Make: Smith & Wesson
Model: Schofield 1st Model
Serial Number: 1135
Year of Manufacture: c.1875
Caliber: .45 S&W (Schofield): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.45_Schofield
Action Type: 6-Shot, Single Action, Top-Break, Self-Ejecting Revolver
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “SMITH & WESSON SPRINGFIELD MASS. U.S.A. PAT. JAN. 17TH / & 24TH 65. JULY 11TH 65. AUG. 24TH 69. JULY 25TH 71”, the right is marked “SCHOFIELD PAT. APR. 22D 1873”, the underside is marked with the correct “L/P” inspector marks and what appears to be a faded “8”. The left of the barrel, under the latch, and under the latch are marked with serial number “1135”, found again on the butt of the grip frame, on the inside of the right grip panel and rear of the cylinder. The butt of the grip frame’s toe is correctly marked “US”. The left grip panel has a faded “SBL” cartouche in rectangle, again, which is correct for this model. The inspector mark “L” is found on top of the lower strap of the frame and rear face of the cylinder.
Barrel Length: 7”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a rounded blade, pinned fore to aft onto the fluted rib of the barrel, which has a “U” channel on top. The rear sight is a “V” notch in the barrel latch.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are smooth walnut panels, the inside of the right grip is serialized to the pistol, the left has a correct “SBL” cartouche. The stocks have nice fit to the grip frame and show a few scattered compression and scuff marks. The toe of both panels have small losses, but there are no cracks or major damages. The grips rate in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is light to mid gray and the rifling is still sharply defined. There is mild to moderate depth erosion in the bore, with what appears to be extremely persistent fowling that we could not remove with a good scrubbing.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 10% of its metal finish. Bluing is still visible on the barrel’s latch portion, on protected areas of the frame and under the grips on the grip frame. The surfaces have shifted to brown patina with areas of light to moderate pin prick erosion, the barrel has some bruises and scrapes. The front sight has some dings on the edges but remains strait. Please see our pictures for full detail, this revolver has survived quite well for its age and roll in history. The screw head slots range from mild to heavy tooling. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, however the cylinder produces about 1/32” back play and when the cylinder is tilted forward, it will not always advance; that being said, if in the rear position, the cylinder advances with the hammer and produces about 1/32” side to side play in full lockup of all chambers. The ejector still functions properly and the hammer has a strong mainspring. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_%26_Wesson_Model_3 “The U.S. Army adopted the .44 S&W American caliber Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolver in 1870, making the Model 3 revolver the first standard-issue cartridge-firing revolver in US service. Most military pistols until that point were black powder cap and ball revolvers, which were (by comparison) slow, complicated, and susceptible to the effects of wet weather. In 1875 the US Ordnance Board granted Smith & Wesson a contract to outfit the military with Model 3 revolvers incorporating the design improvements of Major George W. Schofield (known as the “Schofield revolver”), providing that they could make the revolvers fire the .45 Colt (AKA “.45 Long Colt”) ammunition already in use by the US military. Smith & Wesson instead developed their own, slightly shorter .45 caliber round, the .45 Schofield, otherwise known as the .45 S&W. When it became obvious in the field that the two cartridges would not work interchangeably in the Schofield (although they both worked in the Colt), the U.S. Government adopted the shorter .45 Schofield cartridge as the standard cartridge. Despite the change, old stocks of the longer .45 Colt rounds in the supply line caused the Army to drop most of the Schofields and continue with the Colt. Major Schofield had patented his locking system and earned a payment on each gun that Smith & Wesson sold, and at the time his older brother, John M. Schofield, was the head of the Army Ordnance Board and the political situation may have been the main issue for the early end of army sales. Many of the S&W Model 3 Schofield revolvers saw service in the Indian Wars, and there are reports of them in use as late as the Spanish–American War and Philippine–American War. Like the other Smith & Wesson Model 3s, they were also reportedly popular with lawmen and outlaws in the American West, and were reportedly used by Jesse James, Bob Ford (who used one to kill James), John Wesley Hardin, Pat Garrett,Theodore Roosevelt, Virgil Earp, Billy the Kid, and many others. The Smith & Wesson No. 3 revolver was famously used by Wyatt Earp during the OK Corral Gunfight with the Clanton Gang.” This revolver comes to us from 1875 as a 1st Model Schofield in .45 S&W, with the proper US marking on the toe of the grip frame, correct inspector marks, correct grip cartouche and all serialized parts match, which is amazing for a revolver of its age and viable role in military history. This item still has some bluing left and the stocks are free from major damages. If you are a collector of Smith & Wesson or martially marked firearms, your collection is not complete without a US Schofield, especially one that has survived this well. Please see our pictures and good luck.