I grew up in the Texas Hill Country not far from Fredericksburg, about ninety minutes west of Austin. Back then it was an attractive little town, a good place to stop for some pigs-in-a-blanket (RIP Dietz Bakery) on your way to Enchanted Rock State Park. Back in the ’80’s,Fredericksburg was a tiny, quiet place where you could still do all of your business in German.

Nowadays Fredericksburg is a shopping destination surrounded by small wineries. The tourists traffic is so thick it takes you half an hour to drive the half mile through town.

As a native Texan raised with some small measure of civility, I believe it should be illegal to sell a felt hat in the summer, much less wear one. And yet all year long you’ll find people stuffed into Fredericksburg’s stores buying pointy boots, custom felt Stetsons and all manner of furniture covered in cowhide. Half of them are vegetarians, for God’s sake. Invariably, I’ll see men, looking old, tired and getting poorer by the minute, trailing their wives, girlfriends, or daughters.

Behold, then, Texas Jack Wild West Outfitter. Most particularly, their gun counter. It stands as the tiniest outpost of masculinity in a now-strange land. It’s just off the main road (290 West). Somehow I didn’t know it existed. And yet this family business has survived for decades primarily selling “western” clothes, or at least what most people think of as western clothes.

The gem of this establishment, though, is Jack’s well-stocked gun case and wall. Well-stocked for 1896, that is.

Being a lever gun fan, the first thing that caught my eye (other than the mounted Bison) were the 20 or so different models of lever action rifles hanging on the wall behind the counter. Brass receivers, steel, case colored iron, rifles and carbines alike, they’re all there.

My favorite of the group: the Model 1886 Deluxe Sporting Rifle, in .45-70. This is a Pedersolli reproduction, and doesn’t include any new-fangled tang safety or other nonsense. Right next to those, sits a whole row of reproduction Sharps. The image of Billy Dixon and his famous shot at Adobe Walls came easily to mind.

Just to the right of those is the collection of Hollywood Series of pistols. More than a few western movies filmed in the Texas Hill Country; Texas Jack has been the arms and period goods supplier for many of them. You’ll find just about the entire Hollywood Series from Cimarron Firearms there.

My favorite is the Rooster Shooter, for obvious reasons. They also have a very wide variety of single action 45LCs. The “Model P”, with some nice wood on the handles, a great finish, and chambered in .45LC and .45ACP had a great feel to it, and an excellent trigger.

Purely because of it’s name, I took home their “El Malo”  for an upcoming review.

Oh, but the true joy is off to the left, in their very wide selection of black powder revolvers. Which Dragoon do you want? Walker? All there, as well as everything needed to carry, display, or fire them. The 1851 Navy? They’ve got the black powder and cartridge conversion models, as they do for most of the black powder guns.

Also interesting — if not completely awkward to fire — useless steel or wood stock conversions for the revolvers. Also there are some not so common versions, including the 1851 Navy London model, and the 1860 Army “McCulloch” fluted cylinder Colt, which I bought on the spot (review Pending).

For those of you with more discerning tastes, they have the Remington Model 1858 revolver. Although the balance of it is nothing like the Colt, it was the first revolver to have a top strap, making it generally stronger and more accurate than the Colts. During the Civil War, it was said you’d needed four Colts to trade for a single Remington.

All in all, Texas Jack’s home to over 100 different period firearms. They also have a few shelves of modern firearms for sale, if you’re into that kind of thing.

I could spend a good amount of time, and most of my money on Jack’s black powder guns. What little I had left would then be taken up by the library section of the store and the leather works. In the back of the store, you’ll also find a large and well stocked period correct section, selling everything your family might need to wear like they did in the old west. I’m more of a fur-trade era man myself, but I certainly dug the vibe.

Texas Jack claims to “have everything necessary to outfit the 1870 cowboy,” and I believe them. The owners are long-term supporters of the Single Action Shooting Society; they’re largely responsible for expanding the sport in the state of Texas.

Since its founding, Texas Jack has been family-owned and operated. It’s now run by the daughter of the original owner and her husband, Jamie and Bryce Wayt. If you stop in, make sure to pick Dean’s brain behind the counter. He’s a wealth of knowledge who’ll steer you in the right direction.

It’s beyond me how I hadn’t known that this place existed. If you’re ever touring the Hill Country around Fredricksburg, leave the wineries for a while and check out Texas Jack. It’s a trip back in time that every gun guy and gal should make.

25 Responses to Texas Jack: Everything for the 1870 Cowboy

  1. It’s my favorite store to visit when I’m home. Eat some schnitzel, go to the candy shop, and hit this place on the way home. There’s plenty of wonderful things for my wife to look at and buy and I get to fondle lever guns.

  2. Think you for a reason to hate driving through Friedrichsburg a little less. All they need to do is sync the traffic lights. But then less people would stop for the scented candles and faux German food.

    Seriously though, if there is German grub in town that is actually authentic I’d like to hear about it.

  3. My wife is headed into Fredericksburg for a vigil tonight. If it wasn’t super classless of me, I’d convince her to let me take a visit. As it is, they’re on my short list to check out in May when I go out to visit the Nimitz museum.

    • It’s nice to hear someone call it the Nimitz museum, instead of the National Museum of the Pacific War. It is an amazing museum, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Take a full day to see if you can.
      When I was a kid, it was just Admiral Nimitz’s home set up as a museum, and it was still cool back then.

      • Honestly, the house and the exhibits about his life are seriously underrated. Every time I’ve been, that’s the part of the museum I prefer to spend the most time in. The exhibits relating to the war itself are very moving and powerful and educational, but they tend to get all the glory and attention. The man had a super interesting life.

  4. Good article. Texas Jack is on my “to-visit” list next time I get west of I-35. I visited with Dean on the phone when I was trying to narrow down my choice of a Cimarron 1873 SAA pistol. He was extremely helpful. I ended up getting it through my LGS and ordered a cartridge belt and holster from Texas Jacks (used money from a university teaching award to pay for it all). The SAA is so sweet, I’m look forward to getting other Cimarron guns. Cimarron is also located in Fredericksburg, my understanding is that Texas Jack is the retail outlet for Cimarron Firearms. I bet there are several articles that could be written on the firearms and other items in Texas Jack Wild West Outfitter.

  5. We used to drive from Austin to Kerrvillle in the 70’s – would stop at the Gulf gas station down street from Nimitz Hotel…I like it that they had some racoons in a cage – suppose they were pets..(or got caught in garbage cans that morning.

  6. One of these days I’m actually going to order a Scully Rangewear Bib Shirt in Red. Then I’m going to work on The Duke’s walk; you know that rolling bow legged thing he did with chaps and high water britches.

  7. Fredericksburg is a great town. If they would keep the liberals from Austin out it would be even better. The wife and I are easing into retirement and we have some disposable income to spend on travel and “stuff”. We’ve done all of the usual tourist traps within a day’s drive of OKC – Eureka Springs, Branson, Hot Springs, and Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg is one of my favorite places because there are actually things for guys to do besides sit on a bench outside a store and wait on the wife. As an old time Westpac sailor I love the Nimitz museum. The LBJ ranch over in Johnson City is very interesting too. Whatever you might think about LBJ from a party standpoint, you still have to admire him as one of the most successful US politicians of the last century. They exhibit his NRA Kentucky flintlock in his office there on the ranch.

    The next time we head south I’ll make a point of visiting Texas Jack’s. I can’t do center fire pistols as an out of state buyer (Hey Donald – can you help with that?) but the long guns and black powder pistols look like fun.

    If I was ever exiled from Oklahoma I’d think seriously about the Texas hill country if they’d have me.

    • You ought to be able to do a transfer to your local FFL. I knew I used to do that when I saw guns I liked visiting Reno and living in California. Now I live in Texas and love being able to plunk down some plastic and walk out with one. Fredericksburg is fantastic and I’ve been to Texas Jack several times. I’m not sure how the prices on firearms compare to online, but spending a few extra bucks to keep a gem like that in business is worth it. The War museum is fantastic too, and plan on spending a day in there.

  8. cool article, thanks. my wife and i visited for our anniversary a few years ago and rented a cottage southwest of town. last year, we went to enchanted rock for the perseids. i dont know how authentic it is, but i like auslander.

  9. Moved to Fredericksburg at age of 12, moved from Phoenix Az, but spent summer at ,Grandpa’s ranch outside of Mason, learned to ride a horse from him. When we kids were not thrilled at the idea of moving to a small 130 acres ranch 4 miles from Main Street. We were city kids in a new place in the summer! My dad knew I would soon be boy crazy ? so he brought me a pregnant Quarter Horse with a rear end you could eat a picnic off of and brought an adult saddle! He rode her one time! I learned to ride bare back, Grab her mane and swing myself up. I couldn’t care less about boys, had a horse to ride and a number of months later had filly to raise. I had a great adolescence/teenager there. I liked the Fredericksburg of my youth, Rarely go into town, and it’s to eat the best plate size chicken fried steak with cream gravy with inhouse baked rolls,best grumb can you can find! We plan on moving back there and build a house on rural 5 aces we own down the road from my brother and sister in law. Something about going over the cattle gate that says to “your home”
    Fredericksburg used to be less than welcoming to “outsiders” In fact first day iun 7th grade I was told you are not from here by a snarky kid, told him my great grandparents got off the same boat as your’s did in 1824

    • I’ve experienced the “not from around here, are ya?” From rural Vermont (hate flatlanders) to NCs Appalachia. This happens all over the world. Very few cultures are tolerant. Imagine how the Indians felt when we Euros moved here.

  10. One thing I would remind folks of as far as single actions and lever guns go: black powder is what all of them were designed to shoot! Get some black powder or a substitute and make some smoke; it is a load of fun!

  11. Changed indeed! I started going there when Enchanted Rock was a State Natural Area and if you waited until 3pm on a Saturday to go into town for lunch you might not get fed–everything closed about that time.

    I usually ate alone at some place where they had picnic bench seating instead of tables. German-speakers would only look at me an sit quietly.

    On election day I would try to get by the old one-room schoolhouse in Cherry Spring. The election officials were all graduates of that school (as late as 1978) and told great stories.

    Sometimes went into Beckendorff’s Gallery to hang out with his son’s and hear their stories.

    I hope that Fredericksburg is still a great place for stories.

  12. Texas Jacks really needs to be supported. Their association with Cimmeron is great. Unlike Taylor’s, they can outfit the entire cowboy. Check out their shop worn gun sale. Remember, for SASS you should be wearing authentic period clothing styles, which TJs has, and not modern cowboy wear.

    I’ve read about the history of the Germans in TX. Their interactions with the American Indians necessitated use of the types of firearms sold by TJs. Too bad lots of places have lost their old culture. We should have trendy-free zones! No skinny jeans or yoga pants allowed.

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