I first fired a firearm at the tender age of 9,
and it was a love affair at first shot, and I obtained my first
license in my late teens. My first firearms were a bolt-action
Remington target rifle, a S &W K38 target revolver and a
Sturm Ruger Mk I semi-automatic pistol, all in .22 caliber. Over
the years, I've bought and sold a number of fine weapons, but I
would class myself a shooter, as opposed to a collector. I tend
to favour firing historical weapons, and my three prize possessions
at this time, are a .44 caliber Colt 1860 Open Top Black Powder
Revolver, a 9mm 1918 DWM Luger, a .357 caliber Ruger New Model Blackhawk and a Pietta 1860 Army with a .45 Colt Conversion Cylinder.
Colt 1860 Army Revolver
This .44 caliber, 71/2" round barrel percussion revolver was born of technological advances in metallurgy and, to some degree, in response to a demand for hard hitting, powerful firearms that could somehow be more sleek and lightweight than the old Dragoons. It was no doubt the favorite sidearm used during the war between the States, because of the increased fire power of the big .44. The 1860 was issued to Federal Troops and purchased or otherwise acquired by Confederates. Because of its lighter weight, improved balance and superior ballistics, it was adopted by the U.S. Ordnance after the Civil War, and became very popular with the mounted troops. It was to be the issue sidearm for the U.S. Army for many years. My revolver, pictured above, is a centennial edition, made in Belgium under license to Colt, by Fabriques d'Armes Unies de Liege (FAUL). It is a fairly rare pistol, having only been produced for about twenty odd years.
1918 DWM Luger
The Pistole Parabellum (Luger) was developed by Georg Luger beginning around 1896, and modeled after the Borchardt, it was originally chambered for 7.65mm. It was rechambered to 9mm in 1902 to meet military requirements, the primary market for this weapon. The Luger was adopted by the Swiss Army in 1900, followed by the German Navy in 1904 and the German Army in 1908. The Luger has been the standard sidearm for the military of more nations than any other weapon, and was seriously evaluated by the U. S. as its standard sidearm, but was later dropped in favour of the Browning designed M1911 Colt .45 semi-automatic. Production of the Luger spanned almost 50 years, with sporadic production continuing after WW II. The Luger saw service however, up until the fall of the Communist Block, as sidearms for the East German Police.
Because of my interest in Lugers, and partly because I'm a glutton for punishment, for two years I was the Webmaster for the Luger Forum, the premier internet site for Luger collectors and enthusiasts.
Ruger New Model Blackhawk
1955 saw William B. Ruger, Jr. introduce his first
centerfire handgun, the Blackhawk revolver in .357 Magnum. The
Blackhawk was historically important on multiple fronts.
A styling homage to the Colt "Peacemaker," it featured a more rugged action built around coil springs. It came standard with adjustable sights to better take advantage of its caliber's ".38 wadcutter to .357 Magnum" versatility range. The Blackhawk line would widen to include many other calibers, and a new generation of shooters would discover the functionality of a powerful, single action-sporting revolver. Blackhawks were a big part of the TV-motivated fast-draw craze of the '50s+ setting the stage for today's strong "back to the future" movement, cowboy action shooting.
Pietta 1860 Army Black Powder to Cartridge Revolver Conversion
Because I so love the design of this revolver, and given that a) you cannot shoot black powder at indoor ranges and b) the rarity of my original black powder revolver above, I decided to purchase a modern replica of the 1860 Army along with a conversion cylinder to replace the black powder cylinder, chambered for .45 Colt. This will allow me to shoot this very fine weapon at an indoor range. This is a Pietta model replica and matching conversion cylinder, both purchased from Taylor's Firearms in Winchester, Virginia.
Here is a target from a recent trip to the range. Not too bad for an old guy... of course it helps to have a finely engineered pistol...