Hey how are you doing today?
Western writer, Dusty Richards here with a little trivia on frontier arms.
The Henry rifle, the first repeating firearm ever developed, came out in 1860. Interesting, it did not have a stock on the front. It came in .44 caliber rim fire cartridge. Center fire ammo was not available until 1872.
The first model had a spring-loaded tube that you filled from the top end of the barrel. The next model was the side loading kind found on that rifle’s descendants made today. It also had a stock to hold it up in front that the first one lacked. Number two also bore the Winchester name.
The U.S. Government bought about 10,000 of the first ones but few were given to soldiers in the Civil War. They shot too many bullets. Black powder and lead balls in muskets were much cheaper and the US Congress was very out spoken about the matter.
They also hated the Gatling guns, those revolving first machine guns.
People out west later enjoyed the benefits of the repeating gun fighting Indians and outlaws. It was said most of the Indians at the Little Big Horn Battle had repeating rifles. The Seventh Cavalry had single shot Springfield rifles. No wonder the Indians won.
Oh collectors say in mint condition one of the original Henry rifles was worth over $100,00 today. These guns working parts were made of brass and over 750 rounds fired through them they were worn out according to gunsmiths of the time.
Until next time, keep your powder dry.
See you down the trail partner!