Author Topic: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.  (Read 934 times)

Offline GreyVR

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Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« on: June 23, 2021, 02:21:07 PM »
Hey All,

I posted this a few days ago, but it looks like CAS city was attacked by hacker jerks or something and it's gone. So if you answered, please answer again. Many of you gave me some excellent information (thank you) before the page went down, but I don't remember it all. I'm really looking to learn all I can because I've got a huge drive to get a .44 Smith single action.

This isn't an exact re-post, and a few questions are being added.

Now, to the questions.

-----------------------------------

I'm sure you are all aware of the differences between the standard model 3 and the Schofield. That said, I can't seem to find a youtube video focusing on which locking system is better/stronger/easier to use. Does anyone have a video doing a compare and contrast? I know the idea of the Schofield latch was to do it one handed, but the regular 'press up' latch of the model three seems like it would be just as easy to do one handed, and you'd need both once you are putting the rounds in anyway, right?



I see reproductions are available from Uberti and Cimarron, though I have heard that Cimarron are importers and ALL MODERN MAKE Model 3 variants are made by Uberti. Is that true, or is there another option? 

I heard you can't shoot black powder loads from a modern made Model 3, though I missed why. True or false? Is it something fixable or just something you live with?

Presently, we're in an ammo shortage, so it's hard to decide which caliber is the best choice. .44-40 seems interesting, but .44 special seems like it would be more available when the ammo shortage ends. What about .44 Russian? I understand it was popular back in the day in the West? (Or do I have that wrong and it was only used by the Russians?) I know it developed into .44 special, which makes me think .44 special might be the way to go, in particular if I decide to learn to reload brass as I hear .44-40 has added challenges in that department. (I don't reload yet, but perhaps soon.)

I don't want to go .38 or .45 LC. Mostly because of Marty Robbins.

And lastly it seems you have frames available with and without an angle at the top of the grip. I think I'd prefer with, but I'd like to actually handle these before buying, and that seems like it would be difficult. I have some time shooting a BP 1860 Army revolver and on a Smith Model 10, so I am quite familiar with the utility of that angle, though if anyone can give me opinions on the difference between the smooth curve of the early model vs the extreme corner of the Russian vs the moderate corner of the new model frontier, I'm most interested.

Offline St. George

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2021, 07:32:49 PM »
If you take some time to review the 'back pages' on this particular forum, you'll find all of those answers and more.

Good Hunting!

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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2021, 09:55:15 AM »

 :)  GreyVR  ;)

Some partial quick and dirty.  Yes.  ALL current manufacturers of Schofield are Uberti.  Previously there were Armi Sam Marco (crap) and Smith & Wesson.

Current replica Schofield DO NOT play well with BP.  They will foul out in just a few rounds.  Uberti's decision to extend the cylinder to accept 45 Colt was a huge mistake for BP shooters.

Were it I, I would opt for a pair of 44 Special.  I would however, shoot them with 44 Russian cases.  I happen to really like the 44 Russian.

As for the rest of your questions, Dunno.  I had a Schofield once.  Couldn't shoot it well at all.  Didn't keep it long enough to get use to it.

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Offline GreyVR

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2021, 11:26:23 AM »
Current replica Schofield DO NOT play well with BP.  They will foul out in just a few rounds.  Uberti's decision to extend the cylinder to accept 45 Colt was a huge mistake for BP shooters.

I only have one BP gun, and I've only shot it with pyrodex, so when it comes to BP, I'm a bit out of my depth. Still, as .45 LC and the model 3 were both released in the early 1870s and (I believe) originally BP weapons, it would seem like it ought to work..... ? IE, if I got a model 3 in .45 LC and used .45 LC BP loads, why wouldn't it work?

I imagine it might be some sort of cylinder gap issue? Even if so, that just raises more questions.

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2021, 01:36:44 PM »

 :)  GreyVR  ;)

Ah, good questions all.  When Uberti and S&W opted to replicate the Schofield, they also often to bow to mis-guided shooter pressure to enable .45 Colt.  To do so, the Cylinder was extended.  The extended Cylinder eliminated the original Schofield Base Pin Bushing which was designed to deflect gun Gas/Spooge away from the Base Pin and away from the Cylinder face.  Elimination of the bushing was disastrous for shooting BP.  On the replicants, the BP fouling is allowed to build up on the cylinder face and the base pin very rapidly.  Most will foul out in 3 or 4 rounds.

The replica manufacturers also seemed to forget about the Forcing Cone.  With the Uberti, the forcing cone is very short and very steep.  Or, it isn't there at all, directing even more fouling to the cylinder face and base pin.

The Cylinder to Barrel gap itself doesn't really come into play.  The above serve to prevent the Schofield replicants from running BP.

Just some additional FYI.  First and foremost.  PRODEX is a RUSTING AGENT that just happens to burn.  Quite possible it is the absolute worst thing you can use.  Avoid it like the plague.  If you are interested in a very viable Substitute, I strongly suggest you try APP.  A great substitute, requires no lubes, and cleans up super easy.  There is also, NO SUCH THING as 45 LC, or 45 Long Colt.  There were only three 45 cartridges,  The original and Grand Daddy is the 45 Colt,  Next was 45 Schofield, and then 45 Government (Schofield length Colt case)

I have heard, second and third hand, 45 shooters have had some good results with Cowboy 45 Special cases.  I can't personally confirm nor deny.  Others report good results with 44 Russian cases.  Again, I can't personally confirm nor deny.  You pays your money and takes your chances.

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #5 on: Today at 01:49:03 PM »

Offline DeaconKC

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2021, 09:13:11 PM »
Okay, I run two .45 Colt Schofields and we have two more Schofield & Number 3 shooters at my club. None of us run BP [sorry to my Dark Side buddies] due to the fouling issues. One of the guys has the S&W built guns and runs .45 Schofield in his usually, but sometimes will use 45 Special, makes it easy to identify his brass. If you are gonna reload, .44 Special would be better than .44-40 as you can use carbide dies and the brass is much less apt to wrinkle. The Wells Fargo style [5" barrels] are much more friendly and well balanced to me, and I have both the long snouted and 5" versions. If you do go with the long barreled ones, a buscadero rig makes it MUCH easier when holstering/drawing.
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Offline Major 2

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2021, 09:28:15 PM »
I had responded to your original post, now lost in cyber space

I posted this photo to illustrate the grip difference ( one of the original questions )

The thumb reach is better (easier) with NM Frontier , but the spur on the Russian helps with the span

I solve the BP vs  Smokeless issue this way
  the original 44 Russian get loaded with BP only ( obvious reason )
and the 45 Colt NM gets  45 Schofield brass and either Trailboss or Titegroup ( I never tried BP in it )
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline GreyVR

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2021, 10:23:06 PM »
The thumb reach is better (easier) with NM Frontier , but the spur on the Russian helps with the span

I solve the BP vs  Smokeless issue this way
  the original 44 Russian get loaded with BP only ( obvious reason )
and the 45 Colt NM gets  45 Schofield brass and either Trailboss or Titegroup ( I never tried BP in it )

I am most glad to hear from you again! I fear however, that I don't understand what you are saying. The 'spur helps with the span?" The span from your thumb to the trigger? Something else?

Additionally, you mean "original" as in the antique?

TBH, it might be less obvious than you imagine. My understanding of modern gunpowder is excellent compared to the man on the street but rather limited by the standards of you fellows who reload! I know that older weapons can't handle the pressures we load today, or perhaps the pressure spike, but I had imagined there would be safe smokeless powders that worked for older weapons, presumable with the added benefit of being less corrosive, I have always been under the impression BP is extremely corrosive and a very through cleaning post shooting was important with it.  I don't get to shoot outdoors as much as I would like, so my can of pyrodex P I bought for my cap and ball 1860 army hasn't had much taken out of it, but one the rare occasions I've gotten to take it out the smoke cloud is a real trip. (I imagine it's thicker with BP? or about the same?)


Anyway, love the photos. Smith and Wesson were really ahead of the curve. Where did you get the grips on the lower pistol? They look very much like the ones on my Webley .455. (Or was it the Webley .38 SW? hmm... )


 
If you are gonna reload, .44 Special would be better than .44-40 as you can use carbide dies and the brass is much less apt to wrinkle. The Wells Fargo style [5" barrels] are much more friendly and well balanced to me, and I have both the long snouted and 5" versions. If you do go with the long barreled ones, a buscadero rig makes it MUCH easier when holstering/drawing.

I've heard the .44-40 has that issue, and it's part of what has me learning to .44 special. I don't reload yet, though the more I find myself looking for .455 webley and 7.65 mauser and other obscure loadings the more I think I really must start. It's a tough question, the romance of the .44-40 or the practicality of the .44 special?

Offline Major 2

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2021, 02:51:13 AM »
yes I mean original = antique as in 1879 ... the grips are original to the gun .
The spur allows a firmer grip , to rotate the span of your hand ( at least with medium to larger hands )
The Hard rubber grips on the NM Frontier are OEM replacements , and fit with only minor adjustment , Uberti got the grip frame profile spot on.

I don't like Pyrodex , which is far more corrosive vs BP ... and I would not use any Smokeless in a BP era gun .period !

lastly and sadly now is not a  shining time to begin reloading ( components are HARD to find, primers in particular )
and Presses & dies are about 50% -70% more these days,

BUT, reloading is beneficial "if'  you can  :-\  start up

I already had been reloading and have a small stock pile of components , and BTW I do load for both  455 Webley and 7.65 Mauser.
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2021, 09:34:17 AM »

 :)  Ha!!   ;)

My turn (again).  Old Wives Tail = Black Powder is Corrosive.  Truth = Black Powder is NOT, in and of itself, especially corrosive.  Black Powder fouling is however, Hydroscopic.  The Fouling traps moisture on the steel.  That trapped moisture is what causes the rust and corrosion.

You will oft hear horror stories about the difficulty involved in cleaning after Black Powder.  Just so much BS.  Black Powder cleanup is actually easier than smokeless cleanup.  Only one solvent is needed:  Water.  SUBS are the same.  Very easy to cleanup.  EXCEPT PYRODEX.  It may well take two ore even three cleaning sessions to remove ALL of the corrosive agents in Pyrodex.  The Bottle you have is good for nothing more than fertilizer.

The biggest objection with Black Powder and Subs is cleanup.  It's not that its hard, or messy.  The objection is you HAVE TO cleanup.  Unless your in a very humid clime, you don't even have to clean same day.

If you want to try a great Sub (APP), contact Scarlett at "Bullets by Scarlett."  She is a great source for APP.

PLAY SAFE OUT THERE

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #10 on: Today at 01:49:03 PM »

Offline Dave T

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2021, 10:40:42 AM »
Maker of wood boxes shaped like people,

I visited Scarlett's web site and although they mention APP powder I could not find it for sale. Guess it is as unavailable as everything else. The back order economy strikes again. Or maybe this time they will blame it on Covid.

Dave

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2021, 08:54:58 AM »

 :) HA  ;)

CALL  ::)

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: Model 3s vs Schofield specific and other questions.
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2021, 11:14:51 AM »
Quote
I'm sure you are all aware of the differences between the standard model 3 and the Schofield.

Howdy

There was no such thing as a "standard model 3".

There were five separate and distinct Top Break revolver models that Smith and Wesson built on the #3 sized frame.

Here are some photos illustrating the differences.

The American Model was the first Top Break revolver that S&W produced. The Rollin White patent, which S&W controlled, was due to expire in 1869. This patent gave S&W the exclusive right to manufacture revolvers with chambers bored through to accept cartridges. Daniel Wesson was sure the other revolver manufacturers would have their own versions of cartridge revolvers ready to sell once the patent expired. So his engineers came up with a totally new concept, a revolver that broke open by rotating the barrel down, and automatically ejected spent brass. The American model was first manufactured in 1870, and the US Army bought 1000 of them, the first revolvers designed to shoot cartridges that the Army bought. The American Model fired a 44 caliber cartridge that used a heeled bullet, meaning the rear of the bullet was of the same diameter as the inside of the cartridge case. The round was known as the 44 S&W American cartridge. This is not actually an American model, it is a 1st Model Russian. Outwardly exactly the same as the American model, except chambered for the 44 Russian round. Interestingly enough, Colt did not manufacture the Single Action Army until 1873, three years after S&W introduced the American Model.






This is a Russian model. Specifically it is a 2nd Model Russian. Notice the distinctive hump on the grip and the spur on the trigger guard. After buying a bunch of 1st Model Russians the Russians specified some changes, which included the grip shape and the spur on the trigger guard. The grip shape was intended to prevent the grip from rotating in the hand due to recoil. It did a very good job of this. Unfortunately, I find this model very awkward to shoot. The shape of the hammer spur on all S&W #3 Top Breaks means there is a long reach to the hammer spur when cocking the hammer one handed. They are all like that. However I find that I cannot reach the hammer spur with my thumb unless I shift my grip and place the palm of my hand directly on that pointy hump (S&W calls it a knuckle). Then I have to regrip again to get my hand below the hump. If I forget and fire the revolver with the hump in contact with my palm, it hurts, even with a mild recoiling round such as the 44 Russian. For that reason I never recommend this model to prospective buyers of S&W #3 Top Breaks.

The Russians also dictated the new round for this revolver, the 44 Russian round, would not use a heeled bullet, but instead would have the bullet lube in grooves on the bullet. The bullet was the same diameter as the inside of the case, so the bullet lube would remain inside the cartridge case and not attract contamination like rounds with heeled bullets tended to. Which by the way, is why the 44 Russian, 44 Special, and 44 Magnum cartridges all use bullets that are .429 in diameter.

About the spur on the trigger guard, I have heard many explanations. I believe the Russians simply wanted it because it is a 19th Century European style affectation. No, it is not a good place to rest the middle finger when shooting, I have tried.






This is the Schofield Model. Distinctive because of George Schofield's patented latch system. He developed this style latch working with a Gunsmith on an American model. The serpentine latch was mounted to the frame, as opposed to the latch on the top strap of the two previous models. Schofield designed it so a mounted trooper could unlatch the barrel with one hand, while riding, brush the barrel against his leg to rotate the barrel down and eject the empties, and reload, all while riding at a full gallop. I am not a horseman, but I can reload a Schofield the same way while sitting in a chair. When S&W approached the Army about a contract with the government, the only cartridge the Army was using was the 45 Colt. S&W would have no problem opening the bore up from 44 to 45 for the new revolver, but a 45 Colt cartridge was too long to fit into the 1 7/16" long cylinder S&W was using with all their Top Breaks. Rather than retool and interrupt the flow of the over 150,000 Russian models they eventually built, S&W got the Army to compromise on a new cartridge that would fit into the 1 7/16" long cylinder. Thus was born the 45 Schofield cartridge. S&W had to pay Schofield a royalty of fifty cents for every revolver they made using his patented latch. Daniel Wesson instructed his engineers to come up with a similar latch that would circumvent Schofield's patent. Only about 9,000 Schofields were ever made in two models, from 1875 until 1877 and Wesson's engineers never came up with an alternative latch.






This is the New Model Number Three. In my humble opinion this model was the best of all the #3 Top Breaks S&W made. Introduced in 1878 and eventually chambered for 17 different cartridges, although 44 Russian was the most common. A shorter, rack operated ejector rod meant a shorter ejector rod housing under the barrel. A simpler system to remove the cylinder than any of the previous models. And a rebounding hammer, although personally I would never trust it and only ever load mine with five rounds with an empty chamber under the hammer. A new grip shape very similar to a modern K frame S&W revolver with a very small knuckle on the grip. I always recommend to anyone interested that this is the best of the S&W #3 Top Breaks.






Finally, the 44 Double Action. This was the only double action revolver S&W built on the large #3 sized frame. This one is a target model with a windage adjustable rear sight and a target front sight with a bead on top. Most commonly chambered for 44 Russian, but about 15,000 were chambered for 44-40, and 276 were chambered for 38-40




To answer some of your questions:

Yes, all modern replicas of S&W #3 Top Break revolvers are made by Uberti. Many years ago ASM was building a replica of the Schofield model, but they were very poor quality.

Here is why the modern replicas made by Uberti generally do not do well when shot with ammunition loaded with Black Powder.

As I stated earlier, almost all of the originals were made with cylinders 1 7/16" long. (Those that chambered 44-40 or 38-40 had longer cylinders).

When Uberti and ASM made their first replicas, they made the cylinders longer to accept longer cartridges such as 44-40 and 45 Colt. But they did not lengthen the frames a similar amount. This meant the bushing on the front of the cylinder had to be shortened to fit into a same sized frame. See my recent post about the Schofield Model of 2000 so I don't have to post all the photos again. Anyway, with the shortened bushing on the front of the cylinder, Black Powder fouling blasted out of the barrel/cylinder gap on these replicas tends to make them bind up more quickly than the originals when fired with ammunition loaded with Black Powder. Not impossible, plenty of Black Powder compatible bullet lube on the bullets as well as frequent wiping down makes them perform reasonably well with ammo loaded with Black Powder. Check out Big Lube bullets.

http://www.whyteleatherworks.com/BigLube.html

44 Russian and 44-40 are very different. Besides being longer, 44-40 has a tapered case. 44 Russian, 44 Special, and 44 Magnum all have the 44 Russian as their ancestor. Any revolver chambered for 44 Special can also fire 44 Russian. Any revolver chambered for 44 Mag can also fire 44 Special and 44 Russian. Any revolver chambered for 44 Russian can only chamber 44 Russian ammunition.




44 Russian ammunition was quite common in the US.







I load 44 Russian with Black Powder all the time. I use the same Big Lube bullets that I use with 44-40. I buy the 44 Mav-Dutchman bullet from Whyte Leather and have them sized to .428, rather than the normal .427 because I have 44-40 rifles that have a couple of different groove diameters.







Quote
I know the idea of the Schofield latch was to do it one handed, but the regular 'press up' latch of the model three seems like it would be just as easy to do one handed, and you'd need both once you are putting the rounds in anyway, right?

No. In my experience it is much easier to open the Schofield style latch one handed than the style of latch on all the other #3 Top Breaks. Doing it right now on a NM#3. Right hand gripping the grip, right thumb shoves the latch up. Left hand grabs the barrel and rotates it down. The ergonomics of the Schofield latch make it easier to pull back with the thumb of the hand holding the revolver. That's why old Daniel Wesson wanted his engineers to find a way around Schofield's patent but still retaining the general idea.

I think somewhere in there you asked about the strength of the two different styles of latch systems. They were completely adequate for the ammunition they were designed for. In addition, all firearms made in Italy are proofed in government proof houses. Any modern Italian replica will be completely safe to shoot with modern Smokeless ammunition that adheres to SAAMI industry pressure stancards.

Personally, I never shoot my antique Top Breaks with anything other than ammunition I load with Black Powder. Yes, it is the pressure spike. The older steel cannot always take the rapid pressure spike generated by most Smokeless powders.

Yes, cleaning up after shooting Black Powder is messy, much messier than cleaning up after shooting Smokeless. However I have found over many years that cleaning up after shooting BP actually takes less elbow grease than cleaning up after Smokeless, and BP solvents are water based, rather than nasty smelling Smokeless solvents.

And Black Powder is not as corrosive as most shooters think. After a match I am usually too tired to sit down and clean two pistols, a rifle and a shotgun. I try to clean them within a week. I am not going to state in public how long I have actually let them sit without cleaning, suffice it to say it has been much longer than a week. And they have not corroded into piles of rust.
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