This month's Q&A is specifically Old West themed from a very special location. We hope you enjoy it!
Greg, James, Martin & Deviant:
What was the status of ammunition in the Old West?
How expensive were they?
How available were they?
To what extent were there cartridges compared to loose components?
When we watch movies, everyone is carrying a Colt SAA. What other guns were commonly seen?
The guns of the old west are iconic, but how do you think the usage of these guns would be different in other locales? How would they have held up in different climates?
Do either of you have a favorite Old West history book about gunfights?
Why do you think break action revolvers never took off?
The first successful large calibre repeaters were rimfires, but this seems to have died off after 1873 with the .44-40 and .45 Colt cartridges. Why are rimfires less suitable in large calibre configurations? Is it fair to say that rimfire is really only suitable in small calibre format i.e. .22 Long Rifle?
Westerns were still the most common shows on TV when I was growing up, so here's a silly question: Hollywood always showed us bandits and renegades with a pair of crossed bandoliers, but they were virtually never seen on the "good guys". How common was the use of the bandolier (mostly singly, I would imagine) by the military in
the western US after the civil war? Civilian use?
The image of a cowboy or gunfighter with a fancy leather rig for
his pistol is iconic and common to virtually every television or
movie western ever made. However, I've read that several notable
western figures actually used completely different carry methods
than what is usually portrayed as normal [Wyatt Earp carrying his
pistol in a special felt-lined pocket in his overcoat comes to
mind]. Just how common (if at all) were pistol holsters and
cartridge lined belts on the frontier?
Purchase and Trade of Firearms - I am given to understand that laws surrounding the restriction of ownership and purchase of firearms were few far between back then (although some towns did of course restrict carry, etc) but I'd love to know if there are any examples of
outright bans on purchase and at what levels. I sadly expect that
most such laws would not be equally-enforced or written in a
democratic way. My guess is that some regions would have disallowed purchase by Native Americans, Mexicans, or the Chinese, etc. But I'd love to know of any specific examples of which you are aware. Was "illegal trade" in firearms a big business back then?
InRange is an online video program dedicated to the study of guns, shooting, gun culture, and history. We dispel the myths, promote the good stuff that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves.