Skeeter Skelton


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Moondancer
January 20, 2003, 11:59 AM
In the same vein as the thread on Massad Ayoob, who here reads / read Skeeter Skelton?

For sheer enjoyment, I have yet to find any gun writer that I think is as good. There's a lot that I like, but Skeeter could go anywhere from dead serious to comedy and handle them both with aplomb.

A long time ago I had a magazine issue put out by Guns and Ammo IIRC that was 100% Skeeter. I darn near wore it out and then lost it in a divorce. Darn, I miss that magazine!:D

The "Me and Joe" stories always brought a smile. I've never visited Texas, but there were a lot of things I could relate to growing up on a South Michigan farm in the Fifties.

His LE writings also gave me food for thought. It was partly due to his writing that I decided to try LE via the Reserve Deputy program in the county. While I eventually decided that I wouldn't care for it full-time, I liked it enough to put in 12 years as an unpaid Reserve.

Anybody else out there enjoy his writings?

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Jim V
January 20, 2003, 12:19 PM
Skeet wrote for Shooting Times not G&A. I have the magazine you are talking about around here some place. I have both his books that get re-read every so often.

He was a lawman for a different era and we'll never see the like again.

444
January 20, 2003, 12:24 PM
Sure, I loved reading Skeeter Skelton. I have his books. I believe he wrote two and then his wife came out with a book after his passing. I have them all. I picked up a magazine in the store the other day. It is put out by Hodgdon and is sort of half magazine, half reloading data. It has a couple classic Skeeter articles in it.

Moondancer
January 20, 2003, 12:28 PM
Jim V.,

You are absolutely right, it was Shooting Times, not Guns and Ammo.

ST had Skeeter, G&A had Cooper.

Wil Terry
January 20, 2003, 01:19 PM
Mark Twain of gun writers. I too still get out his books for a good read on a cold snowy day. I never knew the man himself but have been friends with his son Bart for many years now.
Do you remember " A NEW COLT FOR A YOUNG BUCK" about 30 years ago in SHOOTING TIMES ? Some years ago Bart brought that COLT to the Holiday just so I could shoot it...still chokes me up thinking about it after all these years.

Hkmp5sd
January 20, 2003, 01:26 PM
Skeeter Skelton was the only reason I used to subscribe to Shooting Times.

J Miller
January 20, 2003, 01:41 PM
Skeeter Skelton was my all time favorite gun writer. When he died, I couldn't find anything other than Bill Jordan's articles to read in Shooting Times.
And since then I have bought very few issues of the magazine.
I have his book Skeeter Skelton on Handguns, and would love to find the other ones.

Does any body know what happened to that ivory gripped Colt NF .44 Special with the 4 3/4" barrel he seemed to have for such a long time? I've always wondered this.

Jim V
January 20, 2003, 02:25 PM
After Skeeter died his family had to sell most of his guns to help pay for his medical bills. The guns he had are scattered wide and far by now, at least most of them. I believe that Bart still has a few of them. BTW, Bart looks like he may shape up to ge a fair writer too.

s&w 24
January 20, 2003, 02:30 PM
He was a fine writer. I'm still lusting after a 5" 27 based on his writings when he had a series about if you could only have one gun. Between him and Elmer Kieth they got me hooked on44 special as well.

ahenry
January 20, 2003, 04:29 PM
Skeeter Skelton was one of my “gun” heroes. His writing was superb and the stories he told were only topped by those of Bill Jordan (although I think Skeeter wrote about them better), and the lessons he imparted were second to none. I have heard his son is a fine writer as well, but I don’t believe I have ever read anything by him other than a eulogy of his father.

cheygriz
January 20, 2003, 04:35 PM
For entertainment and enjoyment Skeeter had no equal, although Elmer Kieth came close.

For correct technical information, IMHO, Ross Seyfried has no equal, with Venturino a distant second.

The rest of them, Pearce, Taffin, Clapp, Milek, Cooper etc, IMHO, just sling outrageous B.S.

mrstang01
January 20, 2003, 04:44 PM
cheygriz,

I must object to your lumping John Taffin in with the rest of the gun writing bs slingers. I'm proud to say I'm also a member of sixgunner.com, and Big John posts there frequently. He's a low BS kind of guy, tells it like it is, and doesn't sugar coat it. Our own Terry Murbach will probably bounce in here with a reply if he sees this thread, but I have to take up for my Internet amigo.

Michael

Butch
January 20, 2003, 04:55 PM
I never knew Skeeter, but I live just 60 miles from where he grew up & I grew up here at the same time he was growing up. I lived most of his stories ,that he told about Me & Joe. They were all true & I wish he had lived to tell more because the life of a boy in this part of the world at that time was so rich , even when you were poor.
I have his books & read them often. The last two were done from magizene articles ,by the editors of shooting times to help pay his med bills.
Skeeter Skelton & Bill Jordan , Two giants in the gun writing arena , Don't think we will ever see the like , again.:(

Archie
January 20, 2003, 05:18 PM
Skeeter was probably the widest of the handgun writers. He knew about hunting and target shooting and self defense from both a military and lawman standpoint.
And, as mentioned, he was good with words.
Saxon Pig made a good point; his stories and observations are probably not those to sell modern gun magazines. But he was a real man in a man's world.

I'd like to disagree with some of you: We will see his like again, but it won't be until things get lots worse and we have to clean up the place.

Standing Wolf
January 20, 2003, 06:00 PM
He was a pretty good gun writer and a top notch humorist.

NewShooter78
January 20, 2003, 06:10 PM
Are there any of his older pieces posted online? I'm somewhat new to the shooting world and I'm not up on the zines that are out there or most writers. Since all of you are singing his praise I wouldn't mind being able to check out some of his writings online if they are available.

MountainPeak
January 20, 2003, 06:18 PM
I have a friend that collects "Skeeter stuff". Thanks to my friend, I know he was one of the all time greats!!

Drue
January 20, 2003, 06:52 PM
Skeeter was great! We all know prototype Jug Johnsons. I would sure like to meet Dobe Grant. Unlike most of the writers, he was not always reviewing (pitching) the latest and greatest but he was a subtle and effective salesman. His articles caused to to buy my first Colt SAA. Then there was the 5" 27. Then there was. . . Oh Oh, gotta go now. The furnace is up to temperature and I have to go cast .44 spl slugs.

Drue

Dave T
January 20, 2003, 07:08 PM
Skeeter Skelton was the only reason I used to subscribe to Shooting Times.

Dotto that one for me too. And I haven't enjoyed a magazine subscription as much since.

I was fortunate enough to meet him twice. Once here in Tucson when he was a guest attraction at a local gunshop (Jensen's Custom Ammo) and again at the home friend of mine who was also a friend of his (this was in Silver City, NM).

My friend was the man who got me intrested in LE. Skeeter Skelton got me interested in 44 Specials. He was also responsible for my first duty weapon. My department wouldn't allow the 5" Model 27 he favored or allow my second choice, a 3.5" 27 (you know how bureaucrats can be) so to comply with department regs I ended up with a 4" Model 28, when most of my class chose the Model 19 instead.

I also developed a love for Flattop Rugers thanks to Skelton. He is still missed.

oscar
January 20, 2003, 07:24 PM
I have a safe full of guns and Skeeter is to blame. I started reading him right after he started with ST. I read his articles and looked at the pictures of those guns and just deamed and hoped. I do now have just about every gun Skeeter told me about. My first Smith was a 6 inch nickel 57 cause Skeeter liked the 41 and he did have a nickel 29. I have a BHP, a 4 inch 27, a 25 in 45 Colt, a nickel snub 19, a nickel 29, Gold Cup, SAA (clone) etc. I wish that I could write Skeeter and thank him for all the guns he "gave" me. I bid one one of this guns when he died, but I didnt win. I did get a very nice note from his wife thanking me for bidding. A couple of months ago or so, Skeeter came up on the Smith forum and several of us wrote nice things. Last week I got a email from his son, thanking me. Bart is a fine writer in his own right.

Prodigalshooter
January 20, 2003, 07:30 PM
Yeah, I liked his style too. He did have a knack with the language and taught me a lot through his articles. I wish I'd kept all the old copies I used to have, but they disappeared during one of our moves some years back. Good storytellers are very rare, we'll have to wait awhile to see another like him in a gun magazine.

444
January 20, 2003, 08:26 PM
"she must still be selling some of his guns. I am sure he had quite a few."

How about that hidden gun vault that Dobe Grant had with handguns hanging on the walls from floor to ceiling and the mint condition 1928 Thompson which Dobe was allowed to own because he was a special deputy.
You gotta believe Dobe Grant was patterned after someone Skeeter knew.

I started reading Skeeter when I was about 10-12 years old. Now thirty years later, I bet my mother would instantly recognize the name of Skeeter because I talked about him all the time as a kid. I remember talking her into reading some of his stuff because it was too good to pass up.


http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=%22Skeeter+Skelton%22

tex_n_cal
January 21, 2003, 12:34 AM
I look over now and see a copy of "Skeeter Skelton on Handguns" a compilation of articles by Skeet. I used it to answer a question about Colt DA revolvers a few weeks ago.

I too grew up reading SS' s articles, and they are still enjoyable today. The man lived an interesting and honorable life, served the public, had his good times, and wrote well of it.

"...I got enough cash to last me. I got too many cows, and maybe too many guns. The guns are more fun than the cows, so I'm cutting the mama bunch in half, and I'm going to buy one of every new gun that comes out...."

(from The Legend of Dobe Grant 1980)

:D

I still seek that 5.5" New Frontier Colt in .44 Special, that Skeet praised so highly.:(

But I did recently acquire a 5" M27. I think Sheriff Skelton would approve:)

Prodigalshooter
January 21, 2003, 12:49 AM
NICE Smith, Tex!:cool:
Skeeter would approve.

Lone Star
January 21, 2003, 07:40 AM
Skeeter was to handgunners what Jack O'Connor was to riflemen: a drolly witty scribe who gave enough technical detail to satisfy most readers, without seeming pompous in the process. He evoked the flavor of the Southwest, and his writing ran the gamut from game shooting (within reason) to defensive shooting on a realistic level, not as a competitive sport involving "raceguns". He didn't write mainly to "service the advertisers", although he made it pretty clear who his friends were in the industry. Bill Ruger owed him more than Mr. Ruger may have fully realized.

Jim Wilson tries, but he isn't Skeeter, in my opinion. He IS one of the best of the current crop of gun writers, and comes from the same area, and had some of the same experiences as Skeeter did.

Most gun writing today is a commercial wasteland. Keith had to be heavily edited, but he usually didn't write something unless he believed it to be true. He had generally tried it, too. He was scathing in his remarks about quality control in a speech at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas a few years before his stroke. He went overboard on heavy calibers in some contexts, and I think he disparaged the .270 in print largely out of jealousy for the much better educated, more literate Jack O'Connor. But Elmer was the real article. I enjoyed talking with him, and he wasn't one of the puffed-up toads that some other writers have been, while having done less than Elmer.

I talked with Skeeter Skelton only once, I believe, at the SHOT show. He was friendly and informal and seemed to enjoy our conversation, although he had trouble swallowing due to a throat obstruction. I believe it was during surgery for this that he later developed the complications that killed him.

He and O'Connor both wanted to be successful novelists, but excelled instead as gun writers. Ironic, perhaps, but they brought a lot of joy to many readers. I'm very pleased to have been among them.

I really must tip my hat here to Mike Venturino, who has done more of real value to the shooter/collector of Old West guns than any current peer. His books will be classics; his experience in his chosen realm is prodigious.

It's a pity that Terry Murbach isn't writing anymore, now that he's got a job at Cor-Bon.

Lone Star

mrstang01
January 21, 2003, 07:54 AM
tex_n_cal,

What does that purty scratching on that Smith say? I'd like a closer look if possible please.


Thanks,

Michael

BigG
January 21, 2003, 10:03 AM
I remember him writing about shooting jackrabbits with an old plowhandle over the flanks of a J. I. Case. From that moment, I was hooked. One of the truly great ones!

Wil Terry
January 21, 2003, 11:06 AM
SIR,
I DON'T KNOW WHO YOU ARE SINCE YOU HIDE BEHIND A NON DE PLUME, AND FRANKLY I DON'T GIVE A DAMN WHO YOU ARE, BUT WHEN YOU CALL MY BROTHER JOHN A. TAFFIN A B S'ER YOU ARE EITHER AN UNINFORMED FOOL OR A DAMNDABLE LIER. THERE IS NO ONE IN THE SHOOTING SPORTS INDUSTRY WHO HAS EARNED A HIGHER REPUTATION THAN JOHN A. TAFFIN AND HE EARNED IT BY BEING SCRUPULOUSLY HONEST AND FORTHRIGHT.
YOU OWE JOHN A. TAFFIN AN APOLOGY AND YOU OWE IT NOW!

FURTHERMORE, COLONEL JOHN [ JEFF ] COOPER NEEDS NO LIP FROM SOMEONE LIKE YOU AS HE'S FORGOT MORE THAN ALL OF US COMBINED WILL EVER KNOW, AND HE'S STILL PERFORMING VERY WELL INDEED WELL PAST HIS 80TH BIRTHDAY. YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY TO DO THE SAME SOMEDAY.

BOB MILEK WAS A WONDERFUL MAN WHO ADDED MUCH TO THE SHOOTING SPORTS INDUSTRY AND WAS A HIGHLY RESPECTED GUIDE IN WYOMING. UNFORTUNEATLY BOB HAD THE MISFORTUNE TO BE A LIFELONG ALCOHOLIC AND WAS NEVER ABLE TO KICK THE BOOZE. DRUNK HE WAS ABLE TO OUTSHOOT, OUTCLIMB, AND OUT HUNT MEN HALF HIS AGE. HE DIDN'T HAVE A MEAN BONE IN HIS BODY AND HE WAS NO B S'ER EVER IN HIS LIFE EITHER.

JMLV
January 21, 2003, 11:17 AM
Deaf smith
Sixgunner.com

cheygriz
January 21, 2003, 04:18 PM
Mr. Murbach,

You are fully entitled to your opinion, sir, AND I AM ENTITLED TO MINE!

Walosi
January 21, 2003, 04:41 PM
Cheygriz, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, as are we all...I hope, though, that you keep yours high in the Rockies. In warmer climes, it could become sticky.

Well said, Terry.

Art Eatman
January 21, 2003, 04:52 PM
A lot of us here have strong opinions on lots of subjects. However, there's no reason for a gratuitous dump on a bunch of folks, with no reasoning to back it up. The trouble, then, is that all the "reasons I don't like so-and-so" wreck the original thread...Bummer.

Dunno why, but I pay a lot more attention to content than style. Some folks are fortunate enough to have a way with words that is itself entertaining, along with value in the content. I've long enjoyed Skeeter Skelton's work--and also many others'.

I've only met Bart Skelton once; he seemed like a nice-enough guy. Regardless, he and Jeff Cooper are the mainest reasons I keep my subscription to G&A. Jim Wilson is not only a shooter and a writer; he also has a CD out of C/W songs, which I understand are his writing. I imagine you get him and LawDog together and you better bandage your ribs!

What it is, is, we're all richer for the opportunities to share in all these guys' lives--their experiences and opinions.

Art

Gila Jorge
January 21, 2003, 05:40 PM
Cheygriz: Its one thing to be ignorant and yet another to wallow in it. Don't slander honorable men. I too have communicated with several of the men you disparaged and you're absolutely incorrect.

capnrik
January 21, 2003, 07:34 PM
in San Antonio at an NRA Convention. The 5 1/2 inch Colt SAA New Frontier .44 Special in my gun safe is largely his fault

He was the best of his time, and I miss him.

On a side note, Rich might have already closed this one.

Not that it matters.

tex_n_cal
January 22, 2003, 03:36 AM
Oh so YOU have one of those New Frontiers! :cuss:

:D I too have long wanted one, ever since Skeet wrote about them. I've seen, I think, four of them in 20 years. The last was a couple months ago, on an online auction. I just didn't quite have the cash to get there:banghead: The same thing happened to me 10 years ago at a gun show - I hesitated - someone else grabbed it.

If I ever buy one I promise to take it out & shoot it with Elmer Keith Commemorative .44 Special loads.:evil:

Still Learning
January 22, 2003, 10:31 AM
"In the uncomplicated days before the Great Misunderstanding of December 7, 1941, no one I knew had a .44 Special because no one I knew could afford to buy a gun."--Skeeter Skelton

That opening sentence in a Shooting Times article read in the Student Union Bookstore wound up costing me a lot of time, travel and money trying to locate a Colt SAA or S&W Triple Lock. I was in college and never found one I could afford. Thankfully, S&W made a special run of Model 624s--largely due to Skeeter's pleading--and I was able to snatch one at a decent price.

I still read his stuff now and again. I find myself going through his books and articles as much for the pure enjoyment of his writing as for the technical information. I miss him, Elmer Keith, Bill Jordan and the other writers of my youth very much.

One of the things I really liked about Skeeter in particular was that he didn't seem to take himself too seriously and wasn't afraid to poke fun at himself from time to time.

BTW, that IS a darn nice looking M27, Tex. It's making me want one Bad!

TheFrontRange
January 22, 2003, 11:35 AM
What a gorgeous M-27, Tex. I let a five-incher like that (not engraved, though) slip away...ugh...those guns most of us have let go and wish we had back now...could be the start of a new thread :)

I came late to the writings of Skeeter Skelton but recently found on Ebay a copy of a magazine that's a compilation of his work...wonderful reading from cover to cover. I'd love to check out his books.

I also like Bart Skelton's work in "G&A"...I turn to his column and Jeff Cooper's right away. And Sheriff Jim Wilson rocks in my book!

Digging back into "Handguns" magazine from the late '80s and early '90s...what happened to a writer by the name of Clay Harvey? He had a good writing style but seemed to just suddenly disappear and I never read any follow-up about him.

TheFrontRange
January 22, 2003, 11:44 AM
I'm pretty new to these boards and have just realized that the Terry Murbach posting out here is THE Terry Murbach! Wow...quite an honor in my book! I used to read your work in "Handguns" magazine...one article of yours on ".22 Fun Guns" back in '89 or '90 or so inspired a thirst in me for a then-new Smith & Wesson Model 422...thanks for introducing me to what a blast a good .22 can be!

JHP147
January 23, 2003, 11:26 AM
I started reading him as a teen, lived close to where he lived/worked and now work where he did. He was the first writer that made me buy a magazine just because it has an article of his in it. His stories of "great misses" still make me laugh. I have a magzine compilation of his article out in my "don't throw away" box in the garage. This thread makes me want to dig it out. Whoever compared him to Mark Twain was on the money...always wished I could have met him.

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