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Discussion in 'Handguns' started by Marc Adamchek, Sep 3, 2015.
Hickock my have been using conical bullets as they were common with the revolvers.
In most gun fights, even these days, even at close ranges there are numerous rounds fired before a hit. If I could I would hope to trust in this and take careful aim at any hood rat with a stolen gun held sideways and shooting in my direction. Ultimate goal if the cause ever arises is for mine to be the only version of the story told and of course I was shooting single handedly whilst trying not to spill my beer. :grin:
I don't know about a one handed hold when shooting a big gun. After reading this thread,I grabbed my Colt Walker and tried it with one hand. What ever I tried to shoot with it better be close. Hard to keep on target. The Walker weighs 4 1/2 pounds. The more time you take,the worse you shake.
They did what worked.
I'm just working from memory. Although Hickok routinely carried a pair of Navy Colts I think in the Tutt fight he used a 3rd Model Dragoon. There was a certain amount of handgun shooting done on horseback and you are supposed to use sort of a chopping motion as you get the shot off- so I am told. On the conicals. I'm not sure conicals were sold as individual bullets- they were used in combustible cartridges. The accuracy wasn't that good and the combustible cartridges used rather small powder charges. I think most of the western gunmen loaded up using round balls and as much powder as they could get into the chamber and then they carried a couple of packets of combustible cartridges for back up ammunition- if they needed it.
Handguns are pretty strange birds: in one respect, they can be used at point blank range and one handed. Shot that way they aren't very accurate but if you are only a few feet from the target it isn't too important. On the other hand, they can be carefully cradled in a rest and then become surprisingly accurate at much farther ranges. With a modern S&W and standard open sights- off a sand bag- I've gotten 5 shots out of 6 to group inside 4" at 100 yards- close to some semi-auto rifles.
The famous quick draw Munsen came to town about 10 years ago so I had to see him shoot. Scary fast. You could see the hand move but the gun came out of the holster and back into the holster so fast that it almost looked as if it never left. During that split second he had drawn the gun and fired six shots at a rather close range, hitting the six targets, and re-holstered the gun. It was a Colt SSA. Years ago there was a lawman in Riverton, WY who was a fast draw. He had to break up a bar fight and was up against three bad guys with guns who thought they had the upper hand. When they tried to kill him he shot all three dead before they even saw his hand move. How folks ever develop that kind of ability is amazing.
On the western gunmen, I can't recall any accounts of that type of speed. I also recall that some of them mentioned they definitely raised the gun and aimed as they fired.
Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and more practice.
The only way IMHO
You're 'sposed to turn sideways so as to get both lungs and what's in between hit with one bullet. Thataways it wouldn't be such a long and lingering demise!
I would think that most duelists would turn sideways to offer a less broad target.
It makes me wonder if there might be more dead left handed duelists than right handed ones since the heart and lungs is closer to the fired shot.
BTW, wasn't Bill Hickock originally a southpaw? I think later he trained himself to be ambidextrous.
I like Weaver stances and I believe it was developed to offer more protection to an officer's vitals and also to provide a more stable shooting position for steady shots, but most artist's historical representations of shooters in the past shows the firing position as a one handed standing side stance aiming what looks like an alignment of lead leg, shoulder, arm being aimed off the nose. A few artistic exceptions to it may be war and battle images.
I would assume that most folks "back in the day", didn't know much about "dueling stance" and they just shot in such a way that was familiar and comfortable for them - depending on the situation.
Today, we tend to over analyze and categorize every aspect of life.
"Did they tie their right shoe or left shoe first?" :rotf:
Maybe it could be guns just blew up once in a while.
Better to loose a just finger or two than a whole jaw or set of peepers.
I just like to think there might be a reason for certain things. Now just as then, we all need to try and make sense of things, even though sometimes it could be futile.
I have two or three books on dueling. In one it shows an early 19th century engraving of an unusual Dueling Stance, though still standing "sideways." The shooting arm was not extended, but rather bent downward and the pistol held a lot closer to the eye. The idea was the opponent's ball would have to go through your bent shooting arm before it got to your lungs or upper body torso. I actually tried that stance a few times and found it very uncomfortable and not accurate at all, though I have no idea if the idea to protect the upper body was valid or not. I would imagine it would only work if the ball hit a bone in the shooting arm. Of course if the other guy who did not bend his arm and took better aim hit his opponent's head or lower torso, this stance would not help at all.
I just visited this thread after a few days post-posting. I think Grumpa hit the head of the nail. Holding a pistol with 2 hands DID NOT seem NATURAL to people in the 19th century who only saw pistols used with one hand as in duels and the like. Holding it with 2 hands is so 20th century. Even a variation of a 2-handed hold didn't seem obvious to folks shooting like they were trained in the service to shoot using an isosceles stance/hold. I mean, Jeff Cooper had his mind blown when he saw Jack Weaver compete in the 50's using his own Weaver stance/hold. It was a revelation! Looking back it's easy to let our eyesight get cluttered by all that's gone on before.
Maybe we can get today's pols to get back to dueling to thin out their ranks- a Burr Hamilton kind of thing.
I find it interesting that someone used to be willing to sacrifice his life in order to defend his honor. I think these days many would do the exact opposite (exchange ones honor for his life).
It would be interesting to read something that was written during the 1847-1860 time period about how to hold and shoot a Walker.
At over 4 1/2 pounds (4 pounds, 9 ounces) unloaded, it is not what I consider as a single hand sixgun. :hmm:
Even the slightly lighter Dragoon's (4 pounds, 1 ounce) is a handful.
It is amazing what we don't know about these type things. We have replica guns which jam because of caps blowing apart,and we don't really know how a war could be fought with the originals. Questions about loads and type of projectiles used years ago are sometimes just speculation. And we also don't even know how guns like a Walker were used, or how duelists stood, aimed and shot. Perhaps an old drawing, painting or lithograph would shed some light.
Consider also, that the stature of the average man was about 5 inches shorter than now
Maybe thats why they fell out of fashion & lighter guns became the norm......... :wink:
We need to keep in mind how they were used. Duelist shot at range, not to kill (although many died) but to make a statement of honor. People who used handguns in a real fight were up close and personal. You parried a thrust with your sword stepped inside and fired right in to the enemies belly. Or you chafed a faultering line and let fly on each side.then start hacking away with your saber. Draw and shoot at two or three yards. Flip it around in your hand and wale away as a club. Shooting at a mark 15 ,25 or 50 yards away was a sport for gentleman practicing a manly art. It did not become a general shooting sport until the 20th century. I often thought with old Wild Bill it was one of those fantastic shots we all get every now and then that we can't repeat on a daily basis." Of corse I hit him in the heart" yeah yeah that's wher I was aiming.
More than a few Indians lost their lives at ranges greater than 3 yards when they first went up against the Texans with their new Colt Patersons.
As with all things, situations change what was done. :hmm:
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