Was there ever such a thing as a Buntline Special (12-inch barrel Colt)? If so, do any exist? In this country, they seem to exist only in men’s minds.

Was there ever such a thing as a Buntline Special (12-inch barrel Colt)? If so, do any exist? In this country, they seem to exist only in men’s minds.

B. Bonnes
London, England

They sure did exist. The Colt company just didn’t call them “Buntline Specials” until 1957. The name was probably coined by Stuart Lake in his 1931 book,

Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal.

Colt also supplied 10-inch and 16-inch barrels by special order, and shipped six of these prior to 1880. Two were .44s with 10-inch barrels and four were .45s with 16-inch barrels. In 1880, five more 16-inch barrels were shipped to Kansas by special order. Reportedly, Buckskin Frank Leslie of Tombstone ordered a 12-inch Peacemaker on January 14, 1881.

With a shoulder stock attached, these long-barrel pistols were effective long-range “brush poppers.”

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.