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Original Antique U.S. Smith & Wesson Double Action Frontier Revolver in .44-40 W.C.F. with 6" Barrel - Serial 3630

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. This is a definitely a rare old Wild West Revolver to find! Here we have a fantastic Smith & Wesson Double Action revolver, in the second "Frontier" configuration, intended to compete with Colt's "Frontier Six Shooter" and others chambered in .44-40 Winchester. It has a cylinder capacity of 6 shots, functioning in both double and single action, and still retains the original Smith & Wesson hard rubber grips. It is in full working order and condition, with a great patinated look, sure to delight any "Old West" Americana collector.

The history of the "Double Action" is somewhat complicated by various names used during the history of Smith & Wesson revolvers, which were often not entirely logical. The Double Action was originally called the "New Model No.3 Navy", developed for the Russian Navy, which in fact never bought any. This then was referred to as the "1st Model .44 Double Action", which was originally in .44 Russian with a 1 7/16 inch long cylinder. When the cylinder was lengthened to 1 9/16 inches, allowing it to take the .44-40 Winchester, the "Double Action Frontier" was born.

The top of the barrel bears all the S. & W. patent dates up to 1880:

JULY 11. 65. AUG. 24. 69. JULY 25. 71. DEC. 2. 79. MAY 11. & 25. 1880.

The serial number 3630 is stamped on the flat on the bottom of the grip, and is also present on the rear of the barrel by the frame latch, the frame latch itself, and on the rear of the cylinder. It is even written with pencil on the inside of the right grip scale. That makes this a fantastic "ALL MATCHING" example, with no major parts swapped out over the years! Records for Smith & Wesson revolvers are not exact, however we have seen this same model serial number "5893" listed as production in 1883, so we assume this example was made in 1882. Only about 15,000 of the Double Action Frontier examples were made, so they are all relatively rare.

This is a Top-break revolver, making loading extremely easy and frankly a much better system than the side loading Colts and Mervin & Hulbert revolvers. An evolution of the earlier No.3 design, it was well equipped to compete with its contemporaries, especially when they lengthened the cylinder from 1 7/16 to 1 9/16, resulting in the "Frontier" version. This enabled the revolver to to be chambered for .44-40 W.C.F. ammunition, just like many other makers, particularly Colt, had done. While some may question making revolvers chambered for a competitor's cartridge, having a repeating rifle and revolver that took the same ammunition was a big selling point. We have checked the cylinder with a real cartridge and confirmed the caliber.

Cosmetically, the revolver has a lovely aged patina overall, with the original blue fading to plum and then gray. We do not see any signs that it was ever refinished, so this is all original frontier wear. The S & W monogrammed rubber grips are in very good condition with a repaired crack on the right side, and both sides have faded a bit from black to a nice brown color, as is often seen.

The revolver functions well, with only a bit of the finicky behavior we often see in revolvers of this age. It breaks open correctly, with the ejector presenting and retracting, and the revolver latches closed correctly. It functions in both double and single action very well, with the only issue being that the hammer does not hold very well in the cocked position, and will release if bumped. It indexes correctly with a solid cylinder lock, and probably just needs a bit of adjustment. The bore is in very good condition, showing clear lands and grooves with a bright finish, showing just a bit of wear. There is very little oxidation or fouling, which is VERY rare in a revolver from the age of black powder.

A fantastic Smith & Wesson Double Action Frontier Revolver, the first that we have ever had! Ready to add to your collection and display!


Years of Manufacture: circa 1882
Caliber: .44 W.C.F.
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 6 inches
Overall Length: 11 inches
Action: Double / Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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