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London Gray engraved six-shooters from Europarms.

One of the things I like most about my job is that I get to play with lots of different guns. Some of the guns I test are brand new designs while others are faithful replicas of historical firearms. Sometimes test guns combine an age-old design, or model, with some 20th century features that aid in the shooting of, or the maintenance of the particular arm.

A while back, Euroarms of America (EOA), 1501 Lenoir Drive, P.O. Box 3277, Dept. GA, Winchester, VA 22601, forwarded a pair of .44 caliber percussion revolvers for my inspection that fell into this last category. They are their 1860 Army Colt, and Rogers & Spencer replicas in the modern London Gray finish, and sporting lots of engraving. For all intents and purposes, these guns are faithful copies of their namesakes. The major differences are in their finish. Each arm sports a smooth, silky finish that resembles stainless steel. Actually, this London Gray process does boast a greater rust resistant quality that does normal blueling, though not as much as true stainless steel.

Both guns are stocked with walnut, and all nipples and screws on these arms are blued, as in the Colt copy's barrel wedge. This model is also fitted with a brass backstrap and trigger guard, along with a grass front sight blade. Incidentally, this front sight blade is slightly differnt in detailing than those found on original '60 Colt Army revolvers, but it does conform to their basic configuration. The hammer on this sixgun is color case-hardened.

The Rogers & Spencer on the other hand, is London Gray throughout, except where mentioned earlier. This wheelgun has a conical brass front sight. Again, as with EOA's Colt repro, this sight conforms to the basic design of the 19th century version, but varies in detail. This replica's post is a mite taller that the 1860's version, which causes this revolver to shoot lower than the original sights would--which is a plus, as most Civil War-era six-shooters tend to shoot high at closer ranges.

Each gun is heavily embellished with Victorian-style scroll and floral designs. To my eye, the adornment on the Rogers & Spencer is the more appealing, although I prefer the overall sleeker lines of the 1860 Colt revolver. however, technically speaking, the majority of the decoration on the Rogers & Spencer is actually etched rather than truly engraved--although some engraving can be found along the gun's barrel, topstrap and grip backstrap. The Colt is engraved, but again this is a mixture of stamp-type engraving and hand engraving. The overall effect of the decoration and the London Gray finish however, is that of some original arms I have seen wearing engraving and a bright metal finish.

Performance-wise, these sixguns exhibited the same characteristics one would expect of arms of this type. At normal handgun ranges of about 20-35 yards, these revolvers will put six shots into a 5 to 6-inch cluster when fired slow fire, offhand. Of course benchrested shooting will shrink groups to about half that size. Remember, such arms were made as cavalry sidearms and were designed to be fired in close combat--generally from astride a plunging, bolting, or running horse--hwere snap and point shooting was the rule. When these factors are considered, I'm sure you'll agree that this is good performance. Both revolvers had crisp, clean trigger pulls of around 5-6 pounds and a positive hammer fall that gave constant, reliable ignition.

I discovered during the loading process that, while Euroarms recommends .451-size round balls, the .457-diameter balls fit tightly, yet without any trace of a shaved ring around them when they were seated in the chambers. Incidentally, all shooting with both of these wheelguns was done with my favorite load of 30 grains of FFFg black powder. I also employed Speer's swaged round balls, Ox-Yoke Originals' Wonder Wads, and Navy Arms or Remington No. 11 percussion caps. AS with so many replicas today, I found it necessary to finger pinch each cap for a tight fit over the cone (nipple).

In order to test the quality of this London Gray finish, I did not clean these guns between shooting sessions (I just love this sort of testing). A couple of months passed between the times that these particular arms were taken to the range, and neither revolver showed any effects of black powder corrosion. Bear in mind that I live in the Los Angeles foothills of Southern California, which boasts of a fairly dry climate. For those of you in the Midwest, South, Northeast, or other regions where humidity is higher, such a finish may not fare as well. Nonetheless, this experiment does show the rust resistant capabilities of London Gray over standard blued firearms.

EOA's Rogers & Spencer revolver is priced to retail for $230, while the 1860 Colt lookalike will sell for $197. By today's standards, I consider these six-shooters good value for the money and they should provide black powder revolver enthusiasts with a couple of handsome arms capable of excellent performance ... and after all, isn't that what shooting is all about?

NAVY ARMS CATALOG

This is just a friendly reminder that Navy Arms Company, one of the pioneer black powder replica firms, offers a full line of muzzle-loading longarms, handguns, kits and accessories. Their complete selection of interesting arms and related historical gear is covered in their 1984 catalog. This year marks 27 years of producing and importing black powder guns and shooting supplies. Under the able leadership of Navy Arms founder, Val Forgett, who is often referred to as the "Father of the Modern Replica," this company has introduced reproductions of many of history's most famous black powder firearms, along with several new models of their own design. Navy Arms was the first to introduce such popular replicas as the '51 Navy Colt, the Remington Zouave, the Henry lever-action rifle and many more. Today, as in the past, Navy offers a vast selection of black powder muzzle-loaders and metallic cartridge arms for both the serious arms student and the casual shooter. If you are interested in black powder guns they're sure to have something of interest to you. Send $2 for their latest, full-color catalog to: Navy Arms Company Inc., Dept. GA, 689 Bergen Blvd., Ridgefield, NJ 07657. BUCKSKIN POUCHES

I don't think I know of a muzzle-loader who doesn't include some sort of a small buckskin pouch in amongst his gear--whether he is a traditionalist or not. Such bags are useful for carrying a multitude of items, including balls, patches, gun parts, flints, and other miscellaneous shooting or camping items. I don't know how many I have, but I can tell you that each of my shooting bags is stocked with little buckskin pouches of necessary gear. Also, my saddle bags contain some basic emergency articles, stowed neatly in a couple of buckskin pouches. During my global travels with the recreated version of "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and Congress of Rough Riders of the World," I carried a couple of screwdrivers and several spare parts for my Colt Single Actions in one of these leather pouches. Space and weight of personal gear was a major consideration when traveling with the show and the grueling performance schedule I kept as a fancy gun handler required constant maintenance of my six-shooters. I was able to carry enough basic tools and spare parts in a single 3-inch by 6-inch pouch to keep my Colts in good working order in the remote corners of the world, where re-supply was out of the question. Interestingly, I still utilize this same bag with my shooting gear.

Buffalo hoof Trading Co., Dept. GA, Box 226, Gowrie, IA 50543, is offering a large selection of buckskin pouches, ball bags and belt pouches for the black powder buff. The ball bags and pouches are available in plain or fancy (trimmed with fringe, beads and/or tin cones) and come in a variety of sizes ranging from 2-3/4 inches by 4 inches on up to 5-1/4 inches by 7-1/4 inches. These pouches are all double stitched and are priced from $3 to $14, depending on size and extra embellishments you desire.

The belt pouches are offered in an assortment of configurations, with or without extra pockets, and like the smaller pouches, can be purchased in plain or fancy styles. The more elaborate models feature trade cloth decoration, beaded edges, and fringe work. Available in overall sizes from 4-1/4 inches by 4-3/4 inches on up to 7 inches by 6 inches, these bell pouches are made to fit up to a 2-1/4-inch wide waist belt. They are all constructed with machine-sewn hidden seams and sport and "sinew-sewn" look. Buffalo Hoof Trading Company's belt pouches retail from $26.50 to $34.

There are several styles to choose from, so rather than have me try to describe each one, why don't you write to "Wilderness Wayne" Bloomquist for his free list. I'm sure you'll find just the pouch you've been looking for to store your "whatever" in.

MOUNTAIN MAN NOVEL

Generally I don't read a lot of fiction, but every once in a while a novel comes along that has that special appeal about it. Carry The Wind, by Terry C. Johnston is one. Terry has created a cast of believable characters who roam the untamed American West in the early 1830s. The reader is treated to a time trip back into the lusty years of the fur trade through Johnston's colorful writing. He very carefully and artfully weaves his own characters into the same piece of story cloth with actual historical figures such as Jim Bridger and Bill Sublette. It is the story of a free, but dangerously rugged way of life; of Indian battles and conflicts with hard men in a hard land. In the course of reading Carry The Wind, you'll feel that you are actually involved in the day-to-day routines of the trapper's life as you hunt buffalo, set traps and revel at the rendezvous. Johnston's way of telling his story will capture your imagination and make you yearn for the "shinin' mountains" of the beaver men.

Published by Caroline House, Dept. GA, 920 West Industrial Drive, Aurora, IL 60506, Carry The Wind retails for $13.95. This hardcover book is 571 pages thick and measures 6 inches by 9 inches. This is Johnston's first effort and it is a darned good one. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy quality historical writing, both factual and fiction, this volume is the first of a scheduled trilogy. I for one am looking forward to seeing more from this particular author. AMERICANA RESEARCHER

Here is a unique and interesting service that is being offered to arms collectors, writers, motion picture producers, or just about anyone with an interest in antique western American-associated firearms. William S. Allen, 6804 Baird Ave., #20, Reseda, CA 91335, is a western Americana researcher and can furnish you with factual, historical information about most frontier related firearms, such as who used what type and model of gun, brief descriptions of the events these arms were used in, and more.

As an experienced researcher, Mr. Allen works from an extensive personal library of biographical material on many of the well-known figures of the AMerican frontier period. He also has access to many out-of-print books and magazines, items of public record, and contemporary news accounts.

In response to a query, Allen can provide the arms student with an outline of the subject (firearms, personality, event, etc.), refer you to specific published works and tell you where to find them. All research papers contain bibliographic references. Because it is difficult to give a cost figure to a specific research here, William Allen should be contacted directly; all inquiries should be accompanied by return postage. He will give you a specific figure where possible, or as narrow a price range as possible, however, most research projects run from $65 to $125 each. Bill requires a 25-percent deposit in order to begin researching.

I would like to point out though, that William Allen does not offer a service to verify the ownership or history of any particular gun by serial number. Rather, he will provide thorough historical information on that arm in general, along with how and where its type is documented as having played a part in the lives of the famous personalities of the Old West.

I've consulted with him on several occasions and have found him to be prompt and thorugh in his research. If you would like to know more about a given model of a frontier era gun in your collection, or need specific information on its type for a historical project, consider William Allen. He could be of valuable service to you.
COPYRIGHT 1984 InterMedia Outdoors, Inc.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Spangenberger, Phil
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Sep 1, 1984
Words:2126
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