I have always liked the looks and feel
of The S&W single shot Target Pistol. I have kept an eye out for one but most were either rode Hard and Put away hot, or were super nice and very, very expensive.
These Pistols came out in 1891
and were rightly named the model of 91.
They started life as a .38 S&W caliber revolver, but you could have ordered one with the replacement single shot barrel back then in .22 L.R. Caliber. To make this revolver a single shot, all one had to do was remove the lower barrel pivot screw, remove the existing barrel, remove the revolver cylinder, and replace it with the single shot barrel to have a single shot Target Pistol.
The first series pistols had the cylinder stop and cylinder hand
to allow the use of the revolver cylinder which did not effect the use of the single shot barrel when one was placed. In 1906
S&W changed the series to a true single shot pistol by leaving out the cylinder hand and cylinder stop
that was located in the lower frame area making these a True single shot target Pistol, along with removing the recoil shield and dishing out the frame
where it was previously located as my pistol shows. These are very slim and very well Balanced
and are the first target pistol that S&W offered to shoot serious competition with
. These were used in the U. S. R. A.
Sanctioned competition shoot's along with the famous Bisley competition shoot's in England
and hands down S&W was taking all the Honors in final accuracy scores with this new then Target pistol.
I Located the one shown at Cabellas of Reno, Nevada
on the evening of the Super Bowl
. I guess most guy's hunting them must have been tuned into Football that evening as I called them less than 2 Hours after it was listed on their web site. After a series of questions I decided to Purchase it, as it was clear to me they had no Earthly idea of what they had with a low ball price of $599.00 on it.
These average $1500.00 or more
if and when you can locate one, so it was a no brainer to me on the purchase of it.
The Cool Part was, due to me having a C&R License they could drop ship it directly to my door and it arrived Four days later. I am Not all that Familiar with the changes these
had due to not seeing many of them, but I have a serious collector friend that has Five of these in all the variations they offered, so he knows his single shot Target pistols. I arranged a meeting with him the day after it arrived and we started looking closer at this pistol.
The first thing I learned was that back then, S&W serial number stamped The Frame, barrel, and rear sight assembly
with the gun's serial number. This one did not have any serial number on it's barrel
, but I was told that was not all that Odd, as a buyer could buy a replacement barrel
for their existing single shot pistol, and they did not always stamp the replacement barrel's with a serial number.
We checked the rear sight assembly and it had been serial number stamped, but the number did not match the frame
, which again I was told was not all that odd as the sight assembly may have been transferred off the guns original Matching barrel
to work with the replacement barrel. Now we decided to look at the guns main frame serial number to determine when she shipped. Something was real wrong here
as the frame serial number which is located on the front strap of the grip frame showed to be a serial number from the first series single shot pistols not the second series.
The gun was clearly a second series pistol as it lacked the recoil shield
that was Placed on the first series gun to accommodate the use of the revolver cylinder, along with the missing cylinder hand and cylinder stop
which were first series features. We then contacted Roy Jinks who shared with us that this gun defiantly shipped in 1904
and the Kicker was that the second series pistols did not come into production until 1906
. It is my Belief that this gun is either a Prototype or salesman sample gun
due to it's first series serial number stamped into a second series frame, but I will know more when I factory letter this gun later on.
My friend shared with me that the price I paid was super low for a gun of this quality, so I felt good about my new purchase. He then got up and walked out of the room we were sitting in to return with a card board box that he set in my lap. He smiled and said here is a Present for you
, welcome to the single shot target pistols shooters club ! I opened the box to find 5 single shot barrels
wrapped up in very, very old newspaper. I unwrapped them and laid them on the table where we were sitting by, and was in complete awe of them as I opened each one like a Kid on Christmas morning
. Once I got all Five barrels out, I asked where they came from ?
He shared with me that he had bought them well over 30 Years ago in an auction.
Originally there were Seven barrel so he picked out Two that he lacked and wrapped up the extra five, and placed them in storage. He went on to say that he wanted me to put them to use if I could, and when I asked him what I owed him, he said "Merry Christmas".
He shared with me that he had bought them super cheap
and had all ready used what he deemed to be the purchase price of them all and if I could put some of them to use, he was more than glad to share his Stash !
I got home and started to do some research on just who was willing to work on these barrels as some were still in the white and to different levels of completion.
The Barrels are shown below and he had given me Two .38 S&W caliber barrel one being an 8" In the white and the other was a 6" Blued. There was also Two .32 S&W caliber barrels one being a 6" example and the other an 8" example. The .32 Round has always been one of my favorites, so I Planned on using the 8" barrel
if I could find someone to work with me on finishing these barrels so they could and would function. The last barrel that really grabbed my attention was a Super rare one, being an Olympic chamber barrel in .22 L.R. Caliber.
These barrels were made strictly for Olympic shooting event's
and the cool part was that a .22 L.R. round did not chamber fully in these barrels as shown below. What you had to do was place the round, then either mash it down into the barrel land's and Grooves or close up the Pistols action to fully seat the round.
The reason for this was simple, they made it this way to avoid any bullet jump
enabling super accuracy by pushing the round down into the rifling of the barrel.
I had Heard of these barrels and seen a few in pictures before but never had one in my hand and as one would suspect my collector buddy has one of these as well, and he has shared with me they make one ragged hole on paper !
The barrels bores were shinny and New yet, which is amazing due to their age, we are Talking a Full Century here on these !
I learned that there was one guy left in the United States
that worked on these and made part's for them that could not be found anymore. His name is Master Gun smith David Chicoine
and he is located in Gastonia, North Carolina. I took all Five barrels and laid them out as pictured to show Chicoine what I had to work with here. I then sent him an E-mail, With The Picture shown below
and told him I had found them at a Yard sale
and asked if he may be Interested in working with me on my Target Pistol project. As one would suspect, it did not take him long to respond
to me on these and he was very excited to say the least ! I told him I desired to Keep the 10" Olympic chambered .22 L.R. Barrel along with the 8" .32 S&W caliber barrel,
but they both needed completion if he was inclined to swap the extra 3 Barrels for his labor
, we could put together a deal here.
The Two I wanted to keep, needed Front sight blades
installed along with Rear latch & sight assemblies
and they Both also needed a Pivot Point trunion fitted and installed
as that part is what the barrel swings open's on and also extracts the spent shell casings, when the Pistol is opened after the firing of it. We Put a deal together as Chicoine was more than happy to Barter for the three extra barrels
I had to offer him, so I packed all the barrels up and sent him my Pistol frame to fit them to. About Two months passed and he sent me back my Pistol frame and the 8" .32 S&W caliber barrel completed. He explained that he had a lot of work to do on the rare Olympic chamber barrel so that would come at a later date. On Friday my Olympic chamber barrel showed up in my mail box. I can't wait to try it to see how well it group's and hope the Wicked heat back's off enough this week for me to fire it.
Below, is a link to David Chicoines web site
for those Interested in seeing what he has to sell or offer and I Highly recommend him
if you need some work done on your old Top Break pistols. As it ended up he replaced the front sight blade in my Original 6" .22 L.R. Barrel that came on my gun as someone along the way had Placed the wrong front sight blade, and I wanted it right again. He then had to Place front and Rear Sight and latch assemblies on both of my barrels as they were missing, along with Place the Pivot Truninons in both barrel. In addition he Re-Blued the .32 S&W caliber barrels and Finished and Blued the Olympic chambered barrel that I sent him in the white as shown. I now have a completed Three barrel set for my Pistol all in different lengths
for the Low ball price of $599.00 Done !!!
The 5 Barrel's I was Given
The Single shot Target Pistol with it's original .22 L.R. 6" Barrel
The Very Rare 10" Olympic Chamber Barrel on my Frame
A Round Placed into the Olympic chamber barrel not yet seated
My Three Barrel completed set