This is a S&W Baby Russian Revolver in caliber .38 S&W still in its original Smith and Wesson box. Its official name is the "38 Single Action 1st Model Revolver" as this was Smith and Wesson's very first pocket revolver with a top break action. The Baby Russian was produced for only a short time during the years 1875-76 with a distinctive elongated ejector rod housing located beneath the barrel. S&W quickly improved the design, the housing was shortened, and the 2nd Model was born in 1877 and was produced until 1891. Just over 25,000 of these First Models were produced, compared to over 108,000 of the Second Models.
This particular gun is in the low 5,000 serial range with nickel finish, early style checkered hard rubber grips with the plain S&W logo. All matching numbers. Baby Russians were offered only in 3-1/4" and 4" barrels...this gun having the somewhat less common 4" variant. Patent dates atop the barrel rib run from 1865 through the year 1875.
Overall, NRA Antique Excellent Condition retaining 98% original nickel plating overall. Markings are perfect. 75% original blue on latch with 70% faded case colors remaining on the hammer. Grips are in Very Good condition showing some wear to the checkering with nice fit to the metal. The mechanics are perfect with a near mint bore. Very Good screws and pins throughout.
This little S&W picture box has done a great job protecting this gun through parts of three different centuries. It's in Fair condition with a good image of the S&W Baby Russian Revolver on the lid with flaking along the extreme edges. There is a complete set of directions located on the bottom side of the lid inside the box. The green walls on the exterior of the box show quite a bit of discoloration while the top edge of the lid shows some damage where some bored attic mouse chewed off some of the edge. Someone repaired the damage by bracing the edge with a green piece of cardboard...which could be greatly improved if desired. All in all, the box is not the best we've seen but then again for a gun that was made just prior to General Custer's defeat in 1876, how many 136 year old revolvers do you see still in their original boxes today? This is a great example of an early Boxed S&W Revolver at a fraction of the cost for a comparable Colt with its original box.