"The frame obviously, and they could have just designed a new cylinder for 45 colt if it was too short BUT why a new barrel extension?"
Take a good look at a No. 3. If you fit a longer cylinder, you have to lengthen the what we now call the bottom strap, on which the barrel assembly pivots.
The barrel and top strap are all one forging. If you lengthen the bottom strap, you MUST lengthen the top strap, or it's going to be too short to engage the latch.
"The point is that they were resistant to chambering Colt ctgs."
As I noted, they didn't need to. Domestically, the .44 American and .44 Russian cartridges were very popular and sold very well commercially. Why add another cartridge when you're already having problems meeting all of the orders for guns for cartridges that you already produce? It doesn't make good business sense.
And, lastly, not really a typo, but an imprecision. Colt didn't enter the double-action semi-automatic market until well after World War II.
Finally, I've just finished re-reading the entire section on the Number 3 Model in Roy Jinks "History of Smith & Wesson."
He goes into pretty extensive detail about the variety of contracts that the Russians signed with Smith & Wesson, but makes absolutely no mention of contract defaults, undelivered guns, or looming bankruptcy.
He does say, however, that the Number 3's popularity, and in particular the various military contracts it signed for these guns, put the company on a secure financial footing and helped give it the capital necessary to move forward once those contracts did end.
And, I just reminded myself as to why the Schofield modifications were never incorporated into the No. 3 model generally...
Schofield was getting a nice, big royalty for use of his designs, and S&W didn't want to pay it when the existing design was more than adequate.
I also can't see where anything like that is mentioned in my second edition Jinks and Nahaus, either.
If that actually happened, one would expect that one or the other, especially Jinks, would have mentioned it as he does other down periods during the company's history.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.