Make: Smith and Wesson
Model: New Model No. 3
Serial Number: 6458
Year of Manufacture: ca 1881 (14,000 were built between 1878 and 1885 – “Standard Catalog of S&W” by Nahas)
Caliber: .44 Russian
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Top Break Barrel
Markings: The rear face of the cylinder, the underside of the barrel latch and the bottom of the grip are marked “6458”. The top strap is marked “SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A. PAT’D JAN. 17 & 24. 65. JULY 11. 65 / AUG. 24. 69. APR. 20. 75. FEB. 20 & DEC. 18. 1877. REISSUE JULY 25, 1871.
Barrel Length: The barrel has a full length top rib and is 6 ½” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is rounded blade pinned to the top strap. The rear sight is a “U” notch fixed to the front of the barrel latch.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber that have developed a brownish tint with age. The grips have an S&W logo in a circle at the top of each grip. The smooth areas show only a few light marks. The checkering on the left grip shows light wear with a small mar behind the grip screw. The checkering on the right grip shows light wear tending to moderate wear at the bottom rear of the grip. There are no mars in the right grip. The grips are in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: The revolver is nickel plated with a case colored hammer and a blued barrel latch.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling shows moderate wear. There is light erosion the length of the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 65% of its metal finish remaining. There is surface loss on the bottom and sides of the barrel, the front edges of the cylinder, the right side of the top strap and the edges of the backstrap. There is pinprick surface erosion scattered over the backstrap with a few spots sprinkled over the cylinder and a single spot on the left side of the barrel rib. There are several spots of dark erosion showing through the finish and light handling marks scattered over the surfaces of the revolver. There are a few tiny dings in the edges of the flutes in the cylinder, a single tiny ding in the left edge of the rib on the barrel and a tool mark on the left side of the frame near the pivot screw. The cylinder also has a drag line through the bolt stop cuts and another lighter line at the back edge of the cylinder. The barrel latch shows thinning and light wear in its knurling while the hammer knurling is sharp. The hammer still has traces of its case coloring visible. The screw heads are distressed except for the grip screw, which is still sharp, and the markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, including the ejector. It has a toothed gear extraction cam. The barrel lockup is solid and the cylinder lockup shows just a hint of play. The trigger pull is crisp. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: When Smith & Wesson began making centerfire top break revolvers in 1870, they named the large framed .44Model No. 3. This was followed by the .38 Model No. 2 in 1876 and the .32 Model No. 1 ½ 1878, based on frame sizes, not date of manufacture. All were first made in single action, and later double action models were added. The No. 3 was made in American, Russian and Schofield and New Model single action sub-models as well as Double Action sub-models. This is a Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Revolver in .44 Russian caliber that was made in about 1881 with a nickel finish. The revolver is in about Fine condition with about 65% of its original finish remaining. The revolver shows surface loss on the underside and sides of the barrel, the front edges of the cylinder, the side of the top strap and the edges of the backstrap. There is pinprick surface erosion scattered over the backstrap with a few spots sprinkled over the cylinder and a single spot on the left side of the barrel rib. There are several spots of dark erosion showing through the finish and light handling marks in the finish in most surfaces of the revolver. There are a few tiny dings scattered around the surfaces and the cylinder has a drag line. The grips are checkered black hard rubber that are developing a brownish tint with age. There are only a few light marks in the smooth borders and light wear in the checkering, with a small mar in the left grip. The bore is gray with light wear in the rifling but with light erosion the length of the bore. The barrel lockup is solid and the cylinder lockup shows just a hint of play. The ejector works properly. This is very nice find for the collectors of Smith & Wesson and other early American revolvers. The top break revolvers were made in so many models, sub-models and variants, it is almost impossible for a collector to acquire one of each, making all of the models extremely collectable.