Cowboy guns are more popular than ever before. Be it the plethora of cowboy movies out there, the books about the wild west, or simply the cowboy action shooting movement, either if not all of them made sure that these guns stay with us until today and for the coming years.
If you are looking to get one or some of these beauties by yourself, here you get an idea of what to go for. Here we have the coolest cowboy guns that you can find on the market right now.
The Colt Single Action Army is by far the coolest cowboy gun you can find. This is actually the Cowboy Gun as it has been in production since 1873, since the days of the old wild west. While there were some breaks, it was not produced from 1941-1956 and 1974-1976, it was always brought back due to popular demand.
Designed in 1872, it is still produced like the original with only very minimal changes. There are no new safety features or attachment points for optics or such. What did change is its metallurgy. Made for black powder, it had to be adapted to withstand the higher pressures of smokeless powder.
This gun is also known as the Colt SAA, Colt Model P, Peacemaker, or Colt M1873. Also, there is a range of variants which also come with their own names. Made for the US government as a service revolver it became the standard issued pistol of the US Army and served as such from 1873 all the way to 1892.
Sold on the civilian market, it was chambered in 30 different calibers with various barrel length. Today, you mostly get it in .45LC. When you see a cowboy wielding a revolver in one of the countless western movies, chances are, that you see a Colt Single Action Army. The original barrel length was 7.5 inches, and you can find it with such today, but you can get it also with a 5.5 or 4.75-inch barrel. All in all, around half a million of these iconic firearms have been made.
Until today, it is a single action revolver, as the name implies. That means, you have to cock the hammer with your hand before you can pull the trigger. Just pulling the trigger without a cocked hammer will not get you anything.
Also, it is interesting to know that it does come with 6 chambers in the cylinder, but you should load only 5. There is no transfer bar or similar safety. This means, the hammer rests on something. If you are wise, you leave one chamber empty and take care that it rests exactly on that chamber. Otherwise, if you load 6 rounds or do not take care to get the empty chamber where it should be, you rest the hammer on a life round. Any hit to the back of the hammer will set off the round with a lot of potential to hurt you.
To load the gun, you have put the hammer on half cock and open the loading gate on the right-hand side behind the cylinder. Then you use the ejector rod to eject one case after another. Once empty, you can put a new round into each chamber. All the while, you rotate the cylinder step by step to place the chamber under the loading gate. That is a long process, but that is how the cowboys did it.
While this gun gets you as close to an original wild west gun as it gets, there are downsides to consider. First, do not forget the empty chamber under the hammer. Second, you have to make sure that the model you fire was made roughly after the year 1900 to make sure it can withstand smokeless powder. All early versions can be fired safely only with black powder. Third, and most importantly, these guns are not cheap. Representing the history of a great country, it might be worth your money, but if you are on a budget, and you do not want to wait too long, you might have to look for other solutions.
The Ruger Vaquero was the answer to the limited availability and high price of the Colt Single Action Army. It is a much more affordable and simpler gun that does bring some modern features into a wild west weapon.
On the first look, it does look strikingly similar to Colt`s Single Action Army. It is also a 6-shooter, and it is a single action revolver. That means, here too you have to cock the hammer before the trigger can get you any bang. However, how the hammer works is different. In fact, the Ruger Vaquero comes with a transfer bar. That means, if you lower the hammer on a life round, you pull the trigger slightly while holding the hammer with your thumb. Let go of the trigger and lower the hammer slowly. The transfer bar will disengage, and the hammer can rest safely on the gun. Even if you strike it, it will not set off the round in the chamber. That means, you can load the cylinder with 6 rounds without the risk of a discharge.
Being otherwise made like a gun of the Wild West, the Vaquero is loaded in a similar way. You have a loading gate on the right-hand side. You need to open it to eject the empty cases one by one using the ejector rod and to load the chambers, again one by one. However, you do not have to put the hammer on half-cock.
The Cowboy Action Shooting movement made for the appearance of the Ruger Vaquero in 1993, and has kept it with us ever since. While .357 Magnum is the most common chambering which also allows for loading .38 Special, there are other calibers available. Those include of course .45LC as well as .44 Magnum and .44-40 Winchester.
The Chiappa 1873 Regulator is based on the Colt Single Action Army, but it is a modern gun with modern features. It does try to pass as a Wild West gun with its look, but it does come with a transfer bar safety. Also, more importantly, it has an aluminum frame. This makes it lighter but also definitely not Wild West. It is available with a 4.75-inch barrel, and it is chambered for .38 Special. While this is not necessarily a hard hitting round, in Cowboy Action Shooting, it is speed that matters. The light recoil of .38 Special does help with that.
7. Cimarron Texas Ranger Laser Engraved Frontier
The Cimarron Texas Ranger Engraved Model P comes with a 4.75-inch barrel and is chambered for .45LC. This gets you the original round and original feel. It is nickel plated and sports laser engravings. Also, it features poly-ivory grips with the Texas Ranger insignia.
This gun is made to honor the vigilance and service of the Texas Rangers. For that, Cimarron partnered with the Texas Rangers Museum. Across the ejector rod, you can read the immortal phrase “One Riot, One Ranger”. While the price of this gun is not necessarily low, it is justified as a part of the profit is donated to the Texas Ranger Heritage Center in Fredericksburg, Texas.
6. Pietta 1851 Captain Schaeffer
This is the snub nose version of a cap and ball revolver. With its small size, it did appeal to quite the law enforcement of its time. Also, the military had an eye on it. Now, it is available with a steel frame. On the cylinder, you see a depiction of the victory of the Texas Navy over the navy of Mexico. It shoots .36 caliber bullets and has a barrel length of 4 inches.
5. Rossi Stagecoach Hammer 12 ga. Double Barrel Shotgun
The Rossi Stagecoach Hammer is a double barrel side by side shotgun. It comes with external hammers that you have to cock separately. That brings you two advantages. First, it is easy to break open and close as you do not cock the hammer simultaneously. Second, you can load it and leave it as it is. Once you need it, you simply cock the hammers and you are good to go.
Also, as a side-by-side shotgun, it comes with 2 triggers. That allows you to either shoot the left or the right barrel or both barrels at the same time. As a true stagecoach shotgun, it is very compact, and it can be taken apart and put together in mere seconds. This makes it ideal for a backpack. Take it apart and stow it without wasting too much space. Put it together when you need more firepower and you are good to go. For CQB, this is the ultimate gun, and as a cool cowboy gun, that is as cool as it gets for shotguns.
The Stoeger Coach Gun is different from the Rossi as it does not feature external hammers. Instead, you cock it while using the action making this part harder while you do save the time for cocking the hammers. Also, as you cock it automatically while loading, you cannot keep it loaded but not cocked.
It also features a 20-inch barrel and is rather compact. You can find it with either 1 trigger or 2 triggers. With 1 trigger, it will shoot one barrel after another when you pull it 2 times. For the 2 triggers, you can choose which barrel to shoot, and you can fire both at the same time.
It is available in different chamberings. Also, it is available with A-grade walnut or black-finished walnut furniture.
3. EMF 1878 Hartford Coach Gun
The EMF 1878 Hartford Coach Gun is another double-barreled side by side shotgun. As a coach gun, it is compact, and this one come with external hammers and double triggers. This way, it is easy to work the break action, and you can keep it loaded without it being cocked. Also, you can choose which barrel you fire, or if you shoot both at the same time. It is available in 12 gauge.
2. Cimaroon 1876 Centennial “Tom Horn” Rifle
Inspired by the film “Tom Horn”, this is what you could call a sniper rifle of the Wild West. It is very accurate, and chambered in .45-60, you get some decent range with it. Cimarron took this model and personalized it representing the figure of Tom Horn. It comes with a blued barrel and receiver, and a “Stock Detective`s” signature engraved on the side plate.
1. Cimarron 1876 Texas Ranger “Presidio” Short Rifle
If you look for something from the wild west with much more power, the Cimarron 1876 Texas Ranger “Presidio” Short rifle is your pick. It is chambered in .50-95 and sports a 20-inch octagonal barrel. On its side plate is a Spanish phrase engraved that translates as “For the death of the devils”.
There you have it guys, some of the coolest cowboy guns you can get. If you think there are some more that deserve to be on this list, let us know in the comments, and tell us, what makes them so great.