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What really gets me going are dealers who find an altered gun with ribbed barrel sights, cut out top straps with target sights and relined barrels an cylinders for 22 caliber,who woof it up and put a big price on them based on the craftsmanship of the work and the 'history". There's a 44 etched panel I see at a show 4 or 5 times a year with a slip hammer and cut out trigger guard, and a target front ramp sight, with corresponding square notch milled at the rear, with 80% original finish, who's owner wants 10,000 for it. Its butt ugly and no one has ever made even a close offer. He won't budge on the price, and it has languished in his case for over 7 years. Goofy.

JP
 

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Sorry CraigC but I have to disagree with you on this one. In the case of the SAA, as with much of “Old West” lore, I think Hollywood and popular culture have shaped our perceptions of these guns more so than verifiable history. Hell, as long as writers have been commentating on the exploits of the famous “pistoleros” of that era, hyperbole has prevailed. The bottom line is this, the Vast majority of these guns were purchased, carried and utilized by folks who were far more concerned with keeping their family’s fed than making a name for themselves as the fastest gun in the west. They utilized these guns, when necessary, exactly as ol’ Sam intended. Of course there are exceptions, but I can assure you the sight of a cowboy fanning a hammer from the hip and dropping 6 banditos in a dusty saloon is the stuff of big-screen make believe. Heck, quite a few of the famous lawmen and outlaws we revere today killed plenty of men who didn’t have anything hanging off their belt but their britches. How quick do you need to be on the draw when your shooting someone at point blank range while they’re in the middle of a card game? In my opinion, modifying SAA’s in every manner imaginable so that they can be drawn quicker and fired rapidly is a practice, albeit an early one, rooted more in romanticized fantasy than historical practicality.
 

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Kids aren't taking guitar lessons anymore. There are no guitar paying idols anymore.
I disagree. It must depend on what you listen to. IMHO, there is more guitar playing talent alive today than at any other time. It just ain't present in pop music.



Sorry CraigC but I have to disagree with you on this one. In the case of the SAA, as with much of “Old West” lore, I think Hollywood and popular culture have shaped our perceptions of these guns more so than verifiable history. Hell, as long as writers have been commentating on the exploits of the famous “pistoleros” of that era, hyperbole has prevailed. The bottom line is this, the Vast majority of these guns were purchased, carried and utilized by folks who were far more concerned with keeping their family’s fed than making a name for themselves as the fastest gun in the west. They utilized these guns, when necessary, exactly as ol’ Sam intended. Of course there are exceptions, but I can assure you the sight of a cowboy fanning a hammer from the hip and dropping 6 banditos in a dusty saloon is the stuff of big-screen make believe. Heck, quite a few of the famous lawmen and outlaws we revere today killed plenty of men who didn’t have anything hanging off their belt but their britches. How quick do you need to be on the draw when your shooting someone at point blank range while they’re in the middle of a card game? In my opinion, modifying SAA’s in every manner imaginable so that they can be drawn quicker and fired rapidly is a practice, albeit an early one, rooted more in romanticized fantasy than historical practicality.
You think Texas Rangers and other folks in Elmer Keith's day did such things because they saw it in a movie???
 

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Equating the needs of Texas Rangers with those of the general readership of Elmer Keith is hilarious. Elmer wasn't writing this article to educate "Texas Rangers". He was writing it for the version of "tacti-cool" of his day. Yes, the same guy who has a fully outfitted AR15 with a slipstock on it is the guy who read Elmer's article and turned his SAA into a "slipgun" By definition, he bubba'd it. Were there people that had a need for a slip gun? Sure, just like soldiers in WW1 and 2 made all kinds of modifications to their personal weapons that they thought made them function better and more reliable. But the vast majority of people who read Elmers articles had no need for a slip gun. Using Texas Rangers as a defense for the slip gun in this article is ridiculous. I probably have about the same number of guns in my personal safe as all the slip guns ever carried by Texas Rangers. It was a personal preference thing, but I would imagine most rangers didn't feel it was worth the danger/reliability issues. Since Frank Hamer has been brought up, "Old Lucky" was not a slip gun, and is the only gun Frank was known to have carried his entire Ranger career. He had various other guns that changed over time but it remained. The only Ranger I know of from memory that was documented to use a slip gun was Waxahacie Smith, but that was because he was missing his trigger finger and middle finger from his shooting hand.

Elmer is a good read, but could also be a blowhard that espoused some really questionable ideas. Sure he saw a gun as a tool. Just because something is a tool doesn't mean you abuse and mistreat it. I have guns and tools both that have been in my family since the 1890s. They have been used, some of them very hard, but they have also been taken care of. A SAA in the 30s would still run you $34 or so based on colts catalogue, thats roughly $500 today. Not expensive but not pocket change either. I am blessed that both sides of my family going way back have been ranchers in Texas, heck my great great great grandfather was the blacksmith who maintaned the tools for when they built the State Capital, I have one of his hammers. He took care of it because his lively hood depended on it. Just because Elmer wrote about it, neither makes it correct nor does it make it "functional or appropriate".

And again this article has jack squat to do with "people who's lives depended on their guns". Elmer wrote the article and his readers started jacking around in their basemen or their garage to have a "slip gun" just like Elmer. In short they bubba'd their guns. By very definition they bubba'd their guns. Just because Elmer wrote about it doesn't mean it didn't get bubba'd by a bunch of jackwagons messing around.

Accuracy has always been more important then speed, and going back to Texas Rangers, the old time rangers were practical and astute lawmen, they didn't engage dangerous criminals on their terms. More often then note, they rightly shot a dangerous criminal by surprise. Thats why their reputation has always been more on the practical side then some hollywood dreamed up honorable ideal.

Slip guns are right up their with people thinking they need hair triggers on their guns.....
 

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“You think Texas Rangers and other folks in Elmer Keith's day did such things because they saw it in a movie???”
What an ubsurd assertion. Everyone knows Elmer Keith styled all of his gunslinging antics after the hit video game Red Dead Revolver!
Seriously, asserting that a “slip gun” is the functional equivalent of a shotgun with the stock and barrel sawed off is a bit of a stretch. Furthermore, Elmer Keith earned a reputation for a variety of antics, life and death gun fighting certainly wasn’t one of them. You’d certainly be hard pressed to demonstrate the prevalence of “hammer fanning/ slip gunning” as an actual tactical measure among Texas Ranger’s of the era. Bottom line, the gun in that article is “Bubbafied”. I don’t care who claimed responsibility for the hack job nor how fervently they espoused it’s merits.
 

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You guys are going off the rails. The point was NOT to equate the modifications done to the Texas Rangers' guns to the slip gun in the article. The point is that they are ALL rather obvious modifications done for a specific purpose. The OP did not call out slip guns specifically but pretty much any modification as "Bubba-ed".

Yes, I'm sure that thousands of Keith's readers ran down the the basement and turned their favorite Colt SAA into a slip gun. That's why there's so many around. You can't walk into a gun or pawn shop without running into one. Not.

A slip gun is not made for fanning. It's made for slip-shooting. How can you have this conversation and not know the difference? Most CAS competitors are actually slip-shooting. The idea that it is not a viable method for shooting a sixgun fast is absurd and probably an indication of the difference between collectors and serious single action shooters.

A brand new SAA might've been $34 but how much was a surplus model? If you'll recall, the .45Colt that Keith blew the loading gate off of was a surplus blackpowder model. Doing such modifications to a Colt SAA in the 1930's would be no different than doing so with military surplus M9's today. No one would think anything of it. Do you think that in 100yrs people will be having the same conversation about modified Ruger 10/22's? Maybe. Do we care? Nope. Reminds me of a quote about judging history from today's perspective.


If Elmer Keith had put a 90 degree bend in the barrel of a SAA and claimed it was better suited for shooting around corners, many on this forum would be applauding him for his visionary innovation...I’m with Dandak on this one, that gun is plain “ruint”.
Furthermore, not everyone on the opposing side of this argument is a Keith Kool Aid drinker. I have much respect for Keith and his work but have been in many an online scuffle because I didn't go all the way and drink the Kool Aid. Such as when I state that Keith did not develop the .357Mag and .44Mag. Or that he did not design the famous "Keith" bullets that bear his name. Or that he wasn't really much of a handgun hunter.
 

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https://gunsmagazine.com/editors-picks/the-croft-keith-slip-gun

***"In his book The Secrets of Double-Action Shooting, Bob Nichols quotes General Hatcher, who said, “Recently the late John Newman of Seattle, Washington, and Elmer Keith of Weiser, Idaho, have given prominence to what is known as ‘slip shooting’ with the .45 Single Action Army. The gun is converted into a ‘slip hammer’ revolver by altering the hammer, taking off the hammer spur entirely and substituting for it a short peg projecting to the rear and lower down on the hammer than the conventional hammer spur. The trigger is preferably removed altogether and sometimes the trigger guard itself is also removed. The gun like this can be fired rapidly and accurately by simply drawing the hammer back with the right thumb and then, when it is ready to fire, allowing the handle of the ‘slip hammer’ to escape from under the thumb. The speed with which this can be accomplished is shown by the fact that John Newman has been known to throw a tin can in the air and put four shots into it with his ‘slip hammer’ Colt before it hit the ground.”**

Elmer always thought the SAA was Colts best revolver and modified scores of them, in EK's day the idea of buying a new SAA and squirreling it away as a investment would have been considered loco. Not long ago Colts were bought to shoot and folks modified them to their taste.







So Elmer bubbed them to his taste and shot the hell out of them. I think if you told old Elmer to his face that he bubbed and ruined his SAA you would have a interesting conversation. lol



One man's bubbed gun- is another mans custom revolver.
 

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"I think if you told old Elmer to his face that he bubbed and ruined his SAA you would have a interesting conversation."

Times change. In the pre-WW2 years, and years shortly thereafter people were looking to the future, not the past. For most people, the past, the wars, the depression, the personal memories of the hardships of the frontier, were not something they wanted to be reminded of. Not in conversation or the preservation of artifacts. Then came the proliferation of Western Movies and TV shows. I admit, if I had not been exposed to the romance of the West in the media of the 1950s-60s, and the daily replaying of them on the Western Channel on TV today (which I watch every day), I would not have developed a love of the Old West. I have also been watching 1940s-50s gangster movies on TV. Naturally I had to buy a 1903 Colt auto, present in most every old gangster film. Our concern for the preservation of antiques is probably futile. As I said before, future generations, technologically oriented, will care little about the "old days". It used to be said that you learn from the past, history. But in reality the past is so different from modern life that there is very little correlation between the past and rapidly advancing current life. Old beliefs, techniques, procedures, and equipment become outdated in record time. So, I cherish my historical artifacts, and place great value on them. But I am not fooling myself into thinking future generations will revere them. Unfortunately that includes my large collection of Hopalong, Autry, Rogers, etc. cap guns, holsters, watches, hats, etc. Doomed to find their way in the future into a dumpster.
 

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“You guys are going off the rails.”
We’re engaged in a heated debate over the historical significance and practical utility of modifications made to a 150 year old firearm design as outlined in a 90 year old article by a fella who’s been dead for over 35 years...I’d say we’re ALL a little “off the rails!” Good discussion fellas, happy Friday!
 

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Old timers and their guns and the collectors who followed them will always be a hot debate. It's a User vs Collector argument that's gone on for decades. It seems few collectors ever truly understand the 'a gun is a tool' concept until they either become an outlaw, a cop, or serve in the military. Yes you HEAR it when you're told and you act like you're no fool and know full well that guns are tools, but you don't LISTEN. I wonder if there's a forum out there about woodworking tools with collectors complaining that their 2019 "Colt" tools are not pristine condition from the factory and that one scratch hurts the resell value, or a japanese sword forum where collectors bitch that their ancient japanese sword worth thousands of dollars was used by owners over the centuries. I know there are knife and sword forums out there with collectors of modern day smiths who pay $500 for a shiny new "colt" knife that they wait a year for then put it on display or in the safe LOL. These jokers buy 10, 15, 30, 100 knives of modern day crafters. They must spend 10 years or more overall of waiting for these knives to be made and sent to them. They treat them like Colts.

Seriously, some collector hobbies go way overboard. I thought sports cards, comics, and action figures were ridiculous, but several years into other areas makes me appreciate when people were just happy to get their hands on somebody's rare rookie card, or find an action figure at retail. Here it's all 'well by golly look at what this fool did 100 years ago, he done rurnt this colt SAA didn't he know it'd be hugely collectable 100 years later????' We take for granted this day and age our law enforcement capabilities. The need for guns were real back in the day, and people did just about everything to and with them to gain an advantage or make a fortune. That's not to say there wasn't the occasional individual who was in love with his guns and treated them like they were made of gold. If it wasn't for the Bubba, we'd still be using stones and sticks. Hell, if it wasn't for the Bubba, there wouldn't be a 1st gen Colt SAA collector's hobby, I'd wager. You'd still be buying 'worthless' 1st gen SAAs in pawn stores for a hundred bucks for old west reenactments or movies. No average joe would care to own one outside of the occasional outlaw or sheriff gun with real history.

The 1st gen SAA is a testament to the need of life saving equipment, to even the playing field in a time when you couldn't just grab your phone from your pocket and dial 911 and the cops were there in under 5 minutes. It's why there is a market at all for those guns, otherwise all of them would be around today as old pieces of crap nobody wants. If not for Bubba you'd still be looking for the 52 mantle for your baseball card collection. You'd be some geezer on a old baseball card forum somewhere fussing at other geezers about how hard it is to find a decent condition Babe Ruth card and how you couldn't afford it if you ever found it. Some thanks is owed to Bubba, and I suggest we give it.
 

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I think Botie makes a few good points.. and I'd like to add this yet, in a bode to bubba ... if it wasn't for the mods, customizations and "bubbafying" of these old Colts by guys just like Elmer & Croft, the late Dick Casull, or John Lachuk's, there also VERY likely wouldn't be today's Blackhawks in existence by their experimenting, no Freedom arms, or ANY other improved sixguns that are capable of what they-are the way we presently know them.

Those old boys may have inflicted the harshest bubba-crafts of all to (namely) Colts, but they too paved the way for incredible advancements in handguns as well. So sure, a few guns were lost in the process but look what's been gained by it too. Those guys yesterday and the ones today still doing it just the same, they're the guys pushing boundaries & opening doors for tomorrow by their work... bubba craft or not. They're the ones utilizing what there is and lying outlines for tomorrow paving the way forward.

I'll go on a limb personally to say more is owed to bubba than he should really be knocked, especially in the bubba form of what the Elmers & other above-mentioned oldtimers ever were.. collector or not, it's hard to argue with what those original bubba-jobs have evolved into since! They were the blueprint test guns to damn near each and every one of todays sixgun advancements! My own hat is off to-them, those guys were innovators.
 

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Exactly! Not all R&D comes from major manufacturers. Much of it comes from individuals. Be they gunsmiths, wildcatters, experimenters, hunters, shooters, competitors or any combination of those. Much of what would be considered development by those individuals would be considered butchery by purist collectors. Two different groups with two very different views of the same thing. With some of us enjoying the vast gray area somewhere in the middle.
 

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Discussion Starter #35 (Edited)
........ The point is that they are ALL rather obvious modifications done for a specific purpose. The OP did not call out slip guns specifically but pretty much any modification as "Bubba-ed".
As the OP I can tell you that was not said by me as I understand not all modifications are bubba-ed ( but that example I posted certainly qualifies in my book).
I am a fan of many guns, but mostly the SAA, the 51 Navy, the 49 Pocket, the 1877 Colt, the 1873 Winchester (owned 10, now down to 1) the 1890 Winchester (owned 8 now down to 2), trapdoor Springfields, and the 23 Savage, and recently got into the older Colt DA's like the Police Positive and the Pocket Positive. I can tell you I pretty much pick up every one of these models I see at gunshows, and I sometimes hit 3 or 4 gunshows a weekend. Take out the SAAs and the Trapdoors, and 95% of what I see is as it left the factory except for condition. Certainly missing/replaced small parts like screws pins, springs, but other than wear and neglect, the gun is still 'there'. As I consider a purchase on these guns my radar is mostly going off on condition factors. Now look at the SAAs. Its the exact opposite. 95% of what I see is has my radar pinging on originality of major parts and often ungainly modifications to them!! On the SAA only!!! Why? Look at the DA thread here, when people post photos of their guns for comment. Its almost always wear issues, very little else. Now look back on photos posted here on the SAA threads....look at the comments...hammers replaced, barrels and cylinders changed out, filed sight grooves, goofy front sights, wrong era replacement parts, etc. Why? Why not on the 51 Navy? Why not on the 73 Winchesters? All from the same era too. Pick any gun up and I say to myself "how is the wear", pick up an SAA and I say to myself "what has someone done to this"? Why is it like this with the SAA only? Victorio alluded to it above and says the 1911 has the same issues.
Then I read this article from 1930 and it shed some light. So I posted it here. Its that simple.
And call it modified if you want, but I call that SAA pictured as bubbad. I dont care if it left the Colt factory that way...thats a bubbad gun in my book. If I owned it, and it wasnt from a historical figure, I would disassemble it, hide it way back in my safe and scour ebay for original parts to put it back to how it should be. If I wrote a dictionary and had to define a bubba'd gun that SAA would be a contender for a picture in it (altho I have seen worse). If it was from a historical figure I would sell it as is so I wouldn't have to look at it. Just my opinion I guess. (Side note:By the time this 1930 article was written wasnt the SAA on the way out as a defensive handgun? Didnt the DA revolver and the 1911 take over by then like the bolt action took over from the lever?)
Also, NOWHERE have I mentioned them not thinking of future collectors value...how anyone read that into my post I have ZERO idea. While I have safe queens, I realize the ultimate use for a guns existence. I gave up looking for a somewhat used Python and broke down and bought fairly pristine one recently...then proceeded to take it out to Wyoming on a 3 week camping/backpacking trip where it was worn on my side constantly. I understand the use of guns and in no way implied that aspect of the bubbaing of guns.
 

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That gun is interesting because it was altered because someone had a use for it. Ok, the work might not be factory quality but it doesn't look like crap either. Easy to swap out the hammer and trigger. But that would be messing with the history of the piece.
 

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No one, including the OP, is arguing against the incredibly obvious assertion that modification begets innovation in the world of weaponry. The discussion at hand centers around a very specific style of modification made to a very specific style of firearm. Namely, the transformation of a, presumably, properly functioning SAA into a “slip gun”. No one here, thus far, has clearly dilineated a path between modifying this platform to negate the use of the trigger thereby allowing for rapid firing capabilities via hammer fanning or thumb “slipping” , and any significant advancement in the arena of single or double action revolvers in the last 90 years. Arguing the efecacy of this method of shooting on the basis that it is a widely practiced technique in the world of CAS, fails to address the historicity and real-world application of the subject at hand. Inarguably, during the era when these revolvers were regularly relied upon as “life saving devices” this practice was not at all common and understandably so. As to the assertion that folks who cherish these guns today as collectible icons fail to reckognize a historical context wherein they were viewed as nothing more than “tools” for survival, also BS. Since it’s public release, a new Colt SAA has set the buyer back the better portion of his or her monthly income. As a man who uses “tools” for a living, I can appreciate the sentiment here, but you’d be hard pressed to find me a ball peen hammer from 1890 that someone had bothered engraving and fitting with a set of MOP handle scabs. The reality is this, firearms, and the men who made a name for themselves using them, have been respected, revered, esteemed and idolized since America began her Westward expansion. Long before Hollywood took up the torch, the “gunman” of the “Wild West” were immortalized in literature the world over, many before their time was even up. Sure, hard men facing hard times did what they had to do to keep these old wheel guns up and running, and often this included some pretty shoddy sh$t as mandated by pure necessity, but this is certainly no indication that these guys didn’t value these guns as much as anything they owned. A couple of mismatched screws, buggered grips and a chopped barrel: character. A Colt SAA utterly deformed by Elmer Keith to better facilitate a style of shooting that is demonstrably inferior to the methods more commonly practiced and has little to no bearing in any sort of historical context...”BUBBA’D”
 

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We've heard all the same rhetoric with the Fitz guns. It was surely implied that 'any' modification would be considered "Bubba'ed". Because the gun in question was built by a gunsmith, not some moron with a hammer, screwdriver and files. And yes, it is my impression that 'some' have a lack of perspective and judge history by present circumstances. I notice my point about cheap surplus guns has been continually ignored. Why assume that everyone who owned an SAA bought it brand new? That there is absolutely a disconnect between shooters and collectors and it is evident here. Not to mention the references to Keith with disdain.

The other thing we have to remember is that these were the first generation of serious revolver shooters. Sure, there were lots of killers in the late 1800's but how much did they really shoot?

It was also touched on that DA's and 1911 's were displacing the SAA and that is absolutely true. Surplus Colt's were cheap and often modified to better fit an individual's needs. Same reason that surplus rifles were often modified or used as the basis of custom guns.

Further, the idea that there are a lot of these guns out there is absurd. I've never even seen a slip gun. King and Christy guns sure but very few and never a slip gun. Whether it appeals to me or YOU or not is irrelevant.
 
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