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Best gunfighter.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by d2wing, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. d2wing

    d2wing Well-Known Member

    I just read a story in my VFW magazine about a man named Jonathan Davis and two friends were ambushed by 14 murderers in California in 1854. Both friends were shot down, Davis fought back and killed 11 gang members, 7 with a pair of Colts, 4 with a bowie knife. Amazing. The last three fled. Some other miners saw it happened from a distance, it was over by the time they got there. He had served in the Mexican war and had been wounded in the late 1840's. He was an experienced combat vet so he was battled hardened and knew how to fight. In addition, he had to have amazing skill and God on his side, because his hat and coat had 17 bullet holes. BTW not everyone comes out of battle a cool headed gang killer but that is were you find out the truth.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  2. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    Sounds like California has changed a lot since 1854.
  3. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Well-Known Member

    He was from South Carolina (according to the errornet), so California hasn't changed much, unfortunately. We still have a big problem with bands of murderers; usually called gangs now.
  4. J-Bar

    J-Bar Well-Known Member

    Colts in 1854 were cap and ball revolvers. Usually they were carried with hammer down on an empty chamber, but let's say the had all 6 chambers of both guns loaded and the hammer down on a safety pin between chambers...

    So he killed 7 bad guys using no more than 12 (maybe 10) shots from percussion guns, likely 1851 Navies in .36 caliber. (The Walker Colt came out in 1847, and was .44 caliber but they are pretty heavy, most folks would not pack two of them routinely. The 1860 Army .44 would be 6 years in the future.) That's pretty good performance for both gun and man in combat.
  5. threoh8

    threoh8 Well-Known Member

    Many of the percussion-era Colts could be carried fully loaded, with the hammer resting on a pin between the cylinders. That locked the cylinder so it would not rotate until the hammer was pulled back. Pretty safe, and effective.

  6. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    yep no more murderers, murders, gang members, or need for guns.
  7. InkEd

    InkEd Well-Known Member

    That is an impressive story. I wonder about the accuracy of it (or any similar exploit from the time.) Either way it's interesting to read. When talking about the "best gunfighter" of the old days, I would say any of the guys that actually lived to old age like Bat Masterson would be the "best."
  8. X-Rap

    X-Rap Well-Known Member

    I bet back in the days of hard reloads and up close hand to hand combat the guys who did it a lot and survived were pretty dam good at it, even today with a dozen yrs of CQB fighting I bet there are guys who have carved out quite a niche in the history of prolific gun fighters after many tough combat tours. I hope more of their stories will be heard because they deserve their place in gun fighting history.
  9. xfyrfiter

    xfyrfiter Well-Known Member

    Most historians will call John Wesley Hardin the best, or worst, (depends on your point of view of course) of the old west gunfighters. Earp and Masterson were more well known, but only because of the penny dreadful novels of the day.
  10. threoh8

    threoh8 Well-Known Member

    Not sure I'd call him a gunfighter, but Jim Bowie was famous for having "won" a gunfight with a knife.
  11. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    In the modern era, I nominate Jim Cirillo and Lance Thomas. Regarding the former, his partner, Bill Allard, was as much in the thick of the action, but was unwilling to write about it, so Cirillo was the one who became famous.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  12. d2wing

    d2wing Well-Known Member

    I could only find reference to 2 Colt revolvers. It doesn't say what model. I did find that he had been a Captian in the Army and a swordsman too. It all had to be at close range
    so he was pretty busy. I don't understand why a well documented amazing event like that is not better known. I just heard of it.
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I would add a few semi-modern gunman to the list.
    Charles Askins Jr. and Bill Jordan probably killed more men in gun battles than history will ever know about.

    Askins sometimes bragged, but Jorden never did, so we will never know.

  14. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    You gotta include Jelly Bryce. ;)
  15. fallingbird

    fallingbird Well-Known Member

    Sounds like Jelly was one bad dude. Great read.
  16. d2wing

    d2wing Well-Known Member

    No doubt some great gunfighters. But none of them faced 14 armed men and killed 11 at one time, 4 with a knife. This story was verified by witnesses and published in newspapers. I would like to more about the man, his life and what all he did but that was before the popular books written about later gunfighters. Unlike Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie and others he was not otherwise famous. I enjoyed the Jelly Bryce article thanks for that link. Another amazing good guy.
  17. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    This guy is pretty bad a$$ beat out 40 attackers armed with guns and knives with his kukri. Bishnu Shrestha, ex gurkha infantry.

  18. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

  19. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    I'd consider it to be a work of fiction and have little relevance to us expect as an entertaining story.

    OTOH, keep in mind that without the advanced emergency medical care found today many more people would die than do. It is possible that at close quarters and with a ferocity driven by need and seizing the initiative an individual with good skills might defeat several attackers.
  20. d2wing

    d2wing Well-Known Member

    Great soldiers are another catagory, In wartime PFC. Herbert K. Pililaau while covering the retreat of his unit duribng the Korean war killed 40 Chinese communists with a BAR, hand grenades, entenching tool and bare fists until he himself was killed. PFC John McKinney on May 11, 1945 Killed at least 40 Japanese useing a machine gun, rifle, rifle butt and knife. Considering the times and arms used.
    For a civilian, with the arms used, I don't know of any single gunfights that exceed what Capt J. Davis did, but it would be interesting to know. Those Gurkhas were very impressive as well. I only count the good guys.

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