Virtual Tour: Cody Dug-Up Gun Museum

There is a second gun museum in Cody Wyoming that is a lot smaller than the main one, but just as interesting – albeit in very different way. The Cody Dug Up Gun Museum houses a large collection of guns literally “dug up” and in less-than-ideal condition. These can be fascinating to see, as much like archaeologists learn about people by their waste, we can see what guns were actually in use by finding the ones that were dropped and lost throughout time. It is easy to assume such things were all dropped in gunfights, but they were often lost in more mundane ways – falling out of holsters or bags while on horseback, thrown away when broken, or just simply lost and forgotten.

The Dug Up Gun Museum presents gun mostly from the “Old West” period, but with some sections dating back to American independence and some as recent as World War Two. The guns are in a wide range of conditions, from complete disintegrating relics to rusty-but-maybe-functional. Nearly every gun is paired with a descriptive card, and it is a place one could literally spend hours – the more you look at each can,e the more you realize that there is to see.

If you are visiting Cody to see Yellowstone, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, or just passing through, I would highly recommend stopping in for a visit to the Dug Up Gun Museum. admission is free, with donations requested. The Museum is located on 12th Street just north of Sheridan.


  1. Oh, this is gorgeous, excellent idea. A different take on guns’ history and presented in this manner it gives sense of authenticity – it invokes passing of time element. Also, presentation in hardwood boxes is just splendid.

    Practical usability is for truly knowledgeable/history oriented people though.

  2. I dug up a gun once! OK… it was just a child’s cap gun, but the excitement was there. I can certainly see the purpose of such an idea as the Dug Up Gun Museum.

  3. My father once found a Colt single action out on the plains of Wyoming, rust pitted but — because he was a gunsmith — entirely salvageable. It was true hogleg, with a cavalry-length barrel, and even had an X whittled into one of the grip panels, as if it had got its man once upon a time. But: by the serial number we could determine that it was a smokeless powder model made about 1910, not quite a relic of the Old West.

  4. Been to Cody twice, now I have another thing to do when I go back, besides Buffalo Bill and the rodeo both again.

  5. Been there!

    My brother and I do a brothers’ hiking trip every year. Last year we did the Tetons/Yellowstone, and afterwards went to Cody to see the Buffalo Bill Center complex, and whatever else we could find that we thought worthwhile.

    This was the second item on our list. Turns out the proprietor’s parents live near me, so we had an interesting conversation.

    I suggested to him, that since he does not normally allow photography, that he should produce a book of the collection. If such a thing were available, I would have bought it. Since the museum is free admission and survives by donation and sales of T-shirts etc. it would be a nice additional source of income. I really wish he had taken up the suggestion.

    BTW, there are a couple of other things to see in Cody, like the old town site, which has salvaged old buildings of historical interest, and the grave of “Liver-Eating-Johnson”, the inspiration for the Robert Redford film Jeremiah Johnson”, and several other noted outlaws and mountain men.

    There is also a rental range that specializes in cowboy guns, (can’t remember the name off the top of my head), although I didn’t buy the “Gatling gun and cowboy” package, but rather shot the FN P-90 instead.

    The only downside was that I visited just as the Cody firearms Center renovations were beginning, but that gives me an excuse to go back.

  6. Just a little diversion if I may. I have just watched our inseparable duo Ian-Karl testing 7.62x54R ball and same caliber penetrator against an armor plate.
    … and it was whole bunch of fun.

    Guys are jointly claiming the plate is of “HRA 500 hardness”. I think this is a bit of mix-up. Yes, the plate might be of HRA (homogeneous rolled armor), however there is no such value of hardness in HRA scale.
    What they likely meant is that plate was of Brinell 500 hardness. This would be roughly equivalent of HRc 50 (Rockwell hardness in C scale) which is pretty hard and realistic at the same time.

    Their plate was 3/8″ (9.5mm) thick; the typical “bathtub” shell around fighter planes seats such as that on Bf109 was 8mm thick. It is thus likely that the 7.62x54R armor piercing round fired from high-rate-of-fire Shkas MG would deal with it with flying colors (pending the distance of muzzle to point of impact and angle of incidence).

    • We were just at the Cody Museum last July! If i would have had any idea this Dug Up ,usei, existed we would have been there! Shoot!

    • “(…)distance of muzzle to point of impact and angle of incidence)(…)”
      Data from Альбом конструкций патронов стрелкового оружия (1946), all angles in Soviet style (90° = perpendicular hit).
      7,62-mm rifle cartridge:

      Distance (m) – Angle (°) – Armour thickness (mm) – Bullets which penetrated (%)
      7,62-mm AP bullet pattern 1930 (Б-30):
      400 – 90 – 7 – 100
      600 – 90 – 7 – 75
      800 – 90 – 7 – <50
      1000 – 90 – 7 – none
      400 – 75 – 7 – 60
      250 – 60 – 7 – none

      7,62-mm API bullet pattern 1932 (Б-32):
      200 – 90 – 10 – 80 Note: caused fire of kerosene placed 10 cm beyond armour at distance 100 m

      7,62-mm API bullet (БС-40):
      300 – 70 – 10 – 80 Note: 75% chance to cause fire of kerosene behind 10 mm armour at distance 100 m

      7,62-mm APIT bullet (БЗТ):
      200 – 90 – 7 – 90 Note: 75% chance to cause fire of kerosene placed 10 cm beyond 7-mm armour at distance 100 m, 80% chance that tracer would work to distance at least 1500 m

      • Very good information; thanks.

        As I recall, the British fighter’s Browning .303 MGs were sighted in (to point of intersection) at 400m. No armored seat protection would sustain this kind of onslaught.

        • On German fighter planes, the fuel tanks were located just bellow pilot’s seat. So it was 2 birds with one stone.

        • “(…)point of intersection(…)”
          I assume that you mean convergence if it does not hold true, ignore this post.

          Convergence was of lesser concern for Soviet fighter pilots, as during Great Patriotic War, Soviet fighter aeroplane designers preference was to pack all guns in nose.
          Indeed even early Soviet jet fighter designs featured such layout – see MiG-9 (FARGO) xor Yak-23 (FLORA), which often caused problems due when powder gases went into inlets of jet engines and then-made Soviet jet engines did not function properly in such conditions.

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