Last week was a bittersweet one. On the one hand I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Arness. Those on the good side of 50 may only be vaguely familiar with the name. For those of us on the wrong side of 50, another childhood hero is gone. Arness played the role of Matt Dillon for twenty years on the television show “Gunsmoke.” Vaya con dios, Jim. You are already missed.
On the other hand one of my lifelong dreams was realized. Gun guys have a litany of iconic guns they simply must have. Modern gun guys might include a Barrett M82 A-1 or a custom-built, piston-driven AR. I am fortunate to have several iconic guns, but a matched pair of Colt Single Action Army revolvers had eluded me—until last week.
I put in an order to Colt right after the SHOT Show this year. These aren’t fancy guns with lots of engraving, but they do have consecutive serial numbers and they made a trip through the Custom Shop for a trigger job. Most special to me is that they were made for me, and they reflect my personality and values. That they are sans engraving echo my blue collar background and ways. The 1873 Colt is elegant in its own right, and while I appreciate fine engraving, these will be working guns. I do not own safe queens. All of my guns do what they were built for—pushing lead downrange. They have the very handy 4 3/4-inch barrel in front of cylinders chambered in .44-40 W.C.F.
The revolvers arrived Wednesday, and Saturday they were christened at our monthly CAS match. They digested my handloaded black powder ammo without a hitch and are noticeably smoother than the Ruger Vaqueros I had been shooting. In fairness, the Rugers are completely stock. I have shot tuned Ruger Blackhawks, and they can be just as smooth. But there were Colts—the real deal, not an imported clone—and they were made for me.