American West Firearms
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Please visit the Civil War Section of this web site to see a number of military weapons that were used in the American West after the war.
 
Long Arms
 
Model 1873 Winchester Rifle

Known as "The Gun that Won the West," the Model 1873 Winchester was one of the most popular and widely used firearms in the late 19th Century. My rifle has an octagonal barrel and beautiful plum color patina finish. It was made in 1888, four years before the Dalton gang was nearly destroyed in the streets of Coffeyville, Kansas. I make my own ammo for this rifle using an original Winchester bullet mold and loading tool patented in 1884. In 2011, historical artist Bradley Schmehl borrowed my rifle and put it in the hands of a Native American in one of his original oil paintings. (Flayderman reference number 5K-044.) Cody Firearms Museum Letter.

 
Model 1892 Carbine
This Model 1892 carbine was made in 1925. It is identical to one of the three rifles that actor Chuck Connors used from 1958 to 1963 on the popular TV series "The Rifleman." It has a large loop cocking lever with an adjustable mechanism that presses against the trigger each time the lever is closed. Like Lucas McCain's iconic rifle, my carbine is chambered for the venerable .44-40 cartridge. Here is a 1960 Guns Magazine article about the Rifleman's fast-firing rifle. Snapshot
 
Winchester Model 1895 Rifle
The M1895 was the last lever-action rifle designed by John M. Browning. It was built to handle the new generation of rifle cartridges that used smokeless powder and pointed bullets. Not convinced that smokeless powder would catch on, Winchester hedged their bets by chambering a small number of these rifles in two blackpowder calibers. My rifle is one of these rifles. It is chambered for the powerful .40-72 WCF. The M1895 was popular with Texas Rangers and others needing a strong and reliable firearm. Theodore Roosevelt owned several M1895s. He took one to Cuba during the Spanish American War (1898), and used two others during an extended African safari after leaving office. According to the Cody Firearms Museum Letter, my rifle left the Winchester factory in 1907. I make ammo using a special bullet mold and antique Winchester loading tool patented in 1894. (Flayderman reference number 5K-095.) Snapshot

Sidearms

Colt "Frontier Six Shooter" Cal. .44 WCF
Colt made this etched panel "Frontier Six Shooter" in May 1881. This was a pivotal time in the Old West. Sheriff Pat Garrett killed Billy the Kid, Bob Ford assassinated Jesse James, and the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday were in the famous gunfight behind the OK Corral. This paper briefly describes some other events that happened during this period. It also identifies several famous men who owned Colt single action revolvers made the same year as my gun. They include Wyatt Earp, Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, and Tom Horn. My Colt has a one-piece ivory grip. I carry it in an authentic old west rig made by the Wm. Brown Holster Company in Tombstone, AZ. I also have an original manual for the Colt SAA issued by the US Ordnance Department in 1887. (Flayderman reference number 5B-138.) Snapshot
 
Colt "Artillery" Revolver Cal. .45

In 1893, the government collected most of the Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers used by the US Army during the Indian Wars. By this time, these guns were considered obsolete and the intent was to put them into long-term storage. In 1898, we went to war with Spain. There wasn’t enough sidearms for the Army, so a decision was made to pull these old guns out of storage, shorten their barrels from 7 1/2 inches to 5 1/2 inches, and then reissue them to the military. Springfield Arsenal dismantled the old guns, cleaned and inspected them, and then put them back together without regard to keeping serial numbered parts together. Several thousands of these revolvers with mixed-serial numbers were issued to Teddy Roosevelt’s "Rough Riders" and other units during the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection. John Kopec examined my gun and found that the trigger guard, butt strap, and barrel (each inspected by Orville Ainsworth) may have come from Colt revolvers originally issued to the 7th Cavalry. (Flayderman reference number 5B-141.) Snapshot

 
Colt Peacemaker Revolver (1st Generation) Cal. .45
According to the Factory Letter, Colt shipped this "Peacemaker" revolver to John M. Smyth Company in 1909. At this time, Arizona and New Mexico were still US territories; and "Butch Cassidy" and the "Sundance Kid" had been dead for less than a year. This Colt is fitted with an exceptional pair of old Sambar Stag grips. There are three notches cut into the gun's backstrap. (Flayderman reference number 5B-138.) Snapshot
 
Special Note: Someone posted a question on the Colt forum (www.coltforum.com) that caught my eye. They asked if there was a consolidated list somewhere with the serial numbers of 1st Generation Colt Single Action Revolvers (SAA, Artillery Models & Frontier Six Shooters) that belonged to famous people like Wyatt Earp and John Wayne. The consensus was that no such list exists. I suspect that Colt has a list at their headquarters, but are reluctant to share it. I decided to compile my own list using reference books, magazine articles, letters of authentication, museum web sites, displays at the National Firearms Museum, etc. Here is the list that I developed. Please let me know if you find it useful. Also, tell me if you know of other 1st generation Colt serial numbers that you think should be added. Be sure to indicated the source of your information. Thank you.
 
Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army (SAA) (2nd Generation) Cal. .45
Colt re-introduced their Model 1873 SAA revolver in 1956. Many, if not all of the 2nd Generation guns were made using equipment that had been in storage since 1940 when the last 1st Generation SAA came off the assembly line. One reason Colt decided to produce the SAA again was the popularity of the TV western during the 1950s. This Colt SAA left their Hartford, CT manufacturing facility in 1957. Colt continued to make 2nd Generation SAA pistols until 1974. At this time, interest in the SAA revolver had declined and the machinery required to produce these firearms needed to be replaced. Snapshot
 
Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army (SAA) Commemorative Cal .45
Colt made this SAA revolver in 1961 to commemorate the company's 125th Anniversary. It is a 2nd generation Colt with a 7 1/2 inch barrel. The finish is deep blue with gold plating on the grip straps, hammer, trigger, cylinder pin and ejector rod head. It has been in my family for 55 years and remains in nearly new condition. Snapshot

Double-Barrel Shotguns

Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun
I believe this double-barrel muzzle-loading shotgun was built in the U.S. about 1860. The rear-action percussion locks are marked "G. Goulcher," the same American lock maker who made the lock on the half stock Kentucky sporting rifle shown earlier. The underside of the barrels is marked Drisket & Waroux. This Belgian company made shotgun barrels from 1856 to 1872. Many emigrants on the western plains carried shotguns for protection and hunting. Although 140 years old, this shotgun is in remarkably good condition and remains in working order. (Flayderman reference number 17-025.) Snapshot
 
Circa 1870 Double Barrel Percussion Shotgun
This 19th Century double-barrel muzzle-loading 12 gauge shotgun is in fine condition. The partially engraved locks are tight and the percussion hammers are aligned with their respective nipples. The rib between the barrels is hand engraved with the phrase “Laminated Steel Barrels.” The name of the maker is unknown. There are Belgian proof marks on the bottom of the barrels. The walnut stock is checkered at the grip and forearm. The gun has the original wooden ramrod with brass tip. (Flayderman reference number 17-025.) Snapshot
 
Model 1889 Remington Double-Barrel Shotgun, 10 Gauge
This massive double-barrel breach-loading shotgun was manufactured by Remington Arms Company in 1889. Remington shotguns like this were used by Wells Fargo, lawmen, western settlers, and others requiring a large bore shotgun. This firearm features exposed circular-action hammers, checkered walnut stock with pistol grip, and browned steel barrels. This is a high quality shotgun with tight action and superb fit between all metal and wood parts. The top of the barrels is marked "E. Remington & Sons, Illion, NY." All parts bear the same serial number. (Flayderman reference number 5E-138.) Snapshot
 
"Coach Gun" Double-Barrel Shotgun, 12 Gauge
"Coach Gun" was the name given to a compact double-barrel shotgun that allowed easy handling in the cramped driver's box of a stage coach or express wagon. Due to its compact size, it was a favorite of lawmen in the old west. It was recognized as the most formidable hand-held weapon of the era. This vintage coach gun features exposed circular-action hammers and 20" barrels. It was made in the late 1800s by the Henry Arms Company. Snapshot

Reproductions

Model 1860 Henry Repeating Rifle, Cal .44-40
Uberti made this excellent copy of the Model 1860 Henry Rifle. It has been aged to look like an original Henry. The octangular barrel and lever have been browned, the brass receiver left unpolished, and the walnut stock stressed and darkened. During the Civil War, a Confederate officer referred to the Henry as "that damn Yankee rifle you could load on Sunday and shoot all week long." While a regulation rifled-musket could fire three rounds per minute, the Henry could fire an astounding 24 rounds in the same time. This was due to the successful use of metallic cartridges, a tubular magazine below the barrel, and a lever-action that cocks the weapon before chambering a new round. The Union Army purchased about 1,700 Henry rifles during the Civil War. After the war, these rifles played a significant role in taming the American West. Snapshot
 
Rossi Overland Double Barrel "Coach Gun" Shotgun, 12 Gauge
This short, double barrel shotgun is perfect for home defense, especially when loaded with 00 buckshot. It features a set of 20" barrels, external hammers, walnut stock, and case hardened release latch and triggers. These guns are hard to find today, as they were last imported into the U.S. during 1988. They are popular with cowboy action shooters who want to carry firearms like those used in the old west. Snapshot
 


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