by Matt Olivier

June 26th, 2022

Video by Guns.com - Gunblast’s Favorite Guns and Their Stories

(Used by Permission)

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Sambar stag grips by Eagle Grips.



Matt with Raj Singh of Eagle Grips.



I first met Jeff Quinn, virtually, on the old Sixgunner Message Board run by Jim Taylor back in the mid/late 1990s.  Jeff was working full time as a window installer, and we shared a common interest in sixguns and lever guns.  I distinctly remember Jeff asking some of us for our opinion on starting an “on-line” gun review site where he would write the truth, free of advertising influence.  That was around 1999-2000, and that was what became GunBlast.com.  I finally met Jeff in person at a Ruger Collectors’ Display show in 2004 in Nashville, TN.  The show was being held in conjunction with a Bob Pope gun show and Jeff came by to check out the Rugers.  He was a Ruger guy way back then!  He drove an old red pick-up truck and had the braided beard.  Pretty much the same guy he had always been and continued to be until his death. 

We started seeing each other more frequently at various industry events, NRA Shows, SHOT Shows, and the big Tulsa gun show.  It was at the 2010 NRA Show, in Charlotte, NC, that I ran into him and his brother Boge while walking the isles.  We greeted each other and chatted for 5-10 minutes, and he told me that he thought that I would make a good Shootist and invited me to Shootist Holiday 2011.  I walked away thinking to myself that I needed to get away fast before Jeff realized that he’d invited me and might change his mind!  Fast forward to June 2011 and there I was, in Raton, NM, about to attend my first Shootist Holiday as an Industry Guest.  There were quite a few men there that I had known a long time on-line but had never met in person.  In fact, meeting Rob Leahy for the first time in person was like meeting my long-lost brother.  To say we hit it off would be the understatement of the year.  Jeff introduced me to other Shootists, including a retired Kansas State Trooper named Charlie Hanna.  We got into what seemed like an hours long conversation on the 38-40 caliber and Charlie’s strong feelings for his Colt Bisley single action revolver chambered in that caliber.   Its performance, qualities, and ease of shooting were common recurring themes in that discussion.

In November 2011, Jeff and I shared a trade table at the big Wanenmacher Tulsa Gun Show in Tulsa, OK.  Jeff was selling a few things to raise money for a Ford Raptor pick-up truck and was on the hunt for a Colt Bisley in 38-40.  I will never forget the smile on his face when he walked back to our table, after many trips to look, with a nice, old Colt Bisley.  It was a 38-40, of course, and had a 4 3/4” barrel, along with the original black gutta percha (hard rubber) grips.  He had fulfilled his mission, he was happy.  He kept it tucked away in the pocket of his overalls and kept taking in and out, playing with it, handing to me each time.  I’ll also never forget the look on his face when, not more than a few hours later, we both heard the clang of a metal object hitting the concrete floor at our feet.  Yup, sure enough, that Bisley slipped out of his pocked and hit the floor, grip frame first.  The old gutta percha grips didn’t stand a chance and one of the panels cracked into many pieces.  You could tell it was painful to Jeff to see that broken grip panel.

By that time, in 2011, GunBlast.com had become one of the world’s most visited websites.  The Quinn brothers had built a tremendous network and had contacts in every facet of the firearms industry, including grip making.  Jeff promptly sent that Bisley to Raj Singh, at Eagle Grips, who fit a set of gorgeous Sambar stag grips, which looked better on the gun than the original grips.  Jeff was very proud of that gun and nicknamed it "Hanna", as a tribute to Charlie.  For Christmas 2012, Jeff’s brother Boge gifted him a Threepersons-style holster made by Mike “Doc” Barranti and Jeff carried that Bisley in that holster on special occasions.  I distinctly remember him carrying it at various Shootist Holiday banquets over the years.

Jeff sadly passed away in July 2020.  I attended his funeral services and was able to help orchestrate a private 21-gun salute with the help of 5 other Shootists who were in attendance and with his beloved grandson, Ethan.  The Shootists hold such a salute for every departed member each year on the last day of Shootists Holiday.  Every shooter fires 3 rounds of 44 Special.  One empty case from each shooter’s revolver is kept and a plaque is made for the widow, or family, of the departed Shootist.  The few of us there in person at this service didn’t want to wait until the following June and decided to hold one right there at the GunBlast World Headquarters.  We rounded up 6 revolvers chambered in 44 Special from Jeff’s collection but couldn’t come up with a 7th, so, while I didn’t dare use Hannah, I ended up using my Kimber 45 ACP 1911.

A few months after his passing, when his gun collection was being sold, I put the word out that, while there were a few that I’d like to buy, if there was only one I could get, it had to be Hanna.  I did end up with more than one, and I did end up acquiring Hanna.  It was such a sentimental gun to me, being there at Shootists Holiday when the discussion first took place, being there with Jeff when he found and bought the gun, and there when he broke the grips, it was THE gun that I associated personally with Jeff.  Not only was I able to buy that gun from his estate, but I was also able to acquire the Barranti holster in which he carried it, gifted to him by his brother Boge.

I have treasured this gun and have shot it lightly over the last 18 or so months.  It is a precious memory of a dear departed brother.

In March 2022, I attended End of Trail, the Single Action Shooting Society’s world championship, to watch a good friend, Lady Jane, compete.  End of Trail is not only a competition, but it is also a social event, with many vendors there selling guns, ammo, gear, equipment, all geared to the Cowboy Action Shooter.  One of the vendors there was Raj Singh, of Eagle Grips.  It was good to see Raj again as it had been a few years since I had seen him.  We talked about Jeff and shed a tear or two remembering him.  Of course, the topic of Hanna came up and Raj fondly remembered making those grips.  He commented that they were quite a challenge as they required a very large piece of Sambar stag to make each panel due to the shape and thickness of the grips, and quipped that he has mostly refused to make any more of them from Sambar stag because of that.  I went back the next day, this time with Hanna, in its holster, and let Raj handle and enjoy it for a little while.  We both read the handwritten inscription on the back of the holster that Boge wrote, and both shed another tear to Jeff’s memory.

As I finished writing this article, on my computer, listening to an on-line music streaming service, Jeff’s favorite song, "Can’t You See", by the Marshall Tucker Band began to play.  Jeff was there with me, just as he was when I drove out of Clarksville, TN in October of 2021 after buying his Harley-Davidson motorcycle from his widow and that same song came on the radio. 

I miss you, Jeff.

Matt Olivier

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Jeff Quinn poses with two of his favorites: his Freedom Arms Model 83 in 500 Wyoming Express, and "Hanna", his Colt 1905 Bisley 38-40 (38 WCF). Photo by Ben Philippi, Guns.com.



Shootist Charles Hanna, a man whom Jeff greatly respected.



A gathering of Shootists at Jeff's range on the afternoon of his funeral service (L-R): Matt Olivier, Ethan Giles (Jeff's grandson), Boge Quinn, Rob Leahy, Steve Tracy, Bobby Tyler, Jason Cloessner.



Custom holster by Mike "Doc" Barranti of Barranti Leather, gifted to Jeff by Boge.