My brush with Old School Wheelgun Greatness


No Quarter
December 13, 2013, 12:02 AM
I was in Sugarland Texas today for a meeting. My appointment got pushed by a couple hours so I decided to hit up a local gun shop to see what they had.

After browsing some cases and seeing some nice old Smiths and other guns, my eyes settled on a cut down Ruger in 44 mag. Something about the mark on the custom grips sparked my memory and sure enough... A genuine Bob Baer built snubby .44 mag single action.

While I was shocked to see the gun at all, I was more shocked to have met the man himself today. He is getting up there in years but still sharp as a tack. He saw me looking at the gun and told me he had built it and used it to take some pigs and a few deer and decided to send her on down the line. I told him it was an honor to meet him. I bought the gun. I am thrilled to own something made by one of the guys that ran with the likes of Skelton, Taffin, Wootters, etc.

She is a beauty. One of a kind. Amazing. He named her "Lil Howdy" and it is stamped on the frame. It is done up in the shopkeeper style. No ejector rod housing with nail nicks for each chamber to ease out casings. He did an action job on it and the cylinder rotates both ways. Whole gun and action is slick as ice on ice.

He gave me his cell # and I hope to see him again next time I am in town.

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December 13, 2013, 12:28 AM
I've never fired a 44 mag but I bet you'll know u shot it after firing that:) That's a nice gun and a better experience/story behind it. Very cool.

I have that very same countertop in my store. lol

December 13, 2013, 01:15 AM
Very cool custom with a great story!

Vodoun da Vinci
December 13, 2013, 06:58 AM
Score!! Congrats on the brand new acquisition...anyone who loves revolvers would surely turn green with envy watching you shoot that beauty.

Well done and a huge *Thank You* for sharing the pix and the story.


December 13, 2013, 07:43 AM
Very, very, cool. Bet it's a handful when shooting. :)

December 13, 2013, 08:36 AM
Sometimes one gets lucky and you just did. A wonderful find.

December 13, 2013, 08:44 AM
Very cool find and a great storry. Congrats man!

The profile makes me think of the old British Bulldog revolvers a bit.

December 13, 2013, 08:56 AM
Oh my :eek:

I think I just found my new grail...

SBH cut, tuned, and dolled up...

Nice find...

And a better story and provenance...

December 13, 2013, 09:34 AM
She's awful purty.... congrats

December 13, 2013, 09:42 AM
That is ridiculously awesome! Congrats!

Jim NE
December 13, 2013, 09:46 AM
That looks like a pretty nice "pre" Christmas present! Enjoy your great new gun.

No Quarter
December 13, 2013, 10:14 AM
Thank you all. I am going to send some rounds downrange out of her this weekend. I will report on how spectacular the BOOMFLASH is and what kind of accuracy she has.

December 13, 2013, 11:45 AM
How do you get the empties out?

December 13, 2013, 11:58 AM
That is too cool! Bob does nice work and it's distinctive. I seem to recall drooling over a .44Spl he built for Taffin.

No Quarter
December 13, 2013, 01:08 PM
The empties can be picked out with a fingernail due to small nicks being filed into the cylinder to facilitate removal. I am sure he hones the chambers as well to make brass slide right out. Mr. Baer said that the empties just fall right out when you tip up the gun. He also said that he shot full bore hunting ammo in it and it seemed to get the job done pretty well. So, I anticipate even with full power loads the brass will not be hard to get out.

December 13, 2013, 02:49 PM
I anticipate that with full power loads Lil Howdy is going to be a real handful.

...Hold on tight!

Wil Terry
December 13, 2013, 02:55 PM
I remember Bob Baer very well indeed !!! Been to his house and coonfingered ALL of his guns. The Ruger Bearcat Buntline is the coolest !!
And so it goes..

December 13, 2013, 08:50 PM
Well, I envy you on a number of levels. Had I the opportunity and the coin I would have jumped too.

Can't help but think that little SOB will be LOUD, world class fireballs and lively recoil to boot.

Gotta love a piece that is just all around nasty! Congrats.

December 13, 2013, 08:56 PM
Hot damn!
That's a fistful of hurt.
I like it.
Short? Check.
Handy? Check.
Powerful? Hell, yeah!

December 13, 2013, 09:13 PM
That's nice!!!

December 13, 2013, 09:21 PM
very, very nice score! be sure and let us know how 'lil howdy shoots!

December 13, 2013, 09:29 PM
:D:D:D:D You owe the person responsible for delaying that meeting lunch at least!

Great little custom hand cannon, complete with lanyard, gotta love Bob Baer being there to tell the revolvers story first hand too.

I'd call that an outstanding day.

Hope it serves you well.

Dirty Bob
December 13, 2013, 09:40 PM
Wow! That is a beautiful gun with an even better story. Glad it ended up with someone who'll appreciate it. Well done.

I bet it would even be fun to shoot with .44 Specials or with medium velocity .44 Mag., like maybe a 240-grain cast SWC at 900 fps. That kind of load is fairly mild but nothing to sneeze at.

Thank you for sharing!
Dirty Bob

December 13, 2013, 10:34 PM
Nice revolver and cool story,enjoy it.

December 13, 2013, 10:44 PM
Wonderful find and a great Story to boot this Holliday Season.

December 14, 2013, 07:21 PM
That is probably the coolest SA I've ever seen.

Dirty Bob
December 14, 2013, 09:30 PM
Thanks to this thread, I'm now thinking about making up a "Sheriff" (3-inch barrel) New Vaquero. That's a SAA variant I've always liked. In a stainless .45 Colt New Vaq., it would be an easy-packin' big-bore. It couldn't possibly compete with that short-barreled Super Blackhawk for cool points (I love the square-backed guard!), but it would still be a lot of fun.

Thanks again!
Dirty Bob

No Quarter
December 15, 2013, 08:33 PM
Shot 50 rounds of 240gr Winchester SJSP ammo. Gun shot to point of aim at 25 yards. Recoil was not a problem and the boom was breathtaking.

For any that would like to know, the gun shop is Fountain Firearms in Sugarland. Very friendly folks and know their guns.

Bob showed me his carry piece which was a shortened and melted Charter Bulldog in .44 Special. Gun looked like a worn bar of soap.

Dirty Bob - I would love to see that shopkeeper Vaquero. Sounds like you have a project for 2014 now!


Mat, not doormat
December 16, 2013, 12:47 AM
I've never had much use for the shopkeepers, but that's pretty cool. We need pics of the fireball, though.

December 16, 2013, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the blast in the past. No Quarter what does "melted" mean? I have seen Charter Arms with a shorten barrel but am not sure if I have seen one "melted".

December 16, 2013, 09:41 AM
what does "melted" mean? Rounding off the sharp corners. The degree to which it is done varies.

December 16, 2013, 12:15 PM
Thanks to this thread, I'm now thinking about making up a "Sheriff" (3-inch barrel) New Vaquero.
They've got a short barreled .45ACP birdshead model.

December 16, 2013, 12:33 PM
Thanks for the save.


Dirty Bob
December 17, 2013, 10:51 AM
They've got a short barreled .45ACP birdshead model.

Really? I'd missed that! An SAA-sized Ruger in .45ACP with short barrel and round grip frame sounds awesome. The short ACP cartridges eject easier, so the caliber
makes a lot of sense. I'll have to look that up. Thanks! You just saved me a lot of work. I'll look for it, but I haven't seen it at the Ruger website. Is it like a Talo version, or something?

All my best,
Dirty Bob

Shanghai McCoy
December 17, 2013, 11:20 AM
That is a great story and a great purchase.
And yes, I agree that we need a full fireball foto...:)

December 19, 2013, 06:38 PM
I've been dreaming of something just like that in .357. I even bought one to chop up, then I started shooting it and now I don't want to cut it. As soon as I come across another deal on one it is going to happen though!

December 20, 2013, 11:13 AM
Is it like a Talo version, or something?
Think it was made for TALO or Lipsey's. Looked at one the other day, pretty cool! I don't have one yet but really like the idea of the .45ACP in a short barreled single action.

December 20, 2013, 04:14 PM
I would love to have a 45 colt Blackhawk cut down to sheriff size. How difficult would that be? Is that something I could have done by your typical local gunsmith or would it be recommended to send it off? What kink of price would be resonable?

No Quarter
December 21, 2013, 11:29 AM
Cutting and crowning the barrel would be simple enough with the right tools. Moving the front sight and getting it right as far as position and height would be a little more complex.
Milling the frame down to remove the hump for the ejector rod housing would take some skill.

I think a good smith could do it with a fair amount of success.

December 21, 2013, 11:42 AM
I've always had a soft spot for single action revolvers, especially big bore revolvers. That gun, my friend, is a true find. While over the years I have bought and sold many guns, such a find as yours would certainly be an heirloom piece. Congrats on the find and making a new acquaintance.



December 22, 2013, 09:01 AM
Not my style of SA, I like the longer barrels. But the story is great and you definitely got a unique custom built piece. Look forward to a range report.

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