Top 10 Famous Guns in Western Cowboy Movies

Top 10 Famous Guns in Western Cowboy Movies

Western movies often tell stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, often centering on the life of a nomadic cowboy or gunfighter. The setting usually often stress the harshness of the wilderness and frequently set the action in an arid, desolate landscape of deserts and mountains. Specific settings include ranches, small frontier towns and saloons of the Wild West. Characters also include Native Americans, bandits, lawmen, outlaws and soldiers. The Western film was particularly popular in the 1930s and the 1950s and 1960s. The American Film Institute defines western films as those “set in the American West that embodies the spirit, the struggle and the demise of the new frontier.” The guns that gone along with the cowboys that had them were just as popular.

The history of Hollywood’s shoot ‘em up movies stretches as far back as cinema itself. The shootout has always been the plot device of choice for action films, westerns and gangster flicks. Some of the most legendary actors have made their names with one-liners famously delivered before firing the first shot. The Gun itself becomes popular as well. A gun fight can define a film, a career and even an entire genre.

Let’s face it, the movie shootout gun battles and quick draws is and always has been an art. The guns, the actors and the authenticity of the action all play a part in creating a crowd-pleasing battle.

We considered breaking these down into categories like “best barroom shootouts” or “best western shootouts,” but it just seems more fun to consider the guns themselves on the Silver Screen.

We ranked the following guns based on a few criterion:

Guns: Were the guns used as much a part of popular culture as the movies themselves?

Notoriety: How firmly is the shootout engrained in shooting lore?

Cool Factor: How eye-poppingly awesome was the shootout?

Authenticity: Was the use of firearms authentic and believable throughout?


This is for all the western movies fans who wondered what the top guns were in what movie. Yes, I know, a true fan would already know. So this is for those who like westerns and are starting to get interested in what these cowboys were carrying in the movies.

10.)      Mauser 1893 Bolt Action- Hell on Earth, Go Tell the Spartans, Ryan’s Daughter, and The Last Samurai.


9.)        Springfield Rifle “Trapdoor”- This gun also had its own movies with Gary Cooper in Springfield Rifle.

8.)        Colt 41- Fort Worth with Gary Cooper, Tall Man Riding, and Ride the High Country.


7.)        The Henry Repeating Rifle (1860)- Was not only in the movie Silverado but also was a partner in Legends of the Fall, True Grit, Dances with Wolves, and How the West was Won.

6.)        Colt Walker (1836) – Considered the most powerful handgun was also filmed alongside Clint Eastwood in his cowboy movies when he wasn’t using his 45.


5.)        The Remington 1866 Derringer- Featured in the movie Silverado and The Magnificent Seven.

4.)        Smith & Wession 45 – This model gun was in quite a few movies, some pretty recent. Unforgiven, Tombstone, 3:10 to Yuma (2007), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.


3.)        Winchester 1892 – This gun starred in quite a few John Wayne movies like the classic 1939 western  Stagecoach and the 1956 film The Searchers. This model gun also starred in another classic The Magnificent Seven. You can get the poncho on our site here:

2.)        Colt 45 – “The Peacemaker” has made an appearance in virtually every western movie. Clint Eastwood favored the Colt 45 in his “spaghetti westerns” High Plains Drifter and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and A Fistful of Dollars. Other films were Ace High, Apache Fury, Ballad of a Gunman, A Coffin for the Sheriff, and The Dirty Outlaws, just to name a few. A replica of this revolver would go perfectly with our replica Clint Eastwood costume.


1.)          Winchester 1873 – “The Gun That Won the West” This model actually had its own movie starring James Stewart in Winchester 73. The Winchester 73 also starred in the John Wayne films Rio Lobo and Rio Grande.

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