.22 Hornet

In 1960 Great Western was approached by an Arkansas optometrist, Dr. Markott, who was passionate for a .22 Hornet single action. Great Western did not make the Frontier in Hornet, but took on the project after persuading Markott to make an order of 50 revolvers. These 50 Frontier Hornets were delivered to Markott in late 1960, and he sold some to his many acquaintances, often in pairs.

Following that, the .22 Hornet remained a catalog chambering for the Frontier during the few short years Great Western remained in business.

Rollmark: .22 HORNET

Models / barrels: Frontier, some late liquidation series kits, and perhaps a few or one Buntline. A few or a couple used the brass fast draw grip assembly, though it would be dubious to call these guns ‘fast draw’ models. All Hornets are blue, probably.

The Markott Hornets start at serial GW20490 and end at GW20539. They are blue, with 5.5 inch barrels and faux stag grips. They were packaged in Great Western’s brown box. Usually found with the Markott Hornets are handwritten instructions for a mild hand load. Dr. Markott wrote these instructions himself.

The Hornets made after the Markott order generally have 7.5 inch barrels

hornet

A Great Western .22 Horne, serial GW21478. This has 4 3/4 inch barrel, and was regular mail order or retail, not one of the “Markott 50”.

Build / Construction:

There’s some question whether the Great Western hornets are chambered to a proper SAAMI spec or blueprint. Advanced collectors will mention that cylinder throats aren’t quite large enough for a hornet. This seems in some ways implausible, as the cylinders were probably drilled with chamber bits from a reputable supplier like Clymer. What’s more likely is that Great Western used conventional .22 barrels for the Hornets, and that subsequently it is bore diameter that is some thousandths narrower than the SAAMI spec for a hornet bullet.

The Great Western hornets are extraordinarily collectible for their story and rarity.  I’ve known less fellas who have actually shot them, and the ones that did said the guns shot poorly.

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