Smith & Wesson Frontier 44-40
Total production on this model was 97,570 from 1877-1892. This one is in the 93,000 range near the end of production. Like its big brothers, the "American Model", "Russian", "Baby Russian", and the Schofield, this new .32 caliber 1-1/2 SA marked a new era for S&W with the "tip-down" barrel design. It departed from their original tip-up barrel/frame design where the cylinder had to be removed for reloading. Instead, Smith and Wesson changed the pivot point for the barrel from the top of the frame to the bottom while relocating the barrel latch to the rear of the frame. The barrel now tipped downwards and carried the cylinder along with it on the axis pin. This made reloading much easier while providing a stronger lock-up. Best of all, S&W harnessed the energy from the downward motion of the barrel by placing concentric star-shaped ejectors inside the cylinder that automatically kicked out the spent shell casings. Modern revolvers with swing-out cylinders can't take advantage of this motion to eject automatically, yet S&W accomplished this back in the 1870's. By the 1880's though, the single action mode was becoming outdated and this model was eventually phased out in favor of the double action pocket revolvers.