Quests Revisited

Keeping Dreams Alive, One Mission At A Time
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Along the way Duke had a brief quest for .38s of many types. Left row from top: Enfield No. 2 Mk I .380 British, Colt Model 1861 .38 Long Colt Conversion, Colt SAA .38 Special and Colt Model 1877DA .38 Long Colt. Middle row from top: Colt Model 1903 .38 Long Colt, Smith & Wesson “Victory Model” .38 S&W and Merwin & Hulbert .38 M&H. Right row from top: U.S. Firearms Model 1911 .38 Super, Smith & Wesson Military & Police .38 Special and Smith & Wesson “Outdoorsman” .38-44.

“Questing” has been a subject in my columns before but it’s time to revisit. Almost every day of the year I deal with firearms in one manner or another. It can become boring and if I’m bored, my writing will be boring or even more boring than some of you might find it already. Questing is a way to keep one’s interests at high flame. Therefore I quest not just for guns but also for bullet molds, reloading dies and odds and ends of other firearms’ related “stuff.”


Duke’s WWII small arms quest led him to this large assortment of vintage rifles and carbines.

Admitting The Problem

The realization I was a quester came many years back but my first major quest was upon deciding I needed a sample of every Smith & Wesson revolver from Model 20 to Model 29. Some of those were made in very small numbers. One such was the Model 21 — a fixed sight .44 Special.
Only 1,200 were made counting the “pre-21 model numbers” that were dictated by the Feds in the late 1950s. The Model 21’s first moniker was 1950 Military. My quest for those S&Ws encompassed the Internet, gun stores far and wide and even having friends in different parts of the nation questing for me. After several years of active questing, I had all 10 of those big S&Ws. What then? I shot all of them, wrote about some and eventually all were sold except one which had been a gift.

Why were they sold? To finance my next quest, of course! It took more than a decade. And at its end there were still a few minor gaps but I was satisfied. This quest was about WWII military arms. I did land most of the standard-issue pistols and revolvers used but eschewed Italian and Soviet handguns — for reasons even I don’t fully understand.

Then I was on to WWII sniper rifles and brother did I hit home runs there, ending up with American (1), British (1), German (5), Japanese (3) and Soviet (2) specimens. Assembling all nations’ infantry rifles and carbines was so easy it couldn’t even be called questing.

The reverse was true when it came to the major combatants’ submachine guns. It not only required considerable questing but it just about bankrupted me. Not all SMGs from WWII were acquired but at least one each from the above mentioned nations (excluding Japan) are here. My quests for WWII firearms and related accoutrements lasted well into the teen years of this century.

Admittedly questing can be expensive and my own questing could not have been funded by gun ’riter wages, as I’m sure my colleagues in these pages will attest. (Editor’s Note: Hey!) Along the way I made a smart business deal and have also written a few books. That helped. Still, by about 2015 I was growing bored. Handloads had been developed for all those WWII firearms and I was growing bored.


When a dream reignited Duke’s questing for Colt SAA revolvers,
these three nickel-plated ones with 4 ¾" barrels came first.

Dreams I’ll Never See?

What next? This is where my subconscious mind kicked in. I dream vividly — sometimes so vividly I wake up disturbed or happy as the case might be. One night I dreamed I was shooting a nickel-plated Colt SAA with 4 ¾” barrel. I owned no such handgun. The dream was taken as a sign — immediately I began a new quest.

The first nickel-plated Colt SAA I encountered was a .38-40. No matter. I bought it. Then the realization struck me, my dream did not specify a caliber so I also bought a nickel-plated 4 ¾” .44-40 and then a likewise .45 Colt. For my nickeled .44-40 I also quested for, and found, a .44 Special cylinder.

Was the quest satisfied? No! Colt SAAs were my very first love, with my first purchased in 1968. So extra WWII guns bought during the quest were sold off and the money invested in more Colt SAAs. I won’t go into all details because my Colt SAA quest isn’t over. In fact, it has ignited others.

For instance, one of my new SAAs was a .41 Long Colt. Past experience showed me the best bet for good .41LC shooting were hollow-base bullets. Both Lyman and a now-defunct company called Rapine Bullet Molds had produced suitable hollow-base molds and I knew from previous experience they shot well.

Try finding either company’s HB .41LC molds now! Questing for them had me visiting eBay every day. It also led me to a custom mold maker located in the tiny country of Slovenia, i.e., MP Molds. I now have all three brands of .41LC hollow base molds.

Getting bored with your guns? Try questing. Quests don’t have to be big. Quests for a single item like special grips or custom holster are good starters. Quests have kept me well engaged and I hope they do so for a long time yet.

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