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A Unique Collection of Books, Videos and Articles by R.L.Wilson for All Those Interested in the Craftsmanship, Romance and Technology of Guns

Celebrating the History, Adventure, and Artistry of Fine Firearms and Deluxe Swords and Knives

Latest Book Release

RUGER & HIS GUNS: A History of the Man, the Company and their Firearms, R.L.Wilson

Part Henry Ford, part Sam Colt, part Enzo Ferrari — but 100 percent his own man, and an All-American original, William B. Ruger has made a resounding success in modern times in an industry many thought was dying. He started in 1949 as the underdog who was told “it can’t be done.” Today, his line of firearms stands supreme, and his factories are the model for contemporary business entrepreneurship and enlightened manufacturing techniques.

From a meager $50,000 investment and the partnership of his friend Alexander Sturm (son-in-law of Alice Roosevelt Longworth), Sturm, Ruger & Co. mushroomed into an industrial powerhouse that made more than 600,000 firearms in 1994, outsells all competitors, and boasts the broadest client base of any armsmaker in history–guns for hunting and target shooting, for collecting, self-defense, law enforcement, and the armed forces. These are original designs made with time honored style, but using space-age technology.

This book is the story of William B. Ruger’s unflinching dedication to traditional yet innovative design and manufacturing excellence with products sold at a reasonable price for a broad-ranging clientele: from the youthful plinker to the mature African safari devotee, from the common citizen to the President of the United States. Forbes magazine termed Bill Ruger “crusty and unflappable” and no one in the contemporary firearms field is more deserving of the axiom “a legend in his own time.”

This richly illustrated, beautifully presented work joins R. L. Wilson’s other firearms classics: Colt An American Legend, Winchester An American Legend, The Peacemakers, and Steel Canvas– a library of books that comprise an unsurpassed tribute to the art and craftsmanship, history, mechanics, performance, and romance unique to fine guns. Lavish in every way, Ruger & His Guns is the official history of William B. Ruger, of Sturm, Ruger & Co., and of Ruger firearms. The 368-page 11″ x 8.5″ volume features more than 185 color and over 100 black and white illustrations, with appendices, indexes and– for the first time– serial number tables for all models by year of manufacture. Simon & Schuster. 1996.
Table of Contents:

I “We’ve Got to Learn Sometime”: The Education of William B. Ruger; 1916-1949

II “A Clean Sheet of Paper”: Ruger Creates a New Pistol, Single Action Revolvers, and Two Factories, 1949-1959

III “The Risks of Competition”: On Safari in Africa and the Newport Factory, 1958-1967

IV “Build Your Car . . . House . . . Rifle the Way You Want It”: The Ruger Style, 1967-1972

V “Fundamentally Correct Classical Concepts”: The Old and the New, 1972-1975

Vl “A Unique Niche”: A Full Line of Products, 1975-1982

VII “Innovative Engineering, Traditional Craftsmanship,” 1982-1987

VIII “To Suit Our Own Criteria”: Prescott and the P-Series Pistols, 1987-1989

IX “The Basis of a Free Market Economy”: RGR on the New York Stock Exchange, 1989-1992

X “Preserving a Way of Life,” 1992-1993

XI “Our Responsibility for the Future,” 1994-1995

XII “That Was My Dream”: Ruger Remembers
Plus Thoraughly Detailed Appendices, List of Company “Firsts”, Technical Data & Glossary, Markings, Business Data 1949-1994 & Bibliography, Credits, Photographic Notes, and Indexes.

Standard edition $65.00
Author’s own numbered limited edition of 500 copies $85.00

Books by R.L.Wilson

These beautifully illustrated books encompass the broad history of firearms: the most fascinating of all mechanical objects created by mankind.

Spanning a wide range of gun-related subjects and facinating personalities: from Colts and Winchesters to Deringers and engraving; from Wyatt Earp and Theodore Roosevelt to William B. Ruger and Enzo Ferrari

Colt Books


Over 400 color plates, over 110 black and white illustrations. Official history of Colt firearms with detailed serial number tables. Hailed by Michael Korda as “a classic… the most beautiful book on firearms ever published and a milestone in modern book design and production”. All-time best selling book on Colt firearms. 11 ” x 8.5″. 410 pages. Abbeville Press, Inc. 1985

Standard edition. $40.00
Numbered, limited edition of 500 copies. $65.00

New, monumental edition of the 1971 work, universally accepted as the finest firearms book ever published. This landmark book is an essential item for collectors, historians, shooters and hunters, and dealers of fine firearms. This mammoth volume tells the fascinating story of the gunmakers, engravers, inventors and industrialists who made Colt firearms great; and the cowboys, explorers, lawmen and soldiers who made the guns famous. 616 pages, 1250 black and white illustations, 67 color plates, 9″ x 12″. Blue Book Publications. 1993

Standard edition $150.00
Special limited edition of 500 copies, numbered and signed by the author. $175.00

The only publication on the rarest of all Colt arms. The approximately two dozen handgun variations produced at Colt’s first manufactury in Paterson, New Jersey are fully described. Over 100 black and white and color illustrations with detailed text. 232 pages. 8.5″ x 11″. Published by Jackson Arms for the Woolaroc Museum. 1979. $45.00
THE RUSSIAN COLTS, Dr. Leonid Tarassuk and R.L.Wilson

Published in 1979 on occasion of a loan exhibition of presentation Colt revolvers by The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with details on all other known gold inlaid percussion Colts. Profusely illustrated. 6″ x 9″. 32 pages. $25.00
WYATT EARP and the “BUNTLINE SPECIAL” MYTH, W. Schillingberg

Systematically confirms the rarity of the Buntline Special and argues that these arms as gifts from Ned Buntline to Earp and others appears to be a myth. Fascinating study of Old West guns. 64 pages. 35 illustrations. 6″ x 9″. $25.00

THE EVOLUTION of the COLT: Firearms from the Robert Q. Sutherland Collection, R.L.Wilson

Describes the logical development of the Colt gun with examples gleaned from the great 1000-piece Sutherland Collection of firearms, accessories, patent models, gauges, etc. Black and white illustrations, 54 pages, 6″ x 9″. Robert Q. Sutherland, publisher. 1967. $20.00
GUN. Special issue devoted to Colt firearms and memoribilia.
Published in Japan in 1991. Turk Takano

This 255-page, 8.5″ x 10″ publication is devoted entirely to Colt firearms. It is illustrated with over 600 superb color photographs and covers the entire panorama of Colt from pre-Paterson to modern automatics both single- and double-actions. Text is in Japanese, but each picture is worth a thousand words. This unique periodical belongs in the library of every devoted Colt enthusiast. Only 200 copies in the U.S. available for sale. Rare. $125.00

Rare, out-of-print book catalogs Colonel Colt’s outstanding arms collection, which is now housed in the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. This book was created in 1964 to accompany the first public exposition of the collection since 1905. Black and white illustrations, 6″ x 9″, 132 pages. Published by Herb Glass for the Wadsworth Atheneum. 1964. $95.00
Lt. Col. Robert D.Whittington, III

A study of the genisis of the first great Colt gun. Traces the lively collaboration between the inventor and Captain Samuel Walker, the gun’s heroic champion. Black and white illustrations. 6″ x 9″. 96 pages. Brownlee Books, 1984. $35.00
COLT PISTOLS, R.E. Hable and R.L.Wilson

Lavish presentation of the Hable Collection of Colt firearms. This is the most elaborate book on Colt handguns ever published, and covers production from the 1830s to the late 1970s. Limited edition, profusely illustrated in color with slip case. 12″ x 9″. 380 pages. Jackson Arms, publisher. 1976. Rare, out of print book. $150.00
COLT’S DATES of MANUFACTURE, 1836-1978. R.L.Wilson

Pocket-size booklet. Contains detailed serial numbers by year of manufacture. Tables are included for all models of Colt hand guns and long arms. $10.00

Eight dramatic color shots and book cover from The Colt Heritage by R.L.Wilson. Published in 1979. Rare memento of the classic Colt book. Size is 35″ x 27.5″. Signed by the author. $15.00

Winchester Books


Official history of Winchester arms and ammunition issued in conjunction with the 125th anniversary of the famed manufacturers of the innovative designs of John Moses Browning (the “Thomas Edison” of gunmaking) and such time-honored masterpiece firearms as the Model 94 lever-action rifle, prized for its fine action, simple beauty and precision. Devotees of Winchester rifles have included Annie Oakley (“Little Miss Sure-Shot”) and President Theodore Roosevelt.

Companion book to Colt An American Legend. Featuring color photography by Allan Brown. Detailed appendix tables. Over 300 color plates, and over 160 black and white illustrations. 11″ x 8.5″. 404 pages. Random House. 1991

Standard edition $65.00
Special limited edition of 500 copies numbered and signed by the author. $85.00

This comprehensive and lavishly produced title is the only title devoted to the distinguished tradition of Winchester firearms embellishment from the historic Jennings, Volcanic and Henry models to modern times. Beautiful masterpieces of art and engineering are featured in 100 color plates and 700 black and white illustrations. 9.5″ x 12″. 500 pages. Beinfield Books. Second edition. 1989. $115.00
WINCHESTER: The Golden Age of American Gunmaking and the Winchester 1 of 1000, R.L.Wilson

Devoted to the most celebrated and prized guns, produced by Winchester: the masterful 1 of 100 and 1 of 1000 series. These beautiful guns, produced during the golden age of gunmaking, 1850-1900, were sought by famed hunters and shooters including Buffalo Bill Cody and Granville Stuart. The 1873 and 1876 models represent the ultimate synthesis of art and technology. Color plates. 11″x 8.5″. 144 pages. Published by the Winchester Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center. 1983.

Deluxe numbered edition only. $125.00

Additional Topics

STEEL CANVAS: The Art of American Arms, R.L.Wilson

For the first time a comprehensive, panoramic tribute to fine American arms, their European predecessors and contemporary arms of the finest quality. Featured are leading gunmakers from the Kentucky Rifle to Colt, Winchester, Remington, Sharps, Marlin, Deringer and many, many more. This extraordinary compilation of fine guns from the 1700s to modern times includes richly decorated European arms as well. Over 325 color plates and 165 black and white illustrations. 8.5″ x 11″. 384 pages. Random House. 1995.

Standard edition $65.00
Special limited edition of 500 copies numbered and signed by the author $85.00
THE PEACEMAKERS Arms and Adventure in the American West, R.L.Wilson

A unique pictorial celebration of the West, lavishly illustrated and unsurpassed in its authenticity: a collector’s item for anyone interested in America’s colorful past. From the Lewis and Clark Expedition to today’s Western films and videos, adventurers made the Colt, Winchester, and many other marques into American gun legends. Over 325 color plates and over 225 black and white illustrations, 11″ x 8.5″. 392 pages. Standard reference. Random House. 1992

Standard edition. $65.00
Special limited edition of 500 copies numbered and signed by the author. $85.00

This biography of the celebrated American President includes detailed descriptions of over 50 Winchesters, Colts and other prized firearms. TR’s keen interest in guns and hunting pervades his career from state legislator, NYC Police Commisioner, rancher and hero of San Juan Hill to the President of the United States responsible for our National Park system. Expeditions to Africa and South America followed retirement to Sagmore Hill. Foreword by son Archibald and preface by great-grandson, Tweed. Inspiring account of the world’s foremost conservationist/sportsman/hunter. Over 175 black and white illustrations. 350 pages. 7″ x 10″. Second edition. Trophy Room Books. 1994. $85.00

Unique pictorial record of engraving impressions and gun photographs revealing the work of one of America’s foremost arms embellishers, active 1850-1904. Numerous prints and photographs of deluxe guns of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, cowboys and ranchers, kings and queens and more. Large 10″ x 13″ format,108 pages. R and R Books. 1992. 2nd edition. $100.00
THE DERINGER IN AMERICA, Vol. 1 (The Percussion Period),
L. D. Eberhart and R.L.Wilson

Standard reference on the Deringer c.1830-1870 with exhaustive detail on all known makers..The popular, pocket-sized, high caliber pistol developed by Philadelphia gunmaker Henry Deringer captured a ready market and inspired both honest competitors and counterfeiters. Twenty-eight color plates and over 400 black and white illustrations. 8.5″ x 11″. 271 pages. Andrew Mowbray, Inc. 1985

Standard edition $65.00
Numbered edition, signed and limited to 500 copies. $95.00
THE DERINGER IN AMERICA,Vol. 2 (The Cartridge period),
L. D. Eberhart and R.L.Wilson

Standard reference on the Deringer, c.1860-early 20 th century. Covers over 75 makers of cartridge pistols, as well as an updating of percussion Deringers not included in Volume 1. Presents voluminous information on these ingenious and historic pistols not found in any other book. Same 8.5″ x 11″ format as Volume 1. Special color section and over 500 black and white illustrations. Colt, Remington, Sharps, and much, much more.

Standard Edition $65.00
Numbered edition, signed and limited to 500 copies. $95.00

Detailed 18-page article featuring deluxe Colt firearms and selected other makes and types from c.1750 through modern times. Profusely illustrated. July/August 1986 issue of The American West. $10 .00


This BBC documentary explores the impact on America of Samuel Colt’s invention that “made men equal”. The video traces the history of Colts from the legendary wooden revolver model carved by Sam Colt as a seaman, 1830-31, to the 1841 encounter in which Texas Ranger Jack Hayes and his men, (armed with their trusty Paterson Colt revolvers) held off a determined Comanche attack, through the pivital roles of Colt revolvers in the Civil War, the opening of the West and the famous shootout at the OK Corral, to their place in the modern military arsenal.

See actual footage of Buffalo Bill Cody, witness the firing of an 1839 Texas Patterson Colt and thrill to the trick shooting of Chicago’s finest police sharpshooters. Historian R.L.Wilson, antique firearms expert Greg Martin, and noted Colt collector Mel Tormé display some of their most prized Colts. $30.00

No firearms are more avidly collected than Colts. Brought together for this one-hour-long video are over $30,000,000 worth of the finest and most rare Colt firearms. Begining with the Sam Colt – John Pearson prototype of c.1835 through the fabulous exhibition model revolver made to commemorate Colt’s 150th anniversary, this unique program allows close examination of the entire history of the legendary company’s production.

The guns shown are assembled from museums and private collections. Literally dozens of famous guns are shown including Abraham Linclon’s gift to King Charles XVth of Sweden and Norway, Sam Colt’s gift to the Czars Nicholas I and Alexander II of Russia, the revolver of the Sultan of Turkey, and the sole existing prototype of the most famous gun of all: the 1873 Single Action Army.

Narrated by gun collector and entertainer Mel Tormé, script by R.L.Wilson. A great companion to the video Son of a Gun. Rated best collector-oriented gun video to date. $30.00

Feature film by the director of Pumping Iron. Starring Robin Hurt, Tyssen Butler, President Theodore Roosevelt, Greg Martin, R.L.Wilson. Gripping tale of hunter and hunted.

Documents two African safaris: the first led by President Roosevelt in 1909, the second by his great grandson nearly 80 years later. Features TR’s Holland and Holland rifle and rare film footage of the 1909 safari. Intense, powerful, provocative, breathtaking. Establishes the key role of hunting in the conservation of wildlife.

“A slick adventure documentary celebrating the primordial urge to hunt… Red-blooded hunting action… wonderful soundtrack… musically mesmerizing.” Variety. $40.00
MILLE MIGLIA: The Most Beautiful Race in the World

Kevin James, filmmaker. Join the drivers of a pristine 1947 Cisitalia sports car as they race with 330 other entrants along a 1000-mile course through Italy’s exquisite vineyards and farms and pass through over 50 cities and towns between Brescia and Rome.

The viewer sees the Mille Miglia from the driver’s perspective, experiencing an adreneline rush as superbly restored and maintained Farraris, Mercedes, Bugattis and Alfas – – and over 45 other marques – – pass on winding turns and are cheered by affectionate fans along the way. Fifty-five minutes. $30.00

Recent Articles by R.L.Wilson

The Incredible World of Guns, Gun Journal, May 1997

Barry Gray: Iconoclast, March 1997

“Samuel Colt Presents” On the Job Training, Gun Journal, March 1997

Tom Thornber, A Champion of Guns and Hunting, Gun Journal, February 1997

Connections and Networking: The Incredibly Vast Spectrum of Firearms Enthusiasts, Gun Journal, January 1997

Gun Collecting Snobbery, Gun Journal, December 1996

Ruger and His Guns: The Man and The Book, Gun Journal, November 1996

Sam and Elizabeth: Legend and Legacy of Colt’s Empire, Gun Journal, October 1996

The Story of the Gun: A review of the A&E Special Broadcast, Gun Journal, Sept. 1996.

Holland & Holland’s New York Store, Gun Journal, July 1996.
Works in Progress

The author has more books in various stages of completion including:

FIRESTICKS AND TOMAHAWKS The Arms of the American Indian.*
THE ARMS OF TIFFANY* (co-authored with Janet Zapata).
KA-BOOM A Children’s History of Firearms (drawings by C. Bourbeau).
A Children’s History of Arms of the West (drawings by C. Bourbeau).
(co-authored by Brooke An Chilvers).
A revised and updated edition of COLT ENGRAVING (out of print).
REMINGTON An American Legend.* The history of Remington firearms.

* Part of the “History of American Firearms” series, which includes COLT An American Legend, WINCHESTER An American Legend, THE PEACEMAKERS, STEEL CANVAS and RUGER & HIS GUNS.

Mr. Wilson is continually collecting photographs and information on arms subjects and appreciates hearing from collectors and others for his ever-expanding pictorial archives on arms and armor.

Other Sites You May Enjoy

Peter Finer: a gallery of fine European and American firearms.

Walt Moreau: a catalogue of fine American firearms.

Tom Gresham: the home page of the radio host of “Gun Talk”.

Gun Journal: the monthly publication for the serious gun collector and enthusiast.

The National Rifle Association: a great source of information on the NRA, gun laws, women and guns, hunting, firearm safety, etc.

Sturm, Ruger & Company: a catalogue of the company’s great guns, information about the company’s history, a profile of Mr. Ruger, and more.

Shooters’ Online Services: “…the web encyclopedia of shooting”.

How to order

Send check, money order or Mastercard/Visa account number with expiration date. All items will be shipped parcel post insured in the U.S. for $4.00 plus $1.00 per additional title. International shipping is $15.00 per title.

Should you wish books by RLW to be inscribed, please so indicate when ordering.

R.L.Wilson Books
Dept. W
P.O. Box 430
Hadlyme, CT 06439

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FAX: (860) 526-9514

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This document was last updated June 11, 1997
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