The Wild West is an important part of American culture.
The American Wild West conjures scenes of cowboys drinking hard in saloons and fighting gun battles on the dirt streets of an old town in the imaginations of people around the world. The tools a cowboy used included his horse, a bottle of whiskey and a six-shooter on his hip. However, the weapons of the Wild West were not just limited to pistols.
Colt .45 Pistol
The Colt .45 was a single-action revolver that fired .45-caliber shells. The cylinder held six bullets, and it would fire after the user pulled back on the hammer and pulled the trigger. Since the original Colt pistols were single-action, the user had to pull back on the hammer after each round was fired to rotate the cylinder. Billy the Kid used a Colt .44, which was a more powerful version of the Colt .45 pistol.
The coach gun was a type of shotgun used by coach drivers and messengers during the 1800s. The shotgun had two side-by-side barrels that were 18 inches in length. The coach drivers carried this weapon to fight off bandits and outlaws or Native Americans who attempted to rob the coach. The route for coaches was dangerous and stretched almost 2,800 miles from Missouri to California. The coach gun was effective at close range but was at a disadvantage when used against rifles when they were fired from a distance.
1873 Winchester Rifle
The 1873 Winchester Rifle was a popular weapon in the Wild West. The 24-inch long barrel and .45 caliber rifling made it lightweight and effective at long distances. The Winchester 1878 Rifle was used by the Texas Rangers for patrolling the border with Mexico and for hunting outlaws within Texas borders. Famous cowboys such as Butch Cassidy, Buffalo Bill Cody and Pat Garrett all carried the Winchester 1878.
Sharps Sporting Rifle
The Sharps sporting rifle was a .52 caliber single shot rifle used primarily for hunting buffalo. During the 1880s four great buffalo herds roamed the Great Plains, with an estimated combined 22 million buffalo. They were hunted at first for meat for the railroad workers, but as buffalo hide became more popular for use in products such as luggage, the number of buffalo decreased sharply due to over-hunting and poaching. The Sharps rifle was a popular choice for buffalo hunters as the great herds were decimated.