Elmer Keith's S&W Smith & Wesson Model Pre Model 29 44 Mag Fully Engraved 4" Barrel

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Very fine, showing use by internationally known shooting legend and inventor Elmer Keith. The revolver retains 90% original blue finish with holster and edge type wear. Nearly 97% original case colors remain on the hammer and trigger. The Roper target stocks, made specially for Elmer Keith, are fine with a chip near the top (left panel), otherwise scattered handling marks and crisp checkering overall. The original matching number checkered walnut service grips are included in the box and show overall wear. Mechanically excellent. The box is very good with overall wear and some staining. The holster rig is fine showing flex wear, some minor handling/storage marks and tight stitching overall. This crown jewel of S&W collecting is a must have for the serious S&W collector! This Elmer Keith owned and tested .38/44 Outdoorsman Revolver is a key historical piece to the development of the .357 Magnum cartridge and the resulting "Magnum Era" it created. Provenance: Elmer Keith, Mike Wilkens, Fred Shon, Leyton Yearout and Ray Cheely collection. Offered here is one of the crown jewels in S&W collecting: the well-documented .38/44 Outdoorsman (Pre-War) Revolver used by American shooting legend, author and inventor, Elmer Keith during the development of the .357 Magnum cartridge. According to the accompanying S&W factory letter, this very historic revolver was ordered through S&W vice president of sales, Douglas B. Wesson, on May 10, 1932, for Elmer Keith of Salmon, Idaho, shipped out under the advertising account indicating it was to be used for evaluation, and shipped to Keith on June 3, 1932. Factory records list the revolver with a 6 ½ inch barrel in .38 S&W Special, target sights and blue finish. As stated in the letter by S&W historian Roy Jinks, “It is my opinion that based on some of the hot loads [Elmer Keith] used in this revolver and reported back to Doug Wesson that it helped the factory realize that a more powerful cartridge and revolver could be developed. This along with the work done by Phil Sharpe lead to the development of the famous .357 Magnum revolver in 1935.” Jink’s assertions about its fascinating history are confirmed in the included S&W Historical Foundation letter addressed to Sheryl Cheely and associated documents (copies). These documents include a March 14, 1932, dated letter from Keith to D.B. Wesson discussing his development of a long range sight and his plans to carry out tests with the Outdoorsman using his Keith style bullet that eventually become the .357 Magnum, a March 22, 1932, dated letter from D.B. Wesson to Keith stating he will put one crossbar on the front sight of the Outdoorsman he is sending Keith and responding to other points discussed in Keith’s letter, a note signed by D.B. Wesson ordering the Outdoorsman for Keith (received in the Sales Department on May 10, 1932), and the invoice for the revolver clearly showing shipment to Keith via Armstead, Montana, on June 3, 1932. Other included correspondence (copies) between Wesson and Keith document their close collaboration to develop the .357 Magnum and the revolver chambered for it during in the summer of 1935. Finally, there is a December 21, 1965, signed letter from Elmer Keith attesting that this revolver, which is listed by serial number, was given to him by D.B. Wesson, the revolver “is one of the most accurate six guns I ever owned and I made many long range game kills with it” and “D.W. King fitted the reflector front sight soon after Wesson gave me the gun.” Other documents attest to its provenance. A May 17, 1991, notarized affidavit by Fred Schon confirms the aforementioned history and adds that Keith eventually sold the gun to Idaho game warden Mike Wilkens and Wilkens later sold the gun to Fred Schon. A second notarized affidavit, which is dated March 1, 1996, indicates ownership of the gun passed from Fred Schon to Leyton Yearout and then to dealer Ray Brazille who sold it immediately to Ray Cheely. There are also three photos of Elmer Keith included. The revolver has a King beaded blade front sight on a King reflector ramp base, an adjustable square notch rear sight, fancy checkered Roper grips, and matching serial numbers on the butt, cylinder and ejector shroud. Comes with the original pair of checkered S&W silver medallion checkered walnut service grips, correct blue box, and Keith’s personalized floral tooled double holster rig by Berns-Martin. Keith’s “EK” initials are overlaid in gold on the silver belt buckle. In May 2011, this revolver was awarded the National Rifle Association's Annual Meeting's Silver Medal "10 Best" Arms Award, "one of a maximum of ten certificates awarded each year to arms of outstanding historical value, or beauty, or rarity, selected from displays of the NRA's Affiliated Gun Collector Organizations." The original certificate mounted on a wall plaque is included as well as the NRA Silver Medal. Elmer Keith (1899-1984) was an American shooting legend, inventor and prolific writer. During World War II, Keith was an inspector at the Ogden Arsenal and by the 1950s was a full time writer, serving on the staff of The Outdoorsman, The American Rifleman, Western Sportsman, Guns, and Guns and Ammo. He published several books including “Sixgun Cartridges and Loads,” “Big Game Rifles and Cartridges” and “Hell, I was There.” A copy of "Hell, I was There" is included, and this copy is autographed by Keith with a 1980 dated salutation to his "good friend" famed OSS agent and close-quarters combat instructor Colonel Rex Applegate. In 1934, Douglas Wesson of Smith & Wesson teamed up with Phil Sharpe and Keith to develop a new cartridge to compete with Colt's .38 Super Automatic. Taking full advantage of stronger revolver frames available by the 1920s, such as this Outdoorsman, Keith was instrumental in handloading a .38 Special cartridge far beyond its accepted limits. The result was the .357 Magnum, which was first introduced on the S&W Registered .357 Magnum Revolver, the most powerful handgun at the time. The high velocity cartridge quickly became a favorite caliber for law enforcement and a new breed of big game handgun hunters. The .357 is generally credited for starting the "Magnum Era," a period of time when larger calibers dominated the firearms market. In fact, Roy Jinks credited Keith as "the father of big bore handgunning." Keith went on to develop the .44 Magnum and .41 Magnum. Comes with a copy of "D.B. Wesson's Scrapbook."

Categories: Revolvers
Condition: New
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: Pre Model 29
Caliber: 44 Mag
Vendor: Gunprime
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