All About Guns


Some may say picking a dual-cylinder sixgun is cheating for the one-gun challenge.
Tank thinks it just makes sense to have more options.


Skeeter Skelton liked to be a tortuous soul at times. One of his favorite questions after a night of staring into the flames of a good fire while talking guns with an amigo would either keep the conversation going or stop it abruptly.

He’d ask the question all gun aficionados hate hearing. “If limited to just one gun, what gun would you choose?” Plied with the help of some Henry McKenna, the confessions would eventually spill out.

I personally hate this question. A lot! It surely doesn’t represent reality by any means. At least, I sure hope not?! But who knows? The way things are going in recent times, crazier things have happened. So, I figured it may be a good idea to give the question some thought and pick my one gun — against protest, mind you, but here goes.

Mind you, I may have partaken in a sip or two of Henry McKenna myself, just to get in the spirit of things while writing this as I stare off into the embers of my dying fire.


Whether loaded with .45 ACPs, or .45 Colts, the large frame
Ruger Bisley can handle a hand full of fun.

Buffalo Bore loads those 45 ACP +P Outdoorsman loads pretty
snappy and are a favorite of Tank’s.

Versatility: The Name of the Game


The gun I’d want would need to fill several niches to be useful. It would have to be concealable for self-preservation while needing to be powerful enough to handedly stop attacks from both two- and four-legged creatures set on doing me harm. A shotgun would be a top contender, it being able to shoot birdshot, buckshot and slugs, but the concealable aspect would be tough to pull off. If it wasn’t for that single aspect, it’s what I’d probably go with.

Concealability limits things to handguns. Double-action or single-action? Since we’re limiting it to one gun, the gun needs to last. Lord knows where I’d be should the gun ever break down. For this very reason, I’ll go with a single-action shooter because of their strength, durability, reliability and ease of operation.


Different bullet molds are the easiest way to change the personality of any given loads for caliber.



Some of you may think I’m cheating a bit by going with a dual-cylinder large-frame Ruger, but I’m just being smart. My caliber of choice would be .45 Colt and .45 ACP to give me all the versatility I need.

For barrel length, I’d go with 5.5 inches. Short enough to conceal, long enough for enough sight radius to hit with — it’s a good compromise. After all, by limiting ourselves to one gun, compromise plays a big part in choices. For finish, I’d go with stainless steel for its no-fuss maintenance and durability. If we only have one gun, we want it as tough as possible, right?


Components such as powder and bullet style/weight will provide much diversity for your handloads.

Make Mine A Bisley


The large frame Ruger Bisley provides the strength needed to shoot heavy .45 Colt loads nearing .454 Casull power, so close that any elk, deer or bear won’t know the difference. The Bisley grip frame makes shooting such loads more comfortable for me.

Being able to push 300+ grain bullets to nearly 1,300 confidence building FPS is reason enough for the extra weight of a large frame Bisley. Lighter loads can easily fill the stew pot by taking small game. Hell, I can even load snake shot loads for the self-preservation of my hide and ego by beheading a buzz tail with one clean shot.

I’d personally tell Skeeter, “You only mentioned one gun, you didn’t mention how many bullet molds or different loadings I could use. Hah!” Then we’d chuckle a bit as I stirred the embers. There’s no such thing as fair play for keeping your hide healthy. Ya do what ya gotta do to do it!


If Tank were limited to just one bullet for the 45 Colt, it would be the Lyman “Keith” 454424, hands down.

.45 ACP


The dual-cylinder single action is a snap to swap out. Simply removing the base pin lets you remove the cylinder and replace it with a new caliber cylinder. Now, you can shoot .45 ACPs from your single-action shooter.

What’s the advantage? There’s still plenty of surplus .45 ACP ammo around for the taking. Those 230-grain ball loads are just as effective today as they were during WWII. Plus, shooting them makes you feel connected to the good old days when men were men!

One of my favorite loads comes from Buffalo Bore Ammunition’s Outdoorsman series. It pushes a 255-grain radiused flat-nose slug 925 FPS. It’s snappy, to say the least. Plus, .45 ACP handloads are more efficient than the .45 Colt in handloads, using less powder. During these penny-pinching days of conserving our resources, it all adds up. Lastly, having two options to shoot from the same gun doubles your odds of finding ammo for it.


The Last Word


So, there you have it. My choice for only one gun. At least for this day. But don’t hold me to it. I’ve been known to change my mind depending on the weather, a lucky shot or simple sentimentality on what my favorite gun is on any given day. That’s where all the fun is.

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