Text Box: Little is known about Mangum N. Ert, and rightly so.  We think he was born in the 1820’s in Dire Poverty, Georgia, and spent his early youth in Total Ignorance, Alabama.  Early on he experimented with firearms design, and in his lifetime produced three notable weapons.  
The first of these guns featured a fixed cylinder and a revolving frame and grip.  Thus Mangum’s hand rotated a bit with every shot, and in the first string of rapid fire, his arm was painfully wrenched right out of its socket.  Quickly discerning that this revolver was not to be the commercial success he envisioned, Lefty” (as Mangum was called for a while) returned to The Drawing Board.  ( popular watering hole, The Drawing Board was a tavern in nearby Rum Toddy, Souse Carolina.) 
Mangum N. Ert next produced the Piecemaker, so called because of the high number of faulty components, requiring owners to make their own replacement pieces.  This gun was sold exclusively in a proprietary caliber (.5678) and would accept only his carefully designed, covertly made N. Ert brand of ammunition.  
The Civil War then reared its ugly head, and purchasing officers on both sides rushed to buy weapons and ammunition of every type.  What a boon for Ert!  He sold dozens of Piecemakers and literally scores of N.Ert cartridges to both North and South. 
The most notable use of his weapons occurred at the confluence of the Little Harpeth and the Teeny Weeny Harpeth rivers, in late 1865.   At this engagement, called “The Silent Skirmish” by bemused onlookers, a Gray cavalry squadron encountered a Federal squadron.  Both units quickly formed line of baltle and prepared to smite their foes.  All troopers were Ert-armed.  Simultaneously the stolid Yankee commander shouted “FARR!”, and the gallant Southern officer yealeed “FYAH!.  But not one revolver could be discharged, due to the breakage of pieces and inert rounds.  Both units, highly imbarrassed, retreated in disorder.  It was fortunate there were no casualties, because the war had ended months before.  But there was a Congressional investigation, and Ert was cited for fraud.  
He was imprisoned.  By an odd coincidence, he was placed in the same cell that would haold the gangster John Dillinger many years later.  Dillinger, you may recall, broke out after carving a realistic pistol out of a bar of soap.  Ert, more interested in personal hygiene than freedom, carved a bar of soap out of a getaway gun.  He also boke out, all over, because the metal soap slivers produced a nasty rash. 
Upon his release years later, now an old (and highly magnetic) man, Mangum Ert spent the remainder of his days in Relative Obsurity, Kentucky.  But before going to The Big Militaria Show In The Sky, he perfected his final weapon.  Mangum produced a massive, powerful revolver,which he named after himself, and which would sell for the inexpensive, fixed price of three dollars and fifty-seven cents.  Thus was created the legendary $3.57 magnum!
But enough of history - let’s get to the firing range for an Ert evaluation.  We are fortunate to have a $3.57 Mangum in pristine condition.  We first note expels of Ert’s thriftiness:  he recycled old parts, his and those of other makers, for new manufacture.  Thus we see, on the barrel flat, neatly lined out, ADDRESS COL COLT LONDON,  and overstamped is MANGUM.  Several springs are evidently reworked from Ferguson breechloading flintlock riles,and the cylinder apparently started life as a first model LeMat.  The cloth-like finish is blue overall, because Ert has acquired a large supply of surplus blue overalls.  The flat button-like grip escutcheon reads, very faintly, LEE RIDERS.
We set upp targets at 15, 25 and 733 yards, to correspond with the elaborate rear sight.  We then fixed the $3.57 to our bench rest, and adjusted our spotting scope, chronograph, monograph and choreograph.  After carefully sighting, we pulled the trigger.  Zip, nil, nada.  All efforts wer misfires.  We broke open the N. Ert cartridges,and a quick lab analysis revealed 1% black powder, 3% belly-button lint and 96% cotton candy.
Thus we can now report to you:
(1) the ammunition, although apropulsive failure, was more tasty than some K-rations,                                       (2) the $3.57 handled beautifully, and its recoil was certainly negligible.                                            

Text Box: Page #
Text Box: The TMCA News
Text Box: Volume 30, Issue 1