3 Unexpected Things I Saw at the Cody Firearms Museum
A little over one month ago I had the amazing opportunity to take a trip out to the insanely beautiful area of the world that is Cody Wyoming and check something off the bucket list. I got to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of The West and within that is the Cody Firearms Museum. If you are unfamiliar with the Cody Firearms Museum I encourage you to look into it because it is one of the best firearm museums in the world. They have an absolutely astounding collection of firearms and do a fantastic job of making it palatable for the enthusiast as well as the newbie. That leads me to my first talking point so let’s jump right into three things you would not expect at the Cody Firearms Museum!
Cody Firearms Museum: An Eased Experience
This is one that I knew of because I listen to the History Unloaded podcast that Danny (the current Curator) and Ashley (the previous Curator) run. I highly recommend giving their podcast a listen if you are interested in bite-size conversations on firearms history and topics. The reason I bring the podcast up is that I had heard from them that the museum’s recent renovation/revitalization came with ways that ease people into the firearms museum portion of the Buffalo Bill Center of The West.
When you walk into this wing of the building the walls are painted with timelines of curatorial staff and historical moments of the Cody Firearms Museum itself. From there you can see an M1 carbine stock cased showing its ties to baseball and a Winchester 1887 lever-action shotgun in a case on its own explaining that it once belonged to Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company.
After that, there is a wall of cutaway guns showing the internal workings and mechanisms of all sorts of small arms. And next to that is a long table holding cutdown guns that are there to be touched and figured out to an unfamiliar person. They are placed in a manner that feels safe and that it would be impossible to load any ammunition into them. They are there explaining different types of actions and mechanics. There was a bolt action, lever action, a single-action revolver, and an auto-loading pistol (a Glock specifically). All these actions could be manipulated and figured out simply by reading the information posted around them.
Cody Firearms Museum: A Learning Laboratory
This kind of leads in from the last talking point. There is a whole giant room in the museum that allows the visitors to look at fired bullets under a microscope and goes into depth about forensic analysis processes. There will be fixed microscope stands and bullets that can be rotated with a dial and the microscope is transferring the image to a screen in front of your eyes. You can see where the bullet met the rifling and engraved itself.
In this same room, there is also a breakdown of what ammo is and its parts and how reloading works. In a lot of ways, this reminded me of a science museum we have here in Minnesota that we would go to on field trips as a kid. You can pull levers to separate the parts of a large plastic cartridge or shotgun shell.
Adjacent to that is an area presented by Timney triggers cataloging types of triggers throughout time. They had a single-action and double-action revolver as well as single- and double-action autoloaders. On top of that, they had several examples of crossbows and their triggers. All of which you can feel and see how the trigger works.
Cody Firearms Museum: Not Just Fun, but also Games!
At the very beginning of the walk-through of the Cody Firearms Museum, there is a range simulation station. It is this tech-filled corner with a stand that has a Glock-style pistol in a holster. There is a screen projected that you can toggle through and decide what range session you want to have. You make these choices using the handgun which can be calibrated very easily to the shooter.
I personally gave these two 5 minute sessions at this range and it was extremely fun. It truly feels like if I had this at my house it would improve my handgun shooting skills. More than anything I think this is a perfectly placed section in the museum since it gives that new person a chance to experience what it may be like to go to the range! I think these small lessons and impressions are very valuable.
Aside from the new age simulation tech they also had an old-time style shooting gallery. You could participate at the gallery by buying a token to put in the machine. The rifle was out of order, but the single-action revolver was operational. I tried my hand at it for one round and it was really enjoyable and it made me happy that this is available for kids that have never shot at a shooting gallery or for older folks that have, but have not in a very long time.
Cody Firearms Museum: Final Thoughts
So there you have it! Those were my three picks for stuff you would not expect at the Cody Firearms Museum. I really enjoyed my trip and I was blown away at the attention to detail as well as the effort put into making it comfortable for the uninformed. I am very thankful for the whole setup being comfortable and navigable. Also, a giant thank you to the very kind staff that is passionate about firearms history!
In closing, I want to say thank you to Cody Firearms Museum for allowing AllOutdoor and myself the opportunity to attend, photograph and scour the museum. That is greatly appreciated. We are excited for future articles in the works and are extremely grateful for what you do for the firearms community. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.