I mention these guns because all been influenced by the words of Michael Beliveau, who is also known as Bottom Dealin' Mike. I purchased the 51 Navy revolvers after reading Mike's excellent article in Guns of the Old West. I picked up a hacksaw and started modifying one of my favorite guns after reading one of his articles on the SCORRS web site.
Mike's interest in writing goes back to his high school days, but he realized early in his writing career that it would be beneficial to have a day job to pay the bills. When not shooting, modifying guns, or writing about guns, he works as a civilian employee for the Navy. Perhaps it is the other way around.
In addition to writing, Mike also began working on guns while in high school. He wanted a nice hunting rifle, but could only afford an old 92 Mauser rifle and a semi-inletted Bishop stock. He made a nice Manlicher-style full-stocked carbine with a spoon-type bolt.
Mike sold his first gun and made a profit while also purchasing enough materials to make a new one. He made several of these sporterized military rifles while attending college.
Like many of us, Mike found his niche when he became interested in muzzle loading firearms. He began with a CVA kit, but quickly moved on to building
authentically styled flintlock rifles from individual components. This went on for about twenty-five years and served to help him to return to writing.
Mike combined his passion for writing with his experience in muzzleloading rifles and began writing do-it-yourself articles for Muzzleloader Magazine. After writing two articles, Mike moved on to write for Gun World, and is now a regular contributor to Guns of The Old West.
Although Jon Sundra’s articles on rifles influenced Mike’s earliest work, the person who had greatest influence on Mike's gunsmithing was Tommy Bish. Bish was an expert on the Hawken rifle and wrote for Gun World. Mike learned a lot by studying Bish's book on hobby gunsmithing.
It was in the late eighties that Mike became interested in modifying the familiar 1858 Remington New Army revolvers. This work inspired several projects that include shortening barrels, reshaping metals, and cartridge conversions.
It was Mike's article about the Ultimate Remington that inspired me to take a hacksaw to one of my own guns and create my own short-barreled Remington New Army project. His articles have inspired many to take a hacksaw to a revolver and start making changes.
Like most hobby gunsmiths, Mike has at least one project on the bench and a few more in the mind. He is currently finishing up his Remington Bulldog project. The Bulldog is a Remington New Army revolver with a barrel that is cut down to about three inches and resembles a Webley British Bulldog. He hopes to unveil that gun to the rest of the world in an article on pocket pistols and belly guns.
Mike would also like to take a Handi-Rifle or Buffalo Classic rifle and do a Gemmer treatment to it. He would like to make stocks with the Hawken lines along with the Hawken scroll trigger guard and put a ramrod wiping stick in under the ribbed barrel.
I think we can expect to see more of Mike's writing after he retires from his day job and focuses his attention on writing, teaching college, and working on his gun projects. I would like to personally thank Mike Beliveau, AKA Bottom Dealin' Mike, for his efforts in writing and influencing hobby gunsmiths to have the courage to take hacksaws to their firearms.
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