I thought I was the cat's pajamas when I showed up at the Great Nor'Easter New England Regional this weekend with my New Model Number Three. Imagine my surprise when I spotted a pair of Russians in the holsters of another member of my posse. Then imagine my surprise when I realized they were the real thing, not modern reproductions.
I was all over him to examine them. I said I would love to get some photos. I was also hinting very heavily that I would love to get a chance to shoot them. We were both shooting our old Smiths with Black Powder and we compared loads when I noticed his loads were much louder than mine. turns out he was using about 26 grains of powder under a 240 grain bullet, while my load was much milder at only about 20 grains of powder under a 200 grain bullet.
Well, I never did get a chance to shoot his Russians, bummer. But at least I got some photos. The one at the top in the first two photos is one of the Japanese Navy contract guns. The one at the bottom of the photos is one of the guns that S&W licensed Ludwig and Loewe to make in Germany.
I got a pretty good photo of the Japanese Navy acceptance marking on the bottom of the frame of the Japanese gun.
I got an OK photo of the markings on the barrel. It turns out the gun was brought back from Japan by a GI at the end of WWII. Some Japanese officer was probably carrying his grandfather's gun. My friend bought it at auction a number of years ago. It was in a beat up old flap holster and appeared to be covered with rust. He got it for $800. When he got it home he started cleaning it, and it turned out the 'rust' was disintegrating leather and old oil. That's when the navy acceptance mark emerged. Turned out the bore and chambers were pristine.
The Ludwig and Loewe gun appears to have been refinished at some time. I got an OK but slightly out of focus photo of the markings on the top of the barrel. He did not tell me how much he paid for this one, but I told him if he ever wants to get rid of either one, to give me a call. He just smiled.