Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Elmer Keith's Legendary Number 5 Revolver: The Last Word

 Elmer Keith's Number 5 revolver is cited by many as the most famous, influential, and recognized custom revolver of the last century, and perhaps ever. Working with top craftsmen of the era, Elmer Keith designed what he called, "the finest and best Colt in existence."

Elmer Keith would know. His knowledge and experience made him one of the godfathers of 20th century gun writers, and he played no small role in developing a number of cartridges such as the .357 magnum, the .44 magnum, the .41 magnum, and even the Winchester Model 70 bolt action.

Keith carried this .44 Special for almost 30 years before he was wooed away by the very .44 magnum he had helped develop. It was his favorite revolver and "the last word" in Colt revolvers.

VIDEO HERE  (10:33 minutes)


  1. Thanks, that was a great video on Elmer Keith. I also have an early edition of his book "SIX GUNS" published by Bonanza Books. 1961

  2. My last house, actually the one I got hurt on, bad enough to have back surgery, was Ted Kieth's, Elmer's son. He and Betty built around Sand Hollow, Idaho in 2000. If Ted was anything like his DAD, Elmer was a fireball. I never got back for the tour through the gun vault, it was a big mistake on my part. He had ALL of the guns.

  3. I learned how to shoot a revolver with dad's Ruger Speed 6. The load was a "special" scooper that filled a 38 special case almost full of Blue Dot that was beyond 38+p and at the low end of 357mag. I was brokenhearted when he traded it for a cheap PI made 1911. I picked up a S&W 65-2 with a 4" barrel a few years back. I am deadly with that pistol as I can ring the 4" steel target at the range 5 out of 6 times at 25 yards.

    I inherited my grandfather's Hawes, Sauer and Sohn Chief Marshall 44 Mag when I was 18 and about the same time dad traded off the 357. Pop's shot a lot of rounds through it and so have I. Most of them have been low end or sub 44 mag loads as it has enough umph even at those speeds. Now at 60 years old the old full power 44 mag loads hurt. For the past 5 years I have been loading 44 Spl loads. I have plenty of 250 gr ashtray 44mag hollow points on the shelf that will probably never get used. But for the past 5 years it gets 6 rounds pumped though and then a cleaning.

    I shot a 41 Mag back in the early 2000's. I almost went down that rabbit hole until I shot a Glock 10mm. My first experience with a 10mm was a Colt 1911 that would bruise my thumb pad after 3 shots. The second experience was worse as it was a BrenTen. One shot and I wanted to soak my hand in ice water. Anybody that can shoot 2 magazines of full power loads in a BrenTen has no feeling in their hands. A friend stuck a Glock 10mm in my hand and it had a similar feel to the 45GAP that I had been shooting for a few years. It held 5 more rounds and had a little better ballistics than the 45GAP and was closer to the 41mag with the numbers. The full size Glock 10mm is my summer carry and for cold weather the S&W 65-2. I shoot the 357 better than any Glock but it is harder to conceal.

  4. Ian on Elmer Keith's Revolver Number 5.

    My personal Number 5 is a Ruger Bisley .44 Special. It's a flattop that was a Lipsey's gun. It's still cataloged.
    I had a .44-40 cylinder made for it. It's one of my favorite revolvers, much like Elmer's Number 5 was his favorite.

  5. His books and articles are the epitome of gun writing.


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