Ernest Hemingway’s Suicide Shotgun. What’s Left of It . . .

Garden and Gun magazine doesn’t really feature a great deal of either. Mostly it’s the same eye candy for fashionista forty-somethings that you’ll find in most major metropolitan mags. Occasionally, they go ballistic. In this case, it’s a feature on a new book by Silvio Calabi, Steve Helsley, and Roger Sanger: Hemingway’s Guns. Surprisingly, G&G leaves talk of Papa’s hunting rifles and shotguns, and dives straight into the tale of the weapon that ended the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer’s life. I mean, the gun the writer used to end his life with. With which he ended his life. At the risk of seeming crass (heaven forfend), it seems Hemingway’s head wasn’t the only thing that ended-up in pieces . . .

Not long after that tragic day in Ketchum, Idaho, the gun was given to a local welder to be destroyed. “The stock was smashed and the steel parts cut up with a torch,” the authors write. “The mangled remnants were then buried in a field.” Roger Sanger visited the welding shop, which is still in business and being run by the grandson of the original proprietor. Amazingly, the welder still had a few pieces of the gun in a matchbox, and Sanger’s immediate reaction to the evidence was, “This is no Boss.” After showing pictures to a number of experts and collectors, he confirmed that it was most likely Hemingway’s beloved W. & C. Scott that had been the suicide gun.

So now we know.