Custom Dan Wesson 44VH Pistol Pack


In 1985 my DW 44mag vented heavy Pistol Pack, along with other firearms was stolen. No gun safe! There was a raid of a drug lab a year later, and a few of my firearms turned up. I got them back another a year later, after the court case. The DW came home. It was in 6" configuration only, and the bluing was very worn, but the metal still very nice. It had seen a lot of holster use. I packed it away.

Around 1989/1990 a great friend Gary M and I started discussing a project nicknamed WidowMaker, after the motorcycle hill. It went through lots of design changes on napkins on the bar at the pub.  What we ended up with is, I think, amazing. I bought an 8” non-ported barrel. Gary designed and made four exquisitely unique items for the DW. He is a craftsman of the first water.

1.     6” custom shroud, slab sided, custom contoured to match frame, machined compensation slots, pinned, milled for front sight interchangeability, machined for stock front attachment ring.

2.     and an 8” shroud as above, minus compensation slots. 

3.     2” custom extension we nicknamed 'dickhead'. Gives me 'factory 8" capability, machined with the identical dimensions and contouring of the original 6” shroud, except it has added compensation slots. Notice it's doubled pinned for mounting repeatability and accuracy (see below).   It fits in front of the 6” stock shroud and turns it into 8”!!  It is nearly invisible when mounted. Take a look at image #3 and think of the complexity of making/machining that! Most excellent work. A unique idea. Could have done an 8" clone but Gary visualized an extension

4.     Custom scope rings that attach to the 6” factory shroud. The clamp-ons were walking and tearing up the shroud. I have a 4x LER Leupold. It lets old eyes shoot nice groups. And I love the silhouette - clean barrel lines & a floating scope. 

Then everything went off for bluing. When it came back we picked out a typeface and Gary milled “WidowMaker” on both sides of the 6” and 8” custom shrouds. 

These options allow a variety of shooting configurations and weights. I bought an aluminum camera case and cut out a custom carrying configuration for my WidowMaker pistol pack, including speedloaders, ammo and tools.


Dan Wesson 44VH factory 6", 2" 'dickhead' extension, custom scope mounts


Dan Wesson 44VH factory 6", 2" 'dickhead' extension, custom scope mounts

Dan Wesson 44VH factory 6", 2" 'dickhead', joined to 8", custom scope mounts.

Dan Wesson 44VH factory 6", 'dickhead' joined and installed, custom scope mounts.

Dan Wesson 44VH custom WidowMaker 6"' shroud. 

Dan Wesson 44VH custom WidowMaker 8"' shroud.


In it's travel mode

old pic - 6" + 2" mounted


How Does It Shoot?

8" barrel, factory 6" & the "dickhead" shrouds. Shot off a rest @ 25 yards outdoors.

Handloads - 240 gr Nosler HP 


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Dan Wesson 44mag vh

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ps - I mainly shoot benchrested rifle now. Old eyes and shaky parts. My son dearly loves the DW. We went out to our range a few weeks ago (June 2013) and he fired the WidowMaker using our handloads. He used the 8" configuration (6" + 2" extension) and the 4x Leupold. He sighted in @ 50yds and shot some targets. He then moved to 200yds, used a rest, and tried to ring the gong.

Miss, hit, miss, then 7 gongs in a row! That got some attention!