Davy Crockett’s “Ol’ Betsy” Found

Davey-Crockett__Ol_-Betsy_rifleIn most everyone’s life comes a moment or event that provides the catalyst to their future. In my case, that event was the 1954 TV airing of Disney’s three-part dramatic series on legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett, the Indian fighter, U.S. congressman and Alamo defender. I was utterly fascinated with the original flintlock arms used in that series. As a youth of 14, I had never before seen any real flintlocks in films or anywhere else.

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Autry’s Pathway to the Past

sfth_annie-oakley_phil-spangenbergerWithout a doubt, firearms were among the most important tools used in the settling of the West.

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The Godfather of Gunleather

Brian-lebel_gunleatherFor firearms enthusiasts, the name John Bianchi is synonymous with quality gunleather, and for good reason.

He’s truly a living legend, having made gunleather rigs for the motion picture industry and for film stars who include John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Paul Newman and many others.

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A Courageous Standoff

1887-winchestser-rifle-phil-spagenebergerIn February 15, 1900, as the train slowly steamed to a stop at the Fairbank, Arizona, station, members of the notorious Stiles-Alvord outlaw gang yelled for express messenger Jeff Milton to throw up his hands. As a shoot-out ensued, they fired a volley into the car, shattering Milton’s left arm.

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Timeworn Beauties

exas-john-slaughter_cimmaron-engraved-pistolWhile most firearms enthusiasts appreciate a vintage gun showing its original finish, a certain beauty can be found in those well-worn guns whose original color has been shed through the decades and replaced by an iron gray finish that evokes thoughts and images of the past.

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The Best of Firearms for 2014

best-western-firearms-2014Westward expansion took place during the Industrial Revolution, which was also a time of great evolution in the world of firearms. The development in ignition systems, metallurgy, mechanical design and other arms technology progressed rapidly between 1800 and 1900.

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The Yankee “Sixteen Shooter”

henry-repeater-rifleVirtually every lever-action rifle today silently pays tribute to the granddaddy of lever guns designed over 150 years ago.

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Home Brewed Gun Show

capt-jack-crawford_colt_poet-scoutHow would you like to attend a gun show and see hundreds of fine Old West guns and accessories—without having to traipse up and down endless, crowded aisles of tables?

You can, simply by gathering some well-written, illustrated gun books and perusing their pages. Here are some valuable firearms books I recommend.

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Frontier “Forty Four”

SFTH_richards-conversion-60-colt_native-scoutColt’s handsome Model of 1860 was a favorite on the frontier and saw use by notable Westerners such as Frank and Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Wild Bill Hickok, the Mormon “Destroying Angel” Porter Rockwell, the Texas Rangers, El Paso lawman Dallas Stoudenmire and California outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez, to name a few of its admirers. These men relied on the power and smooth handling characteristics of what has come to be considered as the ne plus ultra of cap and ball revolvers.

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An Ace in the Hole

sharps-palm-sized-pepperbox-derringerOne frontiersman, threatened with a .22 derringer, slapped it out of his assailant’s hand and said, “If anyone ever shot me with a twenty two…and I found out about it, I’d skin him alive!”

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Firearms of 2012

“We’ve long held a fascination for the gunmen of the Wild West, and firearms enthusiasts have been especially interested in the hardware used by them,” wrote Phil Spangenberger, as he introduced our readers to the firearms owned or used by notorious desperado John Wesley Hardin.

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From Silver Screen to Gun Room

movie-guns_collectables_phil-spangenbergerHave you ever wanted to own a gun used in a Western film by one of your favorite cowboy stars…or even one packed by one of the supporting actors in an Oater that you held in special esteem?

Up until a few years ago, that feat was next to impossible for the average firearms enthusiast.

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The Dalton Death Rifle?

dalton-death-rifle_winchesterWhile many of the American frontier’s most famous arms are well known today, few have had the distinction of becoming a working classic for as long as the Browning-designed 1886 Winchester lever-action rifle.

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The Edge of Perfection

/bowie-knivesRegardless of whether a frontiersman carried a simple pocket-sized folding knife, a skinner, a camp knife or a full-sized fighting blade, he generally went “heeled” with some sort of cutting tool.

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Wild Bill Says “Muzzle Up”

Wild-Bill_1860-Colt_SpangenbergerDuring the Percussion Era of the mid-19th century, savvy six-gunners like James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok understood the problems inherent with open top revolvers and undoubtedly practiced raising the muzzle between shots to keep the caps from falling into the gun’s workings.

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The Herd Decimator

fulton-position-remmington-rifleIn 1887, an official government study of the decimation of the great buffalo herds concluded that, next to the Sharps rifle, the Remington rolling block rifle was the most popular with hide hunters.

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Patróns of the West

uberti_el-patron_cowboy-shooter.El Patrón is an appropriate name for Benelli USA’s Uberti 1873 Cattleman single-action revolver. In English definitions of the Spanish term you’ll find the words protector, landlord or patron—meaning one who is in charge—the boss.

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Power on the Plains

lyman-great-plains-rifle_spangenbergerWhen the first explorers of the early 19th century ventured west beyond the Mississippi River, they carried long, slender and somewhat delicate medium-bore Pennsylvania-style rifles.

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Colt’s Equalizers

colt-equalizer_revolver_Phil-Spangenberger“God created men; Col. Colt made them equal.” So goes the oft-repeated quote about Col. Samuel Colt and his legendary firearms.

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Colt’s Cavalry Pistol to the Rescue

Charles-Schyrevogel-western-artist-true-west-magazine.Colt Peacemaker. Just the sound of these words conjures up images of the Wild West. They bring to life scenes of bustling smoke-filled saloons and dusty frontier streets, of thundering cavalry pistol charges across wide-open prairies and of great cattle herds and the hard men who drove them to lusty, lawless railheads like Abilene or Dodge City.

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The Mini "Buffalo Gun"

sharps-rifle_buffalo-gun_chiappaWhen most people think of the Sharps rifle, it’s a good bet they probably think “Buffalo Gun.” The “Old Reliable” Sharps single-shot rifle was generally the first choice with hide hunters of the late 1860s through the 1870s.

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True West captures the spirit of the American West with authenticity, personality and humor by linking our history to our present. Whether you call it the Wild West, the Old West or the Far West, America's frontier history comes to life in True West, the world's oldest, continuously published Western Americana magazine.

Western movie fans, re-enactors, history buffs and road warriors, we got your history covered: outlaw, cowboy, Indian, lawman, gunfighter, fur trapper, miner, prospector, gambler, soldier, entertainer and pioneer. Check out these True Westerners now!

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