|Date||10 April 1896 — 13:30|
|Participants||16 from 4 countries|
|Format||25 metres. Five six-shot strings. Score for each string determined by multiplying target hits by points scored. Target scoring 1-6. String possible 216. Total possible 1,080.|
John and Sumner Paine were brothers. John Paine had heard of the Olympic Games in Boston, where he was a member of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA). Initially he elected to sail to Athens with other members of the BAA. But he eventually sailed on his own, going to Paris to meet his brother, Sumner, who was shooting that summer in the Gastinne-Renette Galleries. They were unable to find out much about the competitions, except that one event was to be a revolver contest over 30 metres. Sumner Paine brought along everything he could find in Paris, including a Colt Army revolver, a Smith & Wesson Russian revolver, and a pocket gun for each of them, as well as John’s .22 calibre Stevens pistol and Sumner’s .22 Wurfflein pistol. They also brought along 3,500 rounds of ammunition, which proved to ample, as they eventualy only fired a total of 96 rounds.
The Colt Army revolver was the famous gun of the old west, also known as the Frontier Six-Shooter. The Smith & Wesson Russian or No. 3 Single Action revolver was the usually the choice of the knowledgable pistol shooter of the era. The gun was made in large quantities, as the Smith & Wesson plant had received huge orders from Russia beginning in 1870, and almost 250,000 had been manufactured by the time of the Athens Olympics. The Wurfflein pistol was a single-shot pistol with a tip-up barrel, hinged at the front end of the frame. They were popular in shooting events in the 19th century, winning many matches and setting many records.
The shooters shot in groups of three. The first group was Pantelis Karasvedas, Sidney Merlin and Sumner Paine. The second group was Sanidis, Aristovoulos Petmezas, and John Paine. The composition of the subsequent groups is not known.
This was the first pistol event of the 1896 Olympics and the Paines outclassed their competitors, despite the fact that they had difficulty with the conditions. The sunlight was almost blinding and they had problems seeing the black target with its white center. In addition, both of their pistols had been sighted for 50 yards, not 25 metres, and they had to make some minor sighting adjustments.