July 2019


This month, we debuted our new Wheelgun Wednesday email newsletter featuring hand-picked revolver content from American Handgunner and our sister publication, GUNS Magazine.

If you’ve seen Dirty Harry more times than you can count, prefer your pistols cocked instead of racked, and enjoy loading moonclips over magazines, this newsletter is for you. And like a 5-shot .357 Magnum snubby, we value quality over quantity.

Catch up on what you may have missed in our July 2019 Wheelgun Wednesday newsletters.

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Hower 12-Shot Revolver

Last summer I took the two-hour drive from Oklahoma to Kansas to visit my independent 91-year-old dad. With him in tow, we arrived at my aunt and uncle’s farm for a visit and some serious can-homicide. It was here I learned from Uncle Mike he had a friend who had made his own 12-shot .357 Maximum revolver. He asked if I would be interested in seeing his friend’s pistol. My answer was quick and to the point, “Let’s go.”

One call to his friend and a short drive later, we arrived at Kenneth and Carolea Hower’s farm and home. After a brief introduction, we were invited to come in. When I entered the kitchen my eyes snapped to the red cloth on the table. Resting on the red cloth was the biggest revolver I had ever seen.

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Webley Mk VI .455

Some folks hold the Webley Mk VI .455 revolver in near reverence. I’m not one of them. To me it’s big, clunky, ugly, underpowered and worst of all I don’t think it is a very accurate handgun. Many attribute the weakness of its .455 cartridge as being necessitated by its top break design. That’s not actually the case because boat-loads of them were altered to fire more powerful .45 ACPs with no problems.

The Webley line of revolvers began as early as 1887 with the Mk I and its black powder ammunition. As ammunition technology and metallurgy progressed the design likewise evolved through various “marks” until the Mk VI arrived in 1915 during the “Great War.” Where the early versions had 4-inch barrel lengths, the short-lived Mk V and then the much longer-lasting Mk VI had 6-inch lengths.

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Handguns for Dinosaurs

Nope, this isn’t about guns for hunting dinosaurs, although it seems like some of the revolvers and single-shot handguns floating about nowadays could serve the purpose nicely. This is about handguns for us shooters who feel like dinosaurs — and yes, I’m one. As a teenager in the ’60s I could identify almost every Smith & Wesson then current, and many discontinued. I could tell you what cartridges they were chambered for and their barrel lengths. Colt SAAs were no mystery either. I could rattle off their available calibers and finish options on demand. Semi-autos didn’t interest me much but I certainly knew the difference between the Walther PP series or Colt Gold Cups from ordinary Government Models.

At movies, I must have been obnoxious to my dates or even male friends because I would give a running discourse as to what firearms were being prominently displayed. For example in the 1966 movie “The Professionals,” I told whoever was with me Lee Marvin was shooting a Colt New Service with a 4-1/2″ barrel. In that same year in the movie “Nevada Smith” when Steve McQueen was being taught the finer points of revolver shooting by Brian Keith, I labeled his handgun a Smith & Wesson Model #3; most likely a “Schofield” with a 7″ barrel bobbed to 5″.

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More Wheelguns

Read July 2019 Wednesday Wheelgun features from GUNS Magazine and subscribe to receive revolver-related content, including editorial, videos and news, delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

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Next Month: August 2019