In 1969, Kenny Howell, a tool and die maker by trade, began restoring original Colt Cartridge conversions and other antique firearms for collectors. After many years of restoring antique firearms, Kenny built his first Richards style 1851 Navy replica revolver. He then began building molds for castings needed to build a Richards/Richard-Mason style conversion. These custom made guns required a tremendous amount of hand labor. The completed firearms resulted in “Museum Quality” reproductions. The Howell Conversions were featured in numerous magazine articles, and their desirability soared.
In 2000, Kenny purchased CNC machines to help improve the manufacturing of the conversion cylinders. Chris King, Ken’s longtime neighbor, began working part time for Kenny. Chris’ extensive background in manufacturing, CNC programming, training, and quality control brought new processes to the business.
In 2007, Chris received a job offer to start a new machine shop and left R&D Gun shop. In 2011, Chris returned to Howell Old West Conversions as a partner and assumed the daily operations of the conversion cylinder business.
In 2014, Kenny and Chris began working on new products for the WWII era.
In 2019, Chris and Maggie moved the business from Beloit to Janesville and changed the business name from Howell Old West Conversion to Howell Arms Inc. We are continuing to grow the product line with the help of our staff. Kenny officially retired in 2021.