How popular was the Colt .45 in the West?
I recently re-read an article surveying the .44-40 caliber revolver in the Western usage. Guns mentioned were Smith & Wesson, Remington, Forehand and Wadsworth, Merwin Hulbert, as well as the Colt Single Action Army.
The article concluded with production figures, and emphasized that as popular as other makers might have been, Colt made more .44-40 revolvers than all the rest combined.
And Colt made far more .45 Colt SAs that they did .44-40s!
But you also have to remember that the Colt SAA was the U S Army"s gun and while they certainly did protect the Frontier, the troopers didn't have a choice of weapon. In around 80 years colt only made about 1/3 million SAAs. I beleive that the 38s and 32s outsold the real guns several times over.
No, Colt was the leading arms maker in terms of guns (handguns) sold, and the SA was the best seller of the period. The next most popular during the period was the No. 3 Smith in various calibers, .44 S&W, .44 Russian, and .45 S&W.
But the big framed guns remained popular due the fashion of the day. Men wore suits in town, annd the cut allowed a Colt SA to be concealed. In those days a man never appeared in the presence of ladies in only his shirtsleeves.
Even today I don't go out in public in short sleeves. Man Dad drilled into my head that men never exposed their bare arms, legs, or feet in public.
It took me a long time to unbutton my top collar button.
I'm glad the women of today don't follow that rule too :-D :-D
Originally Posted by Bob Wright
There was another, overlooked revolver- and it was No 3 after the Colt and the Smith. It was the H & R. They made several large frame models, in big calibers, including .44 and .45 Colt. There is a link for these guns, and I will try to find it again and post it.
I just found out about these guns a week ago, just by chance. Many were made and carried, and many are still around.
H & R? I've never seen nor heard of a .45 H&R. I know that Iver Johnson made some .44 caliber DA revolvers, but these were the short .44 Bulldog cartridge, not the ,44 S&W. These were economical house defense guns, certainly not intended for frontier use.
Could you be thinking instead of Forehand & Wadsworth? They did make some large frame revolvers under the IXL and Merwin Hulbert lines.
The largest H&R revolver I've ever seen was in .38 S&W, a top-break.
Sure would like to find that link.
I did a Wikipedia search and could only come up with the H&R Double Action. This as I remember was chambered only for the short cartridges of the day, such as the .44 Bulldog. These were only slightly more potent that the .41 r.f. and were centerfire versions of the .44 Short r.f.
H&R guns were mostly pocket guns or storekeepers guns and were never serious competion to Colt nor Smith & Wesson. Nor even Remington either.
H & R and Iver Johnson were of the same type, for the same market.
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