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The Smith and Wesson Model No.3 was a workhorse arm of both the Wild West and Indian Wars Used and sought after by lawmen and outlaws alike, these revolvers earned their respected reputation and place in history.
The S&W Model No. 3, a top-break, six-shot revolver with fluted cylinder, is classified by both characteristics and S&W contracts with Russia. The civilian version, seen here, is a Model No. 3, 2nd Model American, as distinguished by the larger trigger pin (and frame boss) and in that the hammer interlocks with the barrel latch. The nickname “American” came into use in 1872 (Neal & Jinks) to distinguish these arms, chambered in .44 S&W American (.44A), from their Russian contract cousins, chambered in .44 Russian (.44R). Ultimately, around 20,000 2nd Models were manufactured beginning with serial number 8000 in 1872.
With a serial number of 8817, this Smith and Wesson Model No. 3 is an early member of the production run. The rear cylinder face, barrel latch, barrel, and grip strap (right side under the grip) all have a matching assembly/fitter number of 716. The serial number is found on the butt and matches that SN stamped on the top, inside corner of the right grip. This was common practice at the time, the assembly numbers eventually changed to serial or partial serial numbers in or around 1875 (outside of Russian contracts). The nickel finish in excellent condition, as are the walnut grips, and the action functions beautifully, both smooth and crisp. This example has the punch mark, used to indicate successful factory test firing, placed on the ejector (not all S&W 2nd Model American revolvers have this mark).
The ejector prawl has been repaired/replaced and there are small dents near the muzzle at 10, 9, and 6 o’clock. See pictures for overall condition. Antique. Check with a local FFL dealer to confirm your state laws governing ownership of an antique handgun before purchasing this item.
Smith and Wesson
Model No. 3, Second Model Single-Action (2nd Model American)
.44 S&W American (.44A)
Excellent, clean and bright with well-defined rifling