Saturday, July 30, 2011


Normally, within the colorful confines of my family tree, a post with this header would, could and should conjure possibilities of a East-Texas Hillbilly-esque fued replete with gunfire or at least gunplay.

And I strongly suspect that at some point in my families history it has happened, folks. Either with firearms or swords or knives or whathaveyou deadly weapon of the day and age. Some inter-family feud spawned some sort of combat.

And more. But I don't want to air the family dirty laundry, fortunately I want to rave about my great cousin Jimmy and a simply magnificent creation of art as a firearm and a TRULY custom and handmade firearm as a superior example of it's genre, that being the single action revolver.

Handmade. Hand machined. All parts made from solid steel. You can literally feel the sturdiness and excellence of the lockwork just by fondling the very attractive and might I add, very well done non-fluted cylinder.

I'm a sucker for a non-fluted cylinder on a SA revolver, heck, on any revolver, and although Jimmy doesn't know that, I bet he'd tell you my eyes really lit up as that fine weapon cleared the holster and I spied the lack of fluting and said something instinctual like "ohhhhhh, that's nicccceeeeeeeee" as my finger shot out to touch the cylinder, as if to confirm my aging eyes were not deceiving me.

I don't want to give too many details, because I'm not familiar enough with the gun and don't want to err in it's description. I'll get more details, as I've promised to do the legal research to find out what he needs to do to explore starting a firearm company. It's a daunting and serious proposition, but he's a serious craftsman and has some great support in his immediate family. It'd be my pleasure to do it pro bono, i.e. free, as Jimmy and his clan have always been there for my family, in sickness and in health. Literally.

And besides, they are close family. They're the kind of folks that make you proud you're kin to them because they are honest and earnest and they support and take care of each other within their family, as does my family.

And my cousin Jimmy has always been a highly talented individual, not only occupationally, working his way into management as a success story, but with his kids and grandkids and wife as well as with his parents and siblings. But I'd like to see him get some recognition as an artist, which when you see some pics of this pistol, you will say to yourself, "Self, that's a work of art. It's also a revolver but it's truly a work of art. It's a gorgeous simple yet sturdy design, and it just glows with quality.

I'm sure I'd "have to demand" as part of my pro-bono contract an early sample, not for keeping "long term" but to ensure my ethical requirements of adequately representing my client are fully developed. So I can tell people what an absolutely excellent firearm it is for multiple purposes, and truly know what of I speak. LOL.

Jimmy hails from what I'd consider the normal side of my gene pool. Indeed, his mother and lovely wife, three brothers and sister are all sterling examples of what any family tree could claim as their finest. Jimmy's mother and my father were siblings and close in age. Raised in the depression in a poor farm family, they've seen the things that make this nation great. Several of her sons served our country, and all of her children have successful family and work lives.

They, like my parents, wife, sister and I, have a work ethic. They can't imagine not working. Their hard working mother, making sure they wanted for nothing materially or spiritually or in a family sense, spoiled them with not only good love but with common sense as well. Like my father, my Aunt (Jimmy's mother) was more successful than most of her siblings but shared that success readily with her mother, relatives in need and of course, taking care of her family first.

So first I have to establish that these are the cousins I'm always been impressed with, and I do come from a large family. Mannerly. Friendly. Very sweet and kind and genuinely loving to our family for many years, as long as I can remember. Non Toxic to us.

I just wanted to establish that these are good people. Good Americans. Good Texans. To me that's important because I'm trying to talk my cousin Jimmy into going into the custom handgun business. Read on, and I hope to inspire him to chase the American dream.

It seems that 20 years ago, my cousin Jimmy, a one time machinest extraordinaire who later became an administrator and management type, got associated with a veteran artist in revolvers and had the opportunity, as I understand it, to build three single action revolvers under the license and tuttledge of this master handgun craftsman who built/milled most or all of the parts by hand.

I don't have the full story and but I'll be getting it. I'll have more details later and will clarify. I can't recall the fellows name but I have heard it before. This master's name was engraved on the buttstrap of the frame of the gun, as was my cousin's on the barrel.

So Jimmy pulls out this holstered gun that appears as it sits in the holster to be of a cross between a Ruger Super Blackhawk and a Colt Single Action/Peacemaker with what I can see of the gun in the near full coverage Hunter holster it's in.

First now, I've have not seen Jimmy in over a decade, and we've never discussed holsters in the past, yet I see he and I favor the same type of Hunter holster for traveling, a near full coverage belt holster with an old school strap and snap instead of a thumb break for keeping the gun under the seat or on you.

This is the type Hunter holster that has the flap on the rear with a loop and snap so the holster can be placed on the belt while wearing the buckled belt. It's sort of the standard Hunter holster of years gone by.

So I have several Hunter holsters and began using them as a kid in the early 70's, buying them via mail through Herter's catalog. I just got a new one at a great ebay price for a Colt .357. And I found it "DNA/Same bloodline" interesting that here two cousins tend to use the same type holster when traveling with big guns.

So once the revolver, finished in a deep, deep, deep, deep blue begins to clear leather, I can see it is neither a Colt nor a Ruger. I later learn there are only two screws for the entire exterior of the gun. It is a .44 Magnum for sure, and it looks magnificent.

It seemed that the barrel is a bit larger, bigger than a Ruger or a Colt. Jimmy's gun had adjustable rear sights. It seems lighter on handling that the Ruger Super Blackhawks that I've owned and shot, and if this makes sense, it WAS lighter than it looked.

The barrel, as I said, was of larger diameter than a Colt or Ruger, although not by a whole lot. Enough to be noticeable to someone like me or perhaps a handgun expert and "genius gun chooser/trendsetter" like James Zachary would notice. In any event, Jimmy's lovely wife reports that the gun has minimal recoil in her opinion, shooting full on magnum loads. That tells me a heavier barrel has something to do with it, as well as a well designed gun with the right tolerances.

I have never in my life had the urge to call anyone, as I did with Jimmy today,  over to my gun safe, open it, stand back and say start looking for gunS (note the plural GUNS) you want to trade me for that work of art you made.

I'll be honest. I thought about it. Before we split up today, I joked about it, and I think he and his brother knew I was really not so joking.

It's nice to know that even though I don't own any of these guns that there are some REAL family heirloom weapons in the family now. El Fisho Jr. was with me today, and of course he like me appreciates fine horseflesh in the form of a firearm. He was near speechless for a few moments upon the initial inspection of Jimmy's gun. That's because as you go from feature to feature to feature, you see the quality and detail built into every part. 

El Fisho Jr. noted the wide hammer and the very nice grooves in it. He noted the comfortable grip angle and like me, also said the gun felt lighter than he thought it would. He noted the tight cylinder lock up and liked he way that gun felt in his hand. The trigger face was comfortable and wide as well, reminding me of a fine German trigger face on the high end guns. 

Note to self: Ask Jimmy more questions about the gun next time instead of staring in awe at it as you pawed your mitts over it's gleaming surfact. Like, how much does it weigh? Why is the barrel bigger? Do you have any idea the kind of money that gun people with money would pay for a gun like this?

In any event, before I could ever get Jimmy to make me one, no matter how much I would pay, and trust me on this, I would pay A LOT more than I've ever paid for any gun for the gun I saw today, or one made by the same hands.

Of course, part of that is the family tie. I wouldn't be willing to spend that kind of money, even on a Bowen gun or other like dream gun, but the fact that one of my favorite and *has always been very nice to me* cousins made this fine instrument with his own hands would motivate me to do some ebaying and some serious saving to pay enough money for the blood, sweat and tears that would go into crafting a single action masterpiece, built from solid steel.

But a big part of it is the gun. I didn't get to fire it, live or dry, but felt the action and cylinder which to me is as important as trigger pull. And something *just tells me* that a gun with that much handcrafting and attention to detail and custom features he built into the gun did not get neglected in the trigger department. I listened to the lockwork as my cousin worked it, and opened and closed the extremely nice feeding gate. Oh man, the firm yet easy feel of opening and closing the feeding gate was enough to tell you this is no normal single action.

Like me and most of the rest of my cousins, Jimmy's been a shooter all of his life. His dad who passed recently was a legendary North Texas lawman for decades. Twenty years ago, I heard numerous excellent stories about Jimmy's dad duing several teaching stints I had at the DPS academy, where many of the old timers who worked with their dad and had known him for decades had stories to tell me and respect for him.

So Jimmy has not only been around general shooting, he's been around lots of law enforcement shooters and lots of the philosophy and opinion about defense shooting that comes along with hanging out with coppers socially.

So although the gun I saw today is not per se a self defense gun, I'd surely take it into a gun fight. I'm not one of those who believes that a single action is too obsolete for personal protection, but you need a back-up piece and you better be a good shot and good at reloading a single action revolver.

But if I owned Jimmy's gun, you can bet I'd have a Bianchi or Mernickle holster for the occasional carry when it is serious jacket or coat weather and a larger gun like this can more easily be concealed. And I'd carry it often in the field. And I'd be proud that I was carrying it.

So I'll be doing an update and if Jimmy will allow, some pictures and let me flesh out the story. I'm still struck by the fact that Jimmy's lovely wife (I'm not using a lot of names here on purpose) told me it kicks less than a 9mm, and she's an astute and very experienced handgun shooter as well. And thus I have absolutely no reason to doubt her as she's never steered me wrong before so I'll accept her assersion about the recoil sight unseen and simply say: Please put my name on the waiting list for one today. Exactly like the one I saw.


  1. (Zack says)

    Me? A gun expert? Your words are very kind, but I am no way an expert on guns... or anything else for that matter. That's why I read your blog and the others... the more I learn, the more I realize that I have much more to learn... so I keep on coming back!

    I am very interested in hearing more about this big Texas single action wheel gun. Looking forward to viewing a few photos...

    Any guess as to how much a production model would cost?

  2. As soon as I get some pics and more details I'll let you know. Just a stunning gun. Simple and stunning. And I have no idea how much.

  3. Zach,

    And I do respectfully disagree about your level of knowledge, but we'll call that even. YOU ARE, however, an excellent gun chooser and a trendsetter and I think we've established enough commonality in gun likes to know that you've been ahead of my curve for the most part, and your past posts of the past few years about your collection have greatly educated me. And for that, I'm grateful.

    Besides, you've got a good way of saying what you say.