Firearms from a lay person: They're #GunBelievable

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West's Cody Firearms Museum was basically launched on the heels of the Winchester Arms Collection. Those firearms and records came to the Center in 1976 and later became a gift of the Olin Corporation, creating a permanent addition to the new Cody Firearms Museum which opened in 1991. While I don't have a lot of knowledge about firearms, I have to agree with one of the Center's most oft-repeated maxims: The story of the West is incomplete without the firearm. One's rifle was often the only thing standing in the way of dinner on the frontier table, and in places where the Wild West was getting wilder and wilder, that pistol--for good or for ill--was a necessary evil. In short, a firearm meant self-preservation. As I reviewed a modest handful of the Center's 7,000-plus firearms for a project, I discovered some interesting examples--and some compelling stories. I've gathered them into a few categories: Oddities, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, Airguns, Presidents, Famous People (owners, inspired by, etc.), Legends (significant firearms), Art (embellished firearms), and Archaic, some of the oldest firearms in our collection. What can I say? They're #GunBelievable.
Curated by Marguerite House

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This gallery has 70 objects

ODDITIES: English flintlock, pepperbox, "Duck's foot" pistol, ca. 1800. Copy and paste this link for more about this unusual pistol: centerofthewest.org/2014/08/08/treasures-ducks-foot-pistol
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ODDITIES: American Trap Gun or Alarm Gun--also called the "Watermelon Patch Gun," 1860. Copy and paste this link for more: centerofthewest.org/2015/06/03/treasures-from-our-west-watermelon-patch-gun
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ODDITIES: Not a palm pilot, but a palm pistol! Chicago Fire Arms Company Revolving Palm Pistol, "The Protector," .32 cal.
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ODDITIES: Colt all metal Deringer style pistol, .38 caliber, ca. 1860
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ODDITIES: Sharps four barrel pistol, .22 cal., 1854
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ANNIE OAKLEY: Winchester Model 1892 will soon be on its way to the 2017 SHOT show in Las Vegas.
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ANNIE OAKLEY: Ithaca Single Barrel Trap Gun. Copy and paste this link for more about Annie Oakley: centerofthewest.org/2016/06/20/annie-oakley-sharpshooter
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ANNIE OAKLEY: 12-gauge shotgun. Copy and paste this link for more about Annie: centerofthewest.org/2016/02/21/points-west-annie-oakley-shooting-instructor
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ANNIE OAKLEY: Smith & Wesson pistol. Copy and paste this link for more about Annie: centerofthewest.org/2014/08/03/annie-oakley-shoots-history
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BUFFALO BILL: "Lucretia Borgia," William F. Cody's .50 cal. buffalo rifle--or what's left of it. Copy and paste this link for more about Lucretia: centerofthewest.org/2014/08/10/lucretia-hunts-buffalo
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BUFFALO BILL: What Lucretia may have looked like in her younger days.
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BUFFALO BILL: Another of Buffalo Bill's rifles, this one a Winchester 1873. Copy and paste this link for more about this rifle: youtube.com/watch?v=XbGl1jSHNpU
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BUFFALO BILL: Smith & Wesson belonging to Buffalo Bill, 1885.
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BUFFALO BILL: Remington Army revolver, .44 cal., percussion, 1865. Said to have been taken from Yellow Hand (Yellow Hair), July 17, 1876.
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BUFFALO BILL: Pair of Colt Frontier Six Shooters, .44 cal., belonging to Buffalo Bill. Jan. 19, 1875. Ivory handled, nickel plated.
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AIRGUN: The only fully engraved, full coverage, 24K gold inlaid Daisy BB airgun, in the world.
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AIRGUN: 18th Century airgun with ball reservoir. Copy and paste this link to learn more about airguns: centerofthewest.org/2014/10/31/air_guns/
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PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Model 1894 lever action carbine created in 1960 for President Eisenhower.
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PRESIDENT REAGAN: Winchester Model 64 presented to President Ronald Reagan featuring embellishments related to his career as actor, football player, and president, as well as his likeness. Copy and paste this link for a video about this special rifle from one who knows all about it: youtube.com/watch?v=Ak5JsF2JeDU
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PRESIDENT COOLIDGE: Winchester 1894, a gift to President Coolidge in 1927, serial number 1,000,000.
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Wild Bill Hickok's Colt Navy revolver, .36 ca. It was sold to help pay for his burial expenses and later purchased for 25 cents. Copy and paste this link to learn why Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill were often confused: https://centerofthewest.org/2014/12/12/buffalo-bill-and-wild-bill. Enter #12.98,2 to see Thom Ross's painting of "Hickok and Cody."
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Meriwether Lewis? Lukens airgun, may have belonged to Meriwether Lewis. What do you think? Copy and paste this link for more: centerofthewest.org/2014/08/03/treasures-west-lukens-air-rifle
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Zane Grey-Winchester Model 1895 sporting rifle- .30-06, presented to Zane Grey by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. 1924. Copy and paste this link to learn more: centerofthewest.org/2015/10/07/treasures-from-our-west-zane-grey-rifle/
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Samuel Colt's personal cased pair of Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolvers. Copy and paste this link to learn more about Sam Colt: centerofthewest.org/2016/07/28/powder-hour-samuel-colt
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Cassie, Cody brothel owner-This pistol is very much a part of the history of the town of Cody, WY. Cassie was the madame for one of the longest operated bordellos in Cody, 1900-1914
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Mountain man Jeremiah "Liver-Eating" Johnson's Hawken rifle, 1861. Copy and paste this link to learn more: centerofthewest.org/2014/12/19/guns_of_the_week-dec-15-19/
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Eli Whitney-Whitney U.S. Model 1798 U.S. contract musket, Whitneyville Armory, New Haven, Connecticut, 1801-1809. Eli Whitney, Sr., famous for his invention of the cotton gin, contracted to manufacture 100,00 muskets with interchangeable parts. This was the beginning of the idea of mass production in America, but Whitney never succeeded in making his arms interchangeable.
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Henry Ford-Originally built as an exhibition piece, this shotgun was sold to Henry Ford, who in turn presented it to Harvey Firestone. Winchester Model 1887. Copy and paste this link for more: youtube.com/watch?v=PLXlonpcF5Q
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Artist Frederic Remington's "Old Reliable," Sharps Model 1874 rifle, .45 cal. April 6, 1869. Part of original studio collection.
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Artist Frederic Remington had many firearms in his studio collection so that his paintings would be authentic. This is a Kentucky type cap and ball rifle, c. 1840. Stock decorated with brass patchbox on right side, tack and trim.
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Artist Frederic Remington's Springfield 1894 rifle.
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FAMOUS PEOPLE: Ernest Hemingway-The Model 21 was the first break-open, double barrel shotgun ever manufactured by Winchester. This one was made for Hemingway, but never presented. Copy and paste this link for more! youtube.com/watch?v=8s5OvIKnWq0
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LEGENDS: British dragoon pistol, 1746, a typical sidearm used by British mounted troops.
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LEGENDS: The Legendary Lawmen Model 94 Carbine, a 1978 commemorative rifle that paid tribute to such lawmen as Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett, and Wild Bill Hickok.
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LEGENDS: Winchester Model 1873, "1 of 1000." The Center has created a commemorative Model 1873, "the gun that won the West." Find out more by copying and pasting this link: prweb.com/releases/2015/10/prweb13036675.htm
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LEGENDS: Colt Model 1860 Army revolver, the major revolver used in the Civil War. A "rugged and reliable revolver" manufactured until 1873 with more than 200,000 produced. Copy and paste this link to learn more about Sam Colt: centerofthewest.org/2016/07/28/powder-hour-samuel-colt
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LEGENDS: Pair of French flintlock officer's pistols, ca. 1820
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LEGENDS: 1830 French dueling pistols!
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LEGENDS: "Classic" Small Pocket Derringer, dated post-1850.
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LEGENDS: Henry Deringer Percussion Pocket Pistol, .38 cal. with just a 1.5 inch barrel!
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LEGENDS: Colt Model 1873 with inscription, "RUSSELL, MAJORS AND WADDELL ~ /PONY EXPRESS PRESENTATION MODEL, COLT .45 PEACEMAKER, SEPT. 19, 1871. Copy and paste this link for an amazing Pony Express sculpture at the Center of the West: centerofthewest.org/2015/08/18/sculpture-guide-bill-cody-hard-and-fast-all-the-way
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LEGENDS: Smith & Wesson Victory Model revolver, .38 cal., 1943-1944. Copy and paste this link for more: centerofthewest.org/2014/08/17/treasures-west-smith-and-wesson-victory-evolver
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LEGENDS: Colt revolver, .45 cal. single action army. Carved ivory grips with steerhead motif., 1900
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LEGENDS: Muzzleloading percussion Kentucky rifle, 1820-1830.
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LEGENDS: The Colt Paterson revolver, 1838-1840, subsequently issued to Texas Rangers. Copy and paste this link for more about our latest Colt Paterson: centerofthewest.org/2016/06/27/center-receives-texas-colt-paterson-revolver
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LEGENDS: Scottish highland pistol. "R.H.R." marked on the barrel stands for the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, or the Black Watch, led by Lord John Murray. They fought in America in the French and Indian wars and the American Revolution. They were called the Black Watch because of the somberness of their attire. ca. 1770
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LEGENDS: RUGER .44 MAGNUM CAL./ NEW MODEL SUPER LEGENDS: Blackhawk .44 cal- Sturm Ruger & Company Bisley revolver
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LEGENDS: This is a British "Brown Bess" musket, Second Model, 1760.
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LEGENDS: Gatling gun. MADE BY COLT'S PT. FIRE ARMS MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CONN. U.S.A.- Model 1875. .45 cal. Copy and paste this link for more: centerofthewest.org/2015/10/24/treasures-from-our-west-model-1875-gatling-gun
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LEGENDS: Gatling gun. Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Co., Hartford, Connecticut, Model 1883, .45 cal. Protective shield in front.
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ART: German luger with Ray Wielgus's incredible embellishment including gold and ivory.
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ART: Colt Walker Model Revolver, .22 cal., complete with the Wielgus art deco touch. The Center has 37 examples in its Wielgus collection. Copy and paste this link for more about this extraordinary artwork: centerofthewest.org/2014/03/20/art-guns
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ART: This Kentucky rifle is typical of the highly embellished type made for target and sport shooting. 1825
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ART: Colt model 1873 "Frontier" single action Army revolver, engraved, silver plated with mother of pearl grips.
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ART: This Merwin and Hulbert, six-shot, Army Model revolver was made from 1876-1880. Highly engraved.
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ART: Colt Model 1849 Pocket revolver, roll engraved with stagecoach hold-up scene, .31 cal.
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ART: The Moore was the first of the large caliber metallic cartridge deringer-type breech-loading pistols. Moore's Patent Firearms Co., Brooklyn, NY, .41 cal., ca. 1862
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ART: Martini action; free pistol; receiver scroll engraved. GermanUno Anschutz-Zella-Mehlis, 1936-1939, .22 cal.
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ART: Model 1878 double-barrel shotgun, American Arms Co., Boston, MA. Extensively and elegantly engraved with game bird scenes, bird dogs, and fox head. ca. 1878-1883
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ART: Sturm Ruger & Company Bisley .41 caliber revolver, undated
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LEGENDS: Colt Single Action Army Revolver, 1894, the "Peacemaker," Frontier Six-Shooter. and Model 1873. The most famous model of revolver used in the American West.
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LEGENDS: "Old Reliable," Sharps Model 1877, .45
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LEGENDS: Kentucky long rifle, Copy and paste this link for more: centerofthewest.org/2015/07/04/treasures-kentucky-flintlock-long-rifle
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ARCHAIC: English wheelock, 1702-1716
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ARCHAIC: British Flint Dog Lock Musket, .83 cal
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ARCHAIC: Germany sporting rifle, silver- inlay, ivory, walnut, ebony- engraved, .63- .64 cal. The cheek rest is inlaid with a 12-pointed star of ivory and ebony.
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ARCHAIC: Moorish Snaphaunce Lock Musket .59 cal., 1750-1800. Silver engraving with ivory inset.
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ARCHAIC: Italian blunderbuss, 1650-1700. Copy and paste this link to learn more: centerofthewest.org/2015/12/19/treasures-from-our-west-blunderbuss
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ARCHAIC: Japanese matchlock musket, .51 cal., 1650-1750.
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ODDITIES: Colt Model 1878 (Model 1902) double action, also called the Philippine Constabulary Model with an extra large trigger and trigger guard, so that Philippine native police could use the gun easily with their small hands. They could discharge the revolver using both index fingers in a double grip. Others claim this enlarged trigger design was employed in Alaska where firing with gloves was necessitated--somewhat debatable.
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