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Of all the black powder cartridge single shot rifles of the late 1800s Duke considers the Sharps Model 1874 as the truest true classic. This one is a .45-70.

the Winchester High Wall, aka Model 1885. It has been duplicated just about as much as any single shot rifle, again in such disparate locations as Italy and Japan. From the Miroku in Japan, a greatly altered High Wall has been imported by Browning and Winchester. From Italy come ones made by Uberti. Here in the US, authentic ones are made by Meacham Tool & Hardware, C. Sharps Arms and the Ballard Rifle.

The reason I flinch away from High Walls is their lack of history. Nobody fought with them, no regions were conquered by High Wall armed troops. Nobody hunted for ivory in Africa with them. What they mostly gained a reputation for was a bunch of bowler-hatted gentlemen shot paper targets with High Walls on Sunday afternoons.

Still, I can't deny they were fine rifles and have been finely duplicated.

Among Old West handguns there is the aforementioned Colt SAA, again, perhaps the most reproduced handgun ever, starting back in the 1950s with the Great Western. And in fact what do you think the Ruger Blackhawks were meant to look like? Many Italian factories made literally tons of SAA replicas, ranging from great ones — true clones of the Peacemaker — to junkers. They are even made in Brazil by Taurus. Replica SAAs have also been made in Germany and Switzerland. The circle has now been completed. The US Firearms Company is making very fine SAA copies right there in Connecticut.

Another Colt handgun perhaps is a tie for most reproduced handgun of all time. Of course it's the Model 1911 or 1911A1, take your pick. I doubt if I even know all the plants producing 1911s in one form or another. Military ones have even been made in Norway and Argentina. Here in the USA, 1911s are currently offered by Kimber, Springfield, S&W, USFA, Les Baer, Wilson, and many others. And I hear now Ruger is getting into the act. The 1911 pistol is the truest true classic semi-auto handgun. (In my vault are Colt, Les Baer, Kimber, and USFA 1911s. The .45 ACPs are my favorites.)

Smith & Wesson made their share of true classics, but interestingly, they also make their own reproductions. Just in the last five years they have returned the N-frame Models 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29 and M1917 to production

Duke considers the Winchester Model 70 to be the truest true class of bolt-action rifles because it is by which all others are judged. This one is a 1959 vintage Featherweight .30-06.

Duke considers the Winchester Model 70 to be the truest true class of bolt-action rifles because it is by which all others are judged. This one is a 1959 vintage Featherweight .30-06.

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