Top Break

Schofield and Enfield revolvers. 

There was a time when top-break revolvers were all the rage. It was a long time ago. They’re prone to damage to the timing mechanism (that rotates the cylinder), extractor, and other damage. They’re unable to handle the heavier revolver cartridges. They’re cool, though.


I’m still not sure what an “Assault Gun” is.

If you mention the term to me, the Sturmgeschütz III and IV (below) come to mind. They were German assault gun variants of the Panzer III and IV used in the Second World War as tank destroyers, primarily a defensive tank.

Yes, in the modern lexicon, they are firearms that liberals want to ban in contravention of the Bill of Rights. So it’s with some delight that I learned that US District Court Judge Rodger Benites (Southern District of California) overturned California’s three-decade-old ban on “assault weapons”, calling it a “failed experiment” that violates people’s constitutional right to bear arms.

In Miller v Bonita the judge held that the state’s definition of illegal military-style rifles unlawfully deprives law-abiding Californians of weapons commonly allowed in most other states and by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Under no level of heightened scrutiny can the law survive,” Benitez said. He issued a permanent injunction against enforcement of the law but stayed it for 30 days to give state Attorney General Rob Bonta time to appeal.

In his 94-page ruling, the judge spoke favorably of modern weapons and said they were overwhelmingly used for legal reasons. “Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,” the judge said in his ruling’s introduction.


  1. Very surprising ruling by a California judge. Not wrong by any means just surprising. Glad to see it.

      • Thanks. Didn’t know he was the same judge that issued the high capacity magazine decision. Always had a better memory for number than for names

        • He’s a federal judge in California. I think that he was appointed to the Federal Bench by GW Bush. There are a lot of conservative judges on the California bench in Southern California.

          • San Diego used to be a conservative stronghold. This guy must be from the old days.

  2. Ninety-Four page ruling?

    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. To me, that’s long, but I’m sure other rulings make this look like *very* short story…

  3. “There was a time when top-break revolvers were all the rage. … They’re unable to handle the heavier revolver cartridges. ” …..
    Son, …..what are you drinking? Are you telling me my “go-to” gun, a Mk VI .455 Webley , is unable to handle a “heavier revolver cartridge”? My wifey’s .38 S&W nickel plated, pearl handled top break Lemon Squeezer will not reform evil thoughts in a flash? Have you ever ballistically tested an Enfield Mk2? 180 gr or 200gr. I assure you the beer will flow from a villain’s carcass in ten or twelve places if needed. Yes, They are cool….Very Cool!

    • They’re very cool, but there is no way under God’s heaven that they will handle a .460 S&W.

  4. There’s a certain Victorian elegance to the S&W top break belt revolvers, especially the single action models. The model produced for the Russian army had a spur on the trigger guard that seemed to have no real function. A few years back I heard a reason that made sense to me. I understand Russian cavalry doctrine of the time called for called for them to ride into battle with cocked revolvers. The spur gave the cavalryman a place to put his finger that wouldn’t result in a bang. I may be wrong but it does give a reason. I have no experience with the Enfield though I’ve played a bit with a Boer War vintage Webley, a rather stout revolver. I have played a bit with top break pocket revolvers both .32 and .38. While many of those were junk, ones made by H&R and Iver Johnson gave adequate service if not used hard. The S&W pockets were the best of the bunch. Another interesting revolver of the period was the Merwin Hulbert with its system that allowed the extraction of fired cases while leaving the unfired in the cylinder.

  5. What a bizarrely wise judge. And there’s something cool about the Sturmgeschütz. I don’t know why, it’s just the way it is.

    • I know the judges on the Southern District Bench. Larry Burns is even more conservative. Good people.

  6. My Mom had a .32 Lemon Squeezer, my paternal grandfather bought it for her. Neat little gun, not much use beyond pocket-pistol ranges, though… as was it’s design purpose. .32 S&W short was not exactly a man-stopper either, but I would not volunteer to be in the receiving end either.

    As for the header image – StuG Life!


  7. The irony of the Schofield was that it was a better pistol for the cavalry, and could be reloaded one handed in under 30 seconds… but… the SAA was coming into limited military use and fired a slightly longer round. The SAA could fire both the Colt .45 ammo and the S&W .45 ammo, whereas the Schofield couldn’t. The Army, I think around 1879 decided to go with the Colt rather than have to figure out which units needed which ammo…

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