The accompanying factory letter states this revolver had a 6 inch barrel, blue finish, and checkered black hard rubber grips when shipped on September 20, 1886 and delivered to M.W. Robinson of New York City. In the factory letter S&W Historian Roy Jinks provided further information: "The revolver was rebarreled and reblued by Smith & Wesson in April of 1930." There is speculation that the work was specifically carried out for famed target shooter and firearms designer Walter F. Roper, who is perhaps most famous for his designer grips. Evidence suggesting the revolver was reworked for Roper is found in the two labels featured on the interior of the included 1920s S&W patent type box. One label reads, "THE MAN THAT MADE THE NEW BARREL POSSIBLE." The second label provides Roper's address ("WALTER F. ROPER/95 BENEDICT TERRACE/LONGMEADOW, MASS") along with "Smith & Wesson/Springfield/Mass" in pencil. Jinks addresses the probable rework for Roper in the factory letter: "However, there is no record of the work on this revolver in company files in either April or May of 1930. The last entry for Walter Roper was in 1929 when he was working as Sales Manager of the company. This is not a surprise since I would have suspected that the work would have been done free and therefore there would not be an invoice...This revolver, when I examined, it was in a repair return box which would have been added when the revolver was completed in the Service Department." The 8 inch barrel is an unusual feature for this model, likely made to meet Roper's specifications. Standard barrel lengths for this model were 4, 5, 6, or 6 1/2 inches. The barrel is marked "44 S&W CTG" on the left side. The barrel rib has the one-line address. The revolver has the long 1 9/16 inch cylinder as found on examples above serial number 15340. The left side of the grip frame has a S&W factory diamond "B" refinish mark and a S&W factory April 1930 ("4 30") return date. Matching serial numbers are on the butt, cylinder, barrel, and barrel latch. The revolver is pictured in the 4th edition of Supica and Nahas' "Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson" on page 29. Provenance: The Supica Collection
Very fine, retaining 97% of the factory reapplied blue finish with some muzzle wear and a few patches of gray on the cylinder. 95% of the case colors remain on the hammer and trigger. The grips are fine with some minor handling marks and some wear along the top of the checkering. Mechanically excellent. The repaired box is fair. A very interesting 8 inch barrel S&W .44 Double Action First Model Revolver linked to renown firearms inventor Walter Roper.
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