Offered here is an incredibly unusual, high quality, one-of-a-kind S&W New Model No. 3 single shot conversion pistol made for the famed late 19th and early 20th century marksman and Olympian Walter Winans. As confirmed in the factory letter this New Model No. 3 left the factory as a single action revolver with a 6 ½ inch barrel in .44 S&W Russian caliber, blue finish and checkered black hard rubber grips on August 25, 1887 and shipped to W&B Scott & Sons, Birmingham, England. The revolver was subsequently converted to a single shot pistol for Winans. Winans’ “WW” initials are engraved behind the hammer above the caliber marking “44.” This is a high quality conversion showing all the characteristics of being done by an esteemed English gunsmith. The conversion replaced the 6 ½ inch barrel with a longer 8 inch barrel with ejector, removed the cylinder, and added a gracefully shaped full length walnut forearm that extends into the cylinder cavity and is fitted with a wide brass band at the muzzle. With the exception of two British proofs, the barrel is unmarked. The left side of the frame is marked with a final London proof. The pistol is fitted with a pinned blade front sight, a “U” notch rear sight, target hammer, serrated trigger and checkered grips. The blade sight is slightly bent to the right, likely adjusted for sighting by Winans himself. The serial number on the butt has been partially removed by a drilled and tapped hole for an absent lanyard ring. The original serial number “21977” is clearly visible on the barrel latch. Winans participated in the 1908 and 1912 Summer Olympics and won a total of two Olympic shooting medals: a Gold in 1908 and a Silver in 1912. He authored ten books including "The Art of Revolver Shooting," "Practical Rifle Shooting" and "Automatic Pistol Shooting." Apart from his shooting successes, Winans was a noted horse breeder and sculptor who exhibited his art 14 times at the British Royal Academy and won an Olympic Gold Medal in the Arts Competition in 1912 for his statuette "An American Trotter." He is the only American to win medals in both art and sport at the Olympics. His Olympic career was not without controversy. At the 1908 Olympics, Winans' eligibility as an American competitor was questioned because he had never set foot in the United States. Winans was born to American parents in St. Petersburg, Russia where he lived for the first 18 years of his life. Before taking up residence in England, Winans took the oath of allegiance at the U.S. Embassy. He did not visit the U.S. until he was 58 years old. To compete at the Olympic Games, Winans was required to swear his allegiance to the U.S. Consul General. Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection
Very good, retaining 70% of the period brown finish with the balance a smooth gray patina. The forearm is also very good with a number of minor dings and scratches. The grips are fine showing some minor handling marks and crisp checkering overall. Mechanically excellent. This one-of-a-kind New Model No. 3 single shot pistol is a true work of master craftsmanship made even more desirable as it was owned by renowned marksman Walter Winans. A definite must have for the serious S&W collector looking for something out of the ordinary!
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