Recently on an Internet website a fellow asked me, “Do you have a barbeque Colt?” I replied, “Um, No, I don’t think so.” Then another fellow, sensing my ignorance, added the term arose from fancied-up handguns Texas Rangers reserved for backyard BBQs. A third fellow added, “Mike, you just showed a picture of an engraved Colt SAA, so you definitely have a BBQ Colt.” All this got me to thinking, “What if I was invited to a BBQ requiring a fancy handgun?”
Most of my life I could have been named Mister Ordinary. My hats, saddles, boots and clothes were all plain. At age 24 I surrendered to just a mite of ostentation. Throughout my high school years, I used laundry markers to put my MLV initials in brand, so when I ordered my first S.D. Myres holsters I had them hand-carved accordingly. Since then, I’ve plastered my “brand” on just about everything. Over the years two readers had branding irons made as presents for me. Once when heating one of those branding irons Yvonne said she saw a strange gleam in my eyes and vacated the premises. I deny that!
After this Internet chat and weeks of lockdown boredom, I sat in my gun vault and considered my candidates for BBQ guns. One would be a Colt 1911 of the ELCEN serial number range. These were ordered by a major distributor supposedly for sale “south of the border.” For this reason, they were all .38 Supers. Made of stainless steel (except for the sights) they were given such a high polish I thought at first it was nickel-plating. Grips on mine are checkered rosewood. Then I turned to El Paso Saddlery for a floral carved holster for packing it.
However, my most gussied-up handguns are single actions. In fact, I could attend BBQs every weekend for months without feeling underdressed toting a fine SAA. Two of mine are engraved Colts. The .38 WCF/.38-40 was made up expressly for the Colt Collector’s Association. It’s numbered 79 of 150. It has 4.75″ barrel with tasteful engraving, but as yet I’ve not equipped it with fancy grips. I can’t make up my mind as to what material they should be crafted from — fancy walnut, checkered rosewood, bison bone, ivory, or something else.
My other fancy Colt SAA was engraved here in Montana by Brian Gouse. It’s also 4.75″ barreled with the factory issue grips — for now. What takes it a notch up is the two cylinders are fitted. The original one is .44 WCF/.44-40. With considerable searching I located an unfired .44 Special cylinder and had it engraved also by Brian. If attending a backyard BBQ where I might be charged by a raging bull or hungry panther I’d fit the .44 Special cylinder and load it with the special run of Black Hills .44 Special factory loads with 250-gr. SWCs.
If attending a BBQ with prestigious guests where I might have to resort to name dropping in order to get my proper quota of attention, I’d wear a very special Colt SAA. This one is a .45 with 4.75″ barrel and full blue finish. Its stocks are exquisitely relief carved ivory with MLV on one side and steer head on the other. They are the work of Paul Persinger of El Paso. This Colt bears name dropping because it was ordered from Colt by country/western musician Hank Williams, Jr. with my name engraved on the backstrap.
Don’t Forget Your Better Half
So far, I’ve left Yvonne out of this imagining game. I couldn’t attend such a BBQ so finely adorned with her looking plain. If we were attending a BBQ together, we have a perfect, yet not identical pair. Back in the early 21st century when U.S. Firearms was making beautiful quality single actions, I ordered two with engraving. Yvonne already had a Colt SAA .44 WCF/.44-40 with a 5.5″ barrel, so she asked for her USFA to have the same length. Obviously, my preference for barrel lengths is 4.75″. Hers has serial number YMV1 and mine is stamped MLV3.
Truth be told, the backyard BBQs I’ve attended in my lifetime could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. But who knows? It could happen.