February 23rd, 2015

Elmer Keith Gun Collection to Be Auctioned in March

Elmer Keith Estate Gun Collection auctionHere’s your chance to own the guns of an American legend, Elmer Merrifield Keith, one of the best-known gun writers of the 20th Century. Keith’s firearms, including his much-modified Colt SAA “Number 5″, will be auctioned March 15-16 through James D. Julia Auctioneers. “The importance of the Elmer Keith Estate Collection cannot be overstated,” the auction house announced. “This truly represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of firearms history.”

Born in Missouri, Elmer Keith was raised in Montana, Idaho, and eastern Oregon. He had a ranch on the North Fork of the Salmon River (in Idaho), and was active as a hunting guide. His first article appeared in the American Rifleman in 1924. Over his career he wrote ten books, beginning with Sixgun Cartridges and Loads (1936) and ending with his autobiography Hell I Was There! in 1979. During his long writing career, Keith’s stories appeared in The Outdoorsman, American Rifleman, Western Sportsman, Gun, and Guns & Ammo. Called the “voice of big bore six-gunning”, Keith pioneered handgun hunting and he was instrumental in the development of the first magnum revolver cartridge, the .357 Magnum, as well as the later .44 Magnum and .41 Magnum cartridges.

Elmer Keith Estate Gun Collection auction

A Very Unique Colt — the “Number Five”
If you know much about Colts, you’ll immediately recognize that the “Number Five” in the photo above is no ordinary Single Action Army (SAA). This famous revolver started as a Colt SAA in .44 Special, but then was heavily modified. The top strap of the frame was welded up into a flat-top target configuration, with an adjustable rear sight added. The front sight was changed on the 5 ½” barrel to a hi-visibility Patridge style. The hammer was modified with a Bisley-type target spur, and the trigger was curved and moved closer to the back of the trigger guard. The unique grip of the Number Five was created by marrying a modified Bisley backstrap to a Single Action Army trigger guard. Add contoured ivory grips and the resulting is probably the most comfortable-to-shoot revolver grip ever designed. Keith called this handgun “The last word in fine six-guns.”

CLICK HERE for 50+ Other Elmer Keith Guns at Auction.

Elmer Keith Estate Gun Collection auction

Dangerous Game Rifles in Collection
Along with famous handguns, the Elmer Keith collection at auction includes prized long guns, including the legendary “Corbett Tiger Rifle”, a Jeffery boxlock .450/400 used by famed hunter Edward James “Jim” Corbett. This rifle was featured in Corbett’s book Man-Eaters of Kumaon. Two of the man-eating tigers Corbett hunted were believed to have killed over 800 humans in the Kumaon Hills of India. Other valuable long guns in the collection include English Best Quality stopping rifles from Westley Richards and Holland & Holland.

Elmer Keith Estate Gun Collection auction

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February 23rd, 2015

Tech Tip: Shoulder Bump — How Much Is Enough?

Some of our readers have questioned how to set up their body dies or full-length sizing dies. Specifically, AFTER sizing, they wonder how much resistance they should feel when closing their bolt.

Forum member Preacher explains:

“A little resistance is a good, when it’s time for a big hammer it’s bad…. Keep your full-length die set up to just bump the shoulder back when they get a little too tight going into the chamber, and you’ll be good to go.”

To quantify what Preacher says, for starters, we suggest setting your body die, or full-length sizing die, to have .0015″ of “bump”. NOTE: This assumes that your die is a good match to your chamber. If your sizing or body die is too big at the base you could push the shoulder back .003″ and still have “sticky case” syndrome. Also, the .0015″ spec is for bolt guns. For AR15s you need to bump the shoulder of your cases .003″ – .005″, for enhanced reliability. For those who have never worked with a body die, bump die, or Full-length sizing die, to increase bump, you loosen lock-ring and screw the die in further (move die down relative to shell-holder). A small amount (just a few degrees) of die rotation can make a difference. To reduce bump you screw the die out (move die up). Re-set lock-ring to match changes in die up/down position.

That .0015″ is a good starting point, but some shooters prefer to refine this by feel. Forum member Chuckhunter notes: “To get a better feel, remove the firing pin from your bolt. This will give you the actual feel of the case without the resistance of the firing pin spring. I always do this when setting up my FL dies by feel. I lock the die in when there is just the very slightest resistance on the bolt and I mean very slight.” Chino69 concurs: “Remove the firing pin to get the proper feel. With no brass in the chamber, the bolt handle should drop down into its recess from the full-open position. Now insert a piece of fire-formed brass with the primer removed. The bolt handle should go to the mid-closed position, requiring an assist to cam home. Do this several times to familiarize yourself with the feel. This is how you want your dies to size your brass, to achieve minimal headspace and a nearly glove-like fit in your chamber.”

We caution that, no matter how well you have developed a “feel” for bolt-closing resistance, once you’ve worked out your die setting, you should always measure the actual amount of shoulder bump to ensure that you are not pushing the shoulder too far back. This is an important safety check. You can measure this using a comparator that attaches to your caliper jaws, or alternatively, use a sized pistol case with the primer removed. See Poor Man’s Headspace Gauge.

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February 23rd, 2015

Winter Range Comes to Ben Avery

winter range ben avery phoenix

Earlier this month, the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix hosted America’s top long-range shooters at the Berger SW Nationals. This week cowboys and cowgirls take over Ben Avery during Winter Range, the SASS National Championship for Cowboy Action Shooting. Winter Range, which runs February 23 through March 1, is the second largest Cowboy Action event of the year, after End of Trail, the annual Single Action Shooting Society World Championship held each year in Edgewood, New Mexico.

winter range ben avery phoenix

winter range ben avery phoenix

Hundreds of cowboy action shooters, ages 12-80, will compete in multiple classifications based on age, and type/caliber of firearms. In addition, this year the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and the SASS Mounted Shooters will run an exciting 3-day mounted shooting event. This is expected to draw more than 100 competitors mounted on horses. You’ll see this kind of action:

winter range ben avery phoenix

Cowboy Action Shooting requires that contestants compete with firearms typical of those used in the taming of the Old West: single-action revolvers, lever-action rifles, and period shotguns. Participants each have a registered cowboy shooting alias (such as “Deadeye Dave”), used in SASS events. Competitors, organized in “Posses”, shoot a series of multi-gun stages. This is a fun shooting sport that draws multiple generations of the same family. In addition to the primary competitions, Winter Range 2015 will feature displays of period militaria, exhibitions of western skills and crafts, a fast-draw contest, and nearly 100 vendors selling vintage-style clothing and “sundries”.

winter range ben avery phoenix

winter range ben avery phoenix

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