Buntline’s Fables

In a nutshell here is the Buntline story. Back in the 1870s a “Dime Novelist” with the pen name of Ned Buntline reported he had special ordered Colt SAAs with 16" barrels and shoulder stocks and presented them to western law officers of note. Among those was Wyatt Earp. Whether this actually happened is a topic of debate. The Colt factory doesn’t have a record of Ned Buntline ordering anything — although they made special Colts with extra-long barrels and shoulder stocks on special order.

In the mid-1950s, with the advent of television, western shows were all over prime time. I for one loved them. Cheyenne was my favorite but Have Gun Will Travel was another good one, Maverick was entertaining and gave James Garner his start. Another one well remembered was about Wyatt Earp as portrayed by Hugh O’Brian. His Colt Buntline also got plenty of airtime.

It was the popularity of those TV westerns that nudged Colt back into reintroducing the SAA in 1956. Naturally, the company capitalized on the popularity of the Wyatt Earp TV show by introducing their “Buntline Special” in 1957. The one I found at a Montana gun show was made during that first year judging by its serial number.