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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to the forum - Appreciate any help! Looking for more info on this revolver. I just bought a .44 S&W Russian, 6.5" barrel. Barrel stamped in 'russian' I suppose; the number 53120 is stamped on barrel and bottom of handle. Wood grip.
Questions:
Year made?
Is it Model 3?
Any historical information specific to this production? (I've read about all the varieties of this model, just don't know what applies to this one)
Is there ammo other than ".44 Russian" that can be shot from this?
Was this originally blued?
Is this considered 'good' condition?
Where can replacement parts be purchased?
Is it a bad idea to clean or polish the outside?
Thanks for any help, much appreciated!
504261
504262
 

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Welcome to the forums from the Wiregrass! Yes, your .44 Russian revolver is a 3rd Model. It appears to be a Russian contract gun from the stampings on the top strap. The serial number puts it around 1878 for a manufacture date. It chambers .44 Russian cartridges and you can shoot modern smokeless cartridges if you can find any and the gun is in good condition. Prvi Partizan made some a few years ago. Yes, the gun was originally blued. You can clean the gun but don't try to polish it or you will destroy some of the remaining bluing and reduce the value. The only way to find replacement parts is to locate a collector who has either scavenged parts or had parts made. Things like screws and springs are fairly easy to find, but more elaborate parts like hammers and triggers are problematic.

This is my .44 Russian, Model 3 Commercial from 1874 with the remnants of its original holster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's very helpful Wiregrassguy, thank you!
Does "Schofield Model" or "New Model 3" apply to this gun?
When buying ammo, is ".44 Russian" the only cartridge it will fire?
Does "Russian contract" gun mean it's safe to assume it was sent to Russia at some point? Or did some of these never leave the US?
Is there a recommended safe solvent to use for cleaning? Nitro solvent? Standard gun oil?
Does anyone have a link to the best detailed resource for any of these questions?
Does anyone know what the inscription on the barrel reads? (see photo)
504282

Thank you for any help!
 

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Does "Schofield Model" or "New Model 3" apply to this gun?
It's a 3rd model, not a Schofield.

When buying ammo, is ".44 Russian" the only cartridge it will fire?
Yes. Try AmmoSeek
.44 S&W Russian Ammo

Does "Russian contract" gun mean it's safe to assume it was sent to Russia at some point? Or did some of these never leave the US?
Russian Contract means it was made for the Russian Government. Can't say if they took delivery of this particular gun.

Is there a recommended safe solvent to use for cleaning? Nitro solvent? Standard gun oil?
Any good nitro solvent (Hoppe's etc.), followed by gun oil will be fine.

If cleaning it for the first time, remove the grips, get some spray brake cleaner and spray liberally into every orifice until it comes out clean and let drip dry. Then get some Breakfree CLP and spray liberally into every orifice and drip dry. wipe down with dry patches to leave a light oil coating.
 

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S&W model naming/numbering system was somewhat convoluted. The first cartridge handgun they made was the Model 1 in .22 short. Then, they made the larger Model 2 in .32 rimfire. These were both tip up to reload revolvers. Then, they brought out the .32 centerfire top break and called it the Model 1-1/2 because it was sized between the Model 1 and Model 2. S&W wanted a large caliber handgun so they created the Model 3 .44 American. The Russians wanted the .44 for their army but didn't like some aspects of the .44 American including the cartridge, the lack of a prawl (knuckle) on the backstrap, the square butt frame and lack of a secondary finger rest on the trigger guard. So, S&W created the .44 S&W Russian cartridge and revolver using the Model 3 single action, round butt frame.

S&W sold some of the .44 Americans to the US Army. However, they required two hands to break open and were difficult for the cavalry soldier to reload during action. So, a military officer named Schofield re-designed the barrel latch to allow the gun to be reloaded with one hand. The Army also wanted the guns chambered in .45 caliber so S&W, who hated Colt and was lothe to chamber one of their guns in .45 Colt, created the .45 S&W cartridge which was a short version of the .45 Colt. They then created the .45 Schofield handgun based on the Model 3 American square butt frame. So, although the .44 Russian and .45 Schofield were both large, single action Model 3 frames, they are different handguns.

The New Model #3 is a large frame, single action revolver that is considerably different in design from the Model 3 Russian and American. You could say it "improved" the Model 3 design. It was primarily chambered for .44 Russian but also was chambered for a wide range of calibers. The New Model #3 was the last large frame, single action top break S&W handgun and was marketed until S&W designed the .44 Special cartridge and triple lock, swing out cylinder handgun in 1908.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So here's some new info - turns out my son can read Russian. The barrel says: "Ludwig Loewe Co., Berlin, Germany". So this would for sure have been manufactured by "Ludwig Loewe Co., Berlin, Germany", right? Yet, the previous owner says the serial number (53120) is recorded in the S & W catalog...I have not verified this.
Is c. 1878 still a correct mfg date?
Does it being made in Germany raise or lower the value?
I know value is whatever someone is willing to pay....I just want to properly care for the gun and be able to use it. But I need a ballpark idea of the dollar value. Looking online at auctions, everything I see is a little different in some small way, and I don't know what differences are for the good vs bad.
Also, look at the first pic that shows the holster - know anything about that? It's canvas shell w/leather straps.
Again, thank you all for the help!
 

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• Ludwig Loewe copies: Not made by S&W, a copy of the 3rd Model Russian made by the German firm of Ludwig Loewe for the Russian government, Cyrillic barrel markings, will bring almost as much as a S&W Cyrillic Russian contract gun. Commercial Ludwig Loewe revolvers with the markings in English are more scarce, and may bring a bit more. It has been reported that Ludwig Loewe copies marked with “RA” inside the letter “Q” on the rear of the barrel rib may have been revolvers made for the Argentine military. It is also known that Ludwig Loewe made copies in .44 rimfire, and .44-40 chambered models have been reported (although the design would have to be modified considerably to accept the latter cartridge). Values similar to S&W produced guns.

(SCSW, 4th Edition, Page 110-111).

Exc+ ..Exc ...Fine ..VG Good Fair Poor
9,000 6,000 3000 2250 1100 900 600

(Page 110).
The values quoted above are 7 years old now. I would put your gun in the "Good" category but value it up near VG. Your best bet is to go to gunbroker.com and check the completed auctions for what they are selling for contemporaneously.
 
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