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
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
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
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.
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
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
We have stepped upon the coattails of greatness with the creation of the PeacemakerAirgun 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