View Full Version : The last of the cowboy guns.

September 11, 2008, 07:56 AM
Was there a time or a particular model that ended the cowboy gun? Did the cowboy gun die with the invention of the automatic? Wait, I take that back. The Colt Pocket Hammerless can be used for CASS IIRC, but does that still make it a cowboy gun?
The only thing I can say about long guns is that they didn't use automatics(to the best of my knowledge), and that what is normally accepted as cowboy are exposed hammers and wood furniture. Beyond the previous statement, I can't elaborate on shotguns. I'm not sure about bolt guns, but don't think they count. Levers; Ballard rifling, no square bolts, and no smokeless powder cartridges. Yes I am specifically pointing at you .30-30 ( I imagine there's more).
Machine guns: The only machine gun that would qualify as cowboy era, would be the Gatling gun.(?)

Jim Watson
September 11, 2008, 08:05 AM
Depends on what you mean by "cowboy." There are still cowboys and they still need a gun every now and then. Which means anything is a cowboy gun.

The list of "cowboy guns" depends on what arbitrary cutoff date you apply.
I think SASS went too far, the 97 pump shotgun considerably distorts the picture. I don'd know about (never heard of) CASS, but SASS does not allow the Colt Pocket Hammerless. They do allow S&W Safety Hammerless as a pocket pistol side match gun.

As far as bolt action rifles, Winchester once ran an advertisement showing the Arizona Rangers, all 26 of them with their guns and gear. There were 25 Winchesters and one poor sap with a Krag.

September 11, 2008, 08:43 AM
That question brings to mind ..George Patton ..he carried a single action Colt cowboy pistol through his whole career in the Army ...the last cowboy .

September 11, 2008, 09:16 AM
I think I had Wild Bunch on my mind when I put on that bit about the Colt hammerless (I will get a thread on what guns to use at Wild Bunch later.). I went looking at http://www.wvcass.org and they said that the latest they would let you get away with is the 1899 (History tab, all the way to the bottom). So I guess the question is akin to the one about the tootsie pop... the world may never know.

Mike Irwin
September 11, 2008, 11:38 AM
I always looked at the "end" of the cowboy gun as coming with the introduction of the Colt New Service and Smith & Wesson New Century, both large frame, swing cylinder guns chambered for many of the former single action rounds.

September 11, 2008, 11:43 AM
Historical fact and peoples conceived notions don't always go hand in hand. Like was already mentioned there's still cowboys. For me the cowboy era ends around the 1880's with single action revolvers and lever action rifles. For CAS it ends at 1899 so they allow pump rifles and shotguns and lever action shotguns. To me those just ain't cowboy. Wild bunch matches go up to 1912 so the 1911 and broomhandle Mausers are legal in those.

September 11, 2008, 12:38 PM
Ther e were on ocation a Mauser Broomhandle auto Pistol carried toward the end of horse transportation and dawning of the steam powered horseless buggies.


September 11, 2008, 12:59 PM
Oh I wouldn't have doubt as to seeing an occasional C96 Mauser, or the C93 Borchardt every now and again. I just want an idea as to what everyone considers "cowboy".

September 11, 2008, 12:59 PM
End of the cowboy gun? Dead??? Bite your tongue! I mowed my cow pasture yesterday and did so wearing a single action .44Spl.

September 11, 2008, 01:04 PM
I mowed my cow pasture yesterday

You need more cows.:D

September 11, 2008, 02:17 PM
Considering that Single Action revolvers and lever action rifles have been in continuous production since their invention, can you really say that anything has brought about their "end"?

September 11, 2008, 05:30 PM
You need more cows

That's definitely true but what I've got is a sagegrass problem. My fertilizer guy has a theory that if you cut it close before it goes dormant and turns brown that it will kill it. Just 'might' save me a bunch of money on lime. All hypothetical of course. ;)

September 11, 2008, 05:39 PM
No! Buy all the lime you can. I'm sure we can find someone to bring the salt, and I'll bring the tequila. We drink until your grass problem disappears:D

September 11, 2008, 09:11 PM
Now I'm for that.

Stop hogging the bottle. :D

Mark Milton
September 22, 2008, 01:54 PM
Elmer Keith was an old school cowboy and he packed a four inch model 29...
Patton was an old school Cavalryman and he packed a 3.5 inch model 27 along with his peacemaker.

Technically speaking, since the big N frame Smiths were popular with cowboys, wouldn't that make them cowboy guns too?

Texas rangers were very fond of 1911 pistols back in the day too.

They were also fond of Remington automatic rifles.
One odd configuration I read of was in the "Doc Savage' pulps. Doc's cousin Pat was raised on a ranch and in the first story she is in, she shows up packing a peacemaker revolver "still one of the most reliable guns of all" and a big game automatic rifle....

Remember the story of Tom Horn and the deputies luger?

When I was a young man, I used to view "Cowboy guns" as anything from about 1840-1900....
But considering many old timers lived on after that and sometimes looked fondly on newer things, now it is harder to make up my mind...

60's Refugee
September 22, 2008, 10:40 PM
To chose a weapon as the "last cowboy gun" would first require determining when the "old west" ended. This is because most Americans still think of old west cowboys as being a different critter than modern cowboys. I think that as far as a time line goes, 1900 would be the date for the end of the "old west", but as far as the impact of the technology of that time is concerned, it's still here today. I like to think of the intro of the .45 ACP in 1904 as being the beginning of the modern American weapons, the Spanish American war being the last of the old wars, and the first world war being the first of the new wars. That time span between these two wars being the grey area which is also the time when the entire world changed from old to new. This same span of time roughly corresponds to the end of what most of us think of as the "old west". There were some few advanced weapons designs being marketed at the end of the old, and some old weapons designs still being marketed in the new age. To select a specific weapon as a represent "last cowboy gun" would involve making a subjective choice more so than an objective choice.

So, here are my subjective choices: Last cowboy revolver being the 1875 Remington..First new age revolver being the top break British Army Webley. Last cowboy rifle being the 1873 Springfields, the first new age rifle being the German Mauser designs.

There, that should shake up the bees nest!;)


September 23, 2008, 02:15 PM
To chose a weapon as the "last cowboy gun" would first require determining when the "old west" ended

Sorry but I have to tell ya the Old West is Still Alive and Kickin' it NEVER ENDED!:cool:

Just the Names and faces, Colors never change...
The Old is with the New...
And some have been hidden from view...
All the Guns I own are part of this West, in the Mojave Desert that lives on with changing tales and trails...made by the Best.


60's Refugee
September 23, 2008, 10:51 PM
You just made one of my points. Technically all the weapons you show'd are "old west" regardless of how new they are. Thanks! However, that watch you are wearing, not to mention the hat band and shades makes you part of the "new west" whether you like it or not!:)

I do Civil War myself, not Old West. Used to do Rev War. I'm a Confederate Artilleryman these days. I like to think of myself as a 19th century man stuck in a 20th century Baby Boomer world, trying to relate to the 21st century. I was wounded in 'Nam but lacked the "being hurt for the cause" part. Still, I wear my kepi to work while I drive my restored '65 Mustang. Guess I'm a throw back, just don't know whether it's to 1865 or 1965!;)


September 23, 2008, 11:09 PM
Harry this is the Same Old West like I said it was...I am the Old West only I am living it Now. :rolleyes:
How old was this post and the previous when you read it?:)

Thanks for Proving my point also...the Shades, Watch, and the hatband have nothin' to do With any part of the Old West ending. It's Still the same Old West, do you see?
I'm a shootist, hunter, and tracker, that's what I always been since I have learned to do it.
I wear murder one Galsses cause I need them for my perscription and to shoot in this Sun...HeeHee!
I wear a watch so I don't have to pull out my cell phone and see what time it is. The hat was a gift had no control over the hatband. You wouln't known anything about me if I didn't use my cell phone to take the picture...cause I'm a lone ranger in the Western Desert mountains.
I am glad to see your War against Northern Agression is catchin' all this on the WIRE...
I never was a good actor...so me is what you see...


60's Refugee
September 24, 2008, 11:01 AM
I guess the "old West" always was more of a state of mind than anything else. The oldest of the old west would be the mountain men and the explorers, and the guys who portray those guys today have a completely different state of mind about what they do too. I like buckskinners, cowboy shooters, living history re enactors, and I think many Americans can learn more than historical facts from them. They can learn the state of mind! They can learn that feeling of "Manifest Destiny" that many in this country have lost, and would be much better off if they understood. That pioneer spirit gave us the west and also put us on the moon. Cell phones and video games are a poor substitute.

Still, the thread question was "what was the last of the old west guns". That is still a fair question to ask. I'd rather see a cowboy wearin' a Peacemaker than an Ozzy!