The Dream of Holding “Thunder and Lightning” in Your Hands!
Someone recently was speaking about the ‘best of the best’ when it came to rifles. In fact, they described the rifle as ‘the finest ever made.’ This weapon is one made for celebrities, monarchs and wealthy enthusiasts who have each put out over eight-hundred-thousand dollars so they could claim one for their very own. You are talking luxury, sophistication, and opulence that usually comes along with a diamond or a Rolls Royce. But the hunting ‘realm’ is certainly keeping pace with the rest of the elite manufacturers out there by producing certain products that are ‘out of this world’ stunning.
This particular rifle is the VO Falcon Edition which is a true tribute to the Arabian sport of falconry. But, when you think about weapons – guns, rifles, etc. – there are even more intriguing pieces in the world that many – hunter or not – would spend millions to get their hands on. The reason they would be expensive has absolutely nothing to do with a walnut, handcrafted barrel or having the most innovative technology of the 21st Century. In fact, the reason for their opulent price simply comes from the ‘hands’ that these guns once rested in; hands that belonged to some of the most legendary figures in the world.
When people think of the .45 Peacemaker, there is one very serious ‘face’ that comes to mind. General George Patton, one of the most recognizable figures in U.S. military history, was know for his two ivory-gripped six-shooters; weapons that actually created the nickname ‘Old Blood and Guts.’ On one hip, Patton carried a Smith and Wesson .357, but that Colt .45 resting on the other hip made the Colt Peacemaker the weapon everyone wanted…and still does.
The Peacemaker was not the only famous gun that Colt supplied to the history books. It was Wild Bill Hickok that carried the Colt 1851 Navy. This legendary lawman, gambler and gunfighter carried a pair of the silver-plated revolvers with ivory handles as he walked the American West. He went down in history for many things, as well as allegedly starting one of the first ever recorded quick-draw gunfights that made it to the silver screen (again, and again, and again.)
You wish to hear about a more ‘gentler, creative’ soul? Not a problem at all. The famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, actually wrote about his favorite rifle which was the 1903 Springfield. This was the rifle that became immortalized in print in the ‘Green Hills of Africa’ as Hemingway used it on his African safari. For any collector who had the money (and the ability to get it), this rifle is the one Hemingway used to bring down the King of the Jungle.
Who could talk about legendary guns without mentioning the well-known name of Jesse James. Yes, just like Patton (but before him), Jesse made the Colt .45 Peacemaker famous as he and his brother worked as Confederate guerrillas during the Civil War. Accused of taking part in horrors committed against Union soldiers, it was after that when the James’ boys actually became beloved. From robbing banks to trains, Jesse James was not exactly the nicest of men, even though Hollywood has attempted to make him into an old-time Robin Hood. But whether or not he was giving money to the poor and downtrodden, it was the Colt Peacemaker – one of the more powerful six-shooters of its time – that actually became a star. Unfortunately…a .44 Smith and Wesson made the owner of that Peacemaker fall for good.
Doc Holliday, one of everyone’s favorite ‘characters’ from the Old West because of his humor and his skill with the cards, carried more than one interesting gun with him during his lifetime. The Colt .41 Thunderer and .38 Lightning were the choices of this dentist turned gambler and gunfighter who rode by the side of his best friend, Wyatt Earp. Not to mention these guns helped the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral go well – for their side, of course.
The Thunderer and Lighting weapons – each nickel-plated six-shooters – were part of the mystique surrounding Doc who has gone on to be part of countless books, as well as movies and television series. With these guns, he earned the reputation of being the deadliest marksman ever to live. Even his famous friend, Earp, reported that with those weapons; “Doc was the most nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun that I ever knew.”
From outlaws to politicians (is there really any difference?), we move to the Colt M1895 that Teddy Roosevelt made his own. Although Roosevelt will be known for his famous big-game hunting, he was actually a Rough Rider in the Spanish American War. Being a lauded member of the 1st ever United Sates Volunteer Cavalry, Roosevelt introduced his marksmanship skills during the battle of San Juan Hill with that .38 caliber Colt M1895.
Unfortunately for all the gun enthusiasts out there, this is one six-shooter that will most likely never be placed on the open market. In fact, it is now on display at Sagamore Hill in Long Island. (Although, it was stolen twice, so apparently there is an enthusiast out there who does not wish to wait for the marketplace to acquire it.)
Roosevelt’s Winchester Model 1895 was his well-known choice when it came to his legendary big-game hunt. During his now famous African safari, Winchester actually gave Teddy and his son four 1895’s, one in .30-40 and three in .405. The .405 was the one Teddy favored and actually referred to as the gun that spread his “big medicine.”
And last, but certainly not least, was the Colt SAA which was carried by a ‘team’ that have become the biggest legends that ever walked the earth. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid both carried the exact same Colt at different times. Known for being the leaders of the Wild Bunch, which robbed banks from Wyoming to New Mexico, this ‘team’ is the one that comes to everyone’s mind the second ‘outlaws’ are even mentioned.
Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh joined forces and became notorious in the Old West. But after pursuing a career in crime, the pressure of trying to stay one step ahead of the law finally made them exhausted, and they left the U.S. to find more fortune but less fame in Bolivia. What they found, of course, was death – killed in a shootout November 6th 1908.
Butch Cassidy’s Colt CAA had a nickel finish and eventually had an “S” engraved on the butt when he turned it over to Sundance – the real marksman of the team.
See? When it comes to weaponry it can be just as exciting as any other item…with one exception. If it’s a choice between a Rolls Royce and being able to hold the “Thunder and Lightning” that Doc Holliday used in Tombstone – you can keep the car!