Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Smith & Wesson 1870 Model 3 Revolver


Smith & Wesson Russian Model 3

  • Also known as "Smith & Wesson Russian Model" and the "Schofield Revolver".
  • Action: Single Action
  • Capacity: 6 round cylinder top break design
  • Barrel Length: 7"
  • Weight: 2lbs
  • Cartridge Caliber: .44 Russian (11mm) and .45 S&W(.45 Schofield)
  • Spanish Military Service: 1874 - 1903
  • US Military Service: 1870 - 1899

The Smith and Wesson Model 3 was used by both the US Army and the Spanish Military, as well as the Philippine revolutionary government.
The American S&W Model 3 Schofield were issued to the US Military in the early 1870s at the same time as the Colt Single Action Army .45. However, US Army Major George W. Schofield also asked their military version to be chambered in .45 caliber. S&W obliged but made their own .45 cartridge which they dubbed the ".45 S&W". These cartridges were shorter then the .45Colt but can be shot in the Colt SAA Revolver; however, the .45Colt cartridge could not be fired in the Schofield revolvers. Many soldier became confused between the two. Thus the US military created the monikers, ".45 Long Colt"(.45Colt) and .45 "Short"(.45S&W). The .45 S&W cartridge would also be known as the .45 Schofield cartridge. And because the request came in by Major Schofield, these particular Model 3 revolvers chambered in .45 became known as the "Schofield revolver". The US Army variant also excluded the spur guard underneath the trigger. The S&W revolver went mainly to US cavalrymen due to the top break design, which made loading and reloading on horseback easier than the Colt SAA. In 1898 during the outbreak of the Span-Am War, just like the Colt SAA, the S&W Schofield was nearly completely phased out of service by the Colt .38. There were less S&W Schofield revolvers out in the field then the Colt SAA .45. Very few would reach the Philippines and a smaller number would be captured and used by Filipinos. Due to the rarity of the cartridge, I would surmise the revolver was more likely useless for the opposing force. After the Span-Am and Phil-Am War, the US Military completely retired the Schofield .45 revolver for good, selling their entire surplus stock back to S&W and other gundealers around the US.
The Spanish counter-part Smith and Wesson Model 3 was not a standard issue for the Spanish, but was the "recommended" side-arm for the Spanish Military. Recommended meaning they had the choice to purchase and carry the revolver. The much older Lefaucheaux pinfire design revolvers became extremely outdated compared to the newly designed revolvers like the S&W Model 3. The Russian Military ordered these revolvers from S&W for their military. They would later see action during the Russo-Turkish War. Many of these revolvers were later sold off to Spain; which is why they were chambered in .44 Russian. Spain would later produce their own copy of the S&W Model 3 with improvements. But these original models would find their way to the Philippines and end up in the hands of some Filipinos of revolutionary force.


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