POTD: Bit Optimistic – South Australian Smith & Wesson New Model No 3
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have a Smith and Wesson top break revolver. This specifically is significant since this is a South Australian Smith and Wesson New Model No 3 police revolver. These specific revolvers came into being because of some rather thoughtless planning. When South Australia was founded as its own free state back in the 1830s it was ill-equipped for crime. This is because even though all other established Australian territories and states used prison labor, hence the whole “prison colony” term you may hear from time to time. South Australia did not have anything like that so it was assumed that there would be next to no crime at all. This did not stop criminals and like-minded individuals from taking advantage of the lack of defenses. The result was the South Australian government ordered a bunch of these Smith and Wesson New Model No 3 revolvers for their police force (which was also ramped up). They were chambered in the 44 Russian cartridges, had notched machined for a shoulder stock, and were nickel plated.
“Only approximately 310 Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Australian revolvers were manufactured, all with nickel finish, 7 inch barrels, and detachable shoulder stocks. They were shipped to Australia for the Southern Australian Colonial Police and carried in holster and scabbard on horseback in the wild Australian outback. The first shipment was for 250 revolvers and was sent to Smith & Wesson’s large New York distributor M.W. Robinson for the Australian Government on December 14, 1881. Mr. Robinson had received an order for 250 Smith & Wesson New Model 3 revolvers from the Australian Government earlier in the year. The revolver has the two-line address/patent dates barrel rib marking, matching serial numbers on the butt, cylinder, barrel and barrel latch, and an Australian broad arrow proof stamped on the butt. The leather flap holster is marked with an Australian broad arrow proof along with the rack number “69” on the inside of the flap. The walnut shoulder stock is numbered to the gun and marked with an Australian broad arrow. The original Australian leather stock scabbard is stamped with the rack number “91” and an Australian broad arrow on the inside. Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection”
Lot 1288: Australian Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Revolver – Rare Australian Contract Smith & Wesson New Model No. 3 Single Action Revolver with Holster, Matching Smith & Wesson Shoulder Stock and Scabbard [Photograph found in Auction Catalog #83, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/83/1288/australian-smith-wesson-new-model-no-3-revolver