Colt Peacemaker vs. Schofield Topbreak Revolver

.177 caliber Colt Peacemaker vs. Schofield Topbreak Revolver

Two Gun Lawman Part 1

By Dennis Adler

One gun or two, that was a decision a lot of lawmen made in the 1870s and 1880s, usually it was two, one with a shorter barrel, but occasionally, it was a pair of long barreled six-shooters. In this case a mix of Colt Peacemaker and Schofield. (Custom holsters by TrailRider Products)

One gun or two, that was a decision a lot of lawmen made in the 1870s and 1880s, usually it was two, one with a shorter barrel, but occasionally, it was a pair of long barreled six-shooters. In this case a mix of Colt Peacemaker and Schofield. (Custom holsters by TrailRider Products)

While most men preferred, or could only afford to carry one handgun or rifle, others chose to wear a brace of pistols around their waist. Outlaw Jesse James famously wore a pair of S&W single action topbreaks, while his brother Frank preferred two 1875 Remington .44-40s. Legendary pistolero and lawman James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok always sported a pair of 1851 Colt Navy models around his waist, (though he also owned an 1860 Army .44 Colt cartridge conversion and an S&W Model No.2 Army .32 rimfire pistol); El Paso, Texas lawman and Deputy U.S. Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire was another shootist who preferred a brace of six-guns, he favored a .44 S&W Model 3 American topbreak and a Colt Richards-Mason .44 centerfire conversion, with the barrel cut down to 2-5/8 inches. He carried the latter in his left front pocket butt forward.

The Colt Peacemaker had a standard 7-1/2 inch barrel length, the S&W Schofield a standard 7-inch barrel. The greater difference was ammunition, a Colt could fire S&W .45 Schofield rounds, but a .45 Colt cartridge was too long for the Schofield’s cylinder.

The Colt Peacemaker had a standard 7-1/2 inch barrel length, the S&W Schofield a standard 7-inch barrel. The greater difference was ammunition, a Colt could fire S&W .45 Schofield rounds, but a .45 Colt cartridge was too long for the Schofield’s cylinder.

Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, many western lawmen, outlaws and cowboys showed a preference for wearing a brace of pistols around their waist, but almost to a man, they were identical guns. It was less common, as in Stoudenmire’s case that two different guns, let alone two different designs and calibers were carried, but when they were, it was often a Colt Peacemaker and a Smith & Wesson American or Schofield topbreak.

And here it is the first hand engraved .177 caliber Schofield revolver. It’s a striking counterpoint to Adams & Adams hand engraved 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker. Both guns have engraving based on original 19th century patterns.

And here it is the first hand engraved .177 caliber Schofield revolver. It’s a striking counterpoint to the Adams & Adams hand engraved 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker. Both guns have engraving based on original 19th century patterns.

Doubling up on .177 Caliber

In the world of airguns, an opportunity exists to recreate that remarkable pairing of Colt Peacemaker and S&W Schofield with two of the latest additions to the BB and pellet cartridge-loading Western airgun market, the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker pellet model and 7-inch Schofield BB model revolver.

Some things never change, 145 years after the Colt SAA and S&W Topbreak revolvers were introduced, the .177 caliber Colt Peacemaker and Schofield airguns use cartridges that are incompatible, and for the same reason, two different manufacturers.

Authenticity to a fault, 145 years after the Colt SAA and S&W Topbreak revolvers were introduced, the .177 caliber Colt Peacemaker and Schofield airguns use cartridges that are incompatible, and for the same reason, two different manufacturers.

Both the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker and Bear River Schofield are available with bright nickel finishes, and the Colt is also offered in the hand engraved edition shown. What is new, is the addition of a hand engraved Schofield, also from the master craftsmen at Adams & Adams in Vershire, Vermont. This new model will be limited to just 100 guns.

An age old rivalry

How good a job does Adams & Adams do engraving the Schofield airgun? The pistol at the top is an Adams & Adams engraved .45 Schofield.

How good a job does Adams & Adams do engraving the Schofield airgun? The pistol at the top is an Adams & Adams engraved .45 Schofield.

The same can be said for the 7-1/2 inch Colt Peacemaker, the gun at top is a real engraved .45 Colt.

The same can be said for the 7-1/2 inch Colt Peacemaker, the gun at top is an engraved .45 Colt.

Almost since Umarex and Colt teamed up to produce the Peacemaker as a .177 caliber BB cartridge model, there have been hand engraved special editions available. With the addition of pellet firing, rifled barrel models in 2016, even more engraved versions were added to the John Wayne signature series, including “The Shootist” model, and a very limited edition 5-1/2 inch gold and nickel plated L.D. Nimschke hand engraved Peacemaker from Adams & Adams. Following the introduction of the 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker and the Schofield late last year, it only seems fair to dredge up the old rivalry between Colt and Smith & Wesson that had begun with the U.S. Cavalry in 1873.

Which gun is the better shooter? We’ll let you know Thursday in Part 2.

Which gun is the better shooter? We’ll let you know Thursday in Part 2.

Both the 7-1/2 inch Colt Peacemaker and S&W American (followed by the Schofield) were carried by horse soldiers, cowboys, outlaws and frontier lawmen from 1872 throughout the remainder of the 19th century, so lining up these matching, hand engraved, CO2 models, rekindles the age old relationship between two of the most famous cartridge revolvers of the Old West.

In Part 2 we will look at the history of the engraving used on both of these new CO2 models, and then see which one is the top shot at 25 feet.

12 thoughts on “Colt Peacemaker vs. Schofield Topbreak Revolver

  1. Had a feeling an engraved Schofield might be coming . Remember seeing a TexasJack Schofield 45 limited edition a few years back .Was thinking of sending you a picture , but no need now. Will get more interesting when the 1875 Remington comes out. Are you going to shoot pellets out of the Schofield with the Schofield pellet cartridges? Like the original Schofield, the Colt cartridges work only in the Colt. Any chance of a Wells Fargo Schofield?


    • Nope, going BBs vs. pellets for the test on Thursday. Since the Schofield doesn’t have a rifled barrel, it still wouldn’t be a straight up comparison. But, when the Remington 1875 comes out, it will be a real head to head match up with the pellet cartridges in both since neither has a rifled barrel.


      • Accuracy will be close. For all the hype in better accuracy, I have seen little improvement inaccuracy by the pellets over the bbs at 21 feet . Past that groups will open up, but very few shoot either type of revolver much past that .


  2. Couldn’t help but notice that the engraving on that Schofield, and the one pictured on the Pyramid site,looks to have been done on the antiqued and casehardened Schofield from your Schofield article. Call me Hawkeye.Nice . What type of box will the engraved Schofield come in?


    • Hawkeye indeed! Yes, same gun. Used it for the engraving prototype. And since you mentioned it, all of the hand engraved nickel Schofileds will use solid nickel guns like the Texas Jack pistol, no faux color cased latch, just in case anyone is wondering. As for a box, no word on that yet.


      • They state on the website , shipped with wood grips , poly ivory not installed . I would suggest that on a custom engraved revolver , that the poly ivory grips be installed and checked for fit . Could you imagine ordering an engraved Colt Custom Shop revolver ,and the invoice states , ivory stocks not on revolver but are in the box.


      • And for those of you wondering about the blue cast in some of the Schofield photos, polished alloy has a totally different warmth (or lack of) than nickel, which is a warmer tone, like the Colt Peacemaker, so the engraved Schofields will have the same warmer color tones as the Colt, not cooler tones like the prototype shown.


  3. What made sense in the Old West , still does today . I was never a fan of grapefruit grip high capacity autoloaders. Only have 2 ,and it for their design and history. A Browning High Power,and aCZ83 , which was a surplus Israeli IDF,pistol.Otherwise slim and trim6-8 shot semiautos like the Walther Ppk,1911, S&W 39 series work just fine and can be reloaded rapidly .I still prefer the compactness and power found in a Buffalo Bore stoked Colt 2 inch 38. Sometimes carry a pair , if the need arises. The soon to be released new Colt Cobra , plus p rated, will make some reconsider a da revolver for ccw ,and if you feel 6 for sure isn’t enough, 12 will seal the deal.



Leave a Reply