American Rifleman - October 2016 - 85

WOODSMAN

A favorite of Ernest Hemingway-
he owned at least three of them-
the Colt Woodsman was the gunmaker's first
.22 target pistol. Based on Browning patents,
it was made from 1915 until 1977.

lagoon on the edge of the Okavango Delta. During dinner
one evening, Moffet, the waiter, came to tell Selby that
Shu Shu, the skinner, wanted to talk to him. Selby found
this request quite amusing as Shu Shu was both deaf and
dumb. Although Shu Shu could neither hear nor speak, he
communicated effectively in other unique and demonstrative ways, but Selby insisted that Moffet tell him what was
going on. It transpired that Shu Shu had seen signs of a
kwena (crocodile) lurking in close proximity to the camp's
skinning area. Extremely protective of the skins and horns
in his charge, Shu Shu had set a trap that snagged the
croc. Now it needed to be dispatched.
Selby, assuming the perpetrator would be your common seven- or eight-footer, sent Moffet to his tent to fetch
the Woodsman, figuring a brain shot from the .22 was just
the ticket to eliminate the nuisance and end the croc's
troubles. Selby and his client, followed by an entourage
of camp staff, marched over to the skinning area where
Shu Shu waited. Shu Shu then led the group around to
the back of the skinning area and pointed to a stretch of
wire extending into some grass at the water's edge. The
first thing Selby noticed when he shone his flashlight on
the 8-gauge wire was that it was extremely taut. When his
eyes followed the light beam down the wire and focused
on what lay there, Selby got the fright of his life. There,
straining at the end of the wire, lay an absolute monster
crocodile. The wire seemed ready to snap, having been
pulled and tugged against by all of the sizeable brute's
tremendous strength and force. There is no doubt this croc
could easily have been a man-eater, with the girth of his
stomach as big around as a buffalo's.
"Good Lord! This is no .22 croc!" Selby exclaimed to his
client, and then turned to Moffet to ask him to run to get
his .416 Rigby. He hoped the wire would hold long enough
for Moffet to return with his rifle. It did, and with a single
.416 shot to the brain, Shu Shu's croc concerns were over.
Selby remembers the Woodsman feeling ridiculously small
in his hand when he first glimpsed the monster croc-he
felt much better taking ahold of his .416 Rigby.
Another useful duty for Selby's Woodsman was to
administer the coup de grace when an animal was down,

but not yet dead. You could tell
which of Selby's clients were good
shots by looking at the backs of the skulls in
the skinning shed. When many of the skulls collected by any particular client displayed a discreet
little .22-cal. hole behind the horns, you could draw
your own conclusions.
Selby and I conducted a number of memorable safaris
together, and if ever we met up for lunch in the field with
our clients, it usually meant a friendly little shooting competition with the Woodsman, dispatching any overly ripe
fruit from the lunch box in a spray of juice and pulp. Those
shooting sessions kick-started my own interest in owning
a Woodsman and, during the next off-season, I located and
bought my own-a cherry, new-in-box Third Series Sport
Model Woodsman that had never been fired. Like eating
potato chips, one is never enough, and over the next couple
of dozen years, I kept a sharp eye out for any Woodsmans in
good condition that I could find at a fair price, and eventually accumulated a modest collection of representative target
and sport model Woodsmans from all three series.
The Colt Woodsman sprang from a design by John Moses
Browning in 1915. During the first two decades of the
century, Browning designed the larger Colt Models 1900
and 1902, as well as the Models 1903 and 1908 Pocket
Hammerless and the Vest Pocket pistol. Too, he designed
the most famous of Colt handguns, the Government Model or
M1911. These guns ranged in caliber from .25 ACP to .45 ACP,
and were all made for the purposes of self-defense or military and law enforcement use. What the company needed
to complete its handgun offerings was a good rimfire target
pistol. And that is just what Browning came up with.
The new .22 semi-automatic pistol was an exercise in
simplicity. Browning started with a fixed barrel attached
to a straight-blowback action, meaning that the barrel was
threaded solidly to the forged-steel frame. This ensured that
as long as it was aligned properly in production, it couldn't
be knocked loose later. The back of the frame included a

The author's passion for the Woodsman began with shooting the
Colt owned and carried by Harry Selby. The Selby gun is a Third
Series Sport Model with a 4½" barrel and optional walnut stocks.
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American Rifleman - October 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - October 2016

Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Cover2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - Contents
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 3
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 4
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 5
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 6
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 7
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 8
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 9
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 10
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 11
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 12
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 14
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 15
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 16
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 17
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 18
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 19
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 20
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 21
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 26
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 27
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 28
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 33
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 34
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 35
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 36
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 37
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 38
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 39
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 40
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 41
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 42
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 43
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 45
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 46
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 47
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 48
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 49
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 50
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 51
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 53
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 54
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 55
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 56
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 57
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 58
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 71
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 72
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 79
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 81
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - 84
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 85
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 86
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American Rifleman - October 2016 - C1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - C2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - E2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - MW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - S2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - SW2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W1
American Rifleman - October 2016 - W2
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 100
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 101
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 102
American Rifleman - October 2016 - 103
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