The Retro Resurgence: These Guns are Making a Comeback

Show Notes

In this week’s No Lowballers podcast by GoWild presented by, we’re talking about old favorite firearms that are making a big comeback. Find out why this is occurring and who the big players are in this space. We kick things off talking about revolvers. Find out why Allen loves the Kimber K6. He also talks about the Taurus T.O.R.O Revolvers, the world’s first-ever optic-ready revolvers! Henry also introduced a very unique revolver as well. 

Lever-action rifles are also seeing a resurgence–find out what’s driving this momentum! Aside from levers in their classic form, there’s a growing market for tactical-style lever guns. Dan talks a bit about his affinity for these new-style weapons and mentions the Internet Movie Firearms Database. If you’ve ever wondered what firearm they’re using in your favorite flick, check it out! And believe it or not, there have been take-down lever guns in the past.

Why exactly are lever guns and revolvers making a comeback? Is it romance, social media memes, simplicity, personality, ammunition improvements, generational influences, market niches, modern technology, Hollywood, history, trends, throwbacks, magazine restrictions, or something else?? No matter what motivates you, there is certainly a little something for everyone in this niche market. Head to to start shopping around and find your flavor!

What about these new optic-ready revolvers and lever guns; is there a rising interest because the technology in optics has finally caught up? What influence have the advancements in ammunition quality, availability, and performance allowed these older armament types to make a big comeback? We asked Allen and Logan what they’d like to see along with what their predictions are.

We also touched on newer guns that are getting vintage aesthetics. Allen also lets us know a few rarities and oddities that closed on GunBroker in the last week … don’t miss his list!

If you like what you’re hearing, please leave us a rating and review!!

The No Lowballers podcast is a brand new joint venture between GoWild and to explore the history and heritage of firearms. We hope to expose you to the vintage guns of the golden age along with newer, modern guns, specialty items, and a few other odd balls along the way. Jump in and come along for the ride! 

The show launches every Thursday morning. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant, outdoor content!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hi everyone. Welcome to the No Low Ballers podcast. We've got a great partnership here at the podcast is through Go Wild and gum It's a meeting of the minds doesn't get any more. Brilliant. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, I'm bringing us up a couple notches. Yeah. I dunno if I'd say minds, but so this is a podcast where we're hoping you're gonna learn something.

We're gonna talk about a wide variety of things on the show. Firearms you may have heard of, firearms you may not have heard of. But definitely something we're hoping you're gonna learn. And maybe it'll spark an interest for you to go out and. Pick one of these pieces up up yourself. We got a different theme for the show each week.

And this week we're talking, everything old is new again. And there's a lot to that, there's been a resurgence. Marlon is back online now that they've been bought by Ruger. They've got the lever [00:01:00] guns going hard. Of course, when you talk lever guns, you gotta talk Henry.

And so they have caused a huge resurgence in the lever gun market. But they have stepped into the revolver world now which is something a little different. And then again, when we're talking revolvers, now we've got optics ready, revolvers that are coming out from companies like Taurus. So it's, this is really a blending of all sorts of interesting technology that, everything old is new again and it just keeps meshing together.

So there's been some really neat things that have come out. And Alan, you brought something with you here Yeah. That kind of talks to that, I was at chat show six or seven years ago now, and I'm usually trapped in my client's booth. That's where I stay. People have, I have appointments, people coming to me, so I don't get out and see the show until Friday.

So my standard question is always, what have you seen that's cool that I need to go find? And I remember this year distinctly because starting about Tuesday afternoon, everyone kept telling me have you seen Kimber has a revolver, which. Just did not [00:02:00] compute. Yeah. What is Kimber, a 1911 company doing, making a revolver in the year 20, 19, 20 18, whatever the heck it was.

It just, it was weird. And I was like, no, just trust me. Go take a look. Alright. So I got down there and yeah, the Kimber K six Why they prompted to do it, I have no idea. But they made actually a heck of a nice little revolver. Six shot, 3 57. But, I'm a competitive shooter guy.

I'm a trigger snob, and this thing has got an incredible trigger for a factory gun. I've shot some old Smiths that have had, 20, 30,000 trigger pulls to smooth it out, but right outta the box, that thing was crazy. I brought this day. 'cause for me, this is that starting point where everything that was on its way out started its way back in.

At this point, if you wanted a revolver, you're probably looking at Smith and Wesson. Ruger and the Taurus Rossi family. And they were pretty minimal offerings at that point. Lever Guns, Henry was still making them. Winchester was in, out, in, and they were, crazy priced.

'cause they were usually some form of commemorative or a special edition. And that was really about it. The cartridges that were associated with 'em were fading out as well too. Yep. But this came on, there was a resurgent, everyone [00:03:00] wanted this three, this 3 57 revolver. Since then, we've mentioned Taurus has kinda stepped their game up, brought it a whole new line.

This year at Shot Show, we saw their first optics Ready pistol their Toro model. And we were talking about it and one of my colleagues said why would you put a red dot on a revolver? And I was like, to what you're aiming at. Same reason you put anything else. Exactly. So it was, we were talking about this last night.

It was a little surprising to think nobody had done it before. My friend Caleb works over there and was, talking about the there just wasn't one on the market yet, and they were the first to do it and. That didn't sound plausible how in 2023 we don't have an optics ready revolver, and now we do.

We're, we're seeing that market coming back into play. Their executive grade revolvers Henry brought out a revolver at NRA show, which nobody saw coming. No. Definitely a retro throwback on that with the bird's head grip. It's a little unusual looking kind of, yeah. Looks a little bit like a cult lightning and a Ruger Black Hawk had a love child.

But it's an interesting little piece and. As we've talked in other shows lever guns just won't go away. Yeah. Every time we think that the lever gun platform starts to fade they come back in this wrong way. We saw [00:04:00] them dying out in the nineties and then a little movie called Wind River got it started, and then Chris Pratt shows up shooting dinosaurs with a Marlin 1895 and suddenly everybody wants that gun.

Yep. Including me. I was one of those thought that was the coolest looking lever gun I'd ever seen and wanted one. They came back in a strong way. Marlin with their dark series ized the lever gun, which the purist and me cringed at. But I have a Mossberg 4 6 4 with the AR style collapsible stock.

Okay. Into that tactical ever gun sort of world. On principle I, it gave it a pause, but we were range day it shot and we had a, a Henry 44 with a pick rail and the big loop and a threaded barrel and a can of a red dot on that. And that was stupid fun. Yeah. At that point I no longer questioned the tactical level we got.

Yeah. Mine has an A two flash hider and fiber optic sight and nice. I love this fun. I don't know if you guys saw the newest John Wick movie. One of the main characters, the tracker guy had a take down lever gun. And I'm like, what is that gun? It was a movie prop. It's not real. Oh. I'm like, how [00:05:00] does the magazine work on that?

Like coming soon from Tarn Tactical. I know he'd have it. And that was their thing was a lot of their guns are like, you can look 'em up and it's a Tarn tactical or Right. Or something else. And the. Encyclopedia guns or whatever that website is that shows you what all the movie guns were.

They're like, all the guns are real guns except for this one gun. Oh. Which was, and he'd take it outta his backpack and put the two pieces together. But yeah. So oldest new. Why is that? Why is stuff that. 10, 20 years ago, everyone kind of thumbed their noses at, or are now becoming very popular. Logan, you probably got as much of an opinion as I do here.

There's a lot of reasons for it. There's certainly a little bit of the romance to it that we were, we're talking about the meme we saw on Facebook of. You know how you feel before you shoot a lever gun and you're just a normal person. But then afterwards you, you turn into rip from Yellowstone, just something about a lever gun that makes you feel like a frontiersman, it's, you're turning into Jeremiah Johnson overnight.

Yeah. There's something about that. Something some of it's the simplicity. A revolver is pretty debug technology, if it doesn't work, pull the [00:06:00] trigger again, see what happens. Yeah. I know some folks get into 'em 'cause it is a little more challenging to shoot a double action revolver as opposed to a striker fired Glock.

There's a personality to it. We've got walnut, we've got brushed steel. It's not a kind of cold, soulless polymer dude is pretty, trust me, I've got a safe full of cold soulless polymer guns. Yeah I think a lot of it is every generation thinks they're the first to think of something.

And it's the same reason that bell bottoms have come back into fashion and stuff, and and you mentioned the meme, now you pick up a lever gun and you're ripped from Yellowstone, take it back 20 years. And then that meme is you pick up a gun and you're John Wayne.

From Rio Lobo. And so it, things change. You get the new people with Reverend Roosevelt before that, Roosevelt, before that, and, or you had mentioned Chris Pratt, and Jurassic Park stuff. And so it. Everyone is looking for a new way. They think, oh, I've never thought of that before.

Yeah, someone thought of that before, but we're glad you're interested, and I think, when the Marlin Dark series came out in the Henry X. Miles, you, everyone was shying away from it. But people realize there's [00:07:00] merit to this. There's a method to the madness, right?

It may still be mad, but there's a method at least, and so I think that's why is that everyone likes to think that they've come up with something new. But as we said for the theme of this, everything old is new again. There's. There's always a precedent and I didn't wanna forget it.

While you were mentioning from the John Wick movie with the take down lever gun, you're saying that one was fantasy, but there are take down lever guns. They, they do exist, I know Taylor's and Company makes, I don't know if they call it their Alaskan model or the, is it the Alaska, the Alaskan.

Yep. So how does the magazine work? Very carefully? No and but they weren't the first to do it. There were take down Winchesters back in the day. And, but how would the Tubular Magazine work on a lever gun if you had took it down? Or is it not like a barrel receiver take down?

Is it like a whole action versus buttstock take? No it. Comes apart right at the barrel and the mag tube. And they do some interesting magic. I won't claim to know exactly how they go together 'cause it's been a number of years since I've taken one apart and I don't remember.

But it is interesting that even though. That gun was a total [00:08:00] fantasy. Like it makes me wonder like, why didn't they use, because so many of movie prop guns, not that we want to get into a movie prop episode. Maybe that's a future episode. So much of the movie prop stuff is based off of real guns.

So that's surprising to me. That, that they didn't actually, that they weren't like, oh, this is based off the Taylor's Alaskan model, so I think that gun, it was like a Mad Pigs custom lever gun. Oh, okay. So it looked like that. And they're like we don't want to try to engineer it into a take down.

So they used it a little movie magic. But speaking of the Mad Pigs custom in this gun, do you think that. And this kind of ties back into the red dot conversation of why would she put a red dot on a revolver not that long ago. Red dots were finicky and not reliable. And didn't have the battery life and no one would, were big, yeah.

Couldn't hand handle the recoil. And that technology's improved and people are more and more confident in putting it on a. Truck gun or everyday carry gun. I think that's opened it up. Is lever gun technology, [00:09:00] revolver technology. In the same way where, in the nineties it was lever gun is old technology and polymer gun is new.

And now people are realizing, oh, with modern manufacturing we can make really high quality, really great triggers, really reliable. Yeah. Sort of gun does that factor into it? I think we see that across the entire industry. Yeah. Even like the 1911, the old day in the old days, the eighties, you went into the gun shop, you bought the 1911, you opened the box and you looked at it and you handed it right back to the guy to send off to your gunsmith so he could send it off and make it work.

And then Kimber basically said, we're gonna do that from the factory, worked some of these production things into the play and the whole 1911 market changed. So I think there's something to that. I think there's also just the way we're wired as humans, we love dichotomies, we love oddities, so we love a.

Rifle design from the 1870s in the lever gun with 2020 technologies on it. Yeah. It's just, it seems weird, but you look out in the parking lot and look at the Dodge Challenger. It's the seventies throwback. You look at the way they retro, the Mustang and the Camaro, there's just [00:10:00] something about those classic looks and designs, but with all the modern amenities that, yeah.

Yeah. Just we seem to love as a species and I think. There's an element of it too, that you probably know pretty intimately is these companies are in the business of making money. And so if there is a niche within the market that is not being filled, an optics ready revolver Yep. Then they can do that.

And from a home personal protection standpoint, if somebody comes to me with questions of what should I do a 38 revolver is one of my go-tos. Hey, have you ever shot a revolver? 'cause it's fairly simple. Close combat of sorts, personal protection type stuff. But then if they're unsure, if they're not putting in the amount of training to make them completely sufficient in shooting that gun, that red dot solves that problem for 'em and makes it a little bit easier. And so that's a niche in the market that is prime for somebody to capitalize. Sure. And the ammo market has allowed revolvers to have a resurgence too. Jacob, you and I, we went to [00:11:00] federal last year to do stuff on their hundredth anniversary and and I've got revolver ammo.

That they made, that is specifically designed to be shot out of snub nose revolvers. It's really weird looking. It looks like the ammo got punched in the face because the whole bullet is recessed into the case, but that's designed to take up more of the space in the cartridge so you get better ignition, more reliable, and it's designed to be shot out of that.

Inch and three eighths barrel on my Smith and Wesson 6 38. You know that. 20 years ago you're like you're not really, you're not getting the potential out of that cartridge with a barrel that short. And they're like, ammo manufacturers, like, how do we fix that? And with modern technology they can fix that. And now you can shoot a very reliable self-defense 38 special. I have an inch and three eighths barrel, which helps lead to that resurgence in the wheel gun market. That. No one would've thought possible 20 years ago. The same thing with the lever guns.

And that. That polymer tipped lever revolution solution. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Opens up the [00:12:00] range and the utility of that gun and removes some of those limitations of that round. Absolutely. I think it's really easy to overlook the role ammunition has in keeping some of these things relevant or coming the back.

Lever evolution certainly made the lever gun viable ballistically again after, decades. But even I'm thinking about the 10 millimeter, not exactly an old historic round, but. 10 millimeter had been on, death's door forever. The popular. The popular article was always, the 10 millimeter.

Why? And we even used to joke when I was working doing public relations, helping sig sour, we would joke. 'cause every time we would post a new handgun launch on Facebook, the running joke was, how many posts was it gonna take? Someone said yeah, but you're gonna make it in 10 millimeter.

So when they actually launched a 10, I didn't believe them. It was this funny go around of them trying to convince me they were really making a 10, but is it April 1st? What's the date? Now 10 is out and everywhere because the ammo became a little bit more accessible, became a little bit, more, more effective is an odd term when you're talking about the 10.

But it just became a little easier. What I'm curious right now, what we saw it shot this year, the, again, I wouldn't call it old, but certainly on the fade was the five seven.[00:13:00] The five seven really never caught on. It was, very niche round and you thought it was out the door and now it seems like everybody's making a 5.7.

So yeah, we have Ruger, Smith and Wesson Palmetto State. Armory's got their dagger pistol in it, who I'm sure I'm probably even missing. Caltech has Caltech. So yeah, the price points have come down. From what I've seen the ammo has, that was the question I straight up asked a friend of mine at Smith and West, I'm like, this is a very cool gun.

Where are you gonna get ammo for it? And they're like, oh we know people coming online with it, so I the availability, the quality, the utility of ammunition has a lot to do with some of these platforms, coming back in vogue. Absolutely. And we were talking about optics and who, why would you put a red dot on a revolver?

You need to take it back into the eighties. And you guys have, you got guys putting optics, the big honking optics. They're cutting huge slide cuts to put them. On 19 elevens. And then people are like what are you doing? But now there are companies like I, I can think, like Ed Brown, they make a slide of factory gun that has a red dot oid.

It's a, high end. Ed Brown makes good stuff. It's a high end, [00:14:00] 1911 that is factory milled and comes from factory with a red dot on it. And people don't think of Of spending thousands of dollars on a high end, 1911 that comes with a red dot mounted on it. But that's a thing. Obviously Ed Brown's not doing it because one guy wanted it.

That's not financially responsible. There's obviously a market for that. And so it's not just people wanting, like the Taurus revolvers, it's people who want a really nice high-end gun that's also gonna come right from the factory with a red dot. And that's a market that I would've never thought we would see, but here we are. Do you guys think that? Some of the legal challenges certain states and areas as far as magazine restrictions, as far as features on guns, those sorts of things are also having an influence on, okay, maybe I just want a six shot revolver, or maybe I want a lever action or a single shot or something like that for home defense.

That sort of thing. Sure. Absolutely. There's, Our industry. It as much as [00:15:00] it's stuck in its ways it, we are nothing if not innovative in trying to find ways to skirt around things too, right? Without mentioning certain legal things that are going on right now, but and that, I think that's a lot.

Of what we see in the markets. There's what was it? I can't remember. It was a new company that just came out. It's a lever action ar style four 10 shotgun. Yep. Those are words that should not go together. Yeah. But also I want to buy that thing. Exactly. Where I buy marketing done, yeah.

And that's to fit. A niche of someone saying you can't do this. And they said, the hell, I can't, yeah. And they come up with something unusual and we find ourselves blending old with the new and getting all sorts of weird and wonky, yeah. I mean obviously the states that require straight wall hunting cartridges have kept the lever gun alive Sure.

For years. The, the four 70 government goes back to. 18 in the 1870s. Yeah. And it's still a extremely popular, loaded in tons of different offerings. You can get everything from blasting ammo to really high-end hunting ammo because those states exist. 'cause again, [00:16:00] companies don't make things 'cause they think it's cool.

They make 'em 'cause they think it's cool and they'll sell them. So that's been an influence. There was always the. Tough guy talk of when magazine restrictions came to certain states if I can only carry X number of rounds, I'm gonna carry X number of rounds of 44 magnet.

I dunno much that actually comes into play necessarily, but, it has, it probably has to have some at least psychological impact. Yeah, absolutely. These guys ah, carry a 45 'cause they don't make a 46, carry a 10 millimeter 'cause it's one millimeter more, mine goes to 11. Yeah. Yeah. It's more black. Have you ever seen anything more black? Sorry, if you guys have not seen Spinal Tap, you need to go watch Spinal Tap. So there may be more dumb movie references. Know? So we've been talking about these trends of old styles of guns being modernized.

What do you guys think about. Newer types of guns being retroed, wood furniture being added, less rails. Iron sites, those sorts of things. Sure. I think it's cool as hell. And I know there's a number of folks that, that I follow [00:17:00] on Instagram and stuff, and one of their favorite hashtags is Carrie Handle Gang, and it is all about going back to, the A two style and a one style.

Ars and stuff, with the fixed butt stocks and with carry handles and just that, and that has made a tremendous resurgence. And you think back, just a decade or more, people were like, really? Why? Like collapsible stock mag pull stuff, like, why would you want fix a two butt stock?

But that's made of resurgence. People are using guns in new ways. And there's some really awesome stuff going on. Like 20 inch barrels and carry handles and fixed butt stocks. I think it's really cool that the old stuff's making a resurgence. Yeah I totally agree.

I don't think there's anything more beautiful on an AR than a nice set of wood furniture. I think the guys who started doing that really come onto something that looks great. I think there's also something to be said with polymer guns. Yeah, you can get out your soldering iron and do some stippling or I've rattle canned my fair share of P three 20 frames.

With the revolver, with the 1911, with a, a. A lever gun, you've now got Aries, you can start doing some personalization. That really [00:18:00] look good. Last night when we were getting together before dinner, we were talking at length about with some curly walnut, yeah. That's not something you talk about with a Glock. But a really nice set of stocks or grips on a 1911 or revolver. That's something you talk about. I've. I love my 19 elevens. But what I love more are some of the stocks we put on there. Some of the really beautiful woodwork that's done.

Some, even some of the G 10 stuff, which yeah, I wouldn't call retro, but it gives you a chance to personalize it, to make something a little bit more your own. We were talking about heirloom handguns, you passed down and certainly the Yeah, definitely Beautiful wood is a good portion of that.

I'm curious, you guys being the gun nerds at the table, what is the old that you want to see come back? What's the resurgence you're waiting on? And let me tag onto that. What's the old you wanna see come back. And then what do you think is gonna be the next hot, old thing that comes back.

So you, what do you wanna see and, but what do you think the reality next? Next thing is gonna be for me personally, I'm just gonna say, I always liked the idea of Coach Gun, and I've never really had a reason to have a coach gun. I've seen, I feel like I [00:19:00] saw one, maybe Savage or someone had like a kind of tactical coach gun.

But something like that. If someone came out with a really cool coach gun, I might, oh yeah. Maybe it was stoger. Yeah. A stoger had one with a at least a lower rail stainless barrels polymer stock. Yeah, so that would be mine. Night watch or something. I forget what they called it, but what about you guys?

I want a tactical blunder bus. A blunder bus. Blunder bus. I'm a big fan of the blunder bus too, by accident. I want a tactical blunder bus with a spring loaded folding bayonet. And some rail that I can put, so you want like federal branded grape shot? Yes. Even if it has to come outta their custom shop, I'll talk to Paul up there.

Oh yeah. Paul hook up. He'll be like, all right, what's the barrel length gonna be? What kind of choke are you putting on it? He'll be like, no choke Paul. We just want to spread all of the buck buckshot and then just, yeah, that would just be ridiculous. But no I mean 'cause they make kit wonder buzzes up, but I think that would be really funny if someone were to come in.

And try to design a tactical blunder bus. Because, the whole black powder world is [00:20:00] making a resurgence. With CVAs Paramount and stuff like that is, that doesn't get any more modern black powder than that CVA Paramount. So I think it would be really cool to see just how far you can push the black powder world with things, but what do you think is realistically gonna be the next thing that gets hot?

I exist far too much in the past to have any idea to know what is coming up. I'll leave that to Alan. I will say what I would love to see just as lever guns with the modern manufacturing and the metals, they've been able to take the cartridges and make them more viable by, upping the pressure.

So you'll see the boxes labeled not for use in, this era of gun. I wanna see 'em do that to the Scofield top brake revolver. I want a modern take in the Scofield because I don't care who you are. Breaking that up and kicking the shells out make you feel really cool. Absolutely. So there's all sorts of cool stuff, old stuff, new stuff that we can find on gun

What is some of the really cool things that have closed in the past week? Sure. What that someone has taken home. I'm a child of the eighties. All right. So for me, growing up as a gun nerd in the [00:21:00] eighties, it was all Miami Vice all the time. So when I saw an original Bren 10 hit the hit the sale list a couple days ago on the, on our top sellers piece.

Oh yeah. I took that one down. You can still get into one one magazine, though. That's always the restriction on a Bren. 10 9800 bucks get you into an original. Oh I keep, they keep saying they're gonna relaunch 'em and I have yet to see it happen. But one of these days, man, I've hope I've, been fortunate through friends and events we've held, been up to Colonel Cooper's sconce at gun site and scene number one. Yep. But I'd like one of my, one of my own at some point. Absolutely. Anything else? Any, what's anything n f A really cool that's closed in, in the past week. I'm trying to think.

We had a St. Stemple go off the other day. Ooh. Yeah. That's not one I see pop up too often. No S and W 76. So yeah, you probably know a little bit more about those than I do, but 12,000 seemed like a good deal for N F A. Anything less than 18 or 20 seems like a good deal for an N F a, which is interesting because just two years ago and I had to pass 'cause we were in the process of getting ready to sell our house and move.

But I had the chance to pick up a stumble for only six. Wow. Which would've been really cool. But the Stempel machine gun, it's [00:22:00] really interesting. It's based on the Smith and Wesson 76 which was also not a very well known and popular machine gun either. But they're just, they're weird looking.

I think they're weird looking. And they're neat. And they're. Still actually relatively affordable. That was not a bad price for that one. To close at, no, 76 of course, that's their claim to fame is Charlton Heston's Gun and the Omega man. Yes. Yep. Yep. Very cool stuff. I hope you guys have enjoyed going down this interesting road that we've weaved back and forth into the past, into the present.

We've gone back to the future. I love Back to Future. Anyone else? Love Back to the Future? Oh yeah, it's great. Great. So anyway so appreciate you guys. Joining us today and talking old is new. It'll be really interesting to see what's coming next year, whether it's at Shot show or n r a annual meeting, I have a feeling there'll be some form of Tarn version of a take down lever gun.

Now I'm just going on a limb there. You should do it. I like it. Matt. Pigs times tear and tactical times take down. Lover gun. Awesome. They're Dan's money. They're [00:23:00] Dan's money. Yep. Awesome. Thanks guys for joining us here in the studio. Thank you to everyone who's tuned into the podcast.

Make sure you're logging the time in the Go Wild app that you've spent here on the podcast with us. Make sure you go to gun and find the stuff that we've been talking about on there. Appreciate everyone tuning in, and we will see you on the next episode of the No Low Ballers podcast.