How Much Do You Know About Old Guns?

Isadora Teich

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Classic American guns won the West and turned the tide of American history, but how well do you know them? Test your old gun savvy with this HowStuffWorks quiz!

Breech-loading guns are:

A breech-loading gun refers to a firearm where the shell or cartridge is loaded directly into a chamber integral to a portion of the gun. While these have existed since the 14th century, they became much more precise in the 19th century.

Who founded the Smith & Wesson Company?

Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson founded the Smith & Wesson Company in 1852. They founded it in Norwich, Connecticut.

The Smith & Wesson Model 1 was the ___________ firearm manufactured by Smith & Wesson.

The Smith & Wesson Model 1 was the first firearm manufactured by Smith & Wesson. In production from 1857-1882, it was the first commercially successful revolver to use rimfire cartridges rather than loose powder.

What was the earliest model of firearms called in the U.S.?

Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson, who had formed the Smith & Wesson Company, formed the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company in 1855. This company developed the Volcanic Rifle in 1852.

Was the Sharps rifle popular?

These guns were produced between 1848-1881, and known for their use in the American Civil War and as an icon of the Old West. Over 120,000 were manufactured.

Which of these guns came out first?

The Burnside Carbine was a US rifle that became available in 1857. It was designed and patented by Ambrose Burnside and more than 100,000 were made between 1858-1870.

Were Volition Repeating Rifles popular?

While the original 1848 Volition Repeating Rifle was a revolutionary step forward for the American rifle, it was flawed. Only prototypes were ever made and it's thought that less than 2000 of these guns were ever created.

Who made the revolver a commercial success for the first time?

Samuel Colt founded Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company and made millions of the commercial production of the revolver. His company was an Industrial Revolution pioneer and one of the first to use an assembly line.

Who invented the bored-through revolver cylinder?

Rollin White was a gunsmith who originally worked for Samuel Colt. He invented the bored-through revolver cylinder, which allowed metallic cartridges to be loaded from the rear of a revolver's cylinder for the first time.

Who was the first gun manufacturer in America?

Remington Arms Company, LLC was founded in 1816. It is the oldest factory in America which still makes its original product.

Before gun manufacturers mass-produced guns and made them affordable and accessible, how did many farmers get guns?

America's oldest gun company, The Remington Company, was founded in rural New York by Eliphalet Remington and his father, a blacksmith, who believed that they could build a better gun than they could buy. They started with the idea of manufacturing barrels, as locals would often buy barrels and then build their own guns using them.

The Colt Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber has been used in which wars?

Designed by Samuel Colt, over 270,000 of these guns were built between 1850-1870. They were used around the world in various wars, uprisings, and rebellions.

What makes a flintlock pistol a flintlock?

Flintlock is a general term which describes any firearm that has a flint striking ignition mechanism. These guns were common for centuries before eventually being replaced by cartridge-based guns in the 1800s.

What problem did inventors in the 1800s face when it came to making guns?

Inventors wanted modern guns to not only fire but for the spent cases to be removed at the same time. If cases are not removed, they can jam the action and cause the gun to be non-functional.

Which of these guns came out first?

Colt Firearms produced the Colt Model 1848 Percussion Army Revolver for the US Army in 1858. About 18,500 of these .44 caliber revolvers were produced between 1848-1860.

Which gun is known as "The Gun that Won the West"?

Winchester rifles were lever-action repeating rifles made by the Winchester Repeating Arms company. Roughly 720,000 of these guns were made, which were used in numerous wars.

About how long were Winchester rifles used commonly in the US?

Winchester lever-action repeating rifles were used in conflicts around the world for nearly 100 years, and are still produced today. The Winchester Model 70 was even used by America in World War II, and Winchesters are common deer rifles in the US today.

What set Winchester rifles apart from other firearms originally?

The first Winchester rifle was the Winchester Model 1866. It was among the fist mass produced lever-action repeating rifles.

Which gun is considered the forerunner to the modern machine gun?

The Gatling Gun was created by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861 to try and reduce the number of soldiers necessary for way, which would lead to fewer combat deaths. This gun could fire continuously, but needed a person to crank it, making it a forerunner to the automatic weapon rather than an automatic weapon itself.

Which gun was the iconic Winchester rifle based off?

The Henry repeating rifle is a lever-action, breech-loading, tubular magazine rifle designed in 1860 by Benjamin Tyler Henry. About 14,000 were manufactured between 1860-1866.

Which advantageous gun was used by the Union Army and not the Confederacy during the civil war?

Dr. Gatling, who invented the Gatling Gun, tried throughout The Civil War to sell his guns to the Union Army, but it did not catch on due to suspicions of him being a Confederate sympathizer. His guns saw war for the first time after some Union commanders personally bought them.

How did the Gatling Gun operate?

Gatling guns were massive, with six barrels revolving around a central shaft and a hand crank. This crank would have to be turned for the gun to fire.

Which of these was the world's first recoil-operated machine gun?

The Maxim gun was invented by Hiram Stevens Maxim in 1883. This gun is famous for its use by the British as they expanded their colonial empire and was used by other countries to achieve similar ends in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Which of these guns came out first?

The Colt Walker or Walker Colt was a revolver that was produced in 1847. Only about 1000 were made.

Who invented the Burnside Carbine gun?

Ambrose Burnside invented this gun in 1855. He resigned from the US Army to focus on creating this gun, of which 100,000 were built between 1858-1870.

The Colt Single Action Army gun is also known as:

This famous Colt gun is considered a piece of Americana and is also referred to as "The Gun That Won the West." This gun was originally made from 1873-1941, and is currently in production again.

The problem with Colt revolving rifles was that they:

These rifles could fire six shots, but between sets of six shots took a long time to reload. Despite their problems, they were the first repeating rifles adopted by the US government.

Which was the first Winchester rifle?

The Model 1866 was the first Winchester rifle. It was nicknamed the "Yellow Boy" because of its bronze/brass alloy receiver. The Ottoman Empire alone purchased 45,000 of these guns during the 1870s.

The Springfield Model 1795 musket was the first ________ to be produced in the US.

The Springfield Model 1795 Musket was in service throughout the US from 1795-1865. 150,000 were built between 1795-1818.

Which American gun is very popular in South America?

Over a million of these lighter rifles were made and sold in America and around the world. They became so popular in South America that a Brazilian arms maker still manufactures them, even though Winchester has not produced them since 1941.

Of which of these guns are there no known surviving models?

The Belton Flintlock was a repeating flintlock firearm by Joseph Belton before 1777. The only evidence of this gun's existence is written communication between Belton and Congress.

What were some issues that the Colt Walker gun had?

The Colt Walker was large, heavy, had an inadequate loading lever, and its cylinders would sometimes rupture after it fired. Over a fifth of the original 1,000 guns manufactured were returned for repair after their cylinders ruptured.

Who used the Smith & Wesson No.3 Revolver?

This single-action, cartridge-firing, top break revolver was produced from 1870-1915. It was popular both in the US and internationally, the Russian Empire alone ordering over 40,000 of them.

Which of these guns was standard issue for both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War?

Springfield Armory manufactured 60,000 of these guns between 1856-1860. They were rifled muskets that could be deadly at over 1000 yards.

The Remington Model 1858 Revolver was used by who?

There are 10 variants of these guns, of which over 230,000 were made between 1862-1875. These percussion revolvers were used around the world and during the Civil War.

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