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Old September 24, 2012, 01:02 PM   #26
hammie
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@Mike Irwin:
Now you confused me. The .44 russians...was that the model #3? Would you call it a smith and wesson #3 something? What's the correct nomenclature for it and the others? I just want to learn. Thanks.
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Old September 24, 2012, 01:11 PM   #27
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The Schofield IS a number 3 model. It is simply, like the Russian model with the funky finger spur, a sub variant created by making changes to the basic number 3.

I suppose the truly correct nomenclature is No. 3, and terms like American, Russian, Turkish, and Schofield are descriptive phrases that serve to further identify particular variations.
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Old September 24, 2012, 01:42 PM   #28
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@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?
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Old September 24, 2012, 02:01 PM   #29
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The number 3 referred to the size of the frame.

The No.1 was .22 R.F. six shot. The No. 1 1/2 was a five shot .32 R.F. and the No. 2 was a six shot .32 R.F., the No.3 was originally a .44 R.F. but had the centerfire offerings added later.


The No.3 was identified as The Russian Model, New Model Russian, 2nd Model Russian, Schofield (or Army Model) etc.

The Nos. 1 ~ 2 were tip up models.


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Old September 24, 2012, 02:06 PM   #30
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Quote:
@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.

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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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Old September 24, 2012, 02:10 PM   #31
Mike Irwin
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"Please be patient with me"

NO!



"So was the one the army used a #3, only chambered for the shorter .45 S&W cartridge"

Yes. It was a No. 3.

Bear with me, this is a little confusing...

The US Army actually used SEVERAL different No. 3s.

The first, the .44 American, was the first cartridge revolver adopted by the US Army in, IIRC, 1869.

It was chambered for the .44 Smith & Wesson, which after a few years became known as the .44 S&W American to differentiate it from the .44 Smith & Wesson cartridge.

The Army only took a few thousand of those revolvers as a stop gap measure while it and Colt were finalizing what would become the Model 1873 Peacemaker.

After adoption of the Peacemaker, the Army requested that S&W submit another series of revolvers for evaluation. These were, for all intents and purposes, identical to the .44 Americans, except that the Army wanted them chambered in .45 Long Colt, which had been adopted with the Model 1873 Colt.

S&W said "Nope, can't do it because it would require us to re-engineer our entire gun due to the length of the cartridge," but they submitted guns chambered for a shorter cartridge, the .45 S&W.

Around the same time, Col. George (? I think that's correct) Schofield, a Cavalry officer who was testing one of the revolvers in .45 S&W, approached the company with several changes that he contended would make the arm of MUCH better service to the Cavalry.

The primary change was to strengthen and relocate the latch, making it less likely to pop open inadvertently and also making it easier to open while on horseback.

Smith & Wesson saw the benefit of those changes and started producing those guns, which becamse the Schofield model revolver.

The Schofield model is STILL a Number 3 revolver, but it's a modified No. 3.

After the Army contracts fell through Smith & Wesson went BACK to the original latch design because it was cheaper to produce.




but with a different trigger guard?

No. The Schofield had the standard Number 3-style trigger guard.

The Russian model, though, had a modified trigger guard that was, to the best of my knowledge, produced ONLY on the guns contracted by Russia.

The Russian Model, though, is still a Number 3.

About 1876 or so the Russians also proposed a number of other changes to the basic model, including the shape of the grip.

S&W decided to adopt a modified grip on all Number 3s going forward, and generally these guns are known as New Model Number 3s.


What happened to, or what were the #1's and #2's?

How best to explain this...

Smith & Wesson used numbers to designate the basic size of the revolver's frame.

In the case of the Number 1, those were the original Smith & Wesson break open revolvers, chambered for a number of rimfire cartridges.

Only, with the Number 1, the hinge was on the TOP of the frame, not the bottom.

Right after the Civil War, S&W flipped that round and introduced the Number 1 and 1/2. It chambered most of the same cartridges, but the hinge was on the bottom of the frame.

The Number 2 revolver was the medium sized frame for centerfire cartridges like the .32 S&W and the .38 S&W.

The Number 3 was the full sized, or what we'd probably today call the Magnum, frame for the large-bore cartridges.
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Old September 24, 2012, 02:17 PM   #32
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"S&W refused to chamber their revolvers in 45 colt. They easily could have."

Actually, they really couldn't.

Doing so would have required a re-engineering of the entire gun, lengthening the frame and the cylinder, with a corresponding need to change most of the tooling to produce them.

At the same time, S&W was deeply into its contracts with the Russians. In fact, at the time, virtually all of S&W's production capabilities were being tied up making guns for the Russians, they were ordering so many.

So, in order to make the change to the gun to chamber it in .45 Long Colt, they would have seriously impacted their contracts with the Russians.

And at the time, the Russians were paying for their revolvers with shipments of gold bullion.

The US Government? They were paying with promises...

In fact, S&W became SO heavily involved in producing Number 3s for foreign military contracts that, in 1878, when the Army approached S&W and said "Hey, we want another 8,000, maybe more, guns from you. When can you deliver them?"

Smith & Wesson's response? "Sorry, we're busy, come back some other time."

There are some who have speculated that that is what cemented the bond between Colt and the Army regarding handguns right up until the emergency need for guns at the onset of American participation in World War I.
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Old September 24, 2012, 02:35 PM   #33
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I GOT IT NOW!! Yay! Thanks everyone.

I love this site.
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Old September 24, 2012, 03:06 PM   #34
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Well, you've sort of got it, because I gave but a VERY encapsulated and abbreviated version...

But, you're getting there.
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Old September 24, 2012, 03:27 PM   #35
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IIRC, didn't the Russians order huge numbers, but then renege on most of the order - after they had received, and reverse engineered, the first batch? After which, they rolled their own.

Seems to me I reaad that somewhere, and that it nearly crushed S&W for a short period.
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Old September 24, 2012, 03:58 PM   #36
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The version I read said the Russian order absorbed all of S&W's manufacturing capacity allowing Colt to capture much of the domestic market.
Also read they really can't handle more powerful rounds-38 S&W and .455 Webley is about the most for them. Plus they require some fairly intricate machining.
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Old September 24, 2012, 04:25 PM   #37
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No, the Russians paid for all of the guns they ordered. Smith later issued a license for copies to be made by Loewe in germany, and later at Tula arsenal in Russia.

You also have to remember that at the same time Smith was making, and selling, huge numbers of smaller frame revolvers, which alone would have kept the company afloat.

The Light Rifle fiasco almost finished Smith off, but that was in 1940.
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Old September 24, 2012, 04:48 PM   #38
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Wyosmith wrote:

"If a modern gun company were to make one today and use the steels that they have available today, the break top design would be just fine, and could be used in all but the most powerful shells available."

I don't think so. The problem is that the top break MUST have play at the top joint in order for it to open. And every time the gun is fired, that play allows the two parts to batter each other. Not a lot, of course, and careful workmanship will minimize the gap and the battering, but IT WILL BE THERE - it cannot be eliminated.

Revolvers like the old military Webleys gave good service because their cartridges, while large in caliber, were of remarkably low pressure (which is why those Webley revolvers converted to use .45 ACP should NOT be fired with standard .45 ACP loads). The same was true of the S&W revolvers. An S&W No.3 latch would not last long if fired with ammunition at .44 Magnum or even .45 ACP pressures, assuming the cylinder stood up to that punishment. I have seen loose No.3's, indicating that they did not really even stand up well to extensive firing with the black powder ammunition of the day.

Jim
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Old September 24, 2012, 04:56 PM   #39
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In the fourth post, the original poster was asking about current production top breaks, which begs this question:

It seems that I remember that smith and wesson actually resumed manufacture of the #3 not too long ago, but for a very brief time. And they were pricey.

Does anyone remember that and what were the chamberings?

Did they offer .44 russian and .45 smith and wesson, also known as the .45 short colt. (Just joking about the short colt. I Don't want to start that argument again. LOL)
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Old September 24, 2012, 05:23 PM   #40
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Quote:
IIRC, didn't the Russians order huge numbers, but then renege on most of the order - after they had received, and reverse engineered, the first batch? After which, they rolled their own.

Seems to me I reaad that somewhere, and that it nearly crushed S&W for a short period.
I believe you're confusing the No. 3 with the Mosin-Nagant Model 1891, and S&W with Remington.

More here:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...83&postcount=6
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Old September 24, 2012, 05:40 PM   #41
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Magmax,
That is probably the cleanest I.J. 22 I've ever seen! Kudos on such a good looking old gun. I own about three of the old 32 cal top breaks and they all are pretty lame compared to that. I'd love to have that one and I'm not even a collector.
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Old September 24, 2012, 06:03 PM   #42
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What about my Keith Richards question?...



BTW, IMFdb.org did list Indiana Jones carry revolver as a Webley Army .455 caliber. It's a huge handgun for the era.
If I recall, Jones used a old S&W .45 DA revolver in the other movies & in the "Raiders" bar fight scene, Indy packed a P-35 9x19mm pistol as a BUG-2nd gun.

If you get the new Blu-Ray set, watch the scene in frame by frame.
For years, I thought Jones used a old 1911 .45acp since a early scene with MI/Army Intel officers bring up his military service.

Clyde
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Old September 24, 2012, 06:12 PM   #43
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According to an article by Roy Jinks, S&W historian, the first S&W No.3 revolvers submitted to the U.S. Army were .44 Henry rimfire. The Army returned the guns wanting a centerfire revovler. S&W simply changed the firing pin (and frame) to centerfire, without changing any chamber dimensions.

Comparing .44 Henry with .44 S&W American and Frankfor Arsenal ammunition, this seems to be the case, as dimensions are so very close to each other.

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Old September 24, 2012, 06:17 PM   #44
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According to IMFDB, Indy was originally envisioned as carrying a 1911, but the prop technology of the time did not allow reliable blank cycling in the .45 1911.

Since then, several movies and TV shows that used 1911s snuck in 9mm versions, though they often said they were .45s.

On a related topic, this is why the producers had Gary Cooper carry a captured Luger P08, rather than the correct 1911, in Sergeant York.
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Old September 24, 2012, 11:29 PM   #45
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My top break



1917 Webley Mk VI

They don't make them like this, anymore...

But, I got mine!
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Old September 25, 2012, 04:28 AM   #46
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Indy-sidearms...

The P-35 9mm/1911a1 .45acp trivia makes sense but it could also have made a lot of sense for Jones to pack or take handguns abroad(Europe-Asia) where he could easily obtain more handgun ammunition. 9x19mm or even .455 caliber rounds might have been quicker to find or cheaper in the mid/late 1930s.
A Browning or FN Hi-Power 9mm(14) would have held more rounds than a 1911 .45acp(8) too. When you go to remote areas(jungles, deserts, etc) that would be important.

CF
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Old September 25, 2012, 06:25 AM   #47
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I don't know what kind of ammunition is most easily obtained in remote jungles and deserts but interestingly enough, some adventure movies actually filmed overseas in the 1930s often as not show Colt Single Action Army revolvers being used. Rifles were invariably Winchesters but not necessarily carbines. One silent movie, The Lost World (the 1925 version, not the one with Jill St. John), I have shows a Luger being carried, though you can't tell what caliber it is. Another movie from 1940 in which a Luger appeared (uncredited) was clearly a .30 caliber, because you saw the empty shell (or at least the shell was a .30 caliber Luger, the bottleneck being obvious).

Actually, I doubt very much was available in the way of handgun ammunition in very many foreign places during the 1930s, but it's interesting to think about.

One biographical book I have, "I married adventure," was about Martin and Osa Johnson, who autographed my copy. The flew around Africa and Southeast Asia and the Pacific making travel/nature films. At one point in her book she lists the guns they brought along and said she was embarassed at how long the list was. But I believe there was only one handgun.
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:12 AM   #48
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The easiest way to do it would be to "go native." Or, really, go colonial.

In other words, match your guns to the colonial power that's in charge where you're going.

For example, if you go to Egypt or India, you're going to find .455 Webley fairly easily.

If you go to Algeria, you're going to find things like .32 ACP, 8mm Lebel Revolver, and 11mm French Ordnance revolver (The Mummy, anyone?).

And, if you go to, say, German East Africa, you're going to probably find 9mm of various flavors and variou 7.63 and 7.65 cartridges.
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:44 AM   #49
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Since it appears no one else has said it, Magmax, I think your Uberti is gorgeous. let us know how it holds up. A real conversation piece.
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Old September 25, 2012, 09:11 AM   #50
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Days of yore...

I agree with a few of the recent posts.
If you were going to travel from the USA to places unknown or "denied areas"(a common intel-military-spy term) in the 1920s/1930s/1940s, a large caliber DA/SA revolver like a S&W model 27 .357magnum, a 1917 .45acp or a .45LC would be smart. Semi auto ammunition wasn't like it is now. High tech JHPs & well made handgun rounds were not always available.
I wouldn't want to face any angry natives or a big tiger with a .38spl model 10 snub or a semi-auto .380acp that would jam a lot.
Clyde
PS; The Mummy films did have many cool firearms & weapons of the era.
Another good action/crime drama with a lot of guns is; Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis. He uses a brace of 1911a1 pistols with a leather rig.
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