Smith & Wesson’s Schofield Revolver

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posted on August 11, 2009
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The West definitely wasn't the exclusive province of just Colt and Winchester-there were many other arms makers represented on the frontier. One handgun that served equally well for soldier and sodbuster alike was Smith & Wesson's single-action Schofield. While Colt and Remington revolvers loaded one round at a time through a side-mounted loading gate, the Schofield was a top-break gun, popping open in the middle and allowing for simultaneous ejection of spent cartridges or quick reloading. Like Colt and Remington, Smith & Wesson realized the West was a place where bigger definitely was better and built the Schofield to fire potent .45 projectiles.

Schofields served alongside Colts in the U.S. Cavalry, and for a time, much of the .45 pistol ammunition issued in the frontier army was a shorter cartridge tailored for the shorter Schofield cylinder. When the well-worn Schofields were declared surplus, Wells Fargo stepped up to purchase these revolvers, shortened their barrels and issued them for many years to their agents and employees. There may have been a few times when Schofield faced Schofield, as outlaws Jesse and Frank James and Cole Younger also elected to carry these Smith & Wessons.

Recently donated by NRA Board member Tom Selleck, this Schofield was used in the movie "Crossfire Trail" and today can be seen in the galleries of the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va.

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