This is a very rare example of the Model Smith and Wesson Double Action "Wesson Favorite" revolver. S&W only built 1,000 of these from 1882-83 and they are very difficult to find today. The Wesson Favorite is basically a lightweight version of the First Model .44 Cal Double Action revolver with a special thinner barrel, reverse-rebated cylinder with thinner walls, and special grooves cut along the side of the frame and top of the barrel to reduce weight. Also, due to the V cut down the barrel rib (Just like the S&W Schofield), there are no barrel markings. Instead, they were placed between the flutes of the cylinder. Not too many collectors know what these are but if you've ever seen a Baby Colt Lightning saddle ring carbine...you know that while its the same size as the standard carbine, it has a thinner barrel and contours to save weight. The Wesson Favorite is essentially the same thing....a .44 DA on a diet! Back around 1882, this must have been the "cat's meow"...to have a large framed .44 Caliber cartridge revolver in double action that was lightweight!
This particular example was rescued from a pawn/gun shop that thought it was just another Europeab copy of a S&W. It needed some work but after a considerable amount of time and expense, we have gotten this rare little gun back on its feet. This isn't a great example, its more what you might call a "representative example" as it has lived a pretty hard life and was obviously very well-liked by whoever owned it. However whatever it lacks in condition, it more than makes up for in rarity! Wesson Favorites are about as rare as hen teeth and rarely see the marketplace. In fact, we've only seen a couple over the past 6-7 years...and as I recall...both were re-nickelled and still brought well over $3,000. This one is going to be a bargain for someone! Its numbered in the 9,300 serial range which is correct for a Wesson Favorite as they located in the .44 DA Range from about 8900-10100. The cylinder markings are pretty much worn away....you can see the border-lines pretty easily and perhaps just one of the patent dates which looks to be "1880". The serial numbers all match on the frame, cylinder, and barrel. I'm quite confident the latch is original too but the numbers are all but worn away. However, you can just make out the last digit which matches the rest of the gun. The metal is mostly a dark grey patina....edges are worn-looking but not severely. The barrel is 5" long which is standard for a Wesson Favorite. The bore has decent rifling with no rings or bulges but some scattered pits and what I would describe as a "frosted" appearance overall. When we found this gun, it had a pair of faux plastic stag grips....they looked terrible so we removed them and had a pair of original S&W wooden grips re-worked into correct "Wesson Favorite" grips. They fit perfect and they're checkered just like the Wesson Favorite should be...which is a little different than just your standard early DA. The action is tired but it still works. The springs are so cycled and broken in, that the action is quite smooth and light....in a worn-out kind of way. The barrel to frame lockup however is nice and tight...although it was loose as a goose when we got it but this is one thing we made sure to have corrected. Original front and rear sights. Good screws and pins. A decent representative example for a bargain price!