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EARLY NIMSCHKE ENGRAVED SMITH & WESSON 22 RIMFIRE SINGLE ACTION, 1ST MODEL, 3RD ISSUE, ORIGINAL IVORY GRIPS
This little pocket revolver (#88840) received some special treatment. A nice coverage of mostly Scroll Engraving, plain Ivory grips, and originally finished off with Gold-plated Frame and Barrel, and a Nickel-plated Cylinder.
Both ivory grips are inked “88840” inside. The assembly number “H55” appears on rear of barrel, front of cylinder, and under right grip on the buttstrap. These assembly numbers are important, as they tie the frame to the original barrel and cylinder. No number is present on inside of sideplate, but the precision fit to the frame might pass a 50 PSI hydro test!! This level of machining at Smith & Wesson in the 1870’s should be the envy of any high-quality manufacturer, past or present.
Today this revolver has a pleasing even-gray-metal color, with bright gold found under grips and inside the sideplate. All factory markings are distinct, including the barrel address, serial number, and assembly numbers.
The mechanism works as it should, with good cylinder indexing as the hammer drawn back into full cock. The cylinder lock-up is achieved by a combination rear sight and lock bolt, as pinned into the topstrap. As the hammer is cocked, the rimfire firing pin on that hammer lifts the lock bolt/sight, and then allows it to fall again. This simple design proved to be very reliable and long-lasting. A hammer “half cock” or safety notch was not provided in this design, as it would have interfered with the lock bolt function. Its early users likely carried this gun with the hammer lowered on the 7th empty chamber. This revolver was intended for 22 short rimfire black powder cartridges. The top-break mechanism functions properly with a positive barrel latch. Of course, the bullet-nosed projection under the 3-3/16” barrel was intended for spent case ejection. The bore has five strong lands and grooves with a general shine throughout and only light pitting. The barrel muzzle is crowned as it should be, about 0.50” ahead of the barrel rib ending. The “half moon” steel sight is tightly pressed into the rib as originally done by Smith & Wesson.
The Factory Records note that 513 of these with 3-3/16” barrels were shipped on April 30, 1873 in a mixture of blue & nickel finish, with smooth rosewood grips. They were shipped to the prolific Smith & Wesson dealer, M. W. Robinson Company in New York City. Roy Jinks in that letter also states that Robinson contracted out the engraving and ivory (pearl) grips, “as was the standard practice for filling special orders”. I might add that among the New York engravers were some of the best and most-accomplished in the world. A high percentage of these skilled engravers immigrated from Germany. The pattern of engraving on this revolver is attributed to Louis Nimschke, and he did work in New York during this time.
A rare engraved S&W tip-up Single Action that is now 146 years old, and in attractive all-original condition. Comes with the Smith & Wesson factory letter, as signed by Roy Jinks.
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. 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 please ask questions prior to buying (see additional notes on returns at bottom). Additional pictures sent on request. Contact me by email with request for pictures, or with questions. We can then also set up a phone call to discuss all details of this antique gun.
See my 21 years of 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 (13” x 7” x 7” box) with insurance $34.40 (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.