BARRANTI LEATHER Co.
SINCE 1986

Page 5

The Grand Old Man


Elmer Keith
1899 ~ 1984

My earliest memory of a favorite gunwriter is of The Grand Old Man himself, Elmer Keith. He bridged the gap between the cowboys and frontiersmen of yesteryear, and modern day outdoorsmen and peace officers. His writings would take me to another time and place, when game and wilderness were plentiful. He was on the cutting edge of firearm and ammunition development, with much of his work being done before he was barely 30 years old! There isn't much done today in the sixgun world that can't be traced back to him. His favorite handloads for the 357, 41, 44 special and magnum and 45 Colt are still widely known and used today by knowledgeable shooters. They worked then, and continue to work now.



Elmer Keith with his prized No.5
and Lawrence 120 holster.

 

 

 

The original No.5 and floral tooled
Lawrence 120
holster.





In Pursuit of the No.5

Considered the finest custom revolver ever crafted, Elmer Keith's No.5 revolver is also one of the most copied. We live in what most feel is the Golden Age of Custom Gunsmiths. At the request of a growing number of customers, many of these Gunsmiths are now crafting their own versions of the No.5 revolver. One of these purists is my good friend, Fermin Garza.
When Fermin was asked by writer and sixgunner

John Taffin why he had built his own version of the No.5, he replied...
  
"I have given it considerable thought. Clearly the idea is to honor The Grand Old Man and dean of sixgunners, Elmer Keith. There will only ever be ONE Elmer Keith. No other man will be able to fill his boots. I certainly don't have any such ideas. On the other hand, think of the opportunity to explore a trail long cold that Keith once traveled. To seek out the very finest craftsman and challenge him to build from scratch the finest sixgun in the land. A sixgun to last a lifetime. A sixgun to always keep to hand to answer any call. A sixgun to be sure that even after 80 years, old world craftsmanship and the memory of The Grand Old Man live on."
~
Fermin C. Garza

 

 

 Fermin wanted to duplicate the original No.5 as closely as possible, with a few exceptions: the use of stainless steel for the major components, coils springs throughout, a frame mounted firing pin, a lengthened and recessed cylinder and the grip frame lengthened slightly. This required a gunsmith well versed in welding and machining parts from a blank piece of steel. Fermin enlisted the talents of gunsmith Alan Harton for this task. Beginning with a raw, stainless steel frame casting, Alan began the welding and milling needed to transform the blank steel into the No.5.  Much care and effort went into duplicating the sights, topstrap, basepin latch and grip frame as can be seen in the accompanying images.

  
 



Custom Gunsmith Alan Harton, Fermin Garza & the No.5