Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 Army

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Smith & Wesson Model No 2 Army
Smith & Wesson No2.JPG
Smith & Wesson Model No 2 Army
Place of originUnited States
Production history
ManufacturerSmith & Wesson
No. builtapprox. 77,020
Caliber.32 Long Rimfire
ActionSingle Action
Feed system6-round cylinder
S&W 2nd Model, lock
S&W Model 2 Army, one in loading position and Model 1 1/2 tip up cal 32 rimfire revolvers
Upper gun early 2 pin variant, lower gun 3 pins
S&W Army No 2, Cartridges .32 R.F.

The Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 Army a.k.a. Model No. 2 Old Model Smith & Wesson Revolver was Smith & Wesson's first .32 caliber revolver, intended to combine the small size and convenience of the Smith & Wesson Model 1 .22 rimfire with a larger caliber. Chambered in the .32 rimfire long caliber, its cylinder held 6 shots. It was manufactured 1861 - 1874, with a total production of 77,020.


Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson founded the Smith & Wesson Company in Norwich, Connecticut, to develop Volcanic Firearms, in 1855 the Company was renamed Volcanic Repeating Arms and was sold to Oliver Winchester. As Samuel Colt's patent on the revolver was set to expire in 1856, Wesson began developing a prototype for a cartridge revolver with a "Bored-through" cylinder. A former employee of the Colt's Manufacturing Company named Rollin White, who held the patent for the "Bored-through" cylinder, was contacted, and Smith & Wesson proposed to pay him a royalty of $0.25 on every revolver that they made. The deal allowed Smith & Wesson to develop and produce the first cartridge revolver, the Smith & Wesson Model 1[1] in caliber .22 rimfire.


The Smith & Wesson Model 2 Army is a single action tip-up revolver, on which the barrel pivoted upwards, hinged on the forward end of the topstrap. It can be identified by its octagonal barrel, smooth cylinder (lacking fluting) and the flat shape of the grip butt. The revolvers were available in blued or nickel-plated finishes and the majority were produced with 5 or 6-inch barrels. 4-inch barrels were rare and a few revolvers with 8 and 10-inch barrels an extreme rarity.

A difference between the early S & W Army No 2 Model, serial range 1 to about 3000 and later revolvers, is the addition of third pin to the top strap to limit the travel upwards of the cylinder stop.[2]


The American Civil War[edit]

For a Civil War soldier, owning a revolver as a Backup-Gun was important, so Smith & Wesson's cartridge revolvers, the Army Model 2 and the Model 1 1/2 in caliber .32 rimfire came into popular demand with the outbreak of the American Civil War. Soldiers and officers on both sides of the conflict made private purchases of the revolvers for self-defense. Specimens under serial number 35,731 (produced by May 1. 1865) were eventually used in the Civil War.

George Armstrong Custer is known to have owned a pair of cased and engraved S & W Army Model 2 revolvers.

During the Civil War, the State of Kentucky purchased 700 of the S & W Army 2 revolvers from the arms dealer Kittredge & Company, Cincinnati and issued them to the 7th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Cavalry.

Western Frontier[edit]

At the close of the Civil War, demand for the S & W Army Model 2 declined and Smith & Wesson focused on the development of arms in heavier calibers suitable for use on the American frontier.

February 1868, in a deal with Remington Arms, Smith & Wesson allowed Remington to convert Remington Model 1858[3] Percussion Cap revolvers into metallic cartridge .46 rimfire conversions using the Rollin White patent, against payment of a royalty fee.

In 1869 the company developed a large frame break action single action revolver with an automatic empty case ejector, first produced 1870, in the calibers .44 S&W American and .44 Henry. The design is known as the Smith & Wesson Model 3.


  • Ian V. Hogg, Weapons of the Civil War.
  • Echoes of Glory, Arms and Equipment of the Union 1991 Time Life Books, Time Life Warner Inc. USA
  • Firearms in the Custer Battle 1953 by John E. Parsons, The Stackpole Company, Penn. USA, L.C. Catalog Card No. 53-10563


  1. ^ Roy G. Jinks History of Smith&Wesson. Beinfeld Publishing North,Hollywood, CA, USA, 1977, p. 20.
  2. ^ Norm Flayderman, Flaydermans Guide,8th Edition, Krause Publications, p. 188, ISBN 0-87349-313-3.
  3. ^ R. Bruce McDowell, Á Study of Colt Conversions and other Percussion Revolvers, Krause Publications, p. 52, ISBN 0-87341-446-2.