Cowpoke is an old black powder revolver, with a long barrel, and a heavy packing rod attached underneath it. The weapon fires a substancial .50 calibre bullet capable of knocking a cow off of its feet at close range. The black powder and paper charge is placed in the bottom-most chamber and the packing rob is pumped down, packing the powder in tightly. The bullet is them dropped down inside the chamber, and lightly packed.
This is the main sidearm of Dan the Dastardly Dog, and has an interesting history. The gun has served with distinction and valor in many conflicts, but since it came into Dans paws, the weapon has only fired once. Any other time he pulls the heavy trigger, nothing happens as the gun fouls, or jams, much to the wielders consternation.
The one time it has fired, Dan was escaping from pursuers, and his only hope was that the gun would fire and set off a wagon packed down with powder. The gun fired, and the wagon exploded. Since that day, the weapon has never fired.
Game terms: Cowpoke will only fire if pointed at a suitable dramatic target, and only if there is no other way out. The character also has to use the weapon in desperation, knowing it wont fire. Suitable circumstances include shooting a hangmans rope while a friend dangles from it, shooting out the wheel of a speeding wagon, and such. The weapon will NEVER fire if the intended target is another living being.
I know this isnt the general fare, but I couldnt resist. Ride high, LawDawg!