Tag Archives: Colt SAA

Lots of Fun with a Cheap .22

As a kid, one of my first actual cartridge guns was an old second (or maybe third)-hand Ruger Single Six, which back in the 1980s was a lot cheaper than what they are now. I probably put enough bullets through that little revolver to wear the rifling smooth. No pop can was safe.

Recently, I have kind of rediscovered that joy with a new single-action rimfire wheel gun from Heritage Firearms in Georgia– the Barkeep. An homage to the chopped down Sheriff’s Model and Storekeeper variants of the Colt Single Action Army, the .22LR Barkeep runs a 2.68-inch barrel while keeping a near full-sized grip. The short length deletes the traditional onboard ejection rod but gives the gun a kind of old-school snub-nosed look to it.

Sweet shooting and running about $180, it also accepts a .22WMR cylinder.

My review on the Barkeep over at Guns.com.

146 Years of Peacemaking

Samuel Colt’s iconic revolver works peaked during the Civil War while the inventor and founder himself passed away in 1862. This left his company behind to try and compete against other revolver makers (looking at you, Smith & Wesson) who were using Rollin White’s breech-loading cartridge wheel gun patents. Once White’s patent tanked in 1870, William Mason and Charles Brinckerhoff Richards at Colt filed patents for their own Model 1871-72 Open Top revolver.

This six-shot single action, chambered in the same .44 Rimfire cartridge used by the Henry lever-action rifles of the day, soon morphed into a chambering in Colt’s new centerfire black powder .45 cartridge and submitted for a new U.S. Army handgun contract to replace older cap-and-ball revolvers.

And the rest was history.

More in my column at Guns.com

More Colts than you can shake an auction paddle at

Rock Island Auction has over 500 Colts up for their September Auction including 40 Pythons (!) and a bunch of really nice rares such as a Third Model Hartford London Dragoon, “D Company” Walker Model 1847, and a set of Model 1851 Navy “Squarebacks.”

This is my favorite, though:

Click to big up

Stamped with “U.S.” marks and a silver-gray patina, this Single Action Army in .45LC includes a rare “Ropes” type flap holster of the type used during the Spanish-American War. If a gun could talk…

The real lone ranger

Forget Armie Hammer.

Born a slave in Texas in 1838, Bass Reeves escaped during the Civil War and took refuge in the “Indian Territory” of present-day Oklahoma. After the Civil War, he moved to Arkansas and assisted local Deputy Marshals in their pursuit of outlaws. He was officially commissioned a Deputy U.S. Marshal by “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker in 1875. During his 32 year career, he is said to have arrested more than 3,000 fugitives. He was 71 when he passed away in 1910.

Bass Reeves’ Colt Single Action Army

That soup strainer…

Reeves’ 1873 Colt Single Action Army is on display at the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO. It is on loan from the forthcoming U.S. Marshals Museum in Arkansas. The revolver is owned by Judge Paul L. Brady, great-nephew of Bass Reeves and the first African-American to assume the role of an Administrative Law Judge, in 1972.

Judge Brady is also the author of The Black Badge: Deputy United States Marshal Bass Reeves from Slave to Heroic Lawman, which is a great read.

The Guns of El Lobo Solo, Triggers and Guards optional

Over the 85-year period of his life, Manuel T. Gonzaullas’s experiences ranged from being a major in the Mexican Army to a T-agent for the Secretary of the Treasury. However its was his service in the Texas Rangers that earned him the moniker of “The Lone Wolf,” and the guns he carried while on the job were as unique as he was.

Just who was the Wolf?

The Wolf...

The Wolf…

Born in Spain to American citizens living in that country in 1891, he was orphaned at the age of 9 when both of his parents were killed in the great Galveston Hurricane. Growning up along the hard southern border, Gonzaullas began his long life of public service oddly enough as an officer in the Mexican Army at age 20 during the upheaval of in that country. In a world surrounded by such larger than life figures as Poncho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, the young American soon worked his way up in the ranks before leaving the country for the right side of the border in 1914. During this same time period the Mexican Army and rebel forces on all side employed hundreds of American soldiers of fortune.

Next Gonzaullas became a special agent serving in the U.S. Treasury Department for five years, working the customs ports of entry across the border. Switching over to the Texas Rangers in 1920, he was assigned to the rough oil fields in Witch County and, working largely on his own, cut a striking figure on horseback with his 10-gallon hat, blue eyes, easy command of both Spanish and English, and twin gun fighting rigs backed up by a quick-firing rifle (more on this in a minute).

Fighting bandits, bootleggers, bank robbers and the last of the old Western outlaws, he earned his Lone Wolf nickname in the hardest of ways before becoming director of the state’s Bureau of Intelligence and later a Captain. He helped investigate the Texarkana Moonlight Murders (immortalized in the 1970s movie “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” which is still shown every summer in that town) before retiring in 1951.

A strong believer of the Second Amendment, when he arrived in town to combat the so-called “Phantom Killer,” he told the media to put out that people should, “Check the locks and bolts of your doors and get a double-barreled shotgun to blow away any intruder who tries to get in.”

According to Damon Sasser, the Wolf was credited with some 75 banditos put under the Texas ground, but he kept those exploits largely to himself. A better gunfighter than the criminals he faced off against, he died an old man in 1977.

Moreover, the guns he carried allowed that.

Look closely...no triggers...

Look closely…no triggers…

How about that trigger guard? Am I right?

How about that trigger guard? Am I right?

Read the rest in my column at Firarms Talk