James Payton, a special brother in the Lord, called me on a Sunday afternoon asking me to bring a box of .44 WCF cartridges to shoot an old Colt he had bought at the gun show. James was a man of few but meaningful words. I took the wife and kids over to his house to shoot this six-shooter. It was a Model 1878 Double Action Army serial-numbered to 1891.
James fired the gun first, two rounds, then asked me if I wanted to shoot it. Of course I did. I fired the remaining four rounds. He asked me what I thought. I could see it was in rough shape and was missing parts with some hand-made replacements. I told him, “It sure is old.” He handed me the gun and told me, “It’s yours. I bought it for you.” I had never received such a gift.
Over the years, I set about putting the gun in good working order and would always show it to James. I even made a fairly crude attempt to engrave it. James passed on, and I had told Al Carol, another brother at church who was a gun engraver, about my “engraving” attempt. He asked to see the gun. I was embarrassed, but when he asked the second time, I let him see it. He asked to keep it for a while.
A month later, he gave the gun back—after having spent 140 hours of his life engraving it as his gift to me.
God used two church brothers, each giving me “the best gift they could give.” I had to have special stocks made for this gun, and Mr. Henry Lance of Texas Grips was able to complete it for me.