The Guns of Bill Buckman
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My Favorite Revolver
By Bill Buckman
Although now fifty-five years of age, I still remember my first revolver. I had been out of college only a few years and had starting fishing a lot in a nearby river with some buddies. Often catching gar, turtles, etc. on our lines, not to mention snakes on the banks, I saw that a handgun would sure be handy to carry. I remembered when much younger a neighbor buying a 22 pistol from a catalog to shoot at roosting birds in his magnolias. I thought, maybe he still has it and would sell it to me. Great idea, I bought the H & R nine-shot pistol for $15. It served the purpose well and led to the purchase of several (ha) other handguns through the years.
It was not until I became interested in hunting with a pistol that I became such a serious handgunner. The first big-bore revolver was a genuine “Dirty Harry” 6.5 inch Model 29 Smith & Wesson. With it I netted my first handgun buck. An accomplishment that opened the door to becoming an avid handgun hunter and competitor.
In over twenty years of IHMSA competition, I have had many revolvers that for a time I considered my favorite. For the steel, I progressed from an 8.75” Model 29 S & W to a Ruger Super Blackhawk. Then there came the Dan Wesson 9” 44, it was a big winner for me until my first Freedom Arms 10” 44 magnum. FAs became undoubtedly my favorite revolvers quickly and to this day, still are. True favorite FAs shifted often from a 10” octagon 44 to the same configuration in 357 then 41. For hunting, the 454 reigned number one, starting with a 7.5” then a 6”. I complimented the six-inch by converting the 7.5” to a 10” octagon a few years ago and I would hate to have to choose between the two as all out favorite. They each play a specific part in my hunting technique. Both mounted in my first choice in hunting optics, the Bushnell HoloSight, the 6” with the older style and the 10” with the second generation. In elk hunting, I prefer to carry the shorter 454 in the morning because I am usually more in a climb and stalk mode. In the evenings I normally post myself at a given position, so the 10” becomes ideal. For deer, it is more of which one strikes me to carry at the time I head for the woods.
Favorite loads for the 454 are a threesome. The big stuff is strictly the FA 260 flatpoint over 36 grains of H110, for deer I like the 260 Nosler partition and 35.1 grains of WW296, and for a plinker, the 185 Nosler and 11 grains of Bullseye. All loads are very accurate and shoot near the same point of aim at 50 yards. Each does their particular job with excellence and with my confidence.
Out of the silhouette circle now, I find Cowboy Action Shooting the game of pleasure. Here my favorite revolvers are true six-shooters, the Model 97 Freedom Arms with optional 38 special cylinders. I dearly love the pair of 4.25” octagons with special serial numbers (BB24A & B—24 being my charter member number of Handgun Hunters International as well as my FACA founder’s membership number). The load for them is 3.3 grains of TiteGroup and a 125-grain Meister or Hunter’s Supply cast.
I have been blessed with successful hunts in many different U.S. states, B.C., and Alberta, but when I finally gave all the hunting guns up for JUST a revolver, I added so much excitement to my life as a hunter. Oddly, I have taken my best elk and whitetail with a revolver. There has also been a mountain goat, countless hogs, javelina, cougar, coyote, and the list goes on….and all with a revolver. Guess that truly makes me a SIXGUNNER. But wait, my favorite hunting revolver is a five-shot, so I suppose I can have two favorites, a FA 454 and my 97s for my choice in six-shooter. Buenos tirus. BB