Tales of Wells Fargo Part 3
Barra recreates the 5-inch Schofield model
By Dennis Adler
No matter how famous or infamous the owner, the S&W Schofield found its way into the holsters of legendary outlaws and lawmen alike, many of who also famously carried Colts, Merwin Hulberts, and Remingtons; but the Schofield in its several iterations and barrel lengths was conspicuous throughout the period from 1875 to the turn of the century.
Frank and Jesse James both had Schofield revolvers among their arsenal of handguns, (Jesse James was murdered by Robert Ford with an S&W Topbreak believed to have been given to him by Jesse), celebrated frontier lawmen Bill Tilghman carried a Schofield 7-inch model, El Paso, Texas, City Marshal (and Territorial Deputy U.S. Marshal) Dallas Stoudenmire also carried a 7-inch model in a leather lined trouser pocket, John Wesley Hardin owned an S&W No. 3 Topbreak (not a Schofield); as did Virgil Earp (the very gun he may have handed to brother Wyatt at the OK Corral shootout); lawman Pat Garrett had a Schofield, and Theodore Roosevelt carried a finely engraved New Model No. 3. The S&W topbreak revolvers were not at all uncommon guns. The Wells Fargo model and other cut down refurbished military Schofields more so into the 1880s and 1890s, with several hundred being purchased by Well Fargo alone. Civilian sales also likely numbered in the hundreds, and eventually more military Schofields, a sizable number also refurbished with cut down 5 inch and 5-1/2 inch barrels, ended up on the secondary market. The new Barra Schofield 5-inch models then, are in some very good company, including some very pricey .44-40 and .45 Colt caliber Schofield Wells Fargo reproductions manufactured in Italy by A. Uberti. (Smith & Wesson also made a limited edition of 7-inch and 5-inch models as commemorative pistols in 2000. These were official S&W copies, however, for safety reasons; these guns were fitted with an internal firing pin and a transfer bar, rather than a proper Schofield hammer-mounted firing pin.
The Well Fargo CO2 model’s performance
With impressive velocity from pellet shells and lighter weight alloy wadcutter pellets in the high 400fps range, I decided to put the Barra through a couple of more realistic Old West test scenarios, including drawing and firing from the hip at a full size Silhouette target from 15 feet, drawing and firing at the target aiming one handed at 21 feet, and with a two-handed hold from 10 yards.
My quick draw six shots from the hip, each time re-holstering and drawing again, put six with one pair almost overlapping around bottom of the 10 ring at 3.01 inches; my six aimed shots fired one-handed (Duelist style) from 21 feet hit inside the 10 and X at 2.15 inches, and from 10 yards aimed with a two-handed hold (purposely aiming a little higher), put six hits in the 9 and 10 rigs with a measurement of 2.75 inches. Not exactly 7-1/2 inch rifled barrel Peacemaker accuracy but pretty good for a 5-inch smoothbore.
Overall, the 5-inch Schofield did not disappoint at any distance with the pellet-loaded cartridges. With the Chisholm’s Trail reproduction of the famous Louis Hoffman holster, the Wells Fargo was quick to draw and delivered respectable accuracy for each shooting situation. It is a darn good gun for the money (same price as the 7-inch), and one that opens up the possibility for an even more accurate rifled barrel model in 2021 and a clean nickel pallet for the engraver’s art. For Western CO2 guns enthusiasts, this is one to own, SASS indoor practice ready right out of the box.
NOTE: As soon as the 5-inch Schofield models are in stock I will go back and add the product links to this series of articles.