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This is a gun I inherited. The barrel on one side says, " 44 S&W Special CTG" and on the other side it says Smith & Wesson. Chrome plated looks like. (Looking at the handle I don't know which is worse, thinking they made it with that steer ??? on it or knowing somebody modified it added it on!) I last fired the gun in the late 60s or early 70s. As I just got my S&W Shield 9mm and it says to clean and lubricate it, it got this out and cleaned it also. It may be from 1920??? I know it is old. Is 246 gr a big load for this gun? What does Special mean? I know it si loud and will punch holes in just about anything which is why when the wife and I (thank you dear) decided to get a gun for SD, I knew this was too much. So I got the Shield 9mm.

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Sweet piece! I'm not up on my s&w revolvers but someone on here will know exact model and approx mtg date. .44 special is actually a pretty good defense load, about on par with standard .45 acp loads. There's a few companies that offer hollowpoints for it. The 246 gr is the standard cowboy load. I believe its based off the old .44 russian, lengthened the case with a lil more nuts to it.
 

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@bmcgilvray

He seems to be extremely knowledgeable when it comes to old revolvers, Smith and Wessons especially. I'm sure he will chime in and be able to help you identify what you have.

The .44 Special is the same concept as the .38 Special. It is the slightly shorter, lighter (in terms of powder used) brother/sister/son/daughter of the .44 Magnum. A .44 Special can be fired in a .44 Mag gun but a .44 Mag cannot be fired in a .44 Special gun because the magnum is longer and will not fit in the chamber of a special. Most guns chambered for .44 Special specifically are not built to handle the pressure of the .44 Mag.
 

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Older revolvers like that have skyrocketed in value over the last 10-15 years. I bet it's easily worth $1000.

It's cool enough that I'd be tempted to carry it if I could conceal it.
 

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You should be able to search the serial number and determine when it was made. Nice looking old revolver there.
 

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Wow! That's a real good one there. It's a Model of 1926 Military & Police Hand Ejector .44 Special. Its a graceful and elegant side arm from another era when craftsmanship was highly regarded.

The 246 grain round nose lead bullet factory load will give original ballistics for the .44 Special. Unlike others who criticize the round nose design without the "fearsome" hollow point, I think the load is quite good, even in this day and age. The suffix "Special" was a marketing term, much like the later "Magnum" was. "Special" was applied to a few cartridges by both Winchester and Smith & Wesson at the turn of the century to denote that the cartridge offered more "pizzazz" than other similar cartridges of same bore diameter. The .44 Special was an outgrowth of the 19th century .44 Russian cartridge, originally developed by Smith & Wesson and provided in some Russian contract military revolvers. The .44 Russian got a reputation as an accurate and useful black powder cartridge so saw some use in the closing decades of the 19th century and early 20th century. The .44 Special case shares the same dimensions as the .44 Russian, only being longer, much as the .44 Magnum case is similar to the .44 Special, only longer. The .44 Russian and .44 Special will chamber in the .44 Magnum and could be fired with perfect satisfaction. Of course the .44 Special can accept the .44 Russian cartridge as well. The .44 Magnum needs to stay out of the older revolvers.

It needs to be noted that any pre-World War II Smith & Wesson N-Frame .44 Special revolver is scarce, some being downright rare.

Smith & Wesson introduced the .44 Special in 1907 in the fabulous Triple Lock, factory cataloged as the New Century .44 Military Model 1908. This original incarnation of the N-Frame was extremely well made and finely finished, possessing a 3rd locking point on its yoke. After a little over 15,000 were produced, the company discontinued the third locking point as being unnecessary and requiring too much hand work to fit. Besides, the British had purchased Triple Locks chambered for .455 on contract and didn't care for the third locking point, deeming it a possible point of trouble for filth to accumulate in the trenches of World War I. The lock and the shroud enclosing the ejector rod were deleted and the revolver was reduced in catalog price by $2. The revised N-Frame was termed the Second Model.

Apparently the Triple Lock was revered by lawmen in the southwestern part of the United States who loved its heft, balance, and its .44 Special cartridge. They liked the shrouded ejector rod better than they did the exposed ejector rod of the Second Model so clamored for a few years to Smith & Wesson to reintroduce the Triple Lock with its ejector rod shroud.

Both the Triple Lock and the Second model were available in other calibers beside .44 Special. They could be had in .38-40, .44-40, .45 Colt, and .455. The Triple Lock additionally was made in minuscule quantities in .44 Russian. The Second Model could be had in .45 ACP in one very important and very common sub-variant, the Model 1917 of World War I fame. All chamberings other than the .44 Special, .455, and .45 ACP are excruciatingly rare (like less than a thousand pieces of all calibers combined).

Smith & Wesson was reluctant to again provide the big N-Frame with the shrouded ejector rod and was not going to get into hand-fitting the third lock on the yoke again. Finally in 1926 they began offering the shrouded ejector rod on special order, this after Wolf & Klar, one of their wholesalers in the Southwest placed a large order for such a revolver. The Model of 1926, also termed by the factory as the Third Model, was never a cataloged item but was built on special order from 1926 to 1942, being produced side by side with the Second Model. Slightly less than 5000 of the Model of 1926 revolvers were produced. Most common was the 5-inch barrel though 4-inch and 6 1/2-inch barrels (which was considered by the factory to be the standard length) could be had.

The great majority of the Model of 1926 production were sold through Wolf & Klar and mostly to lawmen who ordered them from the wholesaler. Many were nickel from the factory and many more were nickeled after they left the factory. Wolf & Klar did a rather crude form of in-house engraving to especially the nickeled guns. The mother-of-pearl stocks with steer heads with ruby eyes was a popular addition that Wolf & Klar also provided. The steer head stocks were popular in the era and could come from providers beside Wolf & Klar.

I've had four Model of 1926 revolvers in my adult live. I love them. They make good robust shooters, fully as useful as the latest Thunder Ranch and Mountain Gun offerings from Smith & Wesson. I was stupid and traded away a factory nickel 4-inch with steer head stocks because I wasn't keen on nickel, the nickel was somewhat degraded on this revolver, and I wanted a blued version. Wish I'd kept it as it'd be worth big money now. Besides, that 4-inch was bad-to-the-bone to carry and shoot.

I'd love to know the serial number on your revolver Sportymonk, or at least the first few numerals. I'll bet it's a Wolf & Klar gun. That 4-inch mentioned above was shipped in 1938 and went to an address in New Mexico. The other three have been Wolf & Klar guns and all the ones that show up on Smith & Wesson forum always are as well. I've been mostly away this week and will be out of town next week, but I'll try to remember to look back in to see if you post more on your .44.

This one dates to 1931.





Best that can be told from the photos is that your gun still has its factory nickel finish. A light application of Mothers Mag Polish, would brighten it without degrading the nickel. You might enjoy obtaining a factory letter on the revolver. It's an important piece within Smith & Wesson collectors circles and it's still a dandy shooter.



For reference, here's an example of the Second Model, in this case a common Model 1917 in .45 ACP.


Here's a restored example of a Triple Lock that dates to 1910.


The famous third lock.






I would debate that a Shield is better than a .44 Special Smith & Wesson. I have a .40 Shield, but if I had to divest myself of one or the other, the pre-war Smith & Wesson .44 Special is staying and the Shield will be the one to be booted! For my purposes the big .44 Special revolver is far more useful generally than is the Shield.
 
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