Author Topic: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000  (Read 1043 times)

Offline Dave T

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Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« on: July 19, 2021, 05:50:26 PM »
After thinking about it for 20 years or so I ran across one of these for sale and jumped.

Guy who sold it said they were too well made (too tight) to shoot black powder. I had ran across someone over the years who said he successfully shot black in his so so I thought I would risk it and bought the gun. Came with the fancy wood case and all the fooferall that goes with it. It appeared to be in good shape and probably had been handled more than shot.

I started accumulating reloading stuff and when it was all together (Star-Line brass, Big Lube bullets, Olde Eynsford powder, and primers) along with an old set of 45 Colt dies with the seat/crimp die shortened appropriately, I started loading ammo.

The original S&W load was 28g of black powder behind a 230g bullet. Big-Lube doesn't make a 230g so I made do with 200g BL bullets from Mark Whyte. Got 50 rounds put together and headed to the range. Disaster was the word that came to mind. I could not get through a cylinder of 5 rounds. By the 3rd or 4th round the cylinder would no longer turn at all. even after I opened the gun.

Turns out the cylinder bushing on the original, which turned away fouling from the cylinder pin, was left off by S&W's Custom Shop. I'm sure they decided nobody would be shooting these things with that filthy old stuff anyway. Goons.

So there I am. Stuck with a rather expensive gun that won't shoot the ammunition it was designed around. I gritted my teeth, went through a bought of COVID, and decided there had to be a way around this problem. Then setting in my shop, looking at the bottom of the book case that holds smokeless powder I noticed a full can of Black MZ in the corner. I had shot up most of the first can and dumped what little remained into the new can I bought just before it went off the market. It doesn't create fouling like real black so I thought what the heck.

I loaded up some rounds with the volume equivalent of Black MZ to 28g of black powder. Topped them again with the Big Lube 200g as I still don't have any 230g cast bullets. Too bloody hot at the range but I wanted to see if this change in powder would work. For the first 5 rounds the gun functioned just fine. That was already ahead of my trial with black powder a few months ago. Loaded another 5 rounds and these were fired with no problems from fouling. Third cylinder and on the 13th or 14th round the cylinder drag was bad. The 15th round would not cycle into place without using my left hand to turn it. Squirted the cylinder bushing area down with Ballistal and spun it a few times. Finished the 25 rounds I had loaded with only slight cylinder drag after the Ballistal treatment.

The 200g bullets hit 6-8 inches low at 20 yards. I'm hoping the heavier and more appropriate 230g bullets will bring that up to a reasonable proximity of the point of aim. With Black MZ at lest I have a load that functions in the S&W Schofield Model of 2000 and gives off a nice cloud of smoke, even if it doesn't smell right.

Dave

Offline St. George

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2021, 06:51:34 PM »
They actually do shoot the round they were designed for - these were designed for smokeless, and S&W used Black Hills ammunition when they fired them.

Try Trail Boss - that works well.

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Offline Dave T

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2021, 07:49:04 PM »
I quote myself:

"Turns out the cylinder bushing on the original, which turned away fouling from the cylinder pin, was left off by S&W's Custom Shop. I'm sure they decided nobody would be shooting these things with that filthy old stuff anyway. Goons."

I try not to shoot smokeless in guns of the black powder era, even reproductions. Black MZ isn't real black powder but it at least has much more of the feel and sound of black than any smokeless. If I'm reduced to only shooting smokeless I'll sell the bloody thing!

Dave

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2021, 09:06:51 PM »
Triple 7 has worked well in my Uberti Schofields.  I also like to use the short .45 CS.  I like this bullet  http://www.accuratemolds.com/bullet_detail.php?bullet=45-230S  over a no more than lightly compressed charge of 3f 777 delivers .45 S&W ballistics.  2f would probably work well in the S&W case.
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Offline Dave T

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2021, 11:48:05 AM »
Thanks Drydock. I'll keep T7 in mind. Supposedly APP is the parent powder for Black MZ so I was going to look for that (hard to find out here in the desert) when my pound of B-MZ runs out. If I haven't located a source of the APP I'll try H-777.

Dave

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #5 on: Today at 07:16:38 PM »

Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 08:52:05 AM »
Howdy

Sorry about your experience with your Schofield Model of 2000.

Quote
Guy who sold it said they were too well made (too tight) to shoot black powder.

He did not know what he was talking about. The Model 0f 2000's inability to shoot Black Powder very well is all about the bushing pressed onto the front of the cylinder, nothing else.

This is a photo showing the prominent bushing pressed into the face of an original Schofield that left the factory in 1875. Notice how far the bushing protrudes from the face of the cylinder. About .165 from the front face of the cylinder.






The next photo shows how the cylinder lines up with the cylinder arbor. The extractor rod fits inside the hollow cylinder arbor while the bushing will ride outside the arbor.






In the next photo the cylinder is about 1/2 way to being fully seated. Notice the bushing can be seen riding on the outside of the arbor. Also, notice the helical groove cut into the cylinder arbor,







The cylinder is fully seated in this photo. The upper arrow is pointing to the front face of the cylinder, the lower arrow is pointing to the front face of the bushing. Black Powder fouling blasted out of the barrel/cylinder gap of any revolver blasts out pretty much in a plane. The .165 or so separation of the front of the bushing from the barrel/cylinder gap provides enough horizontal separation that the arbor is shielded from most of the fouling blasted out of the b/c gap. In addition, the helical groove cut into the cylinder arbor provided clearance for any fouling that managed to get past the bushing. Fouling would tend to accumulate in the helical groove and not bind up the cylinder.






By the way, ALL five of the original #3 Top Break revolvers made by Smith and Wesson; the American Model, the Russian Model, the Schofield Model, the New Model Number Three, and the 44 Double Action had a bushing like this pressed onto the front of the cylinder. The design worked very well, I bring a couple of New Model Number Threes to CAS matches about once a year and I can shoot them all day long with ammo loaded with Black Powder with no binding at all.



Recently I was able to examine a couple of the Model of 2000 Schofields in a local shop, Yes, he had two of them. Of course the shop was not going to allow me to remove the cylinder for a look at the bushing, but it was plain to me there was a very minimal bushing on the front of the cylinder. Here is a photo of one from the web:






Here is a photo of one of my original antique Schofields showing the arrangement of the cylinder bushing and how far forward it sits of the barrel/cylinder gap. I have no idea if the Model of 2000 includes the helical clearance cut on the cylinder arbor. The lack of one would contribute further to them binding quickly when fired with Black Powder cartridges.




Historically, what happened was all the original S&W Top Break revolvers had cylinders 1 7/16" long. This was the perfect length for the cartridges S&W was making for them at the time, the 44 S&W American round and the 44 Russian round. When S&W approached the Army about a government contract, the Army specified they must be 45 caliber. Up until that time all the S&W Top Breaks had been 44 caliber. S&W had no problem opening up the bores from 44 to 45. But the only cartridge the Army was using at the time was the 45 Colt cartridge, which was too long for a 1 7/16" long cylinder. S&W did not want to change the tooling for their frames and cylinders since they were in the middle of selling over 150,000 Russian models to the Russian, Turkish, and Japanese governments. So a compromise was reached allowing a shorter 45 caliber cartridge that would fit into a 1 7/16" cylinder. Thus, the 45 Schofield cartridge was born.

In the modern era, when ASM and later Uberti started making replicas of the Schofield model, they lengthened the cylinder to be able to accept cartridges such as 45 Colt and 44-40. They did not lengthen the frame a similar amount, instead they chose to shorten the bushing on the front of the cylinder, which is why the modern replicas tend to bind when fired with Black Powder. The guy in the shop was puzzled when I pulled out a tape measure to measure the cylinder on the Model of 2000 Schofield. He probably thought I was going to measure the length of the barrel. Nope, the cylinder was 1 7/16" long just like the originals. Except S&W clearly decided no one would be interested in shooting Black Powder from this model so the bushing on the front of the cylinder (yes, there is one) was much too short to keep fouling from accumulating on the cylinder arbor.

Frankly, I'm surprised your 200 grain bullets are shooting low. My experience with Top Break S&W revolvers is they tend to shoot high because the front sights are so short. When shooting my NM#3s at a SASS match I have to remember to hold low or my bullets may go right over the target.

I designed the 200 grain Big Lube bullet that you bought from Mark Whyte. That's why it is called the J/P 200, the J stands for Johnson. I designed the bullet a bunch of years ago when the only 45 caliber Big Lube bullet in existence was the 250 grain PRS bullet. I wanted a 200 grain bullet to shoot in my 1858 Remington with a cartridge conversion cylinder. You might try the 250 grain PRS bullet if you want to raise your point of impact, but as I said, all my S&W Top Breaks already shoot high.

I have never fired anything other than real Black Powder in my #3 Top Breaks, so I cannot comment on how much fouling you will get from the substitutes. I have loaded up some 38 S&W with APP for one of my smaller Top Breaks. The selling point of APP is it does not require special soft bullet lube as real Black Powder does. So standard modern smokeless bullet lube can be used with APP. If you can find some APP you might do better, particularly if you continue to use Mark's BP lube on your bullets.



That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline Trailrider

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 11:02:14 AM »
What follows I cannot prove, but here is the logic: When S&W brought out the original Schofield model, the Army wanted it chambered for the same cartridge as their new Colt's "Strap Pistol" (aka Single Action Army), which was originally loaded with 40 gr. of BP under a 250 gr. bullet. I believe that S&W tried to make the Schoflied prototype work with that, but the gun wouldn't stand the gaff! (For that matter, a number of the original SAA's had their wrought iron cylinders blow up with the 40 gr load, so the Army reduced the charge to IIRC 30 gr. Colt's also went to steel cylinders in the SAA.) Still wanting an Army contract, although the frame of the production Schofields was long enough to take the .45 Colt's round, they shortened the cylinder and extended the barrel forcing cone back to meet the face of the cylinder. This resulted in the longer bushing found in the originals. They also came up with the shorter cartridge, which became the ".45 Revolver Ball" with a 28 gr charge behind a 230 gr bullet. When this round resulted in logistics problems (a company of troops armed with the Schofields got .45 Colts rounds that wouldn't fit their S&W's! :o ), the Army discontinued the longer cartridge in favor of the shorter one.

Fast-forward to when Uberti began making "replica" Schofields for CAS, they figured, correctly, that most shooters would want to shoot .45LC in the new Schofields, so they simply lengthened the cylinders to fit the frame opening, which is the same as the original frames! Of course, they had to shorten the barrel extension and also the cylinder bushing! Result: the Uberti's don't shoot BP very well. :( 

When S&W's marketing department decided to market a repro of the original Schofield, albeit using modern steel, I'll be the conversation between the engineers and the legal eagles went something like this:
Engineers: "We'll make the 2000 with the shorter cylinder and the same frame size as the original."
Lawyers: "No, no, no! If you do that, somebody will cut off the back end of the barrel and install a Uberti cylinder or somesuch!  Some shooter will try to shoot hot .45 LC loads and blow up the gun and we'll have lawsuits from here to breakfast!"
Engineers: (sigh) "O.K., we'll shorten the frame to fit the original length cylinder, but we'll have to shorten the cylinder bushing, which will not handle black powder very well."
Lawyers:  "Oh, who shoots black powder anymore these days anyway?" ::)

When I attended the SHOT Show 2000, and visited the S&W booth, I pointed out to Roy Jinks that the frame of the 2000 was shorter than the original. He got somewhat agitated and said S&W had used one of his originals as a model. Well, who was I, a mere custom holster-maker to argue with Roy? I did say to him that I thought the gun would have the same trouble shooting BP as Uberti was having with their guns. I thanked him politely for his time and "expertise" and left the booth.

So that's my story and I'm sticking with it. If you prefer to shoot only BP, try some of the substitutes, or be satisfied with smokeless, or sell the gun. As few were actually manufactured, they might be of more interest to a collector, and the less shot, the better.
Best of luck, Pard!

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Offline Driftwood Johnson

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2021, 06:04:52 PM »
Quote
What follows I cannot prove, but here is the logic: When S&W brought out the original Schofield model, the Army wanted it chambered for the same cartridge as their new Colt's "Strap Pistol" (aka Single Action Army), which was originally loaded with 40 gr. of BP under a 250 gr. bullet. I believe that S&W tried to make the Schoflied prototype work with that, but the gun wouldn't stand the gaff! (For that matter, a number of the original SAA's had their wrought iron cylinders blow up with the 40 gr load, so the Army reduced the charge to IIRC 30 gr. Colt's also went to steel cylinders in the SAA.) Still wanting an Army contract, although the frame of the production Schofields was long enough to take the .45 Colt's round, they shortened the cylinder and extended the barrel forcing cone back to meet the face of the cylinder. This resulted in the longer bushing found in the originals. They also came up with the shorter cartridge, which became the ".45 Revolver Ball" with a 28 gr charge behind a 230 gr bullet. When this round resulted in logistics problems (a company of troops armed with the Schofields got .45 Colts rounds that wouldn't fit their S&W's! :o ), the Army discontinued the longer cartridge in favor of the shorter one.

Howdy Trail Rider.

I'm gonna poke some holes in your theory.

Starting in 1869 with the American Model, ALL S&W Top Break revolvers had 1 7/16" long cylinders. These were a suitable length for the 44 S&W American and 44 Russian ammunition. Both of these models had the extended gas bushing pressed onto the cylinder that prevented fouling from being blasted out of the barrel/cylinder gap and onto the cylinder arbor.

This photo shows the bushing on the cylinder of an American Model.






This photo shows the bushing on the cylinder of a Russian model.






Schofield Model






New Model Number Three






44 Double Action.






They all had a bushing with this sort of arrangement in relation to the barrel/cylinder gap. This photo shows the relationship between the front of the bushing on a Schofield and the barrel/cylinder gap. There was nothing new about this, S&W had been doing it since the American model back in 1870. There was nothing shortened about the Schofield cylinder in relationship to the barrel/cylinder gap, the arrangement of a 1 7/16" long cylinder with S&W #3 Top Breaks had always been that way.






S&W simply did not want to interrupt the manufacture of over 150,000 Russian models to make up new tooling for a longer cylinder and frame for the 45 Colt. Bear in mind, S&W made over 150,000 Russian models, but less than 9,000 Schofields. Why in the world would they jeopardize the profitable contracts they had with the Russians, Turks, and Japanese for an Army contract they were not at all sure they would win?




You are correct, the original 45 Colt cartridge held about 40 grains of Black Powder, and the malleable iron cylinders did blow up on occasion. And the charge was later reduced to 30 grains.






But according to Jerry Kuhnhausen in his book The Colt Single Action Revolvers, a Shop Manual, Volumes 1&2, Colt did not begin making frames and cylinders from low-medium carbon steels until mid 1883. Long after the question of what type of cartridge should the new S&W Top Breaks be chambered for had been answered for the 1875 contracts with S&W.

As for the wrong ammo being sent to the wrong units, I have heard speculation about that for years.

I have never seen documentations that it ever actually happened.

Cheers,

Driftwood


That’s bad business! How long do you think I’d stay in operation if it cost me money every time I pulled a job? If he’d pay me that much to stop robbing him, I’d stop robbing him.

Ya probably inherited every penny ya got!

Offline Virginia Gentleman

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2021, 10:06:11 PM »
They actually do shoot the round they were designed for - these were designed for smokeless, and S&W used Black Hills ammunition when they fired them.

Try Trail Boss - that works well.

Scouts Out!

Correct and smokeless powder loads are fine with this gun and the imports. 

Offline Dave T

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2021, 11:00:24 PM »
Correct and smokeless powder loads are fine with this gun and the imports.

Unless of course you intention in buying it was to shoot black powder cartridges.  Then it is an over priced none functioning replica.

Dave

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #10 on: Today at 07:16:38 PM »

Offline River City John

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2021, 12:01:35 AM »
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Had APP as of September at our BRR Ruckus.
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Offline Galloway

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2021, 08:35:24 AM »
Quote
As for the wrong ammo being sent to the wrong units, I have heard speculation about that for years.

I have never seen documentations that it ever actually happened.

You mean the total government logistical nightmare that never comes up around cartridges like 50 navy pistol, 45-405-55, 44 colt, or 45 1909 ball, but always for some reason 45 S&W?  ;D

Offline Dave T

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2021, 08:53:53 AM »
Red River Trade Co.
ABELS, LEONARD G
1491 120TH ST, EARLHAM, IA 50072
(515) 758-2589

Had APP as of September at our BRR Ruckus.

John,

What's left of a can of Black-MZ has been the only way I can get off 5 rounds through this thing and still produce some smoke.  It isn't nearly as satisfying as the real thing however.  Maybe I should sell it to one of these people who think shooting smokeless through an 1875 designed piece is fine.  (grumble grouse)

Dave


Offline nativeshootist

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2021, 10:09:53 AM »
So I have a question that's for a gunsmith, for people who shoot 45 schofield and 44 Russian out of these guns. would you be able to get a new bushing pressed in that would be the same as the original ones?

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2021, 10:12:30 AM »
The problem is that on the non S&W replicas, they lengthened the cylinder and shortened the barrel's forcing cone. That eliminated the needed tolerance for black powder fouling. They run like scalded cats with smokeless.
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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2021, 01:57:13 PM »
John,

What's left of a can of Black-MZ has been the only way I can get off 5 rounds through this thing and still produce some smoke.  It isn't nearly as satisfying as the real thing however.  Maybe I should sell it to one of these people who think shooting smokeless through an 1875 designed piece is fine.  (grumble grouse)

Dave

Ah My Good Dave!
Under any normal circumstances I would be all over that, offering to buy it from you in a shot, except that I am now in negotiations for a complete HVAC overhaul/replacement to include whole house refridgersted air due to our numerous allergies! All disposable funds are locked up whilst we await the bad news….

If you are serious about seling .it off and can wait until agter the first of the year I would seriously be interested…

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Offline Fox Creek Kid

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2021, 04:02:04 AM »
For the sake of historical integrity, S&W called it a gas COLLAR, not a bushing.  ;)

As I have mentioned various times here before, S&W lengthened the gas collar THREE times after the original shorter one on the earliest American Models. This is all covered in great detail in the superb book by Pate:

https://www.amazon.com/Smith-Wesson-American-Model-Foreign/dp/1931464243

As well, if you want to shoot an Uberti S&W clone with real BP loads it can be done & done easily. Use the Big Lube style bullet, BUT generously lube the cylinder pin with a BP friendly grease. I once fired over EIGHTY real BP .44 Russian rds. thru a friends's Uberti Russian clone in quick succession with no problem. I repeat:  the secret is to heavily lube the cylinder pin with a good BP type grease. Just like a military M4 rifle they will run "wet" & dirty, but not dry & dirty.

P.S. If you really want to piss off a Colt lover tell them that the first SAA was chambered in .44 Russian, which is historically true.  :D


Offline Dave T

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2021, 10:31:07 AM »
For the Model 2000, S&W shortened it back to the original 'American' length or did away with it completely.  I can tell you, Big Lube bullets and lubing the cylinder pin doesn't make the 2000 Model capable of shooting black powder.  I know, I tried it by fighting my way through 20 rounds.  Four rounds without cleaning was the most I got off and that took turning the cylinder by hand for the 4th shot.  It was bound so tightly when I tried the 5th round the cylinder wouldn't turn at all.

Switching to the now discontinued Black MZ, which claimed minimal fouling, I was able to get through about 10 rounds before things started becoming difficult.  Smith & Wesson's claims that this was a faithful and accurate recreation of the 1875 Schofield was nothing more than advertising BS.

Dave

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2021, 10:33:16 AM »
Driftwood explained it quite well.  Superbly in fact

Unfortunately, Uberti caved to the unwashed masses and altered the Schofield for .45 Colt and did it the wrong way.  Uberti went cheapseats.  Smith and Wesson then copied Uberti so both have lousy guns.  Should have left well enough alone with the original configuration.  A shame

Play Safe Out There

Offline Fox Creek Kid

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Re: Smith & Wesson Schoofield Model of 2000
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2021, 03:15:26 AM »
If I recall correctly, Roy Jinks (S&W historian) stated that they used the dimensions of the N Frame .44 Magnum Mountain Gun cylinder for their Schofield repro. The ASM Schofield was correct pretty much to a "T" except that to accommodate modern shooters they merely lengthened the cylinder to .45 Colt dimensions and thereby eliminated the gas collar.

The thing is that so few CAS shooters load/shoot real BP rds. that I'm sure it doesn't even factor into the production end for repro. ctg. revolvers. I'd wager that less than 5% of Uberti rifles made nowadays are even in 44-40.

 

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