Shooters Forum banner
1 - 20 of 81 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past hunting season I came across three young ( late 20's , early 30;s ) hunters. One was carrying a 44 mag revolver. I mentioned . Elmer Keith's cartridge. All three said, who is Elmer Keith. Am I missing something here. Has Elmer been forgotten to history. They were hunting here in SW Colorado from Denver.
 

·
R.I.P.
Joined
·
514 Posts
This past hunting season I came across three young ( late 20's , early 30;s ) hunters. One was carrying a 44 mag revolver. I mentioned . Elmer Keith's cartridge. All three said, who is Elmer Keith. Am I missing something here. Has Elmer been forgotten to history. They were hunting here in SW Colorado from Denver.
You might be shocked by how much of American history and gun history they don't know. :rolleyes:

Elmer Keith has not been forgotten. :)
 

·
Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
Joined
·
11,665 Posts
I have no fond memories of the man. He wasn't as great as he made himself out to be. He took credit for a lot of other folks successes.

RJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
519 Posts
I am 68 years old. I only got into this hobby a few years ago, and since then I have learned a LOT, including who Elmer Kieth is and why he is significant. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I didn't even know the difference between a single action and a double action. Didn't have time for such interests, and certainly didn't have any spare cash to spend for something that wouldn't put a roof over my head or food on the table. I have step sons now that are in their 30d and 40s. Some of them are heavily into firearms and shooting, but with semi-autos only. They do not who Elmer Kieth is either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,830 Posts
When I was young and just getting into handguns (fifty+ years ago) I heard about Elmer Keith and the stories about his incredible shooting feats. He supposedly did things with a handgun that bordered on mythical and had skills no mere mortal could ever hope to acquire. What that did to an impressionable young guy was make him want to be the best shooter he could be, even if he'd never achieve anything close to what Elmer could do. I bought his books like "****, I was there" and I think the other one was "Sixguns". They've long since been gone, given away quite a few years ago. As I grew older and shot more and more I began to have some nagging doubts about Elmer Keith's abilities. I have no doubt that in his day he was one of the best long range handgun shooters of his time. People talked about him as though he could routinely shoot deer at six hundred yards and perform all other sorts of magical shooting. Years went by and I shot with and met some of the best long range handgun shooters that existed in todays time and place. Some of them were very impressive, but not even close to what Elmer Keith was given credit for being able to do. My belief today is that Elmer got a lot of publicity and dime novel story telling. I do believe he was a great shot with a handgun, and if he were shooting today he'd be one of the best....but, his greatest contribution to handgunning was getting many young hunters and shooters into handgun hunting. It got me into it. For almost forty years I hunted deer with firearms exclusively with handguns. I've gotten past that some the last few years with when I discovered one of Elmrer's other favorite pastimes, single shot rifles. Anyway, I'll give him credit where he's factually due: Elmer Keith got thousands of shooters into handgun hunting and shooting. He was the single biggest promoter of using handguns to hunt big game and to practice until they could do it with success. He falls short a bit on ethics though, he also got a lot of people taking shots way, way beyond their ability. He's still one of the best promoters of handgun hunting up to this point in our history.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
It's not just Keith Elmer in the shooting sport. I watch NASCAR on those Sundays when the weather keeps me from shooting. Many fans today have no idea who Cale Yarborough, Donny Allison, or even Dale Earnhardt were. They don't know that stock car racing used to use STOCK cars. Their focus is the crop of 20-something drivers and their shiny high tech cars. If someone isn't splashed across iPhone screens or on top of a Google search, most of the next generation isn't aware they ever existed. The days are gone where you'd collect and read a stack of books as you settle into a hobby. It's not a negative about the younger generation, just a product of a changing world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,828 Posts
It's not just Keith Elmer in the shooting sport.
Sadly there were a number of gun writers at Elmer Keith's time who had ego's a little too big, and a few who unashamedly were salesmen for Winchester in particular, and particularly for the .270W and the .264 WM. I read them all in Guns & Ammo at the time. My observations were that P.O. Ackley and Elmer Keith were allowed by the un-informed editors of the magazines they were writing for to recklessly lay the foundation for handloaders to disregard safe re-loading practices. Just recently such a poster was banned from this forum - and rightly so because there is no value brought into the general pool of knowledge by such reckless (if at all truthful) missives as an "expert".

Jeff Cooper I met in person in South Africa and shot his .460 Guns & Ammo when he was on a marketing tour out here to promote the chambering which was to replace the failed .458 WM after his displeasure - nay, acute embarrassment and near injury - with a .458 WM on Cape Buffalo. The poorest stock design I have ever seen on any rifle was on that .460 G&A - which caused the only totally unacceptable recoil I have ever experienced with any big bore. I handed it back to him in disgust.

Fortunately Jack Lott made the first significant improvement and a potent cartridge which is a pleasure to shoot, even with a straight American stock - but even more so with the European "Bavarian" profile.

The authors who at the time I enjoyed reading were John Wooters, Bob Milek (with his signature oversized aviator sunglasses), and another youngish guy I have forgotten the name of. Men who could, while understating their thoughts, still convey the true ability or inability of whatever it was they had tested. Particularly John Wooters was not into the hallmark style to all the time state superlatives. Accurate meant accurate. It was not necessary to call a rifle "scary accurate" (one would imagine that "scary INACCURATE" would be more relevant... :) .
 

·
Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
Joined
·
11,665 Posts
That's what Elmer did was promote. Promoters use other people's ideas and money to make a living. Had he been more honest, maybe we would be shooting 334 and 284 OKH's instead of 338 Win mags and 7mm Remingtons.

Those of us that have and read Elmer's works (of mostly fiction) you'll find there are no references to or credit given too Charlie O'Neill (the "O" in OKH) or Don Hopkins (the "H" in OKH) without whom, Elmer wouldn't have become "famous".

RJ
 

·
The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
Joined
·
24,085 Posts
amazing how long it took you to respond to the Elmer Keith pontifications, RJ ! :)


Bob Milek, the Wyoming sage (pun) was one of my favorites until he knocked the 7 Rem Mag. That put him on my list of people not knowing wherefrom they were talking! Bill Jordan, Skeeter and a couple others who wrote about the West Texas/Southern New Mexico area had my attention as that area of the country was where my childhood upbringing took place.
 

·
Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
Joined
·
11,665 Posts
Bill Jordan, Skeeter Skelton, Charles Haskins and of course Bob Mundon all had more to do with my love for handguns than Elmer's minute part in any thoughts of handguns as I see them today.

Even the "Keith" style bullets weren't so much his as they were Charlie's. Elmer needed a better bullet design that wouldn't "clog up a barrel" at the punishing velocities and pressures Elmer was putting his S&W 21's through.

Elmer would "break" two or three and take the "pieces" to Charlie so he could to take the best pieces and "make" one for Elmer to break again.

It's also funny that Elmer is given so much credit for the 44 magnum. Mostly the collaboration between Remington and Smith and Wesson came from the need for a handgun and ammunition that Elmer's loads for the 44 Special couldn't hurt.

RJ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
This past hunting season I came across three young ( late 20's , early 30;s ) hunters. One was carrying a 44 mag revolver. I mentioned . Elmer Keith's cartridge. All three said, who is Elmer Keith. Am I missing something here. Has Elmer been forgotten to history. They were hunting here in SW Colorado from Denver.
I bet they didnt even know of Dirty Harry.
And being kids from the front range, I'm surprised they were aware that they were still in the STATE of Colorado.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
Who be deez dudes, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? I remember dat show de Jeffersons and my homey is named Washington, day be da same dudes?

There has been a lot of new history generated since us old guys were in school, and teachers spend less time teaching history these days, so it is no wonder these guys did not know Elmer Keith.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,830 Posts
Who be deez dudes, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? I remember dat show de Jeffersons and my homey is named Washington, day be da same dudes?

There has been a lot of new history generated since us old guys were in school, and teachers spend less time teaching history these days, so it is no wonder these guys did not know Elmer Keith.
I don't think any school ever taught history pertaining to Elmer Keith. Certainly not equated with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson...and I'm an old guy myself. I"m not sure where the dialect fits in here?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,247 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Even though his ego was generous I enjoyed reading Keiths books. He once told me my 264 mag was just a heavy pest rifle. Can you imagine all those pesky elk. & deer my 264 took. . Reading the old books is fun for me & my mind can drift into the imaginations of who ever wrote the story. Keith & all his egocentrics still wrote stories that I find enjoyable. His sketchy grammar added to that enjoyment for me. I still do shoot those 6.5 pest rifles & I still enjoy reading , Elmer Keith.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
Elmer Keith worked at a time when the industry was transitioning to modern promotion and advertising similar to what we know today. Being one of the first to press, Elmer became a firearms celebrity of sorts. He did what any self-respecting athlete does today, monetize his contribution to the sport. The gun community loves home grown celebrities so based on his involvement they pronounced him patron saint of 44 caliber wheelguns. As a testament to his notoriety, cast bullet configurations still reverently bear his name.

Elmer has the same status of anyone in a hall of fame, interesting, entertaining, the first to do some cool stuff, but now a footnote in history, a historical figure. His work, ideas, opinions and that of his contemporaries have been absorbed into the firearms knowledge base along with countless others who have trod similar paths over the decades, refining, improving, writing, re-thinking, re-evaluating and shooting.

If Elmer were alive today he'd be doing YouTube videos. How many would take him seriously or even notice him?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
This past hunting season I came across three young ( late 20's , early 30;s ) hunters. One was carrying a 44 mag revolver. I mentioned . Elmer Keith's cartridge. All three said, who is Elmer Keith. Am I missing something here. Has Elmer been forgotten to history. They were hunting here in SW Colorado from Denver.
Since he thought he was bigger than Jack O'Connor, Elmer wasn't in my sights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
62 Posts
Is it just me or does he look like the other Elmer...... Fudd ?

I just noticed that.
The man was scarred by burns from a fire, and **** near crippled for life, when he was younger. Maybe you should read at least one of his books,"****, I was there.", before making such a rude comment.
 
1 - 20 of 81 Posts
Top