Final gun in the box from John G.

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Robb Barnes

Sep 16, 2007
Dallas, OR US
This is the third and final gun that was delivered last week from John down in Jasper AL. This one is different from the first two in that it is not one I actually ordered years ago but one that John had been waiting to build in house for quite some time. Years ago he found two very nice flat top 357 old model Blackhawks and he bought them with the intent of making two 44 Special conversions based on the original 44 Special conversions Skeeter Skelton did years ago when he began beating the midsized 44 Special drum. If I have it correctly, John touched bases with Bart Skelton and made sure what he was building was along the same lines Bart's dad did years ago.

The basic conversion was what started the public letter writing campaign to the gun makers asking for 44 Special revolvers. Skeeter took a three screw 357 and rebarreled it with a 44 barrel then had the cylinder rechambered to 44 Special. Sounds very similar to what Ruger brought out several years ago doesn't it? :lol: John did the same on these two guns but he also took extra time to fit the grip frames as closely as possible, straighten up the metal work on the guns, install a new proper height front sight and refinish all the parts to a better than factory finish. John even regulated the three action screws and the ejector rod housing screw on these two guns. John told me about these guns and sent me pictures and I was going to help him find homes for them to help with expenses he and Beverly were facing due to his cancer diagnosis. While I was thinking about his situation I remembered I had one of John's custom builds in the safe and since I knew I had two customs coming home form his shop I asked him if he had any outstanding orders he could fill with the gun I had. This was an octagon barrelled 44 mag bisley with a long cylinder, Bowen sights, Sambar stag grips and a few other options. John said he sure did so I offered to send him the bisley in exchange for one of these last two 44 Special guns he had just built. That is how this gun came to live in Oregon. A bisley spurred hammer from David Clements just arrived yesterday and it will go on this gun later this week.The second gun of the two he built just sold on GB along with a Thad Rybka holster, a Esee knife designed by Johns friend Ashley Emmerson and two boxes of Ashley's 44 Special loads from his Garrett Cartridge company. That offering ended up selling for just over $5300 which is fantastic for John and Beverly.

This is the final gun I suspect I will ever get from John and one I will cherish like the other two.





Colonel Daddy

Apr 5, 2005
Piney Woods of Northwest Florida
Curious to see if any hit the market any time soon! A few days ago I received my second Custom OM Blackhawk 44 Special from Johns son Issac, but he was unable to finish a custom OM 45 but sent it to me in parts, about half finished. I'll let it sit awhile and ponder for a bit. John was a talented man!


Sep 22, 2013
Eastern Virginia
I had a similar experience. I had arranged for John to build a conversion for me. When we spoke, he told me he had one OMBH left that he planned to convert and he’d build it for me. My list of requirements was simple: “Make it a 44 Special, build it in your style like you would build it for yourself.” Sadly, as things worked out, I got a call from Isaac saying that he was returning my deposit as he felt his dad would not be able to complete the job. After a bit of discussion, I learned that John had one more converted revolver in inventory that had not been offered for sale. I was able to purchase that revolver. To my surprise and dismay, it was shipped to me on the day of John’s passing. I never met the man and we only spoke briefly a couple of times. But, he seemed like an old friend on the phone. His revolver has a special place with me. I will cherish it along with my memories of this fine man.

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