The First S&W .38: The “Baby Russian”

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Taking what they had learned in developing their series of large-frame .44 caliber revolvers, Smith & Wesson introduced the “Baby Russian” in 1876 as their first .38 caliber revolver. They actually developed the cartridge first (146 grains at 740 fps), and then designed the revolver around it. The result was a 5-shot, top-break action initially offered with 3.25 inch and 4 inch barrels. It used the same simultaneous extractor as the No.3 revolvers, though this would change after only about a year with the move to a 2nd variation. The first two variations used a single action spur trigger, but this was replaced by a normal trigger and trigger guard on the 3rd variation. In total, about 161,000 were made by the time production ended in 1911.

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