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Discussion Starter #1


We've had good discussions on who loaded 5 or loaded 6 in a Colt. But I don't much remember the "load one, skip one" discussion as anything but a CAS shooting table ritual to speed up the shooting. I'd never heard of load one skip one until the early '80s when Gordie Davis suggested it to me along with shooting in "costume". My Grandfather, who was taught by his father however taught us all to load 5 and turn the cylinder, fully cock and then lower on an empty chamber. Not sure my Grandfather ever wore a costume outside a Masonic Hall.

When a Colt SAA was actually used for one's protection you loaded what was required to get the job done. Be it 5 or 6. And if you were astute you fully rotated the cylinder to make sure the ammo would function in the gun. At least till the ammo was fired as the earliest 44-40 BP loads were known to jam up a Colt with primer flow. An intentional turn of the cylinder would also tell you if you missed putting a cartridge in every chamber of the cylinder.

Not everyone back in the day was a "gunman" :)

No one gave a chit I suspect if the cylinder got a ring from being mishandled while turning the cylinder. Making sure the gun worked likely was more important than ringing steel.

When I shoot, it is load six at half cock, then fully cock and start unloading down range. When I am at a SASS table with chamber checked match ammo and to keep the neebees from freakin while the match continues to run along smoothly, I "load 1 and skip 1". When I put on a gun to use as intended I load five, fully turn the cylinder and then fully cock to lower on an empty chamber. Yep, it takes some attention to the details to get that done.

Sure beats the chit out of having a gun jammed up after one round....when you need to fire that 2nd shot ;) Sure, it is added insurance, likely not needed today, unless of course it is.
 

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The "Texas Rangers In The Mexican Revolution" book has a lot of A/D shootings, probley a half dozen or more- with six shooters falling out of holsters and hitting the ground etc. Was surprised at that....

Seems like it took the "five beans in the wheel" thing- a while to catch on.

The rotate the cylinder check makes a lot of sense- learned it here on CF.

Like a lot of other Colt lore.
 

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No one gave a chit I suspect if the cylinder got a ring from being mishandled while turning the cylinder. Making sure the gun worked likely was more important than ringing steel.

When I shoot, it is load six at half cock, then fully cock and start unloading down range. When I am at a SASS table with chamber checked match ammo and to keep the neebees from freakin while the match continues to run along smoothly, I "load 1 and skip 1". When I put on a gun to use as intended I load five, fully turn the cylinder and then fully cock to lower on an empty chamber. Yep, it takes some attention to the details to get that done.

Sure beats the chit out of having a gun jammed up after one round....when you need to fire that 2nd shot ;) Sure, it is added insurance, likely not needed today, unless of course it is.
Some of us still don't give a chit about a turn ring. Haven't studied the western gunman, ranchers, cattle drivers, I really doubt if any worried about accidentally shooting themselves. Mind set was was more like "life is short, let's get it over with".
 

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"Damn things are dangerous.."

lol yep! Yer welcome! My NYC public library copy is dog earred and pencil marked- looks like a bird dog pup got a hold of it. Still chewing on it.

I will have to count up all the Rangers that got shot up by A/D's in that book, one gent got shot by his kid who picked up his Colt and dropped it iirc
 

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The "Texas Rangers In The Mexican Revolution" book has a lot of A/D shootings, probley a half dozen or more- with six shooters falling out of holsters and hitting the ground etc. Was surprised at that....

Seems like it took the "five beans in the wheel" thing- a while to catch on.

The rotate the cylinder check makes a lot of sense- learned it here on CF.

Like a lot of other Colt lore.
Probably the 21st century with an excess of lawyers and handguns with warnings stating handguns are dangerous.
 

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The case of Ben Thompson shooting Jack Harris at the Vaudeville in San Antonio in 1882 may provide some clues as to what one gunman did. After the shooting, in the court records Charles Hummel testified that "He (Thompson) bought ten cents worth, that is five cartridges. They were central fire forty-four caliber.” Of course, we recognize Charles Hummel as a Colt Dealer / Hardware Store Owner in San Antonio.

Just five? Why not six in preparation for a shooting?
 

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One things for sure...there were no Internet forums in those days to inform people of the “safe and proper” way of doing things. Remember when our predominant method of gleaning such wisdom was trial an error. I imagine quite a few folks decided carrying on an empty chamber was a good call, only after they dropped that sob on the hammer and sent one into their thigh. As to the load 1 skip 1...without the Duke there to instruct them, I’m sure your average Joe would have simply loaded 5 rounds and rotated the cylinder around as Coz describes.
 

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Here is the same discussion in 2018: https://www.coltforum.com/forums/single-action-army/332778-i-don-t-believe-they-only-loaded-5-what-say-you.html

Hilarity ensues as some folks recall load 4, skip 1; load 2, skip a few....

Will Old Gus rotate the empty cylinder under his half cocked hammer before drawing back and letting loose??? What's your wager. Some folks are doing some mental math right now.

Nothing wrong with being safe. People done plenty dumb stuff "back in the day". There is no monopoly on stupid in human history. CAS is about as historically accurate as a high school renaissance fair. Only difference is the larger portion of the age demographic, and everyone dresses like the diabeetus guy. People have been doing silly things with guns since there were guns. Best play it safe - no reason to die because Shaky-Hand Bill dropped his home-tune six shooter at the starting line, with a hot round set beneath a worn and filed notch. And that dress-up shoot em up is not a fight.

"Here lies Curly Phil of Dallas, a career insurance analyst. He died with a Ruger in his hand, whilst dressed like his hero - Yosemite Sam. RIP, Phillip"

Now, if you see some Sioux on the warpath out yonder, and you have a few minutes before they pull up the driveway, then by all means - load up six. Also, aim for the leader (that is key - that may break their offense. Bad medicine to lose the head man).

If Wyatt Earp jumped off a cliff, would you... never mind. Don't answer that.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Funny when you think back on all the Western movies that have influenced us. How many times have you seen a TV cowboy spin the cylinder? Often as not for effect...as a kid I always thought they were checking to make sure the gun was fully loaded. But I'd bet the film habit came from the silent movie days (William S. Hart) when a SAA was still used as intended and folks that knew checked to make sure the gun would function. And the "technical advisers" knew how to run a Colt with BP blanks and live ammo.

"January 18, 1915, Tilghman, Evett Dumas Nix, and Chris Madsen formed the Eagle Film Company. Nix had the title of president, Tilghman was vice-president and treasurer, and Chris Madsen was designated as secretary. After a screenwriter, cameraman, and cast were hired, filming began on The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws. Tilghman produced with Nix and Madsen, directed with Kent, wrote with Lute P. Stover, and starred in the film as himself. Nix, Madsen, and Roy Daugherty also appeared as themselves. The film had its premier in Chandler, Oklahoma, on May 25, 1915"

I hadn't looked up "The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws" till this morning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=143&v=EPQEZ34PWbY&feature=emb_logo

Worth a look since it was past US Marshals Tilghman, Nix and Madsen producing. Great scene where Tilghman pulls (from a coat pocket and pretty damn fast doing it) what looks to be a fancy nickel SSA and retreats to a buggy, where he casually tosses the handgun onto the bench and grabs a rifle. They were just tools...even the nice tools.

Two things I noticed in the short bits of their film that is still around. How adroitly they handle guns and horses. Both impressed the chit out of me.
 

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At the range, I follow the famous "Hollywood Reload", so I get more attention, and have several more shots than expected. Explained here, in the last long thread debating 5 vs 6 rounds in a SAA: https://www.coltforum.com/forums/single-action-army/332778-i-don-t-believe-they-only-loaded-5-what-say-you-post2740602.html#post2740602

If I understand the OP's hypothesis correctly, the load 1, skip 1 technique was "invented" by Cowboy Action shooting. I doubt it was not thought of sometime before that. Humans are an intelligent, industrious breed. I'm sure someone by 1874 figured out he could load then skip and end up on an empty. It's not that complicated. I also remember the story that Billy the Kid asked to see a man's SAA that had been bullying him. He discretely turned the cylinder so that when cocked, the empty chamber would be in firing position. It allowed him to shoot and kill the man, when the man tried to shoot Billy in the back as he left the bar.
 

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I went back and reread through the 2018 thread of this same topic. It garnered quite a lot of responses.

Cozmo - you start off by saying you hadn't heard of "load 1, skip 1, load 4" until the 80s, however you also state your grandfather and great grandfather passed down to you that one ought to load five and rest the hammer on an empty cylinder. Seems to me that you had heard early on, from a line of old timers going back a good ways in American history, that loading 5 was a good way to go about things. The only difference was the style in which CAS shooters would get to an empty chamber, versus your grandfather who would load five and just move the empty cylinder accordingly. I know I am picking nits here, but seems kinda contradictory :confused: Seems to me you heard very early on to only load 5. Heck, you got another story where you surmised on your own to only load 5 after your own neighbor put a second hole in his butt! Experience showed that to err on the side of caution wasn't so bad, unless one wanted to further ventilate their rear.

As to revisionist history, I think we don't quite know, do we? I don't think all safety precautions are necessarily due to lawyers and Hillary and whoever else in the contemporary realm. I doubt your great grandfather taught your grandfather to load five due to fear of lawsuit. Rather, he likely learned that the hard way, or learned from someone down the line who experienced the hard way. And that lesson was taught well before any of us were around.

I think the rub here is the notion that people may be saying the gunfighters of times long past always loaded 1 and skipped 1, ending up with a nice empty cylinder under the hammer (and maybe stuck some bills in the empty chamber for some reason). As to that - well, probably don't matter no how, if we really sit and ponder it. Some probably got along just fine with six, and the safety notch - or heck, just resting that pin right there on the primer - did alright for them their whole lives. Some probably saw or heard of issues with the gun going off, and reverted to only loading 5. It is proliferated today likely due to the handful of lessons and experiences long preceding us to say - hey, ain't a bad idea to only load 5 and be mindful of that hammer over a hot cartridge.

As to the army - wouldn't surprise me one bit if the old cavalry loaded all six and tromped around the frontier as such. They had flap holsters, which may have helped some in the retention I would reckon. Also, don't go believing they were at the tip end of gun training.
As recently discussed in this thread, with cited sources, the old army as a whole did not put a whole lot of effort in firearms training: https://www.coltforum.com/forums/single-action-army/372971-cavalry-question.html
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REOpIo0-P0A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IknySc8b55w

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Passing_of_the_Oklahoma_Outlaws


Pretty neat!- you can see some of the Oklahoma Law men and Outlaws in action in the first clip from Tilghman's silent film- they really did a great job of cleaning that old movie up. Good find- fun to watch it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Tilghman



There are pictures of a pair of Rattlesnake carved ivory griped nickle SAA's floating around on the web said to have belonged to Tilghman



Found the photo of the Colt said to be Tilhman's- not sure if real or not- probly not, but damn nice Colt and grips!
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Never said CAS invented load one skip one...just that I had never seen it prior to the Sport. Seemingly neither had the 3 generations of my ancestors shooting Colts prior going back to the 1860s.

By your comment you imply a number of things that I would question as being accurate.

>"I'm sure someone by 1874 figured out he could load then skip and end up on an empty."

I doubt it as the percussion Colt prior were generally carried with 6 full chambers.
And the fact the '73 Colt was built with a "safety notch" in the hammer to allow a fully loaded cylinder of 6. Even though that turned out not to be as reliable as Colt had hoped.

When folks learned that loading 6 wasn't always practical (with just horse transportation available to most) they loaded 5. Rotating the cylinder a full turn made sure the ammo was usable. Easy enough for most to just index the empty chamber and go on with life.

The more recent habit of not checking if the ammo is reliable in a SAA revolver is I suspect the result of the CAS games. Loading one, skip one, is just being complacent. And why the CAS sports, all the hand guns sports for that matter, are called games. Helps that ammo quality has improved.

Cozmo - you start off by saying you hadn't heard of "load 1, skip 1, load 4" until
the 80s, however you also state your grandfather and great grandfather passed down
to you that one ought to load five and rest the hammer on an empty cylinder. Seems
to me that you had heard early on, from a line of old timers going back a good ways
in American history, that loading 5 was a good way to go about things. The only
difference was the style in which CAS shooters would get to an empty chamber, versus
your grandfather who would load five and just move the empty cylinder accordingly. I
know I am picking nits here, but seems kinda contradictory
Not contradictory at all. You have missed the point. Load five, make a full rotation of the cylinder ....then drop the hammer on an empty cylinder. Two distinct "safety" issues being addressed. #1 is an empty chamber under the hammer. #2 that the ammo will work in your gun. I'll let you decide which is more important.
 

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Why exactly is rotating the cylinder one time going to verify "#2 that the ammo will work in your gun"? Are you rotating it under an x-ray machine to make sure there is powder in each case? Or a spectrum analyzer to make sure the primers have not been contaminated by oil? If you're talking about a high primer, then many of us just inspect our rounds when we load them. Both at the loading press, and pressing them into the chamber.

I have a brother in law who is obsessive compulsive. He habitually turns the lock on the back door several times when locking it. Click, click, click, click ...locking and unlocking over and over. Because he says he wants to be SURE it's locked.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
azshot said:
Why exactly is rotating the cylinder one time going to verify that the ammo will work in your gun?
Truculent bunch this morning are we :)

Simple examples of the most common SAA malfunctions that makes the gun inoperable is a high primer or just as likely a case not fully seated because of a dirty chamber. God bless the man who can catch every primer/cartridge by sight or feel that will lock up a Colt. If you have never had either condition jam up your SAA good on ya!

I get it. I like to load six and bang them off. Then repeat. I switched guns on my night stand last night. Loaded one, skipped one. All good. Well may be not...I'll go turn that cylinder once I hit "enter". No question I am lazy but I try not to be complacent. Even thought for a moment or two about loading that gun with six.

Carry on :)
 

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I grew up around SAAs, my dad had a few 1st gens, including a Bisley. I can't remember if he actually told me "load one, skip one ...", but it certainly was the way he loaded an SAA, and was the way he taught me when I was a little kid in the late '50s early '60s. So I'm assuming that he learned it from someone in the '30s when he was a young man in Colorado.

Best regards,
 

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Not contradictory at all. You have missed the point. Load five, make a full rotation of the cylinder ....then drop the hammer on an empty cylinder. Two distinct "safety" issues being addressed. #1 is an empty chamber under the hammer. #2 that the ammo will work in your gun. I'll let you decide which is more important.
That makes sense then, if the old man was looking to see if his cylinder would rotate with the ammo - the man was EXTRA careful in that case.

I would say truculence was sought, Cozmo ;) - a stirring discussion for a Monday. As far as whether the load 1, skip one "technique" goes back to the early days when there was a frontier... who knows. How did the old timers do their cylinder math? Maybe they did only load 5, but they spun the cylinder to ensure them rounds weren't too plump in the rear. Or maybe they loaded six, did a little dance, unloaded one and drop the hammer on the empty cylinder. There may have been one weirdo in the lot who loaded four to be contrarian.

I would say that understanding the math of load 1, skip one is pretty basic when looking at a 6 holed cylinder that spins in one direction. Heck, that's as easy as washing hands, and covering one's sneeze. But then again, look where we are at now.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Anyone heard the "dollar bill in the empty cylinder" back in the '50s or prior? I did and thought that is nonsense :) But the concern as it was told to me was an empty chamber under the hammer. The chamber stuffed with folding money. There didn't seem to be any concern that you only had 5 shots and then just the 5 chambers to reload if you fired the first five. Getting the paper money into the chamber, keeping the gun running, and the money back out again are not simple tasks!
 
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