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


Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 6

Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 6

A horse of a different color – Colt combinations

By Dennis Adler

We left off on Wednesday with the nickel and gold combination for the 7-1/2 inch pellet model, which is probably the best looking off-the-shelf pairing you can make with the Airgun Builder. But you can take this to a much higher, and for many, more interesting level, just as Colt’s actually did with the Peacemaker design in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

From 1873, when the only caliber offered was .45 Colt (which was developed by Colt), until 1940, when production of the first generation of Colt Peacemakers ended prior to the U.S. entering WWII, the factory had offered the Single Action Army model in a total of 30 different calibers and 23 different barrel lengths from as short as 2-inches to Buntline models (a later accepted epithet) having barrels from 10 to 16-inches. Since 1955, when Colt’s reintroduced the Peacemaker, the gun has never been out of production by Colt’s, making it the longest manufactured handgun in American history. It is a heck of tale to hang on the likes of an air pistol, but Umarex, Colt, and Pyramyd Air are coming to terms with it as the airguns slowly begin to follow the path of the cartridge guns and their evolution.   read more


Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 5

Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 5

An Ace in Accuracy & my top Colt combinations

By Dennis Adler

There are a lot of reasons why this version created with the Peacemaker Airgun Builder is better than the Legends “Ace in the Hole” and the most obvious is (aside from the hammer) is that this gun bears Colt markings and has Colt medallion grips.

The Pyramyd Air Colt Peacemaker Airgun Builder has changed the face of CO2 pistols when it comes to customizing a Single Action to an individual customer’s preferences, and we all have different tastes in gun design and finish. The Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Mfg. Co. knew that back in the 1870s when they began offering so many barrel length choices and factory tuned actions built to a customer’s preferences. When you add in factory engraving and retailers who ordered and sold (or commissioned) hand engraved guns to order, the Peacemaker became one of the most varied handgun designs of its time. And it still is today with factory engraving and custom engraving from firms like Adams & Adams in Vershire, Vermont. read more


Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 4

Revisiting the Peacemakers Part 4

Rethinking the Ace in the Hole

By Dennis Adler

Even though the cat is out of the bag, seeing the 3-1/2 inch nickel modified Ace in the Hole built on the standard nickel Peacemaker frame is impressive, even with the drop-in front sight. Draw!

There are three ways to do things; the right way, the wrong way, and the way you have to do them,right or wrong. From my standpoint, the Umarex Legends Ace in the Hole was a mistake, although it has continued to sell well within the market it appeals to. This is divided between fans of the Sylvester Stalone Expendables films, and Cowboy shooters willing to overlook the modern alterations to the SAA movie gun, the fanning hammer, faux ported barrel and drop-in plastic front sight (added by Umarex so the guns could actually be aimed). The Ace is an oddity, but the bottom line is that for a short barrel pellet pistol, it shoots darn well! read more