First Look: New Barra Schofield Part 1

First Look: New Barra Schofield Part 1

Almost aged to perfection

By Dennis Adler

The Bear River Schofield models that came out four years ago were authentic in design but were sorely lacking in a proper finish. I was amazed at this one shortcut that took away from what was potentially a worthy rival to the Umarex Colt Peacemakers. Bear River responded after I had polished out one of the black matte guns and then had it engraved by Adams & Adams, by adding their own nickel version (without engraving), which, as expected, took off and by 2017 had become a worthy rival to the 7-1/2 inch Colts, despite still having a smoothbore barrel. Bear River discovered that loaded with pellet cartridges (the same used in the Webley MK VI pellet revolvers), that the six-guns were capable of coming very close to rifled barrel Peacemaker accuracy. And that remained the standard for Bear River, with plans for the future to add other finishes, barrel lengths, and a rifled barrel model.

The newest addition to the Bear River (now Barra) Schofield line is an aged finish model. The new gun has two obvious advantages, better looking faux wood grips that also show aging, and the removal of the white letter warnings that obliterated the right side of the frame (which are evident even on the Adams & Adams hand engraved “Texas Jack” nickel model at top).
In 2016 the Bear River Schofield arrived on the western airgun scene with strikingly authentic features but a terrible grey/black finish that looked like a modern Cerakote finish. The gun was otherwise an impressive new CO2 model.
While Schofields were either blued (like the example at top) or nickel plated, a gun that was well worn might have taken on the gruff patina of the new Barra Schofield aged finish (bottom). At least it looks like a pistol that has seen a life on the range with its stains and wear. The grips reflect this as well, which is impressive for simulated wood stocks.

In the interim, Pyramyd Air and Adams & Adams produced a limited edition of hand engraved nickel Schofields as the “Texas Jack” model, which while a little pricey for a CO2 air pistol, had a good run for about a year among western airgun collectors. After that, the Schofield kind of dropped off the Airgun Experience radar as other new CO2 models emerged, none of which were western guns except the Remington 1875 sold by Crosman. Also a smoothbore, it was done quite accurately but blitzed with white lettering (and not as accurate downrange as the Schofield or Peacemakers). The first big news in western six-guns came just this past month with the Pyramyd Air Peacemaker Airgun Builder creating a substantial range of finish combinations between weathered, nickel, and gold.

Not long after my project to refinish the Bear River model, the company added a nickel version which quickly eclipsed sales of the original gun and became a solid competitor to the CO2 Peacemakers.

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As we have learned, in the airgun world, progress is slow, and now as we near Fall 2020, Barra (Bear River) has introduced and shipped its first weathered finish Schofield model and the shorter barrel length Wells Fargo is planned to be released before year’s end. But for now the weathered finish is in the offing as an alternative to the nickel Schofield model.

The look of the new Barra Schofield aged model is far more realistic than its predecessor. The white lettering for serial number, caliber and proofs is not overly conspicuous. (We will address refinishing this in Part 3.) What works well on this gun is the wear around edges of the muzzle and hammer, trigger and triggerguard and the general soiled and faded look of the darkened frame and barrel. This is otherwise the same accurate and easy to handle six-shooter as the nickel model.

Right off the bat, I can tell you they have made one really good change to the gun. The white letter warnings that obliterated the right side of the frame, even on the nickel and “Texas Jack” engraved examples, has been relocated, with shortened text, to the underside of the barrel. With the weathered finish, it wouldn’t take much effort using 0000 grade steel wool to dull the lettering down without harming the finish, and the gun is a natural for a little extra work to add further holster wear here and there.

One wise move made by Barra was relocating shortened white letter verbiage from the right side of the frame to the underside of the barrel. Even left as is, this is a vast improvement for the overall look of the gun. Also note the interesting wear that has been put into the cast simulated wood grip panels.

The aged finish on the Schofield is not like the finish on the Umarex Colts or the Webley MK VI Battlefield Finish; this has a flatter more soiled look, like a gun that has lost its polish. A blued gun wouldn’t be this dark, but the aged finish on this new Schofield model is a big step in the right direction compared to the first models back in 2016.

The underside of the gun is well aged in areas that would show more wear around the grip straps and butt. The same is true of the grips which show added wear. This is a well thought out project from Barra.

The new imitation wood grips on the aged Schofield is another plus for this model. Normally I would defer to the faux ivory, but the grain, coloration and wear looks very good. (Now, some aged ivory finish might look fine here, too, but the aged wood look actually fits this gun).

The revolver comes with the standard complement of six brass finish, front loading BB cartridges, and you can order the Schofield/Webley rear loading pellet shells for the gun. The nickel version is even offered with a dual ammunition option providing BB and pellet shells.

Like the actual 1875 Schofield models, the break top revolver has a latch that is easy to release allowing the barrel to pivot down and the extractor to raise the shells. On the centerfire guns this action forcibly ejected all six rounds when the gun was broken open (even any unfired cartridges), whereas the reusable and not inexpensive BB or pellet cartridges are not ejected from the cylinder, (who wants to go chasing the empties around, save that for the ejected cartridges from the Umarex Legends Lever Action!)

The CO2 model specs out very close to a centerfire Schofield which weighs 2 pounds, 11 ounces; the Barra Schofield comes in at 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Overall lengths are within a fraction of an inch at 12.625 inches for the Schofield and 12.75 inches for the CO2 model, the 0.125 inch difference in length being accounted for by the Barra Schofield’s slightly larger grips. Both guns have 7-inch barrels.

In size and weight, the Barra Schofield compares closely with a centerfire Schofield revolver like the example at top. (The nickel gun is a Uberti reproduction chambered in .44-40 that was engraved by Adams & Adams and fitted with Ultra Ivory grips).

Minor tells are the hammer and trigger positions on the CO2 model (the hammer sets away from the latch and the trigger sets a littler further forward in the triggerguard), the much smaller screw used on the barrel hinge, the size of screws used for the latch mechanism, and of course, the small sliding safety behind the Barra Schofield’s hammer. It’s a lot of small, subtle detail, but for an air pistol the degree of design accuracy this under $120 six-shooter offers is close enough, and the new finish has great potential to upgrade.

A new velocity and shooting test is in order for the latest Schofield CO2 model in Part 2. In Part 3 we will see what can be done to give the aged finish a little more realism.

In Part 2 we update the Schofield’s shooting tests

NOTE: Due to bad weather Part 2 will be published on Saturday September 5th, and the Airgun Experience will be returning to its usual Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday publication schedule beginning this month.

4 thoughts on “First Look: New Barra Schofield Part 1”

  1. Looks nice. Hope they will bring back the nickel version. The bigger news will be the Wells Fargo version and rifled barrel versions. To avoid the ammunition pitfall of the original Schofield, it would make sense to have the rifled barrel versions use a cartridge that is the same as the Umarex Peacemakers

    • Bill,

      You are correct. It would require a different cylinder for the Barra Schofield (or any version of it sold anywhere) to fit the Umarex Colt Peacemaker pellet shells. Lawman67 has a great idea, but not a cost effective one. Same problem the U.S. had with S&W when the Schofield used a different .45 caliber round (.45 Schofield) than the Colt .45 SAA.

      • I noticed that the metal pellet cartridges from the Schofield are oversized and don’t fit the Umarex cylinder, but the Umarex nickel cartridges fit in the Webley I happen to have out. If a slightly smaller cartridge could be made for the Schofield , it could work in both. Unlike the loss in power by using the shorter, lighter45 Schofield bullet and case in a 45 Colt , there would be the same 177 pellet and overall length.

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