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Disparage Elmer all you want, the fact remains he was witness to a period in history that we are not. I’m sure he didn’t just wake up in the morning and decide to say that a stirrup coming down on a saddle can and has discharged that Colt right when that cinch is tightened. Cavalry manual said carry 6? Well army regs said carry an empty chamber on the 1911 but we know better in real combat, now don’t we? I mean have you talked with Nelson Storey? Elmer did and thank God he wrote what he did. A little bragging? Loud bravado? It’s the nature of a cowboy. That cocky attitude is what started rodeos. No he was a bit more than like John Wayne in a movie. He was an invaluable reference
 

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My mentor Bob Howard was born in 1878 & he & Elmer Keith were life long friends & when they were young "cowboyed" together so to say he didn't see any of the old west is a real stretch,both of them used to buy their tack from the Miles City Saddlery store.When EK was in so.Calif. he used to stay w/Bob & spent a lot of time in the shop w/other old timers just visiting.Bob did some work on a few of Keith's colts as well as William S. Harts guns who was also a friend of both of them.Bob outlived both of them & was 99 when he died.When I bought my 1st colt it was an 1898 38/40 & Bob converted it to .44 spcl for me which explains my interest in collecting .44's & I still have it 64 yrs later.
 

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If the actual gunslingers did half as much "cocking and decocking" as the guys in the movies, it seems that they might have had trouble keeping track of which chamber they were carrying over, and that they would have had to spend a lot of time re-indexing to the appropriate position.
 

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I posed this question just recently to a real Cowboy out here in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming.
He’s 83 and his dad taught him to load 5 and rest the hammer on an empty chamber - because it only takes one to kill a rattlesnake, one to kill a steer with a broken front leg and one to kill a lame horse. You’d have two left for the bad guys and beyond that, a sixth wouldn’t matter.
 

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If Jim Martin was not there, he is/was friends with those whom were there...so to speak.

Jim - what do you say on loading 5 vs. 6 into a Colt SAA?

What year was it when you acquired your first SAA, the now-converted 1898 model?

Did you originally learn to chamber 5 or 6 rounds in your 1898 SAA? Who taught you?

Was there a time when you changed loading procedures?

What did the old timers tell you about how many rounds to load?
 

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Collects said:
If Jim Martin was not there...
No disrespect to Jim here. But if one bothers to read the entire thread, both the US Army and Colt suggested loading 6 and And using the safety notch on the hammer.

My Grandfather was born in 1890 and no gun crank by our standards. But his father was and born in the 1860s grew up in IT now OK. Both carried at one time or another a SAA as a tool. My Grandfather loaded and suggested we (kids and grandkids) load 5 with hammer down on an empty chamber.

The "load one, skip one", I had never hear of until the mid '80s when SASS got up and running. But others had long previous to SASS. That sure makes me late to the party.

But have to think if the US Army, who got the first Colt SAA guns, loaded 6 as a matter of routine and Colt in it's period advertising loaded 6, the question has been asked and answered counselor.

 

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I posed this question just recently to a real Cowboy out here in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming.
He’s 83 and his dad taught him to load 5 and rest the hammer on an empty chamber - because it only takes one to kill a rattlesnake, one to kill a steer with a broken front leg and one to kill a lame horse. You’d have two left for the bad guys and beyond that, a sixth wouldn’t matter.
Not that I disagree with you or him, but since I deal with facts, statistics, and math, I figured I would break down this argument a bit. If the fellow was 83, then he was born around 1935. Statistically, his father would most likely not have been older than 30 when he had him, so born in 1905 or so. Even living a cowboy life and learning to shoot from an early age, the guys father wouldn't have learned to shoot until he was 5 or so. So he learned in 1910 time frame, which is back in the day, but still not the 1870'-80's. My point is that maybe load five is what was taught by the 1900's, but not necessarily what was taught in the 1880's.

I think Yahoody makes the point that load six was the original method devised by Colt and utilized by the Army.
 

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I have to believe there were camps on both sides of the issue way back then just as there is today on every and any position you can think of today. Meaning both camps are right. I started out with a Ruger Single Six about 1962 and always carried six. Today, unless I am at the range working out with my single actions I will load five bouncing around in our ATV.
Believe this or not, when I hired in as a guard in 1965 our old chief who was a old retired LAPD captain wanted us to load FIVE in our colt official polices! Personally, I believe in the 1870`s I suspect most all but the highest experienced loaded six, and when story's and reports started coming in of AD`s over the next few years is how the load five crowd started to get traction. When I bought that first Ruger in 1962 I read every gun rag I could get my hands on. I am willing to bet at the first Ruger DID NOT give grave warnings to only load five with their first single actions. I would guess it wasn't until the early sixty's before they started to warn to load five. I really wonder when Colt started warning to load five. ANYONE claim to know?
 

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If the actual gunslingers did half as much "cocking and decocking" as the guys in the movies, it seems that they might have had trouble keeping track of which chamber they were carrying over, and that they would have had to spend a lot of time re-indexing to the appropriate position.
Now, where do I fit?! I'm not an actual gunslinger, and I don't play one on TV, but I do carry five and re-index.

And speaking of six or five . . . . In Yahoody's "actual photograph" of this horse (thread), did that fellow take six swings or only five? In all this excitement, I've kinda lost track.
 

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I don't know chit. But your comment did remind me of a story. Late '50s central Idaho, ranch country. My Dad had been hunting for a week or so out of a spike camp horse back. They needed to come back into town for a resupply. Elk was the prey and serious business as an elk would feed a family the rest of the winter.

Anyway Dad was driving our cab over, Jeep truck. Little weird to get in and out of even for a grown man. Neighbor had a new then Ruger Blackhawk in 44 mag. he was mighy proud of that gun. Sliding out of the cab he some how popped a cap and ran a 44 slug across has ass cheeks. Merely a flesh wound. And too far to drive into town for a doctor. The women folks bandaged his ass up. My mother who packed a Bisley in 38wcf thought he was an idiot for packing 6 in a gun that should have only (according to her and my Grandfather) only carried 5. She had no problem repeating that opinion in public.

My bet now was the burn from a .44s muzzle flash had to leave a lasting impression.

I was likely 3rd or 4th grade but sure left an impression on me to carry 5 in the Bisley and 5 in the S&W Model 17 when the time came. I wasn't gonna take any chances with them new fangled dbl action guns or being called an idiot. :)
 

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12 divided by 2 equals 6.

Geez...who cares how they did it 140 years ago? If you're inclined to drop a stirrup on your revolver while saddling Ol' Dan, fall down while carrying, or drop you revolver, slam it in a car door...you probably should carry on an empty chamber....and that goes for ANY firearm, not just revolvers.

This horse has indeed been beat to a pulp.

Cholla
 
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