Guns of the West

Written by jensen johansson
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Guns of the West
Guns of the West remain popular today. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Guns of the West are very much alive today as they were almost 150 years ago, during a period of the United States history known as the Wild West. Depicted in the Western movies and used in sports such as Cowboy Action Shooting, Old West guns are popular all around the world and remain one of the United States' most known icons. Numerous rifles and revolvers were used and manufactured, but Colt Peace Maker, Winchester M1873, Derringer and Colt Model 1877 were and remain most popular.

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Colt Peacemaker

Known by many different names such as the Model P, Colt Single Action Army, M1873, Single Action Army, SAA and Colt 45, the Colt Peacemaker is a single action revolver designed by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. Offered in more than 30 different calibres with various barrel lengths, it was powerful and accurate and used by ranchers, outlaws and lawmen, such as Wyatt Earp and William Barclay "Bat" Masterson.

Winchester M1873

Winchester Model 1873 is one of the most famous and most manufactured rifles of the West with more than 720,000 units produced. It was chambered for the .44-40, .38-40, .32-20 and .44-40 cartridge. The .44-40 was so popular that Colt soon produced the "Peacemaker" revolver for the round, which allowed cowboys and outlaws to carry only one type of ammunition. The rifle is also known as "The Gun that Won the West."


The history of the Derringers stretches back to 1852. The designer of the first Derringer, original Philadelphia Deringer, was a gunsmith named Henry Deringer. The term "derringer" is a misspelling of his last name and it was used by other gun makers who copied his design. Although term "Derringer" is mostly used to describe small, modern concealed weapons, the original Deringer was a single-shot muzzleloading pistol. Production ran from 1852 through 1868 and produced around 15,000 pistols. It was used by civilians for self-defence, but because of the small size, it soon become popular among criminals and assassins. John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln with a Philadelphia Deringer.

Colt Model 1877

This famous double-action revolver was manufactured from January 1877 to 1909. It was offered in three calibres, which gave three unofficial names: the Lightning in .38 Colt, the Thunderer in .41 Colt and the Rainmaker in .32 Colt. It was Colts' first double-action firearm, three years before Smith & Wesson made its first gun, but it was prone to malfunctions. The Lightning and Thunderer were favourite weapons of choice for the famous Old West outlaw John Wesley Hardin, and Billy the Kid preferred only the Thunderer. The pistol was sold in 1877 for about £9.

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