Rare Revolver


November 16, 2006, 01:36 AM
Hi Y'All...

This is an excerpt from a Chuck Hawks article about the histroy of 22 rimfires...

"The common .22 Short cartridge dates from 1857. It is the oldest cartridge still being loaded today. It was the first American metallic cartridge, introduced in for the first S&W revolver, a pocket pistol developed for personal protection. It was popular during the American Civil War, carried as personal weapons by soldiers on both sides."

Am curious about the S&W revolver mentioned and also about the abundance and use of such guns circa 1857-1900. Anyone have some photos and/or usage information about them? :confused:

Many thanks :)

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Old Fuff
November 16, 2006, 10:56 AM
Recently a number of them were sold at auction, and you can find information and photographs at: www.armsbid.com

Also additional information is available at: www.armchairgunshow.com

If you write to Smith & Wesson's company historian, Roy Jinks I'm sure he'll sell you a copy of his book, History of Smith & Wesson, with an extensive chapter on these early S&W revolvers. He'll likely autograph it for free too, :)

November 16, 2006, 11:12 AM
Good photo here:


Do a google on "S&W Model 1" and you should find plenty of reading.

November 16, 2006, 07:19 PM
Thanks a bunch, Gentlemen!!!

Interesting item on that auction/sale site. In the description blurb about one of the pocket guns supposed to have belonged to a KY cavalryman there is note of a copy of a telegram that indicates Jeb Stuart was in Carlisle, KY on July 1, 1863. Since it is known fact that Stuart was in Gettysburg, Pa (approx. 340 miles from Carlisle) on July 2nd, 1863, I guess it's true the Confederate horses were a lot faster than the Federal mounts. We're talkin' a LOT faster! :rolleyes:

Thanks again! :)

Old Fuff
November 16, 2006, 08:21 PM
According to history, when Gen. Stuart learned that he was about to be attacked by Yankees armed with .22 caliber / 7 shot revolvers, he took off fast...

Very fast... :neener: :D

Jim K
November 16, 2006, 08:23 PM
Hi, Shawnee,

I don't know what state you are talking about, but Carlisle, PA, is less than 30 miles from Gettysburg, PA, an easy day's ride for cavalry, Confederate or Federal.


November 17, 2006, 02:24 PM
S&W made over a quarter of a million Model 1's between 1857 and 1881 - and when you consider the population that is a LOT of guns. Due to light weight and small size they easily fit into the large pockets of the day so were carried as self-defense guns, also very popular among Civil War officers. Even though people may laugh at a 22 short today; before antibiotics ANY wound could easily become infected and lead to a truely miserable death.

Bart Noir
November 17, 2006, 02:33 PM
I believe it was that gun/caliber combination that Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) ridiculed as very underpowered. I don't have the exact words but you can imagine the droll sarcasm.

Bart Noir

Jim K
November 17, 2006, 03:17 PM
The S&W Model 1 First Issue is uncommon and pricey. But the Second and Third issues are common and one in reasonable condition can be had for under $400 at most gun shows. Even in very good condition they usually don't run over $600. As CMcDermott says, they made a lot of them.


November 17, 2006, 09:36 PM
Hi Jim K...

Mea Culpa !!! :eek:
The description paragraph does, in fact, say Carlisle, PA.
I read right by that and assumed they meant Carlisle, KY. Probably both nice towns but Carlisle, PA definitely easier on horses bound for Gettysburg.:)

November 18, 2006, 01:22 AM
As previously stated the S&W #1 was carried by officers on both sides in the Civil War. I read one account where the Union officer carried one in each pocket. Interesting that these guys felt adequately armed with a 22 short.

Merwin and Hulbert of NY, NY made a copy of the S&W in 1870. After S&W found out they collected a royalty from Merwin & Hulbert and their guns were stamped "made for S&W" by Merwin & Hulbert. The early Merwin & Hulberts that did not have the S&W stamp have some collectiblity. I saw one for sale from a shop in Texas for $1800.

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