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Old May 31, 2012, 12:20 PM   #1
awaveritt
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Hatfields and McCoys, cap and ball,

Ok, just finished watching Hatfields and McCoys miniseries last night. Enjoyed all the cap n ball revolvers and early Henrys and Winchesters and Sharps. But in part 3, set in the late 1880's/early 1890's, some of the characters had switched to their Colt SAA's but a number of them were still totin' their venerable cap n balls, 1860/62 Army/Navy and Remingtons and such.

My question to you is, from a historic standpoint, how late in the century do you think the cap n balls became relics in the minds of the gun-totin' citizenry? Would they have still been in common use?

Subjective question, I know, but anyone have a sense of this?
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Old May 31, 2012, 12:33 PM   #2
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Try to remember that guns are expensive tools, and in hard times, most folk have to make hard decisions about what to spend their money on- a new gun is very nice to have, but would get much less use than a new horse or plow.

The days of many people having a large collection of guns are relatively new- while most households may of had a gun or two, certainly not a a gun collection ....... "Make do, or do without...."
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Old May 31, 2012, 12:35 PM   #3
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Well, in addition to the costs to fit out all the actors over time, in a more historical basis also remember we're talking a lot of poor people too. They may have wanted the latest and greatest toy but they were stuck with last year's budget.

Alternatively a lot of those cap n ball pistols were bored out to accept cartridges later. Upgrade on the cheap.
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Old May 31, 2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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I am a Hatfield (mother's side) it's been said already, these were dirt poor people and hard cash money was hard to find, I am amazed by the number of revolvers my kin possessed, noting that, rifles are utilitarian but pistols are made only for killing.
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Old May 31, 2012, 02:23 PM   #5
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Youve got to remember that in many areas of Appalachia and the Ozarks muzzleloading rifles were still in common usage well after world war two.
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Old May 31, 2012, 02:34 PM   #6
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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[QUOTE My question to you is, from a historic standpoint, how late in the century do you think the cap n balls became relics in the minds of the gun-totin' citizenry? Would they have still been in common use? ][/QUOTE]

I would think many cap & ball pistols from that era were kept until they just became unrepairable. To own a SAA Colt or a converted Remington 1858 as you may know plane and simple was beyond the reach of many. So folks made due with what they had. Depending on usage. I'm sure many cap & ball revolvers made it to the turn of the 20th century on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
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Old May 31, 2012, 02:37 PM   #7
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I'm from southern West Virginia but that particular feud took place two counties to the west from where I grew up. That was also the place where the snake handler ran out of luck (the snake lacked faith) just the other day.

I was going to say as late as WWI. I think later than WWII is a little too late. Such things were collector's items by then. Remember also, the union troubles in southern West Virginia between the wars that resulted in regular pitched battles between miners and first the "detectives" and later the state militia. They weren't using muzzleloaders then. The militia used machine guns against the miners. However, muzzleloading rifles did hang on.

I don't watch television but according to a review in the paper, the series was filmed in Rumania, of all places.
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Old May 31, 2012, 03:00 PM   #8
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They talked about going to great lengths to ensure historical accuracy but they had brass framed Remington's, a short barreled 1860 and even a short barreled 51 Navy brass frame in 44 with a cartridge cylinder.
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Old May 31, 2012, 03:40 PM   #9
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No, I don't think it is too late, Blue.

Remember, a lot of these areas never really came out of the Great Depression until WELL after World War II, right into the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson started extending the War on Poverty into the Appalachian Aid Corporation, or whatever it was called.

There are LOTS of things that are still in common use that are collector's items, but which are in use because they're useful, they work, and they're a lot less expensive than the modern replacement.

As someone mentioned, first and foremost, these guns were viewed as every day working tools. Often such items don't become "family heirlooms" or legacies until such time as the owner has become affluent enough to buy a replacement.

Up until that point, that family heirloom is a hunting rifle.
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Old May 31, 2012, 04:03 PM   #10
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Indeed. My inlaws have an early 1900s shotgun thats now a "family heirloom" because the owner died and the inlaw is himself in his 80s. But its just "his shotgun."
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Old May 31, 2012, 04:32 PM   #11
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i live in kentucky, my grandpaw,(mothers side) born in 1903, never owned a car in all of his 98 yrs. on this earth. my mother got a car in 1963, same year they added the indoor plumbing. before that was horse an wageon, an outhouses.my dads father was killed in 1936 by a feller that insulted a woman. that feller disappeared a few days later...nobody ever seen him again, older family members don't talk about it much...
i still have his 16 gauge double barrel king nitro shotgun though, never shot it , just keep it clean, an stored.
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Old May 31, 2012, 04:39 PM   #12
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Looks like godawful pretty country.
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Old May 31, 2012, 04:45 PM   #13
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Love the series, didn't even bother me about the brass frame '58. I guess the prop guys liked the shiny look of it.

Those of us from the South, know that the depression lasted into the 1960's for the rural south. Granddaddy and Grandmama got a bathroom in the house in the early 60's, my Dad put it in for them. That was the rural north Florida area too. So, the folks in the mountains were much more secluded and also economically deprived, it might have been the 70's till the Depression ended there, if no still going.

That being said, one of my board members was raised in West Virginia however, they lived in a housing project that Elinor Roosevelt built out up there. His Mom would ride around in the car with her.
He had indoor everything, even central heat, much like a modern house.
While the neighbors, who didn't get to move to the housing project lived in adject poverty in houses that looked like the TV series.
Go figure.
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Old May 31, 2012, 04:53 PM   #14
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Hatfields and McCoys

I think it did a pretty good job of portraying weapons of the time. I read somewhere that Kevin Costner insists on firearm accuracy in his movies. Remember "dances with wolves" I don't remember any inconsistenties in the firearms in that movie. But I did notice in "Hatfields" a guy walking around with a brass framed Remington '58. Never made back then. Wild Bill was know to carry his "51's for several years after cartridge revovlers became available. It's like some one mentioned, back then Guns were tools and if it worked you kept using it. Plus blackpowder was probably more available than cartridges, and they made their own bullets. Good show, brass framed revolvers regardless.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
rifles are utilitarian but pistols are made only for killing.
What exactly do you think a rifle does?
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:29 PM   #16
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Speaking of Costner and firearms, I read recently he was upset back in 2003that the movie editors (or whomever) had made it look like he was firing a 12 shooter in the movie Open Range. They edited out the scene where he drew the 2nd revolver in the opening of the huge final gunfight. For most folks, they don't know nor CARE that he was firing so many times, Hollywood's been doing it forever. But he knew and supposidly commented on it.
Love that movie too.

Movies are supposed to suspend you in time, which is what makes them entertainment. For us, seeing a brass '58 and some of the other oddities snaps us out of the "moment" like a regular person seeing a car sitting on the side of the road in this movie. We notice things like that, because it's our little world.

My Father-in-Law retired a Captain of the Florida Highway Patrol, he hated any kind of TV cop show, simply wouldn't watch them. That was his world, and he just couldn't enjoy them. Didn't bother us though. We loved Starsky and Hutch, Hawaii 5-0, Ironsides, and Dragnet. Whoo Hoo.
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Old May 31, 2012, 06:48 PM   #17
Hawg
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Quote:
Remember "dances with wolves" I don't remember any inconsistenties in the firearms in that movie.
Been awhile since I've seen it and all I really remember is him walking around during the whole movie and firing an empty Henry and at ranges impossible for a Henry.
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Old May 31, 2012, 07:05 PM   #18
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Hawg, besides the Remie brasser conversion.....did you notice a pair of Austrailian saddles? The gunhand rode one (when he shot "skunkhead")and so did the blonde McCoy when she got kicked out of the Hatfields place. Good job overall....but just sayin'....

By the way, if you've ever watched the movie, "Sargent York", he was still using a muzzle loader at the begining of WW1 and he was from Appalachia.
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Old May 31, 2012, 07:11 PM   #19
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No I didn't notice the saddles. I did watch it on a laptop tho if that will work for an excuse. I'm really not that up on Aussie saddles other than I know they have really wide fenders and smaller stirrups than western saddles.

Quote:
Hawg, besides the Remie brasser conversion..
Saw this.




And this, a short barreled brass 51 Navy conversion in .44

This isn't a video link just a paused screen shot.

Last edited by Hawg; May 31, 2012 at 07:20 PM.
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Old May 31, 2012, 08:22 PM   #20
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The Brass was so shiny, it really did glare, especially cause our eyes are naturally drawn to the piece. I had a Brass Navy back in '73. Never shined like that. Maybe plating. Anyway it did stink the scene up a bit. Authenticity? Let me say that they were not dirty enough by half!

I also had a Hopkins and Allen underhammer in .36 cal as well. As a young man, I saw lots of black powder rifles at give away prices. Of course I was intrigued. I could afford that rifle. Believe it or not, Holy Black could be bought at the LGS and not so LGS. Shot as well, and even a mold for the pistol
at the LGS. So I am of the opinion, maybe it didn't completely vanish in the
Endless mountains part of Appalachia.
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Old May 31, 2012, 08:38 PM   #21
egor20
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Quote:
did you notice a pair of Austrailian saddles? The gunhand rode one (when he shot "skunkhead")and so did the blonde McCoy when she got kicked out of the Hatfields place
My wife kept saying, keep your mouth shut egor, I'm trying to watch the show.



Not very up on the old BP weapons,so cant critique them, but still very much enjoyed the movie.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:09 PM   #22
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Might look like pretty country to a Texan, but that is definitely NOT the West Virginia I grew up in!

Terrain was absolutely wrong.......try to find a FLAT area in Logan or Mingo Co's as was depicted in the Grapvine battle for just one instance.......then too where in hell was the rhododendron, the spruce and the tight, dark hollows.

Guns......probably a fair representation of the era......tho the photo's I've seen of that tribe had some interesting and seldom seen models.

Theme music..........nothing special there.

Overall, despite the lack of authenticity in setting (didja notice there were NO McClellan saddles at all!) it was watchable & a bit better that some other attempts.......Still, it falls way short of Matewan and even that had it's faults.

Just being an overly critical long gone Hillbilly, I guess.


And I neglected to add that ANY self respecting appalachian type would have a REAL hound......be it a bluetic, redbone, or black and tan. That fuzzy potlicker shown damn sure wasn't.


Hey Starbuck.......you remember turning over those outhouses on Halloween?

Last edited by dogrunner; May 31, 2012 at 09:16 PM.
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:25 PM   #23
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It was unusual to see the firing pins on the bottom of the hammer faces in the various conversions. I don't recollect seeing that before (but I could just be "losing it").
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Old May 31, 2012, 09:58 PM   #24
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From what I heard from grampa, (he was a trick shooter with a wild west show a young 'un.) and a lot of the way old timers. Black powder cap and ball pistols were still used by a lot of people. They still worked. Also many were sold used for little more than a song. Though most times the folks in the hills were gonna spend their money on a gun it was usual for them to buy either a shot gun, or a rifle. If they were buying a pistol it was most likely the cheapest one they could find. Usualy the cheapest were the cap and ball revolvers.
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Old May 31, 2012, 10:15 PM   #25
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cap and ball

rember in the day a box of 44-40 was not on every stores shelf where black powder and tins of caps were available in most general stores plus the old remmingtons and colts were darn accurate coupled with paper nitrate catridge they were not that much slower to load also my grandfather still used hes grandfathers springfield 58 caliber rifle to kill possums in the chicken coup in the 1960's ( if it aint broke dont fix it )
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