With the successful launch of the S&W Model 3 American in 1870 and its adoption by the Army Ordnance Board the Russian Military Attaché in Washington, General Alexander Gorloff was just as impressed with the design and it was ordered for the Russian Army. One major change from the American design was the change from an outside lubricated bullet to an inside lubricated one that dramatically improved the accuracy of the S&W Mod. 3 Revolver. The 44 Russian was a highly successful cartridge and from it came the 44 Special and ultimately lead to the development of the 44 Magnum. (Erlmeier, Brandt Ref. 414)
The first specimen is the multi-ball with green paper sabot consisting of 3 lead balls. The A W A headstamp is by A&W ALLENDORF SCHONEBECK, Germany
The SKD headstamp was an abbreviation of the tradename SELKADO, which was founded in 1924 and incorporated Braun & Bloem (Selve), Dreyse & Collenbusch (Kronbiegel) and the ex-Stahl factory (Dornheim). The SOS headstamp was by Patronenfabrik, Lichtenworth AG, Austria. It used to be a former George Roth factory that continued on their own from 1928-1933.