In the real West, and in the country as a whole, it is a fair bet that inexpensive break top and solid frame revolvers outsold S&W's and Colts (of all models) many times over. In the period 1894-1896, Iver Johnson, a quality maker, produced over a million revolvers. H&R probably reached a similar total, and almost certainly the total of "suicide specials" made in those years was several times that.
The truth is that for sheer numbers, both Colt and S&W were very much outclassed.
As for Colt lobbying, Colt didn't need to lobby. They had and have a close relationship with Army ordnance that began in the 1840's and continues to this day, even though the service pistol (some special purchases notwithstanding) is no longer a Colt. The Army, having had a steady supply of rugged and reliable Colt revolvers in the Civil War, naturally turned first to Colt when considering a new service revolver. The S&W's had advantages, but they really were less rugged than the Colt SAA, and not easily maintained, even by armorers.
Last edited by James K; August 5, 2012 at 12:15 PM.