An Inside Look at the
Elmer Keith Museum

Here’s your only chance to see the exhibits from
the now-closed museum dedicated to history’s
most influential Handgunner
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Here’s Elmer sitting behind his desk. When you pushed a button,
he’d turn around and start talking to you, telling stories.

The famous #5 of which “The Last Word” was written in
Rifleman, April 1929 issue.

Elmer tested and wrote about all guns. Here’s his Century Arms .45-70 revolver.

One of many 4" Model 29s Elmer owned with his trademark steer-head ivory stocks.

Lately, I’ve been getting my Elmer on. Yup! Been reading up and researching the Grand Old Man of Handgunning. Up until seven years ago, there was a place that paid homage to Elmer Keith. For you youngsters never hearing of him, I don’t fault you. You’ve been neglected by your elders, or school system, so I’ll step up and tell you a little about Elmer.

Afterwards, I suggest you hunt up any book, magazine, or computer writing by him and get yourself intimately acquainted with his works, thoughts and readings.

It’s been said Elmer spoke the original thoughts and all others have simply regurgitated his words in one form or another. Thinking about it, it’s not too far from the truth. Elmer had his hand in, or made mention of, just about everything pertaining to the gun world.

With no formal education, Elmer had great instincts and understanding. He didn’t just concentrate on one discipline either, he knew how to shoot, load or discuss anything pertaining to sixguns, autoloaders, black powder rifles, revolvers, shotguns and paper-patched lead bullets for Sharps single-shots rifles. If it went bang, Elmer knew how to shoot and handload for it.

He was a great outdoorsman, outfitter and packer. He guided hunters for years, up until age 50, and knew the life cycle, food habitat and environment of every critter living in his area. He’s responsible, or planted the seed, for such things as the .357, .44 and .41 Magnums, the S&W model 29 and 57, Ruger Flat Top and Super Blackhawk .44 Magnums, the Winchester model 70 rifle, and the .338 Winchester Magnum, to name just a few things.

Elmer’s matching pair of S&W Model 57 4" revolvers.

Here’s Elmer packing out a ram in the rugged country of Idaho. Notice his simple pack-board.

Elmer and his brother Silas with two mule deer. Elmer took his with a Sharps rifle.

The Museum

With much help from our own John Taffin, Cabelas in Boise, Idaho carved a niche in their store to house the Elmer Keith Museum. I knew about it and wanted to go for years. I finally got the opportunity when I went out to visit my buddies Dick Thompson and Steve Call. I was fortunate to make the journey on two occasions.

For those knowing who Elmer was, it was a breathtaking experience to see his pictures, game heads and yes, firearms, of the famous gun writer. As time went on, the family wanted to liquidate the assets, and had everything auctioned off. Sadly, this forced the closure of the museum.

A rack of Elmer’s rifles. Second from top is his famous .400 Whelen, a gift from Jim Howe’ of Griffin & Howe.

Another rack of rifles. The bottom rifle was Jim Corbett’s .450-400 double rifle,
a major-league cool factor! Below it is the leather case it came with

Above the Corbett rifle is Elmer’s Sharps .45-100-550 rifle. Need I say more?

Some of Elmer’s trophies.

Some fine sheep he took!

A trio of mulies the master took.

Second Chance

So, for those of you who never had the opportunity, I figured I’d share my pictures with you, to get some insight into one of the pioneers of shooting, hunting and the development of handguns, rifles and cartridges. I hope you enjoy visiting with Elmer. It was something to see in person.

More importantly, I hope I’ve lit a spark for you to continue reading, researching and replicating some of the loads, guns, holsters or hunts Elmer experienced.

It’s fun walking alongside the footprints of our founders, and who knows, you just may learn something along the way.

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