November 2019

Wheelgun Wednesday Recapped

From Hollywood holsters to beautifully engraved single sixguns to a non-scientific study testing the danger of cylinder gap blast, November 2019 features have something to entertain every revolver lover. Read what you may have missed in our Wheelgun Wednesday newsletters this past month.

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Legendary Leather Holsters

I’ve never seen a leather holster which was not interesting. A teenager in the 1950’s, I was captivated by the new adult TV westerns. My fascination with the TV gunfighters led to a life-long interest in the sport of fast draw and gun leather in general. Always a reader, I spent many hours reading Keith’s Sixguns, Border Patrolman Bill Jordan’s No Second Place Winner and Ed McGivern’s Fast and Fancy Shooting.

My first handgun was a Hahn 45 SA BB-gun. This CO2 powered SA was the same size, weight and balance as the legendary Colt SAA and the perfect fast draw trainer. Combined with a Tandy Woolem Fast Draw holster kit, I was on my way to becoming a fast gun. Years later, I have one of the major collections of Hollywood, Western and practical holsters anywhere. Gunleather really tells a story, and historical Gunleather — especially — can really talk to us. Let’s take a look at a few.

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Smith & Wesson Model 686

C is for Calibers. These multipurpose cartridges have been around for a long time and show no signs of kowtowing to other calibers that are, what, half their length. Available in everything from target loads to personal defense loads to hunting loads, both .38 Special and .357 Magnum rounds offer outrageous versatility. Fired from the S&W 686, the .38 Specials register only the slightest of recoil. The .357 Magnums, however, thunder and roar, but keep you coming back for more.

L is for long DA, light SA. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better DA/SA trigger stroke in any gun. The S&W 686 double action stroke is long, somewhat heavy, but amazingly smooth. Still, you can double tap steel silhouettes with terrific effectiveness. Because the sheer size and weight of the gun absorbs some of the recoil, you’re back on target easily. Click the hammer back for a single action stroke and you’re rewarded not only the pleasing sound and feel of highly engineered internal mechanisms aligning and locking in place but also with a legendarily easy press to break the sear and fire, affording greater accuracy.

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Truth About Cylinder Gap Blast

Anybody with an Internet connection and the capacity to type can publish any manner of outlandish foolishness these days. Urban legends pique curiosity, with just enough apparent truth to make them feel real. One such claim orbits around the gory risks of running afoul of a revolver’s cylinder gap. What happens if your thumb comes to rest across the infamous cylinder gap?

There was no academic rigor to our assessment. We just took some white T-shirt material, rigidly secured it around a variety of wheelguns with duct tape, and proceeded to throw a few rounds downrange. The results were indeed illuminating.

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Traditions Engraved Single-Actions

In the past few years Traditions has blended the old with the new. Their single actions now have the traditional Colt action of opening the loading gate, putting the hammer on half cock and rotating the cylinder. However, at the same time they have a Ruger-style transfer bar which allows the carrying of a fully loaded cylinder safely. If one looks at the current Traditions transfer bar Single Actions it is easy to see the trigger is farther forward than on traditional Colt actions. Everything else looks like Colt-style. Now in addition to the transfer bar action, Traditions is also offering exceptionally good-looking laser engraved single actions. The engraving is more than 80 percent scroll-style coverage and is quite attractive. If one is looking for an engraved sixgun at a very reasonable price, the Traditions Single Action, fully engraved, with one-piece grips can be purchased for much less than you’d expect.

Our test guns from Traditions, both engraved, consisted of a 43/4″ nickel-plated .45 Colt with one-piece walnut grips and a blued .357 Mag. Bill Tilghman Model with a 43/4″ barrel and one-piece ivory-style grips.

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More Wheelguns

Read November 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: December 2019