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GUNS Magazine March 2012 Digital Edition - Page 54
B Mike “Duke” Venturino Photos: Yvonne Venturino onding is a current catchword—such as bonding with a new pet, male bonding, etc. How about handgun bonding? I’ve experienced that and it seems to follow no rhyme or reason. Then again, friendships are the same. For example, I don’t remember the name of a single person from my college years, but I’m still tight with people I worked with in yellowstone National Park during the same time frame. truly bonded with a couple of other handguns owned only for two or three years, and for which I have not the slightest practical purpose. What it is that creates a handgun bond: aesthetics, accuracy, utility, history, and uniqueness? Aesthetics must be a factor, although I’ve owned engraved, custom-finished handguns and then sent them down the road with no regrets, and one of the handguns to be detailed further along is plain ugly. Accuracy must be a factor, but is not the main reason for bonding. I wouldn’t keep a handgun that sprayed bullets Here’s a specific example of what I mean about handgun bonding. Back in 2010, I sold my Smith & Wesson “preModel 29” .44 Magnum after owning it for 42 years. Why? Because I never bonded with it. It was just a tool: a powerful handgun I carried back in the ’70s and ’80s when riding horses in Montana’s mountains. Since that isn’t a pastime for me anymore, that old .44 just gathered dust. Conversely, I’ve around the countryside, but I’ve gotten rid of some far more accurate than the one’s I’ll talk about soon. Utility? Nope. We’re back to the handgun as a tool thing. I’ve got self- and home-defense handguns I’d never sell, but could care less about them otherwise. History? That’s a more important factor with me than with some other people, because the study of history is part and parcel of my life. What about uniqueness? That is a factor with only one of these four favorites. Frankly I can’t pinpoint why some handguns “trip my trigger” and others are just tools, any more than I can tell you why I prefer blondes to redheads. It must be a combination of the above factors come together to make one handgun more special than others. Two of the four discussed here are single actions, and two are autoloaders. Not one of them is a double-action revolver, although I’ve searched out and owned many notable double actions. They never bonded. The most unique of my special four is a nigh on perfect duplicate of an 1870s .38 Colt Conversion. When metallic handgun cartridges became the norm in the early 1870s, Colt found themselves in possession of tons of parts for their now-discontinued percussion revolvers. The cap-and-ball Model 1860 was turned into a .44 Colt caliber “conversion,” and Models 1851, One of Duke’s oddest favorite handguns is the homely Navy Arms replica (above) of a Smith & Wesson 3rd Model .44 Russian. The Navy Arms replica (left) ejects its fired cases just as the originals of the 1870s did. 54 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M A R C H 2 0 1 2