I was born the son of Ambrose Halstead, an underground coal miner. I grew up in the coalfields of southern West Virginia and received no formal firearms training till I met Uncle Sam in 1968. I hunted some as a child with my Dad’s Westerfield .410 pump and shot his Iver Johnson Sealed “Eight” .22 caliber revolver sparingly. I also hunted with his model 37 Winchester 12 gauge at times and there was a Boy Scout Camp were we fired the .22 rifle. Outside of the above I guess you could say I cut my teeth at Fort Knox, Ky. on the M-14.
After my tour of duty with the U.S. Army I became more and more interested in firearms, especially handguns. My first new sixgun was the Ruger Super Single Six. I was proud to own a quality handgun and shot it as much as possible. It took a long time to become proficient with this .22 but I was finally placed on the right track with the purchase of the Pistol and Revolver Guide by George C. Nonte’.
From there I bought a centerfire revolver, the model 28 Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum sporting a 4 inch barrel. I purchased the Lyman All American Turret Press and started reloading using the 45th Edition Lyman Manual. Next came a bottom pour Saeco 10 pound lead pot and the Lyman 450 sizer – lubricator with a .357 sizing die. Looking through the Lyman manual I chose a mould, the 358429. Between the Pistol and Revolver Guide and the Lyman manual I got along fine with my reloading and bullet casting.
As the years rolled on the firearms increased and my shooting skills improved. Then during 1977 I moved to Montana. There one of the highlights of my life came to pass, I met Elmer Keith. Talking with him and inspecting his firearms was a dream come true. He was a great host and like everyone else who went there, he and his wife made me feel right at home. The following visits were the same, warm and enjoyable. Also, while in Montana, I met one of Elmer’s gunsmiths, Iver Henriken. I learned a lot from him about Mr. Keith. It was a great time but all too short.
Moving back to West Virginia was somewhat of a let down but was a must move and I’m still here. I found an old farm and moved the last time during 1980. I love it here on Dry Creek. It’s a quite place and I can shoot at will. I raised my two girls here and some foster children. I plan to die here in the house I built with my own two hands.
I’m more of a shooter than a hunter and my targets are mostly varmints and rocks in the fields around my home and the coal strips that abound here in the southern part of the state. I do hunt when I can and have always used hand loads and mostly home cast bullets. The only factory loads I’ve killed game with are the .22 long rifle, magnum, and various shotguns.
I retired in September of 2000 and have aspired to start a small bullet casting business. We shall see how it goes. I build things from wood and steel for my beans and have no hobbies other than shooting. It’s in my blood and I’m sure it will be for the rest of my life. Something about a perfect long range sixgun shot that really satisfies. This is the reason I make and use the Keith bullets and hardly shoot anything else. They are very accurate to extreme ranges and do well over a wide range of velocity. For the all round handgun bullet the Keith is hard to beat.
I love my God and my wife. Both are very good to me and I feel blessed to have the life I have. I’m also somewhat of a fisherman. I chase small mouth bass on the New River. Thus I sign my post Bullets & Bait. I enjoy the Sixgunner Board and look forward to meeting those who visit there. Hope you enjoy the pictures.