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Discussion Starter #1
Some of you may have seen my post from a couple of months ago about acquiring a Japanese contract S&W New Model No. 3 (Wanenmacher Cancellation Blues Cured ). Recently an online auction caught my eye featuring a NM3 almost identical to mine but lacking the trigger guard spur and lanyard ring and with walnut rather than hard rubber stocks. Closer examination showed the gun to be SN 9296, only 202 numbers above mine and placing it, like mine, also in the second Ahrens shipment of guns to the Japanese Navy consisting of all guns numbered from 9001-9600. So, although not described as a Japanese contract revolver by the seller, the SN says it is. However, none of the excellent auction pics showed any Japanese stampings. The seller mentioned the cylinder SN did not match but the number was not given nor legible in any of pics. But mismatched cylinders are common on Japanese contract revolvers. Everything else about the gun was acceptable to me, so I decided to play a hunch and bid and luckily, I did win it.
Upon receiving it I immediately checked the cylinder SN: 5553 which puts it in the first shipment of guns from Ahrens to Japan. Excellent! So I began to scour it for any Japanese markings. The usual marking for Ahrens gun is an anchor, with or without wavy lines stamped on the bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard, the butt, or the “knuckle” of the backstrap. No stampings on either the frame or butt but on the knuckle, its very worn and faint but the anchor is there. It appears to lack the wavy lines. So I’m pretty happy to now have two Japanese contract NM No. 3s.
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Thanks, guys. Another interesting tidbit about this gun is the grips are stamped inside with two numbers; one is the frame serial number, 9246, the other is 24,642. According to the SCSW 4th ed., "many of 24315-25000 shipped to Takata, Feb. 6 1889", Takata being the Japanese firm that replaced Ahren as procurer. 24642 certainly falls within this range so it appears possible that some point the Japanese replaced the original (hard rubber?) grips with wood grips from gun # 24642 and re-stamped them with the 9296 number. Interestingly, the fonts appear to be the same for both number sets and Takata-ordered guns were usually equipped with wood grips. Just more confirmation of Japanese Navy ownership.
 
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