(WY) Longmont man restores guns that tamed the West


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Drizzt
April 29, 2003, 02:04 AM
Longmont man restores guns that tamed the West


By JOE SOUTHERN

The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - There's a Wild West story behind the old gun Darrell Peters holds in his hand.

''My father's uncle used to own this,'' he said of the black Colt .45. ''He was a saddlemaker by trade.''

One day the uncle discovered some of his harnesses missing and later found them on draft horses at the county fair, Peters said. When he tried to retrieve them, a few men popped him with their .22s.

''He responded with this .45 and sent a couple of them to meet their maker,'' Peters said. The uncle made it back to his homestead but died while unhitching his horses.

Peters urges visitors to look at the dirty piece of paper rolled up in the gun's sixth chamber. The story he just told, the paper says, is cow manure.

He chuckled softly.

Peters, a burly grandfather with a quiet demeanor and a dry wit, has spent much of his retirement restoring Peacemakers. The revolvers are often associated with gun-slinging cowboys of the West.

''He's had (the hobby) for years,'' said his wife, Lyn. ''We've only been married for 14 years, so he's had this hobby longer than he's had me.''

''She's still No. 1,'' he responded, fast on the draw.

Peters displayed several of the six-shooters on his dining room table, each shining like new. Half of them were Colts from the 1950s. The rest were Rugers from the same era. All were refurbished by hand or pieced together from spare parts.

He deals mostly with second-generation Colts and Rugers, those made between 1956 and 1972. He's had some first-generation guns, made between 1871 to 1940, but none older than 1907.

''Sometimes, when I get these, I get them in boxes. People have gotten them apart and can't get the parts together again or they've lost parts or something,'' he said.

If Peters can't get the parts, he makes them in his basement shop. He has a lathe and other equipment to build gun parts to exact specifications. He turned one of his Colt .45s into a Colt .44 Special.

When he's not working on his guns, Peters keeps them locked in a safe. He doesn't attend many gun shows and only occasionally will enter a fast-draw shooting competition. He is very reserved about his craft.

''He has a lot of respect for them as far as safety is concerned. They're always locked up,'' Lyn Peters said. She doesn't share her husband's hobby but knew he was into restoring guns long before they married.

''I know how to use one if, God forbid, I ever need one,'' she said.

After she left the room, her husband revealed her modesty. ''Lyn shot second in the nation in North Dakota in 1999 in her division,'' Darrell Peters said.

He is also modest about his ability with a six-shooter. He said the best he has done is win his division in the Wyoming state championships in 1998. His wife said the only person who beats him regularly is an old Marine buddy.

Peters said he has been fascinated with Peacemakers since he was a boy.

''I grew up with B-Westerns and Westerns on TV like Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger,'' he said. ''I watched them, and the good guys always won. That's what fascinated me about them.''

Maybe that's what inspired the stories he tells about his own guns.

http://www.trib.com/AP/wire_detail.php?wire_num=98812

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4v50 Gary
April 29, 2003, 05:56 PM
She's still No. 1

Talk about fast recovery and saving his hide. :D

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