single action sixguns and "Great Westerns" book review by Marshal Grumpy

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/23/2013

does anyone have or know of an AFFORDABLE  copy available of john's book, "Single Action Sixguns" ???
I can read most of,  if not ALL of it on this site for FREE, but I would like to have a hard copy.
Also,  I have purchased the new book   on " GreatWesterns",  and will give you a short review.
In My Humble Opinion,

I will start by saying that the print quality and photo's are Fantastic  and it does have  SOME  background and company History,
but the book is  really lacking on anything significant about William "Bill" Wilson, OR  Hy Hunter, WHO. without his Distribution

and marketing skills, the Company would have never gotten of the ground.

Also, a Good portion  of the book is wasted on Ruger and the other competitors of the time.
If I wanted to read a book on Ruger and it's History, I will buy one, thanks,  there are ton's of them out there.

But , I understand that it was a collaboration between these two guys, and with the lack of information on GreatWesterns,
they would have had to cut the book to ten pages and photo's
Just Saying;  and  I know the poor fellows are trying to break even on the printing costs and sales, (which they probably won't) , but

$35 bucks is a LOT of pesos for a coffee table book with not much info, and a LOT of beautiful pictures.
In talking to ANOTHER LEADING EXPERT on Great Westerns, (who I will not name for obvious reasons),

I have been told that the serial number information is Totally Faulty and PURE conjecture;  

NO ONE knows what serial number ranges were made during what years; the records have been lost and/or destroyed.   

Also, there is NOT ONE PHOTO OF A GUN WITH THE COPPER/BERILIUM, " trigger and hand" mentioned  and talked about in the text.
 I am NOT  trying to knock the book;  it is basically the ONLY attempt that has been made to research and preserve the history
of this Super Interesting and Obscure Business Attempt  and Venture that was made;

But,  it is FAR from complete and comprehensive. One Example.....

Did any of you guys know that GREAT WESTERN MADE AND PRODUCED  Government Model 1911 45"s ??
Well, neither did I, and yet they have been found and are owned by a friend of mine.
Could  I do a better job, you say ??

Well ,  just let me quit my full time career and research it for a couple of years like  Mister Hoobler did,
and MAYBE I actually could; but someone better do it fast;  Most,  if not ALL of these old timers are dying or dead, just like ALL of

the WW2 vets, and time stops for no one.
FOR NOW, this is the best you are going to get besides some articles that were written in the 50's, (now out of print)
by leading gun magazine of the era. I have to give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Joined: 09/23/2013
P.S. Hy Hunter is Dead !!

I didn't post a review on the "Great Western Collector's Site" because almost NOBODY goes there any more !
There is a Site Administrator who goes by the name of Hy Hunter, but it's not really Hy at all...
Mr. Hunter, that mysterious and obscure deal maker, real estate mogul, firearms distributor, and friend to the "Stars"
is long gone, and there ain't much info floating around about him. Yeah, He was "The Worm King" after his involvement with

"Great Western Firearms",  Hawes Frontier Marshal's made by Sauer, and "Hy Hunter" roll marked firearms, but he is one
slippery and Mysterious Dude.  What a Hunter Thomson thrill it would be to do a movie or book about this guy.

Joined: 09/23/2013
navy arms bisley

just got my navy arms cattleman bisley yesterday and must say, that compared to my G.W., it feels a little light.
real colts have the weight and feel of "shootin irons" and the replica's don't.
nuff said, they still cost about HALF of a decent colt, but they are kind of like finding a beautiful
girlfriend, and then she smiles and has crooked teeth !! the same with the rugers, Super Quality,
Bulletproof for s.a.s.s work, but with the transfer bar and different weight and balance, it's like putting
your hands on those beautiful boobs...... and oops, those babies are beautiful but are Replica's !!
just saying, save your peso's and get the REAL THING partners.

Thanks to all you guys for all your help with finding a book...... NOT !!
I got one on e-bay for $50 bucks, about HALF of what a used copy is going for on Amazon.
be well, oh what the hell, I hope you cow scratchers feel like buffalo chips, Haaaa ! Marshal Grumpy.

Mak's picture
Joined: 03/01/2011

Personally speaking, I pretty much missed the Great western thing.
There was this one time, when I ran across one of their Colt copies with the 5.5" bbl. in 357 magnum cal. Some one had gold plated the trigger, polished the nickel to a mirror finish, and installed some white stocks that pretended to be ivory.

I recall that despite its pimped out appearance, it did handle and balance quite well. The proof of all guns is in the shootin', as far as I'm concerned, and I never got a chance to shoot it, so the jury is still out on any final say.
All in all, I just could never figure out why Elmer Keith was so critical of Colt, which had been there and done that, while feeling so warm and fuzzy over G.W., which never got anywhere except into a few movies pretending to be Colt.
The last story I have about a G.W., was my asking the gent who owned a 7.5" 357 Colt copy if he really thought it would qualify as a carry gun-dependable, reliable, accurate enough.

Y'know what he said...?

Joined: 09/23/2013
G.W. experience

Well, thanks for your comments and thoughts. I just got my Taffin book today, and I must say, it is
Magnificent ! the quality of printing, photos, and information is outstanding, John my hat goes off to you for a Great Job,
As a side note, what you mistook for a "gold plated " trigger was most likely the "copper berilium" trigger and hand used on early great westerns, which were supposed to be much tougher than the colt steel ones. they also used the same Weatherby Barrels that Ruger
was buying and using at the time; in fact a law suit sprang up because Bill Ruger was under the assumption that HE had exclusive rights to the Weatherby barrels; only to find out bill williams was buying small quantity's for his Great Western guns.
I haven't shot mine either yet, but I can tell you with out a doubt that they have the same heavy weight that he original
1873 model "p's' had. I just got a Navy Arms Cattleman Bisley in 45LC, and although the case hardening,  bluing, and fit and finish
is Excellent, I could Immediately feel that it seemed light compared to a Real Colt Bisley. I told a friend of mine it was like having
found a really pretty girlfriend and finding out she has Crooked Teeth !!
Great Westerns Represent a very small but significant piece of history because they were made to fill a demand at a very specific time in our history; the Westerns of Fifties Television and Movies;  when James Arness, Ben, Little Joe, and Hoss Cartright rode across the screen each week, and Spaghetti Westerns filled our dreams.
I just saw "Unforgiven" with Eastwood, Hackman and Freeman, and Gene Hackman plays about the Nastiest Bad Ass Sheriff, I can remember. NOBODY deserved to get his Ass handed to him more
than that Guy, and Eastwood was just the Man to do it !!  Another guy I am going to recommend is a Fella named "Rich Mercer".
who has a business called "Rich Mercer Grips". He Does OUTSTANDING Indian Style and Western themed Carvings, and has some of his stuff on e-bay if you type in "Uberti Grips" . Really talented Guy, and He uses some of his proceeds to support our troops and send care packages to our boys over there fighting the good fight, so we can be free to sit at home and bitch about the
"Government Shutdown" and "Medical Exchange Vouchers". Also A tip of the Sombrero to "Sack Peterson" who is doing some Great Elkhorn Stag Work. KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY AND YOUR WILLIE COVERED, Marshal Grumpy.