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But even its failures–the models and configurations that have come and sometimes quickly gone–have always advanced the technology of handgun design and pointed toward the future both for handgun shooters and competing manufacturers alike. Historians are always leery of rankings and worry about confusing “most popular” with “most important.” My experience is that over the long haul the two concepts merge into “most influential”–that is, those things that have lasting effect on both the makers and the users and also point the way toward important future developments.

As a hearty congratulations from Shooting Times to Smith & Wesson on its 150th birthday, here are my picks for the dozen most significant S&W handguns of all time with brief reasons why.

WARNING: ENSURE YOUR FIREARM IS UNLOADED BEFORE ADJUSTING YOUR SIGHT.

AT ALL TIMES FOLLOW THE BASIC FIREARMS SAFETY RULES IN THE SECTION ENTITLED “YOUR SAFETY RESPONSIBILITIES”.

WARNING: VISIBLE LASER RADIATION EMITS FROM THE INSIGHT® LASER WHILE IT IS IN OPERATION - AVOID DIRECT EYE EXPOSURE.

Use only commercially manufactured ammunition with internal ballistic pressures which are in strict accordance with the specifications of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI).

According to published sources, 77,155 Model 2 Army revolvers were made. Basically the same as the first type, the extra grip retaining pin was dropped. The tiny number dies used since the beginning of production on the 1st Model 1st Issue, were abandoned and number dies about twice as large were substituted. Storrs, NYC.) The day books for this period also show 10 with 4 "' barrels shipped to N. It is easy to imagine that this would have caused a problem with the swelled head of a fired cartridge case catching on the lower portion of the recoil surface.

To date, the serial numbers on observed specimens have not substantiated this figure, 76,642 being the highest number noted. This first type has a two pin frame and a second grip retaining pin at the top of the rear strap. This group is about equally divided between 5 & 6 inch barrel lengths and about a quarter of the recorded specimens are nickel plated. Recorded serial range 3109 - 10121 The very noticeable change in this type is the addition of third pin to the top strap to limit the travel of the cylinder stop. Most of the specimens observed in this group had 6" barrels, although there were some 5 ", two 4" and one 8" (#15702, sold Dec. The majority of the #2's with oriental markings fall in this group. Recorded serial range 53565 - 60120 Mechanically the same as the last type, the only change in this is the barrel mark.

It is rapidly reacquiring the support and good wishes of the American citizen-shooter who has supported it for so long.

Back in the Eighteen-eighties, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company designed two cartridges to supplement their staple .44-40.

They were identical in length but smaller in caliber and were known as the .38-40 and the .32 Winchester, the latter also being designated the .32-20 because of its powder charge.

Unfortunately, the Smith & Wesson factory records for this period are incomplete and do not give a comprehensive picture of production. Although these revolvers remained basically the same throughout production, many minor variations were introduced. Barrel lengths are usually 6" and the lowest 5 " noted is #173. Note the overlap in serial numbers between this and Type 2. The new die, although the same length as the previous one, has slightly taller letters.

The first delivery of #2s was made on June 22, 1861, a shipment of three revolvers with 6 inch barrels to J. An easy way to spot the new die is the absence of the period after "Smith" which was present in the old die, It is interesting to watch the breaking up of the old die.