Handgun Carry in the Old West


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Tequila jake
May 4, 2012, 06:17 PM
I just read a magazine article that stated that most of the folks in the Old West, contrary to what we see on TV and in the movies, did not carry on the hip. The writer stated that most carried either cross-draw or in shoulder holsters. Does anybody know if this is true?

Tequila Jake

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LightningMan
May 4, 2012, 06:43 PM
I don't know or doubt it, but considering even in the old west many towns had laws against carring firearms openly. So carring a concealed pistol would likely be in order, thus a pocket pistol or shoulder type holster under a top coat would make sence. LM

MCgunner
May 4, 2012, 06:59 PM
This guy seems to have a hip holster on. Wild Bill was said to carry a brace of .36 caliber Navy Colts stuffed in his sash, no holster.

http://students.nebrwesleyan.edu/students/mguinan/billy_the_kid-large.jpg

royal barnes
May 4, 2012, 07:19 PM
Many did carry crossdraw. It was much more comfortable on horseback. Many also carried strongside butt to the rear. Both methods are seen in period photos. A few carried in shoulder rigs. It was simply a matter of choice.

Iggy
May 4, 2012, 07:44 PM
Most "Cowboys" left their handgun in their bedroll in the chuck wagon unless they knew there was trouble afoot.

You ain't been beat until you've rode a horse across tough country with a gun rig bouncin' around and bangin' you in the ribs and back.

Workin' cattle or fencin' and that danged gun can git you hung up and kilt just a little bit.

Cowboys, if they could afford a hand gun and rig, put it on to go to town and git their picture took at the local tintype emporium for to send to the folks back home.

There was lawmen and gunmen that carried a gun slung on their hips, but to cowboys, those gun rigs were a true pain in the butt.:cool:

ApacheCoTodd
May 4, 2012, 08:22 PM
I'd go along with that for the most part. Open carrying here in Arizona on the hip - on the motorcycle sucks . I can't even imagine riding a horse with a "hollywood" rig danglin' and tanglin' up my life on a daily basis - it's a cross draw for me.

I guess a significant indicator of some of the prevalent styles would be to study photos of cavalry and mounted infantry of the day. I should think between learned behavior and available hardware - it would have had quite an influence.

joecil
May 4, 2012, 08:28 PM
I belong to a group called NCOWS for cowboy action shooting. They really are period correct in both dress and gear.

Now I had a fellow named Cliff Fendley http://www.fendleyknives.com/leather.htm make a holster for me to fit the period from 1880's based on an F.A. Meanea called a Cheyenne style. There is a book called Packin Iron that they use to be authentic as it shows great pictures of all the holsters of the 19 century including the military.

Now most of the TV shows used the holster with the tie downs, slotted belt etc which became the Movie version of the western holster in the 1930's. Cross draw was common however they didn't use a special holster as they just slid the right hand holster to the left side, especially when riding a horse.

Below is a picture of the holster/belt I had made which is dyed using a natural walnut dye as done then. All is hand stitched using linen tread that has been waxed. It is a dead on right down to the engraving to the original also. The gun in the picture is his not mine as I carry a Uberti while that is a Ruger. I've since had him make me one for a 7 1/2" barrel and a sheath for a knife.

Oh and a Note here: the picture above posted by MCgunner is of Billy the kid. If you look at the rifle you will notice something wrong with the picture. The picture is reversed hence he wore his pistol on his right side as they never made a rifle that loads from the right side of the gun. Hence it kills the left hand gun theory completely.

oldfool
May 4, 2012, 08:31 PM
I always heard that those who carried were the exception to the rule, any firearm any style, and that the vast majority who owned any firearm at all, owned a shotgun, not much of anything else
don't sound heroic or romantic, but probably true
a bird in the pot beats a bird in the bush

methinks handgun carry for the vast majority who carry is pretty much a 'modern invention', odd as that sounds
horse optional, then and now
most pioneers did a lot of walking, not riding

Jim K
May 4, 2012, 08:42 PM
Two things about "Old West" guns:

1. Cowboys all carried SAA Colts - in the movies. In the real world an SAA cost over half a month's pay for the average cowboy, who was at about the same relative pay scale and social position as the "cowburger boy" at Mickey D's. Those cowboys who did carry guns usually carried what we would call "suicide specials", or other inexpensive guns, in their pockets, not in fancy holsters. Townsmen (and women) often went armed and they also carried small guns, though often of better quality. reflecting a higher income and position on the social ladder.

2. Many ranches banned cowboys from even having a handgun at all; when a man was hired he turned in his gun and it was kept in the office safe until he left. Rifles, belonging to the ranch, would be issued as needed to keep down dangerous critters, 2 and 4 legged variety.

Jim

joecil
May 4, 2012, 09:03 PM
Popular hand guns also where the Schofield by S&W around 1869 and became the bullet of choice even over the 45 Colt round as it fires in both guns though the 45 Colt won't in the Schofield. The Schofield was a break top gun and carried by a number of famous outlaws and lawmen in the day including Billy the Kid. Another was the 1875 Frontier, and 1890 Remington which was similar to the Colt SAA colt. Winchester levers as well as the older Henry Yellow boys where also available. There was also a lot of Civil war style pistols still being used with more than a few using Colt conversion units from cap and ball to cartridge similar to what Eastwood used in the Outlaw Josey Wales and Good, Bad, and the Ugly. I might add their is really little records of gun fights as seen on TV/modern movies as they just didn't except in some very rare situations.

The cloths that one sees the modern TV cowboy star wearing didn't exist as men's pants didn't have a belt but used suspenders till after about 1903 when the military stared adding belt loops. Till then only baseball uniforms had belt loops (3 to be correct).

Jim K
May 4, 2012, 09:26 PM
Civilians had a choice between .45 Colt and .45 S&W, but in reality, there were very few big bore S&W's around. S&W's foreign contracts accounted for some 140,000 guns over the critical period 1873-1878, so they effectively handed over the U.S. civilian market to the competition.

As to the military, they used the .45 Colt cartridge for only about a year. From 1875 on, the cartridge some call the .45 Army or .45 Schofield was the only revolver cartridge issued by the Army until the advent of the .38 cartridge c. 1892.

Jim

stevekozak
May 4, 2012, 09:38 PM
I am doubting a lot of stuff in this thread. The idea that cowboys surrendered their sidearms to the ranchers to put in a safe sounds suspiciously like some liberal crapola.

Lawdawg45
May 4, 2012, 10:14 PM
I come from a long line of Sheriff's, Marshal's, and Pinkerton agents, and I'm blessed to have several old Tin Types of them. Most had their pistol stuffed in their waistband, but one did have a gun rig. While Hickok had a double rig, Wyatt Earp had his tucked in the small of his back and in his duster.

LD

Jim NE
May 4, 2012, 10:26 PM
even in the old west many towns had laws against carring firearms openly.

This is true, from what I've heard. And the more notorious a town was (Dodge City, Tombstone) the more likely this was true, though I don't know specifically about any particular town.

My grandfather, born in the 1890's, knew an oldtimer who, in his youth, knew Wild Bill Hickok when he was in Abilene, KS. I believe it was illegal to tote guns there. He said the consensus of the Abilene citizenry was that the only people who carried guns into town back then were losers or people looking for trouble.

He also said Hickok, as sheriff, was no better person than the outlaws he shot.

CraigC
May 4, 2012, 10:48 PM
I see a lot of both styles, crossdraw and strongside. Most your crossdraws are probably a carryover from the cavalry. I don't know about cowpunchers but somebody bought and used all those hundreds of thousands of sixguns produced through 1900. I also do not think that carrying a sixgun in a proper leather rig was any less comfortable then than it is now. Lots of folks even have to get into and out of cars wear a pistol and a lot more. We call them law enforcement. I wear a sixgun rig all the time and usually forget it's even there. :rolleyes:

Jim Watson
May 4, 2012, 10:53 PM
A period article in the Sacramento Bee about gold and silver mining town Bodie, CA said that you seldom saw an Army or Navy revolver in a belt scabbard, the usual weapon was a Bulldog revolver in a canvas or leather lined coat pocket. Of course those were miners and merchants, not cowhands or travelers on a horse for long rides.

hogshead
May 4, 2012, 10:59 PM
I agree with you craig C . I wear my sixgun every time I ride my horse. Just use a hip holster no problems.

qwert65
May 4, 2012, 11:04 PM
I dont think Calvary holsters were worn cross draw I'm pretty sure they carried strong side butt forward, this had to do with carrying the saber as well

Greg528iT
May 4, 2012, 11:14 PM
Also remember that photographers back in the day, like today possesed PROPS, so it's hard to say a true old tin type, the cowboy may have borrowed said pistol just for the photo. Just saying.

Greg528iT
May 4, 2012, 11:20 PM
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Wild-Bill-3.jpg/220px-Wild-Bill-3.jpg

Not sure one would carry a knife, outside a scabbard either.

JRH6856
May 4, 2012, 11:36 PM
The majority of period holsters I have either or seen pix of were, except for cut down cavalry holsters, little more than leather pouches that loosely held the gun. Retention was usually a thong looped over the hammer spur. No holsters formed to fit the gun, no reinforced leather. Holster design has come a long way in 140 years.

shiftyer1
May 5, 2012, 12:04 AM
I assume there were far more longguns of some type being carried. Depending on your financial status a rifle or shotgun would be far more useful and practical.

My grandfather died in the 70's he was almost 100 years old. He wasn't a cowdriving cowhand in Texas but a Minnesota farmer. This was still indian country, he told stories to my dad of having to hide in the sloughs as a child when the indians would come to raid the house.

He was also in the cavalry in ww1 and a sharpshooter. The only firearm he ever kept around and used all his life was a shotgun. He did bring back a handgun from the war but never used it.

Some employers today ask you to leave your guns at home and people do everyday. If you worked on a ranch back then you do what the boss says or got fired....nothing different then or now. The difference is that work = home back then. Here lemme hold your revolver so you don't shoot yer foot off, heres a rifle for critters and stuff.

If that ranch paid well, had a good cook and a draftfree bunkhouse with a good wood stove I'm in.

Just like today:) Good enough pay and benefits and you kinda like your job or need it. Your gun gets locked up by the boss(at home) and if you need one.....use mine.

I do find crossdraw more comfortable for a working gun, I try to find a holster with a slant but mostly just a right hander slid around. I'm sure back then some felt as I do.

Just like i'm sure some carried a matched pair of lovely engraved pearl handeled colts, The same applies today.

XGibsonX
May 5, 2012, 01:08 AM
Gone...Adios

ArchAngelCD
May 5, 2012, 01:19 AM
Most "Cowboys" left their handgun in their bedroll in the chuck wagon unless they knew there was trouble afoot.

You ain't been beat until you've rode a horse across tough country with a gun rig bouncin' around and bangin' you in the ribs and back.

Workin' cattle or fencin' and that danged gun can git you hung up and kilt just a little bit.

Cowboys, if they could afford a hand gun and rig, put it on to go to town and git their picture took at the local tintype emporium for to send to the folks back home.

There was lawmen and gunmen that carried a gun slung on their hips, but to cowboys, those gun rigs were a true pain in the butt.:cool:
From what I've read most Cowboys relied on a levergun carried in a saddle scabbard for protection on the range. Most town-folk used a shotgun more than anything else. In actuality they should call the shotgun the gun that won the West.

ArchAngelCD
May 5, 2012, 01:22 AM
I dont think Calvary holsters were worn cross draw I'm pretty sure they carried strong side butt forward, this had to do with carrying the saber as well
Actually I think they carried weak side because at the time the "brass" considered the saber their primary weapon which was held in their strong side hand. I think I remember reading that somewhere but I could be wrong...

Dnaltrop
May 5, 2012, 02:17 AM
Ahh, Family.

The fellow on the horse with the shotgun "playfully" pointed at his head from behind is mine I'm told... Only gun I can spy.

http://i909.photobucket.com/albums/ac294/greymtns/1893_FRONTimg921.jpg

Iggy
May 5, 2012, 11:08 AM
I've carried a side arm as lawman and a rancher for over 50 years. I had the typical LEO rig when I was on patrol, and I've got a fine lookin' rig for marryin's and buryin's, but I either had a .22 snubbie in a vest pocket or a S&W model 28 hangin' in a holster in my pickup or in my saddle bags on the ranch.

I grew up around old time cowhands on the ranch, these ol boys rode the range during the open range days in Wyoming in the 1880's and 90's including an uncle who was a friend of Tom Horn. I knew several old timers that knew Tom and said they he was one spooky sumbitch.

Like every other "hot shot" young kid that grew up on a ranch, I tried packin' a pistol on my hip while I worked. I found it getting tangled up in my rope when I needed to catch a critter, gittin' scuffed up and snagged when I was fixin' fence, and filthy when I was pitchin' hay and such.

If a horse pitched a fit, it became a lethal weapon banging against you every time that horse bucked, and you sure din't want to land on it if you come unglued from that pony. Mine was soon relegated to the pickup or saddle bags.

.45Guy
May 5, 2012, 12:34 PM
I don't know about cowboys, but my great grandfather ran a hotel in a little mining town near Primero, Colorado that no longer exists. He had a small top break .32. Many of the pictures and documents disappeared after my grandfather's death, so I can't name the town exactly. I'll have to dig around a bit, as I'm pretty sure I have some pictures from the trip he took a few months before he passed. It was kind of neat, as the jail was the only structure left. Also, the gentleman that signed his baptism/christening papers wrote a book about the Slovenian community in Primero... I'll have to see if I can scrounge a copy to see if there is any mention of the family.

DammitBoy
May 5, 2012, 01:02 PM
I am doubting a lot of stuff in this thread. The idea that cowboys surrendered their sidearms to the ranchers to put in a safe sounds suspiciously like some liberal crapola.

You need to read more and educate yourself then.

David E
May 5, 2012, 01:18 PM
The saber was considered the primary arm, carried on the weak side. How would a right handed man withdraw a saber carried on his right side?

Now tell me how he does it while mounted on a horse.

Sabers were on the weak side for a reason.

JRH6856
May 5, 2012, 02:00 PM
How would a right handed man withdraw a saber carried on his right side?

To illustrate your point, at the end of The Outlaw Josey Wales, Capt. "Redlegs" Terrell draws his saber carried on his left side with his left hand. The draw is such that the blade is reversed which is not the best way to fight with a saber.

Old Fuff
May 5, 2012, 02:31 PM
Originally Posted by stevekozak
I am doubting a lot of stuff in this thread. The idea that cowboys surrendered their sidearms to the ranchers to put in a safe sounds suspiciously like some liberal crapola.

After the dangers associated with the frontier years had passed many of the larger ranches and some smaller ones prohibited the carrying of revolvers during round up. This is not only attested to in contemporary writing but also photographs taken at the time as well. Hollywood of course would never stand for this, but the fact was that a six-shooter wasn't (and isn’t) necessary to round up cattle and brand the critters.

The guns in question didn’t necessarily end up in some rancher’s safe, but were simply left behind in the bunkhouse.

That said, some ranches outright prohibited handguns as a condition of employment, and cowboys that didn’t own one were common. Rifles and carbines were another matter.

XGibsonX
May 5, 2012, 02:32 PM
Deleted

Iggy
May 5, 2012, 02:45 PM
Tom gave a bridle headstall he braided in jail while awaiting execution to my Uncle. It is still in the family.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2c/Tom_Horn.jpg
Tom worked develop an image of deadly gunman to create fear in the minds of the homesteaders. It worked.

He was loyal to his friends and they were loyal to him until the end.
Tom didn't kill Willie Nickells. He was guilty of plenty but not that one.

Tom died of old age in the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands, but that's another story.:cool:

joecil
May 5, 2012, 02:53 PM
The CAS City site has a lot of historical information on most of this stuff as well as prices for guns and ammo in the late 19th Century. The prices seemed cheap until one thinks about the pay wage of that day. A pistol was as much as a months pay with a Winchester rifle a little more. I honestly believe that most ranch worker might of own a saddle gun to handle coyotes, wolves or put down an injured steer or horse. A few might of carried a pistol in a saddle bag or bed roll. The shotgun seems to be used more with stage coaches, law men and farmers.

According to records, Tom Horn was hung on November 20, 1903 and buried in Bolder Colorado.

XGibsonX
May 5, 2012, 02:59 PM
Removed

Iggy
May 5, 2012, 04:46 PM
According to records, Tom Horn was hung on November 20, 1903 and buried in Bolder Colorado.

Yup, somebody was hanged in Cheyenne in 1903.
Them Wyoming Stockgrowers had a lot of power back then.:cool:

Ron James
May 5, 2012, 05:05 PM
Most handgun holsters of that era were nothing more than soft leather pouches made from the soft belly leather of the steer. For the most part the custom fitted thick leather holsters from Hollywood were exactly that. The fast gun fighter draw was non existent, Even W.E at the OK Corral ( in an alley actually ) put his revolver in his coat pocket for faster access. On the way to the party he put it back in the holster when told the cowboys had been disarmed ( another strike against his using the Buntline that day ).

SabbathWolf
May 5, 2012, 05:12 PM
I dont think Calvary holsters were worn cross draw I'm pretty sure they carried strong side butt forward, this had to do with carrying the saber as well

That's exactly right.
It was considered more important for the saber to be wielded by the strong hand.
The pistol was drawn with the weak hand as a back-up to the saber.
The theory being that sabers don't run out of, or waste bullets which cost the army a lot of money back then.

rcmodel
May 5, 2012, 05:12 PM
All I know is somebody was carrying a lot of old Colts a lot of miles back then.

Too many old ones around now with the muzzle & ejector rod housing worn away from holster wear.

They didn't get that way hanging in the bunk house or stored in the saddle bags I betcha.

rc

SabbathWolf
May 5, 2012, 05:14 PM
To illustrate your point, at the end of The Outlaw Josey Wales, Capt. "Redlegs" Terrell draws his saber carried on his left side with his left hand. The draw is such that the blade is reversed which is not the best way to fight with a saber.

I could be wrong but, I think in the movie, he drew with the wrong hand because his other arm was shot?
Josey was following the blood trail on the building walls.

Iggy
May 5, 2012, 06:55 PM
All I know is somebody was carrying a lot of old Colts a lot of miles back then.

Too many old ones around now with the muzzle & ejector rod housing worn away from holster wear.

They didn't get that way hanging in the bunk house or stored in the saddle bags I betcha.


Yup, back in 1961, I got one of them Ruger single six's that has the aluminum ejector rod shroud on it. All the blue is wore off the side of the barrel and some of the metal is wore off of that shroud.

I din't know nuthin' about only carryin 5 rounds and an empty under the hammer back then. I din't get it modified and I still pack it when I'm huntin' or ridin' the pastures on an ATV and it's still loaded with six up today.

Driftwood Johnson
May 5, 2012, 07:11 PM
Howdy

The drop loop holsters made famous in Hollywood were often called Buscadero rigs. Absolutely not good for riding a horse, they would flap around like crazy. Also not so good for sitting in a chair, very uncomfortable. About the only thing they are good for is fast draw in the movies. Buscadero rigs would not have been worn in the Old West.

http://www.alfonsosgunleather.com/Pages/western2.htm

Large frame S&W revolvers were not common on the frontier. S&W did not make any large frame 44 or 45 caliber revolvers until 1870. Prior to that everything made by S&W were little Tip Up 22 or 32 caliber revolvers like these. They were designed to be slipped into a pocket, not worn in a holster. There were many thousands or these made. The large one is a Model 1 1/2, 2nd Issue made in 1873 and chambered for 32 Rimfire. There were over 100,000 of this model made. The little is a Model No. 1, 3rd Issue made in 1870 and chambered for what we would call today 22 Short. There were over 131,000 of this model made. There were also several other Tip Up models made, they were produced in great numbers, and they found their way into pockets everywhere, both East and West.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/Tip%20Ups/ModelsNumberOneThirdIssueandNumberOneandOneHalfNewModel01.jpg

S&W produced their first large frame revolver in 1870. The Rollin White patent, which Smith controlled was about to expire. The White patent made it illegal for anybody else to produce a revolver with chambers bored out for cartridges. So when the White patent was about to expire, and everybody and their brother was about to enter the cartridge revolver market, S&W unveiled a radically different revolver, a large frame, Top Break, 44 caliber revolver. The barrel was latched at the top, hence the name Top Break. The barrel pivoted down for loading and all empty cartridges were automatically ejected. It fired a round that later came to be known as the 44 S&W American round and the model eventually became known as the American model. There were slightly more than 28,000 Americans produced, so they were nowhere near as popular as the little Tip Ups had been. The Russian Model, produced from 1871 until 1878 were produced in great numbers, over 150,000 were made, but as has been stated, most of them were sold to foreign governments. The Schofield Model was produced from 1875 until 1877. The first 3035 were produced on contract for the Army. There were 5964 of the 2nd Model produced. By 1878 the Army had surplussed them all out, but there were never very many made in the first place, so they would not have been common in the Old West either.

These models were followed by the New Model Number Three and the 44 Double Action. All shared the basic #3 frame size. Remember, all Schofields are #3s, but not all #3s are Schofields. Here is a web page that describes the five different models that were built on the #3 size frame, and how to tell them apart.

http://www.armchairgunshow.com/Mod3-info.html

*****

Smith and Wesson did not start producing Top Break pocket pistols until 1876, starting with a 38 caliber, 5 shot, spur trigger model. This 38 Single Action, 2nd Model, five shot, Top Break pocket pistol was made in 1877. There were over 108,000 of them made.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/38SA2ndModel02.jpg


**********



At the end of the Civil War there were many thousand Cap & Ball revolvers that the Army surplussed out. They were very cheap and many adventurers heading for the Old West bought them. Colt did offer conversion models of their C&B revolvers, but never made very many. They did not bring out the SAA until 1873, three years after the White patent had expired. So until 1872 or so, if somebody wanted a large frame revolver, it was probably going to be a surplus 44 or 36 caliber C&B. Even after 1873, the SAA was very pricy, going for about $12. A dollar a day was considered good pay for a cowboy in those days.


*******************


Back to holsters. Most holsters available at the time were 'high riding' holsters. Not the silly drop loop Hollywood holsters. I'm no horseman, but I don't think a short barreled high riding holster would be much of a problem for mounted man.

I had this rig made up when I first started shooting Cowboy about ten years ago. It is a high riding rig in the Duke style. Not authentic to the Old West, the Duke style was first made for John Wayne by Tom Threepersons in the 1930s. But it is a high riding rig similar to many that were being made at the tail end of the 19th Century. Of course no real cowboy would have been able to get his hands on enough money to own two pistols.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/holsters/DukeRig.jpg


***********

Regarding open carry in the Old West, the Shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone in 1881 was a direct result of the city ordinance forbidding the carrying of weapons in town. Firearms were supposed to be surrendered upon coming to town. Marshal Virgil Earp decided to enforce the ordinance when he found out that the McLaurys and the Clantons were packing and they were being belligerent. Being townsmen, the Earps did not carry their pistols in holsters, they typically carried them in the waistband of their trousers. Holiday had a pistol in a holster but it was hidden by his coat. Wyatt testified at the trial that he was carrying his pistol in his coat pocket.

Vern Humphrey
May 5, 2012, 07:26 PM
Not sure one would carry a knife, outside a scabbard either.
Not unless he expected to fall in the creek and have a need to cut his sixguns loose so he could float.:p

PoserHoser
May 5, 2012, 07:41 PM
Personally i've carried a full size 1911 strong side while on a horse for several miles. the reason i don't carry crossdraw is because its uncomfortable when you lean forward.
While i've heard of people carrying their gun in their saddlebags. This is simply stupid. If you fall off and your horse spooks. you no longer have a gun. So i don't think many did that back in the day.

Iggy
May 5, 2012, 07:52 PM
This was posted today on another forum by a friend of mine down in Texas. He spent a life time a straddle of a horse as have I.

It was an early February morning an I was lining out a short string of
knot-headed bronc mules for a little schooling on the parade grounds.

Wells, we make a pretty good circle and arrive back at the barn about noonish.
It was a drizzling rain and a lit'l on the muddy side of things. As I step down to the ground,
my rubber pack boot gets all jammed up and hung in the stirrup. I make a little short hop toward my saddle pony.
Which by the way is kinda a little on the bronc side his own-self, well now he buggers and jerks yours truly down.

We headed toward open corral gate and open range...Caught by the left foot and my ol head boppin' on the ground
at a clip that would have left a Derby winner eatin dust.

Wells, I'm tryin to pull my sixgun for to put one in this here run-away's boiler room. Couldn't get to my revolver,
my gunbelt was up under my arm pits, my gun was digging into my shoulder blade...I was in one hell of a fix.

Things was look purty grim for this boy. All that was left to do was udder a word or two to my Maker and let fate take it's course.
I sez,"Lord this sure's a rough way to die!"

Wells, wouldn't know it about that time, that ol pony planted a hind foot right in my middle and I popped loose jest like a cork from a bottle!

That string of mules was a followin along right close, didn't but two or three of 'em run over me.

Now this ain't been too many years ago...I's wasn't no young man by any means.

Gone to usin belt keeps after that with my gunbelt.

I have been in the same situation as he describes. If you survive, you can always catch your horse and git your gun back. If you fall off of the horse, that gun ain't gonna do you no good no how.

Vern Humphrey
May 5, 2012, 08:03 PM
Personally i've carried a full size 1911 strong side while on a horse for several miles. the reason i don't carry crossdraw is because its uncomfortable when you lean forward.

While i've heard of people carrying their gun in their saddlebags. This is simply stupid. If you fall off and your horse spooks. you no longer have a gun. So i don't think many did that back in the day.
Horses are stupid -- at least as stupid as your average teenager, and just about as likely to do the wrong thing at the right time. When I think of having my gun in my saddlebag, I'm reminded of a sign at a local cafe, "If you value your hat and coat -- wear 'em." :D

I've ridden many a mile with a gun on my hip. I like a holster that "swallows" the gun -- no exposed trigger guard or more than the tip of the hammer showing. And I wear it on a trouser belt, not a separate gunbelt. That way, the gun stays put, no matter what.

My initiation as a cowboy was in the Great Screw Worm Epidemic of '56. My dad had just retired from the oil business, bought 3500 acres in the Ozarks, and trucked in a herd of Bramah-Angus cross cattle from a ranch in Oklahoma that was selling out because of drought.

That fall, every single scratch on a cow got screw worms. I spent two months riding up and down hollows, dodging brush, chousing out, roping, throwing and doctoring cattle.

wrs840
May 5, 2012, 08:09 PM
This is a great thread. I'm learning some interesting stuff!

Thanks. Back to it, gentlemen!

rcmodel
May 5, 2012, 08:19 PM
All this discussion of whether or not cowboys carried six-guns or not doesn't have a cut & dried answer.

Pre & Post civil war through the Indian wars eras, a person would be foolish to go about unarmed.

By the late 1800's, the west was largely settled, large ranches were the norm, and your "cowboys" chances of getting attacked by Indians or outlaws on the back 10,000 of the ranch was pretty slim.

I think it can be assumed cowboys carried weapons pretty regularly at that one point in time.
And it was probably in a pouch or slim jim holster with a huge folded loop.
Or a cut down civil war cross-draw flap holster.
Strung on a folded pig skin money-belt, so the gun could be slid around out of the way when riding or roping.

The belt gave safe storage for coins & cash, and proof of ownership papers necessary on a cattle drive.

Photos of most of this stuff can be seen in John Bianchi's book, Blue Steel & Gunleather.
Bianchi at one time owned the largest collection of vintage gun leather in existence, and knew exactly what he was talking about.

And I still contend all those old Colts didn't get one side of the muzzle and the ejector rod on the other side worn flat by hanging on a nail in the bunkhouse.

rc

SleazyRider
May 5, 2012, 08:31 PM
So why does Cowboy Action Shooting require not one, but two, six-guns if this wasn't authentic? Just curious.

Coyote3855
May 5, 2012, 08:39 PM
Lots of what happens in Cowboy Action Shooting (Single Action Shooting Society) isn't authentic, or intended to be. NCOWS (National Congress of Old West Shooters, I think) puts more emphasis on authenticity. SASS allows the '97 Winchester pump, when the old west was mostly over by 1986 - winter of the great die off. (Cattle not cowboys).

.45Guy
May 5, 2012, 08:50 PM
Well, now this thread has gotten the better of me. I had posted earlier about my great grandfather and his little .32. Now I have found the name of the town was Tolerburg, and apparently was right near Ludlow. So not only did he catch the last days of the west, but he was there for the 1913-14 coal war. Now I'm going to have to do some more digging, and build that little .32 a shadow box!

xXxplosive
May 5, 2012, 09:08 PM
I believe I read where on his way to the Gunfight at the OK Corral, Wyatt Earp carried his pistol in his coat pocket as he did most of the time.

joecil
May 5, 2012, 09:25 PM
Lots of what happens in Cowboy Action Shooting (Single Action Shooting Society) isn't authentic, or intended to be. NCOWS (National Congress of Old West Shooters, I think) puts more emphasis on authenticity. SASS allows the '97 Winchester pump, when the old west was mostly over by 1986 - winter of the great die off. (Cattle not cowboys).

Yes and NCOWS is the group I shoot with. Many of the guns and dress in SASS and other events are not allowed in NCOWS but they are still fun and speed isn't their main trust in shooting but accuracy as it was then. They are more about reenactment than a speed shooting event. Their period is from the end of the Civil War till 1899 and you must fit your persona also. You can't be a guy from 1873 and use a 1892 rifle for example at least in the hire levels of competition. Now they also have some lower classes from 2 gun up such as working cowboy which would be a rifle and one pistol. They are looking at some other classes this year as well, such as town tamer (2 pistol, 1 rifle) and a sod buster class (shot gun, single pistol class) all keeping in mind the ability to get into it to start without the heavy expenses. Also some modifications allowed in SASS are not allowed in NCOWS to your guns.

76shuvlinoff
May 5, 2012, 10:03 PM
I love this thread and am learning from it.

We own horses but I am certainly no cowboy. Actually my wife and daughter are the horse people in the family. I gave up trying to communicate with a horse years ago and stick to Harleys now. Hydraulic brakes, twist throttles and all that.

I have first hand experience so I know horse people love their animals, no offense intended but those critters have survived eons.. by running away.


.

Driftwood Johnson
May 5, 2012, 10:46 PM
So why does Cowboy Action Shooting require not one, but two, six-guns if this wasn't authentic? Just curious.

Because its more fun to shoot two pistols than one! Plain and simple.

I don't think it has been mentioned here yet, but SASS is not historical re-enactment. It is a fantasy shooting sport based on what a lot of us remember from TV and the movie theater when we were kids. There ain't no thread counters allowed in SASS. There is all kinds of leeway allowed for costumes and everything else. If I wanted to be in a historical re-enactment group I would join my local Minuteman militia (I live in Massachusetts).

When SASS first started in the 1980s, it was a one pistol sport. Pretty soon they discovered it was just more fun to shoot more bullets. So two pistols became the norm.

Their period is from the end of the Civil War till 1899 and you must fit your persona also. You can't be a guy from 1873 and use a 1892 rifle for example at least in the hire levels of competition.

Huh? With all due respect, have you ever been to a SASS match? Nobody has a 'persona'. Its in the handbook, but in practice, nobody does it. So there is no such thing as being a guy from 1873 with a 1892. I think what you are talking about is some of the categories like Classic Cowboy/Cowgirl or B Western. The rules for Classic are no rifles developed later than 1873. Calibers must be at least .40 and shotgun must be either a hammered double or a lever action (Winchester 1887). The idea is to be using firearms typical of the early period of the Old West. But nobody has a persona, it is just based on the firearms. B Western takes the opposite viewpoint. It is based on the B Westerns that were made in the 40s and 50s. Since 1892 rifles were so prevalent in the old oat burners, that is the preferred rifle for B Western. Nothing to do with historical accuracy, it is a reflection of the movies. When the Burgess rifle came out a couple of years ago the category was stretched back to 1880 to allow it to be used. Holsters are required to be Buscadero type, as a reflection of those silly holsters in most of the old movies. Clothing and boots have to be fancy, just like Hoppy and Roy used to wear.

Nothing at all about this stuff being at the higher levels of competition. If the match is run by SASS rules, even a local monthly match must follow these rules. As far as the single pistol categories are concerned, that is often done on an informal basis at the local level, but there are no official single pistol categories in SASS.

splithoof
May 5, 2012, 10:49 PM
Having spent a good bit of time in the saddle and moving livestock around before my current job, I had occasion to keep a sidearm handy, but quickly discovered that more often than not it got in the way or would be damaged by rough activity. I have yet to see a firearm that benefited by being drug through heavy mud and brush, scraped up on rocks, rubbed against wire fences, and exposed to torrents of rain in the winter and clouds of fine dust in the summer. The best solution was to have a rifle carried in a protective scabbard. Although some practice the sport of mounted shooting, in actuality it is a poor practice to use live, real bullets in a field situation. Having to dismount from your horse gives the better (my opinion) option of pulling that flat-sided lever gun for the task.

CraigC
May 5, 2012, 10:58 PM
I don't think Calvary holsters were worn cross draw I'm pretty sure they carried strong side butt forward, this had to do with carrying the saber as well
And why do you think they were carried butt forward? So that they could be drawn with either hand. So if your holster is on the right side, butt forward and you draw with your left hand, is that not a "cross draw"? Lots of military flap holsters became Mexican loop holsters.

joecil
May 5, 2012, 11:08 PM
Driftwood I was speaking of NCOWS not SASS, sorry for the misunderstanding. I also said at the highest levels of the NCOWS game which I'm a long way from has the persona requirements. I might add I've never been involved with a SASS event at all but not that I wouldn't it is just I'm closer to a NCOWS events so have gone with them.

qwert65
May 5, 2012, 11:44 PM
Cross draw when carrying one handgun implies opposite side, or most would be on the left that's all I was trying to say

Lawdawg45
May 6, 2012, 08:37 AM
So why does Cowboy Action Shooting require not one, but two, six-guns if this wasn't authentic? Just curious.

I asked that same question over on the SASS forum a couple of years ago, and you would have thought I was child molester applying for a job at a daycare!:D

I've found their rules to be hit and miss with historical accuracy, they don't allow rubber soled boots, but you can shoot a 1911 or a lever shotgun. I also commented that in the stack of old Tin Types of my relatives, no one had 2 revolvers, most didn't have a gun rig, and all had a single shot shotgun!

LD

joecil
May 6, 2012, 09:57 AM
SASS also has a B Western Class based on the movies. NCOWS has several 2 gun classes as well as 4 gun and though not a 100% period correct it is close. Either way however both as well as other groups like this can really be fun. I know I enjoyed my first season with NCOWS, but miss this season opener due to very bad weather.

Iggy
May 6, 2012, 10:35 AM
Ol Splithoof there has obviously pulled some wet saddle blankets off some good ol ponies and spliced a few fences.

He learned what I and a lot of other cowhands learned about packin' a side arm. It's tough on the packer and worse on the gun.

Lawdawg45
May 6, 2012, 10:47 AM
SASS also has a B Western Class based on the movies. NCOWS has several 2 gun classes as well as 4 gun and though not a 100% period correct it is close. Either way however both as well as other groups like this can really be fun. I know I enjoyed my first season with NCOWS, but miss this season opener due to very bad weather.

Guess I should clarify my comment a bit. I'm in no way slamming SASS, but with all their categories of shooting, adding a single gun category would be great for new shooters or people on a tight budget. Seems like a great way to introduce people to the sport!

LD

Byron
May 6, 2012, 11:19 AM
With so many Colt SAA sold, were they mostly kept in the homes as it seems these were not worn as much as this thread indicates?

sixgunner455
May 6, 2012, 11:50 AM
byron, I have a feeling that most people in the world who pack a gun are actually part-time packers, unless they carry something small and convenient. I don't get the feeling that this has changed over time. They carry it when they need it, when they perceive that they might need it, or when someone tells them they might need it.

So. If hunting or shooting or looking for trouble, they'll likely carry something bigger. Otherwise, most are probably like most today - what is S&W's most popular category of firearm today? The Airweight J-frame, mostly the 642. What guns get sold most? What are the hottest commodities? The little .380 pistols.

Their analogues, the little S&W revolvers of the day, the little Bulldogs and so forth, are probably guns that got carried more by the every day folks than the larger revolvers. Not to say that they didn't carry the big guns, but I can tell you - my homesteading ancestors in the West had one shotgun in the family. They were poor, they were farmers, and weren't in law enforcement or criminal activity. That shotgun was all they needed, so that's all they paid for, so that's all they had. And they carried it around when travelling, or when they needed to kill something.

In fact, there's a story about a 2 barrelled shotgun that they had, that one side's lock stopped working, but they kept using it for years until the other side broke.

Then, they traded a guy out of another cheap used shotgun. They NEEDED one, so they figured out how to get one, but they didn't need two, or a revolver or anything of the sort.

joecil
May 6, 2012, 12:21 PM
Guess I should clarify my comment a bit. I'm in no way slamming SASS, but with all their categories of shooting, adding a single gun category would be great for new shooters or people on a tight budget. Seems like a great way to introduce people to the sport!

LD


Didn't think you did LD and I also agree they should have a 1 gun class at least for people interested in trying it. Cap and Ball is also fairly inexpensive way to start also compared to a SAA. Now I do know at least with our group for fact and have heard the same about other forms of Cowboy Action shooting groups they will gladly loan equipment if needed especially to new participants. We have had people come out just to watch and for some reason they seem to wind up giving it a try often with borrowed guns.

Quiet 1
May 6, 2012, 12:40 PM
I have nothing to contribute to this thread but just want to say THANKS! to all that have. Very interesting, informative, entertaining and thought provoking reading.
It's clear there are many informed, experienced, intelligent folks here. :)

Byron
May 6, 2012, 01:08 PM
Sixgunner455: Excellent answer.Thank You.

Iggy
May 6, 2012, 01:15 PM
Some light readin' about the old days.

Bunkies:

http://home.bresnan.net/~buflerchip/bunkies.html

I can't see wastin' a round on a rattlesnake if there's a rock, rope, or shovel handy.:evil:

RhinoDefense
May 6, 2012, 01:38 PM
My grandfather was born in 1895. We still have his father's (my great-grandfather's) journals when he worked cattle after the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression). He talked about firearms a few times only, but it was mostly about conduct. A few that stuck in my mind are:

Open carry was acceptable out of town limits where you had to have ready access to defend cattle. If you went to town, you concealed your arms if you were a gentleman. Very few people carried in town. Usually it was people arriving to get a hotel room or just leaving town. If they were armed in town beyond those events, it was usually a derringer or .32 or .36 caliber pocket revolver.

Pistols were mostly used to shoot snakes to protect your cattle or to put down injured cattle or horses. Handguns were fairly rare and less than half the guys he worked with ever owned one.

bsms
May 6, 2012, 02:45 PM
For a lot of pictures of cowboys in the early 1900s, this site is pretty good:

http://www.cartermuseum.org/collections/smith/images/details/LC-S59-034.jpg

http://www.cartermuseum.org/collections/smith/images/details/LC-S6-442.jpg

http://www.cartermuseum.org/collections/smith/collection.php?asn=LC-S59-034&mcat=3&scat=41

By 1900+, very few carried a handgun. The few that did wore them on the hip.

Iggy
May 6, 2012, 03:14 PM
Great site. Thanks for sharing.

SabbathWolf
May 6, 2012, 04:21 PM
I asked that same question over on the SASS forum a couple of years ago, and you would have thought I was child molester applying for a job at a daycare!:D

I've found their rules to be hit and miss with historical accuracy, they don't allow rubber soled boots, but you can shoot a 1911 or a lever shotgun. I also commented that in the stack of old Tin Types of my relatives, no one had 2 revolvers, most didn't have a gun rig, and all had a single shot shotgun!

LD


Isn't the 1911 stuff based on the Wild Bunch movie?
I remember seeing a leather rig before for the 1911 called the Wild Bunch.
But, I have no idea about the history of it or if it's even accurate at all.

joecil
May 6, 2012, 04:27 PM
Sabbath Wolf if I'm correct they have a class in SASS called the Wild Bunch that shoots 1911 and pump shot guns and perhaps same era rifle though I'm not up on all the rules of SASS. No such thing in NCOWS which I do shot however their is even a Zoot Suit Group that has started up from what I've read based on that period of time. It seems if you can pick a period in history there is some group out there supporting it which to me is great fun as long as one can afford the various groups.

SleazyRider
May 6, 2012, 05:08 PM
I asked that same question over on the SASS forum a couple of years ago, and you would have thought I was child molester applying for a job at a daycare!:D

I've found their rules to be hit and miss with historical accuracy, they don't allow rubber soled boots, but you can shoot a 1911 or a lever shotgun. I also commented that in the stack of old Tin Types of my relatives, no one had 2 revolvers, most didn't have a gun rig, and all had a single shot shotgun!

LD
I hear ya, Lawdog! I'd love to partake in some Cowboy Action Shooting, but totin' 2 six-guns is a bit over the top for me. I simply can't afford it, not to mention that my local chapter, part of a sportsman's club, has a waiting list to join. (Also, you need is 500 bucks and a recommendation from two current members.) Can't say as I blame them---it keeps the riffraff like yours truly out!

SabbathWolf
May 6, 2012, 05:14 PM
Sabbath Wolf if I'm correct they have a class in SASS called the Wild Bunch that shoots 1911 and pump shot guns and perhaps same era rifle though I'm not up on all the rules of SASS. No such thing in NCOWS which I do shot however their is even a Zoot Suit Group that has started up from what I've read based on that period of time. It seems if you can pick a period in history there is some group out there supporting it which to me is great fun as long as one can afford the various groups.

OK.
That's kinda how it looked to me too.
Different groups for just about whatever.
I've never been personally involved it, so I am just guessing.
Thanks for the clarification.

Trad Archer
May 6, 2012, 06:49 PM
I stop shooting SASS a long time ago. It's just gotten to be a joke. They have so many different categories anymore, I can't keep up. One if you pick your nose with your right hand and one if you use your left to pick your butt. C'mon, lets just have two categories; one for black powder and one for the non authentic. All I know is I'm not allowed to use my PERIOD CORRECT 1877 Lightning because it can be fired in double action, but there is a category for the NON-PERIOD CORRECT 1911????????????????????????

My wife was once told she couldn't use her side by side because it was a 28 gauge. The reason told to us was because being a light gauge would give her an unfair advantage. Have you seen the squibby 38s these clowns shoot????????????????

qwert65
May 6, 2012, 08:07 PM
I remember reading as a kid some of the little house books, the father had a rifle(muzzleloader), a shotgun and a pistol which she only rembrred him wearing one time.

rcmodel
May 6, 2012, 08:10 PM
I have read more then one anecdotal account of cowboys having gun pockets sewed inside their leather chaps.
Apparently not uncommon to keep the gun protected and out of the way on a horse.

I think Elmer Keith mentioned it more then once in his writings.

rc

timothy75
May 6, 2012, 09:40 PM
I call BS on the notion that revolvers were never carried in saddle bags. I've seen photos of pomel holsters designed for pepperboxes as well as single shot pistols before the revolver was around. Most know the walker and dragoon were carried on pomel hosters by the cavalry also. There are also period saddle bags with holsters sewn into the side which pretty much proves people did indeed carry revolvers on the horse. And why wouldnt they considering the popularity of the rifle scabbard? If a cowboy was bucked off a spooked horse on a ranch, considering the horse and saddle cost more than a revolver, the horse would be retrieved and so would the gun.

NMGonzo
May 6, 2012, 09:47 PM
I'd go along with that for the most part. Open carrying here in Arizona on the hip - on the motorcycle sucks . I can't even imagine riding a horse with a "hollywood" rig danglin' and tanglin' up my life on a daily basis - it's a cross draw for me.

Crossdraw for me for mostly everything.

Or 5 o clock and butt pointing forward

Driftwood Johnson
May 7, 2012, 09:07 AM
Howdy again

At risk of hijacking this thread, I would like to clear up a few misconceptions about Cowboy Action Shooting.

Here is one of my favorite statements in the Single Action Shooting Society shooter's handbook:

'Cowboy Action Shooting™ is a combination of historical reenactment and Saturday morning at the matinee.'

That's what I was trying to say earlier. For those who want to be reenacting life in the Old West, there are other places they should try. SASS is not and has never claimed to be faithful historical reenactment. It is a fantasy sport based in a large part on Baby Boomers' recollections of what they saw in the movies and on TV when they were kids. Cowboys who were paragons of virtue, triumphed over bad men and got the girl all in the space of an hour or an hour and a half. Nothing whatsoever to do with actual historical fact. If you're looking for historical reenactment, try NCOWS.

There is absolutely no restriction against rubber soles in CAS. One category, Classic Cowboy/Cowgirl, restricts boots to 'traditional design with non-grip enhancing (i.e. “NO Lug”) soles'. For all the other categories SASS recognizes that the terrain may not always be ideal and will never sacrifice safety for costume's sake.

Yes, there are a lot of categories. All you have to do is choose one. It ain't that big a deal.

As I said earlier, we shoot two pistols simply because it is more fun than shooting one. When I first started I shot at a club that only used one pistol. Trust me, it is much more fun to shoot two, I would never want to go back to one. Have you ever seen anybody shooting Gunfighter category with both pistols out at once, blazing away alternatively with both pistols? It just does not get any better than that. Particularly when they are shooting Black Powder.

Cowboy shooters are the friendliest shooters on the planet. If you don't have the money to come up with all the guns, all you have to do is ask, and someone will provide you with whatever you need for the match, including ammo. What I see far more often is new shooters who would rather not borrow someone else's guns, but would rather the rules be rewritten to accommodate them. We don't much cotton to newbies wanting the rules customized for them. Would you like that if you were a member of a club and a new guy wanted to change everything as soon as he joined?

I do not recommend starting out with C&B pistols because they are cheap. Have you priced Black Powder recently? It is cheaper to shoot 38 Specials in cartridge guns that shoot Black Powder, the cost savings of the pistols will quickly be negated. Also, a lot of newbies who want to start with C&B have no experience with them. A match is no place to learn the intricacies of shooting C&B. It's a different story if you are already familiar with C&B and how to keep them running without a hitch. I bring a pair of 1860s sometimes, but frankly, I much prefer shooting cartridges.

Wild Bunch is a completely separate competition. Wildbunch competitors may shoot the same course of fire as the Cowboy shooters, but they are always scored separately. The idea is to shoot a match with guns from the movie of the same name. The time period is roughly from 1900 to 1916, but that is not cast in stone. Firearms used in Wild Bunch are the 1911, any Main Match lever gun, and the 1897 shotgun. I have shot Wild Bunch informally with pencil barreled Smiths, but that is not allowed in the rules. The reason Wild Bunch matches came about is because the governing body of SASS has always called itself The Wild Bunch. Kind of hypocritical to have that name and deny a match based on the movie of the same name.

Yes, some guys shoot very light loads. Not everybody, and you are certainly not required to shoot light loads. As a matter of fact, just last year a power factor was introduced to keep loads from being ridiculously light. At the other end of the spectrum, I challenge anybody to shoot my 45 Colt and 44-40 loads, stuffed with FFg, and call them light.

Yes, it is the Single Action Shooting Society. Not the Early Double Action Shooting Society. That's why early DAs are not allowed. Nothing to do with historical accuracy or anything. It's in the name. In truth, I shoot at a couple of clubs that are only too happy to allow me to shoot my S&W DA 44, chambered for 44 Russian and made in 1881. I only shoot it with Black Powder. You would be amazed at how much latitude there sometimes is at the local club level, once folks get to know you.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v495/Driftwood_Johnson/smith%20and%20wesson/NewFrontSight02.jpg

Bottom line is, what ever the sport is, it is always more fun to dress up and compete with other like minded shooters in action shooting than punching holes in paper by yourself. It is also more fun to get off your duff and participate rather than sniping from the sidelines.

Yes, I tried a Zoot Shoot once. Had a ball. Shot pencil barreled 38s and borrowed a Tommy Gun. What's more fun than that?

End of rant, back to Carrying in the Old West.

CraigC
May 7, 2012, 09:49 AM
The reason told to us was because being a light gauge would give her an unfair advantage.
Apparently they've never shot a properly proportioned, lightweight 28ga double!

Driftwood Johnson
May 7, 2012, 10:34 AM
The reason told to us was because being a light gauge would give her an unfair advantage.

From the Shooter's Handbook:

SHOTGUN GAUGES

• Side-by-side, single shot, and lever action shotguns must be centerfire of at least 20 gauge and no larger the 10 gauge.
• Slide action shotguns must be centerfire of at least 16 gauge and no larger than 12 gauge.
• Side-by-side, single shot, and lever action centerfire shotguns in .410 are allowed within the Buckaroo Category only.

Like I said before, if you want to play the game, you have to play within the rules just like everybody else. At a local match they may cut you some slack.

joecil
May 7, 2012, 10:41 AM
As I tried to say DJ there is something for everyone out there if one wants too look. Even quick draw groups which I was a member of over 40 years ago for a couple of years. To old and slow now for that game but it was fun to say the least.

CraigC
May 7, 2012, 10:45 AM
All I'm saying is that the 28ga in a light shotgun, like my 5lb Merkel, is no slouch in the recoil department. Unlike the typical .38 mousefart loads that dribble out of `73's.

SlamFire1
May 7, 2012, 11:14 AM
I looked in a 1901 and 1903 Sear catalog and looked at the cost of Colt SAA's and other revolvers.

I also looked at average wages.

Good guns were very expensive in the day and people today just do not appreciate how poor people were back then.

Even into the 30's. I had an uncle who was a farm kid during the depression. He said they had "no money", bartered for everything, wore shoes only in the winter.

I am of the opinion that the average person did not carry a gun at all. If they had a firearm it was a cheap shotgun, cheap single shot rimfire rifle, or some cheap civil war surplus rifle.

DammitBoy
May 7, 2012, 11:40 AM
Please put cowboy action shooting comments in other threads. I'd hate to see this one get locked up and closed down for off-topic rants.

CraigC
May 7, 2012, 11:51 AM
Good guns were very expensive in the day and people today just do not appreciate how poor people were back then.
Which is one reason why percussion guns and cartridge conversions of same lasted well into the 1880's and beyond. Colt could convert a percussion gun to fire cartridges for a fraction of the cost of a new SAA.

Iggy
May 7, 2012, 12:22 PM
I had 3 uncles (brothers) among other relatives that homesteaded out here in Wyoming in the 1880's and 90's.

These guys would make a 35 mile trip to Cheyenne every three months for supplies. It was a 3 day round trip with a team and a wagon.

At the conclusion of their shopping spree, they would each buy a 5 cent cigar. They would each smoke half of it the first month, chew the second half the 2nd month and smoke the dried up wad in their pipes the third month.

These ol boys ran a small cattle spread and they owned one shot gun between them.

My Dad had a .22 single shot bolt action rifle. They ate a lot of rabbits killed with that gun.
When his horse fell and rolled with him, the stock on the rifle was busted. He repaired it by wrapping wet rawhide around the broken pistol grip. I've still got the rifle. It is so worn that when you close the bolt, the firing pin drops.

I can tell lots of stories about the old homesteaders and how they survived, like the guy that pushed a wheel barrow nine miles each way to Chugwater for supplies, but few would believe them today.

Those folks raised the generation that fought WWII. Those young men knew the cost of freedom and they paid that price with their lives. Ain't many of them left today, or the spirit they represented.

Jim K
May 7, 2012, 01:59 PM
"SASS is not historical re-enactment. It is a fantasy shooting sport based on what a lot of us remember from TV and the movie theater when we were kids"

Heresy! To the stake! Actually, I am glad someone said it and it is true of all those shooting games and re-enactments. I have seen Civil War re-enactors discuss the insignia on their uniform buttons, while ignoring the fact that the uniform was stretched over a belly no CW soldier could possibly have had. The TV show picturing "Confederate troops" marching toward Gettysburg was laughable. I mean no disrespect to folks having fun and teaching us some history, but those overweight, overage guys could not have marched a mile without collapsing. And those nice uniforms and sturdy boots! The CS Army never looked so good. Then, when someone had them take off their shoes to lend "authenticity" to the barefoot Confederate story, their feet were nice and white and clean, with no calluses.

You can't really go back in time, even in playacting; every generation is a prisoner of its own time, whether we like it or not. But I admit, it is fun trying to recapture the past.

Jim

Jim K
May 7, 2012, 02:14 PM
On prices, the Colt SAA fluctuated some, but cost around $15-16. The average cowboy got about $.50 a day, so my statement that a Colt SAA cost half a month's pay was not a wild guess but simple fact.

He got his "found" (food and shelter) and some ranches would even sell ranch hands clothes, and other goods, like tobacco, "on tick" (credit) to be paid for out of wages. In fact, the ranch stocked about anything that would be needed. (Remember, they couldn't just run down to the Safeway; ranches were often 50-100 miles from the nearest town.)

An average laborer got around $1 a day; miners and some others had company stores that sold at fair enough prices where also food and goods could be bought on credit against wages. If a man or his wife overspent, then Johnny Cash's lament "I owe my soul to the company store" became true.

A skilled worker got $2 a day, or sometimes more. My grandfather, a skilled stonemason and brick layer, got $2-2.50 a day in 1900, and that was considered quite good middle class wages.

Jim

Iggy
May 7, 2012, 03:11 PM
Even as late as the 1950's and 60's I got $5.00 a day working on the family ranch. Of course gasoline was a $.25 back then, I thought I was doin' pretty good.

I made my spending money shooting Jack Rabbits in the winter time. A box of .22LR's was $.50 and there was a mink farmer that paid $.50 a rabbit. I had a single shot Stevens Favorite rifle. One of those uncles paid $3.50 new for that rifle in 1915.

It was aim for the eyeball and one shot one rabbit. I was in tall clover in High School. Nobody thought a thing about me having that rifle in my car at school.

Cards81fan
May 7, 2012, 04:24 PM
These ol boys ran a small cattle spread and they owned one shot gun between them.

It's been said in this thread by worth repeating. My great-grandfather had but one firearm, a hardware store single-shot shotgun. He moved from farming near Oppelo Arkansas to Washington County, Oklahoma in the 1920. The gun moved with him and the wife and the kids. It was all he needed as far as a weapon goes, but still a pretty important piece of equipment as far as hunting and prowlers were concerned. A pistol was too much a fighting gun; not versatile enough.

We still have it in the family today.

JRH6856
May 7, 2012, 05:13 PM
Johnny Cash's lament "I owe my soul to the company store" became true.


Actually Tennessee Ernie Ford made it famous in 1955. Johnny Cash didn't record it until 1987.

(and now, back to the thread, please.)

Kernel
May 7, 2012, 06:02 PM
http://www.cartermuseum.org/collections/smith/images/details/LC-S61-002.jpg
, 1908-1912
[U]Erwin E. Smith Collection of the Library of Congress
----------------------------------------------------------


Is that ol' boy carrying a pair of binoculars? :confused:

Iggy
May 7, 2012, 06:05 PM
Either that or a digital camera:evil:
He's got one of them shoot today, kill tomorrow Sharp's rifles, he needs them looka heap glasses.

Cosmoline
May 7, 2012, 06:47 PM
Most "Cowboys" left their handgun in their bedroll in the chuck wagon unless they knew there was trouble afoot.

More than that, very few drovers ever owned a centerfire handgun until the 20th century. They were extremely expensive, and drovers were not wealthy then or now. The men who *owned* the cattle may have had a Colt or other sidearm, but the men who did the work were often unarmed or had to make do with some old muzzleloader.

Those who could own sidearms tended to have them covered with plenty of leather. There may have been some professional shooters on either side of the law who carried in unorthodox fashion for the fast draw, but these were exceptions.

Long guns ruled the real west. And the last frontier as well. We're living, right now, in the great age of the short gun.

Vern Humphrey
May 7, 2012, 07:16 PM
My grandfather was a member of the Cherokee Strip Cow Punchers Association. The CSCPA were real cowboys -- they allowed Tom Mix to join, but only as an Honorary Member. Most of the cow punchers were quite young (Grandpa was only about 15 and could not afford a gun at that age.) But great-grandpa was armed everywhere he went.

336A
May 7, 2012, 07:39 PM
I wish that I had the time to come out there to view some of the historic landmarks that you have out there Iggy. That and to be able to sit around and shoot the bull with you about SE Wyoming would be priceless.

Iggy
May 7, 2012, 08:40 PM
336A
The latch string is always out. I'll even buy you a beer.
We could do some comparin' .41 magnums while we are at it. *G*
I've lived in an interesting time.
Grew up around men who had ridden on both sides of the law back at the turn of the last century, drove the Cheyenne to Deadwood stage coach, and watched men land on the moon.

Here's a little readin' material if you're interested.

http://home.bresnan.net/~buflerchip/

stevekozak
May 7, 2012, 09:36 PM
You need to read more and educate yourself then.
No, sir, I don't believe so.

stevekozak
May 7, 2012, 09:38 PM
After the dangers associated with the frontier years had passed many of the larger ranches and some smaller ones prohibited the carrying of revolvers during round up. This is not only attested to in contemporary writing but also photographs taken at the time as well. Hollywood of course would never stand for this, but the fact was that a six-shooter wasn't (and isn’t) necessary to round up cattle and brand the critters.

The guns in question didn’t necessarily end up in some rancher’s safe, but were simply left behind in the bunkhouse.

That said, some ranches outright prohibited handguns as a condition of employment, and cowboys that didn’t own one were common. Rifles and carbines were another matter.
All of this sounds correct. This has been an interesting thread, minus all the talk about Cowboy Action Shooting. I do good to stay on my pony, much less fire handguns near his rather sensitive ears. :)

Iggy
May 7, 2012, 10:57 PM
Here's an old Thutty-thutty rifle that rode in my wife's Great Granddad's saddle scabbard from Missouri to Northern Wyoming and Montana and back.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/Winchester94.jpg?t=1336444987
He worked on ranches out here for a year or so and then returned to his folk's farm in Missouri.
The rifle was given to me by his Son to bring back out to Wyoming where he said it belonged.
The bead front sight is nearly worn completely off from riding in the saddle scabbard.

shiftyer1
May 7, 2012, 11:44 PM
Iggy, I truly envy you. I've been thru that country more than a couple times and always said i'd live in co. wy. or montana. I really love soaking up the history. I kinda favored the jackson hole area.

Thats a gorgeous rifle!! And well cared for

bsms
May 8, 2012, 01:32 AM
...I do good to stay on my pony, much less fire handguns near his rather sensitive ears. :)
If I fired a gun on my mare's back, I'd better be pointed north. The southern border is only 60 miles away, and I don't carry a passport when I ride...

awgrizzly
May 8, 2012, 02:43 AM
If I fired a gun on my mare's back, I'd better be pointed north. The southern border is only 60 miles away, and I don't carry a passport when I ride...

Dang it... can't stop laughing. :D

BBQLS1
May 8, 2012, 04:09 AM
I would think that firearms were probably more of the norm in the earlier years from about the end of the Civil War to somewhere in the 1870s..... once the west started becoming more populated and fenced, there would be less need.

Anyways, someone posted a link and I clicked through some other stories and thought this was a pretty good one. http://home.bresnan.net/~buflerchip/gunsight.htm

Lawdawg45
May 8, 2012, 09:10 AM
I too have enjoyed the discussion/information of this thread, and I apologize for inadvertently adding the SASS debate to the mix. I don't really see a constant theme in the carry issue, mainly because there was such differing rules/regulations/needs, much like today. One can travel from my home state (Indiana) where open carry is legal and socially accepted, to Illinois where it is a statewide felony to even carry. We see some that conceal their weapon, both legal and otherwise, then we have LEO's who still carry a brace of handguns (Duty + BUG). If someone 200 years from now would dig up old pictures of us, they'd see the same mix of options.

Ya'll stay safe.............LD:cool:

Iggy
May 8, 2012, 09:21 AM
BBQLS1,

I got to know ol Bill quite well when I attended college in Laramie. He had a motel and restaurant/tourist trap store at the edge of town. He had highway signs touting the "Last Train Robber" angle on them on either side of Laramie.

He sat at the cash register wearing a black 10 gallon hat and an Elmer Keith glare all day every day. He kept a Colt's Thunderer on the shelf below the cash register.
He gave me the gun when he closed the place and moved back east to live with his family.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/Thunderer.jpg?t=1241970745


bsms

I'm with you Podner, My Momma raised some dummies, but they was my sister.

Jim Watson
May 8, 2012, 09:35 AM
Later in time, but in the spirit of armed storekeepers, I once had a little Colt 1903 .32 with a patent hip pocket holster. The holster was made with spring wire "wings" to lock into the corners of the hip pocket so you would not draw the leather with the steel.
The rig had belonged to the owner of an old fashioned hardware store. He wore a smock that was concealment for the gun and spent most of the day on his feet, so the hip pocket holster was not in the way and could not be out of reach like the usual gun under the cash box. He foiled at least one robber with it.

Readyrod
May 8, 2012, 12:36 PM
I've worked on farms and I can't imagine carrying while fencing, digging, doing chores, etc. I imagine back then that the gun spent a lot of time in the saddlebags or the bunkhouse just like it spends a lot of time in the pickup now. On the farm I worked on it spent time in the office but it was a dairy farm.
I spent a lot of time treeplanting too, sometimes real far from civilization and the gun, if there was one, was in the bosses trailer. We once had to borrow a gun from the local logging camp to deal with a problem bear. Probably the same kind of thing back then.

BSA1
May 8, 2012, 02:48 PM
Rules for the XIT Ranch

No employee of the Company, or of any contractor doing work for the Company, is permitted to carry on or about his person or in his saddle bags, any pistol, dirk, dagger, sling shot, knuckles, bowie knife or any other similar instruments for offense or defense.

Card playing and gambling of every description, whether engaged in by employees, or by persons not in the service of the Company is strictly forbidden.

Employees are strictly forbidden the use of vinous, malt, spirituous, or intoxicating liquors, during their time of service with the Company.

Loafers, “sweaters”, deadbeats, tramps, gamblers, or disreputable persons, must not be entertained at any camp, nor will employees be permitted to give, loan or sell such persons any grain, or provisions of any kind, nor shall such persons be permitted to remain on the Company’s land under any pretext whatever.

Employees are not allowed to run mustang, antelope or any kind of game on the Company’s horses.

No employee shall be permitted to own any cattle or stock horses on the ranch.

It is the aim of the owners of this ranch to conduct it on the principle of right and justice to everyone; and for it to be excelled by no other in the good behavior, sterling honesty and integrity, and general high character of its employees, and to this end it is necessary that the forgoing rules be adhered to, and the violation of any of them will be the just charge for discharge.

HiWayMan
May 8, 2012, 03:29 PM
Rules for the XIT Ranch

Reckon I'd have to find work elsewhere. The first part reads very similar to most states weapons laws.

CraigC
May 8, 2012, 03:34 PM
I've worked on farms and I can't imagine carrying while fencing, digging, doing chores, etc.
I can't imagine NOT carrying while doing farm chores. You guys lucky enough to live in "snake-free" zones or what??? Like Clint Smith says, you don't do it because it's comfortable, but because it's comfort-ing. It baffles me that most here probably carry concealed while going on about their business in town or at work. Yet it's a bigger hassle to carry openly in the great outdoors??? Please.

Jim K
May 8, 2012, 03:38 PM
The reason for those rules was pretty simple. No rancher wanted a bunch of drunked up cowboys shooting up the bunkhouse and each other. And experience showed that many fights erupted over card games.

Jim

brnmuenchow
May 8, 2012, 03:40 PM
This guy seems to have a hip holster on.
William H. Bonney:
I don't think I would argue with that guy either on his preference.:evil:

Greg528iT
May 8, 2012, 03:59 PM
Rules for the XIT Ranch

From this I gather that pistols were then carried concealed. :D As we know most of the other rules were NOT followed. ;)

bubba in ca
May 8, 2012, 04:33 PM
My stepfather grew up in the texas panhandle in the 30s. He said cowboys usually couldn`t afford revolvers and if they did they couldn`t afford the ammo. Those that had then kept them in a secure location in an oiled cloth.

splithoof
May 8, 2012, 05:34 PM
When I need to dispose of a large rattlesnake, my shovel is the best tool out there. I keep a .22 in my saddle bag for table meat, and another type of firearm for "social purposes" well hidden.

CraigC
May 8, 2012, 05:51 PM
I don't usually fix fences with a shovel.

Iggy
May 8, 2012, 06:44 PM
Irrelevant, immaterial and inadmissible.:cool:

Well since Ol Fuff caught me, I'll post this one again.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/RattlesnakeDen-1.jpg
:what:
A six gun ain't a gonna git it here.

Old Fuff
May 8, 2012, 07:07 PM
Iggy!!!!

You stop posting those kind of pictures...! You'll scare all of our tourists away. :evil:

Oh, and out where I am far more rattle (as well as other) snakes have gone to they're happy hunting ground because of shovels then pistolas.

Readyrod
May 8, 2012, 08:11 PM
I can't imagine NOT carrying while doing farm chores. You guys lucky enough to live in "snake-free" zones or what???

Nope no snakes.

splithoof
May 8, 2012, 08:28 PM
I consider shooting more than a few snakes per year as a waste of ammunition, unless you are after them for sport. Shovels are easier to hit with, not noisy, and serve many other purposes for weight carried. There is also a much better chance of getting a decent hide to use that doesn't have a bunch of little holes in it.

SabbathWolf
May 8, 2012, 08:42 PM
Nope no snakes.


Wow.
We have 39 different types of snakes here.
:D

saaman
May 9, 2012, 12:07 AM
My grandfather was a cattle trader and my Daddy told about a buying trip they made to a large ranch in Texas in the 1920s. The rancher let them stay in the bunkhouse, and cowboys piled their gunbelts on a table when returning from a day's work. My Daddy remembered one old cowboy had a sawed off shotgun in his holster instead of a pistol.

BBQLS1
May 9, 2012, 12:12 AM
BBQLS1,

I got to know ol Bill quite well when I attended college in Laramie. He had a motel and restaurant/tourist trap store at the edge of town. He had highway signs touting the "Last Train Robber" angle on them on either side of Laramie.

He sat at the cash register wearing a black 10 gallon hat and an Elmer Keith glare all day every day. He kept a Colt's Thunderer on the shelf below the cash register.
He gave me the gun when he closed the place and moved back east to live with his family.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/Thunderer.jpg?t=1241970745




Very cool.



Irrelevant, immaterial and inadmissible.:cool:

Well since Ol Fuff caught me, I'll post this one again.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/RattlesnakeDen-1.jpg
:what:
A six gun ain't a gonna git it here.



I'm with you Podner, My Momma raised some dummies, but they was my sister.


No, that one looks like it'll need a 5 gallon can of gasoline. :what:

sixgunner455
May 9, 2012, 02:22 AM
I believe I'd just as soon stay out of that hole. Sheesh!

Only snake I ever killed on purpose was with a flat-ended shovel.

Kleanbore
May 9, 2012, 10:21 AM
My uncle worked as a cowhand in New Mexico back in the 1920s. When I was a kid, he showed me some snapshots, and I pointed out that the fellows in the pictures could not have been real cowboys because they were not wearing guns. Everyone laughed.

Later, he farmed. He was like Cars81fan's great grandfather in that he "had but one firearm, a hardware store single-shot shotgun".

My maternal grandfather was also a farmer, and he was a hunter. He did have a Smith and Wesson .32 revolver, but he didn't carry it around on the farm.

My experience on a farm is consistent with what Readyrod says: "I've worked on farms and I can't imagine carrying while fencing, digging, doing chores, etc.".

The farm hands I knew in the mid 1950s were like the cowboys that bubba in ca refers to: they "usually couldn`t afford revolvers and if they did they couldn`t afford the ammo. Those that had then kept them in a secure location in an oiled cloth".

The cowboys in my uncle's photos wore clothing that was nowhere near as stylish as those worn by Gene, Hoppy, and Roy (and later, Little Joe). On the other hand, they were a lot more fit than most of the guys you see in cowboy action shooting on television these days!

Iggy
May 9, 2012, 10:48 AM
I never saw a fat "cowboy" until after the Korean War. By then machinery was taking the place of hoss back cowboys and the jobs and the men changed too.

CraigC
May 9, 2012, 10:52 AM
Shovels are easier to hit with, not noisy, and serve many other purposes for weight carried.
I don't use a shovel to fix fences, nor do I carry one with me. Nor do I use one when feeding cows, collecting blackberries, hauling hay, anything done on the tractor, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. Yet I can easily carry a sixgun on my hip while doing such things. And that sixgun can be used for myriad things other than just snakes. Like take care of small game, possums, coons, foxes, skunks, coyotes, or even in-season targets of opportunity, etc., etc., etc.. Hard to get those with a shovel. :rolleyes:

Iggy
May 9, 2012, 11:58 AM
It's all a matter of perspective.:)
It would take all day to git across this place with a tractor. It's 16 miles from one end to the other, and that's as a crow flies, not as he walks and pushes a flat tire.:(

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/SnipCarlin.jpg
45,000 acres and 60 miles of fence to fix inside that yellow line. You'd kill a horse trying to check it in a week.:cool:
One of the pastures is 16 sections, another is 20.

You leave in the morning in a pickup and you take everything you might need to fix whatever you come across including your lunch. It's a 50 mile round trip to check water holes and put out mineral. There was a S&W model 28 hangin' off the rifle rack and an M-1 in the rack for long shootin' for over 20 years. Sold the 28 last winter.


Back in the old days with a team and a wagon, the fencin' crew figured on bein' out for a week at a time. Use to take crew of 15 men to run the place, now there's just one.

USGS surveyed the place with a team and a wagon. They did their measuring with a counter on the wagon wheel and a chain and rod. They used big rocks as corner markers. Turns out most of the markers are fossil dinosaur bones.

http://www.rockymountaintimberlands.com/images/3257.lg.jpg
Here is my rifle range, the back stop is 12 miles away.;)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/13/Como_Bluff.jpg
Here's a better look at my back stop.;)

qwert65
May 9, 2012, 01:54 PM
Nice

.45Guy
May 9, 2012, 03:14 PM
Here is a piece with late western provenance. H&R Automatic Ejecting second model?

Rear of photos state, "Tolerburg, Colo. Drain where we went to hide." "Tolerburg, Colo. Store across from hotel." The owner of the hotel, was my great grandfather, who owned the piece. My grand father was born there May 25, 1911. They left to purchase 100 acres on the shores of Lake Erie in 1920, entering the, "import business." And the research continues...

Iggy
May 9, 2012, 04:46 PM
Gun looks to be in good shape.. Neat that you are tracing the family history and thus the history of the gun.

Good luck in your search.

.45Guy
May 9, 2012, 05:57 PM
I'm getting a little closer, reading the labor reports, and congressional reports of the 1914 strike. I'm going to the folks place tomorrow to dig through the papers my grand father had in his lock box at the bank. FWIW, it looks like hotel was a nice way of saying saloon.

BBQLS1
May 10, 2012, 01:00 AM
Iggy, I'm starting not to like you. ;)

Iggy
May 10, 2012, 08:57 AM
BBQLS1

Get in line.....:D:evil:

Gary A
May 10, 2012, 11:19 PM
Just a quick insert to say how much I have enjoyed reading this thread.

towboat_er
May 10, 2012, 11:52 PM
Me too!!!

RhinoDefense
May 11, 2012, 02:15 AM
I consider shooting more than a few snakes per year as a waste of ammunition, unless you are after them for sport. Shovels are easier to hit with, not noisy, and serve many other purposes for weight carried. There is also a much better chance of getting a decent hide to use that doesn't have a bunch of little holes in it.
Shooting them improves your marksmanship.

RhinoDefense
May 11, 2012, 02:38 AM
45,000 acres and 60 miles of fence to fix inside that yellow line. 45,000 acres and 60 miles of fence to fix inside that yellow line.
45,000 acres at my local price of $800 per acre equates to $36 million in value. Land in WY appears to be worth more per acre than here.

There are less than 100 US citizens (out of 300+ million) that are worth over $30 million.

If his land is a large as what he claims and at the quantity he claims, he's within the top 50 wealthiest Americans.

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 07:55 AM
You can't get $100 an acre for the kind of land that is on that ranch.:(

In fact the corporation bought 160 acres that was an old homestead within the ranch boundaries for $80 an acre last year.
I'm a shareholder in the corporation.
So, no I ain't one of the richest fellers around, not by a long shot.:cool:

Gary A
May 11, 2012, 09:36 AM
There are less than 100 US citizens (out of 300+ million) that are worth over $30 million

What is the source of that? I'm thinking there are well over 100 athletes alone that are worth over $30 million, let alone entertainers, investors, corporate moguls, etc. $30 million ain't what it used to be.

I'm sorry I just posted this comment and detracted from a stellar thread.

Readyrod
May 11, 2012, 09:43 AM
Aw Iggy that's such a nice looking place. Lucky lucky.

CraigC
May 11, 2012, 09:46 AM
I agree, $30m is not as much as it used to be, relatively speaking. There are several people tied at #96 with a net worth of 3.4billion. There are still billionaires at the bottom of the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.

http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/list/

If it were around here, not that it would even be in the realm of possibility, 45,000acres would be worth $45-113million!!! Depending on timber content and that's two hours from Nashville or Memphis.

SlamFire1
May 11, 2012, 10:10 AM
I want to thank the poster of this link to the Erwin E Smith Collection of pictures:

http://www.cartermuseum.org/collections/smith/collection.php?mcat=1


Very interesting pictures from 1906 period of Cowboys.

I have not gone through all of them, I have seen a few handguns and rifles, but mostly, it looks as though the pictured cowboys are not packing firearms.

I expected sheath knives, don't see those sticking out. Maybe they carried folding knives.

I can see herding cattle without a firearm, I cannot see functioning without a knife.

Vern Humphrey
May 11, 2012, 10:24 AM
Look at Image 2 of 112 in the above site.

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 11:29 AM
Can't live without a good pocket knife, but anything hanging on a belt is a hazard for a working cowhand in 1880's or today.

I don't even wear any rings. I was stretching a barbed wire fence and the wire snapped.
A barb caught my wedding ring and nearly tore my finger off. My social finger on my other hand is scarred and misshapen as a result of the same incident, this is while wearing heavy work gloves.

Bein' a cowhand ain't all the glory it's cracked up to be.:cool:

Old Fuff
May 11, 2012, 11:55 AM
Relative to picture #2

During 1910 and into the 1930's a revolution was going on in Mexico, and the U.S./Mexican border country (not to mention inside Mexico) could be a very dangerous place to go unarmed. The two pictured gentlemen are not what would be considered ordinary cowboys in that time period.

That said, the chaps-pocket is an interesting mode of carry.

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 12:21 PM
When I was a kid, we had a hired hand that served on the jury of the Tom Horn murder trial. He was put there by the Stockman's assoc in Wyoming in an effort to tip the jury in Tom's favor. It didn't work.

He was a friend of Tom, but that didn't matter in the political tempest of SE Wyoming back then.

He had a pair of chaps with a holster sewed in to carry a small gun like a break top of some kind inside next to his leg. It most likely would have been pretty uncomfortable to wear and it was obvious that it had been a long time since any gun had ever been in the pocket.

Jim Watson
May 11, 2012, 12:28 PM
I don't even wear any rings. I was stretching a barbed wire fence and the wire snapped.
A barb caught my wedding ring and nearly tore my finger off. My social finger on my other hand is scarred and misshapen as a result of the same incident, this is while wearing heavy work gloves.

I ain't a cowboy, but I don't wear rings, either.
My agency had a little monthly safety leaflet and every once in a while they would show pictures of fingers yanked off, or the flesh stripped off the bone by rings snagged in machinery. Then there was the electrician who was electrocuted when his ring wore through the rubber glove he wore to work on hot equipment.

Vern Humphrey
May 11, 2012, 12:31 PM
During 1910 and into the 1930's a revolution was going on in Mexico, and the U.S./Mexican border country (not to mention inside Mexico) could be a very dangerous place to go unarmed. The two pictured gentlemen are not what would be considered ordinary cowboys in that time period.
And during the same period, there were more and more "gun control" laws being passed.

J Frank Dobie (The Mustangs, The Longhorns, Coronado's Children and so on) wrote that his father was of "the six-gun generation" and that men in Texas carried habitually. That would be up into the 1890s.

The era of the trail drives coincided with the most violent plains wars and the great trails led through the lands of some of the fiercest tribes (Comanche, Kiowa, and so on.) A man riding flank or drag, maybe half a mile from the next cowboy, would be a fool to go unarmed.

Old Fuff
May 11, 2012, 01:12 PM
I agree with your observations - at least so far as Texas is concerned.

Cowboys (the real kind that worked cattle) practice of carrying firearms was proportional to the threat level at the time and place. When "civilization" eventually came in to place, the practice was reduced and sometimes almost eliminated. But this did not happen in all places, or at the same time.

For example, today along the U.S./Mexican border those tending fences are more likely to be riding an ATV then a horse, but given the potential threats they still go armed.

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 01:36 PM
Heck, even today when I go wanderin' about the ranch on an ATV I hang a .357 or a .41 mag on my hip, you never know when you might run across a wild and suicidal pasture poodle or an injured heifer or something.

BTW, the southern part of the ranch at one time was a part of the far northern extremity of the Texas panhandle back in early territorial days. I always kinda figger Texas is a southern suburb of Wyoming.:evil::D

JRH6856
May 11, 2012, 02:10 PM
Nah, Wyoming is just a part of Texas we didn't want. We kept the good parts. ;)

jogar80
May 11, 2012, 02:21 PM
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/RattlesnakeDen-1.jpg
:what:
A six gun ain't a gonna git it here.

Tannerite would be perfect here. :D

CraigC
May 11, 2012, 02:32 PM
Tannerite would be perfect here.
Think I'd prefer a swift ATV headed in the other direction!

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 02:59 PM
Well, I'll tell you what, the ol hoss I was on when we rode off the bank and into that mess didn't stay long. He bucked like crazy, but I told him there warn't no way I was comin' unglued that day!!:what:
After he quit buckin' and lined out, I don't know whether an ATV coulda kept up with him or not.:cool:

jogar80
May 11, 2012, 03:09 PM
Well, I'll tell you what, the ol hoss I was on when we rode off the bank and into that mess didn't stay long. He bucked like crazy, but I told him there warn't no way I was comin' unglued that day!!:what:
After he quit buckin' and lined out, I don't know whether an ATV coulda kept up with him or not.:cool:

LOL... that is freakin hilarious!! I've got 4 QH's... each of em is a reeeeeeeeeal character.

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 03:12 PM
This ol pony was an Albino QH named Alpo. The was the only time he ever bucked on me in his life and I can't say as I blamed him a bit.

788Ham
May 11, 2012, 03:58 PM
Iggy,

Thanks for posting all that you have, a real pleasure for sure. You've got some nice guns, pictures and memories, I truly appreciate your taking the time to share with us, a blessing to your generation!

danweasel
May 11, 2012, 04:33 PM
Best thread I have read in a loooong time. I just moved to Sheridan, WY last year so I am loving the stories, Iggy!

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 05:17 PM
danweasel,

Howdy neighbor. You picked the second best place in the state next to Davy Jackson's Hole.

It's sure better than SE Wyoming by a big ol bunch, but if you was planted in a place and growed up there, that's where you're liable to stick.

SlamFire1
May 11, 2012, 07:22 PM
Can't find the gross picture but a bud of mine is missing a finger.

He was wearing a ring under a heavy glove. He jumped out of a MRAP http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2007/mrap/ wearing all his combat gear, and left his glove, ring, and finger on the door sill!

I can imagine a rope loop, or saddle edge catching on a ringed finger.

Does that explain such nick names as "Three finger Jack"?

Found it:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Misc/MRAPringunderglove.jpg

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 07:33 PM
Lots of cowboys that "dallyed up" instead of tyin' "tight and fast" lost fingers. On the other hand lots of hands got banged up purty bad when their horse got tipped over cause the cowboy couldn't get loose from an oncomin' train wreck.

That's kinda like Chevy and Ford and S&W and Ruger arguments. Ain't nobody gonna give an inch either way.

Vern Humphrey
May 11, 2012, 07:40 PM
Lots of cowboys that "dallyed up" instead of tyin' "tight and fast" lost fingers.
I always tied Texas-style. Of course, one time I roped a big cow and spent about six weeks in terror while the loop floated out and settled around her neck. But the girths held, and I had a good horse under me.:D

bsms
May 11, 2012, 08:05 PM
Well, I'll tell you what, the ol hoss I was on when we rode off the bank and into that mess didn't stay long. He bucked like crazy, but I told him there warn't no way I was comin' unglued that day!!:what:
After he quit buckin' and lined out, I don't know whether an ATV coulda kept up with him or not.:cool:
So...did you go back to get the picture, or did you take it with one hand while rolling a smoke with the other, calmly astride your bucking horse? I'll be disappointed if you say Door #1...

If my mare ever saw that, she'd probably melt into a pool of fear. I'd have to swim for the shore...

Iggy
May 11, 2012, 08:43 PM
Vern,

Been there, done that....There was always that "pucker factor" thing until the dust cleared and you was still vertical.:uhoh:
Then there's that "OK, now that I got you, how'm I gonna git loose?"

Here's a tale you can probably relate to.

http://home.bresnan.net/~buflerchip/woppers.htm

bsms,
Afraid I'm gonna burst your bubble.. Went back in a pickup with a camera, a bucket of used motor oil, and a shotgun.:cool:

BBQLS1
May 11, 2012, 10:35 PM
Can't live without a good pocket knife, but anything hanging on a belt is a hazard for a working cowhand in 1880's or today.

I don't even wear any rings. I was stretching a barbed wire fence and the wire snapped.
A barb caught my wedding ring and nearly tore my finger off. My social finger on my other hand is scarred and misshapen as a result of the same incident, this is while wearing heavy work gloves.

Bein' a cowhand ain't all the glory it's cracked up to be.:cool:


I love my wife, I don't wear a ring. I'm not a cowboy, but I work on stuff and they just get in the way. I did have it catch on something once and it made me think.

towboat_er
May 11, 2012, 11:07 PM
Cool old picture4s.

jogar80
May 12, 2012, 12:56 AM
On the other hand lots of hands got banged up purty bad when their horse got tipped over cause the cowboy couldn't get loose from an oncomin' train wreck.

I hear that! I had to bail out once when my mustang spooked and was going full speed straight into a barb wire fence. Could not stop him so it was either my face in the dirt at 40mph or under the horse tangled in wire!

jogar80
May 12, 2012, 12:57 AM
Last mustang I ever bought, for sure, lol.

CraigC
May 12, 2012, 07:58 AM
I only wear mine when I go to town. Never when I'm working, working around the house, shooting, handloading, doing farm chores and absolutely nothing when I'm running machinery or the lathe. Anybody see those pictures that got posted a while ago showing the guy that got caught in one of those really big lathes? Killed him deader than fried chicken, instantly. Really nasty but a good lesson for folks.

sixgunner455
May 12, 2012, 12:14 PM
I love my wife, I don't wear a ring. I'm not a cowboy, but I work on stuff and they just get in the way. I did have it catch on something once and it made me think.

I work day-to-day in an office. I wear a ring there. *shrug* It's jewelry. I wear a nice watch, too, and when I go to town for a movie or dancing or dinner with my wife. But when I'm in the shed or garage, or working with any kind of livestock or machinery - all danglers and metal bits wrapped around my extremities come off. It's a safety check I learned when I was a lad, and it's stuck with me.

When I was in Afghanistan, in the office I might wear a wedding ring, but whenever I was "out and about", it went on my dogtag chain or on my watchband, which was looped around my belt or gear somewhere.

BBQLS1
May 13, 2012, 01:08 PM
More cool old west pics. Some with guns some without.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2011/02/23/from-the-archive-frontier-life-in-the-west/

Iggy
May 13, 2012, 02:47 PM
Good site. Great pictures.
There is one of the old Cheyenne to Deadwood stage. I have driven one of those old rigs with 6 up. Now wait an danged minute, I'm ain't that old..:evil: It was in the Frontier Days Parade and rodeo back in the 60's..:cool:

bsms
May 13, 2012, 04:16 PM
Great pictures, BBQLS1! When you see a line of oxen ready to move a wagon, you begin to realize just how much WORK everything required then. Imagine needing to hitch 12 oxen to a wagon - and the care & feeding that went in to them just as part of the normal work day.

I read an account of a cavalry unit in the Civil War. It was easy to skim by, but then I thought about what they did in one day...up at midnight, pack up and saddle up. 1,000 horses on the move 6 hours before dawn. They rode 40-50 miles, and THEN engaged the enemy. Fought a battle, and then needed to set up camp, care for the wounded, bury the dead, care for 1000+ horses. A couple of days later, they moved out and covered 40-50 miles a day for 5 days straight. And every day included breaking camp, loading supplies, getting the horses ready, riding, setting up camp, care for the horses...

On gun forums, folks will sometimes ask if they should keep a 5" S&W 629 or carry a 4" Mountain Gun to save weight on a day hike!

Makes an F-150 look awful good to me!

http://denverpost.slideshowpro.com/albums/001/496/album-200509/cache/west03.sJPG_950_2000_0_75_0_50_50.sJPG?1336918411

Vern Humphrey
May 13, 2012, 04:39 PM
One of the great misconceptions perpetrated on the American people is that covered wagons were drawn by horses. Most wagon trains relied on oxen, as did freighters. My great grandfather was a freighter in Nebraska in the 1880s.

Another interesting point is in photo 14 -- you can see the tipi liner being put up. The tipi was double-walled. The liner went from the ground up several feet, while the outer covering did not reach the ground. As a result, the prairie wind blew under the outer cover and was channeled upward by the liner, keeping the tipi more or less clear of smoke.

SabbathWolf
May 13, 2012, 05:46 PM
One of the great misconceptions perpetrated on the American people is that covered wagons were drawn by horses. Most wagon trains relied on oxen, as did freighters. My great grandfather was a freighter in Nebraska in the 1880s.

Another interesting point is in photo 14 -- you can see the tipi liner being put up. The tipi was double-walled. The liner went from the ground up several feet, while the outer covering did not reach the ground. As a result, the prairie wind blew under the outer cover and was channeled upward by the liner, keeping the tipi more or less clear of smoke.


Now that's pretty neat....about the tipi.
Learn me somethin' new every day.

Iggy
May 13, 2012, 06:41 PM
Then in the winter an Ozan was added to create a ceiling and keep the warm air closer to the ground.

A Tipi is an amazing article. By adjusting the flaps and the liner one can keep it fairly cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

I had a Tipi up all year round for a while. Quite comfortable in a howling blizzard after you learn how to manage the flaps and liner. The sides of the Tipi may actually freeze up to the top of the liner thus creating an insulating factor.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/TogwoteeRendezvous.jpg

A Tipi can be a terrible place if you're drunk and can't find the door flap in the dark....:o

Seamore2001
May 13, 2012, 09:38 PM
There is one of the old Cheyenne to Deadwood stage. I have driven one of those old rigs with 6 up. Now wait an danged minute, I'm ain't that old.. It was in the Frontier Days Parade and rodeo back in the 60's..

I dunno Iggy - some days when my daughters beat me on a run I feel kind of old - and depending on when in the '60s you drove that coach, I might not even have been born! :)

BTW, loving this thread, and really enjoying the Iggy blog too!

Readyrod
May 14, 2012, 11:06 AM
There is one of the old Cheyenne to Deadwood stage. I have driven one of those old rigs with 6 up. Now wait an danged minute, I'm ain't that old.. It was in the Frontier Days Parade and rodeo back in the 60's..

I've driven double teams of clydesdales and belgians (as a tour guide) and I've driven a team of three with a sleigh. It must be hard to adjust the reins for a team of six. Is it? What are the tricks? Driving teams of horses is a blast btw. Tho as my old boss said horses have a brain the size of a peanut and they only use half of it lol.

danweasel
May 14, 2012, 12:16 PM
Howdy Iggy,

Yep, if I had a lot more money and a lot less responsibilty, I would take Jackson pretty much over any place on this planet. And Sheridan ain't half-bad either... I just got back from spending the night in Thermopolis with the wife for Mother's Day and then hiking around Ten Sleep Canyon for a few hours on the way back.

Well, good to meet ya. Loving the blog.

Iggy
May 14, 2012, 01:10 PM
Readyrod,

Not much to it if you have a good lead team. With the lines set right, the others will follow along quite nicely.

Rexster
May 14, 2012, 03:35 PM
Gentlemen, I have enjoyed reading all of this! Thanks!

Y'all make me want to take a l-o-n-g vacation, drifting about in the West. I have not been north or west of Fort Worth since the 1990s.

Readyrod
May 16, 2012, 08:08 AM
Not much to it if you have a good lead team. With the lines set right, the others will follow along quite nicely

Yea makes sense to me.

Hagen442
May 17, 2012, 11:54 AM
This has been a very enjoyable and informative Thread.
Thanks to all contributers for the information


Good Job Johnson
We go by SASS Rules and have more fun than a Box Full of Puppies.
"The Cowboy Way"

Another Old Fat Man From Swearing Creek, NC
SASS#74836

00 Hagen

BBQLS1
May 17, 2012, 03:42 PM
Y'all make me want to take a l-o-n-g vacation, drifting about in the West. I have not been north or west of Fort Worth since the 1990s.

I've only been to Vegas West of Texas. I really would like to spend some time out West. Vacation is hard because going a week at a time ain't enough for much and frequent trips cost money.... I'd really like to drive a big loop out that way, but would need a month to do it. I don't get that much vacation.

I've been thinking of moving just to get some real time out that way. I wouldn't mind living in Alaska, Wyoming, or Montana but the wife doesn't like cold. She's more open to the four corners area though.

We'll see. I've got to get some ducks in a row first. :o

Iggy
May 17, 2012, 04:02 PM
There is a sub-division that borders our ranch. It use to be part of the ranch but had to be sold to pay the taxes.
A guy sub divided it about 10 years ago and sold acreages over the internet. There are 212 new wannabe ranchers owning plots out there and maybe 10 year round occupants.
2 of them have frozen to death out there in the last five years.

It's "poor bull doin's" for flatlanders and porkeaters.:evil:

Kernel
May 17, 2012, 05:54 PM
It is interesting to note that in nearly every picture of a wagon or stagecoach the driver is sitting on the left hand side, the exact opposite of where a automobile driver sits today. Perhaps this sitting on the left gave some advantage or convenience to a right-handed man wearing a handgun on the his right hip.

Iggy
May 17, 2012, 06:19 PM
Typically wagons and stage coaches had a brake lever, either hand or foot operated on the right side. This was operated by the driver just as the steering wheel and brakes are used in a co-ordinated effort to stop and steer a car.

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/photos-oldwest/Deadwood%20stagecoach.jpg

You can see a horizontal "thingy" that extends out from under the coach to the front of the rear wheels. The lever by the drivers leg controls the brakes. They apply a metal surface to the metal tire on the wheel and create a drag to slow the rear wheels.

It has very little actual braking effect and is more useful in holding the coach or wagon in place than stopping it.

DammitBoy
May 17, 2012, 08:27 PM
A guy sub divided it about 10 years ago and sold acreages over the internet. There are 212 new wannabe ranchers owning plots out there and maybe 10 year round occupants.


Out of curiousity - Iggy, how big were those plots and any idea what they sold for?

Iggy
May 17, 2012, 09:04 PM
DB, Check your PM's.

BBQLS1
May 17, 2012, 10:33 PM
Not really looking to be a rancher. I want to hunt and be away from people.

Sent from my smart phone where autocorrect will make me look stupid.

WaywardSon
May 18, 2012, 12:51 AM
Great thread...thank you gentlemen.

Off to bed...got to get up at 5:00 to fire a BBQ pit.

danweasel
May 18, 2012, 11:08 AM
It a tough job...

Risky buisness
May 18, 2012, 07:30 PM
As a young man around Laramie (Wyo) it was not very often when I saw anyone carry a handgun horseback, occasonally a rifle,not many revolvers. That changed when I went to Nevada wrangling horses, nearly everyone over the age of 30 packed a handgun, not to have seen that much I asked, it was pretty obvious, a 20 minuit trot put a guy essentially back in 1880-1890, where the only help he had was what he took with him. Most of the saddle stock in those guys strings were colts and pretty snotty, so I saw exactly why they packed. Normaly cross draw, pretty good leather and the majority were flap holsters, pretty near the same thing in central Oregon too.

Iggy
May 18, 2012, 08:23 PM
Howdy neighbor. Where do you hang your hat?

Risky buisness
May 19, 2012, 12:20 AM
I'm over west of Kemmerer.

Iggy
May 19, 2012, 10:21 AM
You're just about as close to Utah as I am to Nebraska.:)

Readyrod
May 19, 2012, 10:53 AM
Typically wagons and stage coaches had a brake lever, either hand or foot operated on the right side. This was operated by the driver just as the steering wheel and brakes are used in a co-ordinated effort to stop and steer a car.

The tram I drove had a drum brake just like a car. I had to use it once when the buckle on the reins got caught on the harness and the horses took off on me. Two belgians pulling a tram with 30 people on it and when I slammed on the brakes they dragged that thing 20 feet before they stopped. I measured the skid marks after. Horses are fun but not for the faint of heart. Driving a big team on a stagecoach must have been pretty exciting at times, specially if someone was chasing you.

stevekozak
May 23, 2012, 08:01 PM
Since this thread has pretty much fallen off topic anyway, I wanted to ask Iggy, since he has known folks from the era: What exactly constituted a bedroll back in the day? In most of the shows or movies you see, it looks to just be a blanket rolled up behind the saddle. I suspect there was at least a little more to it. What about it, Iggy?

Iggy
May 23, 2012, 09:16 PM
I've seen few that were essentially a sleeping bag. A blanket or two contained in a canvas shell without zippers. Some were just a tarp that was folded and overlapped instead of zipping up. Some were an actual sack.

Some had leather straps and buckles, others were just tied in a roll with short lengths of rope.

http://www.fenter.com/wagons/assets/images/db_images/db_cowboy_bed_roll1.jpg

Oft times these were transported in the chuck wagon and the hand's other shirt and pants were laid out flat and rolled up in the roll. Saves ironin' don'tchaknow.

rcmodel
May 23, 2012, 09:20 PM
How about oil cloth to keep the wet out?

rc

Iggy
May 23, 2012, 09:40 PM
What, you git rain where you are? I'll be dammed!!:evil:

I reckon it sure wouldn't hurt.;)

stevekozak
May 23, 2012, 09:58 PM
Thanks for the reply, Iggy! I figured a blanket of some sort with a ground sheet was probably pretty close to what it would be. I never understood in the shows and movies when the cowboys would dump their saddles out flat, which as a good way to wind up breaking a tree.

Iggy
May 23, 2012, 10:38 PM
I 'bout got run out of Gettysburg Nation Monument one night by the Rangers.
I was headed back to work for the summer on a dude ranch in New York.

I had read about Gettysburg for years and stopped off to take a tour.

When I got done roamin' around it was near dark.

Couldn't afford a motel, so went to the back of the park, throwed my saddle on the saddle blanket (on it's side). Throwed my bedroll down there too and used the underside of the saddle for a pillow.

Stuck my Ruger single six between the bedroll and the saddle blanket.

About 3AM, the Rangers showed up and sed I couldn't camp there. I sed I'd git right then. Older Ranger come from the back of my car and sed "You from Wyoming?"

Yuup..

He sed "well I reckon it won't hurt none if you stay here, but you better be gone by daylight."

Yessir, I'll be gone.

Them Rangers come back by at daylight as I was gatherin' up my gear and that Ruger showed up when I rolled up my bedroll. Younger feller sez, "Is that a gun?"

I said "Yup, I was told a feller could git robbed if he got stalled along the Interstate and such so I just kept it handy."

I figgered I was up the crick for sure, but the old feller sed "Keep that thing outta sight, you cain't be havin' a gun in National Parks.

Well I throwed my gear in the car and was set to go. Only problem was, the battery was dead.
Well, them fellers give me a push to get my car started and sent me on my way.

Always kinda favored them Rangers ever since.

shiftyer1
May 24, 2012, 12:28 AM
If you google cowboy bedrolls you'll find many still being made today. They ain't cheap though.

Frank V
May 24, 2012, 11:33 AM
Iggy

I'm still laughing at the mental picture of you & that pony riding off into that batch of snakes. :) I'll bet he is still peeved at you for doing that to him!!!:uhoh::uhoh::uhoh:
Frank

Iggy
May 24, 2012, 04:15 PM
I could have won the Saddle Bronc riding champeenships at the National Finals Rodeo with the ride I made that day.:D

BBQLS1
May 26, 2012, 06:26 PM
I 'bout got run out of Gettysburg Nation Monument one night by the Rangers.
I was headed back to work for the summer on a dude ranch in New York.

I had read about Gettysburg for years and stopped off to take a tour.

When I got done roamin' around it was near dark.

Couldn't afford a motel, so went to the back of the park, throwed my saddle on the saddle blanket (on it's side). Throwed my bedroll down there too and used the underside of the saddle for a pillow.

Stuck my Ruger single six between the bedroll and the saddle blanket.

About 3AM, the Rangers showed up and sed I couldn't camp there. I sed I'd git right then. Older Ranger come from the back of my car and sed "You from Wyoming?"

Yuup..

He sed "well I reckon it won't hurt none if you stay here, but you better be gone by daylight."

Yessir, I'll be gone.

Them Rangers come back by at daylight as I was gatherin' up my gear and that Ruger showed up when I rolled up my bedroll. Younger feller sez, "Is that a gun?"

I said "Yup, I was told a feller could git robbed if he got stalled along the Interstate and such so I just kept it handy."

I figgered I was up the crick for sure, but the old feller sed "Keep that thing outta sight, you cain't be havin' a gun in National Parks.

Well I throwed my gear in the car and was set to go. Only problem was, the battery was dead.
Well, them fellers give me a push to get my car started and sent me on my way.

Always kinda favored them Rangers ever since.


Times are different today. I'm not sure you could have gotten away with that today. Kinda makes me sad. :(

stanmo
May 26, 2012, 09:43 PM
Cross draw worked for "Angel Eyes".

http://i721.photobucket.com/albums/ww215/MotownStan/angeleyes1.jpg

BBQLS1
May 26, 2012, 09:56 PM
I'm not sure that hollywood characters count. Though I'm a fan of cowboy films.

Vern Humphrey
May 27, 2012, 10:12 AM
Times are different today. I'm not sure you could have gotten away with that today. Kinda makes me sad
Actually, it is now legal to carry a gun in a Federal Park. But nowadays they'd probably run you in for camping illegally.

Old Fuff
May 27, 2012, 10:43 AM
Hollywood has provided us with some great entertainment, but at the expense of sometimes-gross distortion of history. What they portray is more “what they wish had happened,” rather then what really did. This often carries over into costumes, weapons, gun leather rigs, and methods of carry.

For those that are more interested in reality rather then fantasy, I suggest the following books that offer excellent photographs – often in full color – of remaining examples of both weapons and holsters that still remain from the 19th and early 20th centuries. These are supplemented with pictures that show armed individuals that were taken at the time.

Packing Leather – Gunleather of the Frontier West, by Richard C. Rattenbury.
The Taming of the West – Age of the Gunfighter, by Joseph G. Rosa.
The Peacekeepers, by R.L. Wilson.

You will find the difference between “real” and “reel” is well illustrated.

Doghandler
May 27, 2012, 02:21 PM
How did you carry your gun back in the old west, Old Fluff? :neener:

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :D Thanks for the titles.

Old Fuff
May 27, 2012, 04:03 PM
How did you carry your gun back in the old west, Old Fluff

Does you mean during the fur trader/flintlock era, or the pre-revolver cap & ball times, or after Sammy Colt came out with his percussion revolvers, or the later metallic cartridge six-shooters, or when that Browning guy teamed up with Colt's to make box magazine pistols???? :D

And don't ask me about my first stone axe. :uhoh:

BBQLS1
May 27, 2012, 05:59 PM
Does you mean during the fur trader/flintlock era, or the pre-revolver cap & ball times, or after Sammy Colt came out with his percussion revolvers, or the later metallic cartridge six-shooters, or when that Browning guy teamed up with Colt's to make box magazine pistols???? :D

And don't ask me about my first stone axe. :uhoh:

We're interested in hearing all of it. :D

S.B.
May 27, 2012, 07:35 PM
What with longer barrels wouldn't cross draw or shoulder holsters be prudent? From experience, I can tell you strong side isn't comfortable with longer barreled handguns.
Steve

mje
May 27, 2012, 10:18 PM
Lots of great stuff in this thread, thanks. I would guess that long guns were much more common that handguns on the frontier. If you were a settler, your first use for a long gun would be for gathering food, and then for protection, and a rifle or shotgun would be better for both purposes. I'm happy to be proved wrong, of course.

Footnote on that picture of Billy the Kid: It's not "reversed"- it was shot that way. All of the early photographic processes were direct positive processes- there was no intermediate negative. The plate put into the camera became the final photo. Thus all Daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes and such will all produce a reversed image.

AJumbo
May 28, 2012, 02:49 AM
What usually happens when goes looking for "what really happened back in the day" is that you'll find what you're looking for. Fur trade re-enactors used to (and may still) be divided on the subject of whether mountain men beards; a close look at the period artwork of Catlin, Miller, Bodmer and others reveals that some trappers wore beards, and some didn't. Bottom line, some folks carried, and some didn't. Conditions in some regions were dangerous enough to require a man to carry every day, and some regions just weren't all that rough. Particular styles of holster were common in some places, and virtually unknown in others.

It seems like the original post asked about modes of carry, and whether crossdraw and shoulder rigs were common. Photographic evidence seems to support crossdraw as a fairly popular option; I don't know that I've even seen a period photo of a shoulder rig being worn. That may be because the crossdraw rig was hidden under a suitcoat, but we'll never know for sure. Not many original shoulder rigs seem to have survived the years, but belt rigs are pretty common.

kdave21
May 28, 2012, 06:24 AM
Joecil is right:

Now most of the TV shows used the holster with the tie downs, slotted belt etc which became the Movie version of the western holster in the 1930's.

Most of the tiedowns and slotted belts were from the movie age, not the frontier age.

Good thread all- and Iggy... I likes your spread!

OldCavSoldier
May 28, 2012, 03:15 PM
I assume there were far more longguns of some type being carried. Depending on your financial status a rifle or shotgun would be far more useful and practical.

My grandfather died in the 70's he was almost 100 years old. He wasn't a cowdriving cowhand in Texas but a Minnesota farmer. This was still indian country, he told stories to my dad of having to hide in the sloughs as a child when the indians would come to raid the house.

He was also in the cavalry in ww1 and a sharpshooter. The only firearm he ever kept around and used all his life was a shotgun. He did bring back a handgun from the war but never used it.

Some employers today ask you to leave your guns at home and people do everyday. If you worked on a ranch back then you do what the boss says or got fired....nothing different then or now. The difference is that work = home back then. Here lemme hold your revolver so you don't shoot yer foot off, heres a rifle for critters and stuff.

If that ranch paid well, had a good cook and a draftfree bunkhouse with a good wood stove I'm in.

Just like today:) Good enough pay and benefits and you kinda like your job or need it. Your gun gets locked up by the boss(at home) and if you need one.....use mine.

I do find crossdraw more comfortable for a working gun, I try to find a holster with a slant but mostly just a right hander slid around. I'm sure back then some felt as I do.

Just like i'm sure some carried a matched pair of lovely engraved pearl handeled colts, The same applies today.
You got it, pardner!!

.45Guy
May 28, 2012, 06:20 PM
I know I posted this picture in another thread, but it kind of works here. 1913 isn't exactly old west, but it is certainly pre-hollywierd. No luck in my search for info though.
http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g27/aguy123/000.jpg

BBQLS1
May 29, 2012, 04:36 PM
Neat pic.

Red Cent
May 29, 2012, 06:12 PM
The young guy in the middle must be single. I see a '95 and a '92. Can someone tell what brand is the revolver. I'd guess a Colt.

S.B.
May 29, 2012, 06:56 PM
Blurrs when I blow it up but, could be a New Service?
Steve

Old Fuff
May 29, 2012, 07:10 PM
Single Action Army, Colt's Model of 1873....

I think. ;)

Iggy
May 29, 2012, 09:04 PM
That young feller reminds me of my growin' up years. A ranch kid among a bunch of town folks.

I'll bet them is Pappy's guns. That young feller sure couldn't afford one of them 95 Winchesters.

You'll notice he hasn't got a regular belt on. Braces that are saggin' under the weight of that six gun. He ain't wearin' cowboy boots neither. Rolled up britches was the style back then and into the 40's and 50's.

The 4 with guns has honkers on them that makes me wonder if they if they're kin.

Be interesting to know what those fellers had been up to.

.45Guy
May 29, 2012, 11:22 PM
Be interesting to know what those fellers had been up to.

They're the UMWA's negotiators.;) Still trying to peg down where it was taken in 1913. I thought that might be the Tercio company store in the background, but it had evenly spaced dormers.

Iggy
May 30, 2012, 09:00 AM
I had two ideas of who they might be.. Strikers or a Posse, but a posse would have had more guns.
http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p246/Iggy25/Cowboys-Roping1.jpg
Here's some fellers that got themselves in a fix back in 1887. Don't see any Hollywood low slung sidearms here.:cool:

BBQLS1
June 13, 2012, 09:49 AM
I wish that picture were bigger.

BCRider
June 13, 2012, 11:26 AM
I'll bet them is Pappy's guns. That young feller sure couldn't afford one of them 95 Winchesters.

I'm not so sure of that. Unlike the others in that picture he has gone out of his way to make sure that the guns are shown off well.

It may well be that this is the 1913 equivalent of the late teens deal where the young stud rushes out and buys a hot muscle car using every last cent provided by the new job. Or they could be pappy's guns and he's just simply proud to be trusted with them. Either way I think he's tickled to be carrying them around and is prideful enough of them to ensure that they are showing their best side.

charlie fox
June 13, 2012, 01:34 PM
I had an opportunity to speak with an old gentleman a few years back in Montana about guns and cowboys. His recollection was that he rarely saw handguns but everyone owned a rifle or shotgun. He said that if he saw someone carrying a pistol he thought they were either a city punk or someone to be avoided. He told me that most of the rifles were single shot and most were bigger calibers; if you were shooting at dinner you didn't want it to get away. He said his rifle was an old breech loader, he couldn't remember what kind (Sharps?) but it used a "big 45 bullet". The first pistol he ever owned was a .22 automatic "that jammed a lot" made in the 40's. Very enlightening...

Iggy
June 13, 2012, 01:45 PM
Surplus trapdoors sold for around $7.50 back in them days.

.45Guy
June 13, 2012, 05:53 PM
Not sure if it was the case out west, but in the east the union was known to provide arms to the strikers.

cleardiddion
June 13, 2012, 10:27 PM
Iggy, you sure are making me want to wander up your way.
Snakes or no snakes.
Too bad I can't seem to wander back up north of the shenanigans for more than a day and a half at a time.

Krogen
June 13, 2012, 11:39 PM
Interestingly the photo shows up on a couple of books. I wonder if it is just a stock photo or related to the contents of the books.

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Coal-Americas-Deadliest-Labor/dp/0674046919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339644897&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Violence-West-Johnson-Massacre-Documents/dp/0312445792/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339644995&sr=1-1

.45Guy
June 14, 2012, 09:14 AM
If by "stock," you mean prints have been provided to public sources such as the DPL(http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/search/searchterm/%20Mining--Colorado--Trinidad--1910-1920./mode/exact), then yes. Yes they are period photos, aparently taken in Trinidad. Google, "Camp Beshoar."

Krogen
June 14, 2012, 10:47 AM
Thanks, 45Guy. Great link. Old photos fascinate me. I'm frustrated, though, because I can't talk to the long-gone people in the photos.

Frank V
June 14, 2012, 11:01 AM
Packing Iron by Richard C. Rattenbury ISBN 0-939549-08-5 is a great book & gives a look into the real not (reel) west.

Comparing some of Charlie Russels paintings, they seem to give a glimps into the real life too. I think he painted what he saw.
Frank

.45Guy
June 14, 2012, 05:24 PM
Tell me about it Krogen. I have been attempting to piece together my families history from that period, which is apparently another one of the proverbial skeletons in the closet. My grandfather only told a few stories about Colorado, but he was only 3 when all this happened. Hell, I just found out from the 1920 Census that there was a Great-great uncle that I'm named after living with them at the time. Frustrating to say the least.

BBQLS1
June 15, 2012, 02:40 PM
If by "stock," you mean prints have been provided to public sources such as the DPL(http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/search/searchterm/%20Mining--Colorado--Trinidad--1910-1920./mode/exact), then yes. Yes they are period photos, aparently taken in Trinidad. Google, "Camp Beshoar."

Cool link.

.45Guy
June 16, 2012, 12:44 PM
In the large photo I posted, does it look like a small revolver sticking out of the far right man's pocket?

Cremony
July 15, 2012, 10:32 AM
Driftwood Johnson :> The Duke style was first made for John Wayne by Tom Threepersons in the 1930s.

I did not know it went back that far. Driftwood you are the only source for this that I can find, about who made his first personal holster. Where did you hear that Tom Threepersons made the rig John Wayne first used in the movie Hondo?

Cremony
July 15, 2012, 11:12 AM
http://www.knickles.com/pix_life/NSCMCB3-coal-miner-mallet-1.gif

>I owe my soul to the company store<

Tennessee Ernie Ford had the hit with Sixteen Tons, it was #1 for a few months.

>Make good money, five dollars a day. Made anymore, I might move away ~ Grateful Dead

Old Fuff
July 15, 2012, 11:25 AM
Tom Threepersons was a life long peace officer who never "made" any holster himself. The Threepersons design resulted from collaboration between Tom, and leather workers in the S.D. Myers shop in El Paso, TX. Myers named the holster after Threepersons because he believed (correctly) that his reputation would spur sales (which it did). My source for this is a conversation I had with William "Bill" Myers, who was Sam Myers son.

The rig worn by John Wayne in many of his western movies was in no way related to the Threepersons design, and was consistent with those made by many makers during the late 1880's and 1890's. The holster had a 1/2 skirt on the back and the major part of the trigger guard was covered. The Threepersons pattern eliminated both of these features.

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