I don't have any proof, but I'm sure Colt lobbying had something to do with it. Wasn't the 1873 Colt cheaper to purchase than the Model 3?
Anyway, as pointed out already, Colt was selling a .45 model based in part on old cap and ball specs, even the early .44 colt used .45 bullets.
Either way, S&W revolvers were very popular in the old west, just not the ones you usually see in the movies. The double action .38 S&W and .32 models and safety hammerless models handily outsold .44 and .45 caliber revolvers of the period.
The .38 S&W double action went into production in 1880 and by 1884 had gone from serial number 1 to serial number 119K! By 1895 the .38 double action model had sold 322k units, that's not including the .32 models or the safety hammerless.
The single action army on the other hand was on serial number 192k in 1900.
Last edited by testuser; August 4, 2012 at 10:52 PM.