Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 306: W.E. Carlin's Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Target Revolver

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Exceptional Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Target Revolver Inscribed to S&W Factory Friend and Shooter W.E. Carlin with Box and Factory Letter

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $8,500

Exceptional Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Target Revolver Inscribed to S&W Factory Friend and Shooter W.E. Carlin with Box and Factory Letter

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: New Model No 3
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 S&W Russian
Barrel: 6 1/2 inch solid rib
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 571
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 161
Class: Antique

The accompanying factory letter confirms the 6 1/2 inch barrel, blue finish and checkered wood grips. This target variation of the New Model No. 3 was shipped on April 8, 1914 (all frames were manufactured by 1898) and delivered to W.E. Carlin. Carlin's name and the year 1914 are inscribed on the back strap: "W.E. CARLIN, 1914." In the factory letter S&W historian Roy Jinks identified W.E. Carlin as "an active shooter and friends with the management of the S&W Factory." Although the inscription is not listed in the factory records, Carlin's friendly relationship with the S&W factory led Jinks to concluded that the personalized backstrap was engraved at the S&W factory. Included is a copy of a target shot by Carlin with a New Model No. 3 at 50 yards as well as a copy of his signed presentation inscription found in the scrap book he presented to leading handgun expert A.C. Gould. For many years this scrapbook of targets shot at from various distances was part of the Wesson family and S&W archives. At the turn of the century, Carlin tested scoped handguns for S&W and wrote the chapter The Theory of Rifle-Shooting to the book "Guns, Ammunition & Tackle" (1904). In his book "Modern American Pistols and Revolvers," A.C. Gould provided the reader with illustrations of targets shot by Carlin with a ".44 Caliber Smith & Wesson revolver". The revolver has a pinned blade front sight, square notch adjustable rear sight, one-line barrel rib legend, 1 7/16 inch cylinder, "44 S&W CTG" stamped on the left side of the barrel, and matching serial numbers on the butt, cylinder, barrel and barrel latch. Caliber marked New Model No. 3s, like this example, are rarely encountered. With the period correct S&W green box with end label listing blue finish and 6 1/2 inch barrel.

Rating Definition:

Excellent, retaining 98% plus original blue finish with a cylinder drag line and some minor handling evidence. Nearly all original case colors remain on the hammer and trigger guard. The grips are also excellent with overall crisp checkering. Mechanically excellent. The box is very fine with a repaired corner, minimal wear and most of the end label remaining.

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