SOLD FOR: $1126
Make: French Mre d’Armes St. Etienne
Model: 1873 (Navy Model)
Serial Number: 2957
Year of Manufacture: 1878
Action Type: Single or Double Action SA/DA Revolver with Swing Out Cylinder
Markings: The left side flat of the barrel is marked with “M” for Colonel Maignien and “J” for Jeumont; both letters are encircled. The upper left flat is marked with the serial number, “2957”. The right side flat is marked “S. 1878”, denoting the year of manufacture. The top flat of the barrel is marked “MLE 1873 . M” in cursive script. The “M” denotes ‘Marine’ for the French Navy. The left side of the frame is marked with the serial number, “2957”. The right side of the frame is marked “Mre D’Armes / St. Etienne” in a cursive script. The ejector rod housing, trigger guard, and cylinder (twice) are marked with the serial number, “2957”. The bottom of the barrel and the cylinder are marked with the Crown “E” St. Etienne stamp. The bottom of the grip frame is marked with a naval anchor. The internal parts, side plate, and grip panels are serial matching, each marked with a partial version of the serial number.
Barrel Length: 4 1/2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a blade integral to a base that is fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a v-notch that is integral to the topstrap.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two piece checkered wood panels. The panels are dark and weathered in overall appearance. There are shallow compressions throughout the smooth borders. There is a notable loss in the heel of the left panel. The checkering ranges from worn smooth to well-defined. There are no cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Good-plus condition.
Type of Finish: Strawed and White
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is poorly defined. There is moderate surface erosion throughout.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 0% of its strawed finish. Surfaces that were white have either gone to a light patina or have light surface oxidation. All metal surfaces have light-to-moderate nicks and dings with a larger cluster of moderate tool marks on the side plate. Screws have light tool marks with strong slots and pins are unmarred. Overall, this revolver rates in Good-to-Very Good condition, as antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The French, if history is to be observed, seem to develop new firearms on the heels of a massive defeat, or ahead of a perceived walloping. After losing dearly in the Franco-Prussian War, they set about to make an up-to-date sidearm, and the fruit of the initial endeavor was the Model 1873 on offer here. This example is the Naval variant, notable for the anchor stamped on the bottom of the frame. In overall Good-to-Very Good condition, this antique has a fair bit of wear, but does function quite well mechanically. Some care and attention will certainly serve this historically significant firearm well, and the winner will have on their hands a fine collectible. Good luck and happy bidding!