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RARE HIGH CONDITION 2ND MODEL NO 3 SMITH & WESSON AMERICAN, 8” BARREL X 44 RUSSIAN, NICKEL, WALNUT, SOME KNOWN HISTORY
This Smith & Wesson was previously bought and sold by gun dealer Jim Supica (now Director of NRA Museums). A few of the pictures presented here are from Supica’s 2009 Arm Chair Gun Show .
The Smith & Wesson factory letter from Roy Jinks notes that #27660 was a 44 Russian, 8” Barrel, Smooth Walnut grips, Sold to M. W. Robinson, NYC on Jan 13, 1874, one of 100 guns mixed in Blue & Nickel finish. Only 5165 of these commercial Smith & Wesson Americans were chambered for 44 Russian. With its internally-lubricated bullet, the 44 Russian was found to be a most accurate cartridge. John Wesley Hardin favored the 44 Russian S&W American.
Inside the grips is a note as written on chamois: “Eddy Earl Peter / Belen, N. Mex. / August 25, 1950 / Age 17. Born April 29, 1933” (see picture of chamois inside grip frame). Gun Dealer Jim Supica contacted Eddy Peter in New Mexico, and Eddy said he got the gun in 1950 from his father (Eddy Earl Peter Sr., 1912-2002). Eddy Earl Peter Sr. worked for the AT & SF Railroad in Albuquerque in 1930 and obtained the gun in Las Vegas, NM. Both walnut grips are accordingly initialed “E. E. P.”. In the mid 1950’s Eddy Earl Peter Sr. was the Mayor of Belen, Valencia County, NM. Eddy Jr. said the gun was purchased as it appears now, with a full nickel finish.
Las Vegas was an economic center and major railroad hub by 1880, and the town to which everything in New Mexico was shipped first (because of its location east of the larger towns like Albuquerque). Santa Fe had historically been on a major trade route, but the main railroad line bypassed Santa Fe in 1880.
In the late 1880’s and 1890’s there were quite a few small range wars in northeastern New Mexico, and Las Vegas itself was home to a vigilante group called the White Caps. Las Vegas was a violent town in the late 1800’s, cattle rustlers were common in that area, and there was tension between “Anglo” and Mexican inhabitants of the town.
All factory markings are very distinct, including the barrel address, serial number, and assembly numbers. Most important are the assembly numbers, which tie the frame to other major parts. Under the right grip, near the heel, is assembly number 58. That #58 is also found on the rear of cylinder, on the rear of barrel under the latch, and on the underside of latch (see pictures with arrows). The factory inspector’s mark “X” is found between the upper frame posts.
The revolver was full nickel plated, and that finish is bright and shiny today. Of that original nickel finish, what remains is barrel (95%), cylinder 80%, and frame-grip frame-butt 95%. The main loss from the barrel is near the muzzle from firing and holster wear. The cylinder also shows loss from being fired, and some loss near the lock slots. The main frame loss can be found at the butt heel. The balance is smooth gray metal with random nicks and dings. Most of the screw heads remain in decent condition, with some damage to the slots of the mainspring tension screw and the small cylinder pin screw (in the barrel lug).
The mechanism works with unusual crispness, with precise cylinder indexing as the hammer is slowly drawn back into full cock. The cylinder lock-up is extremely tight, as this revolver appears to have been carried and handled, but not extensively fired. The hammer safety notch is not broken, and this position is required prior to releasing the barrel latch. The top-break mechanism functions properly with a tight barrel latch lock-up. Any extractor elevation can be released by pressing backward on the cam release (in front of trigger guard). That cam release is often found missing or poorly replaced, but this release remains intact with sharp checkering. The bore has six strong lands and grooves, and on a scale of 1 to 10, this bore qualifies for a 9 rating. The walnut grips fit nicely to the frame, show only minor nicks from normal handling, and were never sanded or refinished. As was the normal practice at Smith & Wesson, the inside of the right grip is stamped with the “27660” serial number. A butt screw was installed by the factory, as the original buyer did not want a lanyard ring. The barrel muzzle is crowned as all Americans should be, about 0.50” ahead of the barrel rib ending. The original “half moon” steel sight is pinned to the rib as originally done by Smith & Wesson.
Of the three calibers in which the S&W American was chambered, the 44 Russian is the only one that could be fired using modern components. The 44 Special case can be shortened from 1.16” to 0.970” and reloaded with its usual 0.429” internally-lubed lead bullets. Black powder would be the safest propellant, and in keeping with historical tradition.
A rare S&W American that is now 145 years old, and in superior condition to most. Comes with factory letter, the family record inside the grips, and an old sale page from Supica’s Arm Chair Gun Show .
No FFL required, can ship directly to purchaser.
No International sales. Not being sold as a shooter, but as a collector’s antique Smith & Wesson American. If you want to shoot any older gun, first take it to a competent gunsmith and have it checked out.
Three day inspection period, but ask questions prior to buying (see additional notes on returns at bottom). Additional pictures sent on request. Send me an email, and we can set up a phone call to discuss details of this antique gun.
See my 21 years of 100% positive feedback ratings on eBay (user name: victorio1sw). Member NRA, TGCA, CCA, RSA, and S&WCA.
I accept Bank Cashier’s Checks and Postal Money Orders. No personal checks or Western Union MO’s. Payment must be received within seven days after sale date, and sent by Priority Mail with Tracking Number provided by buyer. Shipping by USPS Registered Mail (12” x 12” x 5-1/2” priority box) with insurance $44.80 (and tracking number provided to buyer). Usually shipping occurs within 3 days after payment received.
Three (3) day Inspection and Return Policy: Only if returned Exactly as Received - Not Disassembled for Inspection, Not Tampered, Not Broken/Chipped/Scratched/Dented/Scuffed, or any Parts Switched. Any Original Documentation sent Must Be Returned with item.