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Redburn's Guns

2193 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  chaosrob
We all like pictures so I'd like to continue posting images of guns from my late friends collection. I'd also like to share a little about the man.

Then 60 years old, give or take, Billie Redburn was a tall slender man with a full head of white hair and a matching beard with handlebar mustache. He was proud of the fact that he still wore the same size jeans that he had worn in high school. Like one of his idols from an old western movie, Billie always dressed the same. His 20X silverbelly Stetson was worn and dirty and sported a rattlesnake band. The remainder of his standard apparel was as you would expect, plaid shirt with yokes front and back, Wrangler jeans and handmade boots from a small shop in Texas. The boots were cowhide, not some exotic critter but they did have custom silver toe and heel caps. His hand tooled belt carried a silver tip, keepers and buckle. The waistband on his right side always, and I do mean ALWAYS, bulged with an ivory handled pre-war National Match Colt .45 auto. Any handgun that Billy would or could possibly ever carry was equipped with ivory grips like General Patton, another hero of his. In the watch pocket of his jeans rested his model 110 Buck folding hunter which, like his guns, had been fitted with ivory scales and filework by knifemaker P.J. Tomes. Billie was an old school collector. He only added to his collection, he never sold. He still had the first gun he'd ever bought, a martially marked Artillery model single action army Colt that he had pulled from a pickle barrel full of surplus handguns and for which he paid five dollars.

Billie was a retired Navy man. He had been an armorer aboard U.S.S. Hornet and spoke with great pride about how, in the predawn hours of April 18, 1942, he had loaded the bombs on Jimmy Doolittle's B-25 in preparation for the first U.S. air raid on the Japanese home islands. From his participation with the Doolittle Raid in 1942 on USS Hornet to his presidential unit citations for Torpedo Squadron 8 during the Battle of Midway, he was always proud of his service. After retirement from the Navy as lieutenant, he pursued his passion for collecting firearms.
Billie Redburn was a genuine collector. He bought what he liked and he never sold anything. His first love was Colt firearms though his collection reflects representative examples from S&W, High Standard, Savage and others. When he passed away he still owned every gun he ever bought, over 200 handguns and around 85 long guns.

Billie Redburn, my friend of over thirty years, passed away peacefully on December 6, 2008 at the age of 86. He was a hero of the greatest generation. He led a full life and he will be missed. Good ride cowboy.

This 1903 .32 from Redburn's collection is factory engraved and left the factory with mother of pearl stocks in 1906.

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Rick your writing is as detailed and as elaborate as your beautiful scrimshaw work. I knew Mr. Redburn and I appreciate your taking the time to write this eulogy to him
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It's a shame when true hero's leave us. Their presence is felt long after their departure. Thanks for sharing, and that is a beautiful Colt, it appears he had many fine pieces
Very nice 1903 and a wonderful eulogy to a friend. Your words were from the heart and very moving.
thanks for sharing. he sounds like a very nice man. I like that gun as well.
Very Nice, Thank You for sharing.
Your friend sounds like a great man and I am sure he felt the same about you, since he trusted you to dispose of his collection!
Your friend was the precise definition of the kind of 'old timer' who impressed me so much in my youth.
Thanks for haulin' out some truly touching recollections. There are still a lot of the WWII generation still kickin', and I never miss an opportunity to chat 'em up at the tradin' post.
My own Dad has been gone scince '08, and he was in it with my uncle. A couple of remarkable men.
Great thread.
Thanks for posting. A remarkable man, I would like to have known him. Nice gun too.
i would love to see a pic of the great man, he sounds like a true American orginal
Thank You for posting. Very nicely written about your friend.
IMO, Your early M1903 is the most beautiful engraved Colt that I have seen, just the right amount of engraving and perfect with the mother of pearl grips. I think for those who aspire to refinish or restore their M1903/1908's, this could be the best of both worlds - to honor a tired old colt and celebrate it with similar engraving. Especially, for me, since one like yours will never be affordable or likely available. Jackson
i would love to see a pic of the great man, he sounds like a true American orginal
Redburn continually searched for consecutively numbered pairs, usually Colt single actions. When a Colt shipment was on the way to the gun shop Billie would check the invoice for consecutive numbers. Any pairs would immediately be pulled from the order and put in Redburn's locker.

This photo appeared in our local newspaper in 1980. The single actions are consecutively numbered nickel Frontier Six Shooters. To get this pair Billie bought two consecutively numbered sets of Colt's 1873-1973 Single Action Centennial Commemorative. This way Redburn could have a consecutive pair of Single Action Army revolvers and a consecutive pair of Frontier Six Shooters.

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Now that I am "older", I knew guys like that when I was young and your memories bring back old memories of my own. Thanks for the post.
This Model 1903 Pocket Hammer .38 ACP is another pistol from the Redburn collection.

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God bless Mr. Redburn and thanks to you for sharing these photos. I love the one of him holding the Colt SAA's. Not sure if I like the mustache or the Colt's best - uh, the Colt's!!
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