Cork Groth, 74, of Eldridge, said he has always enjoyed six-shooters “from the time I was able to pick up a cap pistol.”
Groth was enjoying the gun show sponsored Saturday and today by Big Bore Enterprise at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, Davenport.
But the revolver Groth took out of his case was a 7-shooter, and of his own making.
Looking at the gun, it was clear there was something very different about it.
The loading gate, which is opened so the shooter can load the cylinder, was on the left side of the gun instead of the right side.
“I’m right-handed,” Groth explained. “With any other revolver, I have to hold the gun in my left had to load it. I can keep this gun in my right hand, my shooting hand, and load with my left, and then I’m ready to shoot.”
Groth said he had always wanted to build his own one-of-a-kind gun. He finished his pistol in April.
“I purposely didn’t keep track of the time it took me to build it,” he said. If something wasn’t exactly the way he wanted it, he pitched it and started again, and didn’t burden himself with time.
Mark Quade, of Big Bore Enterprise, said he is thankful for the new expo building at the fairgrounds that allowed him to put the show under one roof this year.
It is a great show for all firearm and knife enthusiasts, he said.
“We have 75 vendors on about 400 tables,” Quade said.
“The demographics of those coming in have really changed over the years,” he added. “It’s not just the men walking in. There are families coming in, the husbands with their wives and children. And more women are buying guns.”
If not buying, Quade said there is plenty to look at, including many historical firearms from his personal collection and the collections of vendors.
In one special case, Quade pointed to a collection of 1848 Colt percussion revolvers.
“What makes these special is that they were engraved by Samuel Colt’s most celebrated engraver, German-born Gustave Young,” Quade said.
And then there is the collection of 4-bore guns from Quade’s collection.
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Also on display is a gun made by W&C Scott that is part of a collection of guns Scott made especially for the 1862 International Exhibition in London, England, the first major venue at which Scott guns were exhibited.
Looking at purchasing a new weapon was East Moline Mayor John Thodos.
Pointing to a Rock River Arms LAR-15, Thodos said it was the gun he got for his police officers several years ago.
“It is a great weapon,” Thodos said.
Thodos said at some point, the state of Illinois should consider a concealed carry law.
“Look at the cities with restrictive gun laws, such as Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Chicago,” he said. “They have some of the highest murder rates in the country.”
The criminals know who isn’t armed in those cities, he added.
“Forty-nine other states can’t be wrong,” Thodos said.