S&W Schofield – background info
click photo to enlarge
The 45 caliber Smith & Wesson Schofield was manufactured from 1875-1878 with a little under 9,000 of these big six guns being manufactured. The vast majority of them went to the US Army. Many of these saw service in the Indian Wars, and there are reports of them in use as late as the Spanish American War and Phillipine Insurrection. Like the other Smith and Wesson Model 3’s, they were also reportedly popular with lawmen and outlaws in the American West, and were reportedly used by Frank and Jesse James, and Bill Tilghman, among others. Standard chambering is 45 S&W - a cartridge sort of like a short version of the 45 Colt. Standard barrel length was 7" and standard finish was blue. Many Schofields were purchased as surplus by distributors and had the barrels cut to 5". They were refinished in blue or nickel for the Western Trade. Shown in this photo are First Model and Second Model Schofields. The quickest way to identify them is to look at the shape of the barrel latch. The Schofield is the only Smith and Wesson Model 3 with the latch mounted on the frame rather than the barrel. The First Model Schofield has a latch configuration that is rather pointed at the top and has a circle around the screw head at the bottom, whereas the Second Model latch has a large raised circle at the top of the latch. Serial number range also will give you an indication of whether it is First or Second Model, with the s/n’s changing from the First Model to the Second Model at a little over 3,000.
Photos & for sale listings of Schofields
More background info on S&W Model 3s
Gun collector articles index
PHOTO AT TOP OF THIS PAGE: Schofields includes serial number 1 (front & insert) and Jesse James attributed revolver (left rear in floral carved holster). Period engraved Schofields are rare as most were plain military issue revolvers. Click photo to enlarge.
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