Autry Museum of the American West

“Buntline Special” Model

left side

left side

1876; serial number 28802
Manufacturer: Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

The "Buntline Special" is the most celebrated variation of the Single Action Army. The defining feature of the revolver is an exceptionally long barrel that ranges from ten to sixteen inches. Approximately thirty of the revolvers were produced in 1876. The revolver gets its name from dime novel author Ned Buntline (pseudonym of Edward Z. C. Judson). In the biography Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal, published in 1931, author Stuart Lake claimed that Buntline presented five of the revolvers to Dodge City lawmen Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Charles Bassett, Neal Brown, and Bill Tilghman. The story made for great reading, but there is little historical evidence to support it. The name "Buntline Special," however, has stuck. Serial number 28802 has a sixteen-inch barrel and originally came with an attachable shoulder stock.

  • right side

    right side
  • left side

    left side
  • Carte de visite of author Ned Buntline

    Autry National Center

  • The original detachable shoulder stock for the Buntline Special

    Autry National Center
  • The book Wyatt Earp, Frontier Marshal by Stuart Lake, published in 1931

    Autry National Center
  • The Dodge City Peace Commission circa 1883

    courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society


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Marlene Head

Special Thanks

Greg Martin, R. L. Wilson

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