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Old September 24, 2012, 02:06 PM   #30
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Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Posts: 2,859
@Mike Irwin:

Thanks. Please be patient with me. So was the one the army used a #3, only chambered for the shorter .45 S&W cartridge, but with a different trigger guard? What happened to, or what were the #1's and #2's?
Sorry I don't use twitter so I will field this one. The special trigger guard with the spur was not on these US models. Mike was saying that the Schofield was another variant LIKE the Russian which had the extra spur on the trigger guard. It was on most of the Russian models, but not on other model 3s such as the Schofield AFAIK unless special ordered. The Russians did have it because they specifically requested their revolvers to have that. The US No 3s were in 45 S&W as you said. The model 1 was a 22 short rimfire tip up revolver and the model 2 aka the old army model was a 32 rimfire tip up. So basically 1 smallest frame, 2 was medium and 3 was the large frame revolver. Then there was a model 1.5 later, where they made the frame smaller on the 32 tip up, aka size bigger than a model 1 but smaller than 2 makes 1.5 and there was a new model 2, another name for the 38 S&W centerfire single action spur 5 shot revolver, which came later. Its not that confusing really.

What killed the top break revolver as a serious use gun? A number of things, including cost and complexity, but mostly it was the in ability to use a powerful cartridge. There are no top breaks in magnum calibers, and even the original .45 Colt loading was not useable in the original S&W N0.3/Schoefield guns, as the cylinder & frame were too short to take the length of the round.
Sort of but not really. In its day, the top break design was chambered for the 38 wcf and 44 wcf. Back then, that was pretty darn near the top. S&W refused to chamber their revolvers in 45 colt. They easily could have. They wanted their chamberings to get a contract and so did not wish to marry their (in their opinion superior) design to a cartridge from their rival, Colt. Notice how easy that the No 3 was adapted to 45 colt in today's reproductions. S&W simply chose not to despite the US government asking them. They were popular for a long time and were an upgrade over the other types of revolvers such as percussion, solid frame ctg (cylinder had to be removed for unloading), open top ctg (cylinder had to be removed to unload spent ctgs), and IMO the S&W breaktop was a better field gun than the Colt SAA. The reload as much faster. The colt was a natural pointer, felt great in the hand, and was offered in the 45 colt chambering, but I would prefer the quicker reload myself. Many famous outlaws such as Frank James and John Wesley Hardin had S&W No 3s.
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