“Jacob, in the wine business, if you have a successful vintage you keep it going. Growth is the only measure of ongoing success in any business and especially the wine business. In fact, at Colt Firearms, our factories would shut down if there was no progress.” Elizabeth Colt looked to Strom who stood up holding a new double holster rig with two new Colt single-action .45s.
“Thanks for the lead into the conversation Elizabeth. I brought prototypes of our new line of pistols which are destined, we hope, for the Army.” Strom placed a double rig in front of Cotter, LaRoque and Mashpit. “The single guns are for Fabian and Bradley and based on your advice Jacob we had the single units made in the bright nickel finish.
Cotter lifted the new holsters. “They seem heavier than our old Colt Pattersons.”
“That’s because the cartridges are brass and not paper with extra cartridges in the belt itself. You’ll get used to it. Now be careful handling the guns. I loaded them with five and not six bullets. I don’t want any accidents in the house. The hammer is resting on an empty chamber. Please strap on your holsters, draw the guns and lay them on the table.”
They all complied.
“I widened the trigger and angled the hammer back very much like your old pistols. Now pick up one gun and hold it in your hand without touching the trigger. Good. Now with your thumb flick the chamber guard up. Cock the hammer halfway until it clicks. Okay, now the cylinder will rotate at will. Push the spring-loaded ejector rod toward you and a cartridge will pop out into your lap.”
They followed Strom’s lead as he performed the functions on his own gun as he gave the direction.
“Now put the cartridges back, one-by-one, and ease the trigger back on the empty chamber by holding the hammer with your thumb and squeezing the trigger.”
Only Bradley Hamer looked a little awkward.
“Okay let’s do it again. We’re going to keep repeating loading and unloading until you can do it with your eyes closed.”
They practiced for over an hour until they could eject the shells and load new ones in less than 30-seconds. When Strom was satisfied that each one had mastered the task, he put on his duster.
“Okay, let’s go practice. I have more than enough ammunition for the whole day.”
Elizabeth Colt cleared her throat in complaint.
“But, of course we’ll be back here for lunch.” Strom met her gaze with a nod.
Strom gave them individual instruction at the shooting range. After an hour he turned control back to Cotter. “Jake please go through your usual routine and then let me know what you think.”
At the end of two-hours they had used up considerable ammunition and checked their targets. Cotter and LaRoque had smiles on their faces.
“These guns are phenomenal,” Cotter said. “Their pointing characteristics are much better than the Pattersons.”
The others agreed and the results spoke for themselves.
“I can’t believe I did so good.” Bradley Hamer holstered his empty gun.
“After lunch I want to show you how to reload the brass casings. In the meantime I’m leaving you a thousand rounds of loaded cartridges. I want you to shoot these Colts in any weather. I’ll come by once a month with Mrs. Colt and we’ll evaluate the weapons. I want you to continue to wear your old ones as well.”
“Why? These new Colts have spoiled us.”
“Your new .45s are most secret. If you go outside of your property, like in town, leave them here and wear your Pattersons. Smith & Wesson and Remington Firearms are vultures when it comes to competitive edge. They’d even shoot one of you to get one of these for testing.”
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