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Thread: Wild West Myth - Debunked

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    I just completed a little experiment today.

    We've all heard the anti-gunners whine that "There'll be gunfights in the streets again, it will be the old "Wild Wild West all over again", right? Well, Idecided to prove a theory I have on that. I have a US Firearms "Rebel" .45 cal (Long Colt) SA six shooter w/5.5 inch barrel)that is a clone of the old Colt .45 patended back in 1877. For target practice I use the 225-250 grn Cowboy Rounds (CR) since they are cheaper. Now for those of you that don't know, the CR round is loaded with the same amount of powder as was used back in the era of the "old West". They have quite a bit of recoil, far more than what we see in the movies. Recently, I purchased a box of JHP with the intent of using them as a defensive carry round. I expected them to have more power since they were NOT CR's, but I was surprised as to just how much. The dang gun almost twisted out of my hand. :shock:The CR's are hard enough to hang on to, but this was too much. I also tried fanning off a few rounds with the CR's. Bad idea! I got the hide ripped in the heal of my hand by the bottom of the back strap of the handle, not to mention that I didn't get anywhere's close to the sillawette target I was shooting at that was only 15 ft away.

    I thought to myself........."There ain't no way that anyone could have done what we see in the movies". I can't remember seeing any recoil of the six shooters in the westerns I've seen. Lots of muzzle flash and smoke, but no recoil. AH, they were using blanks. So I set out to test my theory.

    First I looked around for blank cartidges to no avail. Then it dawned on me I can make my own, by extracting the bullets from the ammo I had and replacing them with cotton wads. I started with a few of the CR's. Pulled the bullets, lieving the powder and stuffing a wad of cotten into the casing so the powder wouldn't fall out. Went outside for testing.

    The discharges sounded like a toy capgun going off with absolutely no recoil, little if any muzzle flash or smoke. Well that surely wouldn't do for the movies, at least not visually. (Sound can be redubbed in editing )

    Back to the workbench.

    I tried the same test with one of the JHP cartidges, with no noticable difference.

    OK, in order to replicate the visual effect (and maybe the sound) I tried increasing the powder load by pulling the projectile from three cardridges and pouring all the powder into one casing and applying the cotton wad.
    Results:
    LOUD bang close to that of the live ball JHP round.
    Lots of muzzle flash - sort of like that chromed monster Dirty Harry carried.
    Recoil: OK i wasn't prepared for the loud bang and I jumped, but the best I could tell, the recoil was about like that of shooting a Colt Frontier Scout .22 magnum.

    Went back to the work bench and tried redoing a few cartridges with only 2x powder loads.
    Results:
    Sounded like a .38 going off.
    muzzle flash and smoke looked more like the movies (black pwder would make more smoke)
    Recoil - Felt like shooting .22LR, maybe a bit less.

    Conclusion:
    The movies don't match reality at all. (I think we all knew that already, right?) I can fan a .22 SA six shooter and control it well enough to place 5 out of 6 rounds somewhere in a torsue @ 30ft, but I don't believe I could every do it with this .45 I have. And after getting bit once already from such foolishness I'm not going to try, either.

    The fact is, most of what we see donein the movies with handguns simply isn't possible, largely due to the recoil. And I doubt that folks were accustom to doing as much target practice as we do today.


    Now, what I want to do make a video recording of the demonstration. Anyone in my area with handguns of the "Wild West" erawant to participate? I think such a video demonstration might dispell some of the myths about "shootouts in the streets" of the old "wild West".

    BTW, I've noticed that the semi-autos used in movies/TV don't have realistic recoil either. Like.....almost none.


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    Task Force 16 wrote:
    BTW, I've noticed that the semi-autos used in movies/TV don't have realistic recoil either. Like.....almost none.


    Have you seen Hitman?



    I lol'd at the whole experiement. Interesting, but man you have way too much free time.

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    AWDstylez wrote:
    Task Force 16 wrote:
    BTW, I've noticed that the semi-autos used in movies/TV don't have realistic recoil either. Like.....almost none.


    Have you seen Hitman?



    I lol'd at the whole experiement. Interesting, but man you have way too much free time.
    No, can't say that I have seen "The Hitman".

    So, You find my presentation humorous? Thank you, I try.


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    Task Force 16 wrote:
    AWDstylez wrote:
    Task Force 16 wrote:
    BTW, I've noticed that the semi-autos used in movies/TV don't have realistic recoil either. Like.....almost none.


    Have you seen Hitman?



    I lol'd at the whole experiement. Interesting, but man you have way too much free time.
    No, can't say that I have seen "The Hitman".

    So, You find my presentation humorous? Thank you, I try.



    It sucks in youtube quality, but it's one of the best shootout scenes in any movie I've seen. Every shot taken in that movie had realistic recoil.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-xuRg_KMeE


    This part is good too... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ey3ETgUO8w

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    I do find it funny that anyone would even suggest or try to prove or disprove the "Old West" shown in the movies. Why not try to see if a car going off a cliff will explode before it hit the ground or even when it hits the ground. How about the building blowing up and the hero escapes just in time only to be thrown 500' by the explosion and the only scratch is covered by a band-aid on his forehead. Better yet the A-Team getting shot at with 5,000 rounds, the car rolling over three times and everyone walks away without a scratch.

    I have just about quit watching movies due to the stupidity of the plots behind most of them or the idiotic special effects and social statements. If you are going to make a movie about something either make it real or enertainment, don't try to mix the two. The only movie in quite a while that I really enjoyed was "Men in BlacK". pure entertainment, whereas "Independence Day" sucked. As a child I watched Marshall Dillon draw against the BG every week and the BG always drew first and shot first but never hit Marshall Dillon.

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    While humorous, I hardly see how this disproves the myth of old west gun fights. The fact is that historians are now fairly universal in the view that gun fights were rather rare, and that they never involved two guys standing in the street facing each other. I suppose that you might be able to show people that real guns react in ways that would actually prevent gun fights from happening the way a lot of folks think they happen, but even that does not disprove the myth of a high number of gunfights in the old west.

    Interestingly, according to research done by John Lott and others, when adjusted for population, there are more gunfights in Washington DC in a year now, then there were in ANY old west town in the 1800's.

    Regards
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
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    For some help with your experiment and some good ideas on how to make your loads, check out the Single Action Shooters Society (http://www.sassnet.com/). These guys are 'cowboy action shooters' and everything is done with period correct everything!
    Otherwise I am with the historians on disproving the 'Wild West Shootouts'... They just didn't happen! Most 'revenge shootings' were shot in the back! Nobody wanted to risk getting shot first! The british were the ones that were stupid enough to 'pace off' and 'duel'...

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    PT111 wrote:
    I do find it funny that anyone would even suggest or try to prove or disprove the "Old West" shown in the movies. Why not try to see if a car going off a cliff will explode before it hit the ground or even when it hits the ground. How about the building blowing up and the hero escapes just in time only to be thrown 500' by the explosion and the only scratch is covered by a band-aid on his forehead. Better yet the A-Team getting shot at with 5,000 rounds, the car rolling over three times and everyone walks away without a scratch.

    I have just about quit watching movies due to the stupidity of the plots behind most of them or the idiotic special effects and social statements. If you are going to make a movie about something either make it real or enertainment, don't try to mix the two. The only movie in quite a while that I really enjoyed was "Men in BlacK". pure entertainment, whereas "Independence Day" sucked. As a child I watched Marshall Dillon draw against the BG every week and the BG always drew first and shot first but never hit Marshall Dillon.
    Deputy US Marshall Dillon should serve as a model for every LEO who wears a badge today. He was tough, fair, compassionate and respected.

    Wyatt Earp never sustained a single gunshot wound.
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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    Hawkflyer wrote:
    While humorous, I hardly see how this disproves the myth of old west gun fights. The fact is that historians are now fairly universal in the view that gun fights were rather rare, and that they never involved two guys standing in the street facing each other. I suppose that you might be able to show people that real guns react in ways that would actually prevent gun fights from happening the way a lot of folks think they happen, but even that does not disprove the myth of a high number of gunfights in the old west.

    Interestingly, according to research done by John Lott and others, when adjusted for population, there are more gunfights in Washington DC in a year now, then there were in ANY old west town in the 1800's.

    Regards
    I know that historians have reported that gun fights were rare. I was interested in showing the technical reasons guns fights, as portrayed in movies, could not have occured. Most of the openly carried handguns of that period were in .41, .44, and .45 cal SA. Many still carried ball and cap that take awhile to reload, unless they had extra cylinders preloaded in their pockets.

    My idea was to create a visual aid for those sheeple that might still be on the fence, to help them draw the same conclusion that we have, that the old "Wild West" was not about gun fights in the streets.

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    Task Force 16 wrote:
    I thought to myself........."There ain't no way that anyone could have done what we see in the movies". I can't remember seeing any recoil of the six shooters in the westerns I've seen. no recoil, little if any muzzle flash or smoke. Well that surely wouldn't do for the movies, at least not visually. (Sound can be redubbed in editing )

    The only movie I have seen with realistic recoil is the movie Tombstone. You notice obvious muzzle flip during the shooting scenes. Collateral may be another one.
    Peace through superior firepower

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    I like Shoot em' Up better than the Hitman.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qJaADSMkzY

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    Shoot Em Up was a fun movie. If you ignore the near superhuman accuracy of the hero, most of the firearms seemed to obey the laws of physics as we know them. Well ok, perhaps not, but they did come closer to real than anything else.

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    Flintlock wrote:
    Task Force 16 wrote:
    I thought to myself........."There ain't no way that anyone could have done what we see in the movies". I can't remember seeing any recoil of the six shooters in the westerns I've seen. no recoil, little if any muzzle flash or smoke. Well that surely wouldn't do for the movies, at least not visually. (Sound can be redubbed in editing )

    The only movie I have seen with realistic recoil is the movie Tombstone. You notice obvious muzzle flip during the shooting scenes. Collateral may be another one.
    The .454 Casull in Alien Nation had a fairly accurate recoil.
    "Research has shown that a 230 grain lead pellet placed just behind the ear at 850 FPS results in a permanent cure for violent criminal behavior."
    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    I couldn't stand the smug tone of Shoot 'Em Up. Not to mention that describing the anti-gun propaganda as "in your face" would be a laughable understatement. I gave it a solid "F", which is rare because I consider it a semi-vocational obligation to find redeeming qualities in every film (if indeed any exist).

    At any rate, in response to TF16:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AJzv8gb2A
    :P

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    marshaul wrote:
    At any rate, in response to TF16:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AJzv8gb2A
    :P
    I'd like to see him try that with live ball ammo. You do realize that he was using blanks in his demonstration, don't you? And using blanks to shoot balloons is like shooting a sawed off shotgun, with less range.

    My point is, that due to lack of recoil, the six shooters are easy to handle when they're loaded with blanks. Put live ball in them and you have a hand full of bear that is tough tohang on to.

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was the person who made the comment to that effect, seeing as nobody seemed to have mentioned that. I was trying to give you a hard time.

    Edit: notice the user name and time of the comment. :P

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    I like both the movies "Tombstone" and "Wyatt Earp". Truth is as some of you know 1. There were rarely any gunfights at "High Noon" and most of the weapons that were being used at the time were Civil War leftovers or blackpowder loads. Up until the OK corral gunfight, which of course didn't take place IN the OK corral but a side lot, Wyatt Earp had only killed one man. Afterwards He and the boys did clear out "The Cowboys"
    ‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ Thomas Jefferson

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    Truth is as some of you know 1. There were rarely any gunfights at "High Noon" and most of the weapons that were being used at the time were Civil War leftovers or blackpowder loads.
    Wait a minute!:what:

    Are you saying that in the old west:

    1. that the blood didn't flow in the streets from all of the gunfights, and

    2. that there were not just military style arms, but actual military arms in common use by the average person?

    That isn't what they say on the tv news.:shock:



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    Regular Member KansasMustang's Avatar
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    It's the God's honest truth man. It was actually a very polite society. Course there were killings and such, but truth is it had a lower crime rate than Chicago and DC today. And also the truth is, that per capita there are less homicides in Iraq than DC and Chicago right now, maybe we should pull out of those places?
    ‘‘Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.’’ Thomas Jefferson

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    Course there were killings and such, but truth is it had a lower crime rate than Chicago and DC today.
    Having 1/500,000 of the population might have something to do with that... just a thought.



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    AWDstylez wrote:
    KansasMustang wrote:
    Course there were killings and such, but truth is it had a lower crime rate than Chicago and DC today.
    Having 1/500,000 of the population might have something to do with that... just a thought.


    Crime RATE, not absolute number of incidents. Rates are compensated for population differentials.


    Population of theUS in 1875 about 44 million. about 1/6 of today.


    Regards

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    "If you are not getting Flak, you are not over the target"
    "186,000 Miles per second! ... Not just a good idea ... It's the law!"

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    I loved the movie Tombstone, but I hated the glorification of this gun-grabbing puke Earp. The whole gunfight was caused because he and his badged gang wereenforcing a gun banin town. The movie, like most Wyatt Earp stories,protrays the Clanton gang as bad guys, and they probably were in real life. But gun bans are gun bans. It's like the Clantons were Plaxico and Earp is Bloomberg. You can't justify either one.

    Still, though, it's an great fun movie to watch. (The Kurt Russel version, of course, not the boring, self-centered Kevin Costner Show version).

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    KansasMustang wrote:
    It's the God's honest truth man. It was actually a very polite society. Course there were killings and such, but truth is it had a lower crime rate than Chicago and DC today. And also the truth is, that per capita there are less homicides in Iraq than DC and Chicago right now, maybe we should pull out of those places?
    Could that be partly because people were raised with a little more respect back then, as well asthe fact that if you stepped over the line you would end up hanging from one?:celebrate

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    Gordie wrote:
    KansasMustang wrote:
    It's the God's honest truth man. It was actually a very polite society. Course there were killings and such, but truth is it had a lower crime rate than Chicago and DC today. And also the truth is, that per capita there are less homicides in Iraq than DC and Chicago right now, maybe we should pull out of those places?
    Could that be partly because people were raised with a little more respect back then, as well asthe fact that if you stepped over the line you would end up hanging from one?:celebrate
    I believe Gordie has a good point. Folks were raised to be respectful of others more so than today. Today it seems that respect has become a oneway street, in that some people feel that they are suppose to be respected without reciprocation. That simply doesn't work very well.

    They were also taught to have self-respect. Out welfare system has done more to undermine self-respect in a large segment of our society than anything else. In the old days, before there was a welfare program, people took pride in providing for themselves and their families. If they could keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and clothes on their backs, without anyones help they felt they were doing good. Having to take a handout to survive was hurtful to their pride (that is if they had any).

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