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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve often heard and read that the handgun that “won the west” was the Colt SAA.

Though I like this gun very much, I must say that for me it is totally wrong, simply because very few people in the west saw a SAA before the 1880’s, at a time when the west had been conquered and settled years before.

Besides that, even in the 1880’s, many preferred to keep their percussion handguns because paper cartridges were more easily available than metal cartridges in remote areas.

In fact, the handguns that really won the west were first the pepperbox and second the 1849 Colt pocket.

The pepperbox is first because it had already been produced in tens of thousands units when the Colt pocket appeared, and it cost 10 times less than the second in California, at the time of the gold rush.

The Colt pocket is second because it has been the most produced Colt with about 340,000 units produced in 23 years, between 1850 and 1873, when it took for example 48 years, from 1873 to 1921, to produce the same number of SAA’s.

Below are an Allen and Wheelock 6 shot .31 caliber DA pepperbox and a 6 inch barrel 5 shot 1849 Colt pocket. Though it was manufactured in 1851, this gun still has 90 % of its silver plating and 95 % of its varnish on the grips. The bore and chambers are also still bright.

Allen & Wheelock gauche.jpg Colt 1849 original gauche.jpg
 

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I would guess the mountain mans Hawkin and similar. Well not really, I think the Indian wars after the civil war until Wounded Knee. So probably the Springfield trapdoor rifle soon overtaken by the Sharps buffalo rifle as Wyatt said. The buffalo slaughter was about the final blow. Now the Indians HAD TO depend on the white man and politics. I suppose most mountain men also carried a flint lock pistol as a back up.
 

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Won the west? Could you explain that a bit and who it was won from?

Jim
 

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When I read the OP the fact it was about handguns slipped by me. The beginning of our west, most everything west of the Mississippi river is popularly thought to have began with the Lewis & Clark expedition in may 1804 to sept 1806. However even then along the way I believe they found evidence of some whites that was ahead of them, I think I read where they seen a Indian wearing a English army red coat. I think they also met some French trappers etc. I suppose it might be popularly said our western era was 1804 up to the battle of wounded knee in 1890. Some would say it started with the California gold rush in 1849/1850. Wisconsin and Minnesota was considered western states during the civil war in 1862. The west really moved from the Eastern sea board since the Mayflower in 1620. Some may think it quit with Poncho Villa`s raid at Columbus New Mexico in 1916 and the "Punitive Campaign" in 1916/1917. It seems many associate the Old West gunfighter era about with the 1872 Colt SAA up to about to the late 1880`s. Hard to say. Maybe it started with pirates shooting at each other with matchlocks and up to gangbangers shooting at each other this afternoon.
 

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Colts 1851 navy, 1860 army, Colts conversion revolvers, Colts open top, and the 1873 Peacemaker and Frontier revolvers as a whole "won" the west as they seemed to have been by a wide margin the most preferred by lawman, bandits, settlers, military, and cattlemen alike. Otherwise, we would have had 3rd gen S&W no. 3s, or 3rd gen Merwin Hulberts, or 3rd gen Remingtons.
 
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There seemed to be one best weapon for any given time in history. In its time the SAA proved itself well enough to be accepted by the military and wars are won by those folks.
 

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Generally speaking, I think "winning the west" referred to settling the Wild West, i.e., from the Indians and the bank/train robbers so people from the east would move west. With that in mind, undoubtedly the Colt SAA and the Winchester lever action were the guns that "won the west".
 

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Right, Wyatt Burp and Feralmerril, that why I specified that I was talking about handguns, not longarms.
Yes, but you were also talking about "The Gun That Won The West" and NO handgun ever won the west!

I found this web site provided some interesting information, as well as photos.

I think we had another very similar subject thread as this one, just a few months ago, didn't we? https://truewestmagazine.com/22-guns-that-won-the-west/

nowinca
 

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The telegraph and railroad was the biggest factor. I was born in the east, Wisconsin, but spent the last 58 years working over a lot of the west and retired here in SW Utah. My biggest hobby - pastime is hitting every trail we can find within a 100 miles with our RZR. We live right on the Old Spanish trail. It`s almost unbelievable to me to picture people traveling it prior to blasting and bulldozing roads over the mountain range here where the trail was. Two days ago wife and I rode our RZR on a 20 mile stretch of it up Little Creek and Bear Valley. There is names and dates scratched on a rock by some.
Ever hear of the Mountain Meadows Massacre? The Francher wagon train was using the trail September 1857. The Mormon war was going on. Brigham Young spread word in our area (Cedar City) for the people to NOT sell any supply's to the wagon trains passing through. The party was depending on resupplying here to make California and the disagreement started the trouble. One hundred twenty two people on the wagon train were killed by local Indians and the Cedar City Militia on 9-11 1857. The FIRST 9-11! Sixteen kids under the age of eight were spared as the Mormons thought they wouldn't remember it.
Only one person, John Doyle Lee, was much later executed for his role in it. My wife`s step mother is a gr, gr, granddaughter of Lee. Several years ago wife's daughter married a decedent of one of the orphans! Several years ago a local neighbor friend of mine told me of a barrel full of rusted relic guns being dug up in our area that was discovered with some road work being done on the local Indian reservation when he was a kid. I suspect there is a chance the Indians buried the rifles when the U.S. Army came here to investigate the massacre. I hope to investigate more about it sometime. I was a member of the Old Spanish Trail club here for awhile but our chapter sort of died out.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_massacre
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Colts 1851 navy, 1860 army, Colts conversion revolvers, Colts open top, and the 1873 Peacemaker and Frontier revolvers as a whole "won" the west as they seemed to have been by a wide margin the most preferred by lawman, bandits, settlers, military, and cattlemen alike. Otherwise, we would have had 3rd gen S&W no. 3s, or 3rd gen Merwin Hulberts, or 3rd gen Remingtons.
This may be not entirely due to the qualities of Colt handguns. It is a well known fact that Samuel Colt was a great salesman and knew very well how to make good friends with influential people by offering them somptuous gifts.

For example, almost every one agrees that the Remington New Army and Navy revolvers with their solid frame were superior to the Colt open frame revolvers and cheaper. But nonetheless, the army and navy bought a lot more Colts than Remingtons.

Besides that, the fact that Remington ceased the production of handguns is only due to a commercial agreement with Colt : shotguns and rifles for the first, and handguns for the second

As for the S&W no 3 and Schofield, the problem was the same with the army in almost every country at the time. These guns could be reloaded too fast and thus become the cause of a waste of ammunitions. This also explains why the 1873 trapdoor rifle was preferred to any repeating rifle, even after the success of the Spencer rifle and carbine during the civil war.
 
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