Peacemaker and Schofield at 10 meters
The Last Gunfight
By Dennis Adler
Alright buckaroos we have come down to the last gunfight, the 7-1/2 inch rifled barrel pellet-cartridge firing Colt Peacemaker vs. the smoothbore 7-inch pellet-firing Schofield. This was the inevitable showdown once the Schofield got its rear-loading 4.5mm pellet rounds to rival the Colt’s rear-loading “silver” bullets. This is the duel, the Peacemaker and Schofield at 10 meters.
Leveling a somewhat un-level playing field
How can you put a smoothbore up against a rifled barreled pistol? The Bear River Schofield has earned its chance to challenge the most accurate pellet cartridge firing single action revolver on the market by delivering groups at 21 feet that are within a fraction of an inch to equaling the best the 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker has done.
To make this a stand-up gunfight for accuracy, the test will be shot at 10 meters (33 feet), the Olympic air pistol competition distance. Of course, in Olympic competition the 10-meter air pistols are not old Colt and Schofield single actions, and the competition is shot one handed from a standing, unsupported position.
Part one of this test will be shot exactly the same way, just to see how well either gun can do firing at an IPSC cardboard silhouette. The second part of the test for best accuracy will be shot using a two-handed hold and the third from a rested position. The total scores from all three tests will determine whether the Schofield and Colt pellet-firing wheelguns are equals, regardless of barrel lengths and rifling vs. smoothbore.
The 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker has a dual advantage by having a longer internal length rifled barrel. The Bear River Schofield carves down some of that edge by having a slightly better rear sight and a very short, crisp trigger pull. In comparison, the internal barrel lengths are 6.75 inches for the Colt vs. 6.5 inches for the Schofield. Clearing leather, the Schofield has a short, light hammer draw of 3 pounds, 13 ounces, and light 3 pound, 5 ounce average trigger pull. The Colt 7-1/2 inch has a slightly heavier and longer hammer draw of 4 pounds, 8 ounces average, but an almost hairpin 2 pound, 8 ounce, average trigger pull.
To get the highest velocity out of both single action revolvers I shot the tests with lightweight Sig Sauer Match Ballistic Alloy Pellets. The 5.25 gr. cast alloy wadcutters cleared the Peacemaker’s rifled barrel at an average velocity of 423 fps (the gun is factory rated at 380 fps), while the Schofield smoothbore slammed the alloy rounds downrange at an average velocity of 493 fps. Both fast enough to accurately hit the mark 10 meters downrange. Can the silver bullet still beat the Schofield?
10 Meters away
The first test fired single handed resulted in six rounds from the Colt covering just a hair over 1.75 inches and six from the Schofield with a spread of 2.50 inches. Switching to a two-handed hold and a Shoot-N-C target, the Colt closed up its group to 1.50 inches and the Schofield delivered a respectable 2.0 inch group. For the final shootout it was as level a playing field as possible with the barrels locked down in a Case-Guard pistol rest. The Colt sent its six downrange into a 1.01 inch group; the Schofield once again put six shots at 2.0 inches. The rifled barrel definitely makes a difference when you get beyond 21 feet.
The 10 meter test leaves the Colt Peacemaker the still undisputed champion of Single Action pellet-firing revolvers and the Schofield a very good second. Considering it’s a smoothbore up against a rifled barrel, no one around here is going to complain. Second is only bad in a gunfight.
A Word About Safety
Single Action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, these two Western models even more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.