Now this is the model that includes the Russian Model, the Schofield Models, and The Australian Model among its seven? iterations and various calibres.
The Russian Model dates from 1871 & was a version with 131,000 supplied to Imperial Russia in the improved .44" Russian cartridge - rather than the original .45" S&W (a heeled bullet) chambering.
.44" Russian Cartridge (photo from Avinacco)
The Russian Model almost caused S&W to become bankrupt ..(SNAFU?). The masters of the Imperial Russian Empire lost faith with S&W and had their revolver "reverse-engineered" - then contracted some German and European makers - and their own plant at Tula to make them Russian style (more cheaply).
These 'copies' were of excellent high quality - and this lead to S&W being faced with cancelled orders - dead stock - and short payment. - Only some twenty-four years later the Russians adopted the Nagant 7.62 revolvers to replace the S&W Model 3s.
The first model Schofield arrived in 1875 with improvements developed by Major Schofield - but there followed almost immediate confusion resulting from its chambering by S&W in a short .45" Schofield cartridge - known variously as the .45" Schofield, or the .45"S&W - which clashed with the original and incompatible chambering of the .45 Colt (.45" long Colt).
I think that this cartridge 'cock-up' might be claimed as the origin of the military phrase 'SNAFU' .. 'Situation Normal All Fucked Up'.
Wells Fargo and Company famously adopted the Schofield in a shortened five inch barrel version - so popular with modern day collectors that there are many more fakes around than originals.
Wells Fargo Model - Claimed to be Genuine.
And our "local" Australian Model - that was supplied with a shoulder stock and delivered into the port at Adelaide in 1882.
Aussie Troopers used these 'revolver carbines' while policing vast areas of the outback for some thirty years. - Very wisely, their Police Commissioner Peterswald had specified the purchase of more than 250 guns in 44 Russian calibre with seven inch barrels.
- Have you ever wondered why S&W Holdings firearms have an identification stamping "MARCA REGISTRADA" alongside their tardy (another SNAFU ) Spanish patent date? .. this stems from patent 'infringements' (- but it wasn't patented!) by a Spanish company Orbea Hermanos from 1884-1920(ish).. so they make sure that they then patented all subsequent models in Spanish - in between more recent collapses such as 2001 following their 'Clinton Deal NRA Boycott' .. SNAFU.
Bankruptcy again? SNAFU. What's a name worth? - Ahh - a "BRAND" is what 'marketers' sell to the gullible (easily fooled or cheated).
- As explained to me by a professional 'marketer' - "We are not lying to consumers - We are offering them a choice."