Smith & Wesson first entered into this detachable stock configuration in 1879, with the release of its Model 320 revolving rifle. Manufactured for eight years (circa 1879-1887), only 977 were produced, making this variation the rarest of all S&W firearms.
The theory behind this configuration was that it was easy to conceal, quick to assemble, and could fire the larger caliber cartridges accurately up to 300 yards.
The frame and the basic action of the Model 320 were taken from the New Model No. 3 revolver, with some minor differences in the hammer, cylinder, and trigger. A slot was cut into the butt and a hole drilled in the backstrap to accommodate the shoulder stock. This 18-inch rifle had interchangeable front blade sights and a two-leaf folding rear sight.