Many years ago, when I still lived in NYC, 3 friends of mine decided to spend the weekend up in the mountains of upstate NY to do some pheasant hunting and invited me to come along.  They were all from fine “old money” families, whereas I come from a middle class background & served as a USMC combat photographer in the late 60’s. They all had high grade shotguns that their fathers or grand fathers had given them. I brought the only weapon I had at the time, a S&W stainless steel 357 magnum revolver.

They of course supplied me with a shotgun to use after making fun of my pistol which I wore in a belt holster. Unknown to them however, it was loaded with “Snake Charmers” which were like miniature shotgun shells. After the hunt, on our way back to the trucks, with our shotguns open and unloaded, a single pheasant flew right over our heads, as if to mock us, and while 2 of the guys frantically tried to reload their shotguns, I pulled out the Smith, led the bird a tiny bit and shot it out of the sky. It landed just up the path from us in a rain of feathers.

Needless to say this drove the other fellows absolutely bonkers. They couldn’t believe anyone could really shoot a pheasant with one quick shot from a pistol, and they all started begging me to let them try shooting it. When we got back to the trucks they started looking for something they could use as a target. As they were doing so, I quietly dumped the remaining shells into my jacket pocket, and re-loaded the pistol with normal rounds. There were 3 of them, and as I had limited ammo, I told them they could each take 2 shots.

The target they finally came up with, was a fairly large “pink panther” stuffed animal which was lying in the back of the SUV, that belonged to the driver’s young daughter. They tied it to a tree branch so it hung by both arms (front legs) and we paced off about 10 yards, scratched a line in the dirt and I passed the pistol to them. They shot off all 6 rounds, and the stuffed animal hardly even twitched. It could have been hit for all I know, as I suspect that those rounds would just go through it as if it were made of air.

As each one shot (and apparently missed) I heckled them unmercifully, and after they were done, while they were searching the stuffed animal for evidence of any hits, I quietly slipped the remaining snake charmers back into the pistol.  After telling them how pathetic they were, they challenged me to do better, so after they all got behind me, I took aim and blew the damn thing to smithereens, (whatever that means).

To this day, about 35 years later, I’ve kept the secret, and on the rare occasions that I speak to them, one of them still calls me Wyatt Earp.

True Story!