CAMPFIRE TALES

JOHN TAFFIN'S LOOK BACK ON A LIFETIME WITH GUNS
The First Forty-Fours

Mention “.44” today and most people immediately think of the .44 Magnum. However, the .44 Magnum did not just suddenly appear on the scene.
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“This Gun Won’t Shoot!”

I recently received a call from my friend Jim Martin. Jim is an even older guy than I am, an expert in fast draw and gun spinning, a top-notch tunesmith...
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Seriously Seeking Someday

How are your Somedays coming along? Someday I am going to go there; Someday I am going to do this. Most of us spend much of our lives contemplating Somedays.
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A Half Century With...

The year was 1953. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, known to everyone as Ike, is inaugurated president on Jan. 20; Stalin our enemy, then our “friend” in...
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Kismet, Coincidence — or?

I try to live my life by faith daily, as all of us do one way or the other. At the very least we have faith in the physical.
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‘Cordially, Gordon Boser’

A few weeks ago I received a packet of information from one of our readers. As so often happens, this proved to be a gold mine of information.
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Pride of Ownership

Jack Pender was a very special friend who died of lung cancer in the ’90s when he was much too young. If we are blessed we make a few very close friends...
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A Half Century With...

The year was 1954. The words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance and the Dow reached an all time high of 382.74. Elvis was telling us...
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Keep Shootin’

In Part I last month I explained change is inevitable and as we grow older, things we do not necessarily desire are forced upon us.
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How to keep shootin’...

We live in an ever-changing world. Everything around us is always changing and we ourselves are always changing.
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The Perfect Packin’ Rifle

My passion for most of my life has been sixguns but not far behind this is the same feeling for leverguns. Now, at this stage of my life, I am expanding my...
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Skinner Sights Aims to Please

There are several ways to equip a lever-action rifle with sights and most shooters, at least those of us who have been around for a while, need something...
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Bucket Lists

I would’ve been all of 10 years old when Tex Ritter sang the mournful lyrics: “Oh my buckets got a hole in it; Yes my buckets got a hole in it;
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Cimarron’s Colt...

Charles Richards was an assistant factory superintendent at Colt and was awarded three major patents for breech loading firearms, including the Richards...
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Marlin or Winchester?

Regular readers of this column know my first firearm was a .22 rifle — not just any .22 rifle, but a Marlin 39A Mountie.
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Absent Friends

Regular readers know I never repeat myself, however I sometimes, well, review things. I’ve often said the best part of my job is not all the guns, but...
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The Fixer

A few years back I got a call from my good friend Jim Martin — a single-action sixgunsmith in Arizona. He’d called to tell me he had a .44 Special New...
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Voices From The Past: Part 2

Last month we looked at thoughts on semi-auto pistols made five generations ago or so. Now as we turn to double-action revolvers we need to set the stage....
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Voices From The Past

History has been a passion of mine ever since grade school days and I thank the excellent teachers who instilled this love within me.
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Past Masters of the...

There is no doubt we are living in the age of the semi-automatic pistol. However, this was not always the case and during the last century, especially from...
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Past Masters of the...

Walter Roper’s books are still worth reading; Keith Brown replicates the Roper stocks. This S&W .357 Magnum from the 1930s is stocked with Roper grips.
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Holster History

Imagine, if you will, this discussion between some opinionated old shootists sitting around the celestial campfire:
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Past Masters of the DA...

There’s no doubt we’re living in the age of the semi-auto. This wasn’t always the case and during the last century, especially from the 1920s to the...
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Riding With Ronald Reagan

One of the best things about my job is all the interesting people I meet. I first met Robert G. “Bob” Baer in the early 1980s and I’ve spoken of him...
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The Single-Six

After I got the Marlin 39A Mountie I talked about last month, I soon wanted to add an appropriated companion piece — a really good .22 sixgun. A young...
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Marlin Memories

The year is 1956. Eisenhower’s in the White House and will be re-elected in November. A first-class postage stamp costs 3 cents. John Wayne stars in what...
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60 Years of Concealed...

As I mentioned last month, when I was teaching I felt protecting my students was much more important than any regulations. Of course, I had to be able to...
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60 Years Of Concealed Carry

I didn’t have to try to decide whether or not a single action was suitable for defense; it was simply all I had to choose from. My choices in that first...
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Christmas Eve 1896

One of the dearest friends I have is the Pistol Packin’ Preacher, Jim Taylor. Not only is he a friend, he’s also one of the men I admire the most —...
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When Less Is More

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts,...
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The Powder People

I must admit I couldn’t understand how so many reloaders got into the predicament they found themselves in during the Obama years — remember the Great...
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Good Guns Gone

One of the most difficult things about getting older is losing old friends. Only a very small percentage of my high school graduating class still survives;...
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If Guns Could Talk…

We’ve all come across a particularly interesting classic gun we wished could talk. But sometimes they do talk — at least a little.
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Past Masters of the DA...

There’s no doubt we’re living in the age of the semi-auto. This wasn’t always the case and during the last century, especially from the 1920s to the...
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Past Masters Of The...

During the last century, especially from the 1920s to the 1970s, the double-action sixgun was definitely the King. There were many men who raised the use of...
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Bucket List Books

Although I did not know it at the time, I grew up poor. My father had died before I was a year old and my mother remarried when I was 3. My stepdad had...
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Past Masters Of The...

There is no doubt we are living in the age of the semi-automatic pistol. However, this was not always the case and during the last century, especially from...
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Old Stuff Is Still Good Stuff

We are trapped in an ever-changing world so much so it seems to be a fact the only thing that doesn’t change is the fact everything changes. Fortunately,...
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Counting On A New Number

When the .44 Magnum first arrived in my area the local range, Shell’s Gun & Archery Farm, rented it out to all who were brave enough to shoot it.
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The Croft / Keith Slip Gun

Elmer Keith’s Sixguns was first published in 1955, updated in 1961 and has been reprinted several times over the past 5+ decades.
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A Very Special Revolver

It was Elmer Keith who lit the sixgunning fire in my heart, however it was Skeeter Skelton who continually fanned the flames. Keith did the majority of his...
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Mythbusting The Magnum

One thing I have always collected/accumulated has been information. I was a teenager when most of the present day gun magazines arrived in the late 1950s....
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Back To Basics

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts,...
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The Legend Lives!

For a quarter-century beginning in the mid-1950s the Sixgunners Mecca was found in the little town of Salmon, Idaho, where Elmer Keith resided.
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Beware The Internet

The Internet is a wonderful resource, although I fought against using it for several years simply because I did not know how valuable it could be I also...
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What Were They Thinking?

Regular readers know of my affection for the old Smith & Wesson Classic N-Frames, the .44 Special Hand Ejectors, the .38/44 Heavy Duty and Outdoorsman, the...
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Remembering Skeeter

It is hard to believe Skeeter Skelton has been gone from us for nearly a quarter of a century. There have been many excellent gunwriters over the past 100...
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The Drought Is Over!

As I write this, it is the first month of the New Year and it is cold and snowing; however, it is also raining—raining .44 Specials. Suddenly it seems .44...
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A Half Century With Sixguns

The year was 1955. The first advisers are sent to Vietnam, Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and a bomb explodes on Flight 629...
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