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Guns of the Old West: An Illustrated History

Overview

In the remote parts of America's Western territories during much of the 1800s, law and order was overextended or even nonexistent. A man's best friend was often his gun, and it became an integral part of his life. Guns were used by some, such as hunters and settlers, for self-protection and their very salvation, and by others as a means to impose their will, legally or otherwise. There can be no doubt that the exploration and exploitation of the Western frontier that began in 1804 was inextricably linked to the ...
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Overview

In the remote parts of America's Western territories during much of the 1800s, law and order was overextended or even nonexistent. A man's best friend was often his gun, and it became an integral part of his life. Guns were used by some, such as hunters and settlers, for self-protection and their very salvation, and by others as a means to impose their will, legally or otherwise. There can be no doubt that the exploration and exploitation of the Western frontier that began in 1804 was inextricably linked to the development of the firearm. It is certainly true today that firearms are associated with the Old West more than with any other era of American history. That Old West period, which ended officially in 1890, saw gun design and manufacture improve dramatically, such that the "taming of the West" could be accomplished with grit and determination, and also with reliable firearms. It is not surprising to learn that very often those firearms were Colts or Winchesters, since these were the gunmakers who achieved more than most in technological development and manufacturing prowess, pioneering the revolver and the lever-action rifle, respectively. Both companies laid claim to the accolade "The Guns That Won the West," and with some justification. But there were many other gunmakers, of course, whose contribution to firearms development (and therefore the opening of the West) was significant. This fabulously illustrated book presents specially commissioned images of all the most important handguns and shoulder arms in use during those often exciting and certainly turbulent times. Within these pages are the pistols, revolvers, rifles, and carbines used by the hunters, the settlers, the lawmen, and the lawless, the military and the showmen. All are interestingly described in accompanying essays written by an acknowledged expert in the field.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating, informative volume which is especially recommended for antique gun collectors and western history buffs."--Wisconsin Bookwatch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592286386
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Dean K. Boorman is president of the prestigious Armor and Arms Club of New York. Boorman is also a member of the American Society of Arms Collectors and of the Visiting Committee, Department of Arms and Armor, as well as The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A collector of Colts and Winchesters, he has written for both the American Society and the Armor and Arms Club of New York. He is the author of two companion volumes to this book, The History of Colt Firearms and The History of Smith & Wesson Firearms. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction

EXPLORERS AND HUNTERS
The Explorers
Hunters and Trappers
The Gun maker's Shop

THE HANDGUNS
The Handgun in the West and on the Frontier
Colt Paterson Revolvers
Percussion Colts from Hartford
Single and Double Action Revolvers
Deringers 1845-1860
Deringers 1860 and After
Colt "Deringers" and Pocket Pistols
The Colt Single Action Army
Colt's Cartridge Competitors
Handguns and Holsters

LONGARMS
Sharps Rifles
Sharps Competitors
Colt's Shoulder Arms
Volcanic Firearms
The Henry Rifle
Spencer Rifles and Carbines
Winchesters '66-'73
Winchesters '76-86
The Winchester Heritage
Burgess-Whitney Variants
Lesser-Known Longarms
Carrying Longarms

THE LAWMEN AND THE LAWLESS
Outlaw Guns
Pat Gerrett and Billy the Kid
John Wesley Hardin
Doolin, Dalton, and Eichof
Law and Order
The Lawmen
Wyatt Earp
Riding Shotgun
Cowboy Gunman

WEAPONS OF WAR
The Military Until 1871
The Military 1872-1890
Firearms of the Native Americans

THE SHOWMEN
W. F. Cody and the Wild West Shows

Bibliography

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    A well balanced book, a book to relax with.

    I was looking for some basic information on Blackpowder handguns and how they were developed. The book provides a lot more information than I was looking for. Between the short descriptions and the high quality pictures, I feel like I got a lot more than I hoped for. The information about the history of the guns is not so overwhelming it puts you to sleep and the information that was added regarding the "famous" users of the guns made it much more interesting. I would buy it again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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