Beginning Ideas

One of the most prominent characters in American Old West history who combined the concepts of big bore bullets with snub-nosed revolvers was an El Paso city marshal named Dallas Stoudenmire. He had the 8" barrel of a Colt .44 caliber “factory conversion” cut to about 3" and then packed it in a leather-lined hip pocket. In my research I’ve not been able to discover if Stoudenmire actually used that revolver in any of his several gunfights but he did manage to get himself killed in a drunken shootout after being fired from his marshal’s position.

In the “1st Generation” (1873-1941) of SAA production Colt would make bigbore snubbies on special order. They came in whatever barrel length the buyer specified. I’ve seen them as short as 2" but by the “2nd Generation (1956-1974) and “3rd Generation” (1976-current) Colt cataloged them as “Sheriff’s Models.” Universally they had 3" barrels sans any provision for ejector rods. Caliber options have been .44 Special, .44 WCF (.44-40) and .45 Colt. Some were made in sets with both .44 Special and .44 WCF cylinders.

Over the years I acquired one of those dual cylinder, .44 caliber, Colt SAA Sheriff’s Models. Back in the 1990s I had a custom gunsmith make me a facsimile of Stoudenmire’s .44 Colt conversion but with one important difference. Because it is of open top design the barrel can be switched in a minute, so I had it fitted with two barrels. One is 3" long and the other is the standard 8".