Original U.S. Smith & Wesson Russian Third Model No. 3 Revolver with Aged Ivory Grips - Serial 48704

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. This is an amazing find! Every young "Wild West" fans dream: A real Cowboy Six-shooter! This is a very nice frontier-used Smith & Wesson Russian Third Model No. 3 revolver in .44 Russian, identical to the Russian Contract models, except for the markings. It also features some gorgeous well-aged ivory grips, most likely walrus ivory based on the grain pattern. The S&W Model No. 3 was introduced in 1869 as the U.S. Army's principal sidearm, which they used until 1873.

This fine example features the standard 6 1/2" barrel , with a cylinder capacity of 6 shots, and functions in single-action only. It also features the distinctive "spur trigger guard", unique to the later issue Russian model revolvers. It also has the knurled thumb screw in front of the barrel latch, not seen on earlier versions, and removed later. The top of the barrel bears all the S. & W. patent dates up to 1869:


While designed for the Russians, after they reverse engineered the design, Smith & Wesson turned to the commercial market and other Governments to sell the revolver to. The serial number 48704 is stamped on the flat on the bottom of the grip, next to the lanyard loop, while the latch is stamped with assembly number 1270. The other assembly numbers on are unfortunately no longer visible due to wear and corrosion.

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. This was the same model revolver that the famous Lawman Wyatt Earp used in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26th 1881.

The revolver functions well, though the cylinder ratchet and other mechanics are worn, so it is finicky. There is definitely some slop in the action, and it fails to index correctly sometimes. The revolver breaks open correctly with strong ejection, though we have not tested it on actual cartridges. The bore on the barrel has clear rifling, with overall oxidation and some areas of light pitting.

Exterior condition is polished steel with traces of past oxidation and pitting. We have found no traces of nickel plating, so we believe that this revolver was originally blued, and had the original grips swapped out for the ivory ones. The grips themselves have aged beautifully, with the white color now close to amber, with some cracking and checking towards the bottom. There are some chunks missing towards the bottom, and they just have a lovely look.

A very nice frontier used example, completely honest, ready for display! Perfect for any Americana collector!

More on the "Russian Model" No. 3:

Almost as soon as Smith & Wesson’s Model No. 3 American, the first practical big-bore metallic cartridge revolver, was introduced in 1870, a sample was presented to Russian military attaché Gen. Alexander Gorloff. By May 1, 1871, the first of many large contracts for the Russian military were being filled. The single action handgun also began going through several modifications—most of these alterations were those requested by Russian military officers at the factory. A major change they required was a newer, more powerful cartridge than its .44 American round. S&W developed the .44 S&W Russian, resulting in the retooling to fit the Russian ammunition for the Russian contracts as well as for commercial sales. Thus, the First Model Russian looked virtually identical to its American predecessor.

History of the Smith & Wesson Model No. 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: 1874
Caliber: .44 Russian
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 6 1/2 inches

Overall Length: 12 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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