Original U.S. Smith & Wesson Russian Third Model No. 3 Revolver with Bone Grips & 1871 Reissue Marking

Item Description

Original Item: Only One available. This is a really nice and rare old Wild West Revolver to find. This is a very nice Blued example 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 very nice well-aged bone grips, a Cowboy favorite. 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 and has a cylinder capacity of 6 shots, and functions in single-action only. It also features the distinctive "spur trigger guard", unique to the Russian model. The top of the barrel bears all the S. & W. patent dates up to 1873:

SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A. PAT. JULY.10.60. JAN.17&24.65 JULY 11.65 AUG.24.69 JAN.19.1873

After this it is marked with a definitive marking for identification: REISSUE JULY 25.1871, a marking only seen on one of the 9,000 Russian Models (both Second and Third models) produced. The majority of the "Reissue" Russian production was consumed by foreign martial contracts, particularly to Imperial Japan and Turkey, with a much smaller number entering the commercial market. The Bone grips on this example suggest it is one of the few that was dispersed in the U.S. commercial market.

The exterior surface of the revolver is quite worn, which has unfortunately made the serial numbers partly illegible. The visible numbers on the grip bottom are 57, and on the back of the cylinder 570, so we assume that this is a matching revolver.

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, however it is quite worn and finicky, so it has trouble indexing on some chambers and the cylinder lock is worn. The revolver breaks open correctly with ejection, however the ejector return spring is broken or missing, so it needs to be manually returned to the closed position. The "lip" that holds the cylinder in place is  worn away, so sometimes the cylinder slides up with the ejector. The breech lock also sticks a bit when closing the revolver. The bore shows rifling, but it is definitely worn. This is a revolver that saw extensive use over the years.

The grips are just lovely, being made of bone, and have cracked and aged wonderfully. There is really nothing like the great patina of aged bone.

A very nice well used example, completely honest, ready for display!

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: c.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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