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The outlaw John Wesley Hardin used this revolver to kill Brown County Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb in a gunfight outside of Jack Wright’s saloon in Comanche, Texas, on May 26, 1874. Webb was attempting to arrest Hardin, whom he had wounded, but Hardin got off a fatal shot.

Sheriff John Carnes arrested Hardin and took possession of the gun belt and revolver. Carnes gave it back to Hardin when a mob later assembled and he felt that he alone couldn’t keep Hardin from being lynched. However, the belt came undone as the outlaw ran to his horse and Sheriff Carnes took possession of it once again.

The gun has an unbroken chain of custody tracing from Hardin to Sheriff Carnes, to drugstore owner Dr. Hamilton in Comanche, Texas, who gave it to his night watchman Harvey Lumpkin. Roy Sherill obtained the gun from Lumpkin, who sold it in 1970. It has since been passed through three generations of the family that obtained the gun in 1970.

The gun was on display this year in the Collectors Row section of the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Dallas, TX. It was awarded one of 2018’s 10 Best Arms silver medals by the NRA’s Gun Collectors Committee.

Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Click here for a free 3-page download with tips about caring for your antique and collectible firearms.

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    • It’s a Model 3 design, but this one is called a First Model Russian because it’s from the first batch ordered by Russia before they asked for additional changes, resulting in the 2nd and 3rd Model Russian revolvers.

        • If the Russian government hadn’t insisted that S&W chamber it for a inside the case lubed bullet,it would have taken even longer to divest the American ammunition and arms makers from the then standard healed bullet,think 22 long rifle.

          The 44 Russian even in black powder was a accurate round,the great grand daddy of the 44 Magnum.

        • @ Green Mtn. Boy.

          It was D.A. “Jelly” Bryce’s caliber of choice. J. Edgar Hoover tried to enlist D.A. “Jelly” Bryce into the FBI, both “Bryce” wasn’t interested. Though he did teach FBI Agents in the Proper use of a Handgun (i.e. Revolver)…

        • Who could forget what Jelly Roll Bryce brought to hand gunning and tactics,as a youngster I remember reading of him from the likes of Keith and Skelton who also did much for hand gunning.

        • @ Green Mtn. Boy.

          Not “Jelly Roll”! His favorite Candy were “Jelly Beans” and had a pocket full off them wherever he went , that’s how the Nickname “Jelly” stuck to him…

  1. I would love to have his Colt .44 Army. That would be a real prize.
    Hardin is an interesting character. He killed something over 40 men, all in “self-defense,” starting when he was just a lad of 15, wielding a Colt 1851 Navy. Nonetheless, he was never convicted of murder, and somehow managed to live a long and fruitful life, part of which success was that he was one of the fastest guns in Texas.

  2. You’re going to give a man that you arrested for killing your deputy his gun back because he might get lynched?

    Must have hated his deputy or Hardin had a big bankroll on him at arrest.

      • Large Family Yes, Rich Family No. Mother was Well Educated and Father was a Reverend. Fathers Family (Hardewenh) originated from Normandie France before 1625 and Mothers Family (Dixon) originated from Ulster, Ireland before 1662…

  3. Hardin capped off his life of crime by becoming a lawyer, where he could really put his experience to work. 🙂

  4. Doc Holliday vs. John Wesley Hardin vs. Wild Bill Hickok. My money goes with Hardin. But those guys don’t hold a candle to me, because I Am The Baddest. Gun Toting Hombre that ever walked, or will walk, the face of Earth…… You must have that attitude to get into the mud, if yah know what I mean

        • Hardin admitted to that murder, although later he lied that the victim was a burglar who tried to steal his pants and stab him with a dirk.

          Anyway, that’s a great book series. There are out of print, but cheap to buy right now. I highly recommend them to anyone even a little interested in the Old West. I am buying them up right now, one by one.

  5. “Spiffy” dressers were known as “Jellybeans”. Bryce was a spiffy dresser. One of the first men he killed said, as he was dying: “Don’t tell anyone I was killed by that “Jellybean”.
    That’s how he got the nickname “Jelly”.

  6. So my question isn’t about Hardin, it’s about the Sheriff John Carne’s that let Mr. Hardin out of jail to avoid being hanged. It just so happens that my friend owns the pistol that belonged to Sheriff Carne’s. It’s got a pearl handle as well as his name engraved in the gun. What is the historical value of this pistol??


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