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Q:
Elmer Keith and Jack O'Connor... What can you tell me about them? I have inherited some books and I came across one from each of these men. Who were they, and how are their books?

Question by Rem700-06. Uploaded on November 21, 2009

Answers (16)

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

They are arguably the 2 best gun writers of all time. If you don't want the books I would like them. Both died in the 70's.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Elmer Keith's wealth of experience as an outdoorsman and rancher was remarkable, and his opinion was respected. Much of what we now take for granted in handgun hunting, bullet design and magnum handgun cartridge development stemmed from his wisdom and experience. He lived modestly and passed away at age 85 in Boise, Idaho, in February 1984. If memory serves, his health deteriorated after a stroke.
Jack O'Connor was born in Arizona in 1902 and passed away in 1978, carrying a wealth of outdoor experience with him. As a writer, he is usually associated with Outdoor Life but he also wrote for Peterson Publications in the last several years of his life. An English professor, he was a polished writer. He relocated to Idaho from Arizona after WWII because postwar land development changed the Arizona environment he loved, and he spent 30 years (the rest of his life) in Lewiston, Idaho. He passed away in January, 1978, due to a "cardiac event", carrying a wealth of outdoor experience with him.
Both Keith and O'Connor were strongly opinionated men who formed their unequivocal opinions by experience and shared them with readers. In their time, they developed a very loyal readership. Enjoy their books; they were both extraordinary outdoorsmen.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

If you want to know more about Kieth, check out a copy of his book "Hell, I Was There." A legend, both in his own mind and otherwise. I met Elmer at a gun show a few years before he died. Had lunch with him and my former father-in-law. A feisty little bitty guy with a big tall Hoss Cartwright hat. Quite a sparkle in his eye. Not as talkative as I thought he would have been. He was a big pistol fanatic, as I recall.

My father-in-law and I drove by Jack O'Connor's modest ranch home several times in the mid-1980s when we were jack rabbit hunting in February. Jack was dead by then but I think his widow still lived there. It's along the Salmon River and not in Lewistown. Must be somewhere between Salmon and Challis.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I have some of both of there books and enjoy them very much they are reputedly the Two best Shooting writers of all.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

their! fact fingers at work.

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from country road wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, why don't you read the books and make your own decision?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

What is the old line from "The Maltese Falcon"? "the stuff that dreams are made of", I believe.
two strong personalities, entirely different, with different philosophies, and not afraid to espouse them.
Their backdrop was the era after, WWII with no TV competition to speak of and a public raring to go hunting. Almost no one with foreign experience in hunting. The whole country was their stage.

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from idduckhntr wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Kieth was a big bore fan while O,Conner loved light and fast bullets both are ledgions in the gun world and knew thier stuff they should both provide a wealth of knowledge and some good reads.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

country road,
You took the words out of my mouth.
Rem 30-06, If you have the books read them!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Ontario Hunter,
I show the O'Connor house in Lewiston, at the intersection of Prospect and 7th, close to the Snake River, but I suppose I could be wrong.
I still have Elmer Keith's Boise mailing address in my address book, which tells you how old that address book may be. We weren't pen pals; I met him at a show and thereafter sent a Christmas card every year.

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from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I pulled out a Oct 1952 copy of Outdoor Life.Sure enough there was a article by Jack O'Conner ,"Chuck on the Rock".A story of a hunting trip in northern Idaho with Roy Benders and Glen Carson.Hunting for Big Game ,the Yellowbellied Marmont.Roy had a standard model 70 Winchester in .270 caliber with a Weaver K-4 scope. Glen carried another .270,a custom job with a laminated stock,a heavy barrel with 1-in-12 twist, and a 15X Lyman target scope.Jack choice , a Model 70 Winchester .220 Swift with a 10X Unertl Ultra Varmint scope. Not a bad read ,I would read the book if I had one.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

My mistake. It was Elmer Keith's ranch that was on the Salmon River. Keith was raised in Helena, MT when it was wild and wooly. His book has some interesting stories about it. Wikipedia says that the Keiths sold the ranch in the 1940s but I was told otherwise. Interesting that these two giants lived so close to each other. But, as I understand it, they were not personally very close.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Everybody left these FACTS out.
Keith- "Father" of the .44 mag.
O'Conner- "Saviour" of the .270 caliber. !
Del said if you don't want em' "I'll TAKE EM' " !

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

We've seen some fine writers, haven't we? Elmer Keith and Jack O'Connor were born at the turn of the last 20th Century and came up in a world or environment that most of us can't identify with, but they had a great deal to say and to teach, and they did. A new crop of writers has come along, and continues to come along. We have volumes to look back upon, and lots to look forward to, because it hasn't all been said and done. When I think of Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan, Jim Carmichael, Al Miller, and many others whose writing I've enjoyed (and continue to enjoy), I know we'll never run out of good reading material.

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from Rem700-06 wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Thank you all... Del, sorry but I do plan on keeping them, both for their sentimental value and the information they contain. Country road, I fully plan on it, they are only a few of many books and magazines on the outdoors that I have inherited from him and the question was more of how soon to read them rather than if. Unfortunately, I just had not heard of them. Again, Thanks for the info

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from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Does that mean I can't read them?

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Elmer Keith's wealth of experience as an outdoorsman and rancher was remarkable, and his opinion was respected. Much of what we now take for granted in handgun hunting, bullet design and magnum handgun cartridge development stemmed from his wisdom and experience. He lived modestly and passed away at age 85 in Boise, Idaho, in February 1984. If memory serves, his health deteriorated after a stroke.
Jack O'Connor was born in Arizona in 1902 and passed away in 1978, carrying a wealth of outdoor experience with him. As a writer, he is usually associated with Outdoor Life but he also wrote for Peterson Publications in the last several years of his life. An English professor, he was a polished writer. He relocated to Idaho from Arizona after WWII because postwar land development changed the Arizona environment he loved, and he spent 30 years (the rest of his life) in Lewiston, Idaho. He passed away in January, 1978, due to a "cardiac event", carrying a wealth of outdoor experience with him.
Both Keith and O'Connor were strongly opinionated men who formed their unequivocal opinions by experience and shared them with readers. In their time, they developed a very loyal readership. Enjoy their books; they were both extraordinary outdoorsmen.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

What is the old line from "The Maltese Falcon"? "the stuff that dreams are made of", I believe.
two strong personalities, entirely different, with different philosophies, and not afraid to espouse them.
Their backdrop was the era after, WWII with no TV competition to speak of and a public raring to go hunting. Almost no one with foreign experience in hunting. The whole country was their stage.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

They are arguably the 2 best gun writers of all time. If you don't want the books I would like them. Both died in the 70's.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

If you want to know more about Kieth, check out a copy of his book "Hell, I Was There." A legend, both in his own mind and otherwise. I met Elmer at a gun show a few years before he died. Had lunch with him and my former father-in-law. A feisty little bitty guy with a big tall Hoss Cartwright hat. Quite a sparkle in his eye. Not as talkative as I thought he would have been. He was a big pistol fanatic, as I recall.

My father-in-law and I drove by Jack O'Connor's modest ranch home several times in the mid-1980s when we were jack rabbit hunting in February. Jack was dead by then but I think his widow still lived there. It's along the Salmon River and not in Lewistown. Must be somewhere between Salmon and Challis.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, why don't you read the books and make your own decision?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

country road,
You took the words out of my mouth.
Rem 30-06, If you have the books read them!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Everybody left these FACTS out.
Keith- "Father" of the .44 mag.
O'Conner- "Saviour" of the .270 caliber. !
Del said if you don't want em' "I'll TAKE EM' " !

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Kieth was a big bore fan while O,Conner loved light and fast bullets both are ledgions in the gun world and knew thier stuff they should both provide a wealth of knowledge and some good reads.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Ontario Hunter,
I show the O'Connor house in Lewiston, at the intersection of Prospect and 7th, close to the Snake River, but I suppose I could be wrong.
I still have Elmer Keith's Boise mailing address in my address book, which tells you how old that address book may be. We weren't pen pals; I met him at a show and thereafter sent a Christmas card every year.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I pulled out a Oct 1952 copy of Outdoor Life.Sure enough there was a article by Jack O'Conner ,"Chuck on the Rock".A story of a hunting trip in northern Idaho with Roy Benders and Glen Carson.Hunting for Big Game ,the Yellowbellied Marmont.Roy had a standard model 70 Winchester in .270 caliber with a Weaver K-4 scope. Glen carried another .270,a custom job with a laminated stock,a heavy barrel with 1-in-12 twist, and a 15X Lyman target scope.Jack choice , a Model 70 Winchester .220 Swift with a 10X Unertl Ultra Varmint scope. Not a bad read ,I would read the book if I had one.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

We've seen some fine writers, haven't we? Elmer Keith and Jack O'Connor were born at the turn of the last 20th Century and came up in a world or environment that most of us can't identify with, but they had a great deal to say and to teach, and they did. A new crop of writers has come along, and continues to come along. We have volumes to look back upon, and lots to look forward to, because it hasn't all been said and done. When I think of Skeeter Skelton, Bill Jordan, Jim Carmichael, Al Miller, and many others whose writing I've enjoyed (and continue to enjoy), I know we'll never run out of good reading material.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

I have some of both of there books and enjoy them very much they are reputedly the Two best Shooting writers of all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

their! fact fingers at work.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

My mistake. It was Elmer Keith's ranch that was on the Salmon River. Keith was raised in Helena, MT when it was wild and wooly. His book has some interesting stories about it. Wikipedia says that the Keiths sold the ranch in the 1940s but I was told otherwise. Interesting that these two giants lived so close to each other. But, as I understand it, they were not personally very close.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rem700-06 wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Thank you all... Del, sorry but I do plan on keeping them, both for their sentimental value and the information they contain. Country road, I fully plan on it, they are only a few of many books and magazines on the outdoors that I have inherited from him and the question was more of how soon to read them rather than if. Unfortunately, I just had not heard of them. Again, Thanks for the info

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Robert Ewing wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Does that mean I can't read them?

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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