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Handguns of the early 20th century "adventurers"?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by MP-44, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. ewlyon

    ewlyon Member

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    W.D.M. Bell mentioned in his "Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter" bringing a C96 pistol with the stock holster along on his hunts.
    May not exactly fit your "adventurer" examples as a big game hunter and guide, but it his interesting to read his accounts of using it. Describing an encounter with some locals who were trying to prevent his group from watering their animals, he wrote
    "Seeing some flourishing of spears going on among the others, I began pasting dust about them with the little Mauser. Seeing no smoke again, yet getting whing whang right and left of them, they turned and bolted. I got in another clip of ten and kept them dodging dustbursts for 400 or 500 yds."
     
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  2. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    OK, so he was a fictional character, but Indiana Jones is who immediately came to mind when I read the thread title.

    The Guns of Indiana Jones
    https://www.indygear.com/igguns.html
    RotLA-stembridge2.jpg
    The Smith and Wesson 1917 “Stembridge”
    Yes, there are two different revolvers in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The previously mentioned "Bapty" fired the blanks. The other, most notably seen when Indiana Jones cavalierly tosses it into his suitcase in his home,...
     
  3. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I'll see if i can track down the link to the youtube video, but apparently "stopping revolvers" were a thing. They were designed to pair with "stopping rifles," which if you're not familiar were/are very large bore and high velocity rifles designed to drop a dangerous game animal in its tracks. These are you .577's and such. Stopping revolvers were the same thing, handguns designed to have a chance to stop a dangerous animal. The vintage version of the S&W .500 in a 5" barrel.

    EDIT: Found it:
     
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  4. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Here is a good movie from the History channel on Roy Chapman Andrews. Its in 5 parts now about 10 minutes long each. In the story they show him with a Colt revolver but in other reading on him I did it stated he preferred S&W revolvers but didn't say which ones but I seem to recall it being 38 Specials. And he may have carried a Colt. I can't say for a certainty one way or the other. But he did carry a Savage 1920 bolt action caliber unknown by me but speculated to be a 250-3000 on one forum I found.

     
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  5. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    I have also read a lot of Winchester 30-30s went with some explorers and that the Mad Trapper of Rat River carried a Savage 99 in 30-30. I am pretty sure those early men did just like us. Bought what they could find and what they could afford.
     
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  6. JONWILL

    JONWILL Member

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    That reminds me of the story my dad told me that was similar. He and a friend had a chance to but an entire truckload of Trapdoors for $1.75/each

    I wonder if it was the same guy who told everyone that you could by US Government Jeeps for $25 still in the crate
     
  7. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    You could buy still-uncrated equipment. In the late 1940s, my Dad was running a Seismic crew deep in the brush in Ethiopia and someone in the company had some business in India and they round two still-crated Noorduyn Norsemen still crated on the dock. That aircraft, which is something like a Dehavilland Otter, is a classic bush plane. They bought them for less than the cost of hauling them away and put a lot of miles on them in Ethiopia, and crashing one in the process.
     
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  8. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO member

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    I hate you.

    Now I want one of those.
     
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  9. shafter

    shafter Member

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    Roy Chapman Andrews was the real deal. His books are a really good read. He did a lot of traveling with his wife and had adventures one can only dream about nowadays. I've picked up some of the books for free or .99 cents on kindle.
     
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  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    FEED7215-B871-48BF-B16F-8BFAA1DEBA3A.jpeg
    Not $25, but I bought this 1956 Canadian military surplus motorcycle in a crate in 1969 for about a third of what a then current model would have cost.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
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  11. shafter

    shafter Member

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    Although fiction, Henry Ryder Haggard gives a list of what the explorers carry in King Solomon's Mines. Probably not a bad list for the times, but quite heavy.

    I'll paraphrase. "Three heavy breech-loading double-eight elephant guns, weighing about fifteen pounds each, to carry a charge of eleven drachms of black powder".

    "Three double-500 Expresses, constructed to stand a charge of six drachms, sweet weapons , and admirable for medium size game, such as eland or sable antelope, or for men, especially in open country with a semi-hollow bullet."

    "One double No 12 central fire Keeper's shotgun, full choke both barrels, this gun proved of the greatest service to us afterwards in shooting game for the pot."

    "Three Winchester repeating rifles (not carbines), spare guns."

    "Three single-action Colt's revolvers, with the heavier, or American pattern of cartridge."


    Again, this is from a work of fiction, but interesting all the same since it's from the time period we're discussing.
     
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  12. GEM

    GEM Moderator Staff Member

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  13. Kano383

    Kano383 Member

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    I have a collection of old books on Africa exploration, from the 17th to the early 20th centuries.

    One character that comes to mind, because he was a true adventurer, gentleman, rifleman, and outstanding shot, is W. D. M. “Karamojo” Bell, who hunted elephant at the dawn of the 20th century, most notably in Karamoja, in what is today Uganda.

    He was very fond of his Mauser Broomhandle pistol, and put it to good use.



    From “The wanderings of an elephant hunter”:


    “The bullocks I half trained to carry packs and the Government Agent very kindly arranged that I should have eight Snider rifles with which to defend myself, and to instill confidence among my Baganda and Wanyamwere and Kavirondo boys. The Sniders looked well and no one knew except myself that the ammunition for them was all bad. And then I had my personal rifles, at that time a .303 Lee-Enfield, a .275 Rigby-Mauser and a double .450/400, besides a Mauser pistol which could be used as a carbine and which soon acquired the name of "Bom-Bom" and a reputation for itself equal to a hundred ordinary rifles.”

    Bell describes several incidents where he had to draw or use his Broomhandle.

    “It looked as if about 400 spearmen were assembled and I meant to give them a genuine shaking up with my 10-shot :303, followed by my 10-shot Mauser pistol. I felt confident that as soon as I let loose on them and killed one or two the others would run like rabbits. It never came to a fight, for some old unarmed men and women came tottering up, picking grass at every step, biting it in two and casting the bits to the winds. This meant peace ; peace at any price. Where were my porters? They did not know, really they did not. But they would be all right.”
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  14. jar

    jar Member

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    A couple that I don't think have been mentioned yet but are ones I really enjoy are the Ortgies and the Savage 1907 or 1917s. The Ortgies was available in two sizes, a smaller 25acp and the larger 32acp or 380 acp. One neat feature of the Ortgies is that the barrel can be swiveled 90 degrees to remove it from the frame which meant it was possible to swap between 32acp and 380acp in about 30 seconds with just a barrel swap. The Savage was also one of or maybe the first "High Capacity" (for the time) semi-automatics with a staggered stack magazine that held ten 32acp or nine in the 380acp version.

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    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  15. mokin

    mokin Member

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    I read a memoir of a prospector in Death Valley, circa 1912 where he mentions the 45 LC being very popular.
     
  16. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I had an aunt who in the 1930s with her husband , both "naturalists" who curated some museum in Southern California, left California in a custom made 24 foot long "Ocean Kayak " boat In one of the sealed chambers on the inside of the cockpit they had a .30 caliber "Swiss Luger" with 6" barrel , They carried two boxes of 7.62 Parabellum ammo , some of which were soft points and restocked along the way . They spent 30 months going down to the Panama Canal and back up the East Coast of South America hitting countless jungle river inlets to set up camp in. They shot monkeys , pigs , bats jungle deer and one Jaguar for food and defense. They felt the apparently very accurate Luger was perfectly suited for such survival and defense needs. They wrote a book about it. I lost the copy I had of it and can't remember the name , I have this passion for .30 Luger- strange :)
     
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  17. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    I need to watch that movie again.

    Heavily armed and bearing... cats.
     
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  18. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Gordon,

    Oddly I have one box of .30 luger in my trunk of wonders … as in wonder why I bought that. In this case it was the last box of ammo on the ammo shelf of a J.M.Fields when they were going out of business and was 50 percent off.

    Still one never knows when one might come across a starving 7.65 Swiss Luger.

    -kBob
     
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  19. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I once saw a picture of a Colt Pocket Hammerless .32 or .380 in a holster hung from the framework of a tent in the Artic. Or Antarctic.
    The gun was shown on sales records of Abercrombie and Fitch. You could get anything you needed for anywhere in the world at A&F in those days.
     
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