Friday, January 20, 2012


So I am reading the autobiography of Buffalo Bill Cody.  And I've already stumbled upon interesting gun content, and it's not even 1860, and Bill is not even 18 years old.

He hired on on ox wagon trains and they occasionally had to fight off Indians or Mormons.  To do this they were armed with Colt pistols (often 2 each) and a Mississippi Yager that fired a ball and two buck shot.

A HA!  Something to look into.  I figured Yager was the Americanization of the German word Jaeger  (Jäger).  A word I knew as 'Hunter'.  So I figured it was a rifle.  With that in mind I found the entry for the M1841 Mississippi Rifle, made at Harper's Ferry.  It was a percussion cap front stuffer.  It was named Mississippi after a colonel of a Mississippi Militia put his regiment to good use armed with these rifles in the Mexican war. 

The colonel, if you didn't click the link, was Jeff Davis.  Yes THAT Jeff Davis.

"The Mississippi Rifle was sometimes referred to as a "yagger" rifle, due to its smaller size and its similarity to the German Jäger rifles."

I don't know what Cody and his compatriots hoped to achieve with a ball and 2 shot loaded.  A perception of greater lethality, at the least.  Sorta like the Taurus Judge.  Or maybe there is some advantage I don't see.


ProudHillbilly said...

Wow! That IS interesting!

A great many of the participants on both sides of the Civil War gained their first serious war experience in Mexico.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I know I gained a lot of MY first serious experiences in Mexico...

Tam said...

The "buck & ball" loading was a holdover from the days of smoothbore muskets, where it gave a better chance of a hit.

It was kinda pointless in the rifled Yager, but old habits and folklore die hard.

Secesh said...

The "Buck and ball" load was used through the War Between The States, so it must have been somewhat effective. Seems like it would enhance your chance of a hit.These guns weren't very effective until the Minie ball came along.

Newbius said...

Sounds like the predecessor to a Drilling...I like it.