The Early Smith & Wesson in Russia

An Early Russian Smith and Wesson
Бр. Пастухвы въ тулђ

Early Smith & Wessons in Russia

The Russians were familiar with Smith & Wesson revolvers and were already copying them in the 1860s. An example of a № 1, second issue made by the Pastukhov Brothers in Tula is shown below.

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A № 1, second issue brevette made by the Pastukhov Brothers in Tula. The address marking on the barrel, Бр. Пастухвы въ тулђ
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Чертеж револьвера системы Смита-Вессона. К журналу Оружейной комиссии Арткома № 84 от 24 октября 1864 г.
Diagram of a revolver system Smith & Wesson. From the journal of the weapons commission of the Artillery Commission № 84 from October 1864. [Military Agents and Russian weapons, pg. 92]

In the autumn of 1864 a 3 line 6 shot model of the Smith & Wesson revolver was tested by the Artillery commission. The revolver was a tip up model using metallic cartridges, probably a № 2 in .32 caliber. To reload this revolver the barrel latch was opened and the barrel rotated upward to expose the cylinder. The cylinder was then removed and the cartridges had to be knocked out, the cylinder reloaded and then the cylinder put back onto the frame and the barrel assembly rotated back onto the frame. This system, was in the opinion of the Artillery Commission, “quite the best of all know because of its simplicity of design and ease of loading cartridges.” It further recommended that if the testing went well, the Smith & Wesson be considered for introduction to the troops. [Russian S&W article]

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10.67-мм револьвер системы Смита-Вессона, 1863 г. Пятизарядный. Инв. № 51/89
10.67 mm 5 shot revolver system Smith & Wesson, 1863. Inv, No. 51/89
[Military Agents and Russian weapons, pg. 92]

During testing of the various models of foreign revolvers in Russia the original Smith & Wesson models did well but it wasn’t yet available in a large caliber. In addition to copying them, the Russians seem to have made some developmental revolvers as well. Shown at left is a .44 caliber 5 shot tip up version from 1863. This example shows that the GAU of the Artcom was definitely interested in at least testing a reliable large caliber revolver.

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