Few things stir the soul of a devout bibliophile more than a thoroughly authoritative book that is at once handsome, well-written and lavishly illustrated. For gun junkies, such a book is every bit as rewarding as a new gun. Timothy Mullin’s Colt’s New Service Revolver is a delight to read and savor slowly, drawing out the experience as long as possible.
This is more than merely a book. It is first a tribute to the late Bill Powell, perhaps the planet’s foremost authority on these great revolvers and second a scholarly but eminently readable study of “A Particularly Strong, Heavy Weapon,” replete with exquisite photos of rare and exotic examples of the New Service, vintage ad copy, documents, schematics and patent drawings. Indeed, it is really a museum masquerading as a book.
What must impress most is the scope of the work. Powell’s extensive collection included serial number 0, a pre-production example which embodied the final iteration of the gun before real production commenced. Serial number 1, in the hands of a fellow collector, is also featured in detail. Following are chapters on the various commercial, military and target models, prototype and experimental guns and famous users. The section on engraved guns is worth the price of admission.
Author Mullin, lawyer, Army veteran, historian, law enforcement firearms educator and sage, is well qualified to write this book, one of eight he has written. Indeed, no less an authority than Elmer Keith adjudged his Training the Gunfighter one of the 10 best books he had ever read. A word of caution, however: if you are not a New Service revolver enthusiast, you will certainly catch the disease upon reading Colt’s New Service Revolver. For that reason alone, it merits a place in the library of any gun and book lover.
By Hamilton S. Bowen
Colt’s New Service Revolver,
Timothy Mullin, 296 pages, 394 illustrations (258 in color),
$69.95, Collector Grade Publications Inc.,
P.O. Box 1046, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, K9A 4WS,
(905) 342-3434, www.collectorgrade.com
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