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Carver after winning shoot in 1890s looks happy, hands folded complacently, in midst of admirers. Anson-system hammerless guns were just coming into use.
Carver was feted in England at Crystal Palace but helper was shot by spectator.
Touring Russia, 1890, Carver's shooting troupe posed for Muscovite camera-bug. In war bonnet is Red Hatchet. At left, standing, Bronco Sam, champion roper, sports Remington .44.
By RAYMOND W. THORP
THE STORY OF DOC CARVER, WHO COULD BREAK MORE FLYING TARGETS WITH RIFLE SLUGS THAN SHOTGUN CHAMPS COULD HIT WITH SCATTER LOADS... AND DID, FOR MONEY, MARBLES, OR CHALK
By RAYMOND W. THORP
FEW MEN" WAIT until they are 35 to choose a life's work, and very few pick a calling that requires great physical strength and endurance. Yet Doc W. F. Carver, who was for 16 years the world's champion all-round shot, did just that. Men who handle guns at the traps know that there is nothing more tiring than to enter match after match, day after day, week after week: yet Carver shot heavier guns, shot them faster, in longer matches. It was lucky indeed that Carver's life prior to this undertaking, beginning at age seventeen, had been spent on the western plains, hunting and trapping. He had gained strength and endurance the hard way.
It was in the year ]875 that Carver took his leave of the former life and entered the new. going from ¡Nebraska to the city of Oakland, California, to practice shooting in quiet, among strangers. He knew nothing about the use of shotguns, but all about rifles. He shot any type rifle at any type target, still or moving. He shot with both eyes open; this was something new at the time. He had even mastered the art of hip-shooting with the rifle. This is attested to by thousands of eye-witness accounts.
Already famous for marksmanship on the plains, where every man was a marksman. Carver practiced for still greater skill throughout the years of 1876 and 1877. Then, in December of the latter year, he sent out his first challenge to the world through the pages or the San Francisco Chronicle. The challenge covered all types of rifle shooting, on foot or on horseback. Then, to prove that he was in earnest, he mounted a horse and, with his rifle, a Winchester .44 of 1873, hit 50 straight tossed glass balls, riding the animal at a dead run.
Carver cut dashing figure in high boots, with bemedaled frock coat.
Day of his death Carver, largest man in photo, posed with famous western characters (I. to r.) Pawnee Bill, Capt. North, Deadwood Dick, Idaho Bill and Diamond Dick.
Carver struck typical pose with engraved '73, Sioux embroidered jacket, in England.
all comers, his rifle against their shotguns. It had to be that way; nobody would meet him with a rifle, on flying targets. Yet, wherever he shot, cities lost their champions, champions lost their lucre and their medals. Charles Gove of Denver, a great shotgun artist, was humbled. So was John W. Petty of Omaha. It was the same story wherever this traveling Carver whirlwind struck. Each city newspaper deserted its local shooting hero, the reporters inventing fantastic names to describe this miracle-man of bullets. They called him "The Human Mitrailleuse," "The Rifle King," "The Californian Deadshot" (the Californians thus gained some/Jung from his visit!) They called him "The Magical Marksman," and even "The Hero of Modern Romance!"
Carver had timed his tour with forethought and precision. The Minnesota State Fair, the Pittsburgh Exposition, the Georgia State Fair at Macon were all on the itinerary, and at all of these he was the chief attraction.
Bogardus, the renowned American champion at the traps, had recently broken, with shotgun, 5000 glass balls in 500 minutes at Gilmore's Garden, New York. Carver took his .44 Winchesters to the Brooklyn Driving Park, and broke 5500 balls in 487V-j minutes. Bogardus, a robust man. had to shoot his last thousand sitting in a chair: Carver stayed on his feet to the end. Carver had challenged Bogardus a score of times, but could not get an acceptance. Becoming tired of waiting. Carver crossed the Atlantic in search of competition—and money.
Carver had learned that he was the lone wingshot rifleman of the world. All the others in shooting circles used shotguns, and none of them would shoot against his rifle.
So, along with his Winchesters. (Continued on page 46)
Observing this remarkable feat, the Sportsmen's Club of California, of which he was a member, presented him with a solid gold medal; a horse's head with diamond eyes and ruby nostrils, carrying a Winchester in its mouth. Following this, on February 22nd, 1878, of that year he entered a match at 100 glass balls tossed from a Bogardus trap. He broke 885 out of the 1000 targets. This, remember, ivas with a rifle. The Club again honored him, naming him "a Californian," and giving him a tremendous gold medal attesting to his prowess.
He had kept his ultimate purpose secret; but now the joke was on the Club. At the very time he received the title and the medal, he was ready to leave California. He had used California only as a testing ground. His home was to be the wide world. Wherever men shot guns for sport or money, he would be there, beat the champions, take their money and their medals, and move on. He began his tour at Sacramento, March 24, 1878.
He roared across the country like a thunderbolt, taking
"An exhibition without equal on face of earth" was claim of Ad am Forepaugh, who presented Doc Carver to the world.
\AIe offer this department as a new GUNS service to shooters, to acquaint you with the legislative "climate" as it affects your sport, and with the men who make that climate: your Senators and Representatives in the United States Houses of Congress. The report is not "loaded" in any way; the statements quoted are replies to the letter below, and we will print them regardless of the views expressed, whether pro or con. We do this as a service to the gun industry and shooters everywhere.
The following letter is being mailed to every member of the U.S. Senate and to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives:
We are gathering material for a feature editorial in GUNS magazine, presenting portraits and brief statements from legislative leaders such as yourself. The statement we seek is an expression (in 50 words, more or less) by you of your views on the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution: "A well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Do you believe that this amendment is of significant importance in today's world? How do you view the Founding Fathers' meaning of the word "militia" in terms of today's people and circumstances? What is your view of the purpose and the proper effect of the statement that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed? Can you give us, in your opinion, examples of what would be and what would not be, infringements of this right?
We believe that your statements in this matter, which is of such importance to our readers, will be read by them with great interest.
To date, the replies received have been gratifying in the extreme. A few legislators plead lack of time to compile an answer, and this is a legitimate excuse. But, so far, not one reply received expresses intent on the part of a legislator to deny Americans their right to own and bear arms.
We will, as space permits, publish all letters received, in whole or in part. Our letters are going to all Senators and all Representatives; if in time any legislator's reply is not published, it is because he did not reply.
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