Make: Smith and Wesson
Model: .44 Double Action 1st Model (Also known as the New Model Navy No. 3 Revolver)
Serial Number: 20862
Year of Manufacture: ca 1893 (The revolvers were made in the serial number range 1-54668 were assembled between 1881 and 1913. However, all of the frames were built prior to 1899, making all of the revolvers Antique. – “Standard Catalog of S&W” by Nahas)
Caliber: .44 S&W Russian
Action Type: Single Action or Double Action Revolver with Top Break Barrel
Markings: The rear face of the cylinder, the right rear face of the top strap and the bottom of the grip are marked “20862”. The top of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A. PAT’D JAN. 17 & 24. 65 / JULY 11. 65. AUG. 24. 69. JULY 25.71. DEC.2.79. MAY 11 & 25 1880”.
Barrel Length: The barrel has a full-length top rib and is 6” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight a thin half-round 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 with an S&W logo at the tops and smooth diamonds around the grip screws. The grips have turned a dark brown with age and show heavy wear in the checkering that is worn smooth over most of the grip surfaces. There are a several light handling marks and a few dings in the grips, with a large bruise on the bottom of the left grip. There are no cracks or chips noted. The grips are in about Good to Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: The revolver is nickel plated with a case colored hammer, trigger and barrel latch and a blued trigger guard.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling shows light wear. There is moderate erosion throughout the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 50% of its original metal finish. There is surface loss in the grip area and at the rear of the frame and the left sideplate, with a dark plum colored patina forming. The barrel and the sides of the frame show thinning with several spots of surface loss with light patina’d metal showing through. The thinned areas of the barrel are sprinkled with very light pinprick surface erosion. The cylinder flutes show surface loss with dark eroded metal showing through. There are few dings in the left side of the frame above the trigger, a few more on the right side of the frame and numerous light handling marks scattered over the barrel. The trigger guard shows thinning with a spot of surface loss. The cylinder has a light drag line through the bolt stop cuts. The barrel latch shows light wear in its knurling while the hammer knurling is sharp. The sideplate screw and the barrel pivot screw are disfigured. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, including the ejector, but the ejector is gummy and doesn’t retract back into the cylinder very fast after the barrel is fully opened. The barrel lockup is SOLID and the cylinder lockup shows a nominal amount of play. The trigger pull is crisp. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This revolver comes with a slim-Jim style engraved brown leather holster. The holster is open at the top and has a single belt loop riveted to the back of the holster. The holster shows surface loss at the muzzle, in the belt loop and around the top edges. There a two slits cut in the outside of the holster near the top and two more in the back side, one on either side of the top edge of the belt loop. There are a few small cracks in the edges of the holster at the muzzle and in the top edge. Please see our pictures for a better idea of what this really looks like. The holster is in about Good condition.
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 made first in single action, and later double action models were added. This is a Smith & Wesson .44 Double Action 1st Model, also known as the New Model Navy No. 3. It is chambered in .44 S&W Russian, and was made in about 1893. It has a nickel finish checkered black hard rubber grips and is in about Very Good condition with about 50% of its finish remaining. The revolver shows surface loss in the grip area and at the rear of the frame and left sideplate, with a plum colored patina forming. The barrel and the sides of the frame show thinning with several spots of surface loss with light patina’d metal showing through. The thinned areas of the barrel are sprinkled with very light pinprick surface erosion. The cylinder flutes show surface loss with dark eroded metal showing through. There are a few dings in the left and right sides of the frame, with thinning and a spot of surface loss in the trigger guard. The grips show heavy wear in the checkering that is worn smooth in spots. There are a few dings and handling marks in the grips with a large bruise on the bottom edge of the left grip. The bore is gray with light wear in the rifling and moderate erosion throughout the bore. The action works correctly, but the ejector appears gummy – it is retracts back into the cylinder slowly after the barrel is opened fully. The barrel lockup is SOLID but the cylinder lockup shows a moderate amount of play. 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 collectable. This holster even comes with a vintage slim-Jim engraved leather holster to complete the package for the investor.