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The .45 Schofield, also known as the .45 Smith & Wesson was developed by Smith & Wesson for their S&W Model 3 Schofield top-break revolver. It was originally designed as a black powder round and was loaded at Frankford Arsenal as a Benet primed round with the first orders issued to Frankford Arsenal on the 20th of August 1874. At the suggestion by Major George Schofield, Smith & Wesson modified the Model 3 (originally developed for the 44 S&W American), to a top-break model to make it easier for a cavalryman to reload while riding. While the 45 COLT had more power, the speed at which a cavalryman could reload a Schofield was less than 30 seconds, half of the time for a Colt 45. The reduced power and recoil compared to the 45 Colt made it easier to shoot accurately, yet still retained effective stopping power on the battlefield. It became the standard cartridge of the Army, though the Colt 1873 still was the main issue side arm of the Army. The Benet (inside) cartridge primer was retired from service during the late 1870’s and the modern Boxer type primer was adopted for all future military production of revolver ammunition. (Erlmeier, Brandt Ref. 438). There is also a listing in EB with Ref. 431 which is stated as the Army version of the Schofield round, but it is the same as Ref. 438.


In the beginning of July 1882 the solid head, Boxer primed, copper (gilding metal) case was adopted as the Model of 1882 Ball Cartridge for Cal. .45 Revolver. At the end of November of 1882 the word ‘pistol’ was dropped by the Ordnance Office for service handguns and the term ‘revolver’ would be used instead. Early headstamps contained the letter R in order to refer to revolver and F for Frankford Arsenal. In May 1886 the letter R was dropped from the headstamp with only the reference to Frankford Arsenal remaining. At the end of 1890 the change was made to brass cases, which was cheaper to produce and lasted longer after numerous reloads. Cases used were tinned brass as can be seen from the specimen above.

   This is the Model 1882 Blank loading