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Old March 11, 2013, 01:19 PM   #1
cpkramers
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Antique Revolver ID

My dad has this old revolver that was given to him by an uncle of his way back. His uncle got it from his grandfather and told him it was a calvary pistol from what my dad remembers. It is a top break 44 WCF. I apologize that I don't have an overall pic of the pistol, but would someone be able to tell me what the markings indicate in the attached pic? Besides "44 WCF" on the opposite side these were the only markings I found.

Thanks for your help,
Steve
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:34 PM   #2
Scorch
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R under crown = rifled barrel
F under star = inscpector's mark
BELGIUM = made in Belgium
.44 WCF= .44 Winchester Center Fire = .44-40
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:28 PM   #3
James K
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It looks like it is a copy of an old S&W breaktop (Model 3?) made in Belgium. It was not a military pistol because neither the U.S. nor any other country used the .44-40 (aka .44 WCF) as a military revolver cartridge.

In good shape it should be shootable, but it was probably made in the black powder era so either use light "cowboy" loads or reload for black powder or the equivalent.

Value? Hard to say, but not very valuable. In functional condition, it might bring $200 or so from someone interested in large caliber European revolvers.

Jim
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Old March 12, 2013, 12:11 PM   #4
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Thank you for the info. It's not really in shootable condition as it won't advance the cylinder so it will just continue to hang out in the gun cabinet. Good to know a little something about it though. Thanks again!
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Old March 12, 2013, 04:28 PM   #5
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Hereswhat it probably is.
I have a reprint of the Sears and Roebuck catalog of 1900.
Item number 34380 "the imported automatic double action revolver, imitation of Smith&Wesson".
(by automatic they meant automatic ejection when opened)
"it has rebounding hammer. rubber stock,weighs 35 ounces and is automatic shell ejecting"

"This revolver takes the same cartridge as the Winchester rifle (no.35409) so that a man who has a 44-40 caliber rifle can use the same ammunition in both the rifle and the revolver."

Prices were
no.34380 in nickel finish $5.50
no.34381 in blued finish $5.90

(self leveling nickel requiring less polishing than bluing and hiding imperfections)

Those countries that used a .44 revolver prefered the straight cased .44 Russian or .44 S&W due to the tapered case of the .44-40 sometimes tying up the cylinder.

Privately purchased revolvers were not that uncommon among European and Asian officers. Its possible the pistol may have been a war trophy, but without provenance that can't be proven.
The Japanese used some top break S&W revolvers, mostly used by Naval officers of WW1 or earlier. IIRC these were in .44 Russian.
Russia also used the S&W topbreaks in .44 Russian to some extent.
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:31 PM   #6
James K
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$5.90? At that time, a Colt Single Action Army was running $13 and a S&W M&P $15. So a $5.90 revolver would not be junk, but probably not exactly top quality.

Jim
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:37 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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It was on par with just about all of the Belgian guns -- shotguns, rifles, and handguns -- that were being imported into the United States at this time...

Serviceable, but inexpensive as all get out and did a good job of undercutting prices on most American made guns.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:36 AM   #8
cpkramers
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It has original wooden grips on it, but I'll try and get a overall pic of it soon and post back.
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