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Just out of curiosity, is there some historical evidence about how famous "gunslingers" (John Wesley Hardin, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp etc.) and others actually shot their revolvers?

 

I don't think "fast draw" without much aim was the preferred method... And probably 2-handed shooting position neither.

 

Too lazy and busy to googlefu right now, so what is folks' opinion on this Grate Site™?

Edited by Sardaukar
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Just out of curiosity, is there some historical evidence about how famous "gunslingers" (John Wesley Hardin, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp etc.) and others actually shot their revolvers?

 

I don't think "fast draw" without much aim was the preferred method... And probably 2-handed shooting position either.

 

Too lazy and busy to googlefu right now, so what is folks' opinion on this Grate Site™?

 

 

 

Shoot outs weren't as common as movies make it appear and ranges were rather short, so there was not much aiming involved.

 

Take OK Corral: "Some members of the two opposing parties were initially only about 6 feet (1.8 m) apart. About 30 shots were fired in 30 seconds."

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunfight_at_the_O.K._Corral

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I remember reading that much that has been written on quick drawing is complete nonsense. That when someone goes for their gun, there is no way even an experienced gunman is going to suddenly outdraw them.

 

I think the first shots fired at OK Corral was a shotgun, which kind of defies the myth of quick drawing. Holliday walked into the fight already carrying it.

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In the ~1975-1985 revolvers were, generally mish-mash of the cheap "suicide specials" converted percussion, cheap Belgian imports and only then "big 4" - Colt, S&W, Remington, Merwin & Hulbert.

Colt 1873. cost about 3 "average" monthly pays, cheap small revolver cost about weekly pay. Plus could be carried in the pocket. Guess which ones were more popular?

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I remember reading that much that has been written on quick drawing is complete nonsense. That when someone goes for their gun, there is no way even an experienced gunman is going to suddenly outdraw them.

 

I had Charles King Sergeant prove that to me, beyond reasonable doubt, in person. No one can possibly react that fast.

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This may prove interesting, Wyatt Earp's probably mythical

Buntline Special.

https://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-historical-quarterly%20wyatt-earp-and-the-buntline-special-myth/13255

 

I was amused to see it turn up again in Wynona Earp.

 

Earp carried S&W No.3 at OK Corral. He also later had Merwin & Hulbert double action. However he was also known in his older age to frequent gun shops and buy old guns, then gift them to the friends. Ofc, every one of those was used in the famous gunfight. :)

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I remember reading that much that has been written on quick drawing is complete nonsense. That when someone goes for their gun, there is no way even an experienced gunman is going to suddenly outdraw them.

 

I had Charles King Sergeant prove that to me, beyond reasonable doubt, in person. No one can possibly react that fast.

 

 

Also pretty sure that no lawman ever faced a black-hatted outlaw on the middle of Main Street with mournful whistling music in the background and waited for him to draw first. :)

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This may prove interesting, Wyatt Earp's probably mythical

Buntline Special.

https://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-historical-quarterly%20wyatt-earp-and-the-buntline-special-myth/13255

 

I was amused to see it turn up again in Wynona Earp.

 

Earp carried S&W No.3 at OK Corral. He also later had Merwin & Hulbert double action. However he was also known in his older age to frequent gun shops and buy old guns, then gift them to the friends. Ofc, every one of those was used in the famous gunfight. :)

 

 

Yeah, there must be a half dozen guns he carried with him into OK Corral. Its a wonder they didnt hear him coming with all the clinking. :D

 

 

It does make an interesting point in that article, that the weapon used had to have a solid frame, because Wyatt was always clocking people around the head with them. Many of the guns made at that time were so flimsy in the frame, that kind of abuse would probably have bent them out of shape.

 

 

 

 

I remember reading that much that has been written on quick drawing is complete nonsense. That when someone goes for their gun, there is no way even an experienced gunman is going to suddenly outdraw them.

 

I had Charles King Sergeant prove that to me, beyond reasonable doubt, in person. No one can possibly react that fast.

 

 

Also pretty sure that no lawman ever faced a black-hatted outlaw on the middle of Main Street with mournful whistling music in the background and waited for him to draw first. :)

 

But they SHOULD have done. :D

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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  • 1 month later...

I remember reading that much that has been written on quick drawing is complete nonsense. That when someone goes for their gun, there is no way even an experienced gunman is going to suddenly outdraw them.

 

I think the first shots fired at OK Corral was a shotgun, which kind of defies the myth of quick drawing. Holliday walked into the fight already carrying it.

Never take a pistol to a gunfight, take a shotgun.

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Old time gunfighters carried extra guns, because it took so long to reload. Also cross draw was popular due to the danger of static electricity causing the black powder to discharge. Most old time gunfighters carried two sometimes three pistols. But I would argue that the great gunfights were the exception rather than the rule they were immortalized because they were rare. Most killings were ambush type murders. I recommend an old book called Triggernometry https://www.amazon.com/Triggernometry-Gallery-Gunfighters-Eugene-Cunningham/dp/0760702519/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1RFNO8X0O8DC2&keywords=triggernometry+book&qid=1574078570&sprefix=triggernom%2Caps%2C167&sr=8-1

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I remember reading that much that has been written on quick drawing is complete nonsense. That when someone goes for their gun, there is no way even an experienced gunman is going to suddenly outdraw them.

 

I think the first shots fired at OK Corral was a shotgun, which kind of defies the myth of quick drawing. Holliday walked into the fight already carrying it.

Never take a pistol to a gunfight, take a shotgun.

 

 

Well Holliday may have been reckless, but he clearly wasnt stupid. :D

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Common sense also dictated that careful aim usually did beat quickness. I think there was at least one anecdote about that.

 

IIRC, J.W.Hardin was described that he was lethal because he was reasonably quick but also very cool-headed and lethal shot. Being a psychopath helped also.

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  • 11 months later...
18 hours ago, Adam Peter said:

 

Only an issue on SAA and other SA US made revolvers. In Europe Pryse type rebounding hammer started seeing use in 1876, and even before that there was a Francotte safety (Adams, some Webleys and Tranters, Gasser, Francotte etc) that used half-cock that was positively secured and gun could be fired in double action mode from it. Even some single action revolvers had "safety notches" cut between chambers where firing pin could rest and enable gun to be safely carried with all chambers loaded. It was more common on rimfire revolvers, since it could be more easily done, but there were centerfire revolvers that also had it. Ironically majority of percussion revolvers had it in one form or other. Other than that, Iver Johnson introduced it's transfer bar (used widely later) in 1886. Hopkins Allen introduced eccentric hammer in ~1890.

Edited by bojan
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On 11/21/2019 at 8:07 AM, Sardaukar said:

Common sense also dictated that careful aim usually did beat quickness. I think there was at least one anecdote about that.

 

IIRC, J.W.Hardin was described that he was lethal because he was reasonably quick but also very cool-headed and lethal shot. Being a psychopath helped also.

 

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Some interesting points about that scene.  The first guy who shoots at Munny (Eastwood's character) and the first to die was seen preparing for a fight earlier in the film by loading several revolvers.  When the other asked him why it said he wasn't about to get himself killed for lack of shooting back.  he's also the only one of the deputies to keep his head an be a real danger to Munny. His shot went just where he intended it to go, bad luck for him Munny wasn't there to take it.  The others blaze way panicked and don't come close.

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On 11/21/2019 at 5:07 AM, Sardaukar said:

Common sense also dictated that careful aim usually did beat quickness. I think there was at least one anecdote about that.

 

IIRC, J.W.Hardin was described that he was lethal because he was reasonably quick but also very cool-headed and lethal shot. Being a psychopath helped also.

Yeah, it was 'Little Bill' Daggett, the Gene Hackman character from Unforgiven. As he told that reporter/writer, it didn't matter how fast you draw your gun, what was important was that the person who kept their head and then shot straight would invariably win.

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6 hours ago, R011 said:

Some interesting points about that scene.  The first guy who shoots at Munny (Eastwood's character) and the first to die was seen preparing for a fight earlier in the film by loading several revolvers.  When the other asked him why it said he wasn't about to get himself killed for lack of shooting back.  he's also the only one of the deputies to keep his head an be a real danger to Munny. His shot went just where he intended it to go, bad luck for him Munny wasn't there to take it.  The others blaze way panicked and don't come close.

That's why I liked my SIG 226...while many like .45 etc, I kinda liked the capacity. Nothing ridiculous like extended mag, but if you cannot do the job with 15+1, you are in totally wrong fight...

Also, it gives ability to give suppressive fire.

Edited by Sardaukar
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3 minutes ago, Sardaukar said:

That's why I liked my SIG 226...while many like .45 etc, I kinda liked the capacity. nothing ridiculous like extended mag, but if you cannot do the job with 15+1, you are in totally wrong fight...

The character had about four revolvers and only one arm, so he'd probably still want at least one more pistol even with a high capacity mag.  Wouldn't have helped him in the final shoot out either way.

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