The .45 Caliber Buntline Special

The "special" pistol which Wyatt Earp carried and used at the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, was actually given to him as a gift. The story is as follows: Ned Buntline (aka E.Z.C. Judson) was a newspaper editor in Dodge City, Kansas, in the 1870's who wrote lurid tales of the lands west of the Mississippi for consumption by those in the East. Buntline was especially thankful to the peace officers of Kansas City who provided him with details of shoot-outs, both past and present, for him to write about and syndicate to the papers of the East. As a sign of his profound gratefulness to them, Buntline sent to the Colt factory for five, "special" .45 caliber pistols of regulation single-action style, but with barrels four inches longer than standard (standard barrel length being twelve inches) which gave these special pistols a barrel length of sixteen inches each and an overall length (including the pistol's butt) of an amazing eighteen inches! Each pistol also came with a demountable walnut rifle stock, with a thumbscrew arrangement to fit the weapon for a shoulder piece in long-range shooting. Each pistol had the word "Ned" carved deeply and engraved in the wood of the pistols' butt to show his gratefulness to the five Kansas City peace officers to which he gave one. The officers who received this "special" pistol were: Wyatt Earp, Charlie Bassett, Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, and Neal Brown. At the OK Corral, on October 26, 1881, the "Buntline Special" was put to spectacular use in the hands of Wyatt Earp!
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Jan 9, 2013