First Model 8" Nickel in box
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Transitional 8" Blue in box
Second model 6" Blue in original box
Third Model Perfected 10" Blue Olympic Chamber
In this special section of our website we will occasionally feature special items of interest. Items to include but not limited to Firearms, Edged Weapons, Vintage Ammunition, Fishing Collectables, Advertising, and other classic sporting related items. This section is for sharing information related to these unique collector’s items, and is here for everyone to enjoy…
In our inaugural offering we will share some photos and information pertaining to the Great classic Smith & Wesson Single Shot pistols manufactured between 1893 & 1936. They are better known to collectors as the First Model (Model of 1891 or Model of 91), Second Model, Third Model (Perfected) & Fourth Model (Straight Line). There are of course sub-models or Transitional model’s as they are known to more serious collectors, but we’ll keep it rather simple for this presentation and just stick with the specifics of the four factory designated models as they appeared in factory catalogs of the period. We wish to remind collectors that Smith & Wesson would consider almost any special request within reason years ago, so virtually anything within reason that pleased the customer cold be special ordered. There were also very skilled gunsmiths like H.M. Pope & A. Niedner and other craftsmen who customized these pistols to their customer’s requests, so each specimen should be evaluated individually to determine how and by whom any customization was performed.
The First Model was manufactured between 1893 & 1905 with as many as 1400 or so guns being completed. This also included some 90 or so combination sets where multiple caliber barrel assemblies were factory fitted to a single frame. These Combination sets came in many ways, and even included multiple calibers, with revolver assemblies, and with casings as well. They were manufactured in both blue and nickel finishes with barrel lengths of 6, 8, & 10” in calibers .22, .32, & .38 as well as possibly some others by custom order. We caution new collectors to only recognize such sets that are verified as original, as many such sets have been assembled outside the factory from spare parts. Consulting well known experts for their opinions can sometimes be helpful as well as obtaining proper factory documentation which can be most useful in determining originality of such unique sets.
The Second Model manufactured between 1905 & 1909 with as many as 4600 or so guns manufactured. They were manufactured in both blue and nickel finishes with standard barrel lengths of 8, & 10” in .22 caliber with.32, & .38 on special order as well utilizing parts left over from the first models as well as some other unique guns by special order such as 6” barrel models as shown.
The Third Model (Perfected) was manufactured between 1909 & 1923 with approximately 7000 or so guns being produced. They were manufactured in both blue and nickel finishes with barrel lengths of 6, 8, & 10” in .22 Caliber only but offered with a unique Olympic Chamber by order. This was a tighter than normal chamber that requires the cartridges to be forced into the chamber whereas the bullet was seated directly into the rifling for supreme accuracy. This was the only single shot that also had double action.
The Fourth Model (Straight Line) was manufactured between 1925 & 1936 with approximately 1870 guns manufactured. They were cataloged in blue finish only in .as well as in 22 caliber only with 10” barrels as the only barrel length. This gun was very unique in styling compared to the earlier models, as it looks much like a conventional semi-auto. It also had a unique swing-out barrel, and the hammer (How the gun got its name) that was cocked buy pulling it in a “Straight line” rearward. This model also came with a factory supplied casing that held the gun, a two piece blued steel cleaning rob with Ebony handle, and a sight adjustment (Screwdriver) tool. Case interior was fitted steel covered with felt cloth and each tool had a fitted slot and retainer. Outside of the case lid had an embossed S&W logo.
We welcome all questions or comments in regards to these special guns as well as any others of particular interest. As always, we are actively buying, selling, and trading guns like these on a regular basis. You can find our “Contact Us” link at the bottom of every page on our website.