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Dusty Boots

Schofield revolvers

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I am new to SASS and in the process of acquiring the necessary guns and accessories. I have been looking at different revolvers and have been draw to the Schofield revolvers.  But going to matches and reading post on the SASS net it is obvious that SSA Colts and its clones are by far the style of choice for SASS shooting. I am wondering if there is a reason beyond Colt SSA being the “ gun” of the old west.  Are Schofield revolvers harder to shoot well, more difficult to tune, given to malfunction, harder to obtain a good sight picture, etc.? Any feedback will be appreciated. 
Thanks in advance to all

DB

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Schofield and S&W Model 3 and similar models tend to be a lot more expensive than other revolvers. You can buy 2 colt clones for not much more than the cost of one Schofield. 

 

I know several shooters that use them and love how they they feel. That said they are not for everyone and while similar the different models do feel different in you hands.  I strongly recommend you try a pair before you buy. 

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I have a pair of Uberti top-break revolvers with a 5" barrel and a pair of Pietta Colt clones, both in .45 Colt. The hammer reach is longer on the Ubertis and may be a bit heavier (you can look them up). I can shoot the Piettas quicker shooting Schofield rounds and were pretty nice out of the box. The Ubertis had a hefty flat hammer spring that was workable after shaping, but they still are harder to cock. The Ubertis have a more express-type sight while the Piettas have a traditional notch and blade. If I was looking for fast times, I'd go with a clone or Ruger. The Ubertis ( or S&W) do have style points. Also, you must release the Uberti trigger after firing, while the clones/Rugers are unaffected. As noted, top-breaks are pricey compared with the others.

I should have noted that I shoot them Duelist. I have large hands and long thumbs and do not need to preposition my hand when shooting either style of pistol. Folks with small hands may not be able to shoot the top-breaks well one handed.

Edited by Go West
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I have been shooting a pair of S&W Schofields for about 16 years and really enjoy them.

 

They are different and, in my hands, are not going to win any speed contests but they are my favorites.

 

BTW - I also have Colts, USFA's, Rugers and AWA's but rarely shoot any of them anymore. Might have shot the USFA's a couple of years ago at a match but don't even remember when I last used any of the others.

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I know some folks who shoot them pretty fast one handed, but you never see anyone shoot them fast two-handed.  They just can't be competitive with the fast guys shooting Rugers and SAA style guns.  They are more popular with folks who are more into style than speed.

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I have an Uberti Schofield, and a couple of real New Model 3 Smith and Wessons.   They are a lot of fun to shoot and look really cool.   There is a reason why the Colt and its clones, and thing very similar to it like the Ruger and a few others, dominate the game.  But that's not important.   If you have fun and enjoy shooting the Schofield, then that is what you should shoot.  Nothing wrong with being a little different if doing so is really enjoyable.

 

As far as functionality goes, I've never had any problem with my Uberti Schofield.   It's a well made gun and does what it is supposed to do.  The grip is very different from a Colt style gun, but once you get used to it, it becomes a natural pointer.   It is also and excellent gun to have if there is ever an on the clock reload of your pistol.   Something that is extremely rare but I have heard tell that it has happened to some folks.

 

Good luck.

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Schofield s are just cool guns. Now I want two.

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Enjoy shooting my 7" nickel SW #3, not fast but I look good

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They don't hold enough Holy Black!!!   :D

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Howdy

 

The initials for the Colt Single Action Army are SAA, not SSA. A common mistake.

 

Yes, you can probably buy 2 replica SAAs for the price of one Schofield,, or any of the other #3 Top Breaks.

 

The grip shape of most of the #3 Top Breaks was very different than the grip shape of a SAA. I find that in one handed shooting I have to reach a bit further with my thumb  to cock the hammer of a #3 Top Break than I do with a SAA.  I have merged a photo of a Colt SAA and a S&W Schofield in this photo to show how much farther of a reach it is to cock the Schofield one handed.

 

pnwD3MD5j

 

 

 

 

The internal mechanism of the S&W #3 Top Breaks was very different than the mechanism of a Colt. The bolt in a Colt frees the cylinder to rotate when the hammer is pulled back, the trigger has nothing to do with it. So if the trigger finger is contacting the trigger of a Colt, the gun can be cocked and fired with no problem. With the S&W Top Breaks, the bolt withdrawl was controlled by the trigger. If the trigger is prevented from popping forward when the revolver is cocked, the hammer cannot be cocked. Even slight finger pressure on the trigger will cause this to happen. This can be tricky sometimes, particularly if one is trying to shoot a #3 fast.

 

 

 

 

There were five separate models of Top Break revolvers that S&W built on the large #3 frame. The American Model, the Russian Model, the Schofield, the New Model Number Three, and the 44 Double Acton. Although they were all similar in size, there were significant differences between them. I will only be mentioning the three variations of the S&W #3 Top Breaks that are commercially available as replicas, the Russian Model, the Schofield, and the New Model Number Three.

 

The Russian Model was the second style of large frame Top Break revolver that S&W made, after the American Model. Easily recognized by the large hump on the back of the grip and by the spur on the trigger guard. S&W made over 150,000 of these, mostly for contracts with foreign governments, most of them went to Russia. Some did wind up on the American market. Most were chambered for the 44 Russian cartridge. This is a 2nd Model Russian, it left the factory in 1875. Uberti makes a replica of the 3rd Model Russian, the main difference is there is a large knurled thumbwheel on top of the top strap for easy removal of the cylinder. The Uberti replica is chambered for 45 Colt and 44 Russian. I do not recommend this revolver as a shooter, the large hump on the rear of the grip makes it awkward to shoot. I find that to reach the hammer spur with my thumb I have to regrip and put the palm of my hand against that sharp hump. Then I have to regrip again to get my hand below the hump. If I don't and fire the revolver with the hump in contact with my palm, it hurts, even with a relatively mild recoiling cartridge such as the 44 Russian.

 

poZxQVGxj

 

 

 

 

This is a 1st Model Schofield. Distinctive by the gently sweeping grip shape, but more specifically for the serpentine shaped barrel latch. This is the only #3 Top Break that had the barrel latch mounted to the frame, all the others had the latch mounted to the top strap. There were only a little more than 9,000 Schofields manufactured between 1875 and 1878. The Army bought most of them, but eventually surplussed them out because of ammunition supply issues. Of course some showed up in the Old West, but not in numbers anywhere near the numbers for the Colt. This model is much more pleasant to shoot than the Russian Model, but I do have to regrip slightly to reach the hammer spur with my thumb. The originals were all chambered for the 45 Schofield cartridge, a bit shorter than the 45 Colt cartridge, with a bit less powder in them. Uberti makes replicas of the Schofield chambered for 45 Colt, 44-40 and 38 Special.

 

plQNWEnoj

 

 

 

 

A view of the Schofield with the cylinder open. It actually opens further than this, this photo shows what the latch looks like from the rear. The deep groove in the latch is the rear sight.

 

pnSlHpHMj

 

An interesting aside about the Schofield model. Roy Jinks, the official S&W historian has been quoted as saying that when the Clint Eastwood move The Unforgiven came out, with one of the characters shooting a Schofield, he got as lot of inquiries about Schofield revolvers. There were only about 9,000 made. It turned out a lot of people who thought they had Schofields, did not. All Schofields are #3 revolvers. All #3 revolvers are not Schofields.

 

 

 

 

 

In my opinion, the best of the S&W #3 Top Break revolvers was the New Model Number Three. Cataloged from 1878 until 1908, but all frames were made before 1899, so they are all classified as antiques by the BATF. I will have to look it up, but I seem to recall the NM#3 was chambered for 13 different cartridges, but 44 Russian was the most common. This one left the factory in 1896 and it was part of a large shipment to Japan. It is chambered for the 44 Russian cartridge. Notice the gentle hump at the rear of the grip, not much different than the shape of most modern K frame S&W Double Action revolvers. I do have to regrip slightly with this revolver to cock the hammer, but it is easy to get my hand back under the hump before I pull the trigger. The target versions of this revolver, with a windage adjustable rear sight and a taller front sight were the premier target revolvers of their day. Uberti makes (or did make) a replica of the New Model Number Three called the Laramie. Made by Uberti but marketed by Beretta. Not sure if they are still in production or not. The Laramie had a windage adjustable rear sight, but a front sight like on a standard model. The Laramie was available chambered for 45 Colt and 38 Special. Very pleasant to shoot, a pity they did not make more.

 

pmiyeOGkj

 

 

 

 

Of course all the S&W #3 top Break revolvers broke open for emptying and reloading and the spent cartridges were automatically ejected, usually. Not really much of a concern in CAS, I cannot remember the last time I had to do a reload on the clock.

 

pnLBZ4WYj

 

 

 

 

Shooting a nickel plated New Model Number Three with Black Powder. Yes, the originals handled Black Powder soot just fine, not so much with the modern replicas. Like I said, if I am shooting a NM#3 in a match, I usually have to remind myself at least once to keep my trigger finger off the trigger when cocking the hammer. It will usually let me know if I don't

 

pojp5d3pj

Edited by Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283
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If you have any interest in shooting BP, the reproduction Schofields are a poor choice.  They lengthened the cylinder to make them shoot 45lc, which leads  to fouling with BP.  Nifty gun, and well made, but I sold mine 25 years ago. 

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The Schofield is no way as durable as the SAA style. 

You want a durable SASS,  SAA style revolver? 

Look hard at Ruger.

Try, before you buy......

OLG 

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I had a pair of .44-40 Uberti Wells Fargo models for fifteen years and shot, I think, two matches with them. I found them rather clumsy to shoot with one hand and finally sold 'em here just this past year. I suppose if you shot them exclusively, you'd get the hang of them.

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I had one that I used to shoot in matches years ago.  Not "fast" but it came in handy for reloads on the clock, when those were written in to stages.  There was a shooter from California, I believe, who shot two and was a champion shooter.  He was the only one that I ever heard of who could shoot them quickly. 

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12 hours ago, Driftwood Johnson, SASS #38283 said:

Howdy

 

The initials for the Colt Single Action Army are SAA, not SSA. A common mistake.

 

Yes, you can probably buy 2 replica SAAs for the price of one Schofield,, or any of the other #3 Top Breaks.

 

The grip shape of most of the #3 Top Breaks was very different than the grip shape of a SAA. I find that in one handed shooting I have to reach a bit further with my thumb  to cock the hammer of a #3 Top Break than I do with a SAA.  I have merged a photo of a Colt SAA and a S&W Schofield in this photo to show how much farther of a reach it is to cock the Schofield one handed.

 

pnwD3MD5j

 

 

 

 

The internal mechanism of the S&W #3 Top Breaks was very different than the mechanism of a Colt. The bolt in a Colt frees the cylinder to rotate when the hammer is pulled back, the trigger has nothing to do with it. So if the trigger finger is contacting the trigger of a Colt, the gun can be cocked and fired with no problem. With the S&W Top Breaks, the bolt withdrawl was controlled by the trigger. If the trigger is prevented from popping forward when the revolver is cocked, the hammer cannot be cocked. Even slight finger pressure on the trigger will cause this to happen. This can be tricky sometimes, particularly if one is trying to shoot a #3 fast.

 

 

 

 

There were five separate models of Top Break revolvers that S&W built on the large #3 frame. The American Model, the Russian Model, the Schofield, the New Model Number Three, and the 44 Double Acton. Although they were all similar in size, there were significant differences between them. I will only be mentioning the three variations of the S&W #3 Top Breaks that are commercially available as replicas, the Russian Model, the Schofield, and the New Model Number Three.

 

The Russian Model was the second style of large frame Top Break revolver that S&W made, after the American Model. Easily recognized by the large hump on the back of the grip and by the spur on the trigger guard. S&W made over 150,000 of these, mostly for contracts with foreign governments, most of them went to Russia. Some did wind up on the American market. Most were chambered for the 44 Russian cartridge. This is a 2nd Model Russian, it left the factory in 1875. Uberti makes a replica of the 3rd Model Russian, the main difference is there is a large knurled thumbwheel on top of the top strap for easy removal of the cylinder. The Uberti replica is chambered for 45 Colt and 44 Russian. I do not recommend this revolver as a shooter, the large hump on the rear of the grip makes it awkward to shoot. I find that to reach the hammer spur with my thumb I have to regrip and put the palm of my hand against that sharp hump. Then I have to regrip again to get my hand below the hump. If I don't and fire the revolver with the hump in contact with my palm, it hurts, even with a relatively mild recoiling cartridge such as the 44 Russian.

 

poZxQVGxj

 

 

 

 

This is a 1st Model Schofield. Distinctive by the gently sweeping grip shape, but more specifically for the serpentine shaped barrel latch. This is the only #3 Top Break that had the barrel latch mounted to the frame, all the others had the latch mounted to the top strap. There were only a little more than 9,000 Schofields manufactured between 1875 and 1878. The Army bought most of them, but eventually surplussed them out because of ammunition supply issues. Of course some showed up in the Old West, but not in numbers anywhere near the numbers for the Colt. This model is much more pleasant to shoot than the Russian Model, but I do have to regrip slightly to reach the hammer spur with my thumb. The originals were all chambered for the 45 Schofield cartridge, a bit shorter than the 45 Colt cartridge, with a bit less powder in them. Uberti makes replicas of the Schofield chambered for 45 Colt, 44-40 and 38 Special.

 

plQNWEnoj

 

 

 

 

A view of the Schofield with the cylinder open. It actually opens further than this, this photo shows what the latch looks like from the rear. The deep groove in the latch is the rear sight.

 

pnSlHpHMj

 

An interesting aside about the Schofield model. Roy Jinks, the official S&W historian has been quoted as saying that when the Clint Eastwood move The Unforgiven came out, with one of the characters shooting a Schofield, he got as lot of inquiries about Schofield revolvers. There were only about 9,000 made. It turned out a lot of people who thought they had Schofields, did not. All Schofields are #3 revolvers. All #3 revolvers are not Schofields.

 

 

 

 

 

In my opinion, the best of the S&W #3 Top Break revolvers was the New Model Number Three. Cataloged from 1878 until 1908, but all frames were made before 1899, so they are all classified as antiques by the BATF. I will have to look it up, but I seem to recall the NM#3 was chambered for 13 different cartridges, but 44 Russian was the most common. This one left the factory in 1896 and it was part of a large shipment to Japan. It is chambered for the 44 Russian cartridge. Notice the gentle hump at the rear of the grip, not much different than the shape of most modern K frame S&W Double Action revolvers. I do have to regrip slightly with this revolver to cock the hammer, but it is easy to get my hand back under the hump before I pull the trigger. The target versions of this revolver, with a windage adjustable rear sight and a taller front sight were the premier target revolvers of their day. Uberti makes (or did make) a replica of the New Model Number Three called the Laramie. Made by Uberti but marketed by Beretta. Not sure if they are still in production or not. The Laramie had a windage adjustable rear sight, but a front sight like on a standard model. The Laramie was available chambered for 45 Colt and 38 Special. Very pleasant to shoot, a pity they did not make more.

 

pmiyeOGkj

 

 

 

 

Of course all the S&W #3 top Break revolvers broke open for emptying and reloading and the spent cartridges were automatically ejected, usually. Not really much of a concern in CAS, I cannot remember the last time I had to do a reload on the clock.

 

pnLBZ4WYj

 

 

 

 

Shooting a nickel plated New Model Number Three with Black Powder. Yes, the originals handled Black Powder soot just fine, not so much with the modern replicas. Like I said, if I am shooting a NM#3 in a match, I usually have to remind myself at least once to keep my trigger finger off the trigger when cocking the hammer. It will usually let me know if I don't

 

pojp5d3pj

Thank you for the exelent and detailed info, I always wanted a Schofield, Now I know they are not a good choice for Sass

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3 minutes ago, Son of the Midnight Star said:

Thank you for the exelent and detailed info, I always wanted a Schofield, Now I know they are not a good choice for Sass

 

I respectfully disagree!:lol: 

 

It depends upon what your expectations are when shooting. Mine are to enjoy myself to the fullest extent possible. 

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1 hour ago, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

 

It depends upon what your expectations are when shooting. Mine are to enjoy myself to the fullest extent possible. 

^^^THIS^^^

 

The most important part is having fun. If you are not having fun you are doing it wrong. The guys I know that shoot #3s and Schofields do it because it is fun

Edited by Sedalia Dave

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Without covering the same ground that Driftwood did, here is an image of a target model New Model 3.

 

1525166444_NewModel3.thumb.jpg.ac84f9f883f9a5ef91c735eec1c3c98b.jpg

 

The main differences between this and the standard model as pictured by Driftwood are the sights.   The rear sight is father back, and a part of the latch.  As mentioned, it is adjustable nu loosening a couple of screws and sliding the sight right or left.   Easier to see is the front sight, which is very different from the half moon on the standard model.   This one is chambered for .38-44, basically a .38 Smith and Wesson that has had it's case lengthened to be the same length as the cylinder.  The bullet actually set fully inside the case.   The idea was that the cartridge brought the bullet closer to the barrel, creating less jump and greater accuracy.   You can shoot the shorter round in this gun, and that's what I run in it as brass fro the longer cartridge does not exist.

 

And for completeness, here's a New Model 3 DA.

Model3DA.thumb.jpg.7ba135c299040a11c61195fdd40fd462.jpg

 

A .44-40, this has got just about the smoothest DA trigger I have ever squeezed.   No reproductions based on this one available.

 

 

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I have two friends whom were into heavy competition with Schofields.  Both of them took a lot of Match Wins home.  One shot/shoots Gunfighter and one shot/shoots Classic Cowboy.  Both quit the Schofield over reliability issues.  Dutch Coroner stated "The Schofields let me down once too often." 

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19 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

I know some folks who shoot them pretty fast one handed, but you never see anyone shoot them fast two-handed.  They just can't be competitive with the fast guys shooting Rugers and SAA style guns.  They are more popular with folks who are more into style than speed.

I think Deuce Stevens might not agree with that. 

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find the guns that feel good to you, test drive them if you can, buy 'em, shoot 'em, and enjoy 'em....  I shoot these 'cause I want to:

1851 Richards-Mason® NavyI851 Richards Mason Navy Conversions...    ...and yes I shoot the Holy Black Powder.

 

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I just bought a .45 schofield but have yet to shoot it in a match. Also picked up a .45 open top. I’ve been building a 1873 carbine into a 1876 musket wanna be for my Rafe Covington Crossfire Trail impression. When I get it all together I’ll let you know how the schofield shoots. But I have large hands and long fingers so working the gun is no problem. I am going to have to enlarge the grips with a couple pieces of veneer inside the grip panels.

Edited by Baltimore Ed

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23 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

The Schofield is no way as durable as the SAA style. 

You want a durable SASS,  SAA style revolver? 

Look hard at Ruger.

Try, before you buy......

OLG 

 

It’s not very often that I agree with the lumpy one but this is one case. Even the reps from Taylor’s who are in the business to sell guns told me Schofields won’t hold up to the punishment of top level SASS competition. You can certainly use them in SASS and have a wonderful time, but don’t count on winning the Cadillac. ;)

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35 minutes ago, Shooting Bull said:

 

It’s not very often that I agree with the lumpy one but this is one case. Even the reps from Taylor’s who are in the business to sell guns told me Schofields won’t hold up to the punishment of top level SASS competition. You can certainly use them in SASS and have a wonderful time, but don’t count on winning the Cadillac. ;)

 

The only durable Schofield I know of. Is the one I married :wub:.  

OLG 

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Just now, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

 

The only durable Schofield I know of, Is the one that allowed me to marry her. :wub:.  

OLG 

 

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Been shooting a pair of S&W Performance Center Wells Fargo Schofields since they came out in 2001. No problems other than routine maintenance.I;m certainly not fast, but I do have fun.

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My main, read only, match sa’s were a pair of ss 4.5 inch vaqueros when I was heavy into cas. While one was a slick Bowen gun the other was stock minus a couple of coils cut and both have never let me down. Now that I shoot cas purely for fun and have some disposable income my revolver palette has broadened. See if you can try handling a schofield or shoot one before you jump. Check out what other shooters are using at your local monthly match. CAS shooters love to show off their shootin ‘ irons.  Here are my va-zebra-queros.

7155A8C4-5EAB-41D8-B4CB-9179EB0714C0.jpeg

Edited by Baltimore Ed

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i had three over the years - i think they are perfectly fine for those that like them to shoot and enjoy for SASS , i found i did not like the feel of the grip in my hands and found them front heavy , that said do what you enjoy , i had fun in the experience but chose to stick with the SAA for my enjoyment 

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The schofield grip design has a ridge at the top where it meets the frame. I have found that if you let your thumb ride into that groove by choking up that high, your thumb reaches the hammer just fine and helps with the heavy front end barrel. Plus, on those rare pistol reloads you will be way faster than anyone else and look really cool doing it when those shells shoot up into the air

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57 minutes ago, El Hombre Sin Nombre said:

...Plus, on those rare pistol reloads you will be way faster than anyone else and look really cool doing it when those shells shoot up into the air

 

"Rare" is an understatement, at least around here.  The occasional rifle reload, sure.  I can not recall the last single round pistol reload, and full reload goes back over 15 years.   And I do recall back then that the stage description stated "No Schofields" HAHAHA!.  

 

I do remember a topgun shootoff at EOT way back with Holy Terror vs Tequila.  Pistol reload was the last shot.  They were neck and neck, Tequila had a free spin pawl blackhawk and Holy Terror had her Uberti, she fumbled it slightly and he won. 

 

 

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You can’t thumb a top break like you can a Ruger or Colt. The majority of your cowboy shooters hold the revolver with their strong hand and thumb it with their weak hand. The mechanism of the Schofields prevent this from happening. 
this being said when you choose to shoot gunfighterB) this will probably be a non issue. 

as far as an out of the box shooter, the Schofields are great. They are one of the few cowboy pistols that you do not have to send to a Gunsmith to have them worked on to make smooth. 

 

end of the day shoot what makes you feel like the cowboy you want to be. If you come out to the Escondido Banditos you can shoot one of mine and make your own call. 
 

welcome to cowboy shooting partner  
  

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The Schofield is one of those guns that I really WANT to love, but can't.  I have small hands and thumbs, and I can't even fire the gun Duelist style.  My thumb just won't reach.

Another thing you must be wary of is that while you are cocking your Schofield, you MUST keep your finger off the trigger or it will bind.  Also you cannot "Slip hammer" a Schofield.

 

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11 hours ago, Moe T Vator said:

You can’t thumb a top break like you can a Ruger or Colt. The majority of your cowboy shooters hold the revolver with their strong hand and thumb it with their weak hand. The mechanism of the Schofields prevent this from happening. 
  

 

1 hour ago, Rolan Kraps, SASS # 24084 Life said:

Another thing you must be wary of is that while you are cocking your Schofield, you MUST keep your finger off the trigger or it will bind.  Also you cannot "Slip hammer" a Schofield.

 

 

I had been shooting mine for years (probably at least 10) and did not even realize this aspect of a Schofield until I read about it! I had to try it to prove it to myself. I have never had an issue with this before or after I learned of it.

 

I guess that shows that I had good hammer-trigger control. :)

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On 1/11/2020 at 7:41 AM, Injun Ryder, SASS #36201L said:

 

I respectfully disagree!:lol: 

 

It depends upon what your expectations are when shooting. Mine are to enjoy myself to the fullest extent possible. 

I agree as well. It does depend on what you are try to accomplish. and I don't see a Scholfield being competitive. Not that I'm competitive  But I do appreciate reliability. 

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16 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

 

"Rare" is an understatement, at least around here.  The occasional rifle reload, sure.  I can not recall the last single round pistol reload, and full reload goes back over 15 years.   And I do recall back then that the stage description stated "No Schofields" HAHAHA!.  

 

 

 

If I saw that, I'd shoot the stage with my New Model 3.   It's not a "Schofield."   :)

Or maybe my Merwin & Hulbert.

 

Or maybe my 58 Remington with a spare cylinder.

 

Or maybe...

 

Snicker...

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