1 of 1,000 , FIRST TIME ISSUE TO
GOVERNMENT.. S&W, 1st MODEL .44 AMERICAN,
Up until this time all .44 revolvers in the field with the U.S. Army/Cavalry were percussion Model 1860 Army revolvers. There were also very limited conversions of the 1860 to fire the .44 Colt cartridge. The S&W American was doubly important to the Cavalry and the firm of S&W. For the firm it was the first top break large caliber ( 44 ) revolver, for the government it was the FIRST metallic cartridge revolver ordered, that was not connected in any way to percussion. The Government ordered only 1,000 revolvers for issue to the various Cavalry units. Perhaps they were "hedging" their bet with only 1,000 , in the back of their minds they always had .45 or .50 . The American performed admirably in ALL cases throughout the western frontier. Serial No. 114X is verified by the S&W Factory Letter as being shipped in March 1871 to the National Armory. It is also listed by serial number in Charles Pate's book on Americans in U.S. Service...FULLY documented. The top of the barrel still has the U.S. marking present.
Mechanically this U.S. American operates 100% correctly on break open, eject, star ejector returns to cylinder, revolvers closes and it indexes, cocks and locks for firing, a perfect action on all phases. ALL parts are the original to this revolver. The other markings such as the " A" are present , Military Inspector markings. ALL assembly and serial numbers are matching, and all factory applied markings are clear and present ie...barrel address. It is very important to remember how important this was to the Cavalry and improved arms, with ONLY 1,000 issued. What with survival rates and hard use you never see this important U.S. revolver. This is an all original specimen, and "apples to apples" a very fine specimen for the collector.
Shown above is the "early production only" Oil Hole , found in the base of the barrel directly in front of the opening pivot. The theory being, you could lubricate the opening worm gear. This feature quickly disappeared from production.
Originally shipped in the blue, now it has a natural untouched patina finish, with traces of the original blue.
SMITH & WESSON, DOUBLE ACTION "FRONTIER " MODEL, 44/40 @
S&W first introduced this Model in 1881 observing the need to have a large frame Double Action revolver. First appearing in the .44Russian caliber, however management was quick to recognize the advantage of the 44/40 cartridge. It was the "combination" caliber, rifle and pistol, one in the same cartridge. The Frontier Double Action Model followed quickly, in the 44/40 offering. Several westerners of notoriety carried this model, Belle Star, and John Wesley Hardin. It was a large frame DA and in a very popular caliber. This one, Serial No. 1026X, has the six inch barrel, and factory finished in Blue. Of the original finish, about 30% of the blue remains, the balance a smooth pleasing blue/gray patina. The mechanical working actions function 100% correctly. Cocking, indexing, locking and smoothly releasing to fie, both on single action and double action modes. This also includes the breaking open and ejecting spent cartridges. The grips are quite interesting, as they are period with the DA. Most think of stag as a more modern grip, HOWEVER, they were available in the 19th century for grip usage. In removing these grips the inside are very dark and old, similar to the reason you look at the back of an old painting, the canvas shows the age ! They are a perfect fit to the revolver, and have a very nice stag exterior.
The appearance of the DA Frontier is western indeed ! In reality, ONLY a little over 15,000 were manufactured, so the 44/40 is not all that readily available, and sought by collectors.
1889 HARTLEY & GRAHAM ADVERTISEMENT, FEATURING THE S&W,
NEW MODEL No.3 TARGET REVOLVER
Price $ 50
**Interesting to note, on the reverse side, are the Newspaper Clippings regarding the Court Martial of a Cavalry Officer, and his "physical confrontation" with another Officer.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
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