A Handy Resurrection

Dylan Stocker of Old Arms of Idaho specializes in old gun parts. His shop has several rooms stocked with thousands of parts. If he doesn’t have it, it probably doesn’t exist. He recently gathered several parts together and placed them in the hands of my friend, fellow Shootist, and extremely talented gunsmith, Milt Morrison of QPR. Milt has been featured several times in these pages with some of his custom sixguns; however, his latest is totally different.

Milt started with several parts from Old Arms of Idaho and brought them together with the original Handy-Gun action. The 10" barrel is a section of an original Winchester .44 WCF Model 92 barrel. This old cartridge goes back to 1873 and has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts since the arrival of Cowboy Action Shooting. It’s mostly referred to today as the .44-40. I don’t know if Dylan or Milt chose this chambering, but I consider it an excellent choice for the Handy-Gun.

The Handy-Gun is smaller, lighter and much easier to open and operate than the original single-shot Contender. For sights, they chose a Ruger #1 barrel band front sight with a gold bead matched up with a Contender Super 14 fully adjustable rear sight. I believe that was made by Williams Gun Sight company.

Milt put everything together, and the result is a very slick-handling, pure fun shooting, single-shot big bore pistol. I do not know if the action is strong enough for something such as the .44 Magnum. However, even if it is my hand would probably give out long before the action as this H&R grip was not designed for heavy recoil. It works just fine with the .44-40 and with factory loads can be shot in total comfort.