What Gun Did Wild Bill Hickok Use?
Wild Bill Hickok is remembered as one of the most legendary figures of the American Old West. Known for his remarkable gunfighting skills and fearless demeanor, many wonder what firearm he carried. Hickok’s weapon of choice was the Colt 1851 Navy Revolver, a popular sidearm during that era. In this article, we will delve into the details of this iconic firearm and explore some frequently asked questions about Wild Bill Hickok.
The Colt 1851 Navy Revolver was a .36 caliber, single-action, cap and ball revolver that was widely used from the mid-1800s to the early 1870s. It was manufactured by Samuel Colt’s company, Colt’s Manufacturing Company, and earned the nickname “Navy” due to its popularity among the United States Navy personnel. The revolver was made of steel and featured a six-shot cylinder.
Wild Bill Hickok was known to carry two Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers in his holsters, a testament to his exceptional shooting skills and quick draw. Hickok’s choice of this firearm was likely due to its reliability, ease of use, and the availability of suitable ammunition during that time. It was also a preferred weapon by lawmen and outlaws alike, making it a popular choice in the Wild West.
The Colt 1851 Navy Revolver had a barrel length of 7.5 inches and an overall length of 13.5 inches. It weighed around 2.75 pounds, making it relatively lightweight compared to other firearms of that period. The revolver’s design incorporated a loading lever beneath the barrel, allowing the shooter to quickly reload the weapon by flipping it down, accessing the cylinder, and replacing spent caps and balls.
Now, let’s move on to some frequently asked questions about Wild Bill Hickok and his choice of firearm:
Q: Did Wild Bill Hickok use any other guns besides the Colt 1851 Navy Revolver?
A: While the Colt 1851 Navy Revolver was his preferred sidearm, Hickok also used other guns throughout his life. He was known to have utilized a Smith & Wesson No. 2 Army revolver and a pair of Colt 1860 Army revolvers at different times.
Q: How accurate was the Colt 1851 Navy Revolver?
A: The Colt 1851 Navy Revolver was known for its accuracy within close to medium range. Its effective range was around 50 to 75 yards, depending on the skill of the shooter.
Q: Did Wild Bill Hickok customize his Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers?
A: Yes, Hickok modified his revolvers to suit his shooting style. He removed the loading levers from both of his Colts, allowing for faster reloads. This alteration enabled him to maintain a competitive edge during gunfights.
Q: How many gunslingers did Wild Bill Hickok face in gunfights?
A: The exact number is uncertain, but it is believed that Hickok engaged in numerous gunfights during his career as a lawman and gambler. Some of his most famous encounters include the McCanles gang shootout, the shootout at the Rock Creek Station, and the shootout in Springfield, Missouri.
Q: What happened to Wild Bill Hickok’s guns after his death?
A: After Hickok’s death in 1876, his Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers were reportedly taken by Charlie Utter, a friend and companion of Hickok. The guns were eventually sold and have since changed hands multiple times, becoming cherished artifacts of the Old West.
In conclusion, Wild Bill Hickok relied on the Colt 1851 Navy Revolver as his trusted sidearm. This iconic firearm played a significant role in his gunfighting reputation and remains a symbol of the Wild West era. Its accuracy, reliability, and ease of use made it a popular choice among lawmen and outlaws alike. Today, Hickok’s Colt 1851 Navy Revolvers are a testament to the legacy of this legendary gunslinger.