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Hitting the nail on the head w/ Bob Munden
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THE SIXGUNS OF BOB MUNDEN
by JOHN TAFFIN
(...)Bob Munden is a hired gun. He earns his living putting on fast draw demonstrations and has been doing it a long time as our paths first crossed in 1969 as he and his beautiful wife Becky did a non-politically correct shooting demonstration at our local junior high school. Munden is the winner of 3,500 plus trophies and 800 major championships. He is proud of the fact that he is the only one to ever win the Northern California, Southern California and Colorado State Championships all in the same year and he has done it seven times.
Lest you think Munden is simply a blank popper, meet him on yonder range and watch him perform many of the same demonstrations with live ammunition and others such as splitting a playing card lengthwise with a bullet first as the card is placed in a holder and then as the card is thrown and hit in the air and split. Thrown silver dollars, fifty cent pieces, even dimes are not safe from Munden's bullets. Shooting upside down, sideways, with mirrors are all part of Munden's repertoire. Let me interject here as Munden would also that fast draw with a single action should never ever be attempted with live ammunition. A slip of the hand or fingers and the gun fires in the holster and a .45 caliber bullet down the leg is a very serious matter. DON'T TRY IT! A more serious condition could be the one in which the front of the cocked sixgun catches on the front of the holster in a maximum speed draw and the gun is torn from the hand. Place the picture in your mind of a cocked single action spinning through the air landing who knows where and firing as it hits. DON'T TRY IT!
More importantly to me personally than his fast handlin' skills with a sixgun is Munden's single action 'smithing skills. And I must admit I was quite skeptical when he suggested that I send him a couple of single actions to be Munden-ized. "Believe me John, you will never be satisfied with any other single action sixgun once I have worked one over for you." Sure that's what every gunsmith thinks but how many can actually deliver?
So off to Butte Montana went a five and one-half inch barreled Third Generation Colt Single Action .44 Special and a four and three-quarter inch Colt Single Action .45 Colt. And just to be a little different I also sent along a double action of my favorite persuasion, a four-inch N-frame, in this particular case a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Elmer Keith Commemorative.
We agreed that Munden could change anything on the interior of the .44 Special but the outside was only to be re-blued with the frame left in the case-hardened state. The .44 Magnum was to have an action job and the hammer and trigger made to fit the human hand, at least this human hand, by slimming and smoothing the huge trigger and making it user-friendly, and also re-contouring the hammer so it was more of a small oval shape rather than a large square configuration.
When it came to the third sixgun submitted, Munden was given carte blanche to do with the .45 Colt as he saw fit with the only stipulation being that all sixguns were going to be used for live ammunition not just blanks. These were to be real everyday working sixguns.
All the arrangements were made and the guns shipped off just prior to the SHOT Show. Since good guns especially deserve fine leather, Munden put me in touch with Rick Gallagher of GALCO (2019 W. Quail Ave., Phoenix Arizona 85027) as they were in the process of putting the Bob Munden Speed Rig into production. Arrangements were made to send me one of the first rigs for the Colt Single Action .45.
While talking with Gallagher at the SHOT Show and looking over the Bob Munden Rig and admiring the excellent workmanship, design, and material, I spied a beautiful 1880's style belt and holster that also stirred my spirit. This was the Trail Boss, a semi-enclosed trigger guard Mexican loop style holster mated with a money belt with full cartridge loops. The money belt was made by folding over one piece of wide leather and sewing it along one edge and the ends. The holster was fully lined and all but the lining of the holster was finished in a beautiful dark mahogany color. Arrangements were made with Gallagher to make one of these for the .44 Special Colt Single Action.
The Bob Munden Signature Speed Rig is the Epitome of all fast draw holsters offered since Arvo Ojala and Andy Anderson first offered rigs back in the 1950's. The belt is fully lined with six cartridge loops on the off-side. The holster is double thickness leather with strategically placed metal inserts. The holster is fully metal lined and will not lose its shape and the back flap is also metal lined and bent to contour to the roundness of the hip. The front of the low cut holster is reinforced with extra leather to minimize wear from black powder blank poppin' right over the holster itself. Two leg tie-down straps are used so the holster is absolutely rigid and cannot move during a maximum speed draw.
My personal rig is a reddish oil tanned color and is set off to perfection by the hardware. No cheap shortcuts here. All of the buckles and keepers are especially cast by GALCO for the Munden Rig. Of special meaning to me is the fact that I had my Speed Rig personally autographed by both Bob and Becky Munden while they were in town doing Fast Draw shows. I've met a lot of great people in this business and I add Bob and Becky to that list.
Now to my personal sixguns worked over by Bob Munden. Remember Munden promised that I would never be satisfied with any other Colt Single Action again. Could he really deliver on this? I've been shooting Colt Single Actions since 1957 when I purchased an 1890's .38-40 four and three quarter-inch barreled Colt Model P. I was there when the Second Generation Colts began and had one of the first seven and one-half inch .45 Colts.
Read the rest of "The Sixguns of Bob Munden" here
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