Targeting Toepperweins

posted on October 31, 2017
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Michael Ives

This feature appears in the November ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.  

Ad and Elizabeth “Plinky” Toepperwein were renowned exhibition shooters for Winchester ammunition and guns, demonstrating their skills across the country with revolvers, rifles and shotguns. These two inscribed revolvers from this sharpshooting husband-and-wife pair were recently reunited and illustrate the special modifications used by both individuals. Period engraving and custom grip panels of jigged bone made to resemble staghorn characterize both of these Colt target handguns, which are both based on the Officers Model Target revolver and chambered for the .38 Spl. cartridge. 

Regularly seen at competitions where they performed before American presidents, world fairs and countless other venues, the Toepperweins set amazing records and dazzled audiences with their aerial shooting performances from 1904 to 1945. 

(Editor’s note: Winchester changed the spelling of the couple’s name to the more Americanized “Topperwein” when they began representing the ammunition company. However, Ad’s gravestone reads “Toepperwein.”)

The NRA National Firearms Museum at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Va.; the NRA National Sporting Arms Museum at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo.; and the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, N.M.; each have fine selections of historic arms on display. Admission to each is free, and donations are gratefully accepted. For more information, visit nramuseums.com, phone (703) 267-1600 or email [email protected].

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