Colt/Schofield Revolver Ammunition - .45 Caliber - Dated 1884. Complete with original paper wrapper and all 12 original cartridges. Manufactured at the Frankford Arsenal. The pack itself is solid and still retains the string for opening.
This cartridge was originally designed as a black powder round. The Schofield revolver (a variant of the Smith & Wesson Model 3) was patented in the USA on 20 June 1871 and 22 April 1873 by Smith & Wesson. It was a Smith & Wesson Model 3 that was modified by Major George Schofield to make it easier for a cavalryman to reload while riding. While the Colt 45 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. By 1879, the U. S. Army had purchased 8,285 of the revolvers. Due to its reduced power and recoil compared to the Colt .45, it was 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 .45 Schofield cartridge was shorter than the .45 Colt. It could be used in both the Schofield and the Colt 45 Peacemaker, but the .45 Colt was too long to use in the Schofield. As a result, by the 1880s the army finally standardized on a .45 cartridge designed to fire in both revolvers, the M1887 Military Ball Cartridge. The M1887 was made at Frankford Arsenal, and was issued only to the military. It had the shorter case of the Schofield and the reduced rim of the Colt round; as it was short enough to fit the Schofield, and its rim was not needed for the rod-ejector Single Action Army, the M1887 would fire and eject from both revolvers.
The Schofield was quite a popular handgun in the old west, and may have been used by General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The effectiveness of the cartridge in battle, and its reputation for shootability and accuracy, led to the duplication of the cartridges' characteristics in the .45 ACP.
Inventory Number: BUL 171