Smith & Wesson .45 Caliber Revolver Descriptions

The following information comes from Smith & Wesson Hand Guns by Roy C. McHenry and Walter F. Roper. Smith & Wesson Hand Guns is also available to purchase in print.

MODEL .45 CALIBER SINGLE ACTION—Schofield Patent April 1873

Ammunition, .45 caliber S&W cartridge 250 gr. bullet, 30 gr. powder. Patented January 17, 1865; January 24, 1865; July 11, 1865; August 24, 1869; July 25, 1871. 6,000 manufactured for U.S. Government, from 1875.


Frame—Square butt, irregular shape side plate inserted from left side held in position with hammer stud screw barrel catch screw and plate screw. Bottom strap slotted to receive trigger and stop: Guard inserted in round end slot held in with one screw and tenon forward screw through strap at cylinder cut holding flat stop spring. Extractor cam catch located in bottom strap rear of barrel joint. Frame post flush with bolster face circle of back swing from barrel joint center. Barrel catch joint cuts let in from right and left sides of frame forward of hammer face cut below barrel strap shoulders. Barrel catch spring groove let in to side wall of lock work cut, slot cut through wall to joint seat for spring pivot. 1 1/2″ diameter circle for stock shoulders. Finished in blue or nickel. Butts stamped. U.S.

Barrel—Tapered round body ribbed top jointed to frame at bottom strap forward of guard latching to frame at bolster. Lug raised from body extending forward of joint incasing extractor post. Base pin screwed into body forming straight round bearing for cylinder. Barrel strap cuts to receive tempered steel combination latching piece and cylinder hook jointed on pivot screw at front end held in position with screw at rear slabbed to allow raising of latching piece sufficient to release cylinder from hook. Joint slotted to receive plain extractor cam. Joint counterbore margin with raised flanges flush with straight sides of frame joint. Sight freeing groove extending full length of top rib. Front sight inserted and pinned in slot. S&W Patent dates stamped on left side. Schofield Patent date stamped on right side. Made in 7″ length and short strap only. Finished in blue or nickel.

Cylinder—Six chambers, grooved, inserted gas ring. Shoulder chamber for S&W .45 caliber cartridge. Counterbored to receive flanged head extractor with ratchet. Center hole for round stem extractor with spline held with one dowel pin. Made 1 7/16″ or short length only.

Hammer—Straight sides flanged checked thumb piece. Solid round pointed nose. Slotted to receive plain main spring stirrup. Hand pivoted to left side hand spring slot cut in front face to receive flat spring. Full and half cock notches provided. Clearance cut across face above nose for barrel catch. Case hardened finish.

Trigger—Pivoted on pin driven through frame, with lip engaging hammer notches. Held in normal position by flat leaf spring pinned to inside of frame tang. Notch cut across face engaging cylinder stop. Straight side finger piece extending through slot into guard. Made of carbon steel, tempered.

Guard—Solid bow shape, case hardened.

Barrel Catch—Jointed to frame to the rear of and below post pivoted on screw extended through frame. Held in latched position by U-shaped spring with pivot engaging notch cut in joint ear. Top of catch knurled. Rear sight notch and free cuts let in. Made of tempered steel, blue finish.

Stop—Lever type engaging cylinder through bottom strap lip engaging trigger.

Stock—Square butt, plain walnut.


Ammunition, .455 Caliber Mark II. .455 Caliber “Colt” Cartridges. Patented October 8, 1901; December 17, 1901; February 6, 1906. Manufactured 73,650 for the English and Canadian Service. 5,000 of this number made for English Service from The New Century model of which 525 were numbered under 44 H.E. series. The New Century model was changed May 10, 1915 after the first 5,000 to correct the close condition of cartridge heads in cylinder. 59,150 for the English Service, 14,500 for the Canadian Service.


Designed as the New Century model with the following exceptions:

Frame—Distance from center hole to barrel hole increased .010″. Cylinder cut enlarged .020 stock removed from inside top and bottom strap. Cut for yoke cam omitted. Bolster flange left side crimped to cam in center pin. Butt drilled to receive swivel.

Barrel—Lug raised from body incasing extractor rod and yoke locking bolt removed, replaced with small lug raised from body forward of extractor rod for locking bolt engaging and locking extractor rod acting as front lock for yoke. Flat boss raised from underside body to close space between barrel and extractor rod. Patent dates stamped on top. Cartridge stamp on right side. Smith & Wesson on left side. Made in 6 1/2″ length, blue finish only.

Cylinder—Distance from center hole to charge holes increased .010″. Chambered for .455 Mark II and .455 Colt cartridges.

Hammer—Shape at foot changed to flat bearing engaging rebound slide.

Extractor Rod—Knurled knob made solid on rod with separate rod collar, nickel steel.

Center Pin—Made with solid spring collar.


Ammunition, .45 Caliber Automatic Colt. Government Model with cartridge clips. Patented December 17, 1901; February 6, 1906; September 14, 1908. From No. 1 to No. 175,000 for U.S. Government. Manufactured from October 9, 1917, continued to date.


Designed as .445 Caliber Mark II with the following exceptions:

Frame-Stamped U. S. Army Model 1917 with serial No. on butt. Finished in blue.

Barrel—Rifled for .45 Caliber, full patched 230 grain bullet. S&W D.A. 45 stamped on left side. “United States Property” underside forward of locking bolt lug. Made 5 1/2″ length only. Finished in blue.

Cylinder—Chambered with square shoulder for .45 caliber automatic cartridge. Length shortened to allow bolster space for steel cartridge clips. Cartridge resting on chamber shoulders. Heat treated with No. 1.

Hammer—Shape at foot forward of rebound seat made to engage notch in trigger for increased double action throw.

Stock—Plain walnut with rounded shape at stock circle.

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Smith & Wesson .45 Caliber Revolver Descriptions

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