The gunfight at the OK Corral took only about 30 seconds. Those 30 seconds made Wyatt Earp famous, but not until about 50 yrs later. About 30 shots were fired and in those days they didn't have smokeless powder. Imagine trying to see through all that smoke in a small area to try and hit someone. Wyatt Earp was the only one to walk away unscathed. He stood in one spot and did not move. As he said, "fast is good, but accuracy is final."
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Smoke was always a factor in a gunfight, especially in an enclosed area or on a windless day. Even using quarter-loads--10 gr of powder rather than 40--in percussion pistols, the 1869 Cowboy Company, which did shows in Houston's astrodome between games, reported that as late as the 5th inning of a double-header, the players were losing balls, even bright-orange balls, in the smoke at the top of the dome. A pop fly could turn into a base hit because the fielders had no idea where the ball was coming down. That's a big part of the reason the 1869 Cowboy Company was not re-hired to do shows for a second season.
Today is the anniversary, October 26 1881.
To think that the Earps and the Clanton forces would have gone into a fight like that with their pistols still in their holsters is a bunch of hollywood/Ned Buntline fabrication. Doc Holliday undoubtedly had both hammers cocked on his short scattergun, ready to fire at the first move by the Clantons. Contrary to all western mythology, men back then acted the same as they would today: "If'n a fella is tryin' t' kill yuh, the onliest thin' you kin do is t' kill him furst!"
ANYONE KNOW WHAT KIND OF FIREARMS WERE USED BY THE PARTICIPANTS AT THE OK;;;I UNDERSTAND THAT DOC USED A 10 GAUGE GREENER DB SHOTGUN THAT WAS BORROWED FROM THE WELLS FARGO OFFICE., AND THE COWBOYS USED 44-40, COLTS. I COULD BE WRONG...IT WAS ALSO SAID THAT WYATT EARP, USED A 44 RUSSIAN SW REVOLVER, BUT AGAIN, I COULD DEAD WRONG.....ANYTHING IN THE COURT TRANSCRIPTS INDICATING WHAT WAS USED. I AM CERTAIN THAT ALL OF THIS INFORMATION IS POSSIBLY BURRIED IN SOME COURT RECORDS.
There is a .44 S&W American that has some Earp provenance, but it apparently belonged to Virgil, not to Wyatt. According to Ben Traywick, Doc had an M1877 Colt DA in .38 Colt--a 'Lightning.' According to Lee Silva's bio of Wyatt, in Vol. 1, THE COWTOWN YEARS--it'll set you back all but a corner off a $100 bill, & it's the 1st of a trilogy--Wyatt was pretty much married to that 10" bbl Colt 'Buntline Special," but he likely carried a second, shorter-bbl Colt as well. Both were likely .45 Colt cal. because Colt records show only one 'carbine revolver' in any caliber other than .45 Colt. Unless you're packing a vest-pocket stingy, it makes sense to carry both your belt guns in the same caliber. I have no idea what Morgan had. And yes, it's highly likely Doc had both ears back on that Greener before the shooting started. That's just common sense.
We do know that Wyatt favored Smith & Wessons-one of the pistols that he left behind in Alaska was one.I 've also heard that Doc actually carried a Meteor rather than a Greener.There was an article from the late 50's that depicted that gun.In Leadville Doc was reported to carry a model 1877 Thunderer in .41 Colt but as both the Lightning and Thunderer were both model 1877's in different calibres he could have carried either at the 1881 fight.I tend to lean toward it being the .41 Thunderer simply because of the gun that was seen in Leadville.As for what Morgan or the cowboys carried that is up for grabs-might have been Colts but could just as easily been Remingtons or onE of the other brands.It is believed that Virgil was armed with an S&W too.