Page 302 - 4090-BOOK2
P. 302

LOT 1410
Well-Documented Elmer Keith’s Inscribed Factory Engraved Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with Highly Desirable Raised Relief Steer Head Carved Grip Identified as Originally Owned by
Confederate Major R.E. Stratton and Used by Him in the Civil War and the Old West - Serial no. 90592, 36 cal., 7 1/2 inch octagon bbl., blue/casehardened/silver finish, antique ivory grips. This incredible revolver belonged to none other than the legendary
American sixgunner Elmer Keith (1899-1984) and has his name lightly inscribed along the top of the barrel. In his books, Keith notes that his first sixgun was a Colt Model
1851 Navy revolver, and he talked about using it to hunt and also indicates the revolver was originally one from a pair owned by Confederate Major R.E. Stratton of the 1st Texas Regiment during the Civil War. Stratton noted that the Model 1851 Navy was a real man killer, especially with a full powder charge under a pure lead ball. Thus, the obsolete .36 caliber Colt Navy was integral in the story of one of the most famous and most influential men in American firearms history, Elmer Keith, the man who developed the powerful and ever popular .357 Magnum, the .44 Magnum, and the .41 Magnum along with new bullet designs. Keith is also one of the most influential figures in American handgun hunting, a true American firearms legend.
Keith grew up in Hardin, Missouri, just east of Kansas City, among veterans of the Civil War and moved to Montana among the old western gunfighters when still a boy. By the mid- 1920s, he had already started as a gun writer and continued on writing into the 1980s. In the foreword to his classic book “Sixguns,” legendary American rancher and sixgunner Elmer Keith writes, “Over half a century has passed since I cut my teeth on an old .36 Navy Colt. For 40 years I have almost never been out of each reach of a good sixgun. Thirty years I spent
in the saddle, packing, punching cows and breaking saddle broncs. The sixgun was worn just as regular as my pants and many times was much more important to my existence. It pulled me out of several tight scrapes with wild horses, wilder cattle and some big game.” Later in the book he writes, “My old friend Maj. R.E. Stratton, now gone to his reward, carried
a beautiful pair of full engraved and carved ivory stocked 1851 model .36 Navy Colts through the Civil War where he served with the first Texas regiment with Lee in Virginia and elsewhere. Later he carried them for nine years of ranger service down along the Pecos, and
later over much of the west. I bought one of them from him and when I asked him what became of the mate to it, he wrote that he lost it, along with his left arm in a gun fight in Cheyenne, Wyoming and that I might possibly find it in or around Cheyenne somewhere. He said the gun I now have had probably seen more service as a man killer than any Colt
in existence.” He also noted that Stratton indicated that the round ball was a better man stopper than the conical bullet, but he also noted the conical was better for foraging and shooting cattle as greater penetration was needed. He also notes that “For its size and weight nothing is so deadly as the round ball of pure lead when driven at fairly good velocity...Both Major R.E. Stratton and Samuel H. Fletcher told me the .36 Navy with full loads was a far better man killer than any .38 Special they had ever seen used in gun fights.” The revolver is shown second from the top on page 9 of “Sixguns by Keith.” In “Hell, I was there!” Keith writes that his first revolver was a .36 Navy and that “I’d killed a lot of rabbits and grouse with it.” He later picked up a .32-20 Colt Single Action Army. This revolver was identified as the revolver Keith got from Stratton when it was on display at the Elmer Keith Museum in the Cabela’s store in Boise, Idaho, and is shown in the Handloader Magazine article “Elmer Keith Museum: Tribute to a Legend.”

   300   301   302   303   304