Smith & Wesson Model 1
A Smith & Wesson Model 1. 2nd Issue.
The Smith & Wesson Model 1 was the first firearm manufactured by Smith & Wesson, with production spanning the years 1857 through 1882. It was also the first commercially successful revolver to use rimfire cartridges instead of loose powder, musket ball, and percussion caps. It is a single-action, tip-up revolver holding seven .22 Short black powder cartridges.
The Model 1 had three issues or major variants, with each subsequent issue introducing significant technical changes.
The 1st Issue of the Model 1 was the first major iteration (and the least common), with approximately 12,000 produced over a three year period. The features that easily distinguish the 1st issue are the flared, square cornered shaped grip (also seen in the 2nd Issue), the small round side plate, the round profile of the frame between the back of the cylinder and the grip, a split articulated hammer, and the flat spring barrel latch seen in some early variants.
There are six known variations of the Model 1, first identified in an article by John Kountz in the April 1956 issue of "The Gun Report". In this article, Kountz noted specific differences in the recoil shield, the barrel latch (the first two variations used a dart style flat spring catch, while later variations used a larger bayonet release), the rifling and other subtle differences.
Serial numbers were issued sequentially for the Model 1 1st Issues ranging from 1 through approximately 12,000.
The 2nd Issue of the Model 1 looked similar to the 1st Issue, with several notable differences. The side plate on the 2nd Issue was much larger and irregularly shaped. The profile of the frame was flatter (a likely concession for manufacturing efficiency), and the hammer was now made in one piece. Model 1 2nd Issues still had the flared, square cornered shaped grip and the octagonal tip-up style frame, and at first glance the two issues are easy to confuse.
There were approximately 110,000 2nd Issues produced from 1860 through 1868, with serial numbers ranging from approximately 12,000 (following the 1st Issue) through to approximately 120,000.
The Model 1 3rd Issue represented a substantial redesign for the Model 1, with a fluted cylinder, a round barrel and a much rounder birds head style grip. Finishes included nickel plating (on both the frame and barrel) and blued steel. Produced from 1868 through 1882, the 3rd Issues were serial numbered from 1 through approximately 131,000.
Smith & Wesson
.22 Short Blackpowder