History Podcasts

Gunner W. H Coles with 5.5in Gun

Gunner W. H Coles with 5.5in Gun

Gunner W. H Coles with 5.5in Gun

Here we see Gunner W. Coles, the winner of the French Croix de Guerre, behind the breach of a British 5.5in Gun, with one of the shells by his side. This picture was probably taken on the Fifth Army front during the Cassino campaign, although Coles' shoulder badge might be a First Army badge from the North African campaign.


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Joseph Joseph:

(born 1938, New Hampshire) – Joseph began his engraving career at the mature age of forty one. Prior to that time he was involved in the gun industry as a gunsmith. During that time he learned all aspects of that trade. His last employment as a gunsmith was at the Paul Jaeger Gun Company where he worked on fine quality rifles and shotguns. It was there that he discovered the beauty of gun engraving. It ignited a passion in him that led him to Temple University in Philadelphia where he took art classes at which he excelled. This was not enough to satisfy the fires that burned within. He enrolled at the Abington School of fine arts where he studied drawing of the human figure. It was while working at Jaegers that he discovered the book L’ ARTE DELL’ INCISIONE authored by Mario Abbiatico. This book charged him with more desire not only to learn the art but motivated him to leave the gunsmiths trade and pursue his engraving passion. After finishing the art school he left Jaegers to take an unpaid engraving apprenticeship in Lynchburg Virginia, under engraver Ken Hurst.

The day he left the Hurst Engraving Co started an odyssey that took him half way around the world to Italy. When he arrived in Gardone Val Trompia the first week of January of 1982 he immediately found the author of that beautiful book. Senior Abbiatico was not at all impressed with the practice examples of work the Joseph had brought with him. However, the determination that he showed convinced the talented author to take Joseph to the engraving School of Cesare Giovanelli and introduce him to the director. Joseph spoke not a word of Italian. The director arranged for an interpreter and he was interviewed. After discovering that he had hitchhiked from France to the school, it became clear that Joseph was determined to learn the art of engraving, at any cost. Giovanelli accepted Joseph into the School even though he was forty two years old at the time and had no funds to pay for his training. He was the first American to study there. At this school Joseph’s passion to learn and his art school training help him to progress quickly. At the end of nine months of intense and at times painful training he had completed the entire three year course. While Joseph was in Italy not only he excelled at the craft. He also won the heart of a beautiful and intelligent woman who would become his wife. She provided Joseph with the guidance to make the rest of his life successful.

On finishing his schooling he returned to America and applied for employment with the Winchester Gun Company in New Haven. Conn. Once again Joseph’s skills impressed the management of that Company. He was hired as Master Engraver for the Winchester 21 custom shop. This in itself was quite remarkable as he had never engraved a gun during his entire training. The position paid an excellent salary, but a short year after, the artist within prevailed. Joseph realized that he would never reach his desire to be free to create the beautiful works that he could envision. He resigned from his position and returned again to Italy. There he worked under the Master Renato Sanzogni where he continued his studies of gold inlay and the sculpting in steel. When the training was completed he returned once again to America. Eventually settling in Cody Wyoming, where he maintained his studio for the following twenty years. He retired from engraving in 2001 and moved to the Mexican Riviera along the Pacific coast of the state of Guerrero.

His work has been displayed in Guns magazine, The Double Gun Journal, National newspapers, Christie’s auction house, Butterfield and Butterfields, Cherry fine gun catalogues, The Winchester Repeater magazine and others. He also received three awards from the Firearms Engravers Guild of America for his works. He has written many articles about engraving. Joseph’s tools and examples of his work are now part of a permanent display in the Highly Finished Arms Room housed in the Cody Firearm Museum located in Cody, Wyoming. He has recently published a book of his memoirs titled A Gifted Man. At present, Joseph spends his time painting, sculpting, engraving coins and writing short articles for engraving forums on the internet. His hobbies are big game fishing, poker, and playing Scrabble and chess with his wife Franca Facchetti. He has no last name and considers himself to be a citizen of the world.

Koulauch, Walter:

The only true Mercenairy Engraver I ever meet.

Keighoff Crown grade for 1000 bucks or one for 10,000 Same pattern different quality, an unusual attitude. A wonderful, warm hearted guy and a real “show me the money” engraver. Would give you the shirt off his back. Could produce great artwork when the price was right and also fine production work if that was what was called for. H&C and fast as lightning, nearly as fast as Angelo Bee but not quite.

Krause, Albert:

Chief engraver for L.C. Smith during the life of the company. Did all of the high grade work and trained and supervised a staff of pattern engravers.

Lindsay, Steve:

Steve Lindsay was born in 1958 in Holdrege Nebraska. His father, Frank, is an accomplished jeweler, gemologist and watchmaker who worked with pride on precision watches and created custom jewelry, with Steve often at his side, learning skills of gold and metalworking. Steve’s grandfather was a landscape painter, and his great-grandfather was also an engraver and jeweler. Steve, began learning the art of engraving at the age of twelve under his father’s instruction. In 1975, he meet two friends of his father, Lynton McKenzie and James Meek (author of “The Art of Engraving”). On the recommendation of James Meek he attended a tech college majoring in tool and die, mold making and mechanical engineering. After college Steve worked a short time in a tool room of a Nebraska manufacturing company.

During off hours he made various engraving tools and vises and in 1981 began engraving full time. He has engraved for collectors and makers of knives, guns, watches and jewelry but for companies such as Oakley Sunglasses as well as production hand engraving and lettering for gold, silver and platinum instrument companies in New England. He also engraved in collaboration engraver Lynton McKenzie on a Safari international rifle that auctioned by S.C.I. in 1986 selling for $201,000. Steve’s engravings are cut by hand under a Zeiss microscope. The layout and designs of the engravings are first drawn with pencil and the design is then cut under the microscope with an AirGraver. 24k gold is used for inlays. For more information, visit his website LindsayEngraving.com

Lister, Weldon E., Sr.:

Engraver, famous musician – was introduced to and studied engraving with his uncle, Austin Lee Lister in the 1940’s. From there he developed his trade until he met Frank Hendricks in San Antonio in the mid 1960’s where he worked until the mid 70’s. During this time he did much of the work for Frank which allow Hendricks to concentrate on the very finest of details. Dad left Hendrick’s & worked freelance until his retirement due to health concerns several years ago. He was a full-time firearms engraver for these decades with no additional source of income. His work was at what we would consider the “Master” level meaning he was accomplished and proficient in all styles of engraving including gold inlay sculpted steel and gold, etc.etc… Unfortunately he had a somewhat low profile nationally however, his clientele included Hank Williams Jr. (don’t know how many times I came home from school as a kid to find dad & Bocephus visiting in the shop or the living room), Charles Schreiner III, Lew Zale (Zales Jewelers, Cullom & Boren Sporting Goods, etc) S.P. Stevens, Joe Beeler (sculptor, artist) Elmer Keith, Wallace Benfield, Robert “Bob” Berrymann (Colt Collector), the Phillips family (Phillips 66 petroleum), Leo Bradshaw (Colt Collector), Rust Cox (artist, sculptor, etc..) Dave Kirby (songwriter, Anybody goin to San Antone, etc.etc…), and Porter Wagner. Among the (numerous) Texas Rangers he did engraving for are Capt A.Y. Alee, Clint Peoples, Capt. Frank Probst, Ron Stewart, Robert “Bob” Favor, Henry Ligon & Joe Davis (Joe is now head of the Former Texas Rangers Assoc). This is a short list, there are a multitude of others!

Among those he has helped to learn engraving over the years are Albert Bean (Corpus Christi Tx.), Buford Harris (San Antonio), Edward Machu (San Antonio) Oscar Flores (San Antonio), the late Don Henderson (Cherokee, Tx), Terry Theis (Harper Tx), Jim Riggs (Boerne Tx,) and myself. He also has the distinction of being the only engraver to have been a recording artist for Capitol Records, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry as a regular guest artist and toured with Hank Williams Sr. as his opening act and also traveled with Little Jimmy Dickens, String Bean and many other Grand Ole Opry artists. In addition to being an excellent engraver he is an accomplished songwriter, oil painter, scrimshander, knifemaker and wood carver. Stock making and carving were also a forte.

Chief engraver for Remington arms in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of his work is on high grade side by sides. Argueably the best American factory engraver of his time.

Marsh, Ernie:

A Western Silver Engraver. For more information, visit SpanishSpade.com

Medici, Francesco:

1924-?, Italian engraver who may be considered the father of modern Italian high art gun engraving. Mentor to such notables as Angelo Galeazzi and Firmo Fracassi.

1951-1994. Western Silver Engraver.

Murray, Dave:

1951-? Western Silver Engraver. He and Dan Murray were twins. Dave worked on buckles and jewelry in the 70’s. For more information on both of them, visit HighNoon.com

Nobili, Marco:

Italian author of a series of books on fine guns and gun engraving which further served to increase demand for finely engraved arms.

Obiltschnig, Albin:

1894-1975 was one of the most respected Ferlach, Austrian gun engravers of his time and father of engraver Hans Obiltschnig. Innovator of relief scene work incorporating Diana, goddess of the hunt which is sometimes referred to in Ferlach as an “Obiltschnig motif.”

A bank note engraver who engraved the dies for the roll engraving on all Colt percussion cylinders.

Parrott, Wayne M.A., FIPG:

Trained in England at Sir John cass College achieving a diploma (distinction) and M.A (distinction). Also trained in Germany at Staatlich Werksundschule, Schwäbisch Gmund, city & guilsds. Now engraves from his London based studio specialising in carving & seal engraving. Wayne has taught hand engraving at the Sir John Cass department of the London guildhall university (now the London metropolitan university) for over 30yrs, and also teaches short courses at West Dean college in the UK. A member of the Institute of professional Goldsmiths, Hand Engravers Association Of Great Britain, and the Heraldry Society. Some of his works are available for viewing at Westminster Abbey, St Paul`s Cathedral, Norwich Cathedral, The Goldsmiths collection.

Pedersen, Rex:

Born in 1955, engraver, teacher, gunsmith. A third generation gunsmith. Began engraving 1978. In 1938, C.R. Pedersen started a business in Chicago with his son manufacturing twirling and directing batons and musical instruments. Upon his discharge from the armed services, his son Rich started a gun shop in Ludington, Michigan. He offered many custom services to many customers as well as other dealers. Many gunsmiths and manufacturers used the famous REX brand engine tuning fixtures, drill jigs and front sights. Growing up in the gun business Rich’s son, Rex performed many gunsmithing operations. In 1978, he decided to try his hand at firearms engraving. Since then he has received” Professional” status from the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. In 1996 he received the Smith & Wesson “Masterpiece Award” for the finest engraved Smith & Wesson handgun. In 1999, he received the Beretta “Award of Distinction”. This award, recognizes a FEGA engraver who has exhibited both excellence and uniqueness of design. Has served as President of the FEGA and teaches engraving courses for GRS Corporation. His work has appeared in Guns magazine, Shooters Bible, Modern Custom Guns, Custom Firearms Engraving as well as other publications. He recently engraved the #16 ACGG Guild rifle, “The Whitetail, a tribute”.

Pilkington, Scott:

Engraver, teacher, author, b.1964, began engraving 1981, started with Meek’s book, began full time engraving in 1984, his work has been featured in many US and foreign publications, 1985 to present. Used hammer and chisel from 1982 until 1991, then switched to power. taught week-long courses and seminars at the Appalachian Center for Crafts, Blade Show, FEGA show, Trindad State Junior College and has been an instructor for the GRS Training Center since 1996. Has authored several articles about engraving. Has visited with engravers and engraving schools on six continents. Hosts an annual Engrave-In at his home in Tennessee. In 1997 he started an import and retail business for competition airguns used in the Olympics. Also see Artist in Steel.

Of Anacortes WA, Ed has engraved everything from from bracelets to boat anchors.

Prud’homme, Georges Henri:

1873-1847 (unrelated to E.C. Jack Prudhomme) A French engraver and medallist of great note in Eurpoe.

Rausch, Gerd:

One of the top contemporary German engravers. A protégé of the late Erich Boessler. Rausch’s work is often seen on ornately engraved Kreighoff’s and other high end European arms.

Engraver, etcher, painter, 1606-1669. The world famous painter was originally a famous engraver and etcher and was considered better at these endeavors than painting by his contemporary peers. His ability to use fine lines, dots, and crosshatching created an incredible array of tones in the printed form unseen before in the world. He left engraving completely in 1661 to focus more fully on the broader spectrum that color paintings offered his creative genius.

Rohner, Hans:

A gun engraver and jewelry maker.

Rohner, John R.

John R. Rohner: The Godfather of the American Engraving Renaissance

By Scott Pilkington and Lisa Rohner Schafer

For my friend John Rohner- whose ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’, the Gravermeister, is the major advance made since the early years of gun engraving in the 16th Century. – With best regards from Larry Wilson. — inscribed in John’s copy of R.L. Wilson’s book, “ L.D. Nimschke, Firearms Engraver”

Many are aware of John Rohner’s role in co-founding GRS and co-developing the Gravermeister with his brother-in-law, Don Glaser. If that is all he had done to impact the field of engraving, his reputation as one who had helped bring about the Renaissance of American engraving would be secure.

But his impact has been much broader. Consider that his writings on engraving appeared in numerous publications providing knowledge to buyers and practitioners alike. His passion for the art led him to create techniques and methods that are standards in the American engraver’s toolkit today. His interests in wildlife art, guns and engraving forged a lifetime of friendships with others who shared those interests including Bob Brownell, Len Brownell, John Amber, Elmer Keith, Maynard Reece, John Warren, Rene Delcour, Cole Agee, Larry Wilson, Jack Prudhomme, Lynton McKenzie, Franz Marktl, John Amber, Francis Lee Jacques, Bruce Meek, John Dutcher , Frank Brownell and others. Among such as these he was a source of cross-pollination, advancing the art of engraving with wildlife artists, gun-makers, gun writers and publishers.

Now in his 88th year, John Rohner is truly a living legend among engravers his influences are felt in so many areas, sometimes unknown to those using methods he developed.

The Early Years

John grew up along the Iowa River just south of Iowa City where he spent his days hunting, fishing, and camping. Guns were a passion of his from a very early age. At the outbreak of World War II, he left behind two years at St. Ambrose College to work on the construction of the Alcan Highway. The year 1943 found him working in Seattle at Boeing with the plan to return to Alaska as a Junior Airport Manager.

“After a month of getting up at 4 a.m. to catch a bus for class I decided I wanted to do something easier,” Rohner says. “Maybe it wasn’t my most brilliant moment, but I joined the Marines.”

Esthetics was the deciding factor in his choice of that branch of service. “My Mom sometimes forced me to wear sailor suits as a kid, and I hated that. So the Navy was out. I couldn’t stomach the mis-fitted Army uniforms, with their hats pulled down over their ears. That left the Marines,” Rohner recalls.

At the age of 19, then Corporal Rohner shipped off to Saipan as a Combat Intelligence Specialist with the First Rocket Detachment, Fourth Marine Division. John recalls sitting in the dark listening to soldiers hurl insults back and forth and he says the rockets being launched is something he will never forget. The barrage made a great big “WOOSHING” sound, the sky was filled with rockets and the whole war stopped when they took off. Johns, war did stop shortly thereafter when a piece shrapnel put him on hospital ship stateside

He enrolled at the University of Iowa to earn his bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a master’s in Museology (Museum Studies). He was a member of the 1947 University of Iowa rifle team that placed second in the nation in the NCAA Championships. During his collegiate summers from 1946-50 he worked for the Forest Service based out of Challis, Idaho, patrolling the primitive area along the middle fork of the Salmon River with his horse, mule and dog as company. It was during this time he developed a friendship with Idaho resident and gun-writer, Elmer Keith — the first of many friendships with noted individuals in the gun world.

Throughout his summers and while completing his degrees and later while teaching, John collected wildlife specimens for the University of Iowa Natural History Museum including a vast collection of birds and some mammals. Many of these mounted specimens are on display there to this day.

Bit by the Engraving Bug

In the early 1950s, while he was teaching at the University of Iowa, John supplemented his income by trading in guns — a talent that came in handy years later when he had seven children to feed. The engraved guns he encountered piqued his interest in the art, and he decided to try and decorate a gun for himself. After a poor attempt at etching, John realized that only a hammer and graver would give him the look he was after. And so he was on the road to becoming a hand engraver.

His new interest led him to contact Cole Agee, hoping to swap some of Agee’s engraving for some of John’s trade guns. Agee agreed, and John picked up a few engraving pointers from the well-known engraver in the course of the transaction.

Seldom satisfied with his work, he nonetheless kept at it bit by bit. His effort was rewarded with his work appearing on the cover of the March 1955 issue of American Rifleman. A teacher by nature, he was soon writing articles to share his newfound knowledge, the first appearing the June ’56 edition of GUNS magazine entitled “How to be a Gun Engraver.”

Other publications followed, and soon John was in the company of gunsmith tool-provider, Bob Brownell. That friendship led to an introduction to fellow Iowan and established engraver, James “Bruce” Meek. Meek inspired and helped John with his engraving and likewise, John was a contributor who helped with Meek’s 1973 book, The Art of Engraving. Brownell’s published the book, which is considered the engraving “bible” to many of today’s engravers. John also authored a detailed treatise for the beginning engraver that appeared in another Brownell’s published book, Gunsmith Kinks.

The Gravermeister

In 1962 John moved his family to Boulder, Colorado, where he began teaching museology and wildlife habitat groups at the University of Colorado. He had been discussing the mechanical aspects of engraving with his sister’s husband, Don Glaser. Glaser, an engineer with many patents in the printing field that used vacuum devices, saw a vacuum process as a way to create the tool that John was envisioning. Together they developed the Gravermeister — the first product of GRS Corporation and the forerunner of many of today’s air-powered systems.

John ran GRS alone out of his home for the first eleven years, while teaching at the University. “My days didn’t end until I’d put in several hours writing letters, making calls, getting invoices together. Most nights I didn’t stop until the ten-o’clock news came on.” John grew and nurtured the company through his engraving knowledge, enthusiasm and salesmanship. Meanwhile, back in Kansas, brother-in-law Don focused his efforts on the machining, production and invention aspects of the business.

John’s reputation as an established engraver, with published work and skills at “real hand engraving” opened many doors to this newfangled machine, albeit often with much hostility from old timers who feared an easier method would lead to a cheapening of their hard-earned skills. Today those concerns seem antiquated, as air-powered engravers produced by GRS and Lindsay Tools dominate much of the engraving world.

Meanwhile . . . Back at the Museum

In the mid-sixties John instituted a program at the University of Colorado to train Native Americans in the museum methods required to preserve and display the artifacts and history of their cultures. The program expanded to include students from Africa, who were sponsored by their governments to come and learn what had previously been done by outsiders — that is collecting, restoring, maintaining and displaying the art and objects of their cultures.

Already a collector of Native American art, contact with his African students led him to a new interest — African Art. He makes no claim on being an authority on African art despite the fact that he has amassed a collection of over 700 pieces from more than 100 tribes. His newfound knowledge of this esoteric art study led him to author the book, Art Treasures from African Runners that was published in 2000 by University Press of Colorado. From an engraving viewpoint, it is fascinating to see how Rohner’s interest in African art influenced his engraving. The leaf formations inside of his later scrollwork resembles the eye features found in many African masks.

As the curator of a museum, John had an interest in replicating both animal specimens and artifacts to use in exhibits. This led to experimenting with silicone molds and acrylic for casting these items. Over time, Dow Corning sent him various samples to try and compare. Rohner’s results eventually brought high praise from museum officials around the world.

His efforts were of great benefit to archeologists they frequently were restricted from removing specimens from a host nation. John’s casting technique allowed them to take a detailed replica from the site for further study back in their home country. These casting techniques also were applicable to precious metals. John reproduced ancient coins, flawless enough that they fooled even the most astute historical numismatists worldwide.

But most importantly to engravers, the technique allowed him to collect engraving samples from other noted engravers. By reproducing a plastic cast rather than the real firearm, he could keep and study other artisan’s work, even down to the remotest chisel mark. Engravers today commonly collect and trade castings of each other’s work for study and enjoyment little realizing that this is yet another of John Rohner’s contributions to the art.

Engraving No More

In 1993 John retired from the University of Colorado. He continued to engrave guns, motivated simply by his love for the craft and his passion for guns. One unique feature that John’s engraved guns possess is their finish . . .or more correctly said, their lack thereof. After the engraving cuts are blackened, it is left the natural steel color, protected by Renaissance Wax.

John’s answer when asked about the lack of finish? “No matter what finish you put on it, someone is going to ask, ‘How come you didn’t nickel plate it?’ ‘How come you didn’t blue it?’ ‘How come you didn’t case harden it?’ Well I ask, ‘’ How come chickens don’t pee? They drink water don’t they?’ I leave it natural and Renaissance Wax does fine. If whoever gets it wants to do something with it, that’s their decision.”

In 2009 at the age of 86, John engraved his last masterpiece, a first generation Colt SAA in his ornamental Africanized scroll. His eyesight had been problematic for the previous few years. It finally got to the point when he had to put the graver down and his son Hans finished the screw heads of his final project.

The Legacy

John believes his greatest contribution is this “ I loved to teach people who got a hell of a lot better than I was.” And there are many noted names among today’s engravers who learned directly from John such as Eric Gold, Steve Lindsay, Mitch Moschetti, and the late Don Glaser and Guieseppe Forte to name a few. John’s passion influenced his wife, Dorothy and several of their children to pursue the art. At age 14, son Hans had his engraving featured in the famous annual Gun Digest. Now, four decades later, Hans uses his engraving skills to decorate and detail the custom jewelry he creates.

Even accomplished engravers benefited from John’s teaching Lynton McKenzie, already one of the most accomplished engravers of his day, learned the technique of selective French graying on blued steel developed by John. The technique was so visually stunning when applied to McKenzie’s engraving that it set the engraving world on its ear. Selective French graying is used by nearly all engravers in the United States today.

There were a number of factors that led to the American Engraving Renaissance over the last 30 years. James B. Meek’s 1973 book The Art of Engraving and C. Roger Bleile’s 1980 book American Engravers are often rightly attributed as part of this. The subsequent establishment of FEGA in 1982 gave engravers a sense of common goals and a forum to share ideas, techniques and promote more interest in the art. But is entirely possible that none of these events would have taken place without the interest, experimentation and passion that John Rohner gave to the art in the ‘50s and 60s. His “how to” articles, published photographs of his own engraved guns, and promotion of the GRS tools at regional gun shows and annual NRA conventions brought engraving to the forefront in unheard of ways and led to an increased awareness of the art. As talented engravers sprung up in America it paved the road for publishers like Brownell’s and Beinfeld’s to invest in printing hardback books on the subject. Certainly his gregarious personality and sometimes wacky humor made John a friend to many influential people in the gun world and brought interest to engraving at all levels, from the poor wannabe practitioners to the magazines moguls and coined connoisseurs who could afford the subject of his passion.

As FEGA celebrates its 30th anniversary, it must be considered that it was 30 years prior, that a young John Rohner was making his first cuts with a hammer and chisel, and wondering how he could get more people interested in this unique art form on arms. In the coming years his articles and promotion of this art form along with new tools to aid aspiring engravers helped rekindle the art. His teaching has been multiplied a thousand times over by his articles and seminars, and it is for this reason, I consider John R. Rohner to be the godfather of the American Engraving Renaissance

Though he has engraved his last gun, the list of John R. Rohner masterpieces grows each year, created through the hands, eyes, and hearts of all the engravers that he influenced over the last half century.

One of John’s most impressive contributions to the engraving world has to be his collections of engraved hammers. A collector by nature, John wasn’t dissuaded by the unlikelihood of amassing a sampling of the great engravers of the world. With his resources limited by the seven mouths he had to feed, John got creative. He chose the head of a chasing hammer to be the repository of the décor.

For 20 years he has been sending this, the most common and inexpensive tool of the trade, to engravers throughout the world, requesting that they grace it with their scroll. The result is a collection of over forty engraved hammers — undoubtedly the greatest assemblage of multiple engravers’ work, yet all contained in the area the size of a briefcase.

Other interesting side-notes about John:

Max Goodwin, one of John’s Sunshine Canyon neighbors, was a vice-president at Coors. He caught an interest in Sheutzen rifles from John, ultimately leading to Coors’ sponsorship of Schuetzenfest.
Other notable engravers John visited with in their homes or workshops shops, include Alvin White, Cole Agee, John Warren and Arnold Griebel.
Along with his good friend, noted Colorado gunmaker, Dick Hodgson, John was responsible for Lynton McKenzie moving to Boulder after leaving New Orleans Arms.
John and Jim Kelso were instrumental in helping Russian engraver and diemaker Amayak Stepanyan move to the United States and eventually become a citizen.
Another of idea of John’s that became a reality through Don Glaser was a simple-to-use, accurate, and repeatable sharpening fixture. This tool doubly made the GRS engraving method an easier learning curve.
During one of his northern trips, he collected the first Conodont Paleozoic macro-fossils ever recorded from the arctic. One of which bears his name.

Rundell, Joe:

Former FEGA Vice President and a highly skilled gun engraver of over 30 years experience. For more information, visit his website EngraverJoe.com

Runge, Robert:

One of the primary engravers for Parker and Remington. After retirement, continued engraving Parker restorations and upgrades.

Sampson, Roger K.:

Born 1947. Engraver some teaching and wrote a few articles for the EFGA Journal. Initial training was from Emma Achleithner Pine Technical Institute Evening classes. Advanced training from NRA summer schools in Trinadad Co. Susanville CA and GRS grand Masters Program Emporia KS. Work from home studio in Mora, MN Currently engrave Firearms, Miniature Forearms, knives, and custom jewlery. Have taught Beginner and Intermediate hammer and chisle engraving at the now Pine City Teacnical College for NRA summer programs and the customized training one week programs. Work published in Modern Custom Gun ans Custom Firearms Engraving by Tom Turpin, The Arts of Miniature Firearms by the Miniature Arms Society and the 2002 Edition Engravers Profiles by FEGA. License for commercial work in 1984 to do Gun engraving. Joined FEGA in 1984 and became a professonal member of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America in January 1989. For more information, visit SampsonEngraving.com

Sanzogni, Renato:

Giovanelli’s head engraver and the roll die cutter for several Winchester, and Browning collector editions: The John Wayne series.

Was one of the founders of the American Bank Note Company.

Strolz, Martin:

Engraver, Born on March 29th, 1958 in Innsbruck, Tyrol. My father Prof. Norbert Strolz was an artist, a painter and a well respected head of the local rural museum club. 1964 –1972 School years in Landeck 1972 –1976 Education as engraver at the Fachschule für Gestaltendes Metallhandwerk in Steyr At the age of fourteen I left home for starting my education as an engraver. Initially I went to Steyr, where a traditional school for engravers is located. After four years of basic training at that school, I passed my graduation with distinction. 1976 –1978 Guest student to specialize in gun engraving at the Fachschule für Gestaltendes Metallhandwerk in Ferlach I studied under the supervision of the head engraving teacher Mr. Hans Singer. Hans Singer was without doubt the finest engraver at that time in Austria. I soon could make use of the basics learned in Steyr and my engraving skills developed rapidly. 1979 –1984 Working as a guest in the studio of Johann Singer for the companies Lechner & Jungl, Graz and Franz Sodia, Ferlach Hans Singer owned a very tiny workshop outside the city of Ferlach.

During the years, several former pupils had been invited to work there. I also was given that great chance. The work came from the Ferlach gun maker Franz Sodia, as well as from Lechner & Jungl, Graz. 1980 Masters degree as an engraver I passed the state regulated test with distinction- even before I had my driving licence! 1982 – 1983 Engraving instructor at the Fachschule in Ferlach. Subjects: engraving workshop, clay modeling Then, for one year I had the opportunity to teach engraving in the Ferlach school and found that also to be very stimulating, the interaction between teacher and student. Also, it was a unique chance to pass on my knowledge of technique and design style. 1984 – 1986 Working in my own workshop in Ferlach. After four years in Mr. Singer shop I had gathered all the experience I needed to start my own business and founded a workshop. In my Ferlach studio, I carried out work of all styles and kinds, and I was always open for something new. Since 1986 Teacher in the “Fachschule für Kunsthandwerk” department Metalldesign. Subjects: engraving workshop, technology for engravers. In 1986 the school in Steyr was looking for a hand engraver. I decided to move back and bring Ferlach gun engraving techniques to Steyr. 1998 -1990 Teacher training at the “Berufspädagogische Akademie des Bundes”. Passed with distinction, “Dipl. Päd.”

Achievements as a teacher: I could combine the traditions of both Austrian engraving schools, renew the curriculum in Steyr and now offer a broader variety of engraving techniques to the pupils. An excellent education needs modern technology. I replaced most of the old pantograph engraving machines with state-of-the-art CNC- technology. Since 2002 I have invited several host students from abroad, mainly from the USA, Canada or Italy. They have studied hand engraving under my guidance for a few months up to even one year. Working as freelance engraver: In addition to teaching, I am continuously pursuing, and working on interesting engraving commissions. Having attained a wide experience I am enabled to execute all forms of engraving on hunting guns. Publications: My work was published in the following books and magazines: “ L`incisione delle armi sportive” “ Kunst in Stahl geschnitten” “ Jagdschmuck“ “ Der Anblick“ “ Guns Magazine” “ The Double Gun Journal” “ The Engravers Journal” “ The Countryman`s Weekly” “ Kulturbericht des Landes Oberösterreich” “ Tiroler Tageszeitung” Hobbies: As nature is very important to me, I like outdoor sports. My camera always is part of the equipment during these activities, because I love photography. Membership: “Berufsvereinigung Bildender Künstler Oberösterreichs” 2007 “Engraving Arts Award of Educational Distinction” from Glendo Corporation and Emporia State University. For more information, visit Martin-Strolz.com

Swartley, Robert D.:

A top engraver of over 50 years experience. A protégé of the late Josef Fugger while working at Griffin & Howe (1962-1964). Also engraves fine art prints.

Tate, Douglas:

British author and graphic artist who has written innumerable articles for fine gun publications featuring engraved guns and most especially the book “British Gun Engraving.”

Timpini, Giulio:

Master Engraver of Beretta teacher at Cesare Giovanelli’s Bottega Incisioni, mentor to most every engraver in Gardone Italy.

Tomlinson, Harry:

Head engraver for W.W. Greener in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Famous for engraving the original St. George and St. Louis guns.

Torcoli, Manrico:

Italian Gardone engraver who originated the much imitated “fantasy” style of gun engraving whereby a collage of animal and female human figures are artistically superimposed and intertwined with scrollwork.

Chief engraver for Savage Arms in the early 20th century.

Ulrich, John Leslie:

Factory engravers for Winchester in the late 19th century. The Ulrichs are responsible for most of the famous engraved Winchesters of the era. The special Winchester catalog entitled “Highly Finished Arms” featured the work of the Ulrichs.

Watt, Jeremiah:

A Western Silver Engraver who has taught lessons at the GRS Training Center.


The Dalton Gang is wiped out in Coffeyville, Kansas

On October 5, 1892, the famous Dalton Gang attempts the daring daylight robbery of two Coffeyville, Kansas, banks at the same time. But if the gang members believed the sheer audacity of their plan would bring them success, they were sadly mistaken. Instead, they were nearly all killed by quick-acting townspeople.

For a year and a half, the Dalton Gang had terrorized the state of Oklahoma, mostly concentrating on train holdups. Though the gang had more murders than loot to their credit, they had managed to successfully evade the best efforts of Oklahoma law officers to bring them to justice. Perhaps success bred overconfidence, but whatever their reasons, the gang members decided to try their hand at robbing not just one bank, but at robbing the First National and Condon Banks in their old hometown of Coffeyville at the same time.

After riding quietly into town, the men tied their horses to a fence in an alley near the two banks and split up. Two of the Dalton brothers-Bob and Emmett-headed for the First National, while Grat Dalton led Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers in to the Condon Bank. Unfortunately for the Daltons, someone recognized one of the gang members and began quietly spreading the word that the town banks were being robbed. Thus, while Bob and Emmett were stuffing money into a grain sack, the townspeople ran for their guns and quickly surrounded the two banks. When the Dalton brothers walked out of the bank, a hail of bullets forced them back into the building. Regrouping, they tried to flee out the back door of the bank, but the townspeople were waiting for them there as well.

Meanwhile, in the Condon Bank a brave cashier had managed to delay Grat Dalton, Powers, and Broadwell with the classic claim that the vault was on a time lock and couldn’t be opened. That gave the townspeople enough time to gather force, and suddenly a bullet smashed through the bank window and hit Broadwell in the arm. Quickly scooping up $1,500 in loose cash, the three men bolted out the door and fled down a back alley. But like their friends next door, they were immediately shot and killed, this time by a local livery stable owner and a barber.

When the gun battle was over, the people of Coffeyville had destroyed the Dalton Gang, killing every member except for Emmett Dalton. But their victory was not without a price: the Dalton’s took four townspeople to their graves with them. After recovering from serious wounds, Emmett was tried and sentenced to life in prison. After 14 years he won parole, and he eventually leveraged his cachet as a former Wild West bandit into a position as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Several years after moving to California, he died at the age of 66 in 1937.


WW2 Infantry Arms

Despite its separation by some two decades from the First World War of 1914-1918, World War 2 was an extension of the earlier conflict that saw an end to the ages-old empires that once dominated the globe through their various colonies. The world was redrawn with all-new borders and new political groups took power which would have major implications in the upcoming global conflict. At the end of the 1930s, Europe would once again find herself embroiled in Total War, a war that would span into the middle of the next decade, taking with it countless lives in the process.

In the period immediately following the end of World War 1, the military powers of the globe saw major restrictions on procurement and development. This ensured that many pieces of the World War 1 battlefield would make their way to the battlefields of World War 2. The semi-automatic rifle was just beginning to take hold and progress was had by the Americans and the Soviets but others chose to rely on their manually-operated bolt-action Enfield, Mauser and Mosin-Nagant systems. However, the submachine gun was a firearms development that was here to stay - embodied by the classic German MP18 and MP38/40 lines, the British STEN, the American 'Tommy Gun' and the Soviet PPSh-41.

The German invasion of Poland in September of 1939 forced the small arms industry to reach all new levels of production, particularly in the Soviet Union and the United States, and millions of arms were produced during the span of the war. Beyond rifles and submachine guns were pistols (revolver and semi-automatic types), hand grenades, mortars and machine guns. Portable assault guns were introduced that provided infantry with broader killing powers - especially for lightly-equipped paratroopers. The anti-tank gun rose to prominence and became a mainstay of militaries and can still be found in inventories today. Perhaps the chief infantry-level development in the whole of the war was the 'assault rifle', born in Germany and perfected elsewhere in the Cold War that followed. The self-loading, repeat-fire rifle was here to stay - and still permeates every section of the battlefield in modern times.

There are a total of [ 282 ] WW2 Infantry Arms entries in the Military Factory. Entries are listed below in alphanumeric order (1-to-Z). Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily primary operator. Arms such as hand grenades and portable (squad-level) artillery systems, such as assault guns and mortars, are also featured in this listing.


A History of White House Attacks

August 24, 1814
At the height of the War of 1812 between the United States and England, British troops stormed the White House. Soldiers reportedly sat down to eat a meal made of leftover food before ransacking the presidential mansion and setting it ablaze. Fortunately, President James Madison and his wife Dolley had already fled to safety in Maryland. The first lady famously rescued a life-sized portrait of George Washington from going up in flames.

August 16, 1841
Faced with an economy plagued by wildly fluctuating currency valuation and bank fraud, President John Tyler vetoed Congress’ attempt to reestablish the Bank of the United States. When word of his decision spread, angry supporters of the bank gathered outside the White House. The rioters hurled stones, shot guns into the air and hung an effigy of the president that they then set on fire. As a result of the unrest, the District of Columbia decided to create its own police force.

February 17, 1974
Robert Preston, a young Army private who had flunked out of flight training, stole a helicopter from an airfield, flew to the White House and hovered above the south lawn. Secret Service guards unleashed a barrage of gunfire on the unauthorized craft, forcing Preston to land. Slightly injured and clad in fatigues, the hijacker was apprehended and admitted for psychiatric observation.

December 25, 1974
On Christmas Day, 25-year-old Marshall Fields crashed his Chevy Impala through a White House gate and drove to the north portico. Surrounded by officers, he claimed to be the Messiah and threatened to detonate what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his body. After four hours of negotiations, Fields surrendered his explosives turned out to be flares.

March 22, 1984
Wearing sunglasses and a checkered windbreaker, an unemployed 22-year-old named Anthony Holbert parked near the northwest White House gate on Pennsylvania Avenue and approached the executive mansion. He pulled a samurai sword from a scabbard, waved it in the air and asked to speak with Ronald Reagan, who was then inside entertaining the French president. Sensing the sword-wielding man was mentally unstable and possibly suicidal, officers persuaded Holbert to lay down his weapon and surrender.

March 16, 1984
The FBI already had its eye on David Mahonski, an electrician with a drug abuse problem who had threatened Reagan and often loitered around the White House. One night, security agents noticed him outside the fence bordering the south grounds as they approached him, he drew a sawed-off shotgun. One of the guards promptly shot him in the arm. Mahonski was arrested and ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment.

September 12, 1994
Unhinged by the breakup of his marriage and severely intoxicated, an Army veteran and former truck driver named Frank Eugene Corder crashed a stolen Cessna into the south wall of the White House. Corder, who is thought to have been suicidal, died on impact. Since the White House was undergoing renovations at the time, President Bill Clinton and his family were not in the building. The undetected breach of restricted airspace compelled officials to reevaluate security measures.

October 29, 1994
Just six weeks after the Corder incident rattled the capital, Francisco Martin Duran opened fire on the White House in an apparent attempt to kill Clinton, who was watching football in the mansion’s family quarters. Secret Service officers tackled and subdued the 26-year-old gunman. Although one bullet managed to penetrate a window in the West Wing, nobody was hurt. Duran was found guilty of trying to assassinate a president and is still serving jail time.


USS Samuel B. Roberts – “Destroyer Escort That Fought Like a Battleship” in the Battle of Leyte Gulf

USS Samuel B. Roberts had a short-lived but ferocious service. The ship was built in 1944 and was immediately sent to assist the Task Force 77.4.3, nicknamed Taffy 3 in the Pacific Ocean. The ship was named after Coxswain Samuel Booker Roberts, Jr., a Navy Cross recipient.

Roberts was posthumously awarded after he rammed his Higgins landing craft into an enemy vessel, in order to ensure the evacuation of friendly ships during the Battle of Guadalcanal. His heroic act was commemorated by naming this John C. Butler-class destroyer escort after him, but the coxswain’s destiny seems strangely intertwined with the fate of the ship itself.

Like an omen of some sort, the ship encountered a problem on its first day of active service. After spending time at Boston Navy Yard, her port propeller shaft struck a large whale 150 NMI (280 km 170 mi) off the coast of Maine.

This forced the ship to return for repairs. Finally, in August 1944, USS Samuel B. Roberts joined the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor for training exercises. From there it sailed onwards to join the designated Task Force. USS Samuel B. Roberts finally joined the Taffy 3 and got its first assignment: she was to steam to the Leyte Gulf area near the eastern Philippines, and upon arrival, commence operations with the Northern Air Support Group off the Island of Samar.

One of the carriers, USS Kitkun Bay prepares to launch her Wildcat fighters. The Battle of Samar Island occurred on the 25th of October and it lasted for several hours. It was the centremost part of the large-scale naval/air battle for the Leyte Gulf, which lasted from 23rd to 26th of the October, 1944. The USS Samuel B. Roberts was assigned to protect Taffy 3’s small escort carriers, which were serving as bases for small bombers and fighters that were supporting the Army ground attack on the island. They were steaming off the eastern coast of Samar.

It was the early morning of 25th of October, and the red sun reflected its image on the ocean’s surface. All of a sudden, there were ships behind the sun’s reflection — a 23-vessel-strong task force under the command of Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita — appeared out of nowhere on the horizon and opened fire. Taken by surprise and extremely overpowered, USS Samuel B. Roberts was indeed in a tight spot.

Nevertheless, it decided to charge the Japanese ships without question. The CO, Lieutenant Commander Robert W. Copeland announced to his men:

“We’re making a torpedo run. The outcome is doubtful, but we will do our duty.”

The ship was being heavily fired upon, and a thick smokescreen lingered on the troubled waters. The ship centered its course right towards the Japanese heavy cruiser Chōkai, advancing with piercing speed of 2.5 NMI (4.6 km 2.9 mi). It was faced with the Chōkai’s forward 8 in (203.2 mm) guns and under direct fire. During the battle, Samuel B. Roberts — designed for 23–24 kn — reached 28.7 kn by diverting all available steam to the ship’s twin turbines.

Gambier Bay and her escorts laying a smoke screen early in the battle.

USS Roberts had moved so close in its ferocious charge, that the enemy guns could not depress enough to hit her and the shells simply passed overhead. Many hit the carrier Gambier Bay, which was trying its best to maneuver for retreat. Once within torpedo range USS Samuel Roberts launched her three Mark 15 torpedoes. One blew off Chōkai’s stern.

The American sailors in an adrenaline rush cheered: “that a way Whitey, we hit ’em.”

It was as if it were a ballgame, as shells were still incoming. USS Samuel B. Roberts then fought with the Japanese ships for a further hour, firing more than six hundred 5 in (127.0 mm) shells, and while maneuvering at very close range, mauling Chōkai’s superstructure with her 40 mm and 20 mm anti-aircraft guns. The Japanese landed two hits on the Roberts, the second of which damaged the aft 5-inch gun.

This damaged gun suffered a breech explosion shortly thereafter which killed and wounded several crew members. With her remaining 5 in (127.0 mm) gun, Roberts set the bridge of the heavy cruiser Chikuma on fire and destroyed the “Number Three” gun turret, before being hit by three 14 in (355.6 mm) shells from the battleship Kongō. The shells tore a hole 40 ft (12.2 m) long and 10 ft (3.0 m) wide on the port side of her aft engine room.

The Japanese cruiser Chikuma maneuvering after sustaining torpedo damage.

Gunner’s Mate Third Class Paul H. Carr who was in charge of the damaged aft 5 in (127.0 mm) gun mount decided to make the ultimate sacrifice. He had fired nearly all of its 325 stored rounds in 35 minutes before a breech explosion.

Carr was found bleeding at his station from a severe intestinal wound, begging for help to load the last round he was holding into the breech. It was the last he did. The heavy cruiser Chōkai sunk on that day, but so did the Samuel B. Roberts. At 09:35, two hours into the battle, the order was given to abandon ship. She sank 30 minutes later, with 90 of her sailors.

Heavy Cruiser Chokai

Gunner’s Mate Third Class Paul H. Carr was awarded a Silver Star, and a guided missile frigate was later named for him. The guided missile frigates Copeland and Samuel B. Roberts were also named for the ship and its captain.

The 120 survivors from the ship spent 50 hours out on the open sea, clinging to three life rafts before they were rescued.

The role of the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Battle of Samar Island inspired generations of Navy servicemen, as the ship truly lived up to its name. For its extraordinary performance and sacrifice, the ship was awarded one Battle Star, and it was mentioned in the Presidental speech given after the battle, as one of the shiniest examples of heroism.


22 Guns that Won the West! Armed and dangerous shootists used a double-deuce of firearms when the West was young and restless!

This grizzly photograph shows the posse that brought outlaw Ned Christie to justice. In it, they pose with Christie’s dead body on a board, holding his 1873 Winchester rifle. With the exception of one man, the posse members are all armed with ‘73 and 1886 Winchesters, and a couple appear also to be packing 1873 Colt Peacemakers. The seated man in the foreground at left holds a .45-70 single-shot 1873 Springfield “trapdoor” rifle—which, despite its lack of rapid fire, boasted one heckuva wallop at long range.
– True West Archives –

The “Gun That Won the West” is a subject that many firearms and Old West aficionados love to discuss and debate. Was the so-called West-winning gun given this coveted title because of the great numbers in which it was produced, or for the work it accomplished? Or was it simply because of who used it during those tumultuous times known as the Wild West? Although some firearms manufacturers advertise their lead-dispensing products as having rightfully earned that distinguished title, such a claim is not to be taken as gospel. While some folks feel that a single model firearm was most responsible for taming our raw frontier in the late 19th century—such as the 1873 Winchester repeater, 1874 Sharps buffalo rifle, double-barreled shotgun, or perhaps The Peacemaker, the legendary 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver—most serious students of the American West agree that it was not a single model gun or type of firearm that “won the West.” Rather, they believe it was an assortment of rifles, shotguns and handguns, in the hands of a diverse and colorful crowd of men and women, that brought both violence and law and order to our Western territories.

While there were hundreds of different makes and models of firearms used to tame the frontier, let’s take a brief look at a double-deuce—just 22—of the more famous and infamous guns from the Old West, along with some of the good, and the bad, men and women who painted the canvas of America’s Wild West in such bold and vivid colors.

1 / Colt Paterson Revolver

Patented in 1836 and manufactured circa 1837 or 1838 until around 1840, the Paterson Colt was the first practical “revolving pistol,” and revolutionized handguns for all time. Despite its failure as Samuel Colt’s first firearms business venture, this percussion five-shooter gained fame when it was put to deadly use against the Comanches by the early Texas Rangers, most notably by Ranger John Coffee Hays when he used a pair of them to successfully hold off an overwhelming party of Comanches in 1841, during what became known as Hays’ Big Fight at Enchanted Rock. The Paterson went on to see service in Florida’s Second Seminole War (1835-1842), the Mexican War (1846-1848) and during the California Gold Rush. The .36 caliber Paterson, with barrels up to 12 inches long, earned the sobriquet of the “Texas Paterson.”

According to Texas Ranger John Coffee Hays, “Without your pistols [five-shot Colt Paterson] we would not have had the confidence to have undertaken such daring adventures.”
– Photo-Courtesy Library of Congress/Firearm-Courtesy Little John’s Auction Service-By Paul Goodwin – 2 / U.S. Model 1841 Rifle

More commonly known as the “Mississippi Rifle” because of its use by Jefferson Davis’s Mississippi volunteers in the Mexican War, this handsome percussion muzzle-loader was also known in its time as the Windsor, Whitney or Yager (adopted from the German word jaeger for hunter). Considered one of the more handsome of military percussion longarms with its brass patchbox and mountings, this .54 caliber rifle was issued to the Regiment of Mounted Rifles in the 1840s (later the 3rd Cavalry) and favored by Confederate sharpshooters in the War Between the States. Buffalo Bill Cody claimed to have carried and used one during an 1850s cattle drive.

3 / 1847 Colt Walker Revolver

Although only around 1,100 revolvers were ever produced in1847, too late to have much impact on the Mexican War, and despite its number of mechanical deficiencies, Colt’s largest six-shooter, weighing 4 pounds, 9 ounces unloaded, remains a milestone in handgun development. This behemoth .44 cap and ball’s power, accuracy and great range helped spread the word of Col. Colt’s “repeating pistols,” and put him back in the gun business after his Patent Arms Manufacturing Company (manufacturing the Paterson revolver) failed in 1842. Texas Ranger Captain Sam Walker helped design the Walker as an improvement of the Paterson. Colt personally sent him a pair of Walker Colts, which he used effectively before he was killed while leading his troops in the battle of Huamantla, Mexico, in October 1847.

4 / 1851 Colt Navy Revolver

Considered by many to be the best balanced, smoothest handling and handsomest of cap and ball six-guns, nearly a quarter million of these .36 caliber revolvers were made between 1850 and 1873. Named for the Republic of Texas Navy, it was one of the more popular sidearms—with both North and South—during the Civil War. (Confederates made several copies for southern troops.) By the 1870s many Navies were converted to take .38 caliber metallic cartridges and for decades the Colt Navy was one of the most popular handguns in the West. Known as the favored six-gun of James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, other noted users include Col. Robert E. Lee, during his service with the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in Texas in the 1850s John Wesley Hardin the James-Younger gang the Pawnee scouts Maj. Frank North Tiburcio Vasquez and the Pinkertons.

5 / 1852 & 1853 Slant-Breech Sharps Carbine

The U.S. military purchased more than 15,000 of both models, with most of the ’52 carbines going to the 2nd U.S. Dragoons serving on the frontier. The 1853 model was nicknamed the “John Brown Sharps,” for his use of them in his bloody anti-slavery crusade. They were also called “Beecher’s Bibles,” after anti-slavery minister Henry Ward Beecher was quoted as saying there was more moral power in one Sharps carbine than in 100 Bibles. Both sides favored this percussion arm in “bleeding Kansas” and the 1850s border wars. Government mail contractors and stage lines operating in the Southwest of the era relied heavily on the Sharps “Pathfinder” John C. Fremont carried a pair of them in his fifth and final Western exploration. The sporting model rifles were used by the early buffalo hunters and both models were also made as shotguns.

The 1853 slant-breech Sharps carbine earned notoriety when abolitionist John Brown armed his followers with 900 of the carbines in 1855-56 for the pre-Civil War “Bleeding Kansas” conflict over slavery.
– Firearm-True West Archives/Photo-Courtesy Library of Congress –

6 / Colt’s Dragoon Revolvers

More than 21,000 of Colt’s first, second and third models were turned out between 1848 and 1860, with their massive, heavy and powerful “revolving horse pistols” especially favored by Western horse soldiers and civilians alike. A goodly number of these big six-shooters made their way to the California gold camps with miners as well as by bandit Joaquin Murrieta and his men, and later by California outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez. Others saw service with the Texas Rangers, and pistoleer “Wild Bill” Hickok was known to have owned one and may have used it in 1865 to kill Dave Tutt in Springfield, Missouri.

The Colt muzzle-loading percussion Dragoon Revolver gained great notoriety and popularity across the country from the 1840s to the 1860s, including on the West Coast where California outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez was known to carry this heavy “revolving horse pistol.”
– Photo-Courtesy Robert G. McCubbin Collection/Firearm-Courtesy LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes/John
Boessenecker Collection –

7 / 1860 Colt Army Revolver

The 1860 Colt Army was the primary revolver used by federal troops during the Civil War with about 200,500 produced from 1860 through 1873. Whether in cap and ball or converted to metallic cartridge, this .44 six gun saw much use west of the Mississippi. As the successor to the big Dragoons, this sleek and handsome hogleg packed plenty of power but was easier to handle. Colt’s ’60 was used by the U.S. Cavalry, the Texas Rangers and General Ben McCulloch’s Texas Confederates, Wells Fargo detective James Hume, Mormon “Avenging Angel” Porter Rockwell, El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire, the James brothers, Wes Hardin, Sam Bass and scores of good and bad men alike.

8 / Smith & Wesson Model 3 Revolver

Introduced in 1870, this .44 caliber “American” single-action six-shooter stands as the first practical big-bore, metallic cartridge revolver and laid the groundwork for future successful top-break S&Ws like the .44 Russian, .45 Schofield and the Double Action Frontier models. Issued to the U.S. Cavalry for a short while, the Model 3 was also favored by William F. Cody, El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire and General William J. Palmer, builder of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. The Model 3’s identical-looking “Russian” variation in .44 S&W Russian caliber was packed by John Wesley Hardin, James-Younger gang member Charlie Pitts, Sheriff Pat Garrett and gunslinger King Fisher.

Smith & Wesson emerged after the Civil War as one of the leading producers of single-action six-shooters, and the S&W Model 3 in .44 S&W Russian caliber became popular with lawmen and outlaws who needed a gun that could deliver a fatal shot every time, including the killer John Wesley Hardin.
– Firearm & Holster-Courtesy C.B. Wilson, John H. Wilson Collection/Photo-True West Archives –

9 / Henry Deringer Pocket Pistol

If there was ever a single gun that had an impact on the history of the West, it was the vest pocket Deringer pistol used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. The single shot fired by this .41 caliber caplock unleashed an unfriendly federal policy on the Southern states, which added to the frustration of devastated ex-Confederates and caused great numbers of Southerners to head west in search of a new life. Thousands of them were packed in the gold camps of California or concealed on the persons of riverboat gamblers and soiled doves, as well as respectable citizens. Available in a variety of sizes from palm-sized to larger belt pistols, it was the smallest model that helped coin the generic term “derringer,” meaning a small, hideout pistol.

10 / 1866 Winchester Rifle

Originally dubbed the “Improved Henry” because of improvements like the addition of the King’s Patent loading gate on the receiver’s right side (rather than being loaded from the magazine’s muzzle end), a fully enclosed magazine and a wood forearm, over 170,000 of these brass-framed .44 caliber lever-actions left the factory between 1866 and 1898, long after stronger centerfire ammunition had eclipsed the ’66’s weaker rimfire fodder. Whether in full rifle or carbine form, the so-called Yellowboy ’66 was a favorite with California Sheriff Harry Morse many Native Americans, including Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull and Custer’s favorite Arikara scout, Bloody Knife along with members of the Powell Geographic Expedition of the Grand Canyon in 1869 and 1890s outlaw Bill Doolin, to name a few.

The “Yellowboy” ’66 Winchester .44 caliber lever-action succeeded the Henry rifle as a favorite rifle on the frontier after the Civil War. Gen. George Custer’s Arikara scout Bloody Knife rode with his ’66 Winchester into the Battle of Little Big Horn, as did his Indian enemies who used this tack-adorned lever-action rifle to help defeat the 7th Cavalry.
– Photo & FIrearm-Courtesy Glen Swanson Collection –

11 / Springfield Allin Conversion 1866 Rifle

At the close of the Civil War, the federal government converted thousands of 1863 Springfield percussion rifle/muskets from muzzle loaders to breechloaders able to handle self-contained metallic cartridges, first in .58 rimfire, then by lining the
.58-bore barrels to .50 caliber centerfire. Dubbed the “needle gun” because of its long firing pin, it is credited with the U.S. Army’s ability to withstand attacks along Wyoming’s Bozeman Trail in the Hayfield and the Wagon Box fights in 1867 and paved the way for later trapdoor rifles and carbines like the 1873 Springfield. This powerful single-shot arm was employed by the hide hunters during the early post-Civil War buffalo hunting years. Buffalo Bill killed hundreds of the shaggy beasts for meat and affectionately called his .50-70 Allin Springfield “Lucrezia Borgia,” because like the renaissance-era femme fatale duchess, Cody considered it beautiful but deadly.

12 / Double-Barrel Shotgun

Although the rifle and six-gun usually take the bows for winning the West, it was the double-barreled shotgun as much as any firearm that was responsible for bringing civilization to the frontier. Many of the early pioneers invested everything they had, in order to make the overland trek out West, leaving little money for weaponry. The best and certainly one of the most economical and versatile firearms for hunting and defense in a wild, hostile land was the twin-barreled scattergun. Whether muzzle loader or breech-loading cartridge gun, many thousands of shotguns from a variety of makers and countries were the mainstay of settlers, lawmen, express companies, Native Americans, soldiers, ranchers and hunters. Gunmen like Indian Territory lawman Heck Thomas and gambler John H. “Doc” Holiday also used scatterguns. Virtually everyone, good or bad, who needed a weapon recognized the value of the old side by side.

13 / 1873 Colt Single Action Army Revolver

If any gun conjures up images of the Old West, it’s Colt’s 1873 single-action Army revolver. This smokewagon was the best balanced, ergonomically perfect six-gun of the age, and from the time of its introduction in late 1873, it became an instant frontier favorite with good and bad hombres alike. Originally designed and used as a cavalry sidearm, it quickly became the choice of cowboys, lawmen, outlaws and outdoorsmen of all breeds. Produced in many powerful chamberings, most notably .45 Colt and .44-40, it outsold all competitors with 192,000 made by the end of the 19th century. Also known as the Equalizer, Hogleg, and other monikers, it was best known as the Peacemaker—a moniker given it by Colt distributor E. Kittredge of Cincinnati. It was the preferred sidearm of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, the Texas and the Arizona Rangers, John Selman, Wes Hardin, the Daltons, John Slaughter, Elfego Baca and countless other Westerners. It was and still is truly the six-gun of the Wild West.

The mass-produced 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, best known as the “Peacemaker,” was a favorite of gunmen on both sides of the law, including Constable John Selman, who killed John Wesley Hardin in El Paso’s notorious Acme Saloon.
– Photo & Firearm-Courtesy Phil Spangenberger Collection –

14 / 1873 Winchester Rifle

Perhaps the most famous and certainly the most recognizable rifle of America’s frontier period, this iron-framed lever-action rifle was Winchester’s first centerfire arm and was manufactured from 1873 until1919, with well over a half million turned out by 1900. A favorite with Westerners since its debut, the ’73 was eventually teamed with the Colt Single Action revolver and other six-guns of the time that had been chambered to take the Winchester’s proprietary .44-40, .38-40 and .32-20 ammunition. Easy to operate and care for, its slab-sided design made both the rifle and carbine versions ideal for a saddle scabbard, and the ’73 repeater was the premier choice of the post-1874 Texas Rangers, as well as a favorite of Pat Garrett, William F. Cody, Montana rancher Granville Stuart, and outlaws Butch Cassidy, Belle Starr, Pearl Hart and Billy the Kid (William Bonney), just for starters.

15 / 1874 Sharps Rifle

Best known as the “buffalo rifle,” due to its heavy use by hide hunters, it was made from 1871 until 1881.Sharps’ 1874 model didn’t get the ’74 moniker until after the introduction of later Sharps rifles. Only 12,445 of the various model 1874 Sharps were produced by the factory, with several hundred additional ’74-style guns converted from altered Civil War percussion carbine actions by the Sharps factory and by E.C. Meacham of St. Louis. It was offered in such powerful big-game loads as .44-77, .45-70, .50-90 and .50-110. An 1887 government survey cited the Sharps single-shot rifle with shooting more buffalo than any other gun during the hide-hunting years of 1867 through 1882. It also did more to destroy the Plains Indians’ nomadic way of life than any other firearm. Among its famous users were lawman Bill Tilghman, during his buffalo hunting years the Union Pacific Railroad and Martha “Calamity” Jane Canary. At the Battle of Adobe Walls in June 1874, hunter Billy Dixon used a .50-90 Sharps to make a 1,538-yard shot, dropping an Indian and effectively ending that fight. To the Indians, the Sharps was known as the “shoots far,” or “shoot today, kill tomorrow” gun.

Billy Dixon, as famous as the Mooar brothers for his accuracy and ability to kill dozens of buffalo a day with his 1874 .50-90 Sharps Rifle, sealed his name among the legends of Western sharpshooters when he badly wounded a Comanche warrior from an improbable distance of over 1,500 yards.
– Painting-Courtesy Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum/Firearm-True West Archives –

16 / 1875 Remington Revolver

When E. Remington & Sons, of Ilion, New York, introduced its “New Model 1875” or “No. 3 Revolver,” a Colt Peacemaker lookalike, the firm had high hopes of competing with the ’73 Colt’s instant popularity, and while sales were initially brisk, the revolver never achieved the desired success or official acceptance by the U.S. government. Chambered in .44 Remington Centerfire, .44 Winchester Central Fire (.44-40) and .45 Colt, only around 25,000 of the model were ever produced from 1875 through 1889. It did gain some popularity out West with the Republic of Mexico ordering 1,000 revolvers during the 1880s, and in 1883 the U.S. Interior Department purchasing 639 nickel-plated 7 1/2-inch ’75 Remingtons for issuance to various Indian Police agencies on frontier reservations. Gunman Frank Loving carried one, but perhaps the 1875 Remington’s most notable proponent was Missouri outlaw Frank James.

17 / 1876 Winchester Rifle

A giant of a rifle, this enlarged version of the ’73 model, the 1876 Winchester was originally dubbed the Centennial Model, with nearly 64,000 produced between 1876 and 1897. Designed as a big-game hunting rifle, it was chambered for more powerful black powder loads than the medium-powered ’73 model, including the .40-60, .45-60, .45-75 and .50-95. The massive ’76 was a favorite with Theodore Roosevelt, and he used it extensively during his Dakota Territory ranching days. The 1876 Winchester is one of the few lever-action rifles to actually see use on the buffalo ranges by the hide hunters. Its unique full-stocked carbine (in .45-75 caliber) was issued to Canada’s North West Mounted Police and used by them into the early 20th century.

The “Centennial Model” 1876 Winchester supplanted the weaker 1873 Winchester as a big-game rifle, and was Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite hunting rifle during his tenure as a Dakota Territory rancher.
– Firearm-Rock Island Auctions/Photo-Courtesy Library of Congress –

18 / 1877 Colt Double-Action Revolver

Although Colt’s first attempt at producing a double-action revolver was less than stellar due to a complex and inefficient lockworks that was easily broken and difficult to replace, the 1877 model was light and handy and gained a fair amount of popularity on the frontier. Nearly 167,000 were made between 1877 and 1909. In new condition the ’77 was an efficient arm but, if the six-gun was put to much work, the inherent weaknesses in its design became all too obvious. Initially called the “New Double Action, Self Cocking, Central Fire, Six Shot Revolver” by the factory, Colt distributor B. Kittredge of Cincinnati coined the more colorful nicknames of Lightning for the .38 Colt caliber and Thunderer for the .41 Colt chambering (a couple hundred were also made in .32 caliber). Notable ’77 packers included Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin, Cole Younger and lady bandits Belle Starr and Pearl Hart.

19 / 1886 Winchester Rifle

A vast improvement over the 1876 model, the ’86, with its vertical locking bolts and streamlined frame, was distinctively different from previous Winchesters, and was the first repeater from inventive firearms genius John M. Browning to be adopted by Winchester. It was also that company’s first lever gun to be chambered for the powerful .45-70 Government cartridge, along with other black powder big-game chamberings, such as .45-90 and .50-110 Express. As such it was one of the big-bore repeaters that helped spell doom for single-shot rifles. Another of Teddy Roosevelt’s favorites, it was also a crucial part of Arizona’s Commodore Perry Owens’ arsenal as well as army scout Al Seiber’s. A number of ’86s were used by the “invaders” brought in by the cattlemen in Wyoming’s 1892 Johnson County War. Produced from 1886 through 1935, around 120,000 were turned out by 1900.

20 / 1887 Winchester Shotgun

This early repeating shotgun, first introduced in the West in the spring of 1888, was not the first repeating scattergun manufactured but is considered the first successful one. The brainchild of John Browning, the ’87 lever-action was available in 10 and 12 gauge. The six-shot ’87 quickly became a success with just fewer than 64,000 turned out before 1899. A favorite of Arizona Sheriff John Slaughter, this smoothbore was also used on Feb. 15, 1900, by lawman Jeff Milton, who used his 10-gauge 1887 Winchester shotgun to kill Three Fingered Jack Dunlop during an attempted holdup of the Southern Pacific Railway in Arizona Territory. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad also issued a number of ’87s to its messengers.

Famed gun inventor and innovator John M. Browning designed the first widely used repeating shotgun, the 1887 Winchester. The smooth-bore held six rounds, one in the chamber, and five rounds in an under-barrel magazine, a very popular feature with Western lawmen, including John Slaughter.
– Photo-True West Archives/Firearm-Courtesy Rock Island Auction Company –

21 / 1892 Colt New Army & Navy Revolver

One of the early swing-out cylinder, double-action revolvers, the 1892 Colt’s cylinder revolved counter clockwise (unlike the company’s earlier single-action six-guns). Although it wasn’t introduced until 1892, with a total production of around 291,000 guns, about 115,000 of them were turned out before the end of 1898 in a series of models with minor internal improvements and dubbed the 1892, 1894, 1895 and 1896 models, and later the Model 1901 and Model 1903. Besides their use by the U.S. Army and Navy, including Teddy Roosevelt and many of his Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War of 1898, several were purchased by Wells Fargo & Co. and the gun was packed by conman extraordinaire Jefferson “Soapy” Smith during his Skagway, Alaska, days.

22 / 1895 Winchester Rifle

Another unique firearm from the inventive genius of John Browning, the 1895 Winchester was the first successful box-magazine lever-action rifle manufactured. Made to handle the then-new smokeless powder ammunition capable of taking big-game worldwide, with chamberings such as the .30-40 Krag, .30-06, .303 British, .40-72, .405 Winchester and the 7.62mm Russian calibers, its box magazine, located beneath the frame, held five rounds. The ’95 model became standard issue with the Arizona Rangers, and was also popular with the Texas Rangers of the era. A few were put to use by some of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. With nearly 426,000 Model ’95s made between 1896 and 1931, the gun quickly became so popular that almost 20,000 were produced before Jan. 1, 1899.


Gunner W. H Coles with 5.5in Gun - History

The Royal Field Artillery
This was the largest of the three units. Many brigades started the war with 15 pounder field guns, ironically a development of an original Krupps design from Germany. In 1916, batteries started being issued with the improved 18 pounder field gun. A field gun fired its shells on a low trajectory - generally the target was in sight. Shells were usually high explosive or shrapnel as required. By 1916, an artillery brigade consisted of four batteries each of six guns. The first three, A B and C, were field guns and the fourth D battery had 4.5" howitzers at their disposal. The howitzer lobbed its shell high into the air so that it dropped more directly down onto its target. This meant that the target could be behind obstacles, perhaps a wood or a hill.

The Royal Garrison Artillery
The RGA were equipped with much larger weapons than the RFA. Howitzers from 6" and 9" bore were common as were 60 Pounder heavy field guns. These weapons became the first to be hauled by motor tractors rather than horse power. Some of the guns were so large that they could only be deployed on railway tracks.

The Royal Horse Artillery
The RHA were generally equipped with lighter guns than the RFA -often mountain guns which could be dismantled easily and quickly to enable them to be transported on horseback in pieces to where they were needed. Although lighter - 13 Pounders were common - the bore of the barrel was not dissimilar to that of the 15 and 18 pounders of the RFA and they were not a lot less functional. The RHA were generally used in support of the three cavalry divisions on the Western Front.

Just to make things that little more difficult, there were also three other divisions in the artillery, the Regular or professional artillery, the volunteers (the Territorial Force), and the New Army (conscripts). The majority of men who volunteered before 1916 will have been in the TF.

Searching for your Gunner
The first question you need to know is whether or not he survived the war. If he died, he will appear in the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. In addition to his name and number you will find the cemetery in which he is buried and the grave number. Sometimes, if the soldier had no known grave, his name will be engraved on a memorial like Thiepval on the Somme or the Menin Gate or Tyne Cot cemeteries respectively in and near Ypres in Belgium. If you are lucky, there will be more information provided by the army or relatives, but do not expect this. The records can be searched online by entering his details into the CWGC search page.

A set of CD-ROM's is available commercially called "Soldiers Died in the Great War". This often gives more information about the soldier's unit than the CWGC site, although the latter often gives more information on relatives. SDITGW can be obtained from Naval and Military Press

Whether or not he died, you will be able to find records of the medals he was awarded in the Medal Card Index. These can largely be accessed online at the National Archives' website. Records are being added all the time and at the time of writing this, records up to names beginning with S were largely online with most of the balance due by the end of 2004. Access these records by entering your man's details into the Campaign Medal search page. Be prepared for Territorial Force gunners to have more than one service number. New, unique ones were issued in 1916 to overcome the fact that twenty or more men in different brigades could have the same number under the old system. When you have found him, there is a facility at the bottom of the page to order the actual medal card from the National Archives for a reasonable price, and this should give you the actual unit to which he belonged.

Individual soldiers' records are held at the PRO under different references. The reference for men who survived the war or who were killed is WO363. Men discharged to pension are listed in WO364. Note, however, that this is harder to follow through than it may seem. First, some 75% of the records were destroyed when a German bomb hit the repository in 1940. Secondly, although the divisions seem simple, there is a lot of confusion even amongst PRO staff as to exactly where any particular record may be filed. After the alphabetical records, incidentally, there are lists of misfiles as well which may need to be checked. For further guidance on searching the records, see the PRO guide. If you want to check on an officer, go to the officers' page. If it is a soldier or non commissioned officer, go to the soldiers' page.

Once you know his unit you can, if you wish, visit the Public Record Office at Kew and have a look at the war diaries directly to see where and what the unit was doing in round terms at any particular time. Artillery war diaries were completed on a brigade basis. In the case of 241 Brigade, they covered all four batteries, plus the ammunition column and all the headquarters and ancillary members of the 800 strong brigade. These generally appear to be filed under the reference WO95. You have to either visit the PRO in person or appoint a researcher to carry out these searches as the staff can only help point people in the right direction, rather than help with research.

If you want to find out more about the artillery and its formations, you can do no better than to visit the excellent 1914-18.net website 1914-18.net. Hit the "artillery" heading towards the top of the page.

If, having read the above, your relative has a service number in the series 830001 to 835000, or if you have any other reason to suppose he served in 241 Brigade (earlier known as 2nd South Midland Brigade) RFA please contact me


Smith & Wesson Model 25 .45 Wheel Gun Extraordinaire

Introduced in 1955, the big N-framed Smith & Wesson Model 25 was originally marketed as the “.45 Target Model” and it is easy to see why.

Essentially a modernized update to their old World War I-era Model of 1917— which in turn was largely rebooted as the Model 1950 .45 Army– the .45 Target Model was a big, 5-screw double-action revolver made by S&W to use the .45ACP cartridge with moon clips or the .45 Auto Rim without the devices. Standard features at the time included a target trigger and hammer, a high Partridge-style front sight, and beefy checkered wood grips with a gold S&W medallion inlay. Finished in a deep blue, the guns were originally offered in 4- and 6.5-inch pinned barreled versions.

This early Smith & Wesson Model 25-2 up for grabs in the Guns.com Vault is both classic and collectible. This revolver is chambered in .45 ACP and features a 6.5″ barrel. Note the Partridge-style front sight. Its “N” prefix serial number points to a production date of after 1969 but before 1977.

S&W’s earlier M1917 had previously been used with “full” or “half-moon” clips that held six or three rounds of .45 ACP, respectively, with the clips providing the rimless cartridge a base for the revolver’s extractor to push the brass from the cylinder. The Model 25, when chambered in .45ACP, still uses the same style clips.

Proving popular with Bullseye competitors, after 1957 the 45 Target Model was officially listed in Big Blue’s catalog as the Model 25– with the Model 1950 rebranded as the Model 22– and soon, other calibers and barrel lengths were added.

To celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary in 1977, Smith issued a limited run of commemorative Model 25s, 25-3 guns, chambered in .45 Colt.

They bore a gold-filled barrel roll mark and an anniversary seal on the side plate. The Goncalo Alves target grips had sculptured medallions while the front sight changed to a ramped red insert style target sight with an adjustable rear.

Moving forward, generational improvements on the Model 25 series typically alternated between .45ACP and .45 Colt versions, with the even numbers going to the former and odd dashes to the latter. For instance, the 25-6 was chambered in .45 ACP while the 25-7 was a .45 Colt.

By 1979, Smith had replaced the 6.5-inch barrels models with a shorter 6-inch variant in production, while retaining the 4-inch models and introducing an even longer 8.375-inch model as well.

This 1980s-era S&W Model 25-5 in .45 Colt is a more compact 4-inch model. They have a reputation for being very accurate and are a great example of Smith & Wesson’s high-quality production. This particular specimen up for grabs in the Guns.com Vault includes an extra Pachmayr grip set and protective case.

Then there is this 25-5 with the distinctive 8-inch barrel

By 1991, Smith dropped the Model 25 from their regular catalog, leaving it as a special production gun and in 1999 halted even that. After a brief hiatus, however, the big .45 target revolver was reintroduced with the 25-11 series just after the Millenium.

Today, S&W continues making the Model 25 as part of their Classic line of revolvers with a pinned Patridge front sight, Micro-Adjustable rear, and 6.5-inch barrel.

Available as part of the company’s Classics line the Smith Wesson Model 25 is a double-action revolver chambered in 45 LC or 45 ACP. It is built on a large N-frame and is the target version of the Model 22.