Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Raymond

    Good to see this little gem resurfacing. I remember seeing an article on it years ago in the late 90’s in an issue of Guns and Ammo. The engraving is fantastic, really old world craftsmanship in all the gothic scroll work. If you can find a better picture you’ll notice bats in the wells of the cylinder, a cross engraved on the muzzle, the rampant colt trademark is dancing on a coffin and the ebony grips have two small silver bats on them. Also, two of the silver, “dracula head” bullets appear to have been fired and recovered from their prey. According to the old article, the order was taken on behalf of a Doctor Abraham Van Helsing in 1975.

    Here’s also an online reprint of the article from 2008

  • Anecdotal

    Wait, bullets do nothing to vampires…shouldn’t this be for a wolfman?

  • Komrad


  • Steve: That isn’t any form of bluing. It is either charcoal bluing or nitre bluing.

    Raymond: G&A also had an article on a muzzle-loading vampire gun that was shaped like a large crucifix. The ramrod doubled as a stake.

    Anecdotal: In certain legends, vampires can be harmed by silver.

  • jim

    That depends on whose version of vampires you like….Blade kills vampires with silver bullets. I’m sure it would take out those sissy sparkling “Twilight” vampires.

  • Jon Mac

    Not so – the first reference to silver bullets being useful against vampires dates to 1928, which actually pre-dates the first (specific) equivalent for werewolves. There are two older 19th century references to bullets killing vampires also (silver not specified).

  • Keith Applegate

    You use pure silver bullets for Werewolves.
    Vampire are killed with wooden stakes.

    As a side note.. It was either Gun World or Shooting Times that published an article around 1969 or 1970 about silver bullets. The were talking about the Lone Ranger not werewolves.
    Well they finally managed to cast a few decent bullets. It seems that silver didn’t fill the mould very well. And they reported that accuracy was downright lousy.

  • Jim

    Shame it had to be such a diminutive gun to begin with. Nothing really special about a Colt Detective Special.

  • John C.

    yeah shouldn’t it shoot wooden bullets to kill vamipires? or garlic bullets

  • Raymond

    If I recall correctly, casting bullets out of silver has the issue of silver shrinks significantly when it cools. The only way to reliably size would be to cast extra large and then size it down or turn it on a lathe.

    Personally, I think why bother, use custom shotgun shells, load it with silver flechettes (or in a pinch, pre 1965 dimes) or drill out a slug, fill it with holy water, and then foil cap and seal the round. Pressure will cause the holy water to come spewing out inside your vampire target, and it’ll spread internally like a cancer.

    If you want to stick with wooden stakes to the heart, I’ve always wondered how a hard maple wood or white oak slug would perform.

  • I’d like to thank the Firearm Blog for posting this artifact from our collection, and for the interesting discussion it has generated.

    More detailed pictures are available here:'s-colt.aspx

    For what it’s worth, this gun is accompanied by the following documentation (to be posted within the next few months on the website):

    1. Colt factory letter showing shipment to Colt Master Engraver Leonard Francolini, June 5, 1975

    2. Letter from Francolini confirming details of engraving and casing.

    3. Unidentified magazine article, stating in relevant part “Francolini … will only say that the revolver was engraved on the special order of a Dutch Physician, Abraham Van Helsing, in June 1975.”

    4. Medical Examiner Report, Case No. JQ, including the following exerpts: “This woman was found shot and stabbed to death on the early morning of 23 September 1975. At the scene she was clothed in a nightgown… The body was reported to be that of a forty year old woman, but the appearance was that of a considerably older woman in an advanced state of decomposition….General inspection of the body revealed diffuse skin pigmentation and prominent elongated upper incisor teeth with a coagulum of blood in the oral cavity.” The included autopsy report goes on in some detail, omitted here for brevity and in deference to the sensitivity of the readers. It concludes with the identification of the body as a Kathryn Stroud and offers the opinion that the “Cause of Death was a gunshot wound with concurrent penetrating stab wound to the heart. (HOMICIDE).”

    5. Office of the Sheriff Firearms Identification Laboratory report on specimen JQ1, including notation “[3] Further examination of the discharged bullet described in [1] by laboratory metallurgist has revealed that this projectile is not jacketed as originally reported but composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper”.

    It was reported that there may have been at one time a CCW permit with this arm, issued in the name of a S. Stackhouse (or Stockhaus) of Bon Temps, LA, but we have been unable to locate this document, and can find no information on a Mr. Stackhouse.

    I hope this information has been of interest.

    Jim Supica, Director
    NRA National Firearms Museum

    • Jim, thanks very much for the info. I have added the link to the blog post.

  • Raymond

    I’m curious if the original Colt Factory letter shows anything indicating the original customer name. To me, the most curious part is who ordered the gun. If there were a real Dr. Van Helsing, he should have been at least in his 40’s or 50’s in the late 1800’s so he would be over 100 years old by the time the pistol was commissioned.

    The most reasonable explanation is, of course, that this is all an elaborate hoax, but I think it’s far more entertaining to believe that somewhere inside of all this, that there might be just the hint of truth. As we all know, many times in life, truth can be stranger than fiction.

  • The factory letter only notes delivery to engraver Francolini. The Van Helsing attribution comes from a magazine quote of F.

    We believe the gun was owned by Horace Greeley before the Robert E Petersen collection, leaving the gun little time for the … unusual … ownership and usage the other documents suggest.

    But you never know.

    The truth is out there.