Thursday, March 25, 2010


Photo from Chuck Hawks' article on American Double Guns.

Shotguns played as big a role in the West as did rifles and sixguns. At the saloon, you could figure the barkeep had a scattergun behind the counter. More than one lawman carried a sawed-off shotgun as well as a pistol. Doc Holiday used a shotgun in the gunfight at OK corral. Wells Fargo had shotgun riders on every stagecoach carrying a strongbox. The list goes on.

Although Colt made a revolving shotgun in the pre-Civil War days, the side-by-side type were most often seen. In Appaloosa and Resolution (haven't read Brimstone yet), Everett Hitch carries an 8-gauge shotgun. The monster Vigo carried in the movie may well have been a W.W. Greener. The reason I think so is that certain Greeners cocked when the breech was broken to eject the spent shells and reload. It seemed when Vigo snapped the 8-gauge shut, there were no hammers to pull. Am I right?

The photo above is a Winchester 21, one of the fine American shotguns and a favorite. Other well-known scatterguns included Parker, A.J. Fox, Ithaca, LeFever, and L. C. Smith brands.

Where I tend to have my characters carry Greeners because I like the sound of the name, it might as well be an Ithaca or a Smith. I'll have to think about that.


  1. Hi Charlie,
    I'm digging your blog--lots of great information and it's a fun read, too!


  2. So how common (or not) was it for them be cut down like Johnny Yuma's?

  3. Most sawed-off shotguns were used by stagecoach guards. Their barrels were about 18 inches long, and were often called "coach guns." After 1898, coach guns with 18" barrels were made at the shotgun factories rather than the owner butchering the barrels off him/herself.