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GUNS Magazine August 2011 Digital Edition - Page 90
And no, we’re never wrong. Well, maybe sometimes. o one likes to be the bearer of bad tidings and i am n somewhat reluctant to burst any bubbles; however, i must be honest. gunwriters, like every other group GUNRIdER MISTEAkS of people, are not infallible; in fact we actually make mistakes! We are not alone in this as proofreaders are also not perfect, and, gasp, even editors make mistakes. Sometimes errors creep in simply because of a not so perfect source. For example, the original Colt Single Action Army which started production in 1873 and lasted until the eve of World War II, still causes debates over just how many different chamberings were actually produced and also what serial number marks the beginning of smokeless powder guns. Brain fades also occur, I’m sure they are caused by signals from all the satellite dishes and cell phones banging around the atmosphere; and all writers eventually get to the point where they have what someone has dubbed senior moments. None of us get out of here perfect! Let’s take a look at some of the things I have seen come from gunwriters. Mistakes used to be confined to the printed word, however, now with the Outdoor Channel we can see glaring mistakes in beautiful high definition. Recently a very wellknown gunwriter was asked why .38 Don’t tell Doug Turnbull Ruger frames can’t be case hardened. Special and .357 Magnum bullets were standardized at 158 grains. His answer was that was the weight of the round ball in the original .36 Navy Colt. What? Those little round balls only weighed approximately 90 grains and even when we get to the .44 Army Colt, the weight is still well under 158 grains. I wonder what this gunwriter was thinking? Another well-known gunwriter trying to make a case against 9mm hardball related the old Elmer Keith story of a cop putting several shots into the back of a black cowboy hanging on a cattle car. The cowboy lived long enough to pull a .45 SAA, kill his assailant, and put all his affairs in order. The only problem with the story was it was not a 9mm Luger, but the smaller .30 Luger which was used. One mistake that shows up over and over again is the statement Elmer Keith invented the .44 Magnum. He inspired it, he was directly responsible for it, however he did not invent it. He spent years trying to convince ammunition makers to produce his Heavy .44 Special Load with a 250-grain bullet at 1,200 fps. They were afraid of older guns so he told them to just lengthen the brass case so it would only fit in newly produced sixguns. He was as surprised as anyone when the .44 Magnum arrived with loads 250 to 300 fps faster than he had asked for. Actually, in the late 1940s John Lachuk was using cut down rifle brass to create his .44 Lancer which turned out to be the same length as the .44 Magnum when it arrived; he used 22 grains of 2400 and special cylinders fitted to his .44 Special Colt Single Actions. After Keith’s well-known story of the 600-yard mule deer shot, a contemporary of his, mainly to stir-up controversy I’m sure, talked about Keith whipping out his 4" .44 continued on page 89 90 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2011