Moviegoers of 1950 enjoyed a motion picture with a unique plot twist. Rather than a tale of the trials and tribulations of a hero, we were treated to the travels and transfers of a gun. A big-budget Western starring Jimmy Stewart leading a large cast of well-known actors, “Winchester ’73” treated the gun as though it were a character. Its behavior (accuracy) established in the opening scene, succeeding scenes showed the gun used and misused, bought and sold, as it moved from owner to owner. An interesting story and well told, the film was fictional—the gun was not.
Going on 40 years ago, I blundered my way into my first job in the gunwriting business. It was a function of pure, dumb luck on my part and for that, I am eternally thankful. Among the many blessings of this luck were the great people I met and the range of new experiences. Such new people included the late Chuck Karwan, my fellow Vietnam vet and as good a friend as I could possibly want.
At the mid-point of the 19th century, the world of firearms was changing fast. The main service rifle was still a cumbersome single-shot of .69 caliber. It worked on cap, ball and powder, delivered a massive blow and produced clouds of smoke. True, it got the job done.