Author Topic: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show  (Read 2710 times)

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« on: December 29, 2017, 10:54:48 am »
Howdy

A few months ago I attended a local gun show. Medium sized, lots of tables. I really wasn't looking for anything special except I needed targets and I knew the guy I usually buy them from would probably be at this show.

First stop I stopped at the table of a fellow S&W collector to see what he had for sale. He had a New Model #3 Target Model chambered for 32-44, the old target round. It did not function properly and I was not interested because that cartridge is no longer manufactured. Perhaps I could make up rounds from 32 S&W Long, but I really don't know. Anyway, I told him I really was not interested in it. He also had a Baby Russian in the box, but he wanted a lot of money for it, so I passed on that too.

When I got to the guy selling targets I realized like a dope I had forgotten my checkbook. No problem says I, I have been spending too much on guns recently anyway. So I bought the targets with cash and moved on. A couple of more items interested me, but not enough to make an offer, besides, I did not have my checkbook.

Then halfway through the show I spotted what I thought at first was a S&W Russian Model. I asked to see 'the Russian' but as I handled it I realized it was a New Model Number Three, and not a Russian. The dealer did not seem to know the difference, but I sure did. I inspected it very carefully. The finish had a good deal of wear, but the lock up was perfect, and the chambers and bores looked like it had just left the factory yesterday. I checked everything, checked everything for function and it was flawless. I asked him what he wanted for it, and he told me. Then I told him that like a dope I had forgotten my checkbook. He said he would be there all day.

So I raced through the rest of the show, making sure there was not anything else I was interested in. Then I jumped in my car and drove home 45 minutes to retrieve my checkbook. Another 45 minutes back, paying again to enter the show, I hoped it was still there.

It was. I was sure I had lost my bargaining position, since I was obviously panting to buy it. I asked again what he wanted, he gave me the same figure, and I asked if he would take $300 less. He said he would take $200 less and we sealed the deal.

Then I ran home with my new treasure. A S&W New Model Number Three, chambered for 44 Russian. A little bit of snooping found it shipped in 1896.








Since I fully intended to shoot it with Black Powder rounds, I stripped it down and did my normal preparation for a gun I intend to shoot with Black Powder rounds. Cleaned all the old oil and fouling out (there was very little fouling inside, I have since determined this gun has not been fired much). Then relubed everything with a light coating of Ballistol and buttoned it back up again.






I had a box of my Black Powder 44 Russian rounds on hand, so the next day (Sunday) I took it to the range to see how well it would do. Not too shabby. The one flier was probably my fault, not the gun's. I fired about 40 rounds through it to give it a good workout. The trigger is very heavy, but other than that it worked flawlessly. (Disclaimer: Even though the target says 25 yard slow fire, I was shooting a whole lot closer than that)






Took it home and cleaned it again that night.




I posted a few photos on the S&W Forum. I got some interesting tidbits. It seems that there was a large shipment of this model to Japan in 1896, and the speculation is that this one was part of that shipment. That may square with the odd marking next to the lanyard ring, which may or may not be a Japanese acceptance stamp.






A few days later there was a CAS match, and I decided it would be New Model Number Three day for me, since I already had a nickel plated 44 Russian NM#3 that left the factory in 1882. This one was refinished at the factory in 1965, so it looks brand new.






Both revolvers got a thorough workout that day, both finished the day nice and sooty.






A few days later I sent off a request for a factory letter on the blued one, to find out for sure if it was part of that large shipment to Japan. It should be interesting what the letter says.

The moral of the story is, you never know what you will find at a gun show, so don't forget your checkbook.

Or maybe it was fate that I didn't have my checkbook when I found this gem?????
That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline rbertalotto

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 11:26:34 am »
BEUTIFUL pair you have there! Nice find......

I picked up a #3 TARGET model a while back. Wrote an article for Single Shot Exchange magazine. Very interesting loading for the 38-44

http://rvbprecision.com/shooting/sw-3rd-model-target-38-44-reloading.html

Roy B
South of Boston
www.rvbprecision.com
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Offline Jake C

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 12:08:44 pm »
Howdy Driftwood,

Just wanted to say that I cannot get over how beautiful that revolver is. What a great find! I'm glad it's treating you well.
Win with ability, not with numbers.- Alexander Suvorov, Russian Field Marshal, 1729-1800

Offline rbertalotto

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 12:49:38 pm »
Hey Driftwood, I just realized it was you posting this thread. I believe you already have seen my #3 at the Tri-State in Harvard Ma last year?
Roy B
South of Boston
www.rvbprecision.com
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Offline Will Ketchum

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 02:33:24 pm »
Absolutely my favorite single action revolver. I traded my pair for a Beretta Laramie and a bunch of cash last year since I don't shoot much these days.

Will Ketchum
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Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2017, 08:56:32 am »
Hi Roy

Yes, that was me.

Here are the photos of your NMN3 that I took that day. I don't remember what you paid for it, but I do remember you stole it.



That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2017, 09:01:01 am »
To follow up:

The letter arrived just over two weeks later, not bad. Yes, it was part of a large shipment to Japan, and yes, it shipped with the butt swivel in place. I asked about the mark near the butt swivel, and included a photo, but there was no mention of that.



That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline The Pathfinder

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2017, 09:32:46 am »
Amazing that it left Mass to go to Japan in 1896, only to be found back in Mass in 2017. Wonder if it was a WWII bring back by some GI? Wouldn't that be a story to tell. Driftwood, I am officially jealous. I don't see any of the old Smiths around here at any of the gun shows anymore, all you see are black guns. Ohio Gun Collectors shows always have some beautiful pieces, but most are way out of my price range. Best I've been able to do was an old cut down first model Schofield someone brought to one of the local shops and I was able to jump on, and a cut down mixed number American bought online. Good luck with the old girl, and keep 'em shooting.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2017, 09:38:36 am by The Pathfinder »

Offline rbertalotto

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2017, 09:40:53 am »
I'm going to be thinning out the herd when I get back from Winter Range. My #3 will be available but I'd like it to go to someone who can appreciate it and knows what it is.  I'll figure out a price and let you folks know first.
Roy B
South of Boston
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SASS #93544

Offline OD#3

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2017, 11:00:59 pm »
What a fantastic find, and a great posting!  Couldn't have happened to a better guy.  And since it was you, we all get to live a little vicariously through your sharing about it here.  I've only seen one of these in the flesh in my price range, but it was bubba'd all to hell. 

Offline smokin6

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Re: You Never Know What You Are Going to Find at a Gun Show
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2019, 02:36:57 am »
Very nice S&W's!