When Centuries Collide – an adventure in CO2

When Centuries Collide – an adventure in CO2

By 1915 Texas Ranger’s were mixing .45s

By Dennis Adler

There was a period in the early 1900s when lawmen were carrying the Colt Peacemaker and the .45 ACP Model 1911. This was especially true in Texas where Rangers began carrying the .45 Auto around 1915. And while the “Old West” was fading away by then, throughout Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and in the Oklahoma oil fields, not that much was different when it came to crime. The semi-auto gave lawmen (and outlaws) another choice in guns, but the Peacemaker was still favored by those on both sides of the law.
When this picture of eight Texas Rangers was taken in 1915, only one of them had switched to carrying a 1911, the man standing second from the left in the top row. (Photo courtesy Former Texas Rangers Assoc.)

In the early 20th century, it was not unusual to see a Texas Ranger packing a .45 Colt and a .45 ACP.This seemingly incongruous pairing of Peacemaker and 1911 was an interesting part of Sam Peckinpah’s groundbreaking 1969 western, The Wild Bunch, which took place in 1913, and had an eclectic mix of Single Action Colts and Model 1911 semi-autos. This same mix was taking place in real life, at the same time, in Texas and throughout what remained of the American West. And these two legendary Colt models were still being carried during WWI, and well into the 1940s. But the period from around 1915, when the 1911 was first coming into the hands of civilians, lawmen, and outlaws alike, the choices of sidearms worn by Texas Rangers covered the entire last three decades of the 19th and first 15 years of the 20th centuries, along with a mix of smaller caliber Colt semi-autos, early S&W double action revolvers, and Winchester slide action shotguns from the 1890s.   read more


Refinishing a Peacemaker Parts 4 & 5

Refinishing a Peacemaker Parts 4 & 5

The pursuit of imperfection

By Dennis Adler

What exactly are you looking at? An old Colt SAA in a copy of Matt Dillon’s holster from Gunsmoke? No, this is the former NRA commemorative in a new suit, well, let’s make that, old suit of clothes! (Holster by Chisholm’s Trail)

The hard part, polishing off the factory finish, is done and that is the most labor intensive part. Now we shift to the cleaning of internal areas such as the cylinder chambers, and as much of the operating mechanisms as can be accessed without disassembly of the gun. This is to remove any debris that got past the taped parts of the gun in the various steps thus far. The fine grit created by polishing off the original finish is going to get into places no matter how much you try to prevent it. It is like dust, it goes everywhere. read more


Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 3

Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 3

The pursuit of imperfection

By Dennis Adler

Why save the fame for last? It has more curves and small areas to work around than the rest of the gun and it has the most open surface areas where debris from polishing the surface can get into exposed mechanisms. It’s the blue tape prep job.

This is where we are starting today with the frame still bearing its Umarex weathered finish. You should note that the pitting in the left recoil shield was part of the weathered finish and there is nothing that can be done about that, but, the color case finish I will be applying in Part 4 will help blend that in. Some areas of the frame will still have some dark weathered finish remaining but that again will blend in with the application of bluing and oil mix used to create the faux case colored appearance. You can also see the amount of space behind and in front of the cylinder and frame and this must be sealed off.

Covering all openings

If you hold the gun up and look at the side you can see all the open spaces that are in front of and behind the cylinder. These open areas need to be sealed off as much as possible, starting with the cylinder, which gets wrapped. You need to tear a strip of blue tape and then tear off the extra width and save it. Put the first piece at the top of the cylinder with an edge protruding past the front, and then with the hammer on half cock rotate the cylinder and press the tape onto the cylinder. Then turn in the front edges. Use the narrow strip of tape you tore off to do the back of the cylinder. read more


Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 2

Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 2

The pursuit of imperfection

By Dennis Adler

This is where we left off on Tuesday with the barrel, triggerguard, trigger, and frontstrap polished out. Up to this point I had left the grips on the gun.

Removing the finish from the gun is a delicate process, not only because you do not want to distress the white metal (rub a flat spot or depression in the surface), but also not scratch it beyond the capability of polishing out with the 0000 steel wool and Gesswein polishing cloth. It is also delicate because you want to take every precaution to keep debris from the finish, 3M pad and steel wood, from getting into the internal systems of the CO2 and action. With that in mind, it is time to add another tool to the process; either masking tape or 3M blue painter’s tape. read more


Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 1

Refinishing a Peacemaker Part 1

The pursuit of imperfection

By Dennis Adler

While I have seen alloy guns with brilliant finishes and even something approximating color casehardened receivers, I have not seen this with CO2 air pistols or air rifles. Most finishes, except for nickel or Cerakote-like (such as the Sig Sauer M17 and Umarex Glock 19X FDE) are flat black, and that is rarely authentic to the handgun except for some black Cerakote and Parkerized military finishes. As for Umarex Colt Peacemakers, which now are offered in nickel or weathered finishes, weathered is nice, but not what an actual weathered Colt would look like. read more


Colt Peacemaker vs. Webley MK VI Part 2

Colt Peacemaker vs. Webley MK VI Part 2

The gun test that never happened

By Dennis Adler

Realism is a feature we all want in a premium CO2 pistol and two of the absolute best are the Colt Peacemaker and Webley MK VI, both shown here with centerfire models. Both are equally impressive copies but the Webley being an historic 20th century handgun used in two World Wars, does give this British warhorse a lot of appeal to military arms collectors.

The gun test that never happened, actually happened, in part, back in 2018 when I did a comparison of drawing and firing a 5-1/2 inch Peacemaker vs. a Webley MK VI, to see if there was any advantage to one gun over the other clearing leather.

The first test

The belief that a Colt Single Action is faster to draw and fire accurately than a double action is debatable; depends on the person doing the shooting. One very famous case in point is the legendary exhibition shooter Ed McGivern who set a record shooting two S&W Model 10 double action revolvers on August 20, 1932, emptying both in less than 2 seconds. The following month he set another record firing 5 rounds from an S&W Model 10 at 15 feet in 2/5ths of a second and grouping his shots close enough that he could cover them with his hand. He was actually faster with a double action revolver than anyone with a semi-auto! So, if the question is “which is faster, a single or double action revolver” and the person pulling the trigger was Ed McGivern, the answer is Ed McGivern. read more


Colt Peacemaker vs. Webley MK VI Part 1

Colt Peacemaker vs. Webley MK VI Part 1

The gun test that never happened

By Dennis Adler

It would seem logical that the Colt Peacemaker, a gun developed in 1872 and made famous on the American Frontier, and the British Webley MK VI, developed in 1915 and used by British forces in WWI and WWII, would not have crossed paths in combat. The U.S. military adopted the Colt Model 1911 as its standard issue sidearm prior to WWI and the government had, in fact, begun to replace the Peacemaker back in 1889 for the U.S. Navy, with the Colt Model 1889 Navy in .38 and .41 calibers and in 1892 for the Army with a series of smaller caliber (.38 Long Colt) revolvers beginning with the Model 1892. Colt made improved .38 caliber Models in 1894, 1895, 1896, 1901, and with the Model 1905 issued to the Marine Corps. In response to criticism of the .38 caliber double action revolvers being under powered for a military sidearm, Colt developed the New Service in 1909 chambered for a .45 Colt cartridge. Two years later the Colt Model 1911 was adopted as the standard issue U.S. military sidearm replacing the majority of revolvers then in use. read more