Death in the Desert
The Black Powder Cartridge News|Summer 2021
This Colt .45 “Peacemaker” was found out in the desert in historically one of the most dangerous places on Earth.
William P. Mapoles
The end of the barrel was spotted sticking up out of the dust in the middle of nowhere, 17 miles from Tombstone, Arizona, 16 miles from Fort Huachuca, and only nine miles north of the Mexican border. It was made in 1884, based on the serial number of 111,506. The gun has one empty chamber, two fired shells, and three live rounds in it. The hammer is frozen in the first click or notch. Given the clockwise rotation of the cylinder, it had been carried on the empty chamber, then two shots had been fired, and the owner was in the act of cocking the hammer for the third shot, when it fell to the ground. You get an eerie feeling that the guy died violently when he dropped this gun, because he was in “The Valley of the Shadow of Death.”

Here is what was happening in this area at the time. Tombstone was in its heyday, and “Boot Hill” was full of people murdered in the town and out in the desert. Only very seldom did anyone die of natural causes. It was not uncommon for Anglo outlaws, Mexican bandits, and rogue Apaches to raid small, individually owned mines out in the remote areas. In fact, what is known as “the bloodiest cabin in Arizona” is only about 10 miles away. This is a small adobe miner’s cabin where at least 20 people were found murdered over a number of years. A few miners would move in to work the rich silver vein, they would get robbed and killed, and a few new miners would move in to continue working the claim. This cycle of mayhem was repeated over and over.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE BLACK POWDER CARTRIDGE NEWSView All

ON HUNTING AND SNIPING

Long-range target shooting here in the U.S. has become increasingly popular, at least since the first International Match with the Irish team in 1874.

9 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

Death in the Desert

This Colt .45 “Peacemaker” was found out in the desert in historically one of the most dangerous places on Earth.

4 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

A COVID-19 Project

As far as the COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, I can’t find much good to say about it. One thing I can say, though; I had a lot of idle time on my hands. After perusing YouTube videos during this time of lockdown, I came across a company that makes rifle kits – Kibler’s Long Rifles.

10+ mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

Smithmoor .22 Offhand Target Championship NSmithmoor Rangen Carpenter, Wyoming – February 20-21, 2021

The Smithmoor .22 Offhand Target Championship held February 20-21, was a great success! It was a two-day match with 50 record shots per day on the 100-yard German Ring Target from SPG Sales (blackpowderspg.com). Wyoming Schuetzen Union rules were used.

6 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

A .40 Caliber Long-Range Rifle

During a recent stay in New Zealand, we found ourselves in Rotorua, which is the stomping grounds of expert Kiwi rifleman, Laurie Kerr. Laurie has been a friend since we first met at Raton, New Mexico, a number of years ago and we have managed to stay in relatively good communication ever since.

5 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

BE MORE THAN A Wannabe PART II

Since my first article was published in Issue No. 113 of The Black Powder Cartridge News, I have received several emails and groups from readers.

5 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

The Hide Hunting Exploits of HARRY “SAM” YOUNG

It’s difficult now to remember exactly where I first read or heard about Hard Knocks by Harry “Sam” Young. The book is an extremely entertaining read and in the Publisher’s Note, it specifically states, “The great lesson of this book is that “truth is stranger than fiction.”

10+ mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

Match Results

World’s Largest Black Powder Target Rifle Match Phoenix, Arizona – March 1-10, 2021 BEN AVERY SHOOTING FACILITY

9 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

The Wyoming Schuetzen Union's “Center Shot”

John Bodine, “Old Reliable”

10+ mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Summer 2021

Who Was Albert F. Mitchell?

When somebody hears the words “Sharps rifle,” the first things that probably come to mind are the great buffalo hunts, the “Wild and Wooly West” and tales of long-range shots, Indian attacks, and hunters freezing in blizzards.

9 mins read
The Black Powder Cartridge News
Winter 2020