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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

I'm a historical mystery author who writes a series set in 1900 San Francisco. I try to be thorough in my research, so it really nags at me when a reader points out a perceived flaw in my research. I was hoping you all could put my mind at ease!

In a scene, I have a character who picked up a Colt Storekeeper from a pawn shop. No other details are given about it, except that I have this happen: '…he opened the cylinder and ejected the cartridges into the palm of his hand.'

A reader said this in a review about that part (of course I can't respond to the review, but I'd feel better hearing from experts): 'A Colt Storekeeper is Colt SAA with 102 mm barrel and without extractor so Atticus will need pencil or something similar to extract cartridges from their chambers. It is good to do some research when mentioning historical weapons.'

Based on my research, I read that they did make Storekeepers with the option of an ejector as well as varying barrel lengths. But the Sheriff's model doesn't have one. Am I correct? Also, I read in another forum that it is possible to tilt a Storekeeper at a 45 degree angle and the cartridges can slide right out, or at least enough to get out with a fingernail.

I'm no expert, so I appreciate your answers.
 

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Hi, people do like to be accurate about some crazy things.

If your character is removing LOADED rounds, they will fall out of the chambers as he turns the gun facing up, with the gate open. If shot, they sometimes stick and do need something to push them out. I would leave the sentence as it is. You could change "ejected" to be "dropped" I guess.
 

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well first things first
this individual does not know what they are talking about
A Colt Storekeeper is Colt SAA with 102 mm barrel and without extractor so Atticus will need pencil or something similar to extract cartridges from their chambers.
It is good to do some research when mentioning historical weapons.'

Millimeters were not used in the past especially in the place and time u are referring too
this is only a recent addition
you will only need something to remove the rounds after they are fired as unfired rounds will easily fall out when the cylinder it turned when the gun is half cocked and the cylinder is able to be turned....
when the hammer is down the cylinder will not move...
i agree that accurate info is key when writing
from my memory there is no ejector assembly on the storekeepers but i could be wrong too
i think they are like the sheriffs models
God Bless,John
 

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Neither the Storekeeper nor the Sheriff's Model had ejector rods, but owners of these guns usually had a pencil or a piece of dowel rod to 'punch' the empty cartridges out of the cylinder. Also, both Storekeepers and Sheriff's models came in many different barrel lengths. Many collectors often refer to these guns as "ejectorless".

Also, I guess it would be possible in some cases for the empty cases to drop out of the cylinder if the gun were to be tilted backward. I say leave the sentence as you have written it.
 

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They would have to be ejected one at a time as the cylinder was rotated past the loading gate. Live rounds would most likely fall out, spent casings most likely would need to be poked out.
 

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If you say he “ejected the cartridges”, I think you are correct without any changes. “Cartridges” are generally assumed to be loaded, live rounds and they would fall out. “Spent cartridges” are the remaining brass casings but you didn’t say that. I think you’re OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much for your replies! Really helpful information here and details to keep in mind when writing in future. There was one spent cartridge in the cylinder and the other four were live rounds. But I wasn't really specific on how the character got the cartridges out, so maybe he did use a pencil on the casing…

Still annoyed with myself for not catching that detail though. Here was one of the articles I was going off of: https://gunblast.com/JaredSchmidt_USFA-Shopkeeper.htm

Specifically this quote:
The Shopkeeper’s model which is the subject of this article is of the same idea of a short fast handling sixgun, but it has the addition of an ejector rod. The ejector rod in my opinion makes it a much more appealing choice. It has a 3.5” barrel which is as short as you can go and still get some extraction on the fired cases. The barrel being 1 ¼” shorter than the shortest standard S.A.A. makes a marked difference in the handling characteristics of the piece. Since I am not known for carrying a wooden dowel around in my pocket I decided that the Shopkeeper was the one for me.

But now I realize he's talking about a reproduction model with an ejector. Correct?
 

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I believe this is what you are looking to model your story after:
https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/revolvers/colt-revolvers-antique/sheriff-s-model-antique-colt-single-action-45-colt-pearl-grips-houston-texas.cfm?gun_id=101358666
The Sheriff's model and Shopkeeper are basically the same thing. There is no ejector. On some firearms the cylinder pin could easily be removed and used to poke the chambers empty. Not so in this case as it has the original "blackpowder frame" and the cylinder pin has a retainer screw making removal anything but quick and easy. In this case something else would be needed to eject the cases.

You can see the difference. The new USFA clone has the ejector housing. The original Colt does not.

04.jpg Sheriff-s-Model-Antique-Colt-Single-Action-45-Colt-Pearl-Grips-Houston-Texas_101245810_19891_F3.jpeg
 

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I am curious where you are located. Nothing beats holding one in you hand or actually shooting it. There may be a SASS or NCOWS club near you that you could go and watch and maybe even try a period model.
 

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If the reviewer was that critical about ejecting the cartridges, I'm surprised he didn't say anything about "opening the cylinder." The loading gate is opened. The cylinder remains where it is and does not "open."

NOTE: I'm not criticizing your writing. Just noting how the reviewer appears to be the type who needs to show how he's an "expert". He'd probably fit in well on internet gun forums :rolleyes:.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am curious where you are located. Nothing beats holding one in you hand or actually shooting it. There may be a SASS or NCOWS club near you that you could go and watch and maybe even try a period model.
When I wrote this book, I was in California. The closest place I could find that let people shoot historical revolvers was in Colorado. :( Now I'm in SC, but I'd still love to go hold one. I've watched some Youtube videos of people shooting their historical revolvers, but I don't think they had a Storekeeper. I was more interested in the S&W Model No. 3.

Looking at how expensive a historical revolver is… I can see why there aren't many places that let you handle one!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
John beat me to it! "Opening the cylinder" sounds like a swing out cylinder. Perhaps opening the loading gate would be better.
Ah, thank you, to both of you! So the loading gate is opened, and the cylinder is just rotated, one chamber at time to get cartridge out of a StoreKeeper? I think I will be coming straight to you all if I ever mention another historical revolver again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Another minor point: don't believe all the Western movies when they load 6 rounds but somehow fire 8-10....
Always funny! And yeah… I usually have five rounds in a revolver, since I read that they generally kept one chamber empty for safety. According to newspapers of the era, misfires were common since there was no safety.
 

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When I wrote this book, I was in California. The closest place I could find that let people shoot historical revolvers was in Colorado. :( Now I'm in SC, but I'd still love to go hold one. I've watched some Youtube videos of people shooting their historical revolvers, but I don't think they had a Storekeeper. I was more interested in the S&W Model No. 3.

Looking at how expensive a historical revolver is… I can see why there aren't many places that let you handle one!
There were SASS shoots all around you in California. There are many in SC as well. Look on SASSnet.com for local clubs in your area. Go to a match and explain what you want to know. I doubt many will have a S&W No. 3 but some will have reproduction S&W Schofields. https://www.taylorsfirearms.com/hand-guns/cartridge-revolvers/top-break-revolvers.html
 

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Discussion Starter #17
There were SASS shoots all around you in California. There are many in SC as well. Look on SASSnet.com for local clubs in your area. Go to a match and explain what you want to know. I doubt many will have a S&W No. 3 but some will have reproduction S&W Schofields. https://www.taylorsfirearms.com/hand-guns/cartridge-revolvers/top-break-revolvers.html
Thanks for this link! I was looking for public shooting ranges that had historical revolvers. Didn't think to look for clubs. Appreciate it.
 
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