GUNS Magazine May 2013 Digital Edition - Page 82

helPers these FolKs hAve MeAnt A lot to John over the yeArs. M y very first gun article, entitled “Four Times 44 = Fun” was published in GUNsport 45 years ago. I had spent the summer, along with the family, in the Payette National Forest. We were in charge of maintaining our church camp for the summer which gave me a lot of time to myself when the camp was empty and much of that time was spent shooting my first four .44 Magnums. The first one, which I still have along with the rest of them, was a Ruger Flat-Top Blackhawk purchased in late 1956 or early 1957. That sixgun was a real eye-opener! I had earlier fired a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum with a 4-inch barrel and the recoil was just awful for teenage hands used to shooting at the most the .357 Magnum, .45 Colt, or .45 ACP. Everyone knew the Colt Single Action Army grip, which the .44 Ruger duplicated tamed felt recoil. That is, before it was tied to the .44 Magnum. Recoil with the Ruger was even worse than with the S&W. The S&W came back in the hand and the checkering of the grip left its pattern in my palm. However, the Ruger rolled in the hand just like the Colt Single Action Army and in this case the hammer dug into the area of my hand between my trigger finger and thumb taking off a good bit of skin and the blood flowed. Of course, I eventually learned to handle that Ruger .44. I never did care for the 6-1/2-inch barrel length and had it cut to 4-5/8 inches, flush with the ejector rod. That old Ruger rode on my hip in a George Lawrence Elmer Keith No. 120 holster for many miles through Idaho’s sagebrush, foothills, and mountains. Although never used as such, my hunting companions dubbed it the Bear Buster. I once came close to having it become a Bull Buster when a farmer asked us to help him load a bull into a trailer for shipment. The bull came after me, I jumped up on an old farm wagon, he came up after me, the floor gave way under him, and when we left there the bull was trapped. I wonder how they ever got him out. Along with me that summer of ’67 in the Idaho mountains were my three other .44 Magnums, a Ruger Super Blackhawk, and two Smith & Wesson originals with 4- and 6-1/2-inch barrels. As mentioned I still have all four, however that original Ruger was sent off to the factory in the late 1960s to continued on page 81 Sometimes helpers have four legs! 82 W W W . G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • M AY 2 0 1 3

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