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Earpologist Jeff Morey, tech. advisor for Tombstone went through writer Stuart Lake's old documents and found a few copies of letters where Stuart asked various Earp friends if they might know the whereabouts of his extra long barreled Colt SAA. The barrel was quoted as 10" but Stuart changed it to 12" for his book Frontier Marshal. So, it appears Lake didn't invent the gun. Maybe Earp did, though. But if the gun existed it could very well have been the OK corral gun. A witness at the Earp's trial, the owner of the Bauer meat market a couple doors down from the gunfight site said Earp had a gun that looked "about 14-16 inches long". According to Morey a SAA with a 10" barrel is exactly 15" long. The S&W American Earp "might" have owned is in the Autry museum, but they won't say it was an Earp gun for sure.
What all this comes to is, we'll never know what he used. One thing. The Earps did not wear holsters. I think testimony had Virgil Earp putting his gun back in his wasteband after told the "cowboys" were disarmed right before the fight. Here's the Buntline article I got this stuff from...

Wyatt Earp's Buntline Special - Tombstone History Archives
If Earp did carry a 10" barreled revolver without a holster, maybe that's where Mae West came up with "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?"
 

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Everything I have read suggests that Wyatt Earp used a Smith & Wesson NM No 3. One is pictured below. It was shipped April of 1893. It is in Target configuration. Wyatt's probably was not.

Hollywood is in love with the SAA revolver. Hence, it would be the most probable choice for any modern western movie, and always has been since the advent of cinema. Had the first Hollywood actors and producers selected the NM No 3 in some of the early movies, perhaps the NM No 3 would be iconic, and not the SAA.

Obviously, I like the SAA. But, dare I say it on this forum, but...the NM No 3 might actually be the superior firearm. Incredible workmanship, and...most importantly...easier/quicker to load and unload.


Firearm Gun Trigger Revolver Gun accessory
Firearm Gun Trigger Revolver Gun accessory
 

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And, one more thing. A student and collector of SAA revolvers should have a few examples of the major competitors firearms in their collection...at least for comparison. Every SAA collector deserves a representative example of a NM No 3 in their collection.
 

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Everything I have read suggests that Wyatt Earp used a Smith & Wesson NM No 3. One is pictured below. It was shipped April of 1893. It is in Target configuration. Wyatt's probably was not.

Hollywood is in love with the SAA revolver. Hence, it would be the most probable choice for any modern western movie, and always has been since the advent of cinema. Had the first Hollywood actors and producers selected the NM No 3 in some of the early movies, perhaps the NM No 3 would be iconic, and not the SAA.

Obviously, I like the SAA. But, dare I say it on this forum, but...the NM No 3 might actually be the superior firearm. Incredible workmanship, and...most importantly...easier/quicker to load and unload.


View attachment 339610 View attachment 339618
I would have been very content packing a NM 3 in those days. And an American, too, which looks awkward but isn't. But the Russian Model, not so much. I've gone through two NM 3s until finally getting this Target Model converted to .22. This is one gracefull chunck of machinery that ain't going nowhere. Shoots good, too.



 

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And, one more thing. A student and collector of SAA revolvers should have a few examples of the major competitors firearms in their collection...at least for comparison. Every SAA collector deserves a representative example of a NM No 3 in their collection.
You're correct. I have many No. 3's and Remingtons. The Peacemaker is my favorite out of the 3 but i like the competetors too. Any old west gun has a home with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 · (Edited)
When I was taking with Jim the other day, he did admit that he might have been there, but not to tell anyone. He did say they he had Wyatt's SAA, and by gosh I believe him. LOL

This has stirred up quite the conversation I hope everyone is having fun!

Why don't y'all ask Jim Martin ? He was there...:D
 

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If there's a court transcript of the Earp brothers/Holiday trial after the gunfight, the weapons used very well may be in it. I leafed through a book our local historical society has for sale about a bank robbery from 1901 in which a teller was killed and both robbers hanged. It has the transcript of the trial and I remember reading one robber used a .38RF revolver, (I'm sure all guns involved are listed in the court transcript). I'm going to get the book and read it as it's a fascinating part of local history, Halifax, PA bank robbery of 1901. Maybe the transcript of the Earp trial exists somewhere and would uncover the "mystery".

I remember reading that Wyatt did not talk about the gunfight much and wished it hadn't happened as he considered it to have affected his life in a very negative way.
 

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That's true, the OK fight was not a good thing for the Earps, considering one of his brothers was revenge killed, and another crippled for life, and they all had to leave town or get murdered.
 

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Newspapers in the East and West picked up the stories. Two opposing newspapers in Tombstone kept everyone else informed of what was going on. Wyatt Earp also couldn't understand why people made such a big deal about it.

"In 1881, as postmaster and mayor of Tombstone, as well as the editor and publisher of the Epitaph, Clum ventured farther into politics with a self-proclaimed goal of ridding the town of corruption while creating peace and wealth for its citizens. One of his first orders of business was addressing what he called "the county ring," a group of crooked officials and local ranchers who Clum claimed were allied with outlaw elements. This alleged alliance served to fracture the town of Tombstone, resulting in the formation of two opposing camps. On the one side were Clum, the Epitaph, local Republicans, mining interests, and the Earp brothers. On the other were the rival Weekly Nugget [LCCN: sn94052355], local Democrats, ranching interests, and several so-called "cowboys"-men who were not exactly law-abiding citizens. The infamous October 1881 shootout between the Earps, Doc Holliday, and the Clanton and McLaury brothers at the O.K. Corral, as well as Clum's coverage of this event in the Epitaph, is a testament to the extreme political division among Tombstone's citizens at that time."
 

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Maybe they will display with Doc Holliday's derringer in Colorado? I remember reading that after Bat Masterson became New York sports writer he kept an number of pawn shop refugees in a desk drawer, ready for anyone who might desire a gun "owned" by a famous gunfighter.
Like the old joke goes, the most valuable pistol in New Mexico is the one that Billy the Kid didn't own! ;)
 

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My 2cents

The spicer hearing transcripts exist and Wyatt testified that after encountering Behan who told the Earps he had disarmed the Clanton/McLowery’s that he (Wyatt) placed his pistol that was in his hand in his coat pocket...IMO whatever pistol he had (Colt smith Wesson Merwin Hulbert, Remington) had a standard barrel length for that time which was typically 7-1/2” ... I see no practical advantage in Earp carrying a 10-12” barreled revolver... in fact it would be a disadvantage.... The spicer hearing transcripts do document the serial numbers of both Frank Mclowry and Billy Clinton’s pistols... both appear to have been Colt frontier six shooters 44-40 with 7-1/2” barrels from their serial numbers ( I don’t believe those guns are in anyone’s collections

The long barrel claim is a myth invented by a writer just like Hollywood later invented the myth that the Cochise county cowboy gang all wore red sash’s ... this is also totally made up, yet I see reenactors wearing a red sash on the street of Tombstone frequently.
 

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This is a pretty old thread, so I hope further posting in it isn’t an issue.

The most compelling evidence IMO for the “Buntline” are the letters that Stuart Lake wrote trying to find it or information about it. He would have to be a first class hoaxer to do that, especially since he never produced the revolver.

I recall reading that Buckskin Frank Leslie had a 10” SAA while living in Tombstone. I don’t recall if Leslie had his Colt before or after Earp was there. But that gun could be the source of the myth, even if only seeing it inspired Earp to add some color to his reminiscences.
 

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Old posts are fun when brought up compared to using the search . Iv'e never read about any firearms when Wyatt Earp on first try north stayed in Fort Wrangel ( heading south ) now spelled out Wrangell ( a short 100 miles from me ). He was reported to be a temporary marshal for 10 days . I would think he took his favorites with him .
 

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About 10 years ago, plus or minus, I was at a close family friends get together and chatted up things with a gent I met there about all things Alaska, outdoors, flying, guns and more. Turns out he's quite the accomplished pilot. Also turned out he's an actual Earp. Was pretty cool to think I was having a drink and chatting with a direct lineage Earp. And no, he didn't happen to own any guns used by his ancestors. Bummer.
 
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