In His Own Words

After decades of experience shooting and customizing guns so they could withstand the rigors of Fast Draw and other competitive shooting sports like CAS and CFD, Bob Munden had a lot to say.

Enjoy this final addition to In His Own Words and read previous articles in the archive section below. From now on, it may be that articles will be posted on this page because over the years the family recorded Bob’s stories and history for a book; but, for updated information about custom gunsmithing visit the Six-Gun Magic by Jeff Ault page and please feel welcome to comment about Six-Gun Magic under customer comments.


 

May, 2013 TOPIC: Celebration of the Life and Times of Bob Munden
(Feb. 8, 1942 – Dec. 10, 2012)

Q:When do you plan to have some kind of memorial for Bob?

Becky Munden –
Last winter was too dark and cold, so the Celebration of the Life and Times of Bob Munden will take place in Butte, Montana June 16th, 2013.

Bob and Becky Munden

Bob and Becky Munden’s last promotional photo as a shooting duo.
Bob passed away December 10, 2012 while on the road with Becky.

At High Noon on Sunday at the Butte Gun Club, where Bob did so much of the impossible exhibition shooting fans love, I plan to ask special guests to fire one at a time a shot for every year of Bob’s life — for a total of 70 shots. It will be a “Six-Gun” salute.

It know it will be a little difficult, but I plan to fire the first round. Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith Jeff Ault (who Bob trained to work on single-action revolvers) will shoot the final round.

The salute will take place just outside the historic Schützenhaus (shooting house) where Bob famously did his shots with a S&W Model 60 and a .22 caliber buckle gun off-hand at steel targets 200 yards away. The Schützenhaus was the location for Munden’s School of the Fast Gun, held annually back to 1993.

Hosted by the Butte Gun Club (established in 1895,) the public is invited to attend and observe this memorial shooting event honoring Bob Munden, described as one of the greatest all-time ambassadors for the shooting sports.

We had an incredible, memorable life together. Thank you for all the messages, cards, letters, gifts and local tribute and memorial shoots around the country in Bob’s honor. I’ll see you at other sections of this site. Thanks for your kind support and Shoot Straight! – Becky Munden


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  • Q:What do you think of Cowboy Fast Draw (CFD)?Bob Munden –
    Hey, I like it. It was only a matter of time before someone saw the success of Cowboy Action Shooting and the potential of starting up a new Fast Draw sport but with different rules and equipment, along with clothes to better represent the actors of the Western movies. Man, those were great movies, weren’t they? Love the modern Westerns too.

    The sport of Fast Draw still being shot before CFD came along was in really sad shape. It basically died when the sport allowed the use of lightened guns (I’m talking light almost like toy guns) and gimmicked holsters.

    The sport of Cowboy Fast Draw requires stock weight guns. Modifications are allowed only for parts that help the gun work easier and last longer. Stock guns were just not designed for Fast Draw and never were. Single-action revolvers come from the factory ready to shoot, but not to play the game of Fast Draw and work the actions countless times very fast without damage to the cylinder notches, springs and frames. If you shoot Fast Draw with a stock gun, you may get lucky and get away with it first couple of licks, but make no mistake – you will destroy the gun.

    My Option #2 gun work is what I do to the guns used for CFD. The customizing is required to protect the gun so you can cock and shoot it over and over without damage to the gun. Am I repeating myself? Yep, but it is that important and no, I don’t just throw a spring kit in the gun.
    A spring kit makes the action feel lighter but doesn’t improve the timing of the locking bolt or the cylinder latch which is the heart of the gun. A spring kit does not change the travel time of the trigger at all. My actions give you a crisp trigger pull without travel.

    Now that you’ve got that straight, in CFD the competitors must draw their guns from “cowboy” leather and hit a 24″ round, metal disc at 21′ with a signal light mounted at center. Shooters use wax bullets, which certainly is safer than using live ammunition, which is what I started with in Big Bear, California when I was a kid. Fast Draw with live ammunition is no longer a competitive sport. Combat shooting took its place in the early 1970s.

    My only disappointment with CFDA is that the rules allow you to start with your hand on the gun in what they call the gunfight-ready position. Fast-Draw rules in the past required you to start with your hands not touching your body, clothing, holster or gun. In fact, judges were assigned to watch shooters to make sure they did it correctly. You can see what I mean on our DVD Bob Munden: Outrageous Shooting, released in 2011. It features a section that includes vintage Fast-Draw from the 1960s and 70s (originally shot on 8mm film) with commentary by Becky and me as we saw, recognized and commented on footage that we hadn’t seen in decades. Man, we’re old! But still lookin’ good! Anyway, as you will see, most of the skill was in grabbing the gun perfectly every time; but, because you can start with your hand on the gun in CFD, perhaps more people can play the game more safely with fewer mishaps.

    So, do I like Cowboy Fast Draw? Did Roy Rogers have a horse named Trigger? – Bob Munden

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  • Okay, okay, I didn’t know the crew from Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots was going to tape me talking about my health. Well they had a camera crew recording my interview, but I was somehow surprised that they aired the part when I talked about my health problems. Go figure. Camera crew not do their job? Unlikely.Well, I’ve never been shy about talking about what’s going on. Yes, my kidneys are not happy right now. I have never had a drink or puff off a cigarette, but other things can cause problems too, like growing up poor and liking to have lots of food when I could get it. In fact, as a kid, hunting for my family with guns, a bow, sling-shots and rowboat paddles that my brothers and I used to finish off wounded ducks in the lake, those activities filled the big pot of soup my mom always had ready at our house in Big Bear, Calif.

    Oh yes, then an extremely busy professional Fast-Draw competition schedule followed by a very demanding contract to entertain at school assemblies – then traveling for all the other performances Becky and I have done for 42 years across the country and overseas – we got hooked on fast, fast-food from the as the then advertised “wholesome” foods from new restaurants like McDonalds that popped up and made our lives easier, and later, not so healthy.

    Okay, I wore out my knees with hard-core athletics. When I was in my 40s I tried to get my knees replaced because I have zero cartilage, but I was told I was too young. Should have maybe kept looking for a surgeon, but our schedule didn’t allow that and I basically had to stop exercising regularly and ended up with what so many other people have these days, Type II diabetes. Wonderful.

    Did I really know what was going to happen with diabetes? Nope. I was at the range, on stage, in the shop and on the road.

    Now I know for sure that you can’t go on ignoring diabetes and eating what you want when you want – or skip breakfast. And you have to find a way to keep exercising.

    I still have 20/10 vision in both eyes, don’t take cholesterol medication, my heart is good and I lost a bunch of weight, but as of now I need to start on dialysis and my liver isn’t too happy either. Oh, Man. But I’m going to do it and then move forward with trying to get my body back to reasonable shape as I continue to work in the shop, go to the range, ride my Harley with Becky and enjoy my family.

    So, I am doing pretty good for the shape I’m in. Thanks for all your good wishes. The crew from SUSA’s Impossible Shots is coming back up to Montana in October to film for another season. Do I have good ideas lined up?

    Of course! – Bob Munden

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  • Q: Has anyone ever taped you with a super slow-motion camera as you were shooting?Bob Munden:
    Well yes, actually. I received a call from a video production company in Britain a while back. They wanted to film me for a series to be shown on the History Channel called Superhumans, co-hosted by comic-book legend Stan Lee and Daniel Browning Smith, the most flexible guy in the world. The producer said that in November they wanted to come to where I live to do the taping.Well, I live in Butte, Montana. In November, the average temperature is 38 degrees above zero.

    I explained the situation and stressed that it could be colder than that. That deterred them for a while but they came back with another suggestion. “Would January be better?” Nope. I had to tell the producer with Off The Fence production company that temperatures in January would most likely be even colder.

    With the help of a little creativity and the producer’s determination, after several tries we came up with a plan that would work. Becky and I planned to attend the annual SHOT (Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade) show in Las Vegas that January, so we made arrangements to meet the production crew afterward at a gun range.

    Winter in the desert can be pretty chilly too, and I was recovering from some surgery on my foot — but I was intrigued with the idea that the crew wanted to film me using one of the new, ultra-slow-motion cameras and record the speed of my movements using special equipment they later said were called accelerometers. Don’t ask me to spell it. Someone else is gonna have to do that part!

    Becky and I were not sure what the crew would have me do in the time available to them, but I was game.

    We met up with the camera crew in Boulder, NV, just a ways outside Vegas, at the Desert Hills Shooting Club. The producer wanted me to demonstrate the traditional fast draw method (traditional according to the Western movies that is) of drawing a gun from leather. In the modern shooting sports, drawing a single-action revolver from the holster, cocking and firing it with one hand is known as thumbing. The shooter must cock the hammer back using his thumb, draw the gun from a holster, point at a target and pull the trigger to fire the gun — and do it in a hurry.

    Thumbing is my favorite way to fire the single-action revolver. It is not the fastest way, but it is the classic western draw so many of us first saw in the TV Westerns of the 1950’s. In reality, it is much, much faster, to draw and fire a single action using the fanning method of drawing, which involves two hands — one to draw the gun from a holster, disengage the trigger, and the other hand to rake the hammer back to cock the gun to fire it.

    At the range it required a little effort to understand these cats from across the ocean, but they were very nice people. I drew and shot my .45 Colt single action several times to hit empty pop cans on the ground, point shooting instead of aiming. Then they wanted different angles of view. At one point I ended up standing on an ice chest if you can believe it. It was challenging just to keep my balance, to say the least, but it worked and the technician they brought in from Los Angeles revved up the ultra slow motion camera for each shot, which took about three minutes every time, and got really cool footage of me drawing and firing my Colt, which has a 4 ¾ inch barrel.

    After most of the day at that gun range, we drove to the John T. Moran Firearms Facility in Las Vegas, where I met quite a few of Las Vegas’s finest, including firearms instructor Sgt. Chris Petko. There, the film crew wanted me draw and fire my Colt several times at a target 10 feet away. Shooting at the same target again and again at a definite distance and height is so much easier than point shooting at different targets at changing distances and heights, like I did for them at the range in Boulder.

    The next morning we went to an indoor range in Las Vegas called American Shooters. There we met up with David Sandler, a sports physiologist who is an expert in extreme human movement. He wired me up to all the special computer gear. I had electrodes taped to my gun arm and hand so he could time how fast I drew my gun and measure the G-force I generated. Pretty cool! I was challenged to forget about all the wires and just draw and fire my gun without even any warm-up shots.

    Sandler seemed somewhat blown away by the speed of my draw. He said it was the fastest thing he had ever timed. When Daniel asked for a comparison, Sandler said my speed was faster than a rattlesnake, and that I registered 10 gs of force in the process.

    At that point the film crew was very happy and said they had all they needed, but then Becky spoke up and asked if they wanted to film me shooting two targets extremely fast. This is something I always do in my live performances and is the main thing I do that gets the most reaction from audiences. So, they said to go ahead and do it and they would film it. Well, in the indoor facility with blanks, we set up two balloons targets about 6 feet apart and I drew the gun once and fired two shots that sounded like one. I showed them the two empty brass casings. Both the guys really loved that and the sports physiologist said it measured like one shot, thought I think if I had could have had more than one try at it, I could have shaved the time done considerably. Really.

    All in all it was an interesting and fun experience. It was chilly weather, like I said, but not as bad as when a German film crew came to Butte to film me in March that same year. They also were paying a professional rate, so there we were out at the Butte Gun Club, warming up by a pot-bellied stove in between shots with another ultra slow-motion camera. When you add wind to winter temperatures in Montana, you’re talking some difficult shooting. But that’s another story.

    To see Superhumans featuring Bob, visit the History Channel and look for the episode titled Killer Punch. The episode has been broadcast on the History Channel quite a few times, so you might catch it that way as well.

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  • I haven’t shot all the makes of shotguns, but I have sure shot a lot of them and know the difference between an okay shotgun and a great one.When I was in my booth at the S.A.S.S. Convention at the Riviera Hotel Convention Center (December, 2009) a couple of friends of mine approached and handed me a Pioneer Arms twelve-gauge double-barrel shotgun. They didn’t even say anything to me. They just waited for my reaction.As it filled my hands I knew it was different from other double barrel shotguns I’ve held and used. Right off the bat I noticed it was heavier because of the quality of the steel and I was immediately impressed with the workmanship. The shotgun opened and closed smoothly and securely, like a vault. It had beautiful checkering and the fit from metal-to-wood and metal-to-metal were truly impressive.Because of my profession, I have had the luxury of shooting many types of guns made from countries all around the world. I always look for what I see as design or engineering flaws, but I didn’t see any with this shotgun. I would put this Pioneer Arms shotgun alongside the quality of shotguns by Purdy or Holland and Holland, but it is not near the price. Pioneer Arms’ double-barrel shotgun does cost more than a basic shotgun, but it is dramatically superior in every way. It’s a wonderful shotgun.The Pioneer double-barrel shotgun is true to the original Greener Coach Gun including hammers, to a full-size, very high quality shotgun true to the days of yesteryear.The fit and finish of this gun are second to none. It is a hand crafted, hand-fitted, polished and perfected shotgun designed for use over many life times. It is hand made in Poland with great care and expertise, and imported by Pioneer Arms Corp., USA.When I received a Pioneer double-barrel shotgun of my own, I ran out to the range and busted some clays. I loved this baby immediately. And I’m picky!If you like shotguns, you owe it to yourself to hold one of these Pioneer Arms shotguns in your hands and give it a try.When you almost surely want one of your own, contact Pioneer Arms Corp. in Vermont at 309-226-4226 or visit their contact page.Tell them Munden sent you. – Bob Munden

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  • Q: What do you tell clients about shooting stock guns for Cowboy Action Shooting or Fast Draw? Bob Munden: Don’t. Stock guns will beat themselves to death. You don’t shoot stock guns. They will tear themselves up, plus you’ll never shoot a stock gun well because you’re fighting creep in the trigger and heavy spring systems in it. Everything’s against you. You have to overcome all the faults in the gun before you can actually shoot it right. Well, you’re not going to be able to do that, so you have to upgrade the gun — make it easier, set up better trigger pull. Now, you’ll be able to really shoot the gun. You’ll never shoot the gun well, factory, right out of the box. No gun. You’ll never see a stock gun used by a pro. Why is that? Because they know what I’m telling you.It’s like saying, “Let’s go down to the Ford Motor Company, buy a car and race it tomorrow.” You’d tear it right up. It’s not made for racing. It’s made to drive up and down the street to take you to work and back, and maybe on vacation. No No.. You start talking racing, now you’re talking high torque on the engine, high torque on the transmission, high torque on the transfer case, drive train. From front to rear, you’re tearing up that car. If you’re going to race a car, you’ve got to upgrade it. You have to upgrade every part of it. If you change the engine, you’ve got to change the transmission. You change the transmission, you’ve got to change the transfer case. And it goes on and on. If you’ve got a big, powerful engine in there now, you’ve got to beef up the frame to handle the power of the engine. All that’s involved. It’s a big, big change up. You have to change everything.So, you’re certainly not about to shoot fast draw with a stock gun. First of all, the action’s so stiff you couldn’t even cock the gun anyway. For that purpose. And the parts don’t fit right, the notches aren’t deep enough in the cylinder, they’re cut to the wrong angle in 90% of the cases, you’ve got to run steel blocks in the frame to stabilize the gun… In other words, you’ve got to upgrade the gun for fast draw. You can not shoot a gun out of the box for fast draw. No way. You’ll tear up the gun immediately. Right away. And, the damage you’ll do to some of these guns is permanent.For instance, if you take 1st or 2nd generation Colt single action worth thousands of dollars and fast draw and fan it and beat up the frame, the frame’s not replaceable. They don’t sell frames. Let alone, 1st, 2nd generations. You’re gonna shoot fast draw and not set the gun up right? You’ve got to be some kind of idiot.

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

    Q: Describe how you build guns.

    Bob Munden: I only build one way. Top of the line. If you want one, it will be just like mine. I would not build your gun any other way. There is only one way to build a top of the line gun and that’s the way I build them. It’s impossible to do it any other way. So when you have a gun from me, it is a mirror of my own gun. All of them are like that, with no exceptions. When a person comes to me and says “I want an Option #2 gun, a Race Gun,” what he is telling me is that he wants a very serious gun. Okay… That’s what you want, you got it. You know?

    People do ask me, “Is that gun as good as your own?”

    If possible, if I run across a way to make it better than mine, I will employ that and put it into your gun. Then I’ll take my gun when you’re gun leaves and I’ll upgrade my gun. I’m always looking to make them better – and if I run across a way to do so, I’ll do it.

    Your gun will be just like my guns, and I consider my guns to be the very finest six guns in the world. The finest running guns in the world are my guns, and they’re beautiful. No other guns are better. I’ve never seen equal, let alone better.

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Q: We’ve heard you say a lot of people switch to Bisley hammers when they don’t need to. Why?Bob Munden: Well the main reason customers will ask me to put Bisley-style hammers on their guns is to try to avoid missing the hammer. Because a Bisley hammer has a low profile, shooters get the idea that it might be easier to cock than a regular hammer. What these shooters don’t realize is that all they need to do to solve the problem is to change the way they cock the gun. If you watch most people cock a gun, even people who have been shooting for many years, you will notice they use the tip of their thumb to cock the gun and they approach the hammer directly from the back above the back strap. With their thumb, they reach over the tip of the hammer and pull it straight back. The problem is our thumbs aren’t meant to work that way, at least quickly, so even if they switch to a low or Bisley-type hammer, the physical effort to cock the hammer is still awkward because, as I said, the thumb is not physiologically designed to quickly and efficiently make that motion. Bisley hammers look cool and have their place in shooting, definitely, but it isn’t necessary to choose that style of hammer to try to make it easier to cock the gun.Q: So you say all they have to do is change the way they cock the gun?

    Bob Munden: Yep. The most efficient way to cock a single action, and I am assuming anyone who wants to protect their guns will have had an action and trigger job before they use the gun – especially if they are going to compete in Cowboy Action matches for example, is to use the thumb in a sideways motion, which is a more natural movement for the thumb. Hold your hand out and look at your palm. Then take your thumb and move it over to the bottom of your third, or ring, finger. That will give you the idea of the motion involved. Now, pick up your revolver and remembering that motion, bring your thumb sideways like that and the middle, or meaty, part of your thumb will roll over the hammer to cock it. You go right to the grip. Practice a little bit and you will be amazed at how much quicker, and more comfortably, you can cock the gun.

    Of course there are other reasons people might like to have the Bisley-type hammer and that’s fine. But so many people say it is to make cocking the gun easier and if they just make an adjustment to the way they cock the gun, the problem is solved and they can get on that hammer I mean right now. It is much, much faster and more efficient to use the more natural sideways movement and go right to the grip. In the process, you cock the hammer.

    Q: I had an action job and now I keep having misfires. What do you think the problem is?

    Bob Munden: If a client contacts me and says they are suddenly having misfires after I have worked on their gun, the very first thing I ask is what kind of primers they are using. Inevitably, the primer is the problem and it is because they are using Winchester primers. Now there is nothing wrong with the Winchester brand, but with the lighter actions necessary to prolong the life of the gun, Winchester primers are too hard due to the thickness of the plating. They are good primers — they just need a bigger impact to set them off. With a light action, other brands like Federal and CCI work better.

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Q: What will we see on this DVD?Bob Munden: The DVD is a full two hours and 20 minutes. We have included both of our first two videos, Fastest Man with a Gun who Ever Lived and All My Heroes Wore Six Guns, PLUS we created a bonus feature almost 20 minutes long with never-before-seen footage.In 1995, I got a wild hair during a lunch conversation with Ray Chapman of the Chapman Academy about the Bianchi Cup and decided to enter the match using a Colt single-action revolver. Crazy! I didn’t expect to do well. I just wanted to see if it could be done. In those timed events, the other shooters are using autos or double-action revolvers with the latest thing in optics and other high-tech features. I just wanted to see if I could get all my shots off in the time allowed, using a single-action revolver. Talk about a super challenge! My wife Becky was out there with a video camera and what you see on the DVD documents what happened, with me providing commentary as we go along.

    Q: Well how did you do?

    Bob Munden: I didn’t place high at all, but I actually did well enough to win money in the revolver class using fixed iron sights. As I say on the DVD, if I had the money, I would put up $20,000 just to see guys out there trying to clean all the targets with fixed iron sights, no optics. Wouldn’t that be cool?

    I had never shot The Mover before I entered the competition, but that ended up being my best event. Because I had to use two hands to cock and fire the single action and couldn’t rest on the barricade in The Barricade event, it was the most challenging. I think folks will get a kick out of the whole thing, which looks really funny in some places when you see the other shooters drop to prone and I’m standing there blazing away with my cowboy gun.

    Q: According to your Website, you have been working on DVDs for some time. What was the delay in coming out with this first one, and when will we see the next?

    Bob Munden: My daughter is a media producer and we bought all the equipment necessary to do DVD production, but her home was burglarized by, as it turned out, someone close to her and it really cost us a lot of time and money to say the least. The good thing is that she figured out who did it, tracked him down on the other side of the country and put him in jail. In fact, she did such a good job that the prosecutor’s office offered her a job as an investigator. We got back some of the equipment, but parts and pieces were missing and trying to get everything working right without spending even more money has been a nightmare. We cut our losses and got the first DVD Bob Munden – The Collector’s Edition done by going to a production house — but we expect our system to be fully functional soon and we’ll be working to get the next DVD done as quickly as possible.

    The Bob Munden — The Collector’s Edition DVD is available from our secure online store — and we ship orders usually the next business day.

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Q: When buying a gun, how do I choose the barrel length?Bob Munden: That really depends on what you are planning to do with the gun. Are you going to be hunting with it? Do you just want an all around type gun? Do you want to shoot at long distances? Are you competing or planning to compete in Cowboy Action Shooting? Are you competing or planning to compete in Mounted Cowboy Action Shooting? Do you want to buy a large caliber gun and shoot rapid-fire with it?If you plan on hunting with your revolver, you would want a 7 ½” or longer barrel for accuracy at further distances. If you want a gun to carry as a back up while hunting, you might consider a 5 ½” barreled gun which is faster out of a holster and less cumbersome to carry. I should point out that I do not recommend a single action revolver as a back up while hunting. If a grizzly bear were to come at you on the run for example, it would be much easier to fire a double action revolver or semi auto pistol than to remember to cock the hammer back on a single action. Of course I wouldn’t recommend a SA revolver for personal protection either, for the same reason.

    For all-around gun for carrying, for personal protection, target shooting or Cowboy competition, I would recommend a 5 ½” barrel.

    If you wanted to Fast Draw your gun or want it to clear your holster the fastest, I would purchase a gun with a 4 ¾” or 4 5/8” barrel. This length is also fine for Cowboy Action competition or Mounted Shooting. It may be preferred for Mounted shooting because it is the best balanced and is easier to maneuver.

    If you are shooting heavy calibers, the 7 ½” barrel is more efficient because the longer barrel reduces some of the barrel flip from recoil. The 7 ½” gun is slower to sight in, but has less barrel flip on recoil. The fastest to sight in would be the 4 ¾” but you have to deal with barrel flip before addressing the next target.

    That’s about it. It really is up to you.

    Q: What do you use?

    Bob Munden: Personally, I shoot the 4 ¾” for fast draw and the 5 ½” for Cowboy Action Shooting and like the 7 ½” for long distance. But as many of you who have seen me on TV know, I love the challenge of shooting long-distance targets, off hand, using a very short barrel.

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Q: When buying a single action, how do I decide what caliber to buy?Bob Munden: There have been countless books written on this subject. Very briefly, it very much depends on what you are shooting at and the results you want. Do you want to shoot at paper targets? Do you want to compete in Cowboy Action Shooting? Do you want to shoot Cowboy Mounted Shooting? Do you want to compete in Cowboy Fast Draw? Do you want a gun for self defense — or maybe competition and self defense?If you are shooting in competition that requires blank loads only to break balloon targets, then you would want .45LC caliber handguns. The larger the brass casings loaded with black powder, the more unburned black powder can be expelled to break the balloons. I would suggest .45LC caliber for Cowboy Mounted Shooting.

    If you want to target shoot, remember the single-action revolver is not really a precision target gun. The Freedom Arms revolver is the most accurate single action there is. The caliber you would choose could be a .22, .38 special, .44 special or 45LC. The .22’s or .38 calibers are a lot less expensive.

    If you plan on hunting with your single-action revolver, I would suggest the .44 magnum caliber or larger for bigger game such as deer, elk and bear. The bigger the caliber, the hotter the recoil, so base your decision on how efficiently you can handle the recoil. The .22 up to the .45LC would be enough for smaller game.

    If you plan to carry a revolver for self defense while hunting or exploring the out doors, I would suggest you carry a double action as apposed to the single-action revolver because in a big hurry, like if you’re facing a charging bear, it is much easier to just pull the trigger instead of trying to cock the hammer first. For self defense from attacking animals, the .44 mag is good. Some would suggest the .50 caliber for grizzly bears. That caliber definitely would put one down — but can you honestly handle the heavy recoil for successive accurate shots if needed?

    Remember, the larger the caliber of a revolver, the lighter it is. The barrel has less steel to accommodate the larger bullet and all six chambers of the cylinder have less steel for the same reason, hence, a lighter gun. But keep the recoil in mind when making your decision.

    If you want to carry a revolver for human self defense, then again I would consider the double-action revolver for the reasons stated above, or the a automatic pistol. I personally carry a 1911 .45 auto cocked and locked. (It has two safeties.) I wouldn’t carry anything less than the .44 special. A.38 or 9mm might deter an attacker. The .44 or .45 ACP would disable any would-be assailant. Remember, any gun you choose for self defense requires repetitive practice for efficiency. That means you must plan on going to the range and refreshing yourself at least twice a year. Your life could depend on it.

    If you are planning on purchasing two revolvers to compete in Cowboy Action Shooting, then listen up. If it was up to me, which it is not, I would require all men to shoot nothing less than .38-40 caliber full charge. The cowboys and gun fighters did not have access to .32 calibers in punched out .22 revolvers or .38 calibers. The cartridges available in the Old West, generally speaking, were .38-40, .44 special, 44-40, or .45. But since I am not in charge, and I’m sure some say this is good, you can buy yourself a .38 (.357), .44 special, .44-40 or .45 LC. It is up to you. Shooting fast and winning with super light calibers or just super light loads proves nothing. I call this shooting with no honor! Most women and young competitors do very well with .38s or .357s with .38 loads. I work on all calibers, but many of my customers who prefer the traditional .45s are coming to me with light calibers because they say other shooters using small guns, light loads and short strokes are forcing them to.

    The most important things are to consider how you plan to use the gun, practice, be safe and enjoy whichever single action revolvers you decide to buy in whatever caliber you decide upon. Also, do not forget to send that revolver to me at Munden Enterprises for my action, trigger, and timing job for longer wear and smooth shooting. — Bob Munden

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

    (Click article title above to collapse article text.)
  • The beginning of the WFDA was when the Western Fast Draw Association and the Mid Western Fast Draw Association combined. I was involved in California when we started the Western States Fast Draw Association. That was back in the early 1960’s. When a club from Vancouver, Canada wanted to join, the name was changed to the Western Fast Draw Association. In the early 70’s when the Western Fast Draw Association and the Mid Western Fast Draw Association merged, it was officially named the World Fast Draw Association or the W.F.D.A. (WFDA.)Way before there was a WFDA, Bob and Carol Hall put out a newsletter with the results and records. Of course when they were printing their newsletter, there was only one event: Walk and Draw Level Elimination with Blanks. It was easy to keep track of only one fastest time record. Walk and Draw Level was a great event for spectators because two competitors started 110 feet apart and on a verbal command, walked toward one another to emulate the gunfights of the western movies. The signal light was in the center and when it came on they had to react, draw and fire a level shot deemed able to hit a man between the groin and neck at 15 feet. There were three level judges for each shooter and each shooter had a hand judge who watched to make sure that a competitor’s hands did not touch their gun, holster or body before the signal to draw.There were not any classes at that time and it was just 2 out of 3 tries for each match up. It certainly wasn’t fair to the new or slower shooters because they might have to compete against the best in the sport.

    At first sight, my reaction to Walk and Draw Level with Blanks was that it was like play acting because they weren’t shooting live ammunition; but, the more I watched the more I realized the skill required and I also realized that this was a perfect outlet for urban gun owners who wanted to shoot their guns. When I entered blank competition, Curtis Blakemore was the only shooter reacting and shooting under 30 hundredths of a second. He held the record of fastest time with a .27. I started competing in 1960 and my only goal was to shoot the fastest time. That was always more important to me than winning. I beat Curt’s record shooting Walk and Draw Level in 1961 at Ridgecrest, California at the California State Championships, which I also won. I shot a .27 and .26 and I had a .28 average using what I always use for Fast Draw: a Colt 4 ¾” .45 single action that weighs 2 and ¼ pounds.

    The National Fast Draw Championships of Walk and Draw Level were held for four years in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center sponsored by the Sahara Hotel and Colt Firearms Company. In 1959 Gary Freymiller won. In 1960 Jack Simms was the champion. In 1961 Fred Stieler won and in 1962, Bill Lewis, who was to become my brother-in-law a couple of years later, took second to Vance Anderson. Most of the entrants were shooting Rugers so I don’t believe the Colt Firearms Co. was too interested in continuing as the major sponsor after 1962. I was strictly a live ammo fast-draw shooter from 1953 to 1959. When I got into Fast Draw with blanks, I became a top shooter, but wasn’t allowed to compete in the nationals in 1960 and 1961 because there was a restriction that competitors had to be at least 21 years old. In 1962, I was 20 and they changed the rule to a minimum age of 18 so I was finally able to compete.

    Unfortunately, just months before the 1962 tournament, I had a freak accident and shot my fanning hand with a blank right at the muzzle. For those of you unfamiliar with blanks, though there is not a bullet, there is certainly an explosion when you fire the gun. If you make a mistake, the results can be ugly. With duct tape on my gloved hand to keep the still-healing wounds closed, I won several matches but lost in the end because my final competitor shouted at me to remind me of my injury and it bothered me enough that I didn’t fire a shot against him and lost. I made a promise to myself right then that I would never let anything distract me again.

    The fastest time ever recorded at the Las Vegas Nationals was a .31. In 1962, when I could finally compete in the Nationals, I averaged .31 shooting a Colt .45 4 ¾ inch using an Alfonso #2 holster. In fact, Curt Blakemore owned the very first #2 Alfonso rig and I owned the second one. That holster and all of the different ones I have used follow the original specification where the holster is required to cover all of the barrel and 75 percent of the cylinder. The boot of the holster is just big enough for the gun to fit in it and it sets at a 25-degree angle to the ground.

    In the 1950s and early 1960s almost every shooting-related magazine included articles about Fast Draw. The first chairman of the Western States Fast Draw Association was Ron Mossholder. He was also the publisher of Top Gun Magazine where the records were printed along with the results from each sanctioned contest. I have a copy of the magazine from 1965 with my picture on the cover for again winning the California State Championships.

    I shot record times in Walk and Draw events from 1961 up to 1975. My fastest timed shot in the Walk and Draw Level event and proven by a back-up shot while still on the line was a .15 in Arcadia, California in 1972.

    Our sport was not classified (into A, B & C classes that allowed the newer competitors, especially, to learn the sport, improve and move up in the classes,) until the International Fast Gun League came into being in 1969. So, before that, probably as an aid to the slower shooter, we started shooting targets. We shot blanks at a 4” balloon at eight feet away which was the fastest event. The method of competition was still one shooter shooting against another but they stood side by side and shot at balloon targets 8 feet away. The Mid Western Fast Draw Association was using wax bullets at a rectangular target 15 feet away, and preferred to have one shooter on the line at a time with a total time or average recorded. We, in the western states, started shooting a Standing Wax event in 1964. We later added a Walking Wax event where the target was pushed forward as the shooter walked. The walking events were much more difficult because the shooter’s holster, strapped securely to his leg, moved as he walked, making it more difficult to find the gun and draw. We also added a Walking Balloon Event shot with blanks to add to the Standing Balloon Event.

    We now had four major events with Walk and Draw with Blanks falling pretty much by the wayside. This hurt the sport because it had been much easier to attract sponsors with the Walk & Draw event that was very entertaining to watch. Walk & Draw shot with blanks brought spectators to the premises of sponsors like car dealers, restaurants, bars and shopping centers where matches could be safely held using blank ammunition. Blanks loaded to break balloons carried further and wax bullets are still bullets, so when the sport moved to targets, safety precautions resulted in changes that made the sport less available to spectators – and less interesting for them because the shooters no longer had the appearance of walking toward one another like in western-movie gunfights. Fewer spectators resulted in fewer sponsors.

    Most of the time when I shot in these overall timed matches I thumbed 3 of the events and fanned the Standing Balloons Event. To win the overall, a shooter had to have the lowest total time after their 20 recorded shots, 5 in each event. I always got the fastest time trophy in Standing Balloons and sometimes in the other three events. The fastest time I ever shot at a sanctioned overall contest was a .16. That is in hundredths of a second. The fastest five shots I ever shot at a WFDA tournament was in Prescott, Arizona in 1966. It was a total 1.06 for five shots in the Standing Balloon with blanks event. I was shooting out of an Andy Anderson rig that time, using the same Colt of course.

    The WFDA does not have any of my records in their record book because they have thrown the records away three times that I know of. A check of their record book will show that it doesn’t list any record times from when I was competing in Fast Draw with blanks or wax from 1961 to 1975. I stopped shooting in WFDA shoots when we started the International Fast Gun League in 1969. I shot with the League from 1969 to 1975 until a contract to entertain sent Becky and me to the east coast. We had made an effort to eliminate the lightened, gimmicked guns and fender rigs (so called after the design of car fenders at the time) or funny holsters that were creeping into the sport, but were unsuccessful. It was a real shame to see the sport go downhill, and so quickly, after that. Rather than stay around to watch the honor bleed from the sport, I concentrated on my full-time career as an exhibition shooter using all types of guns, and walked away from single-action fast-draw competition all together. I had been shooting competition since the age of 11 beginning a long live-ammo fast draw career, but that is another story.

    I was a fierce and successful Fast-Draw competitor. For years I have heard rumors and crazy stories invented by people who, I guess maybe because they couldn’t shoot as fast as I and other top shooters did, even with their funny guns and holsters, are still bent out of shape. Some of these guys go to some trouble to attack my credibility. Although I know I will never be able to silence the critics, I thought I would address a few chat-room attacks that have recently been brought to my attention:

    “Bob’s hammer is not WFDA legal”.

    First of all, I don’t shoot with the WFDA. Secondly, the man who stated this on a chat room uses a modified hammer. I sometimes use modified hammers. In my exhibitions I use different modified hammers and some stock hammers. Thirdly, isn’t it strange that the shooter who attacked me about one of my hammers competes in the WFDA with a Ruger Blackhawk which has an aluminum back strap and trigger guard, is a .357 bored out to a .45LC to which he has added aluminum barrel with aluminum or titanium cylinder and a skeletonized frame? It could weigh less than 12 ounces. Years ago I coined the term Funny Guns because they reminded me of the Funny Cars of drag racing – which appear to be real cars but are really rails with a false body to resemble an actual car. The Funny Guns that some WFDA competitors use are really lightened facsimiles. Why not shoot cap guns? My Colts that I have always used for fast draw weigh in at 2 and ¼ pounds. Who is shooting with no honor here? Also, the WFDA’s Open Class holsters protrude out in front of their bodies and bounce when they walk. The holster “boot” is so big they can set the gun in it half drawn. It is cut down in the front so low all they have to do is tip the gun to fire a shot. My holster covers all of the barrel and 75 percent of the cylinder. I actually have to draw my gun. The WFDA’s equipment is an embarrassment. I saw the sport of Fast Draw almost completely die with a few hanging on and most of the time reduced to sponsoring their own contests. Cowboy Action Shooting has helped create a new interest in shooting and Fast Draw and has brought about a new entity known as Cowboy Fast Draw, in which competitors use wax bullets. Cowboy Fast Draw definitely shows promise. I don’t agree with all of their rules but I think they are on the right track away from Funny Guns and gimmicked holsters.

    “Munden said he quit competing because no one could beat him”.

    I quit shooting competition fast draw in 1975 when, because of entertainment engagements on the east coast, Becky and I relocated to New Jersey from California for several years. I had also given up trying to reverse the way the rules were changing to allow radical gun and holster modifications.

    “The Guinness Book of World Records removed Bob Munden’s fast draw records because the WFDA wrote to them saying his records weren’t legitimate.”

    In 1981 David Boehm of the Sterling Publishing Company, which publishes the Guinness Book of World Records, told me by phone that they decided to remove all of the gun shooting records from the book because the board that decides what books to place in school libraries across the nation told him that they would purchase the Guinness Book to be used as a reference book for schools only if the publisher would take out all shooting records. As a result, my records along with those of Annie Oakley’s, Tom Frye’s and Ed McGivern’s, were removed. It was a sad day in shooting history. The only shooting records that are still published in the book are Olympic records.

    “A few years ago, someone offered a $5,000.00 bonus to Bob Munden if he would attend a WFDA sanctioned tournament and win”

    I wouldn’t even attend a WFDA match as a spectator, let alone shoot in it. The equipment they allow is an embarrassment to the shooting world and I do not want any part of it. If I entered one of their contests I would be supporting what they do and there is not enough money in the world for me to do that. If you don’t use a real gun, what is the point? The sport came from the TV westerns. The TV western gunslingers didn’t wear radical holsters and they used real guns, not lighten facsimiles. My participation would have been a de facto endorsement of something I do not support.

    Some members of the WFDA don’t like me because I tell everyone about the equipment they use; and I don’t respect the organization because it allowed a good gun sport to turn into a laughing stock.

    I want to take this opportunity to add that I am extremely concerned about the direction Cowboy Action Shooting has taken by allowing extremely light loads and short strokes. Many of my gunsmith customers are complaining that they are being forced to use smaller calibers, lighter loads and short strokes in order to compete against the top shooters. Here we go again? Another great shooting sport being ruined? I hope not. -- Bob Munden

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Bob Munden: People often call me wanting me to work on their gun because it keeps misfiring, but I don’t take money unless the customer really needs the work. Most of the time, the problem of misfiring is not with the gun. It is either because the owner is using the wrong primers, or they are reloading and have neglected to clean out the primer pockets. I actually take a knife and scrape around the primer pockets on the empty brass I use for reloading live ammunition or for blank ammunition. I don’t do this extra work every time I reload, just once every five times or so. I recommend that you use Federal, CCI or Remington primers. They detonate easier than any other brands of primers. Heavily plated or magnum primers don’t work well with light actions.Repeated dry-firing or shooting snap caps all the time can bend the cross pin that holds in the firing pin on some revolvers. If the cross pin becomes bent, the firing pin recedes into the hammer so that it doesn’t hit the primer with enough force to detonate it. By the way, I do not recommend dry-firing for practice. Once you know how to operate your handgun, why dry fire? When you dry fire, the gun just goes “click”. When you fire live ammunition, there is a loud report and the gun recoils. I suggest you always practice with what you are going to use in competition. Then you can learn the timing required to cock the revolver for the next shot as it comes off recoil and you can get used to the loud report (using hearing protection of course.)If the mainspring is too light, that can also result in misfires. I hear about a lot of gunsmiths who put a light mainspring in the gun and because it feels easier to cock, an inexperienced customer will think he’s gotten an action job, when what he really got was just a light spring that will make his gun misfire. With my custom work, I lighten the action without weakening the flat springs in Colts and clones. I also make them adjustable so if my action seems too light for your personal trigger pull, you can tighten it down just enough so that it will fire every time. I install my own custom springs in Rugers. I do test fire every gun I work on so there shouldn’t be a problem. If there is I ask my customer to please notify me and I will help them make an adjustment or ask them to send back their gun so I can adjust it for them. If I ever make a mistake of some kind on a client’s gun, I will pay for the cost of shipping and insurance both ways and put the gun on the bench ahead of others so I can get it back to the customer immediately. That’s the honorable way to do business. That’s the way I do business. My biggest nightmare would be if there is a gun out there that I have worked on that doesn’t work right and my customer does not tell me about it.

    I will be happy to talk to gun owners who think they may need some custom gun smithing, but I will not sell shooters anything they don’t need. Plus I back up my work. — Bob Munden

    Shooting USA:
    In July the crew from Shooting USA came to Butte, Montana and we spent a couple of days taping footage for 7 segments on Shooting USA on The Outdoor Channel. Visit the News & Events section or the Schedule of Appearances page for more information. I’ll give you a hint about what to expect: I used 7 different guns for long-distance, aerial and other fun exhibition shooting. Tune in!

    WARNING: Shooting Fast Draw with live ammunition (real bullets) is VERY dangerous. Don’t ever try it — even once!

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Bob Munden: I just returned from the May 10th Celebration of Life for the late Col. Jeff Cooper, which was held at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico. Becky and I were honored to be invited to this occasion. The shooting world lost Jeff last September at the age of 86. To learn of his influence on law enforcement worldwide, self defense, the NRA and the shooting competitions in the world today, just Google his name and stand back.My connection with Col. Cooper, his wonderful wife Janelle and their family dates back to 1956 when they moved up to the mountains east of Los Angeles to Big Bear, California, where I lived. Jeff and Janelle’s daughter Christy was in my class at school. We were 14. Sisters Perry and Lindy were younger. All three girls were very attractive and popular. I was drawn to their friendly home because of my friendship with Christy and because her father loved to talk about shooting.Jeff was a writer for Guns and Ammo Magazine. When he wrote his first book titled Art of the Rifle, Jeff received guns to test fire and comment on. He would pick me up in his red Porsche and we would drive out to where he could fire the different high-powered rifles in a safe area. That was the first time I was able to fire high-powered rifles like the .375, .458 and .460 Weatherbys.

    When Jeff organized and presented his first Leatherslap Fast Draw contest as part of the Old Miners Days celebration in Big Bear, I signed up. The only equipment I had was an Iver Johnson breakdown .38 my dad had, and a cap gun holster, which I tied around me with a bathrobe sash. A couple years later I raked pine needles from the Cooper’s yard to earn the privilege of borrowing a Colt single-action revolver from Jeff. He also let me borrow the carry holster. That was the beginning of Fast Draw for Bob Munden.

    Jeff’s tournaments were well run and served him later in his writings and training courses. These events were the beginning of organized combat shooting. Col. Cooper started the Bear Valley Gunslingers Club and later the South West Combat Pistol League which lead to the International Practical Shooting Confederation or IPSC. The rest is history.

    At this Celebration of Life, it was sad but also a celebration of what Jeff Cooper meant to all of us. He certainly influenced my life. I hear his voice in my head when I tell everyone who will listen about the superiority of the 1911 .45 ACP over any other choice for self defense. For that purpose I carry nothing else. When one of the guest speakers at the gathering asked how many of the over 200 attendees where carrying a loaded 1911, just about every single person raised their hand.

    The memorial celebration was first class. As many people know, Lt. Colonel Jeff Cooper was a retired U.S. Marine, so it was fitting that the United States Marine Force Reserve Band played. The U.S. Marine Corps. 4th Reconnaissance Battalion Color Guard presented the U.S. Flag, and many people took the opportunity to speak about their association with Jeff and/or his Gunsite Shooting Academy located in Prescott, AZ. Mrs. Cooper and daughter Lindy spoke eloquently, and with reserved emotion, along with many close friends, associates, former students of Jeff and 1st Vice-President Ronald L. Schmeites of the NRA.

    We watched a DVD presentation of Jeff’s funeral and internment in a mausoleum on the grounds of Gunsite, and also a DVD of his life that will be on sale to raise money for The Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation.

    When one of the presenters spoke about the Leatherslaps of the 1950’s and 60’s he asked if anyone in the room had shot in them. Turns out I was the only one. I entered in several matches, won my share of duals and placed 2nd in 1958 at age 16 using Jeff’s Colt .45 single action revolver.

    At the end of the proceedings, ten chosen shooters stepped out and fired a total of 86 shots as a group, one for every year of Jeff’s life. Some shooters used Scout rifles (Jeff helped develop that gun) and some used 1911s. I was next to last to shoot. Cooper family friend Rich Wyatt, who organized the salute, fired the 86th and final shot in honor of Janelle using a S&W Model 60, which she carries. The entire event was a fitting tribute to an extremely influential man. — Bob Munden

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Q: Do you hunt?Bob Munden:
    Absolutely! Hunting opportunities was one of the primary reasons I moved our family to Montana in 1978.Becky and I discovered Montana in 1969 when we first went on tour performing for school assemblies. Our first show was in Freedonia, Arizona. Then we traveled up through Utah doing sometimes 4 shows per day at schools in different towns. The schedule was really tough. After performing all over Utah, our schedule took us to Montana, where we covered that state quite extensively as well. It was love at first sight. You know that we don’t have anything to say about where we are born, but we do have a lot to say about where we end up. Montana is where I wanted to end up. Here in the Rocky Mountains there is still an abundance of wildlife on public land and more freedom to enjoy the shooting sports without the hassles and expenses encountered in some other states.

    Every fall we plan our family get-togethers around the big-game hunting season. The season ends around Thanksgiving, which works perfectly for socializing and hunting. Our daughters and grandkids love to hunt with me, I think mainly because I have great eye sight (would you believe better than 20/20 even at age 66?) and I have a knack for finding game.

    I have been hunting all of my life, first in my imagination, later with a pellet gun, a bow, shotguns, rifles and handguns. My early years were spent in Anaheim, California where I hunted with a slingshot or pellet rifle among the walnut groves. At that time there was a bounty on crows because of the damage they were doing to commercial crops. I used to hunt where Disneyland is today. It was nothing but orange and walnut groves. In fact, I watched them bulldoze the trees to start building Disneyland. A side note here: When Walt Disney cut the ribbon to open his park in 1955, I was right there. I had sneaked in through the area of the Jungle Cruise attraction . The park wasn’t surrounded by fences yet.

    Later, when my family of four brothers and one sister moved to the San Bernardino Mountains, I was in hunter’s heaven. We lived in Big Bear, California which, at that time, had a very small population. I roamed free and studied and hunted deer and birds. I mowed lawns and did other odd jobs to make money, then I bought a bow and became quite proficient with it. My uncle Floyd gave me a rifle so I could help feed my family. Though we were quite poor because my Dad was severely injured during WWII and couldn’t work for a long time, we never starved. When I could, I would go down to the desert to hunt as well. Though I was just a kid in high school, I helped other hunters find game. Word got around that I knew the habits of deer and could guide hunters. A few came up from “down the hill,” in the Los Angeles area, to hunt with me. I charged $50.00 to guide and $100.00 for a successful hunt. The money I earned paid for my school clothes and shoes and all-important basketball shoes. I hunted all over those mountains and later “down the hill” in Hacienda Heights and the Hollywood hills, which are now filled with homes. Sometimes I would ride my bicycle from Big Bear all the way down to Apple Valley and back. Those were the days…

    In the middle of my Fast-Draw competition years, I suddenly found myself married with a baby girl. Hmm… A wife, a baby – and in between jobs while living in Central California, our cupboards were as empty as my wallet. So what did I do? I took what little money I had, bought a small bag of marbles and a Wrist-Rocket slingshot; sought out some quail – and put meat on the table. Crawling through prickly brush with a mouth full of marbles is not something I recommend. But, I fed my family.

    I love to hunt mule deer because they are crafty. They are very challenging physically and mentally to hunt. If possible, I hunt every year with our daughters, son-in-laws, grandson and granddaughter. My wife Becky hunted with me for years but has retired from it. Still, she really enjoys the play-by-play stories on our return. We hunt mainly close to home, driving 40 to 50 miles to our favorite spots. We drive the roads, use binoculars to search the area for game and then trek up the mountains to stalk and make a good shot. Because we have all put in the time at the gun range to practice and be ready, the hunt is usually successful. For me, hunting season is the best part of the year. Sometimes it is just two of us and sometimes we all go in several vehicles. Some of the best memories of my life are of hunting with my family.

    I have hunted in several states and in New Zealand. I have flown to Alaska several times over the years to hunt and bag big game. When it is feasible, I hunt with a handgun. I favor my nickel-plated, S&W .44 magnum model 29 with 8 3/8 inch barrel, or my stainless-steel, Freedom Arms .454 Casull with the 7 1/2 inch barrel. I don’t use a scope on my handguns. If I am close enough to use a handgun I don’t need a scope. I made a video of a 75-yard shot with my Freedom Arms on a Brown Bear on Admiralty Island in 2001.

    Do, I hunt? Yeah, I do. – Bob Munden

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • 01/12/09 – UPDATE
    I think this country has elected a good man in Barack Obama and I wish him and the rest of us well. Be sure to pay very close attention to not only what the new administration and Congress does when it comes to 2nd Amendment rights, but to your local governments as well. Watch out for absurd new rules, outrageous taxes on ammunition, etc. — Bob Munden
    09/07/08
    Bob Munden:
    I’m extremely busy getting out gun work, and the production crew will be here this month to do taping for next season’s Shooting USA: Impossible Shots on the Outdoor Channel. However, I just have to take a moment to weigh in on the upcoming presidential election.Listen up – Barack Obama seems like an intelligent guy, but he has spent lots of time and energy trying to ban guns. I don’t care if the governor of my state, Montana, thinks otherwise; Barack Obama’s record clearly shows that he is all about banning guns one way or another.

    What good is a gun for protection if it has to be torn apart, locked up or stored separately from the ammunition? THAT is protecting the Constitution and my individual right to protect my family and myself? No way.

    We don’t live in a society that has police in every home or on every block, and I wouldn’t want to live in such a country. Police can’t be everywhere at once, so it is up to individuals to get training and be able to defend themselves. You say we don’t need guns to defend ourselves? Then why do police carry them?

    The more that elements of our country move to ban firearms in the name of decreasing crime, the more vulnerable Americans will become. Criminals will always have weapons no matter what, and they LOVE gun control. It makes their job so much easier. Leaders of countries angry with the U.S. love gun control too, because then our citizens couldn’t protect our nation from invasion. You say that doesn’t happen these days? Have you watched world news lately? Our country wasn’t designed to be like other countries. The United States was meant to be different. We were meant to be free.

    Guns, like cars, knives, baseball bats, slingshots, lawn darts, umbrellas, rocks and just about anything else can be used as lethal weapons. It is impossible to eliminate access to weapons. If you ban one thing, the bad guys will just get it illegally or use something else. This year, a surge in the number of stabbings in Britain, a great number of which were done with basic kitchen knives, has the authorities battling “knife crimes,” which includes prosecuting people with knives on them that are longer than 3 inches. Just think about how many more people the police are searching and patting down? Remind you of the days of Hitler’s S.S.? Brother, it does me.

    Gun crimes, knife crimes, and baseball-bat crimes – they’re all the same. Innocent people getting killed is upsetting for everyone, but in my opinion, the focus should be not on what people are using to kill other people, but on WHY they are killing other people.

    Instead of focusing on weapons and attempting to disarm innocent civilians that include the millions of gun owners who have guns for protection and/or who participate in the shooting sports from Olympic trap shooting, to defense training to Cowboy Action Shooting, and hunting for healthy meat that’s not pumped full of chemicals, why don’t we, as a culture, turn our attention instead to communicating with our kids, to teaching them about safety, to showing them right from wrong – to supporting parents. I’d like to see more opportunities for kids to grow up knowing that being a good person is actually pretty cool. How do we go about making that happen? I could support spending money on those efforts. Attempting to take guns, then knives, then the next weapon of choice away isn’t going to solve the problem of violence. People need to solve the problem of violence. Laws aren’t going to do it, and historically, unarmed citizens never win, especially when the wrong people are in power or during times of war.

    People who are willing to lead and protect the rights that our founding fathers laid out on paper have my respect. With that in mind, know this: Barack Obama is not telling the truth when he talks about his support of the 2nd amendment and “reasonable gun laws.” He says he wants to ban AK-47s, but doesn’t mention that the wording of such a bill will outlaw many, many other types of guns too. He won’t take your gun away? Don’t believe it. If you look at his voting record, there is no doubt about his intentions. Both of the Clintons are anti-gun too, and former President Clinton actually once said, “The constitution is a radical document. It is the job of government to reign in people’s rights.” Are you kidding me? The citizens, not the government, run this radical country, which was purposely designed to be radical (different and free) compared to the rest of the world. John McCain isn’t the best friend of the 2nd amendment either, although he seems more inclined to change his mind on issues when the people and a study of history clearly correct him. Yes, we want the country to go in a better direction, but our freedoms must always be preserved. Always. – Bob Munden

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Q: Tell us about the school.Bob Munden:
    Well for a long time people asked me to show them how to shoot Fast Draw. At one point (my wife) Becky suggested I set up a school so that I could show people, who were interested, how to shoot fast from the holster like the television western stars. They could then, play Fast Draw for their own enjoyment, demonstrate, “show off” in front of their friends or compete in Cowboy Fast Draw or Open Class Fast Draw.I put the word out to see what the reaction to the existence of a school might be and I filled my first class immediately. That was 1993. It is a four-day class of not more than eight students. It is here in Butte, Montana and the cost is $800.00.

    I usually schedule the school in July in between festivals and Evel Knievel Days. Butte is always celebrating something! This year the school was July 13th through the 16th. I had a full class of eight students. I try to limit each class enrollment so I am able to give each student individual attention. My 2009 students included an airline pilot from Texas, an attorney from California, a highway patrol officer from Kansas, a successful musician from Tennessee, a radio talk-show host and his son from Montana, a business man retired from the USMC from Colorado and an auto body shop owner. It was just a good bunch of guys and I wore them out shooting, and shooting and shooting! It wore me out too!

    During every school all these years, the students have had a blast, pun intended. It is interesting. Guys who would probably never meet because their lives and interests are so varied, come together because of this one interest at my School of the Fast Gun, relax, make friends instantly, have a great time and learn to shoot Fast Draw, either the thumbing or the fanning method of draw. I go over safety big time, the history of Fast Draw (which was invented by the dime novelists and movies basically) and really get in to teaching these guys. I watch them shoot, see how they react to the timer, how they move, etc. Then I coach them all week. We have lunch at nearby restaurants, meet for a group dinner in the middle of the week – and we provide tourism information so students and their friends or families can check out Butte, Montana and the surrounding areas.

    Q: What is required equipment to attend your School of the Fast Gun?

    Bob Munden:
    First they need a gun that can be customized to withstand the rigors, the extreme stress on the guns. A stock gun out of the box will absolutely be destroyed if somebody tries to shoot Fast Draw with it. They will mess up the locks and leads-in on the cylinder, break the trigger; even ruin the frame of the gun itself. They might get away with a couple of shots, but the gun will be destroyed. I guarantee it. So, when someone wants to come to the school, they must own a “Race Gun” that I can only “build” on a Colt or a Ruger New Vaquero. I sometimes have Colts or Ruger New Vaqueros for sale already customized. The Italian copies of a Colt just will not hold up and/or cannot be modified. I don’t have a problem with Colt clones for target shooting or Cowboy Action Shooting, but not for Fast Draw. (If you want to compete in Cowboy Fast Draw, make sure the holster qualifies for that sport. Visit www.CFDA.com). If you are interested in Open Class Fast Draw with the World Fast Draw Association, then I would recommend a holster from Galco, International l like I use or one from Alfonso’s, their #A2.

    Q:Why is there only one School of the Fast Gun each year?

    Bob Munden:
    Well, I am busy all year doing gun work for customers, doing exhibition shooting for the television crew of Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots once or twice a year, traveling for performances – and, if we can fit it in, my wife and I enjoy going to Bike Week at Sturgis on our Harley.

    In a separate situation from the scheduled school, if a private group of friends of at least six, for example, wants to come to a school, I can set up a time to do a school just for them. The school has been great. I have had several students come back again and again, signing up right away for the next year so they don’t lose their spot. They like living the dream of being a cowboy shooting Fast Draw. It’s fun. I know – I’ve been doing it all my life! — Bob Munden

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    Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.

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  • Becky and I will not entertain or attend End of Trail at Founder’s Ranch in New Mexico this year. It will mark the very first time we’ve missed the event in the 29-year history of the SASS World Championships of Cowboy Action Shooting. Our decision to stay home (and in the shop) is because recent medical issues (which I have overcome,) caused me to become behind in my customer gunwork.It takes a lot of time to prepare for our live-ammunition exhibition. Those who have seen it know it is quite elaborate to say the least. We spend a full month preparing, traveling, attending and performing for EoT – and then we have to come back and clean everything up and put it away. Because of the time that is always required, I thought I owed it to my customers to stay home and continue catching up. I do all of the gun work myself and I want the guns back in my customers’ hands as soon as possible.We are already planning on attending the 30th EoT in 2011.Watch for new segments on Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots on the Outdoor Channel, which we’ve been told will begin airing in July. I don’t want to let the cat completely out of the bag, but my appearances involve a knife, a reeeeaallly long shot with a S&W Model 29 .44 mag, and would you believe, shooting a dime from the hip? There’s more too. Outrageous stuff. — Bob Munden—————————Do you have questions about Bob Munden’s Six-Gun Magic gunsmith work on single actions, Smith & Wesson double-action revolvers or Bond Derringers? Call Munden Enterprises at 406-494-2833 (8am- 8pm MST), or visit our contact page.
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