How would you like to go to a gun show with me without getting out of your comfortable seat? In recent months, there have been some colorful and informative volumes published on some of the American arms-collecting fans’ most coveted guns. Here, I’d like to share a few of these works with you, so read on and enjoy the “show.”
A book many Old West gun buffs have been anticipating is now available. Titled Sharps Firearms, Early Metallic Cartridge Firearms and Model 1874 Sporting Rifles (Northwood Heritage Press, $99.95 postpaid), this study is devoted to the development, production, sales and use of Sharps rifles of the metallic cartridge-era from the post-Civil War years through the time of the great buffalo hunts. After more than five years of exhaustive research, and compiling over 55 years of intense studies by a number of firearms historians and collectors, noted authors Roy Marcot, Ron Paxton, DeWitt Bailey II and Richard Labowski, M.D., have completed Volume II—the first of a planned four-volume set. With over 250 Sharps rifles shown in full color, along with around 80-plus period photographs, advertising broadsides and other related artwork, this well-written and beautifully photographed tome contains a wealth of information on these famous frontier rifles. Starting with the early development of Sharps metallic cartridge arms, the book goes on to look at the models 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870 Government Trials Sharps, and the legendary 1874 Sporting and Military rifles and carbines.
There are chapters devoted to buffalo-hunting on the frontier, showing known buffalo guns, coupled with about 160 overview biographies on the hunters who used them. This handsome 10¼ by 12¼-inch hardcover work is a definite must for any Sharps or buffalo-hunting enthusiast. As they used to say on the buffalo range, “It’s a daisy!” Available from one of the authors at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colt collectors will relish Robert M. Jordan’s newest book, Colt 1851 and 1861 Navies & Conversions (self-published, $270 postpaid). This volume makes a perfect companion to Jordan’s earlier work, Colt’s Pocket ’49, Its Evolution Including the Baby Dragoon & Wells Fargo. With over eight years of diligent research for 1851 and 1861 Navies & Conversions, author Jordan traveled abroad, attended numerous gun shows, visited the Hartford Museums, studied Colt’s factory shipping records, visited with over 225 collectors, authors, dealers and other sources for information—and to inspect Navies. He not only updated much of the previously known information on Colt’s second best-selling percussion revolver, he’s also added new knowledge to the study of these highly collectible revolvers. Written in a straightforward, clear manner, the text is greatly enhanced with nearly 900 color firearms photos, along with numerous period images, woodcuts and other related illustrations. Admittedly, the book is expensive, but if you are a devoted Colt Navy revolver student, you should have this 363-page, 8¾ by 11¼-inch hardcover volume. It’s available from the author at: email@example.com.
Mowbray Publishing, which has produced myriad books on firearms and edged weapons, has released an alphabetically arranged catalog of the identified inspectors’ marks found on U.S. military arms from 1795-1953. U.S. Military Arms Inspector Marks (Mowbray, $54.49 postpaid), by Anthony C. Daum and Charles W. Pate, is certain to be of great value to anyone who collects American martial arms. This work provides a vital tool in identifying the origins of our military firearms and edged weapons, determining when they were made, along with whether they were manufactured at armories or by contractors. As an added aid, the volume also shows the inspector’s stamp or cartouche, while listing what they inspected, and provides detailed biographies of the inspectors them-selves. This 240-page, hardcover, 8 ½ by 11-inch work should prove to be of untold value to martial arms collectors. It is available through the publisher at: Orders@ManatArmsBooks.com.
Phil Spangenberger has written for Guns & Ammo, appears on the History Channel and other documentary networks, produces Wild West shows, is a Hollywood gun coach and character actor, and is True West’s Firearms Editor.