Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: Number 1, 1st Issue, 2nd Type Tip-Up
Serial Number: 308
Year of Manufacture: Late 1850’s (The Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson gives production from 1857-1860 for this model).
Caliber: .22 Short Rimfire, Black Powder (NOT Modern Smokeless, we do not recommend firing this handgun).
Action Type: 7-Shot, Single Action, Tip-Up Revolver
Markings: The barrel rib is marked “SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD, MASS.”, the letters have been re-stamped after restoration. The rear face of the barrel at the breech no longer has a legible marking, the front of the cylinder is marked “01 /308” (re-marked); the cylinder’s circumference is marked “PATENTED APRIL 3, 1855, JULY…”, the rest is faded. The butt of the grip frame, left of the cylinder stop leaf and inside of the grip panels are marked “308”, the markings have been re-stamped.
Barrel Length: 3 3/16”, Octagonal with Fluted Rib
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a half-moon rounded blade, slotted into the fluted rib of the barrel. The top of the cylinder stop leaf has a “V” notch as a rear sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are smooth rosewood panels which may have been refinished when repairs were done to both panels; these repairs were done to large crack and chip portions, the stocks are now free of new damages, please see our pictures. There are other small marks and dings. The grips rate in about Fair to Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue Barrel & Cylinder, Silver Plated Brass Frame
Finish Originality: The pistol has been refinished, the markings were re-struck in areas, please see above in markings.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is still defined. There is pitting and pin prick erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 80% of its current metal finish. The scarce ‘bayonet’ style barrel latch has heavy grind marks on the underside, also observed on the rear of the barrel. The other surfaces were refinished quite well, the script of the lettering is not correct but all expected markings are present. The frame’s metal, under the finish, shows some cleaned erosion, there are some spots of new erosion through the finishes; the pistol has handling rub wear on its surfaces but still looks nice overall. The screw head slots have mild tooling. The markings are clear unless otherwise noted. Overall, this handgun rates in about Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder produces mild play in full lockup of all 7 chambers. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a beautiful vintage walnut display case that may have been refinished at some point, with some repairs on the underside of the tray, there are deep handling marks and small cracks by the lower hinges. The interior has a brown cloth lining that has areas of rub wear, the box is obviously of vintage origin but is unmarked. The inside has a tray holding 56 rounds of .22 Short, with “U” as a headstamp. The ammunition has natural tarnish and white corrosion on the projectiles as photographed. We will have to send the ammunition separate from the handgun per federal law, hence the slightly higher shipping price. Also included is a key and antique brass cleaning rod, both showing their age, with some natural patina and light marks. All items are in about Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: The Smith & Wesson No. 1, 1st Issue was made between 1857 to 1860, this is a 2nd Type, with the scarce bayonet style barrel latch. Smith & Wesson is synonymous with revolvers, this is their FIRST model and is also America’s first cartridge firing wheel gun. The item has been restored and comes with a beautiful antique display case, 56 cartridges (we don’t recommend shooting this item), a cleaning rod and key for the case. With its scarcity and beautiful refinished metal, this should make for a great conversation piece. Please see our pictures and good luck.