Smith & Wesson firearms
Smith & Wesson firearms are guns produced by American firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson since 1852.
Background & history of production
In 1852, Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a company in order to produce a lever-action pistol known as the Volcanic pistol. The company was known as the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company, and due to financial difficulty was taken over by Oliver Winchester. In 1856, Smith and Wesson left the company and began to manufacture the Smith & Wesson Model I, a newly designed cartridge revolver. The Model I utilised a bored through cylinder to accept self-contained metallic cartridges, the invention patented by Rollin White and rejected by Smith & Wesson’s competitor Colt.
Smith & Wesson were the only company to manufacture White’s design for over a decade. The onset of the American Civil War saw a huge demand for Smith & Wesson’s products, particularly the Smith & Wesson Model II.
In 1867, Smith & Wesson began a global sales campaign to introduce their revolvers and ammunition to worldwide markets such as Russia. This was so successful that they established the company as one of the world’s premier firearm manufacturers. The Smith & Wesson Model III became known as the Russian Model. The U.S. Army also took up the Model III as the Schofield, after the adaptations of Major George W Schofield, using it throughout the Indian Wars.
Smith & Wesson are well known for the many type of ammunition they are responsible for introducing, such as the .22 short, .32 S&W short and long, .32-44 S&W, .38 S&W, .38-44 S&W, .38 S&W Special, .357 S&W Magnum, and so on.
In 1964, the company passed out of Wesson family control and was owned by several conglomerates.
Modern reproductions of antique and vintage Smith & Wesson firearms are common, some made by the Smith & Wesson company themselves. The difference can usually be discerned by the fact that on these new modern reproductions, the firing pin is frame-mounted instead of being an integral part of the hammer.
Smith & Wesson have been popular firearms throughout history. They are more valuable when connected with a significant historical event or person.
Notable auction sales
- Historic Smith & Wesson revolver, used at the killing of John Dillinger, sold for $17,550 at Bonhams in November 2007
- Rare pair of Turkish presentation .44 Russian gold-decorated centre-fire revolvers of Smith & Wesson, new model III, sold for £18,000 at Bonhams in April 2007.
- Pair of Nimschke-style engraved Smith & Wesson Model II Revolvers, sold for $25,000 at Cowan’s Auctions in May 2012.
- Smith & Wesson U.S. Contract Second Model Schofield revolver, sold for $35,000 at Rock Island Auction in April 2012.
- Cased English engraved Smith & Wesson double action revolver, circa 1881, sold for $40,250 at Heritage Auctions in September 2011.
- Unique elaborately engraved Smith & Wesson Model II revolver, sold for $172,500 at a James D Julia auction in March 2006.
- Engraved and Gold inlaid Model II Smith & Wesson, sold for $195,500 at a James d Julia auction in March 2006.
- Rare pair of Smith & Wesson No. 1, second issue, spur trigger gold inlaid revolvers, engraved and presentation inscribed by Gustave Young for John A. Rice, sold for $207,000 at a James D. Julia auction in March 2006.
Notable models of Smith & Wesson firearms
- Smith & Wesson Volcanic, caliber .31 (1854-1855)
- Smith & Wesson Model I, caliber .22
- Smith & Wesson Model II (American Civil War model)
- Smith & Wesson Model III (Russian Model)
- Smith & Wesson .44 Hand Ejector 1st Model New Century chambered for .455 (Used by British troops in WWI)
- Smith & Wesson .38 Special Model 1899 Military and Police Hand Ejector
- Smith & Wesson M1917, caliber .45
- Smith & Wesson Model 10, caliber .38
- Smith & Wesson Model 1913 pistol
- Smith & Wesson Model 39 double action pistol
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