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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.