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It took four men to fire the Model 1862 Gatling Gun during the Civil War, but I’m going to fire it all by myself in 2019…with a little help from the instructors at the Cody Firearms Experience.

The Gatling gun, also known as Patent 36,836, was an early version of the rotary canon. It featured multiple barrels, a cooling system and a synchronized firing and reloading mechanism. First used during the Civil War, the gun is a forerunner to the modern machine gun.

This Year I'm Finally Going to Fire the Model 1862 Gatling Gun

The Model 1862 Gatling Gun is one of dozens of replica firearms available at the Cody Firearms Experience indoor shooting range.

The Model 1862 Gatling gun was invented by a serial inventor from Indiana, Richard Jordan Gatling, in 1862 to accomplish battlefield victories with fewer casualties.

As a lifelong student of American history, I’ve found that studying and understanding the history of firearms can be a solid way to learn about the ideological thinking of the times. That’s one of the many reasons I’m so lucky to live in Cody Yellowstone Country.

The Cody Firearms Experience features a variety of working replicas of important guns through history, and the largest of those of course is the Model 1862 Gatling Gun. Visitors to the popular West Yellowstone Avenue indoor shooting range and arcade can also choose from among more than 40 other replica guns that showcase important periods of history. Examples include the Kentucky Flintlock Pistol, Wyatt Earp Cold SAA, 1873 Winchester rifle and the Smith & Wesson Model 29. The attraction also features a whimsical high-tech arcade for sharpshooters of all ages.

The Cody Firearms Experience is one of many places where visitors can learn about the history and impact of firearms. This summer at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Cody Firearms Museum will be unveiling new exhibits that showcase its collection of more than 7,000 firearms and 30,000 firearms-related artifacts.

This Year I'm Finally Going to Fire the Model 1862 Gatling Gun 1

This S. Hawken Plains Rifle circa 1860 is one of the thousands of firearms that comprise the Cody Firearms Museum collection.

One other place to learn about the history of firearms is the Dug Up Gun Museum, a collection of thousands of relics that reflect American history from the gold rush to World War II. This private museum is located just down the street from the Irma Hotel on 12thStreet.

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The Cody Dug Up Gun Museum collection includes this Colt Manufacturing Co. Model 1860 Army Percussion Revolver retrieved from Arizona.

Until next time, I’m practicing my aim and loving life here in Cody Yellowstone.