Lot #3122
Lot #3124

Lot 3123: U.S. Smith & Wesson "Oil Hole" Model 3 American Revolver

Scarce and Very Desirable Documented U.S. Ainsworth Inspected Smith & Wesson "Oil Hole" Model 3 American 1st Model Revolver

Auction Date: December 11, 2022

Lot 3123: U.S. Smith & Wesson "Oil Hole" Model 3 American Revolver

Scarce and Very Desirable Documented U.S. Ainsworth Inspected Smith & Wesson "Oil Hole" Model 3 American 1st Model Revolver

Auction Date: December 11, 2022

Estimated Price: $5,000 - $7,000
Price Realized:

Scarce and Very Desirable Documented U.S. Ainsworth Inspected Smith & Wesson "Oil Hole" Model 3 American 1st Model Revolver

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: 3 American
Type: Revolver
Gauge: 44 S&W American
Barrel: 8 inch solid rib
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Stock:
Item Views: 555
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 102
Class: Antique
Description:

This revolver is listed/documented by its serial number in the "Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson" by Jim Supica & Richard Nahas on page 91 and in "Smith & Wesson American Model" by Charles Pate on page 192 as one of the 1,000 Model 3s that was purchased by the U.S. government in 1871. Compounding the significance of this revolver is the rarely observed oil hole (located on the rear of the extractor housing on the bottom of the barrel lug) as found on the first 1,500 or so of this model. The barrel rib has the one-line S&W address/patent dates marking followed by "US." The frame carries the desirable U.S. Orville W. Ainsworth sub-inspector's "A" initial on the left side and a "P" proof on the right side next to the recoil shield. An additional "P" proof is marked on the right side of the barrel forward the hinge. An additional Ainsworth "A" is stamped on the left side of the top strap. A script letter "OWA" inspector's cartouche is marked on the left grip panel. The right grip panel is numbered to the gun. Matching assembly marks are found on the grip frame, cylinder, barrel, and barrel latch. The revolver is pictured and identified in Dean Boorman's "The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms" on pages 1 and 106 and was displayed at the NRA Single Action Shooting Society exhibit in 2015. The S&W American Model was the first cartridge revolver adopted by the U.S. military and saw use in the Indian Wars as it was reported to have been issued to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Cavalry. Surviving examples of U.S. martial Model 3 Americans, especially early production oil hole examples, are scarce and highly desirable in any condition. Provenance: The Supica Collection

Rating Definition:

Very good plus as one of the early 1,000 Smith & Wesson Model 3 American 1st Model Revolvers purchased by the U.S. government. The revolver remains in an as found condition with 25% of original blue finish remaining in the protected areas and grips with a couple small chips. The cartouche is legible. This revolver certainly has the look of seeing action in the Western frontier during the Indian Wars. Barrel latch does not hold spring tension, otherwise, mechanically excellent. An early U.S. oil hole Model 3 American highly sought after by collectors.



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