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.