The Guns of Laredo … Part 2 … the Handguns

6 Jan

Bob Dylan

Streets of Laredo contains most your standard Western gunfare: Yer Colt 45, Yer Winchester ’73, and Yer double barrel shotgun ….

But it also has 2 unique weapons – plus another that’s fairly uncommon.

I was not able to locate any resources that specifically itemized the Guns in Streets of Laredo. It took considerable detective work to discover the identity of at least 2 of the firearms. A Thank You goes to my brother Richard who identified the mysterious and unusual shotgun carried by Charles Martin Smith.

The Handguns:

Most of the main characters use handguns at some point Streets of Laredo – including Sissy Spacek and Sonja Baca.
The handgun of choice appears to be the famous Colt 45 – either long or short barrel.

streets of laredo GUNS

streets of laredo Alexis Cruz with Colt

Alexis Cruz

streets of laredo Sonja Baca with Colt

Sonja Baca

streets of laredo Ned Beatty with Colt

Ned Beatty

A Colt Refused

Near the beginning Episode 1 (of 3) of Streets of Laredo, James Garner (Captain Woodrow Call) is offered a pearl handled Colt by his employer – which he refuses – upon advice there may ‘strings attached’.

streets of laredo colt in a case

 Uncommon Gun Number One

Smith and Wesson top loading handgun

Randy Quaid, who plays the very surly John Wesley Hardin in Streets of Laredo, brandishes a nickel plated handgun that looks almost too grand to be a ‘shootin’ iron’ of the Old West.
But there it is. This gun was not easy to for me to identify and I’m still not certain I have it right, but I’m going with a:

Smith & Wesson Schofield 

Subsequent editions of a successful weapon design often remain or appear almost identical to the original – even over years of production – with only minor refinements. Or can be copied by other Manufacturers.
In other words, they aren’t easy to identify. So this is just a guess on my part.

Randy Quaid with Smith and Wesson

Randy Quaid

Top Breaking handguns.

When you consider that the ‘top breaking’ feature (similar to double barrel shotgun) of this handgun appears to be make loading and unloading quicker and easier, you’d think they would have been more popular, but it seems the side loading style of the Colts was more common. I do not know who originally invented this design, but it was clearly used by other manufacturers as well – including Colt.

Randy Quaid with Smith and Wesson 2

Next:

The Guns of Laredo … Part 3 … the Rifles

6 Responses to “The Guns of Laredo … Part 2 … the Handguns”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    So the longer barrel makes it more accurate? Increases the range? Both? Just wondering.

    • jcalberta January 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      Excellent question. Yes a longer barrel is usually more accurate. (Unless I’m shooting). But ‘rifling’ was the big breakthrough – grooves inside the barrel that made the projectile (bullet) spin – thus improving accuracy and range/distance.

      • Marilyn Armstrong January 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

        See? You can learn something by watching crime shows on TV 🙂

  2. Richard Clayton January 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Looks like Smith & Wesson developed the prototype and others copied the design. This is from Wikipedia.

    The Schofield revolver (a variant of the Smith & Wesson Model 3) was patented in the USA on 20 June 1871 and 22 April 1873 by Smith and Wesson. It was a Smith and Wesson Model 3 that was modified by Major George Schofield to make it easier for a cavalryman to reload while riding. While the Colt 45 had more power, the speed at which a cavalryman could reload a Schofield was less than 30 seconds, half of the time for a Colt 45. By 1879, the U. S. Army had purchased 8,285 of the revolvers. Due to its lesser power and recoil compared to the Colt .45, it became the standard cartridge of the Army, though the Colt 1873 still was the main issue side arm of the Army.

    The .45 Schofield cartridge was shorter than the .45 Long Colt. It could be used in both the Schofield and the Colt 45 Peacemaker, but the .45 Long Colt was too long to use in the Schofield. As a result, by the 1880s the army finally standardized on a .45 cartridge designed to fire in both revolvers, the M1887 Military Ball Cartridge. The M1887 was made at Frankford Arsenal, and was issued only to the military. It had a shortened case and reduced rim; as it was short enough to fit the Schofield, and its rim was not needed for the rod-ejector Single Action Army, the M1887 would fire and eject from both revolvers.

    The Schofield was quite a popular handgun in the old west, and may have been used by General Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.[1]

  3. billjc660 April 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    The pistol used by Randy Quaid is a Smith&Wesson 3rd model. The reason these guns eere not more popular was because they tended to blow apart in your hands. The locking mech was very weak.

    • jcalberta April 16, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks Bill … I know damn little about guns so that’s useful info.

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