Pulp fictioneer "Ned Buntline," who in real life was the prolific writer Edward Z.C. Judson, has been credited with presenting long-barreled Colt revolvers, dubbed "Buntline Specials," to famous Western lawmen including Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Bill Tilghman. While no collaborating documentation can be found in Colt's production ledgers for these presentation Buntlines, Colt's records do show that 30 of these guns were built from 1876 to 1884. Colt later offered a modern version of the Buntline with its reintroduction of the Single Action Army in the 1950s.
One of the later production Colt Buntlines, this embellished .45 revolver, was engraved by Ken Hurst and features gold-inlaid portraits of Wyatt Earp and Morgan Earp as well as other Western motifs including Boot Hill, the O.K. Corral and even a hanged man dangling from the gallows on its backstrap. Currently on loan from the Mickey Reilly Collection, this revolver has a unique unfluted cylinder not utilized on other Buntlines manufactured by Colt.
Reprinted from America's 1st Freedom, January 2006.