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.