View Full Version : s&w 44 russian value

June 20, 2009, 01:46 PM
I have a nickle plated s&w 44 russian hinge break in fair/good condition, some flaking of the plating on the cylinder, with black rubber grips. the hammer tip(firing pin) has broken but the rest is in good working condition. what is the approximate year and value of this gun. ser#144xxx i have someone who can repair the pin. i cant find very much info about this gun so any input is appreciated.

James K
June 20, 2009, 08:18 PM
We would need a picture or more information before trying to even make a guess as to value. There were three different versions of the S&W No.3 that were called "Russian" and values vary considerably. Plus the broken firing pin considerably reduces the value.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the serial numbers of those guns, but the number you give is way too high for any information I have seen. I suggest taking a better look as those numbers are quite small.

The firing pin on those guns is part of the hammer; never say never, but I doubt very much you can obtain a new hammer anywhere. Welding might work, but it would be a job for a real expert with a TIG or MIG welder. A better approach might be to have a slot cut in the hammer and a separate firing pin installed. Done properly, such a fix is nearly undetectable.


June 24, 2009, 08:15 AM
Are you confident that the revolver is chambered in .44 Russian? The gun looks like a S&W double-action top-break, but it's substantially different from a S&W .44 Double Action 1st Model or .44 Double Action Frontier; the trigger is wrong and the cylinder appears too long. Also, the serial numbers of the double-action .44s never approached the 150,0xx range; IIRC they ended just under 55,000.

If it's actually chambered in .44 Russian, it's probably a European copy. Oodles of cheap knock-offs of S&W top-breaks were imported in the late 19th to early 20th century and have been misleading would-be collectors ever since. :rolleyes: Most came from Spain or Belgium; FWIW the "MARCAS REGISTRADAS" marking on the frame of modern S&W revolvers is intended to make the S&W trademark legally binding under Spanish law in an attempt to stop this practice. A genuine S&W top-break will have a relatively small (about dime-sized) circular S&W logo on the RH sideplate next to the grips. Check the gun carefully for other small proofmarks; certain ones are dead giveaways of European manufacture. FWIW the quality of these guns ranges from fair to abysmal, and they are generally unsafe to fire, even when they were new.

OTOH the gun, to me, looks remarkable similar to a .38 Double Action 3rd Model, and the serial number would be correct for a gun made ca. 1888. This gun would be chambered in .38 Smith & Wesson (.38S&W), an increasingly obscure caliber that's not stocked by most big-box sporting goods stores anymore, but is still available at specialty gun shops. (It is not the same as .38 Special, which uses a much longer shell case that will not fit in a .38 top-break.) Based on the non-original finish on the hammer and trigger and the "dimpled" look of the finish on the frame, it looks like it has been refinished, which is common because the original nickel finish wasn't very durable. Refinishing hurts the value of antique guns like this one.

If the gun is in fact a refinished .38 DA, its value would be $175-$250 once it's functional, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it as a shooter. :)

Jim Watson
June 24, 2009, 08:21 AM
Agree with Chris; it sure looks like a re-nickeled .38 Double Action. The shape of the trigger, the cylinder stop slots in the cylinder, and the overall proportions of the gun do not look like a .44.

June 24, 2009, 10:46 AM
like i said i had no idea what this was the closest thing i could find on the web that looked similar was the 44 russian. when it comes to the oldies i dont know much. thanks for the help.

March 2, 2010, 02:09 PM
I am trying to find a value for a 1899-1900 S&W Double Action First Model .44 caliber Russian. It is in a blue finish, a 6" barrel, pearl handle grips and I would have to say in excellent condition. It bears serial #39410. I can attest that it has not been fired since 1947, since it was returned from Smith & Wesson for some kind of repair work (not specified on the bill). It was originally sold in May of 1900. Pictures available if I can get them to load as an attachment but as of right now I am unable to do so for some reason. Any information will be greatly appreciated as I hope to sell this soon.

March 2, 2010, 08:23 PM
This one in diffentaly a S&W, 44 Russian. Ser # 204XX. I believe it was made in the 1870s.

It was given to my Grandfather when he was about 12 by his father when he first started cowboying.

It still shoots quite well using cut down 44 spl brass. Though now I see brass is starting to show up for sale. I had to cut down 44 spl dies to be able to crimp the bullets.

All I know is its priceless, it went from my Grandfather to my father, to me, and will go to my oldest son, and hopefully to his oldest son.


James K
March 2, 2010, 08:42 PM
Hi, Kraigwy,

That is an S&W, caliber .44 Russian, but it is not a Russian Model. It is a New Model No. 3. .44 Russian was the most common caliber but they were made in a bunch of other calibers.

Hi, Mshane,

Your gun is a .38 Double Action, Third Model, made from 1884-1895. About 203,700 of that model were made, of a total of over 554,000 for the whole five model .38 DA production. So they are not rare, though not easy to find in good shape as most were nickel plated and the plating peels. In the standard barrel lengths, they only bring $100-$300 retail in average shape, but one in like new condition would bring $600 or more.


Mike Faires
March 3, 2010, 09:02 AM
Jim is right , you have a SW New Model #3. I maintain a data base on these for collectors and am glad to share on request. These did not ship in the order manufactured, your serial number would reflect a manufactured date around 1890 or 1891. Normally I would not recomend spending the money on factory letter ($50) as most will ship to a distributer rather than an individual. In your case I might make an exception for the following reasons (1) the normal barrel length is 6.5" your appears to be either 4" or 5" both of which are somewhat rare,4" being the rarer of the 2. (2) The front sight is definatly a target style and although the pictures are small it appears the rear sight has an adjustable blade (2 small screws allow the blade to move laterally) making it a target style as well, that is rare in 44 Russian and doubly rare in a short barrel.

I would appreciatte any further info you have and would like to include yours in the data base. The data base does not reflect anything about ownership or values.

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