Schofield and 1875 Remington Part 2
Dealing out an Old West shooting match
By Dennis Adler
Rarely did a gunman carry two different types of revolvers (especially in two different calibers), but it wasn’t uncommon for some to own different guns. Frank and Jesse James carried Colt Peacemakers, Remington Model 1875s, S&W Americans and Schofields. Jesse also owned at least one .44-40 caliber Merwin Hulbert. The Bear River Schofield and Crosman 1875 Remington certainly look like their famous Old West predecessors.
Old West gunfights were rarely quick draw affairs like we see on TV and in movies, in reality, more often one or both men had their guns already drawn, but in the instances where two men actually had the time to think about it and step apart, the distance was often referred to in paces, and usually 10 paces, the historically based gentleman’s dueling distance, take 10 steps turn and fire. While more of a British and European dueling tradition, it was sensationalized in American history on July 11, 1804, when U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr shot and mortally wounded political rival Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel. For the Schofield vs. the 1875 Remington shootout, the distance from the target, which is a pair of playing cards, will be 5 paces, the distance chosen by John Wesley Harden for his shooting exhibition in 1895. So what exactly is a pace? A pace is determined by the average distance of a man’s stride, which according to Webster’s is “roughly 30 to 40 inches.” I come in right at 30 inches, so my 5 paces would be 12-1/2 feet, but we’ll split the difference and average it out at 35 inches, which makes the shooting test distance 14-1/2 feet.