American Handgunner May/June 2013 Digital Edition - Page 46

KEITH NO.5 GRIP FROM GRand FRAMES MasteRs L.L.C. these are not drop-on parts and will require a bit of fitting and shaping with files for proper results. No, it’s not Elmer’s gun but rather a copy made on a ruger flat top. Photo: Mike McGuire Studios. HaMILItOn BOWen T hrow out this question to a congress of your shooting cronies some time: Who is the dean of modern sport revolver shooting? Unless you run with a crowd of brain dead, ill-informed numbskulls, they will shout out in unison “Why, Elmer Keith, of course, you dolt. Can’t believe you don’t know that!” Okay, now for a very slightly more subtle question: Aside from the S&W .44 Magnum M29, what gun springs to mind at the sound of his name? While the assembled experts might mull this matter a moment, the most likely answer will be “What are you smoking? Surely you read the April 1929 issue of the American Rifleman magazine which introduced the Keith No. 5 revolver, your friends that won’t get you in a lot of trouble: Why doesn’t anybody make a Keith No. 5-style revolver now? You’ll get a pregnant silence with much head scratching. There is no really good answer except the huddled masses aren’t screaming for one loudly enough to encourage major revolver makers to build an example. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have one. Custom revolver builders have built a few No. 5-style guns over the years, using a variety of basic guns from USFA, Colt and Ruger. While interest remains high, commissions don’t come rolling in for custom revolver builders mostly because making up the grip frames in the Keith No. 5 style is a time consuming operation (read expensive). Further, most custom revolver shops are small mom-and-pop outfits who don’t have the capital, machinery or know-how to produce such parts in quantity. Happily, that has changed. Revolver impresario Ron Power, operating these days as Grand MasContinued on page 83 Custom Builds perhaps the most influential custom revolver ever made!” The revolver Elmer Keith commissioned reflected his view of the perfect working revolver, based on the best technology of the time. Photos and commentary on this gun showed up regularly for the next eight decades in the popular press. One might say the .44 Magnum caliber eventually descended from it. Certainly, the grip shape informed the Ruger Bisley model grip frame. Now, here’s a question you could ask the new power Custom keith No. 5 parts are all you need to build a credible version from a ruger single action. 46 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEbRUARY2013 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MAY/JUNE2013

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