Posted 5 months ago
This probably doesn't belong in the "military" section but I don't think "outdoor sports" section is proper either, but I don't know where else to put it.
This is a Smith & Wesson, New Model Number Three, Australian Model.
The first shipment of 250 revolvers were manufactured, completed and packaged at the S&W factory in Sprinfield, Mass., and shipped to M. W. Robinson, S&W's agent, to be sent to the Australian Government on December 14, 1881. They were packed in twelve tin-lined wood crates holding 20 revolvers each and one crate congaing ten revolvers. The cases were marked, Case No. 1948 through No. 1959 each containing 20 revolvers, and Case No. 1962 containing 10 revolvers.
These revolvers were manufactured in .44 S&W Russian caliber, with a nickel finish, 7" barrels and detachable buttstocks. The serial numbers were in the 12,000 and 13,000 serial range. Factory records list each serial number and what case number they were shipped in. They arrived and were received by the South Australian Government in March of 1882. Upon arrival the government applied their mark of ownership, the "broad arrow" (see photo #4) to both the revolvers and detachable stocks and also stamped the serial number on each detachable stock that corresponded with the serial number that was stamped by the S&W factory on each revolver. In May of 1882 they were distributed to the police stations to be used by the "Mounted Police".
The SA government, soon after distributing these, contracted out for the production of leather holsters for the revolvers. The revolvers were to be carried with the stock attached (see photo #2) and protruding from the holster flap (see photo #3). This proved to be impractical, and separate holsters / pouches, were manufactured for the detachable stocks. These holsters & pouches were also marked with the "broad arrow" and numbered.
In later shipments, 1886 & 1888, thirty revolvers with 6-1/2" barrels and thirty revolvers with 7" barrels, and not cut for, or accompanied with, detachable stocks, were delivered for the South & Western Australian Police.
These were used by the Australian Police until 1912, when the Webly and Scott pistol was introduced.
In 1953 the revolvers and stocks were sold, $3.00 each for the revolvers and $0.20 each for the stocks, as surplus police arms and equipment. A total of two hundred fifteen 7" revolvers, fifteen 6-1/2" revolvers and one hundred eighty-four detachable stocks along with holsters were sold to Western Arms Corporation of Los Angeles, CA. and brought back to the U.S.A. and re-sold. Revolvers and stocks were not kept together and rarely will match serial numbers when found together.
The revolver shown here is serial number 13194 and was shipped in Case No. 1950 and the detachable stock, serial number 12426 was shipped in Case No. 1948 in the first shipment on December 14, 1881.
Thanks for looking,