Original Russian Contract Smith & Wesson Model 3 Revolver made by Ludwig Loewe Berlin - Serial 2959
Original item: Only One Available. The Classic! A genuine Original SMITH AND WESSON RUSSIAN CONTRACT revolver in .44 Russian, produced by Ludwig Loewe in Berlin. In 1870/71 General Alexander Gorloff of the Imperial Russian Embassy visited Smith & Wesson, and placed an order for 41,000 units. In 1872 Grand Duke Alexandrovich also visited the factory to great accolades, resulting over the following years the Imperial Russian Army ordering over 130,000 of this Model Revolver in total.
However, the Russian government was across the globe from Smith & Wesson, which meant additional cost and time waiting for revolvers. Shipments could also be disrupted by weather, war, or other issues. This also meant that it was unlikely S&W would be able to enforce litigation, so Russia started contracting European companies to produce the design. In addition, S&W had also angered the Russians by selling arms to Turkey and Japan, enemies of Imperial Russia. So, in 1876 the Russians decided to move No. 3 Russian revolver production from S&W in America to Ludwig Loewe in Berlin.
This example still has a mostly clear marking on the top of the barrel, which reads:
LUDW. LOEWE & Co. WAFFEN & MUNITIONS FABRIK BERLIN 2959
Most of the Russian Contract revolvers made by Loewe were marked in Cyrillic, so it's possible that this example was sold privately. The revolver has definitely been refinished, and has had the original smooth grips replaced with checkered grips. However the serial number 2959 is still visible on both the top strap (faint) and grip frame. The rear of the cylinder has a different serial number, so it was swapped out in Russian service. The revolver functions, but has significant wear on the internals, so it is quite finicky.
Despite the great production, the original RUSSIAN Model is very rare and hard to find today, even the contract made copies made in Germany. A very fine example, completely honest, ready for display!
History of the Smith & Wesson Model 3
The Smith & Wesson Model 3 was a single-action, cartridge-firing, top-break revolver produced by Smith & Wesson from circa 1870 to 1915.
It was produced in several variations and sub-variations, including both the "Russian Model", so named because it was supplied to the military of the Russian Empire (41,000 No. 3's were ordered in .44 caliber by the Imperial Russian Army in 1871), and the "Schofield" model, named after Major George W. Schofield, who made his own modifications to the Model 3 to meet his perceptions of the Cavalry's needs. Smith & Wesson incorporated these modifications into an 1875 design they named after the Major, planning to obtain significant military contracts for the new revolver.
The S&W Model 3 was originally chambered for the .44 S&W American and .44 Russian cartridges, and typically did not have the cartridge information stamped on the gun (as is standard practice for most commercial firearms). Model 3 revolvers were later produced in an assortment of calibers, including .44 Henry Rimfire, .44-40, .32-44, .38-44, and .45 Schofield. The design would influence the smaller S&W .38 Single Action that is retroactively referred to as the Model 2.
Years of Manufacture: circa 1876-1880
Caliber: .44 Russian
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 6 1/4 inches
Overall Length: 12 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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