Saturday, June 28, 2014

"Hell, I Was There!" Free eBook

Elmer Keith is an absolute legend in the shooting community. He just about personally ushered in the pre-modern (post-WWII to pre-Glock) handgun era with his books, Guns and Ammo columns, and the development of the iconic .357, .41 and .44 Magnum revolver cartridges and the Winchester Model 70 rifle. He even found the time to design the semiwadcutter bullet, now called the Keith bullet in his honor. His "Been there. Done that. Got the scars." autobiography "Hell, I Was There": Elmer Keith, His Life Story is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the firearm arts.

Unfortunately, the book is long out of print, with copies going for as much as $400+. I despaired of ever reading it, as my inner Scot howled at the mere thought of such extravagance. Fortunately, the intrawebz has again come to our rescue. The good folks at are offering the public domain book electronically, for freeeeeeeee.

Several e-formats are provided, including online, PDF and Kindle. Cackling madly, I downloaded the Kindle version to my Fire. The formatting is pretty good, with just a few of the understandable OCR errors. The book is nicely illustrated with many period pictures. However, the captions are somewhat whimsically tossed throughout the text, but its not all that distracting. After one late night, I'm about a sixth of the way through Keith's book. So far, it's an engaging look into the Missouri and Montana frontiers at the turn of the 19th Century. It was a hard life, forging the hard man Keith was to become.

BTW: Keith uses some descriptive racial terms that are quite raw to the modern eye. also boasts some other classics, such as Bolt Actions of the World 3rd Ed and Grossman's On Killing. Highly recommended. If your interest in Keith's writings has been whetted, you can find his Guns and Ammo columns here  I lub me sum intranet.        

Hat Tip to SthWestVictoria of the excellent forum.


  1. Hello CF!
    Archive appears to have pulled down the digital copy of HIWT, apparently due to "content". Silly fools... Is there any chance I could get a digital copy from you?

    1. Archive is a BANK masquerading as the former digital repository. This and other books get removed from the free download list to FORCE us to buy a copy of it, google corporations masquerading as governments

  2. i don't suppose you could email a copy to me or post it in a dropbox or something? archive no longer has it

  3. Can anyone help to get a PDF copy of this ebook ?