Keith On Single Action Loading

by
posted on May 22, 2009
wiley-clapp.jpg

Elmer Keith used to discourse at length about all things revolver, and Mr. Keith was particularly adamant about the way a man was supposed to carry the immortal Peacemaker. In the western tradition, it was “five beans in the wheel.” This refers to the practice of carrying a Single Action Army with five chambers loaded and the hammer down on the empty one. For a new single-action shooter with a gun designed in the old style, getting the gun into this configuration might be a little puzzling.

It is remarkably easy to do once you have the formula. With a verified empty gun in hand, open the loading gate and pull the hammer back to the half-cock position (two clicks). At about the 2:30 position in the cylinder, you will see an empty charge hole. Insert a cartridge and turn the cylinder 60 degrees clockwise, which brings another charge hole into view. Skip this one and turn to the next, which you load. Then load the next three in the same way. The mantra is “load one, skip one, load four.” When you load the last one, ease the hammer all the way back and then lower it all the way down. It will be down on the empty chamber you skipped and the gun may now be carried safely.

Latest

This summer, Federal Ammunition celebrated its 100th anniversary. John Zent, editor emeritus, had a chance to connect with two long-time employees and talk about their part of the journey.
This summer, Federal Ammunition celebrated its 100th anniversary. John Zent, editor emeritus, had a chance to connect with two long-time employees and talk about their part of the journey.

Federal's Big Celebration Between Friends

This summer, Federal Ammunition celebrated its 100th anniversary. John Zent, editor emeritus, had a chance to connect with two long-time employees and talk about their part of the journey.

Springfield Armory’s XD 45: The Wiley Clapp Review

Springfield’s 13-plus-one .45 ACP XD may prove to be the most popular offering in the company’s evolutionary polymer pistol line.

Preview: Black Ops | The Life Of A CIA Shadow Warrior

After finding himself in the middle of a firefight at the age of seven, Enrique “Ric” Prado and his middle-class family fled the horrors of the Cuban Revolution with the hope of finding a better life in America.

Review: Taurus G3X Hybrid

Combining the compact slide of the G3c with the capacity of the G3, the Taurus Taurus G3X Hybrid offers the grip feel of a full-size gun blended with a subcompact slide-and-barrel assembly.

NRA Gun Of The Week: IWI Masada Slim

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range this week with a trimmed-down variant of IWI's striker-fired Masada duty pistol.

The Armed Citizen® Sept. 30, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.