Civil War Period Smith & Wesson Model 1 2nd Issue Revolver with Factory Ivory Grips
- Product Code: FHG-2334
- Availability: In Stock
This is a VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE example of the Smith & Wesson Model #1, Second Issue single action pocket revolver. The Model 1 was the first truly successful self-contained cartridge revolver sold in the US. The seven shot revolver was chambered for the .22 short rim-fire, a cartridge that is still available today, although it is now produced with smokeless powder, rather than the black powder of the period. 117,000 of these diminutive “tip-up” revolvers were produced between 1860 and 1868 by the famous Smith & Wesson firm. The majority of the guns were produced with a silver plated brass frame and a blued barrel. However, custom finishes and completely nickel-plated pistols were produced as well. The Model 1 revolvers with serial numbers under roughly 83,170 were produced prior to the end of 1865, making all of these guns “Civil War period” firearms.
The pistol offered here is really attractive and is in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition. The pistol has the typical Model 1 finish of a silver-plated brass frame and a blued barrel and cylinder. However, it has upgraded, factory installed smooth ivory grips, which are serial numbered to the gun. The brass frame retains about 90%+ of the original silver plating, which is deeply tarnished to nearly black in many areas and has been lightly cleaned on the sides of the frame. Some of the silver has thinned and worn, particularly on the high edges and contact points. The barrel and cylinder retain about 30%+ of their original blue, mostly in protected areas, with the blue appearing to have been mostly lost due to flaking. The cylinder retains slightly more blue than the barrel, where most of the blue is confined to the barrel web with scattered flecks of blue along the barrel and top rib. Most of the areas of exposed metal on the barrel and cylinder have developed a moderately oxidized plum brown patina. While the metal is generally smooth, there are scattered patches of oxidized surface roughness, some small patches of pinpricking and a few patches of light pitting as well. The most noticeable patch of pitting is a thumbprint sized area on the cylinder, where the revolver likely lay on fabric in a drawer or similar location for many years.
The barrel of the gun is deeply and clearly marked in a single line:
SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS.
The cylinder is marked with the usual Smith & Wesson patent dates:
April 3, 1855. July 5, 1859 & Dec 12, 1860
in a vertical line around its periphery. The patent date markings are much more legible than they normally are on these revolvers. The serial number 61738 is clearly stamped into the bottom of the squared butt. This puts the pistol in the very first part of Smith & Wesson’s 1865 production, as the guns made in 1865 ran from 59,213 to 83,170. The gun was likely produced in the first quarter of 1865, making it a true “wartime” gun. Smith & Wesson used assembly numbers during the 1860s, instead of the serial number, to mark the major components of their pistols. This one is marked with assembly number Y1 on the face of the cylinder, on the rear face of the barrel web and on the left side of the frame under the left grip. The action of the gun is very crisp and it functions perfectly with excellent timing and lock up. The bore of the gun is in about VERY GOOD condition and remains mostly bright with crisp rifling. The bore shows some scattered oxidation and light pitting with a patch of more moderate pitting closer to the muzzle. The gun has factory smooth ivory grips that remain in FINE condition. Both grips are numbered to the gun in a clear period hand, in moderately oxidized iron mordent ink, on their interiors. The grips have a mellow cream patina with areas of dark yellowish and brown age discoloration. They show some lovely oval striations on their bottoms along with some nice ivory “graining” on their sides. The grips show only the most minor handling wear and some minor shrinkage, which is visible on the bottom edge of the right grip. The grips are free of any breaks, cracks or repairs, but do show one small chip missing from the lower rear edge of the right grip.
These little pocket pistols were extremely popular throughout the mid-19th Century for their light weight, small size, ease of use and robust design. Many Civil War soldiers, enlisted men and officers alike, on both sides went to war with one of these little revolvers tucked in their pocket as a “backup” weapon for when things got up close and personal. No collection of American made revolvers from the Civil War era is complete without the model that started the self-contained metallic cartridge revolution in the United States and this lovely specimen with factory ivory grips would be equally at home in any sort of Civil War display. The enhanced grips would make it an especially nice addition to a gambling themed display as well. This is a lovely piece overall that would be a great addition to any collection.