Identifying an Old Gun

by Fred Ray on March 4, 2012 · 1 comment

I have recently come into possession of an old revolver and need some help identifying it. It looks very much like the S&W Model 1½ revolver that was introduced just after the Civil War, but has some significant differences, namely that it does not have the S&W “tip-up” barrel for reloading. Instead, you pull on the ejector rod and this allows the 5-shot cylinder to slide out of the right of the frame for reloading.

The bore is .32 caliber, so I assume it’s chambered for the same copper-cased black powder rimfire cartridge as the S&W. Like the S&W it is single action and has an exposed trigger. There is no maker’s mark but it is inscribed “Smith’s Patent April 1878” on the barrel and has a serial number on the butt of the wooden-handled “bird’s head” grip. The finish is nickel and about half of it is missing. It does not look like a cheap gun and the action is still quite tight. There were numerous clones and knockoffs of the S&W revolvers made during this period, some licensed and some not.

Any help identifying this old timer will be greatly appreciated. It would have made an excellent gambler’s gun or lawman’s backup.


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