Mar 31, 2020
There’s really no two ways about it: They don’t make them like Elmer Keith anymore. He was known for wearing big Stetson hats, smoking big cigars, and hunting big game with handguns long before anyone else did. In Keith’s day, handgun rounds were either big and slow or fast and small. Confronted with this kind of ballistics market, Keith sought to make bigger rounds go faster. This is how Keith became the father of the magnum cartridges that we use today: the .357, the .41 and the .44.
Keith was perhaps most associated with the .44 magnum, with which he could dispatch a mule deer at 600 yards. He was also a prolific wildcatter of both pistol and rifle rounds, who was always looking for ways to make big rounds bigger. Indeed, Keith was very vocal about his distaste for smaller rounds, and would even express it to contemporaries such as Jack O'Connor who championed the 270 Winchester.
Keith was born and raised in Hardin, Missouri, right on the Western frontier, and had the opportunity to meet many gunfighters and Civil War veterans. He claimed, in fact, that it was the town barber, a former gunfighter, who taught him how to shoot using linoleum in back of the shop.
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