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S&w new model 3 questions


Hampton Bogs
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Any old school s&w collectors in here? Have a few questions. I have this new model 3 that’s been refinished at some point and is missing a screw. I first thought it was chambered in 44 s&w Russian but after further research it’s 44 s&w American. I guess the spur was a custom order option or added after the fact. No big deal as I was planning on loading that caliber at some point anyway. I have a CH4D die set and 41 special brass to convert. Just at some point when I have the money and time I’ll need a brass trimmer, crimp die for the heeled bullet and a bullet source as I don’t cast my own. I see moulds available and the crimp die for heeled bullets. I already load 44 s&w Russian in black powder. Any known sources for bullets? An affordable trimmer recommendation? Just making a list for when it’s time to get to work on it. Thanks. 


Now to the gun. It has light pitting in the barrel and more than light pitting in the chambers that I hope won’t be a problem. I’ll find out later I guess(photos included) It functions and is timed perfectly and locks up like a bank vault. It is not numbers matching and is missing a screw. Any source to look up manufacturing date by serial number on the grip/frame? I believe they were discontinued in 1915? Anyone know where I can find the right screw?(probably a long shot) At least it’s only one of the side plate screws and not one needed to function. Thanks.

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Some thoughts...

 

As it is a refinished parts gun (possible not all the same model) make life easier, get a chamber reamer & ream the chambers to .44 Russian.

That should take care of the rough chambers which could be hard on the brass & on extraction and the extractor.

 

Heeled outside bullets are a pain between the crimping & lubing & then transporting & using it becomes a chore.

The money you will save not having to buy dies, mold & lube-sizer die will more than offset the reamer cost or even having it done.

This is especially true since you already load .44 Russian.

 

A fair number of Americans were rechambered to Russians after the .44 Russian cartridge came out.

I have a 1st model American that had that done to it along with cutting the barrel to about 5 inch.

 

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In 2015, I had a screw made for a Model 3. It was the center screw in the side plate. If you want the information on the person that made the screw, let me know. It cost a whole $15 including shipping!

 

image.png.6f049b3e987ab28a826594683639fc2e.png

 

I also have a file with the screw dimensions.

 

image.png.a8439b239b2c504730124acff12e42ef.png

 

image.png.9fbfa5567ba743d7696a488537606c43.png

Edited by Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L
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Something else to consider is using regular .429" bullets but with a hollow base.   Load it inside the case in the conventional manner, and the hollow base will expand to engage the rifling.   This is how I load .38 Long Colt, for example, and it works quite well.

 

All Model 3's were manufactured prior to 1898 and are considered antiques.  It just took them a few more years to sell them all off.   I'd get the gun lettered for sure.  Hopefully Driftwood will chime in, as he knows a lot about these old S&W's, and he will know if what I am about to say is correct; I believe the Russian model was available in .44 American.


For the record, your gun is NOT a "New Model 3."  That is a specific model that S&W created after discontinuing the America, Russian and Schofield models.

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4 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Something else to consider is using regular .429" bullets but with a hollow base.   Load it inside the case in the conventional manner, and the hollow base will expand to engage the rifling.   This is how I load .38 Long Colt, for example, and it works quite well.

 

All Model 3's were manufactured prior to 1898 and are considered antiques.  It just took them a few more years to sell them all off.   I'd get the gun lettered for sure.  Hopefully Driftwood will chime in, as he knows a lot about these old S&W's, and he will know if what I am about to say is correct; I believe the Russian model was available in .44 American.


For the record, your gun is NOT a "New Model 3."  That is a specific model that S&W created after discontinuing the America, Russian and Schofield models.

It’s not a New model 3? Everything but the triggerguard spur made me think it was. The grip hump looks nothing like any Russian I know. But I am green to these so anything I say isn’t concrete. I’m all open to be educated and have books recommended to me as well. 

39 minutes ago, Earl Brasse, SASS #3562 said:

Some thoughts...

 

As it is a refinished parts gun (possible not all the same model) make life easier, get a chamber reamer & ream the chambers to .44 Russian.

That should take care of the rough chambers which could be hard on the brass & on extraction and the extractor.

 

Heeled outside bullets are a pain between the crimping & lubing & then transporting & using it becomes a chore.

The money you will save not having to buy dies, mold & lube-sizer die will more than offset the reamer cost or even having it done.

This is especially true since you already load .44 Russian.

 

A fair number of Americans were rechambered to Russians after the .44 Russian cartridge came out.

I have a 1st model American that had that done to it along with cutting the barrel to about 5 inch.

 

Can you recommend a place that could do that? 

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7 minutes ago, H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619 said:

Something else to consider is using regular .429" bullets but with a hollow base.   Load it inside the case in the conventional manner, and the hollow base will expand to engage the rifling.   This is how I load .38 Long Colt, for example, and it works quite well.

 

All Model 3's were manufactured prior to 1898 and are considered antiques.  It just took them a few more years to sell them all off.   I'd get the gun lettered for sure.  Hopefully Driftwood will chime in, as he knows a lot about these old S&W's, and he will know if what I am about to say is correct; I believe the Russian model was available in .44 American.


For the record, your gun is NOT a "New Model 3."  That is a specific model that S&W created after discontinuing the America, Russian and Schofield models.

That I knew with the frames being made prior just didn’t know if they kept records to when it was assembled. Think it’s worth a letter with 3 different serials on the gun? Kinda a mixed bag gun. I have a few colts with letters. 

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45 minutes ago, Earl Brasse, SASS #3562 said:

Some thoughts...

 

As it is a refinished parts gun (possible not all the same model) make life easier, get a chamber reamer & ream the chambers to .44 Russian.

That should take care of the rough chambers which could be hard on the brass & on extraction and the extractor.

 

Heeled outside bullets are a pain between the crimping & lubing & then transporting & using it becomes a chore.

The money you will save not having to buy dies, mold & lube-sizer die will more than offset the reamer cost or even having it done.

This is especially true since you already load .44 Russian.

 

A fair number of Americans were rechambered to Russians after the .44 Russian cartridge came out.

I have a 1st model American that had that done to it along with cutting the barrel to about 5 inch.

 

That’s my dream model 3. An 8” American in 44 Russian. Maybe some day. I’ve had a 44spl cimarron repro on preorder over a year. It won’t do as well with blackpowder as originals but it’ll still be meat to shoot the Russian through it until it fouls up like my repro schofield with bp 45 schofield. 

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"Model 3" was a designation for the size of the frame.  The American, Russian, Schofield, New Model 3, and Model 3 DA were all "Model 3's" based on their frame size.

This is an American.  (Modern reproduction.)

American.thumb.jpg.fbad8865c9bbb4ac0c5e82a4e3c41ffa.jpg

 

I don't have a Russian.   But hope to get one some day.

This is a Schofield  (Modern Reproduction)

 

Schofield.thumb.jpg.9bce68ad5afe4fd9d08eb962c0d1b096.jpg

 

Unique to the Schofield is the latch release.

This is also a Schofield.  An actual Smith and Wesson, but a modern made one.  

Schofield.thumb.JPG.e8d2ddaba3b215c0cec7c52f97e3fe26.JPG

 

And I can't resist, but for the record, this is a Scofield.   The lack of an H makes a difference.

 

Scofield.thumb.JPG.46a03b1a7357d30fbbbb785bf54bb999.JPG

 

This is a New Model 3, an actual S&W.  This is a "regular" one.

 

1170732207_NewModel3.thumb.jpg.6b2128dc32ede4b089c9c51a2ba06873.jpg

 

This is also a New Model 3, a target model.

 

NM338.thumb.JPG.ecbc026d585a0e15402c483ca9872b57.JPG

 

And this is a Model 3 DA.

 

802015970_Model3DA.thumb.jpg.12c8fcd1cd587420a944c071a407ac4d.jpg4

 

 

Looking more closely at the gun in the OP, I think it is a "custom" job.  The trigger guard is without a doubt from a Russian, but the frame and barrel are clearly from a New Model 3.   (I shoulda looked more closely.   The trigger spur confused me!)  Was the trigger guard a special order from the factory, or did some previous owner install it himself?   Might be worth a letter, which may or may not say.   Either way, you absolutely have a mystery on your hands, and you know, it's a pretty cool one.  :)

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Wouldn't know anyone in your area.

I believe it is a fairly simple thing to do or have done.

You would want to measure the chambers to see where they are now. 

While you are at it measure the throats & the bore to see what you have to deal with.

They might be bored straight thru?

 

If the bore is way oversized then a hollow base bullet like Uriah mentioned even in .44 Russian may be the best bet.

Before buying a mold though I'd try some 1:20 lead bullets in a mold you have to see how well it shoots. (once rechambered)

 

If I remember right numbered parts would be barrel, barrel latch, cylinder & maybe extractor, hammer, sideplate , triggerguard, frame & grips.

 

With the caliber stamping on the barrel it should be .44 Russian.

I would venture a guess that the cylinder is the odd man out along with the triggerguard.

I believe the Russians had lanyard rings as a standard & don't see evidence of a filled hole as the serial # is there.

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20 minutes ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

 

HB - From pg 22 of the document I sent:

 

image.png.81df17f0adbe1cec982e4b4b9ddcce97.png

Why do you think the rounds won’t fit in the chambers then? They stop about a thousandth maybe less. One or 2 chambers they drop into. Since the serial doesn’t match maybe it’s a different cylinder. I need to find a gunsmith who can look at it. And get that screw made. I definitely think I may need work on the pitted chambers or a new cylinder maybe. 

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15 minutes ago, Hampton Bogs said:

Why do you think the rounds won’t fit in the chambers then? They stop about a thousandth maybe less. One or 2 chambers they drop into. Since the serial doesn’t match maybe it’s a different cylinder. I need to find a gunsmith who can look at it. And get that screw made. I definitely think I may need work on the pitted chambers or a new cylinder maybe. 

 

Pitting / corrosion?

 

This is the barrel marking on my New Model 3 and 44 Russian cartridges fit fine. However, the cylinder and bore are pristine.

 

image.thumb.png.8993650d963fde3826c4f231bda300ce.png

 

BTW - The S/N is 3424x, very close to yours.

Edited by Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L
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I think it may be your .44 Russian ammo.

Try putting a resized empty case in the chambers.

If the resized case fits then you can start down that trail.

 

It may be that your crimp is causing a slight bulge.

 

What bullet are you using?

 

Starline .44 Russian brass is thick & if you are using a .429 bullet, the bullet may be too big.

Trying a .427 may work.

If your bore is ,429 -.430 if your bullet is soft (1:20 tin/lead) it will bump up with a good charge of BP.

A hollow-base bullet would bump up as well but more cost & work than usually needed for a small increase.

 

An example of a hollow-base working would be in an inside-lubed .41 Long Colt.

Bullet .386 up to chamber mouth .410 back down to a .403 bore.

 

 

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50 minutes ago, Earl Brasse, SASS #3562 said:

I think it may be your .44 Russian ammo.

Try putting a resized empty case in the chambers.

If the resized case fits then you can start down that trail.

 

It may be that your crimp is causing a slight bulge.

 

What bullet are you using?

 

Starline .44 Russian brass is thick & if you are using a .429 bullet, the bullet may be too big.

Trying a .427 may work.

If your bore is ,429 -.430 if your bullet is soft (1:20 tin/lead) it will bump up with a good charge of BP.

A hollow-base bullet would bump up as well but more cost & work than usually needed for a small increase.

 

An example of a hollow-base working would be in an inside-lubed .41 Long Colt.

Bullet .386 up to chamber mouth .410 back down to a .403 bore.

 

 

Im going to run a 200gr .430 bullet down the bore tomorrow and measure it. All my handloads are .430 240gr or 200gr .430. Don’t have any loose 240gr they’re all loaded up in 44 russian or 44-40 brass. Could the bore be that tight? I thought original 44 Russian bores were .429 and only 44-40 was .427. So you use .430 on 44 russian and .428 on 44-40. But for commonality modern 44-40’s are .429 as well. My only 44-40 is a reproduction winchester 1873 and it uses the same .430 bullets. Thanks for all your help thus far. I’m sure I’ll have more questions as we continue the conversation/thread. 

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15 hours ago, Earl Brasse, SASS #3562 said:

Some thoughts...

 

As it is a refinished parts gun (possible not all the same model) make life easier, get a chamber reamer & ream the chambers to .44 Russian.

That should take care of the rough chambers which could be hard on the brass & on extraction and the extractor.

 

Heeled outside bullets are a pain between the crimping & lubing & then transporting & using it becomes a chore.

The money you will save not having to buy dies, mold & lube-sizer die will more than offset the reamer cost or even having it done.

This is especially true since you already load .44 Russian.

 

A fair number of Americans were rechambered to Russians after the .44 Russian cartridge came out.

I have a 1st model American that had that done to it along with cutting the barrel to about 5 inch.

 

 

I'm thinkin' Earl's right. Those chambers look a bit rough. 

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