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those guys did NO practicing, man, and didnt have a clue how to use the gun effectively. Almost nobody did, back then. Bat Masterson and a few others knew to get a trigger job and get the sights zeroed, and that's it. Hell, it took them hundreds of years to figure out that they really ought to use both hands on a pistol, unless they were riding a horse at the time of firing. When ever Elmer Keith was teaching the 2 handed hold, and writing about it, in the 1930's or so, it was HEAVILY resisted for any sort of fast work. It took Jack Weaver's wins of Cooper's early combat shooting matches, using his isometric 2 handed hold, and Jeff's ceaseless preaching about it in the pages of Guns of Guns and Ammo mag to get the message across, and that didn't really "take" until the late 1970's.
 

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Your right the average cowboy probably didn't practice, but your wrong about gunfighters and lawmen. James Butler Hickock shot both his "Navy" .36 Colt's every morning, then cleaned and reloaded them. "Heck "Thomas speaks of himself and his deputies doing "shooting practice" several times a week. Jesse James and his brother Frank not only practiced but tried different pistols to see what suited them the best. You could not even get into the Texas and Arizona Rangers unless you passed a rifle and pistol test. Lawmen and gunfighters, (sometimes the same thing) to good care to be proficient. They may not have used the Weaver stance, but there were an awful lot of bodies laying around anyway. :)
 

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Perhaps Wyatt and his cronies were blessed with unique gunhandling talent that you can only dream of GK.

RIKA
 

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Well, he's right about the cowboys. They did little practicing. Cowboys in real life are not like in westerns. Most couldn't even afford a gun, much less two top-of-the-line six shooters AND a rifle, like they show in the movies. Those that could afford a gun, usually had a used, old gun and rarely carried it around all day, it got in the way, and was way to big of an investment to risk in teh daily rigors of ranch life. Cowboys could not just run out and save the damsel in distress. They made little money, and their work took up the entire day, with back-breaking, very very hard work.
 

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Be this as it may, when a cowboy had to shoot, he knew that his life depended on making that shot. Recall that a hundred or so years ago, the West was similar to Irag. There were no car bombs, but they did have criminals, hostile indians, banditos, and dangerous animals. The fact that many cowboys were pretty decent shots can be seen by the mere fact that they survived.
 

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Not all that much different from today. Hickock prefered the cap-n-ball. No doubt plain black power, caps, and lead balls were much cheeper. I also have no doubt lots of shooters back then use the cap-n-ball for cheep practice and reserved the cartridge guns for real use. Same goes for muzzle loader rifles.

Today you can find the same thing. Many people shoot .22s and 9mm cause the ammo is much cheeper than .40s and .45s.

Of course, there is one here that shoots just about zero.
 

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I think that it is pretty obvious to anyone, even the confused that cowboys knew how to handle firearms! There are many instances between 1866 and 1910 that many had to use their skill to defend themselves against, preditors on 2 legs, 4 legs or those that slithered.
 

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Garand said:
I think that it is pretty obvious to anyone, even the confused that cowboys knew how to handle firearms! There are many instances between 1866 and 1910 that many had to use their skill to defend themselves against, preditors on 2 legs, 4 legs or those that slithered.

Meaning that thousands of hours a year of practice is not needed, nor is the newest or fanciest gear (as the cowboy could not afford either).

Also keep in mind most of a cowboy's "practice" was probably shooting food. I.e. a wary, moving target. You know, those kinds of shots that some think are impossible. . .

Sort of like someone going to the range a couple times a month, maybe once a month, to sling some lead out of their Makarov, rather than 2,000 rounds per weekend out of their $5,000 custom heater?

Kind of also points out that the criminal who is a good shot has always been the exception, and spray 'n' pray is nothing new.
 

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Cowboys regularly carried both handguns and longarms. In fact, one of the main reasons for the fight at the OK corral was the way in whcih the Clantons and company carried their guns - just like the other cowboys of their times - in outside hip holsters. Handguns were not allowed to be worn in Tombstome due to a town regulation. When they were seen entering town they were also seen wearing firearms. many people did wear firearms in Tombstone at the time, and had the at all times concealed under their outer garments.

As far as practice goes, back then as today some people do and others do not. A cowboy could buy ammunition, and also have it reloaded, or he could piss his money away on booze and fast women (maybe not such a bad idea at least for some of a cowboy's money). I find it hard to believe that a box of ammnition for a pistol or a carbine cost 10 percent of a cowboy's pay for any time period by which he was paid. Maybe that is true, I don't know, but I sure would like to know where you came up with that information, could be interesting reading.
 
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