As a lad in the 1960's with a fixation on all things Civil War, I remember the introduction of the Hy Hunter "Zouave."
Sure as I can be that be that this is/was the first major production of any repro Civil War long arm. Val Forgett had already done a few colt revolver repros by this time. (I get a sense that there was some "rivalry" between Hunter and Forgett, but that may just be a gut feeling on my part)
Of course, Turner Kirkland is in the mix there somewhere as well as far as making BP muzzle loader repros in Europe too.
I have, some where in my mass of gun "stuff", an old early 1960's Gun Digest that makes a BIG deal of the introduction of the Zouave.
My buddy Bruce McArthur still has his early low serial Hy Hunter Zouave that he used when skirmishing with Loomis Battery in the 1960's. It is still a nice piece - To my eye, it looks like American Walnut, very good wood to metal fit and, except for the Hy Hunter lockplate etc. would at arm's length be confused for an original Remington 1863 Rifle. Seems like MOST of the repros from Europe are really nice when they first come out, but that over time the folks over there let quality slip - first batch done by masters and the rest by journeyman and apprentices? Who knows - just something I have noticed over the years amongst repros.
By the time I arrived in skirmishing in November of 1969, Hy Hunters were long gone (seems he dabbled in making a repro Single Action Army and a copy of the Reminton over under derringer, manufactured in West Germany for a short period too) my first piece was a ZOLI that even then would not have been as good as Bruce's Hy Hunter. (Stock was birch I think and the rifling was deep on one side and awfully light on the other - must still be using that rifling head I guess)
Now in the sport today, the Hy Hunters are looked down on - seems like I remember something about some of them had brazed, rather than machined or welded bolsters. Were there some failures back in the day? Seems like I heard that the Hy Hunters one could shoot had to have a "W" stamped on the bolster. Anyone know any details on this?
I guess with the 150th anniversary coming up along with 60 some odd years of skirmishing, interest in these rifles would be piqued to some extent, as they sure played a BIG part in making it grow -- Along with Wiesz and Numrich barrels for Springfield Rifle Muskets.
Before I left this I thought I might want to do a Google search of Hy Hunter - It reminded me that the company became Great Western (Trivia tip -The SAA that John Wayne used in the last part of his career was a Great Western with aged Ivory grips) The search also shows that Hy Hunter industries now makes cosmetics and fragrances - YIKES! Apparently another company Hawes took over the firearm part of Hunter.
A couple comments from the CAs community regarding the SAA's:
Henry 'Hy' Hunter was the original proprietor of the American Weapons Corporation of Burbank CCA, but his name was often used on products and is frequently regarded as a brandname. The American Weapons Corporation vanished in the 1970's.
Hy Hunter Firearms Company Inc. of Hollywood and Burbank, California imported and distributed a wide variety of firearms. The Hy Hunter Frontier Six Shooter was a cheap Western style single action .22LR revolver that was manufactured in Germany by Rohm. This is the kind of revolver that is often seen for sale at gunshows in the $50 or less range.
Hy Hunter, is the trade name of American Weapons Corp
Hayward Hunter, also known as Hy Hunter, is the corporate president
I read in John Taffins "Great Western Single Actions" that
Hy Hunter and EMF were early distributers of Great Westerns.
The first revolvers made by Great Western were the poorly
made .22's but they improved quickly after that, and even Elmer Kieth commented
on the improvements. Great Western added a number
of major calibers including .45 colt, 44-40 .357 and .44 magnums.
Great Western sixguns were totally American Made. Later Hunter also
brought in the very well made German J.P. Sauer & Sohn "Hawes" versions.
Both Great Western and Sauer revolvers used the frame-mounterd firing pin.
Thus it is entirely possible that you traded a "horse pucky" HiPoint for at least a Great Western
(most likely) .
As I recall, the SAA used by Matt in Gunsmoke was actually a Great Western. You pistola will meet with approval at any CAS/SASS match I know of!
Seems Mr Hunter had wide interests in the firearms trade:
http://www.cornellpubs.com/old-guns/ite ... item_id=29
I will leave this for other folks to add their two cents