Elmer Keith, recognized as the world expert on guns, reports on new developments in arms and ammunition with a variety of splendid photographs of old and rare guns along with current American models. From the back cover of the edition of Sixguns: The author documents in this invaluable reference work his lifetime experiences and findings on this historic weapon. Included in his remarks is a treasury of absorbing information about marksmen with numerous illustrations of trick shooting, quick draws, hip-shooting and police training. More than fifty years of experience and experimentation in handguns with Indian fighters, vigilantes and frontier lawmen makes Mr.
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Photo Gallery: 14 Amazing Engraved Guns of Gun Digest On another occasion, a mean outlaw bronc I was riding stuck his foot in a badger hole and turned somersault over me. He knocked most of the wind from me and came up running, kicking me with his hooks because one spur had caught around the stirrup leather and held my boot in the stirrup during the roll.
Three 45 colt slugs angling upwards from where I bounced along the frozen ground did the trick. The third one reached the spine and put his hind quarters down, and I simply planted the fourth in his brain — and had a long hike home packing heavy saddle. But for that Colt Single Action, I would have been dragged and kicked into doll rags. On one trip out to Ovando, my sixgun kept my partner and me in meager food supply for six days while we traveled with a pack string of twenty-three horses.
When we found her, there was no food left in the pack. We lived by that sixgun alone for those six days. Whether I had to climb out of the blanket to kill a porcupine that was eating the pack outfit, or clean the pack rats out of some cabin wished to sleep in during a rainy night, or simply heave a slug in front of a band of running horses to burn them toward the corral, the old sixgun was always hear and handy.
It was a tool of the trade. I still remember seeing one cow thief squirm when I watched him and his three riders while my partner cut four of my steers from two cars of beef that he was preparing to load on the train. Those steers had my brand, badly blotched, and the wattle cut off their noses, but I would have known their hides in a tan yard; so I took them by force.
Suffice to say, I would have been pushing up daisies over twenty years ago instead of writing this article now, had I not carried and known how to use a good, heavy sixgun. Guns were usually carried in a shoulder holster or, more often, in an open-top, quick-draw belt holster that left both hammer and trigger fully exposed.
The bottom of the belt holster was tied to the leg or to the chaps so that the gun would not fly up and hit the elbow when riding a pitching bronc. Holsters were just large enough to accommodate the gun, and the belts were more often than not a combination of money and cartridge belts of double-soft chap leather. We never did see any of those huge buscadero Hollywood corsets in use on the range, nor did any of the old gun fighters I knew in my younger days use such an outfit.
Helena, Mont. I knew, lived, and hunted with several of these men, most of whom owned or carried a good sixgun, either an old cap and ball Colt or a more modern single action. Now they are all dead and gone, and the modern trend seems more to small-caliber target guns. Colt has even stopped manufacture of the best gun they ever built — the Single Action Army. I witnessed three gun fights when a kid in Helena and was not much impressed by the results from the 38 Special.
In one, one man proved the quicker on the draw and a couple of 38 Specials through the heart stopped his opponent even though the opponent did draw and fire two shots that hit the pavement short of his executioner.
One bullet, I thought the first, hit the cop right over the heart but went through a notebook and lodged in the bottom of his blouse pocket. The gunman then threw his gun at the cop, and it also went through the window and across the street.
He died as he was carried up the hospital steps. Depot, killed two holdup men who had stuck up a saloon, with one shot each from his 45 Colt Single Action. Target grids and bullseye sizes are in MOA. Ideal for long-range shooting!
Sixguns – Part 2
When I turned the next one loose I was almost deafened by the report and saw a little flash of flame. My hand automatically cocked gun and snapped again but no report. I stopped then knowing something was wrong. The upper half of three chambers was gone. Also one cartridge and half of another case.
Sixguns by Keith
Elmer Keith, the Grand Old Man is dead. Elmer, who seemed bigger than life, should have died in a gunfight, or have been mauled by a grizzly, or simply rode off into the sunset. His strength showed as he fought the stroke for over two years, passing away on February 12, in a Boise nursing home. Elmer was born right at the end of the frontier period on March 8, in Hardin, Missouri, and consequently knew many Civil War veterans and gunfighters in his early years.
In the days when handgun cartridges tended to fire large, slow bullets like the popular. He was married to Loraine Randall. In the late s, Elmer and Loraine left the ranch and moved into the town of Salmon. The ranch is still owned by the Keith family. The rifles that he inspected were cartouche stamped with the initials "OGEK" in a rectangular box, on the buttstock. Joseph B.