This is a very attractive S&W Model 1, 3rd Issue Revolver and it's a bit fancier than most, sporting a nickel-plated finish and a gorgeous pair of mother of pearl grips that have survived in fantastic condition. This gun is almost IDENTICAL to the one pictured in Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms...right down to the tiger strips in the pearl handle. See pg. 217 of the ninth edition. It comes with its original lambskin carry pouch.
The Model One was S&W's first revolver introduced in 1857. This was a landmark achievement as it was the first cartridge gun to be produced here in North America. All guns produced here in the USA today can trace their roots back to this little .22 revolver. That said, there were three variations of the Model One which we call 1st (1857-60), 2nd (1860-1868), and 3rd Issues (1868-1881). This particular gun is a 3rd Issue which has a more streamlined appearance than its predecessors. It also had its own dedicated sequence of serial numbers as it did not continue from the 2nd Issue...rather, it started back over at 1 and ran through 131,000 when production stopped in 1881. This one is in the 57,000 range which would most likely date it to the early to mid-1870's.
NRA Antique Excellent Condition Overall with 97% original nickel remaining on the frame, 99% on the barrel, and the cylinder about 85% with some bubbling. Smaller components like the hammer, trigger, and ejector rod, have nickel in the 90-95% range. This one was a bear to photograph as I don't feel the images did this one justice. Simply put, the gun appears much nicer in person. The pearl grips are original to this gun and fit the frame like a glove with no overlap or under-sizing. Best of all, they're in Excellent shape, having never been chipped or cracked. I can't count how many wonderful examples of antique revolvers we run into with broken pearl grips. All it took was one careless fall or in many cases, someone simply over-tightening the grip screw half a turn past the point where they were snug resulting in that all too common CRACK we often see right across the middle through the escutcheon. I finally worked up the courage to check inside and they're perfect both inside and out...even the fragile holes for the guide pins are perfect. Excellent mechanics. Good+ Bore with strong rifling. No rings or bulges. Nice attractive later example of the famous Model One S&W!
Words of Wisdom: Over the years, many an owner of these early S&W's has attempted to fire them using modern smokeless .22 caliber ammunition. The results are often catastrophic, resulting in a cracked or ruptured cylinder and a blown frame hinge which results in the barrel flying off in some other direction, which you get to go look for after you finish removing the shrapnel from your hand. This is especially true of the 1st and 2nd Issue Model ones with the softer brass frames. Some years ago, I received a first-hand account from a man who fifty years earlier had managed to nearly destroy a rare 1st Issue Model One with just a single round of .22 short High Velocity ammo. While the quality of these guns was high, please don't let that misguide you. 19th century metallurgy is no match for modern smokeless ammunition. That said: All guns we sell regardless of condition are sold as Antique Collectibles Only.