Monday, January 3, 2011

A Little Gun History...!

Many times we may overlook some of the important or interesting things in history, just because we don't realize just when they occurred!

In this case, I wanted to remind all the gun enthusiast out there of an important event in gun history! This story involves around a gentleman you may have heard of...going by the name of Samuel Colt!

Jan 4, 1847:
Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government

Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers.

Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of either the American West or the nation as a whole. Expensive and inaccurate, short-barreled handguns were impractical for the majority of Americans, though a handful of elite still insisted on using dueling pistols to solve disputes in highly formalized combat. When choosing a practical weapon for self-defense and close-quarter fighting, most Americans preferred knives, and western pioneers especially favored the deadly and versatile Bowie knife.

That began to change when Samuel Colt patented his percussion-repeating revolver in 1836. The heart of Colt's invention was a mechanism that combined a single rifled barrel with a revolving chamber that held five or six shots. When the weapon was cocked for firing, the chamber revolved automatically to bring the next shot into line with the barrel.

Though still far less accurate than a well-made hunting rifle, the Colt revolver could be aimed with reasonable precision at a short distance (30 to 40 yards in the hands of an expert), because the interior bore was "rifled"--cut with a series of grooves spiraling down its length. The spiral grooves caused the slug to spin rapidly as it left the barrel, giving it gyroscopic stability. The five or six-shoot capacity also made accuracy less important, since a missed shot could quickly be followed with others.

Yet most cowboys, gamblers, and gunslingers could never have afforded such a revolver if not for the de facto subsidy the federal government provided to Colt by purchasing his revolvers in such great quantities. After the first batch of revolvers proved popular with soldiers, the federal government became one of Colt's biggest customers, providing him with the much-needed capital to improve his production facilities. With the help of Eli Whitney and other inventors, Colt developed a system of mass production and interchangeable parts for his pistols that greatly lowered their cost.

Though never cheap, by the early 1850s, Colt revolvers were inexpensive enough to be a favorite with Americans headed westward during the California Gold Rush. Between 1850 and 1860, Colt sold 170,000 of his "pocket" revolvers and 98,000 "belt" revolvers, mostly to civilians looking for a powerful and effective means of self-defense in the Wild West.

I think that most of us that are a little familiar with hand guns know what an important influence the Colt revolver had on the history of the American West. Because of it's enduring and substantial contribution to our history, I felt that the introduction of this gun should be remembered!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! Too chilly to sit outside!


Ben in Texas said...

"God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal," originated as advertising slogan for Colt Manufactuting.

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Friend,
Very interesting story indeed. I know he made the gun but not all the story.
Temps are a little better it is 31 this morning and should have a high of 65. Now that I can handle. But sitting in your kitchen sounds grand.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Thank you Samuel Cold.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
I remember that saying from some where!

Pretty important introduction of a weapon to our history!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
I'm glad your temps are climbing a little bit.

Seems like the older I get, the more I feel the cold! Guess that's how it goes, huh?

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Hey Dizzy...
I think that his invention came to the public just in time! I mean, how else could we have killed each other so effectively?

Seriously, Colt and Remington (and many others) provided a great equalizer to us and you're right...thanks are in order!

Thanks for coming by today!

Marjie said...

I'm pretty sure Mr. Colt's workshop was within 5 miles of where my dearly beloved grew up. (It could have been Eli Whitney's workshop, I get confused). Colt's interchangeable parts were a brilliant innovation in manufacturing, no question of that!

HermitJim said...

Hey Marjie...
Combined with the conversion to an assembly line set-up, he was sure a force to reckon with!

So many things we take for granted now were mind blowing at the time, I'm sure!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

tffnguy said...

Think they were expensive back then I hear they are VERY expensive today. ;) Wish I could afford one.

HermitJim said...

Hey tffguy...
From what I understand, a well worn one runs between 2 and 3 thousand.

Of course, if you could ever find one in pristine condition...WOW!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!