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Thread: Double Action Revolver History...

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    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
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    Default Double Action Revolver History...

    Can somebody tell me when the double action revolver really took off. I don't mean when the first ever one was made but when did they actually start getting utilized by lots of people. I know that is kind of generic... but I was watching a western the other day and I was just curious if in "the old west" people carried double action also. I know they were used (not sure how much) in the civil war.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Billy the Kid packed a flip up Schofield as well as Frank James and I think the Schofield was D/A. It has been so long since I played with one and I almost never shoot without caulking the hammer, so I'm not 100% sure but I think it's D/A.

    I do know my Granddad was there, born at Waco Texas in 1870 and moved to Prescott Arizona about 1888 as an 18 year old hand (cowboy). He had a matched set of Peacemakers in 44-40 and many other guns, he was more gun nut than I am. Any way, I remember asking him when I was a kid why he did not have any D/As or autos like my Dad did.

    He said "autos were to deferent to him as he was in his 60's before he ever saw one and D/As were not chambered in big rounds due to there weakness and you can't hit anything unless you cock it anyway."

    I think this was the common thinking back then. The good olé Colt could be had in .44, .45, and 44-40, just like your trusty Winchester was. All the D/A guns were weaker rounds with the biggest being .45 Schofield which is a smallish .45. This is the way they knew it and it worked just fine. Grandpa was afraid to shoot my Mom's .32 flip open, he was convinced it would come open and the shell would hit him in the forehead. They were set in their ways and once they took to thinking something was true no amount of fact would sway them, at least Grandpa and Grandma were like that. Sure wish I could have got them 44-40 Colts, but my uncle was the oldest son who got them and promptly sold them. My Dad still gets mad when someone brings that up, Dad's gonna be 89 next month. . . how time gets by!

    Andy

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I would guess the S&W mod 10 really brought folks in.The older hand ejectors were good and stronger than the colts,lighting and thunder models. Lots of service men got to shoot the MP's and there cought on.

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    Default DA Revolvers

    The Schofield was a single action Break top made to compete with Colt's SAA. It was touted as being faster to reload on horseback because of its extraction of spent cases. The first successful American revolver was introduced in 1877 by Colt. The 38 was called the Lightning and the 41 was called the Thunder. The 45 Schofield round was a little shorter and slightly less powerful than the 45 Colt. The Army adopted it so the same round could be used in the Colt or S & W revolvers.

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    It appears the double action percussion Adams revolver was fairly popular in England starting in the 1850's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_...ndgun_designer)
    It's a mystery to me why that design didn't really catch on in this country until later....Louis

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    T-W-T
    Thanks I could not remember if the Schofield was D/A or not but I was thinking it was.

    Louis
    I think the guns from across the pond were believed to be underpowered by the people in the west at the time. The ammo being hard to find out west likely also was a factor. I would want to use the same ammo as the government and everyone did if it was me in the old west.

    I think the D/A was kinda passed on in the west for some reason. I'm sure they were there but I don't think in good number until the 1900's and the Army went auto in 1911 so thats a short window. They tended to stay with what they had in the west, as long as it worked. 45 Colt and 44-40 ammo could be had about any trading post or fort in the west and were big enough to do about anything they needed to do.

    Andy

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    I don't believe there was a double action revolver with nipples that achieved any level of success. The civil war ushered in the cartridge era but not the D/A revolvers.

    The Colt 1878 Lightening/Thunder models in 38 and 41 Colt calibers were successful and that is what William Bonney carried in Lincoln county.

    The 1873 Colt model P was S/A as was the S&W Schofield revolver. I think Frank James did us a Schofield. He was a crack shot with it. The Schofield was a very well made revolver and it's cost was what limited it's popularity

    The British 455 Webley (Webley & Scott) of 1887 was a D/A revolver and it lasted until 1963 for the British military.

    The S&W new Century triple-lock was a 1900 era D/A.

    The 1917 in 45 ACP caliber made by Colt and S&W, with the half moon clips, was a WWI entrant to augment the 45 ACP semi-auto side arm.

    Then the 20 century was filled with successful D/A revolvers from S&W, Colt, Ruger and many others.
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    The S&W frontier d/a was basically a schofield converted to d/a mode. the44 russian was the most popular caliber I believe. After handling one I can see the major complaint tht I've found in my readings to be true,the grip and trigger angles are very awkward and I think hitting anything in d/a mode would be very iffy.

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    Member S.B.'s Avatar
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    1899 when S&W came out with the M&P. Military even issued it.
    Steve

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    1870 for the Smith And Wesson Schofield #3.....
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schofield_Model_3

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    Member S.B.'s Avatar
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    I think the M&Ps are at around 7,000,000 now?

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