fuming about it, the turnaround time for letters must be rather prompt---3-4 weeks (counting mail time).

Ralph Tremaine
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:05 AM
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WOW!!! Where were my ancestors when you could buy a gun like that?
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Old 07-10-2018, 09:25 AM
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Yep, that's a dream gun. They dont get much better than that.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:10 AM
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I just happened on this post and still rubbing my eyes in disbelief. Congrats on this inheritance. If this turns out to be the exact configuration, as shipped by S&W, you have a winner. By winner I mean one that is not often seen nor found.

You will likely find out the shipping date was 1900 or newer. Not only by the serial number but by the caliber roll stamp did not show up until about 1900.

The New Model 3 revolvers ceased production in 1898, however, they were produced by special order well into the 1900s. I have one that shipped 1908 and have reports on another that shipped 1912.

I must say it seems almost too good to be true but my well wishes to you that it proves to be authentic and original.

That the pearl stocks lasted, at least, 118 years and the condition of the nickel with engraving is so outstanding leads me to believe it was either stored in a vacuum or extremely well cared for ... especially coming from a colder climate state.

The serial numbers on the butt, the face of the cylinder, the barrel clasp and the barrel (in the deep recess of the rear section of the barrel visible only when the clasp is raised and held up) should all match.

The only item I cannot determine from the photos is the hammer and trigger guard case colors. I don't know whether they are faded to a blackish color (Which is very unusual) or the photos are just not good enough to determine. Other than that, I cannot find anything suspicious about it other than I am surprised it survived in such great condition.

Keep up advised of the outcome when your research from the S&W Historical Foundation arrives.

See this post and keep us advised: http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-ant...t=Model+Target

All the best, Sal Raimondi, Sr.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:22 AM
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Absolutely outstanding !!!
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
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WOW!!! Where were my ancestors when you could buy a gun like that?
Well, mine were behind a mule in a holler in West Virginia...with no hopes 9f EVER owning something that nice!
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Old 07-10-2018, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
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Well, mine were behind a mule in a holler in West Virginia...with no hopes 9f EVER owning something that nice!
And mine were in Pennsylvania coal mines and the company store didn't sell anything like that on chits.

Wonderful piece. Congrats.

Robert
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:05 PM
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Default Oscar Young indeed

As others have said, this is a tremendous revolver. Congratulations on owning such a fine S&W. Also, as mmaher94087 aluded to, it is factory engraved, and done by Oscar Young. His engraving had a distinct style, was different from his famous father, Gustave Young, and quite different from his brother, Eugene Young. All three were employed by S&W. In factory letters, the engraving will be referred to as a "style" with a number, 1-5, which denotes amount of engraving, and not actually the engraving style (type) itself. The engraving design itself was unique to the engraver for the most part, but talented engravers are capable of copying each other's work. However, that concept will not be a factor with your revolver since Oscar Young was the principle S&W engraver from approx. 1895 until his death in 1912, although he may have stopped a few years before 1912. Your engraving appears to be a style 2 or 3, but probably a 3.

I personally own several Oscar Young factory lettered S&W revolvers, and so I can say with some confidence that yours should letter factory engraved. Occasionally, all collectors get unlucky and attempt to letter a gun which does not have shipping records, IE no info for original configuration. I am however crossing my fingers for you...

Here is a thread I wrote about the Youngs and their fine engraving.

The Engraved Smith and Wessons of the Young family
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:02 AM
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I just happened on this post and still rubbing my eyes in disbelief. Congrats on this inheritance. If this turns out to be the exact configuration, as shipped by S&W, you have a winner. By winner I mean one that is not often seen nor found.

You will likely find out the shipping date was 1900 or newer. Not only by the serial number but by the caliber roll stamp did not show up until about 1900.

The New Model 3 revolvers ceased production in 1898, however, they were produced by special order well into the 1900s. I have one that shipped 1908 and have reports on another that shipped 1912.

I must say it seems almost too good to be true but my well wishes to you that it proves to be authentic and original.

That the pearl stocks lasted, at least, 118 years and the condition of the nickel with engraving is so outstanding leads me to believe it was either stored in a vacuum or extremely well cared for ... especially coming from a colder climate state.

The serial numbers on the butt, the face of the cylinder, the barrel clasp and the barrel (in the deep recess of the rear section of the barrel visible only when the clasp is raised and held up) should all match.

The only item I cannot determine from the photos is the hammer and trigger guard case colors. I don't know whether they are faded to a blackish color (Which is very unusual) or the photos are just not good enough to determine. Other than that, I cannot find anything suspicious about it other than I am surprised it survived in such great condition.

Keep up advised of the outcome when your research from the S&W Historical Foundation arrives.

See this post and keep us advised: http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-ant...t=Model+Target

All the best, Sal Raimondi, Sr.
Looking at enlarged pictures on my phone I can definitely say that both hammer and trigger are color case. Some rubbing wear on left side of hammer but I can still see the colors. Right side is impressive though.

Hugh

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Old 07-15-2018, 04:46 PM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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Thanks to everyone for the information and comments. I have many modern handguns and rifles and keep them well cleaned and oiled. Is there anything special I should know about the cleaning and storage of this antique with the pearl grips and the nickel finish?

Len
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Old 07-15-2018, 04:49 PM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by model3sw View Post
I just happened on this post and still rubbing my eyes in disbelief. Congrats on this inheritance. If this turns out to be the exact configuration, as shipped by S&W, you have a winner. By winner I mean one that is not often seen nor found.

You will likely find out the shipping date was 1900 or newer. Not only by the serial number but by the caliber roll stamp did not show up until about 1900.

The New Model 3 revolvers ceased production in 1898, however, they were produced by special order well into the 1900s. I have one that shipped 1908 and have reports on another that shipped 1912.

I must say it seems almost too good to be true but my well wishes to you that it proves to be authentic and original.

That the pearl stocks lasted, at least, 118 years and the condition of the nickel with engraving is so outstanding leads me to believe it was either stored in a vacuum or extremely well cared for ... especially coming from a colder climate state.

The serial numbers on the butt, the face of the cylinder, the barrel clasp and the barrel (in the deep recess of the rear section of the barrel visible only when the clasp is raised and held up) should all match.

The only item I cannot determine from the photos is the hammer and trigger guard case colors. I don't know whether they are faded to a blackish color (Which is very unusual) or the photos are just not good enough to determine. Other than that, I cannot find anything suspicious about it other than I am surprised it survived in such great condition.

Keep up advised of the outcome when your research from the S&W Historical Foundation arrives.

See this post and keep us advised: http://smith-wessonforum.com/s-w-ant...t=Model+Target

All the best, Sal Raimondi, Sr.
I will certainly share the contents of the letter. It will be a nice compliment to the family history of this gun.
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:15 PM
mmaher94087 mmaher94087 is offline
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The nickel finish should not be cleaned with any Ammonia based cleaner as it is detrimental to the nickel plate. Very carefully take off those Pearls and make sure any rust is not forming on the frame underneath. Those grips (stocks in S&W lingo) are held on by the screw that is obvious, but there is a blind locating pin in the center of the frame bottom (butt) that keeps the grip aligned to the frame. Do not pry them off as they WILL be broken.
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Old 07-15-2018, 10:54 PM
bcowern bcowern is offline
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That's a fantastic NM 3 anyway you look at it!

Regards
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:40 AM
DesmoEd DesmoEd is offline
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That pistol belt is outstanding as well and looks to be Omaha marked

J. S. Collins and Company History and Maker Marks - www.vintagegunleather.com California
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:42 PM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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That pistol belt is outstanding as well and looks to be Omaha marked

J. S. Collins and Company History and Maker Marks - www.vintagegunleather.com California
The belt is marked Collins & Morrison Omaha NEB. The belt is in great shape. Still soft, but not soft enough to stretch it around my waist. Times were a little kinder to the waistline back then
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:09 AM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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I received my letter from the S&WHF and it confirmed every detail of my gun, from the barrel length, finish, grips, level 4 engraving, Oscar as the engraver, and ship date.

The one thing that really caught my eye is that the middle digit of the serial number was wrong. The paperwork and pictures, submitted to S&WHF clearly stated the correct number but the letter was incorrect.

I contacted S&WHF using the email on their website but haven't heard anything for three days. There are 8 names on the contact list and only the one email. I'm not sure it's getting to the right person.

Does anyone hear have any ideas on how else to make contact? Maybe I'm just being impatient.

Anyway, I'm sure it's just a typo and it will get resolved in due time. One interesting fact is that the gun was delivered to Mr. Lew Seely with no address listed. Makes me wonder, did he pick it up from the factory or maybe asked for the address not to be recorded. Maybe he had no address.

A quick search shows a Mr. Lew Seely that was a resident of Natrona County Wyoming at the same time my family lived in the area. Mr. Seely was a member of the Natrona County Pioneer Association in 1901, appointed Marshall in 1901, and Councilman in 1904. He also served as generalissimo of the Apollo Commandery Knights Templar #8. Not sure if there is any connection, but it's intriguing and something I can further pursue.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lencheever View Post
I received my letter from the S&WHF and it confirmed every detail of my gun, from the barrel length, finish, grips, level 4 engraving, Oscar as the engraver, and ship date.

The one thing that really caught my eye is that the middle digit of the serial number was wrong. The paperwork and pictures, submitted to S&WHF clearly stated the correct number but the letter was incorrect.

I contacted S&WHF using the email on their website but haven't heard anything for three days. There are 8 names on the contact list and only the one email. I'm not sure it's getting to the right person.

Does anyone hear have any ideas on how else to make contact? Maybe I'm just being impatient.

Anyway, I'm sure it's just a typo and it will get resolved in due time. One interesting fact is that the gun was delivered to Mr. Lew Seely with no address listed. Makes me wonder, did he pick it up from the factory or maybe asked for the address not to be recorded. Maybe he had no address.

A quick search shows a Mr. Lew Seely that was a resident of Natrona County Wyoming at the same time my family lived in the area. Mr. Seely was a member of the Natrona County Pioneer Association in 1901, appointed Marshall in 1901, and Councilman in 1904. He also served as generalissimo of the Apollo Commandery Knights Templar #8. Not sure if there is any connection, but it's intriguing and something I can further pursue.
More than likely, Roy just made a typo (it happens). A very heartfelt and sincere congratulations on that find and if you ever decide to part with it, please consider me as one of the interested people. Calling "dibs" on spot #1 of the list when and / or if you ever decide to part with it.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:31 AM
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I'm sure you know if you ever want to sell this gun that even if you give Sal top of the list many of us would compete for it and I would be one.

I am going to want to work with you if you will let me on Lee or Lew Seely because now I can really suspect he must have been a sort of gun dealer but likely for discriminating users, given the two examples we now have. Surely someone knows some of his history. (Did you buy guns from him, Ed?) Note: As posted below RIA sold SN 29813 as lot 22 in 9/15/2013 auction with gold wash and Type 2 Oscar Young engraving shipped 11/7/1901 to Lew Seely, but grips were rubber and Seely apparently added pearls himself - strange. Maybe he liked pearls (itself strange on large western guns) and S&W at times couldn't deliver.

I have attached NM #3 31922 shipped to Seely 9/24/1903 with probably style 1 Young family engraving. Not mentioned in the letter is that A.J.T. is engraved on the backstrap, I believe at the factory.

I plan to send for a new letter on this gun, which I have done on several that had old letters. I have gotten some new info sometimes, I think because Roy has gotten better over time with maximizing the available records. (Don, don't tip him off so we get a valid test.)

CB
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:35 PM
opoefc opoefc is online now
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cb, I checked my old records and I can't find any gun purchases from Mr. Seely! As you know, S&Ws like this scream "factory & Oscar Young" as noted above by you and Mike, etc. Sleepers like this are still out there and that'a what keeps Sal up at night! Ed.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:11 PM
mbedda13 mbedda13 is offline
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Just a little "FYI" RIA had a similar gun sent to Lew Seely sell for $14.950. If you google his name, it comes up. Hope that helps a bit. thanks
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:11 PM
lencheever lencheever is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crossv View Post
I'm sure you know if you ever want to sell this gun that even if you give Sal top of the list many of us would compete for it and I would be one.

I am going to want to work with you if you will let me on Lee or Lew Seely because now I can really suspect he must have been a sort of gun dealer but likely for discriminating users, given the two examples we now have. Surely someone knows some of his history. (Did you buy guns from him, Ed?) Note: As posted below RIA sold SN 29813 as lot 22 in 9/15/2013 auction with gold wash and Type 2 Oscar Young engraving shipped 11/7/1901 to Lew Seely, but grips were rubber and Seely apparently added pearls himself - strange. Maybe he liked pearls (itself strange on large western guns) and S&W at times couldn't deliver.

I have attached NM #3 31922 shipped to Seely 9/24/1903 with probably style 1 Young family engraving. Not mentioned in the letter is that A.J.T. is engraved on the backstrap, I believe at the factory.

I plan to send for a new letter on this gun, which I have done on several that had old letters. I have gotten some new info sometimes, I think because Roy has gotten better over time with maximizing the available records. (Don, don't tip him off so we get a valid test.)

CB
I welcome and appreciate any help in deciphering the history of this pistol. I'm going to open up my Ancestry account again to better detail the timeline of the family members I know this gun belonged to. My Grandfather is in his mid nineties and he received it from his grandfather so a portion of the details passed down the generations may be a bit exaggerated, embellished, or just plain lost to time.

Mine also has the initials "W.K." on the backstrap. Not sure if they were factory or not but they look to be high quality engraving.

LC
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Old 08-12-2018, 11:01 AM
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I'm sure you know if you ever want to sell this gun that even if you give Sal top of the list many of us would compete for it and I would be one.

CB
CB, as long as one of us ended up with it for it to have the proper care, protection and place honor in a fine S&W Model 3 collection, that would be all I could ever hope for.

If it did go up for bid and I lost it to you, I'd lose with a smile. In fact I likely wouldn't go to a bidding war with you over it. You've always been good to me and so many other members. Sal
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