marshall trimble old west shooters gun barrels true west magazine

Did Old West shooters have problems with overheated gun barrels?

James White
Goliad, Texas

“If you are having to resort to combat with your pistol, that would be the least of your worries,” Firearms Editor Phil Spangenberger says.

That’s because the fight would be up close and personal. Regardless of how hot the barrel was, a pistoleer would still hit his target.

Those using rifles wouldn’t have a problem with hot barrels. They took their time to aim at the target, then fired. They also had to reload on a regular basis, giving the rifle a chance to cool.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at

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