Silver Screen Legend XIV

This year marks another fundraiser for ROY Rogers’ and Dale Evans’ Happy Trails Children’s Found-ation in Apple Valley, California, home of the Roy Rogers Museum for many years.

Commemorating its 14th year of celebrating Roy Rogers’ legendary life and huge contribution is a grand set of genuine Colt Single Action Army revolvers, generously donated by Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC. Embodying many memories of Roy Rogers, this consecutive pair of 5.5-inch barrel Colt .45’s have once again been adorned with slogans and depictions by Master Engraver, Conrad Anderson. In addition to many scrolls, cross hatches, sunbursts and stars, the Colts are engraved with “KING OF THE
COWBOYS,” “HAPPY TRAILS,” “ROY ROGERS,” CENTEN-NIAL 1911-2011,” ‘TRIGGER, SMARTEST HORSE IN THE MOVIES,” “DALE EVANS, QUEEN OF THE WEST,” and “SILVER SCREEN LEGEND XIV.” The consecutively numbered pair of Colts have also been plated with sterling silver.
Handmade by Bob Leskovec of Precision Pro Grips are two pair of imitation stag grips, exactly like those produced for the movies by Franzite Grips, now long out of business. The difference is that these grips are perfectly fit to the Colt’s. Bob could get rich if he could mass-produce these grips. Let’s hope he does!

Rig & Spurs

In case the lucky winner of these Colt’s wants to wear them, a magnificent museum quality, double gun rig comes with them. Made by world famous leathersmith, Jim Lockwood, of Legends in Leather, this rig was painstakingly exactly copied from the original made for Roy Rogers in 1938 by Hollis Deery, of Ed Gilmore Saddlery. Fully lined, hand-carved and stitched, this rig has exactly reproduced hand engraved silver spots and buckle just like Roy’s original worn by him in throughout most of his movie and TV career. This silver adornment was handcrafted by Michael and Naomi Ekstrom, of Mike Ekstrom Custom Jewelry. Incidentally, Roy’s original set sold in Brian Lebel’s 2010 Old West Auction in Denver for $103,500.

To go with this exquisite pair of Colt’s is a beautiful pair of cowboy spurs hand forged of Damascus steel by internationally renowned knife and spur maker, Charles Sauer. With spurs being of little use without leathers, a set of outstanding spur leathers have been handcrafted in the tradition of the legendary Ed Bohlin by Jim Lockwood to match the gun rig including gorgeous silver conchas, spots and buckles, again from Mike Ekstrom Custom Jewelry.

Help The Kids

The work Roy and Dale started years ago in establishing the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation is well known. Each year all proceeds from the Silver Screen Legend go to fund the foundation for abused kids and this year the prize is again unique and spectacular! Tickets for the drawing are only $10 each or 11 for $100. The drawing will be December 17, 2011 and the winner need not be present. With the foundation being a charitable, non-profit 501(c)(3) IRC, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

You can make a difference and you may order tickets by phone, (760) 240-3330 or online by credit card (happytrails.org), or by check to Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, 10755 Apple Valley Road, Apple Valley, CA 92308. Happy Trails!

S&W MODEL NUMBER 3

In the wake of the success of the large percussion .44 caliber revolvers of the Civil War, along with the advent of large rim fire cartridges, Smith & Wesson departed from its .22 and .32 caliber rim fire revolvers with the development of the Model No. 3.

First produced in 1865 as a solid frame with a right-side loading gate, the first Model No. 3 was a .44 rim fire, but failed to generate any interest from the military, and was short-lived. In 1867, a .41 rim fire 4-shot Model No. 3 pocket revolver using S&W’s earlier tip-up barrel fared no better.

In 1869, a new top-break revolver patented by Smith & Wesson superintendant, Charles A. King, set the stage for the Model No. 3 family of the company’s large frame single action revolvers. The first revolver of this family was the caliber Model 3 First American revolver. It was also the first Smith & Wesson revolver to use a conventional trigger with a triggerguard. Initially chambered for the .44 Henry, this gun was soon offered in a centerfire version called the .44/100.

The Model 3 First American was adopted by the U.S. Army in limited quantities and by the Russian military where it was a huge success. During the next couple of years, the gun underwent a number of changes, perhaps the most notable of which occurred in 1871 with the demand for an improved cartridge by the Russians. This was the .44 Russian cartridge, the father of all modern .44 centerfire revolver cartridges.

The changes and improvements in the Model 3 American revolver were labeled as Second Model, Third Model, Transitional Model and Model 3 Schofield (First & Second Models). Sub-models included Russian, Turkish and Japanese models, as those armies adopted these guns at different times. Model 3 Schofield differed by having an unlocking latch that could be operated by one hand for use by the U.S. Cavalry.

To prevent the upward rotation of the revolver during recoil, the Russians requested a re-curved extension at the bottom of the triggerguard and also a raised hump at the upper rear portion of the grip. Called a “prowl,” this hump connected with the web of the strong hand, and, with the exception of the Schofield Model, would was incorporated
to some degree on every S&W revolver thereafter.

With the Russian contracts coming to an end, Smith & Wesson began a program to again redesign the Model 3 both mechanically and to streamline it for visual appeal and distinguish it from the earlier versions. Beginning in 1877, work began including modifying the grip shape of the Russian version and preserving a more subtle variation of the prowl near the top. In 1878, production began of what was called simply the New Model No. 3., the longest running single action revolver made by Smith & Wesson.

The New Model No. 3 was made in a number of variations including a target model and the .320 Revolving Rifle that came with a detachable shoulder stock. Blue and nickel were the standard finishes with others by special order along with engraving, pearl, ivory and smooth and checkered walnut grips (black hard rubber was standard).

In addition to the standard New Model No. 3, a target model was also offered in its own serial number range. Special serial number ranges were also used for contract guns for other countries, such as (again) Turkey, Japan, Cuba and many others. Barrel lengths included 3.5, 4, 5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5 and 8 inches.

Calibers for which the New Model No. 3 revolver was chambered included .32 S&W, .32-44 S&W, .320 S&W Revolving Rifle, .38 S&W, .38-40 WCF, .38-44 S&W .41 S&W, .44 Henry Rim Fire, .44 S&W American, .44 Russian, .44 WCF, .45 S&W Schofield, .450 Revolver, .45 Webley and .455 Webley (MK I & MK II). With so many variations and calibers, the New Model No. 3 offers a extremely fertile field for the collector.

With a total production of 250,820, the New Model No. 3 was in production from 1878 until 1912 and rode in the holster of many a lawman on the American Frontier. Average New Model No. 3 revolvers start at about $1,000 and go sharply up from there in value. For more information on the New Model No. 3 and other antique and contemporary Smith & Wesson revolvers, look for a copy of History of Smith & Wesson and other books by Roy G. Jinks.

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