‘Tis the Season For Early GOW

For all you well-behaved gunslingers, the GOW team has checked its list twice and is bringing you an early holiday gift with the Winter 2024 issue of Guns of the Old West! In this issue, we look back at the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Likewise, we discuss how the Marlin 1881 could have won the West. In addition, is a profile of Marie Dorion and a look into the unkillable Cassius M. Clay. All this and more in this latest issue of GOW.

Inside Guns of the Old West Winter 2024

Unless you looked over the masthead of the Fall 2023 Issue of Guns of the Old West, you probably didn’t notice that listed under the magazine staff, besides yours truly, was Cover Photo “Jacob Bell.” Unfortunately, that was a faux pas, and it should have been Jordan Bell, my son. Although

If you’ve been reading my material for the last few years, you might have noticed his byline on my articles. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that he does an outstanding job. Not to mention, he has many two-page spread photos to his credit.

I’m lucky he took an interest in photography and developed expertise in both taking images and using Photoshop to create a finished product. For years, I took my own photos, and for me, it was pure drudgery. So, I’m so pleased that he has partnered with me in this writing venture!

Bona Fides

At this point, I feel that perhaps I should make the reader aware of my bona fide as a “Sr. Contributing Editor and Content Creator.”

I certainly didn’t start out to be a journalist, other than taking English and Composition in high school and college. And I have no formal training as a writer. Most of my writing was done filling out countless police incident reports. The narratives of which had to be in a comprehendible and logical order to be of evidentiary value should a case I’d written up go to court.

I spent some 38 years in local, state, and federal law enforcement, so I got plenty of paperwork practice. I wrote my first paying article 40 years ago while as a rookie border patrol agent on the southern border. Throughout my federal LE career, I continued to write as I eventually entered up with U.S. Customs, retiring in 2014.

As a youngster, I was brought up in rural Kentucky and, early on, became an outdoorsman, frequently fishing and hunting. In school composition classes, my reports were often about my outdoor activities. I’d take pictures of my guns and gear with my Kodak Instamatic.

I suppose I was a bit like Ralphie in the film, A Christmas Story. I was also a voracious reader and subscribed to magazines like Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, and Sports Afield. I felt it was important to learn as much as I could about my hunting and fishing endeavors.

Later, I discovered gun magazines. It seemed like it would be a great job to write about my interests and be paid for it. That idea I stashed in the back of my mind.

Eternal Student

I was also a history buff and, being a “Boomer,” I was big on the Old West. Western shows and movies were quite abundant when I was growing up with shows like “Rawhide,” Wagon Train, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and The Roy Rogers Show.

I also read a lot of books. Not just Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour, but non-fiction by authors like Dee Brown and Joseph Rosa. I ended up with quite a library of Western books, and added to this were books about guns. I still have most of them today, and they are good reference material.

Of course, I keep adding to this collection, as my motto is, “You can’t write if you don’t read.”

My writing has also been influenced by many of the great gun scribes, several of whom I had been privileged to meet. Men like Elmer Keith, Bill Jordan, Skeeter Skelton, Charles Askins, and others like Walt Rauch and Jim Cirillo.

I went to college to study wildlife management and ended up with a degree in Criminal Justice and a commission in the Army Reserve. I was a collateral-duty firearms instructor for 17 years with Customs and competed in Police PPC, IPSC, and bowling pin shoots. And since 1991, I have been active in Cowboy Action Shooting.

This is my background, and I hope you enjoy my work as much as I like doing it. Have a great time reading the Winter edition of GOW!

Inside Guns of the Old West Winter 2024.

Listen to Your Favorite Gun Mags

Here’s a special note about digital subscriptions. If you’re one of those people who like to buy and listen to audio versions of books, then you’re in luck. All digital copies of Athlon Outdoors publications, including BallisticCombat HandgunsTactical LifePersonal Defense World Concealed Carry Handguns, and Guns Of The Old West, sport the “mobile view” function.

This allows you to listen to each issue from any device… your smartphone, tablet, or work/personal computer. That’ll keep your hands and eyes free to take on other tasks like driving to work or the shooting range. Enjoy the new feature!

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up your copy today!

In This Issue:


  • Celebrating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad
Celebrating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.


  • With better marketing, the Marlin 1881 may have been the gun that won the West


  • Clash between Colt and Winchester for the frontier firepower
Clash between Colt and Winchester for the frontier firepower.


  • Colt spared no parts when making a plethora of conversion pocket pistols


  • Cassius M. Clay, toughest man to ever live, even had home-defense cannons
Cassius M. Clay, toughest man to ever live, even had home-defense cannons.


  • Desert Door Texas Sotol brings us a Southwest taste of the old days


Read all this and more in the Winter 2024 issue of Guns of the Old West Magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.

Inside Guns of the Old West Winter 2024.

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