Year End Summary

Year End Summary

Putting things in context

By Dennis Adler

Here’s two CO2 pistols that few of you expected to see in the running for 2020’s top gun title, and of course, the Barra Schofield Wells Fargo won as Replica Air Pistol of the Year. Why that happened is more about the quality of the gun than how new it is technicaly, though every change in an air pistol is worthy of review and evaluation. And such was the case with both the Umarex Colt Peacemaker from the Pyramyd Air Airgun Builder project for 2020 and Barra’s move to fulfill the wishes of airgun enthusiasts who wanted to see the classic 5-inch barrel model of the S&W Schofield. Just think if Umarex had released a 4-3/4 inch CO2 Peacemaker this year how things might have gone! But this has not been your typical year or anything like it.

This has been a most unexpected year. No matter what your political or fundamental beliefs, 2020 has been a year of unraveling that has put us in a place we have not seen in recent history, although we have all been here before, if not us then our parents or grandparents, but the story is told the same; prosperity reversed for the many, health and well being in jeopardy and the future hopeful but distant. It sounds like a storyline that could as easily be a Western or science fiction film (actually it is, over and over) but 2020 is not a film it is our reality. We really are at the end of the last reel, when everyone looks to the sunrise and heads toward whatever lies just beyond the horizon, because the next chapter has yet to be written. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 7

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 7

No real losers

By Dennis Adler

Six impressive new guns from 2020 cover the range from the 1870s to the 21st century. With that level of diversity among pellet cartridge revolvers, a belt fed pellet semi-auto, and two blowback action BB pistols, the comparisons are stretched to the limits but the underlying qualities of each gun, as well as their shortcomings, will ultimately lead to a best choice for 2020’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year.

In the past few years it has been a clear process of elimination that has made the annual top gun choice comparatively straightforward as one gun always rose to the top. Not so in 2020 with three guns tied at 49 points and two at 48 points. Even the gun that comes in last, the Chiappa Rhino, has 47 points and at the beginning was the one gun I thought had the best shot at 2020’s title being the only totally new CO2 air pistol of year.  The remaining five are all improvements or upgrades to existing models and every one of the six models reviewed for Replica Air Pistol of the Year fell short of 50 points (some even with bonus points added to their total) for one reason or another. read more


2020 Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

2020 Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 3

Timeless wheels

By Dennis Adler

We begin where we ended about a year ago with a gun being sold by Umarex as a custom model, and now one that can be configured using the Colt Peacemaker Airgun Builder, a 7-1/2 in rifled barrel model in the classic nickel and gold combination. These are the two guns I had built (as a pair) earlier this year. The combinations possible for 2020 are extraordinary, and the new models as a line (not an individual gun) are what I am considering as a candidate for Replica Air Pistol of the Year.

The third contender for this year’s top gun title is not a gun but rather a new concept for airguns. This year marked the launch of Pyramyd Air’s Airgun Builder for the Umarex Colt Peacemaker. Now I know you’re saying, how can a gun that has been around for five years be in contention for 2020’s Replica Air Pistol of the Year? Every time a manufacturer makes a change or upgrade to a CO2 model we look at it as a new gun, the introduction of the 7-1/2 inch Umarex Colt Peacemaker on the heels of the 5-1/2 inch, for example, or when the rifled barrel was added; another new gun to be considered. With this year’s implementation of the Colt Peacemaker Airgun Builder, the guns are new again in an even broader sense, because you can have it built the way you want.  read more


Go West Young Man Part 2

Go West Young Man Part 2

It’s all about realism

By Dennis Adler

Armed to the teeth or at least to the waist the author has the pair of engraved Colt Peacemakers holstered and the 1875 Remington tucked behind the cartridge belt. Were it not for the exposed seating screw holes in the bottoms of the frames the CO2 models would be almost indistinguishable from their centerfire counterparts.

It’s all about realism and authenticity, and I don’t care if you’re talking about centerfire Colt, S&W, and Remington reproductions or their CO2 counterparts, the guns have to look right, feel right, and handle right. That’s a tall order for Uberti and Pietta, (and they have been at it for quite awhile) even for U.S. armsmaker Standard Mfg. and their new, very expensive Colt-style Single Action models, so getting it right with an air pistol is even more difficult.

Drawn and aimed the CO2 Colts look as real as the centerfire pistols I was using for the Guns of the Old West photo shoot. The 1875 Remington is foolproof from this angle, too. It’s when you start getting closer that the details of a finely hand engraved CO2 model really start to blur the lines with the centerfire models.

What adds authenticity? read more


Go West Young Man Part 1

Go West Young Man Part 1

Cowboy Up with Custom Engraved Guns

By Dennis Adler

During a recent photo shoot for Guns of the Old West I substituted the three Colts I was being photographed with for the latest hand engraved CO2 guns to come from Adams & Adams, a two-tone pair of 7-1/2 inch Peacemakers with inked engraving and one of a pair of magnificently engraved Remington 1875 models. They look like they belong!

It’s not a myth, men with engraved guns felt a special bond with the gun that made it more than just a gun.Some men were emboldened by it, some more than others, like the Dalton Gang, but an outlaw packing a finely engraved gun was unusual, same for most lawmen, though there are some very famous exceptions (and you can fill in the blanks on that one starting with Wild Bill Hickok). An engraved gun was actually more likely to found in the holster, or perhaps on the desk, of a wealthy rancher, a successful businessman, or ranking military officer. Of course, anyone who saved up enough for a hand engraved gun could have owned one, too. Engraved guns usually meant something personal; a presentation to a friend, brother or relative, others were presented to a Sheriff or Marshall by the grateful citizens of a town. Most lawmen with engraved guns were in fact carrying guns presented to them. read more


Young Gun, Old Gun

Young Gun, Old Gun

The design of a firearm

is still based around a simple principle

By Dennis Adler

I am reminded every time I put a montage of CO2 models like this together, that we have at hand a remarkable variety of firearms designs. Some, like the early 20th century Mauser M712 would be almost out of reach for the majority of collectors as a centerfire pistol, first because of the value, and second in still being a Class III weapon after almost 90 years. Others have simply gone up in value exponentially because of their rarity, like original Colt Peacemakers and WWII pistols like the P.08 Luger, while most of what you see here remain the mainstream guns of the 21st century, such as the latest Ruger 10/22 carbine,the Glock 17, S&W M&P40, and Sig Sauer P320/M17. As real firearms this would be quite an expensive group of guns.

I am paraphrasing the legendary William B. Ruger, Sr., when I say that all gun designs serve the same purpose, to fire a projectile, but what the gun fires and how it fires it, will dictate the design of the gun. Case in point, John M. Browning designed .32 ACP and .380 ACP cartridges and he designed the guns to fire them in 1903 and 1908, respectively. Bill Ruger, Sr. was something of a modern day J.M. Browning and what I learned from my time around him in the 1990s, while I was writing a short biography of his life, visiting his factories, talking with his engineers and staff, and having quiet, introspective dinners with him discussing firearms history, was that great design, and the fundamental breakthroughs that come with them, become the paradigm for all that follows. I understood than as I do now, that with few exceptions, every single action revolver, regardless of manufacturer (including the c. 1953 Ruger Single Six and c. 1955 Ruger Blackhawk), is descended from Samuel Colt’s original revolver designs, even though Colt had died years before the Peacemaker was designed. Ruger’s point being that no matter how different, regardless of the ammunition it fires; however large or small the pistol may be, the fundamentals of its design began with Colt. Bill knew this when he designed the original “Old Model” Single Six .22 revolver, and all the Ruger-designed and built single actions that followed. Were it not for Sam Colt… read more


The Art of the Gun

The Art of the Gun

Coming full circle with hand engraving

By Dennis Adler

The very latest Airgun Builder Colt Peacemakers with nickel and gold finish have been hand engraved by John J. Adams, Jr. of Adams & Adams. The engraving is based on the .45 Colt in the center. This gun was copied from an original Nimschke engraved 7-1/2 inch nickel and gold model from the late 1890s, and duplicated on a 2nd Generation Colt Peacemaker by John J. Adams, Sr. in 2008.

We have stepped upon the coattails of greatness with the creation of the Peacemaker Airgun Builder,giving western air pistol enthusiasts the opportunity to experience what cowboys, lawmen, ordinary citizens, and quite a few famous outlaws with a full purse could do with the stroke of a pen, or a well phrased telegraph message. Case in point, on August 8, 1892 an order for 10 matching 5-1/2 inch barrel length Peacemakers, all with matching mother of pearl grips and nearly full engraving coverage were shipped from Colt’s to the attention of Mr. A.E. Williams in care of Simmons Hardware Company in St. Louis, Missouri. The 10 matching revolvers, chambered in .45 Colt, were not for sale to customers in St. Louis but for a group of individuals who would ride into infamy on October 5, 1892, The Dalton Gang, with their historically failed attempt at robbing two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, Kansas. The engraved Peacemakers were intended as a symbol of the Dalton Brothers and their gang’s solidarity. Bob and Grat Dalton died that October morning; their younger brother Emmett would be the only one of the five Dalton gang members to survive. It had taken just 15 minutes in Coffeyville, Kansas, at the hands of the armed citizens defending thier town and its banks to end the careers of one of the most notorious outlaw gangs of the early 1890’s American West. read more