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H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619

The Stranger There Among Them Had a Big Iron On His Hip

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I hope most of us know the old Marty Robbins song, Big Iron about the Arizona ranger who wore a gun called referred to in the song as  Big Iron.  I have mentioned in the past that I have always been intrigued by it, and that I wanted to have one.   At once upon a time, the Wikipedia article described the actual gun that inspired the song as being a Great Western revolver in .45 Colt with grips from an 1860 Colt and a barrel cut down from a Marlin rifle to 10 inches.

The article did not actually say, but I always pictured it as being an octagon barrel.

 

After talking about it once, someone made a post here on the Wire claiming to be the current owner of the original Big Iron, and pointed out that it is a .44 Magnum.  The Wikipedia article does now list that caliber, and says the barrel is from  a .44-40 Marlin and he mentioned that it is a round barrel.   I have also spoken with someone else who is well known here on the Wire who has seen the Big Iron, and he confirms the specs later specs.  [I don't have his permission to mention his name, so I won't.]

 

Anyway, about a year ago, the itch to have my own Big Iron really started to need to be scratched.  Before I knew that the barrel was round or that the caliber was .44 I decided to get one made.  I took my Armi San Marco SAA in .45 Colt, found that the grips from my Pieta 1860 would fit and obtained a Rossi 92 octagon barrel in .45 Colt to serve as the needed parts to make my own pistol.  With the help of some gunsmiths, I am happy to say that I am now the proud owner of my very own Big Iron revolver.  And on my way home from work, I heard that a Federal judge said that keeping the gunshops closed was unconstitutional, so the pistol is now also in my possession.   Here is a pic.

 

384514330_BigIron.thumb.JPG.116b4ac2632899ff43f8012f0d1b3f2d.JPG

 

I may change the front site, but we'll see.   Now, how big is the Big Iron?  Well, let's do some comparing...

 

1246934299_IronColt.thumb.JPG.53fc17f97f86d1a64bdefcf12f940436.JPG

 

An Uberti .4-3/4" SAA.  Yeah it's bigger.

 

1052740470_IronBuntline.thumb.JPG.ed0e0fb1f2819997098b4bdcb3565552.JPG

 

A normal Colt 12" Buntline.

 

That gives you a good sense of scale.  But let's compare it to the biggest of the big...

 

2094775864_IronWalker.thumb.JPG.c48411201755363d8a937f3b08d2f479.JPG

 

Yeah...   it's big.   And I like it.   I am already looking forward to the first shoot of the year.  It will be one of the 2 pistols I use.  In the past, people have asked me what will I pair it with the first time I use it.   Well, this...

 

152098626_IronBattery.thumb.JPG.a8769aef33e752ac712c3d8d81f17fb0.JPG

 

See you all at the range.

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I remember when you first posited this idea awhile back and was glad to see it came to fruition! I applaud your use of the 1860 Army size gripframe for your creation. The SAA has 1851 Navy size grips, and I have several Pietta 1851 Navy revolvers. I don't have large hands but still need to curl my pinky under the bottom of the grip when cocking/shooting them. I have one Pietta Navy 4-screw CFS that has ASM 1860 grips and it works well for all fingers, and it works well with the Type 3 1860 Army shoulder stock when shooting it.

 

Pietta-Navy-001.jpg
 

Since it is a non-conventional fantasy revolver, I would keep the front sight as it is. It appears to be a 9" barrel (judging from your comparison photo with the Walker) and the sight is much higher than the SAA blade sight and the Navy pin sight. That should put you in the ballpark for shooting targets at 50 yards or less.

 

If you use it in competition it might be hard to clear leather with that barrel, but with practice it can probably be done, I would think.

 

Kudos to you for your foresight and planning. It must have cost a pretty penny to achieve but fantasy guns sometimes are like that.

 

I also like your "long" guns.

 

Regards,

 

Jim

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Just shy of 9.5"  It should be easier to draw than the Buntline, and I use that from time to time.  Overall, the cost wasn't so bad.  I already had the revolver, and I got it for 250 many years ago.   Total for parts was about 300, and the gunsmith work was another 5.   I think it was worth it, just for the sheer fun of having the thing.   Now if only I could meet the fellow who has the original and photograph the two pistols together.

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"The Stranger There Among Them Had a Big Iron On His Hip"

 

Tiger King?

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11 minutes ago, Rolan Kraps, SASS # 24084 Life said:

"The Stranger There Among Them Had a Big Iron On His Hip"

 

Tiger King?

 

Uhm....  What?

 

 

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This is my Big Iron / small caliber.

 

 .22 with a 23" barrel 

 

20200507_180923.thumb.jpg.35028b1f06e92cc9315a7e041c4e7bdb.jpg

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1 hour ago, Fence Cutter said:

This is my Big Iron / small caliber.

 

 .22 with a 23" barrel 

 

20200507_180923.thumb.jpg.35028b1f06e92cc9315a7e041c4e7bdb.jpg

 

 

Need a whole dang cow leg fer that holster ....1f603.png

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Seems a little unlikely that you could outdraw anyone with that. Still, you made it for fun and style points. And it surely does have that.

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Nice gun always liked buntlines

The gun Marty Robbins used as the idea for the song was if I remember right was a real colt with a 10" barrel made from a 92 Winchester. Andy Anderson ( famous holster maker and gunsmith for Hollywood)made it up. I think Bob Argenbright (don't think that's the right spelling) the fast draw guns of the old west magazine writer had it in a article a while back. Hope this helps.

 

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According to Wikipedia, someone who once posted here saying he was the current owner of the pistol, and a well known figure in SASS who has seen and handled the original Big Iron, it is a .44 Magnum Great Western revolver with Colt 1860 grips and a 10" .44-40 Marlin round barrel.

 

Mine is a .45 Colt Armi San Marco revolver with Pietta 1860 grips, and a 9-1/2" octagon Rossi 92 barrel.   Not an exact copy of the original, but considering that his is a pure fantasy gun anyway, I am happy with it.  

Love to see a pic of the original someday.  Love even more to put it side by side with mine and photograph them together.   

I am surprised, in a way, that no one has ever marketed a recreation of it.   On the one hand, it might be too much of a "niche within the niche" gun, but on the other the oversized grips are really nice and it's actually more practical than a standard Buntline.    Maybe I can start a trend?

 

Nah...

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