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Smith and Wesson, Scarce 1st Model .38 New Departure w/ Low SN#

This a really neat 1st Model S&W DA Hammerless in .38 S&W a.k.a. as the Lemonsqueezer or New Departure. Introduced in 1887 and produced for only one year, the 1st Model has a distinctive barrel latch which pivots from the side instead of the top. According to the Smith and Wesson book by Supica and Nahas, the nickname for the 1st Model latch is called the "Z BAR". These must have been costly to manufacture as only 5,200 units made before a simpler latch design was adopted which would become known as the 2nd Model. This particular example has a very low serial number in the 100 range. For a model that was manufactured from 1887-1940 with over 261,000 units sold, this is a good low number! Another interesting feature are the pearl grips which have survived 128 years without being broken or cracked from over-tightening the grip screw. Standard 3-1/4" barrel with nickel finish, case colored trigger, and blued trigger guard and latch housing.

Overall Condition grades to NRA Antique Fine+ with 70% original nickel overall. Trigger guard shows 80% original case color on the profiles while the trigger guard and latch housing retain 70% original blue. Good screws and pins throughout. Original pearl grips are in Fine condition. Good mechanics. Grip safety works properly. The only negative thing I can say about this gun is that the bore grades as Poor to maybe Fair depending on whose assessing. Barrel to frame locks up well with just a hint of play. These 1st Models are becoming a difficult variation to acquire as few were made and many have found their way into collections. This just the third example we've had in ten years and has survived in really good shape.

Item# 1852




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