Author Topic: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?  (Read 323 times)

Offline Black River Smith

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This question is not meant to start any fights or disagreements.  I am hoping that someone with both models will offer a personal comparison or favorite with a reason.

You see I have an opportunity or decided, to buy either the Russian in 44 or wait for the new Cimarron 1st model #3 to come out in same caliber.  In the mid '90's I had a chance to shoot my friends original Russian 6 1/2"(he does not live here any longer so I cannot just ask to handle it again), at the time I liked its pointing and accuracy but now with the opportunity for a 1st Model in 8" barrel (same grip pattern as Schofield), the question come down to what grip frame handles better.

In my town, I will not find a 'shop' that will have either of these models, so I cannot make my own comparisons.  I will be buying new and therefore, only one.  Unless I could find a used Russian at reasonable price.

If this topic has been hashed out please just direct me to the posting.  I did look through several pages.

Thanks for any comments.
BRS
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Offline Blair

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 12:40:12 pm »
BRS,

 I have and shoot several original S&W top brake revolvers. Ranging from the early type First Mod. #3 through to the New Mod. #3. All are in .44R cal. They all are quite comfortable, for me, in shooting.
 I also own a repro Schofield and a #3, Mod. 3. The repro #3, Mod 3 is rather uncomfortable for me to shoot. This is because the humpback back strap is either too high or otherwise misplaced. The New Mod. #3 humpback in both the repro and originals is much reduced and is very much the same sizes to each other.
 If you are use to shooting a Colt type grip I would suggest you either wait for the First Mod. #3 to come out or to get the Schofield.
I hope this helps.
My best,
 Blair   
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 01:03:27 pm »
For rapid one handed shooting, the Schofield grip works better, as it allows the gun to roll upward in the hand for better positioning of the thumb for recock.  For 2 handed shooting the Russian grip is better, as it locks the hand in one position.  Both have a longer reach to the hammer than any Colt/clone, so speed is relative. 

The Schofield grip is faster out of leather, as grip position is not as critical as on the Russian.  The Russian grip is smaller in diameter, a consideration for smaller hands.  The Schofield has better sights for faster acquisition. 

The American model should feel much like the Schofield, the New Model #3 somewhere in between the two.

But all these differences are simply a matter of degree, and not a great deal of degree either.  The one that strikes your fancy is the one you should get.  I would think historical considerations would be more important, IE what would you most likely be carrying in the era that interests you.
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Offline Johnson Barr

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2019, 12:29:16 pm »
Blair please turn off your spell check. There are no brakes on Smith & Wesson Top Breaks.
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Offline Blair

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019, 01:24:39 pm »
Johnson Barr,

 Thank you.
I do not know if my spell check is on or off.
Spelling has never been a strong suit of mine. I will try two too to keep it in check just for you.
My best,
 Blair
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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2019, 10:35:50 am »

Johnson Barr ..... Are you by chance under the miss-impression we are engaged in a spelling contest here??  If we actually are, I are gonna hafta go to the corner wid a dunce kap.

Really????????

Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2019, 04:45:21 pm »
Well I was somewhat incorrect in my initial posting.  I have found a local shop that had a Schofield, I could handle.  The grip frame is definitely smaller than Uberti SAA's (which I am most use to).  They unfortunately did not have a Russian, for a side by side comparison.

That makes the decision even more difficult.  Well I have until at last until September.

Thanks for the comments.  You are right it will come down to, what I feel like.  This firearm will be just for my own fun, not competitive shooting, and will be based on what 'historical mood' I feel like.
Black River Smith

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2019, 05:56:04 pm »
Russians tend to be a little hard to come by, as in Uberti doesn't make a huge number of them.  So the distributors are often out of them.   I often see schofields at matches but don't recall ever seeing a Russian at a match.  I've handled them both and with my smaller hands neither fits!  There's no way I could shoot one duelist.  If you do get one and decide you don't like it, I don't think it would be too hard to sell.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 05:58:13 pm by Abilene »

Offline DeaconKC

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2019, 10:10:40 pm »
This video on the the .44 Russian has some really interesting observations at the end of the show on the grip.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdwPvD8JZ84&list=PLJvsSlrbdhn5v8AuvAZuOYJ5BgEEoDdqm&index=67
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Offline Tuolumne Lawman

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2019, 09:11:29 am »
Schofield grip is MUCH better.  As much as I love the Russians, the grip is just awful!
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Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2019, 02:15:06 am »
Howdy

First of all, let's get something straight. the grip shape of the American Model, which is the new #3 that Cimarron is importing is not the same as a Schofield.

This is a 1st Model Russian. It is identical to the American Model except the chambering is 44 Russian instead of the original 44 S&W American round that featured a heeled bullet.






This is a Schofield.






Notice how much more straight up and down the American style grip is than the Scofield. Notice how much more rounded the Schofield grip is.





This is a 2nd Model Russian.






And to complete the picture of all the single action #3 S&W Top Breaks, this is a New Model Number Three.






The thing about all the S&W #3 Top Breaks is that because of the shape of the grips and the shape of the hammer, it is a further reach to the hammer spur than it is with a Colt. Shooting one handed of course. I always grip a Colt with my pinky curled under the grip. I learned a long time ago this is the way to keep a little bit of space between the rear of the trigger guard and the knuckle of my index finger. This is how I avoid getting my knuckle whacked in recoil from my 45 Colt Black Powder loads.

Notice that with this grip I can easily reach the hammer to cock it, so there is no regripping needed.

Yes, I have fairly large hands, but they are not huge. I wear a regular Large size glove.






Here is a Schofield. Notice with the pinky curled under the grip I cannot quite reach the hammer spur to cock the hammer.






In order to cock the hammer I have to regrip so I can reach the hammer spur.






Then I will regrip to shoot. In reality, I do not grip the Schofield overly tightly, so in recoil the grip rotates slightly in my hand, bringing my thumb closer to the hammer. Then I regrip slightly to shoot.






Here is the Russian. Notice my hand is below the big, pointy hump on the grip. (S&W called it a 'knuckle'). The Russians specified the big, pointy hump because they did not want the revolver to rotate in the hand in recoil. It does this very well. The hump prevents the grip from rotating in the hand, instead recoil pushes the grip straight back.






But here's the problem. I have big hands, but I cannot reach the hammer spur with my hand under the hump. I have to regrip, placing my palm against the hump in order to reach the hammer to cock it.






Then I have to regrip again, getting my hand below the hump. If I don't, and fire the gun with the hump pressed against my palm, it hurts! Trust me on this. Even with the relatively mild recoil of the 44 Russian cartridge. By the way, the woman in that video is full of it. The trigger spur was never meant to be an extra finger grip. It is there simply as a European style embellishment on the grip. Why else would so many trigger guard spurs have been sawn off in the Old West? And I would never let that woman touch any of my antique revolvers, the way she slams them shut.

Anyway, I absolutely do not recommend the Russian model, because of the difficulty cocking it and getting the hand back under the big, pointy hump again.






Finally let's look at the best of all the S&W Number 3 Top Breaks, the New Model Number Three. Nope, with my pinky curled under the grip I cannot reach the hammer spur.






I have to regrip a little bit to reach it. But the hump on the grip of the NM#3 is so much smaller than on the Russian model, that it can rotate slightly in my hand in recoil.






Then it is easy to regrip to get my pinky under the grip again to fire a round.





Bottom line, I never bring my Russian to a CAS match, I really do not like shooting it.

I love shooting my New Model Number Threes.

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2019, 07:48:47 am »
Hi, I just worked up a load for a Schofield in .45 Long Colt.  I shoot .45 S&W brass in it.  The .45 S&W has a larger diameter rim so it holds the ejector better.  I can get to the hammer on the Schofield better than I can the Colt, and I like the grip much more on the Schofield.

Later
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Offline DeaconKC

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2019, 09:58:43 am »
Thanks for that detailed pictorial/explanation! The very end of the video above had an interesting point. The woman doing the shooting used her middle finger on the "hook" while shooting, and found that it was easier to reach the hammer for cocking. I can only speculate that was the reason for it's existence. She said that made a huge difference. I have never even handled one of these, so I do look forward to getting to do so one day.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2019, 12:17:51 pm »
The truth is, no one knows the official reason the Russians specified that spur.  C&Rs thoughts on this are as good as any, and better than most considering the nature of recocking a single action of any kind. 
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Offline Black River Smith

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2019, 04:19:29 pm »
Driftwood,

Thanks for the images; pictorial and detailed observations.  That was exactly what I was hoping to hear.  I trust your comments about the Model 3 Second Model Russian.  But my next question then would be -- have you fired the Model 3 First Model Russian in the photos?  I do understand the grip is straighter up and down than the Schofield but the Schofield was the best representation, I figured most owners/shooters would have for a comparison, to the NEW coming Cimarron First Model 3 in 44 Spec/Rus caliber. I will be using it like the First Model 3 (Russian) variation.  So seeing your original, the question becomes What Was It Like, to fire it? If you have, of course.  Then your feelings about it compared to the New Model 3.

If you still like the New Model 3 over the First then how does the Taylor offered New Model 3 compare to Originals?  I have seen pictures that indicate differences in the general lines and design.  But is it a good substitute for a SW break top experience at $1100?

Thanks if you can answer these new and maybe last questions.
Black River Smith

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2019, 05:40:43 pm »
Quote
The very end of the video above had an interesting point. The woman doing the shooting used her middle finger on the "hook" while shooting, and found that it was easier to reach the hammer for cocking. I can only speculate that was the reason for it's existence. She said that made a huge difference. I have never even handled one of these, so I do look forward to getting to do so one day.

Read again what I said in my post:

"By the way, the woman in that video is full of it. The trigger spur was never meant to be an extra finger grip. It is there simply as a European style embellishment on the grip. Why else would so many trigger guard spurs have been sawn off in the Old West? And I would never let that woman touch any of my antique revolvers, the way she slams them shut."

I have tried shooting my Russian using the trigger guard spur as an extra finger rest. Very awkward. Does not work for me at all. Perhaps she does not have much wrist strength. The Russian model is a very heavy revolver, but I can control it just fine gripping it as my photos show. I would not dream of trying to use the trigger guard spur as a finger rest.

There have been several reasons put forward over the years as to why the trigger guard spur was there. One is that it was meant to protect the hand to parry a blow from a saber. Another is that is was there so the pistol could be hung from a belt or sash. I stand by what I said, it is simply a European style embellishment.



Quote
Thanks for the images; pictorial and detailed observations.  That was exactly what I was hoping to hear.  I trust your comments about the Model 3 Second Model Russian.  But my next question then would be -- have you fired the Model 3 First Model Russian in the photos?  I do understand the grip is straighter up and down than the Schofield but the Schofield was the best representation, I figured most owners/shooters would have for a comparison, to the NEW coming Cimarron First Model 3 in 44 Spec/Rus caliber. I will be using it like the First Model 3 (Russian) variation.  So seeing your original, the question becomes What Was It Like, to fire it? If you have, of course.  Then your feelings about it compared to the New Model 3.

If you still like the New Model 3 over the First then how does the Taylor offered New Model 3 compare to Originals?  I have seen pictures that indicate differences in the general lines and design.  But is it a good substitute for a SW break top experience at $1100?

No, I have not fired my 1st Model Russian yet. I have only had it a short while and have not had a chance to take it apart and prepare it for shooting Black Powder cartridges.

Since the grip is longer I can tell you it is not as comfortable for me to cock the hammer as is a Schofield or a New Model Number Three. With my preferred pinky under the grip grip, it is more awkward for me to reach the hammer spur than either of the other two. I can keep my pinky under the grip and if I point the revolver skyward I can reach the hammer spur with my thumb. Then if I bring the gun down sharply it rotates in my hand slightly so my pinky under the grip grip reasserts itself. I suspect that recoil will not be enough to raise the revolver that high though.

Why do I insist on curling my pinky under the grip? Just more comfortable for me.

My preference in S&W #3 Top Break grips and shootability is

#1 New Model Number Three. That is why my pair of NM#3s come to a CAS match every year or so.
#2 Schofield. Does not handle as well as the NM#3.
#3 1st Model Russian (at least I expect so when I get it set up to shoot)
#4 2nd Model Russian. For all the reasons I gave before.

By the way, the version of the Russian revolver that Uberti makes is a 3rd Model Russian. Different from the 2nd Model in that there is a thumb wheel at the top of the top strap to make it easier to remove the cylinder. With the 2nd Model you have to unscrew a screw to remove the cylinder. Otherwise the 2nd and 3rd Models are the same.

Sorry, I have no experience shooting the replicas made by Uberti.

I can tell you though, that none of them shoot Black Powder as well as the originals. If that matters to you.

The originals all had a cylinder 1 7/16" long. Just right for the 44 S&W American round, the 44 Russian round, and the 45 Schofield round. That is why the Schofield round was developed. When Uberti lengthened the cylinders to accomodate longer cartridges, such as 45 Colt and 44-40, they lengthened the cylinder but did not lengthen the frame to accomodate the longer cylinder. Instead, the bushing at the front of the cylinder was shortened. This makes them bind up much more quickly than the originals. From what I have seen of the new Cimarron American, it looks like they did the same thing. Lengthening the cylinder to accommodate the longer cartridges without lengthening the frame to keep the bushing the same length. For this reason I suspect the new Cimarron American will not handle Black Powder cartridges very well.

When S&W lengthened the New Model Number Three and 44 Double Action cylinder to 1 9/16" to accommodate the 44-40 and 38-40 cartridges, they lengthened the frame a proportionate amount, so those revolvers also shot Black Powder just fine without binding up.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2019, 07:15:48 pm »
An observation: if you are used to modern DAs, where the grip fills in the area behind the trigger guard, then using the spur as a rest for the index finger might feel quite natural. 

The spur certainly had a purpose to the Russians, we just don't know what it was.  The leading candidate to me is a finger rest for the trigger finger during a mounted charge with the weapon drawn and cocked.  I also could not call it a European embellishment, as no other European military specified such a thing.  Only the Russians, and they ain't telling.

Of course, we here in the US would cut it off, civilians would have no use for it.  Even if we knew what that use was!  But S&W was making money selling to the Russians, so you get what they got.  One of the reasons S&W came out with the New Model, was after the Russian contracts were done, they wanted a more "American" looking revolver to sell.  But it was really too late, the market was shifting to DAs, so the NM never sold all that well,  unfortunatly.

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Offline Will Ketchum

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2019, 07:23:26 pm »
The trigger spurs were quite common on dueling and target pistols of the muzzle loading period.
I had a TC Patriot that had this feature. I used it while setting the single set trigger which, for some reason was the front trigger and not the more common rear one.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2019, 09:01:40 pm »
Yep, someplace to rest your finger until the command to fire was given. 

 European cavalry practice emphasized officer control of fire at all times.  Only in the mass fire environment of WW1 was this finally dropped as archaic.

The spur was seen often in flint and percussion handguns, but only the Russians really carried it forward into cartridge repeaters.  Of course, the Russian were also the only European power to extensively deploy SA revolvers, most other powers jumped from Percussion single shots to DA revolvers.  (more by accident than by any plan)
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Offline Blair

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Re: Which grip frame is better to shoot Model 3 Rus or Schofield?
« Reply #19 on: Yesterday at 02:45:08 pm »
Driftwood,

Thank you again for a very informative posting (s).
My favorite of the S&W #3's is the NM #3.
The originals I have shot were all quite comfortable. My models that came with the trigger spur, all had the spur cut off.
When I bought the repro Schofield and then the #3, Mod 3 Russian, I checked to see if the trigger guards would swap out. So instead of cutting off the spur I just ordered another Schofield trigger guard and put it on the Russian.
I still find it vey uncomfortable to shoot! The grip frame and stocks are larger/thicker than the originals. I am sure it could be corrected, but that is something the Manufacture should do... not me!
my best,
 Blair
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God and the soldier we adore.
But in times of peace and all things right,
God is forgotten and the soldier slighted"
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