Dance with What You Brought

Wheelgun Diaries

They say every gun has a story. A reader submission series from American Handgunner, Wheelgun Diaries seeks to tell some of those stories through the words of revolver owners.

The following stories were shared by email with permission to publish.

Dance with What You Brought

On October 2, 1981, I joined the Hudson (NC) Police Department. When I reported for duty I was armed with my personal Smith & Wesson Model 66. The Department issued Model 10s but allowed officers to carry personal weapons in .38 or .357. Oddly, the Department did not issue ammunition, so my S&W 66 was loaded with my 110-grain handloads.

For Christmas, my parents bought me a Second Chance vest. It came with a test pad and instructions to test your duty ammo in case your weapon was turned on you. Naturally, I rolled up a pair of jeans and taped the test pad to them and fired my handload. The result was a thumb-size hole through the test pad and halfway through my jeans. The next day I bought a box of factory loads.

Time passed and duty weapons changed, as my Model 66 was replaced by a lightweight Commander, and then a SIG SAUER P220. Before I knew it, 30 years had passed.

On my last day (October 31, 2011), I reported to duty carrying my S&W 66 for the last time. I’ve always believed you should dance with the one that brought you. Strangely, I never felt the least bit under-gunned.

David Greene

Light, Yet Powerful

I wanted a light, yet powerful handgun to carry while hiking. The Adirondacks of New York offer enough area to get lost in and have their share of black bears, and even where I live now in South Carolina, an encounter with bear and poisonous snakes can happen.

Since I shoot 45 Colt already, this seemed to be the caliber of choice. Loaded with handloads using the RCBS 45-270-SAA bullet, or handloaded shot loads in .454 Casull brass, it can take on whatever chore is required.

I started with a Ruger flattop Blackhawk in .45 Colt with the extra .45 ACP cylinder. Both cylinders have the leading edge chamfered like Colt black powder guns. The already short 4-5/8″ barrel was further shortened to 4″ and I added a custom front sight of my design with a Birds Head grip frame with custom spalted maple grip panels to replace the original. Other changes are a jeweled Super Blackhawk hammer, a Colt style 1/2 moon ejector rod, Belt Mountain base pin and a Wolfe trigger spring kit.

Carried in an El Paso Saddlery crossdraw holster, it is an unobtrusive companion when walking the trails.

Jim Gross
South Carolina

Wheelgunner Feedback

“Thank you so much for these revolver articles. Being retired law enforcement, I started at the time when agencies were transitioning to semi-autos. At the time, most semi-autos didn’t suit me well and I was extremely proficient with my S&W Model 10-6. (I’m sure my eyesight back then helped, too.) It wasn’t until GLOCKs came on the scene that I became proficient and trustworthy of semi-autos. To this day, I still shoot my revolver better than any service weapon.

Please keep these articles coming. I wish they were available in print, but what else do you expect from an old geezer.”

— Unnamed Wheelgunner (via email)

Submit Your Wheelgun Diaries

Do you have a wheelgun story to tell? Send us a photo and your story by email and you could see it published here and featured in our weekly Wheelgun Wednesday newsletter.

Send to: [email protected]