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Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters
www.OldGuns.net
Newsletter
Number 3, October 30, 2001
Celebrating Five Years Of Service To Our Collector Friends!
copyright 2001 All rights reserved


Contents:



Feature Article:
Both Buffalo Bills- Tales of Two Great Museums

     Remember these when you make travel plans.  The one near Denver is a great addition to a ski vacation, and the other in wild Wyoming is best left for the warmer months, but is a must see destination for the whole family.

 Cody, Wyoming (Buffalo Bill Historical Center, http://www.bbhc.org)

     Last month we had to go to Denver to pick up a nice collection, so I decided to take the scenic route a little further north, through Yellowstone Park to Cody, Wyoming and see the world famous Buffalo Bill Historical Center (BBHC) again.
At the end of September the Park Service was busy shutting down after the summer tourist season, locking up campgrounds, turning off the water to the geysers [anyone paying attention?] and blocking off various roads in anticipation of the coming winter snows.  However, the critters were all out (buffalo, elk, deer, chipmunks, but no bears) and the elk outnumbered the Winnebagos so you can make fairly good time.  Another great time to go is the first part of June, before schools get out, just call to make sure the roads are open, as they get SERIOUS snow there and it takes a while to clear the roads again in the spring.  Besides the beautiful scenery in Yellowstone, the 70 mile trip east from Yellowstone to Cody is full of fantastic views, well worth doing for that alone.
    The BBHC has justifiably been called the "Smithsonian of the West" and you really need at least a full day there to enjoy it all.  Naturally I like the Cody Firearms Museum the best, and it is truly one of the finest firearms collections and exhibits in the world.  Not just Winchesters, although it began with the gift of the entire Winchester factory collection.  Remingtons, Stevens, Smith & Wesson, Marlin, etc along with many of Bill Ruger's personal guns are skillfully presented for your viewing pleasure.  Military, high-art, etc are all represented as well, along with temporary exhibits that change- this time they had a huge Lee Enfield display, as well as guns from the entertainers. Guns and holsters used by Paladin, James Arness (Gunsmoke), Ben, Little Joe, and Hoss Cartright, (Bonanza) etc were all on display.  The Boone & Crockett trophy mounts in a rustic hunting lodge were neat, along with a reconstructed New England arms factory building full of machinery, and a western store selling Winchesters.  Absolutely a first class operation, and like just about everyone in Wyoming, they like guns and gun owners!  No political correctness nonsense endorsed there!
    Other huge wings of the BBHC museum complex include one devoted to Western Art. Some of the finest examples you will ever see of paintings, print, sculpture, engraved guns, all displayed to perfection. Neat outdoor sculptures, too. We caught the exhibit of "A storm on the Plains" one afternoon as skies darkened and lightning flashed outside, almost a mirror image of the paintings there.  Awesome!  They have Frederick Remington's original studio there (transplanted from New York).  Charles M. Russell's original studio is still in its original location in Great Falls, MT, only a few hundred miles away, if you care to see the home of that great artist as well.
    Another major wing that was just redone this year is devoted to Plains Indian life, and is fascinating fun, as well as loaded with information.  It was not like you see in the movies, so you better get the facts here.  My wife really enjoyed this one.
    The Buffalo Bill wing is not quite up to the standards of the rest of the complex, but it covers the showmanship and entertainment aspects of the "wild west".  Buffalo Bill Cody popularized the romantic notion of the Wild West all over the United States, and indeed, all over Europe as his "Wild West Show" made its late 19th and early 20th century rounds.  This provided a level of excitement otherwise unavailable to the public in those days before television or action-thriller movies.
    A new wing to open next year will focus on Natural History, meaning stuff like rocks and plants and dinosaurs, etc.  Great if you like that, and many kids will probably enjoy that more than the guns.  (A T-rex is cute but an engraved .458 magnum rifle is scary?  Better look into home schooling....)
    Thanks to the courtesy of the curator, an old friend, I was privileged to see some of the guns not on public display.  GOOD STUFF! ranging from probably the finest pair of engraved Remington Army pistols known, to a prototype Winchester conversion of the M1 Garand to full auto, and M1917 rifle variants worked up as possible commercial models, and much more.
    The Research Library is open to serious researchers, and they are very close to making their index (finding aid as they call it) to the remaining Winchester factory records available on line.  I spent a few hours checking into a handful of topics that I had questions about.  I found nothing on South Carolina's purchase of 1,000 M1866 Winchester muskets (amidst massive bribery and corruption scandals) or on the Winchester's conversion of 100 of the M1870 USN .50-70 rolling blocks to .22 rimfire.  However, I did find a lot on their contracts for M1917 Enfield rifles, including the definitive answer as to when they changed receiver markings from U.S./W/[ser. no.] to U.S./Model of 1917/WINCHESTER/[ser.no.].  A future article will reveal that secret.
    There are motels all over Cody, and prices are high in the summer season, and low in the winter when the town is pretty well shut down.  Holiday Inn was as expected, but most of the local places looked at least acceptable although some may be a bit "rustic". Besides the museum and motels, Cody has a WalMart Super Center, so you can get anything you need, and the downtown business district has everything you don't need, but may want anyway.  Lots of neat shoppes, and even outdoor performances (gunfights) at Buffalo Bill's hotel, the Irma.  Loads of excellent places to eat.  We though that La Comida served the BEST Mexican food we have ever had, some really good dishes, not just your basic taco or tomale, and pretty reasonably priced.  The Proud Cut Saloon looks like a dingy cowboy bar, but the food is excellent (highly recommended by a local who has tried them all!).  Grandma's is a basic family place with simple but good food, pretty cheap, and heavily favored by the locals.  Stefan's looks pretty ritzy, but friends said that it is superb for fine dining. (My idea of fine dining is any place without a drive-thru so we better trust them.)
    From Cody to Denver you go down through the Wind River region, and some more beautiful country, then cut east across the high plains, basically along about 100 miles of the Oregon Trail to Casper, WY.  Two towns about 30 miles apart each had a population of 10 (according to the signs) so the area is still pretty much as the pioneers saw it. We went for over 200 miles without seeing a fast food joint, so take your own rations.
    There is a nicely restored fort outside of Casper, which guarded successively the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, Pony Express, and eventually the telegraph lines and the railroad as each crossed the North Platte River there.  My wife had an ancestor who was killed in an Indian battle just outside the fort. After she mentioned this, a nice lady there took us outside, pointed to her house on an adjacent ridge, and told us that the battle took place next to where her house is. Who says History is not fun?  (Well, Sgt Amos Custard and his five men did not have much fun, but the rest of us did.)
    From Casper (former home of Vice President Dick Cheney, and damn proud of it!) you head south, still along the Oregon Trail until it cuts off to the east following the North Platte to Fort Laramie- (A GREAT place to visit!).  Then down through Cheyenne, which still has a bit of a frontier flavor despite being the state Capitol.
 

Golden, Colorado (If you drink beer, the name is familar)
Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, off I-70 west of Denver http://buffalobill.org

     Everyone knows who is buried in Grant's Tomb, but do you know where Buffalo Bill is buried?  When he died in 1917 in Denver, the folks in Cody, Wyoming insisted that he should be buried there, in the town named after him.  The nice people in North Platte, Nebraska insisted that since his biggest land holding was there, it should be his final resting place [and tourist destination?].  Cody's sister, living in Denver, insisted that his desire was to be buried on the top of Lookout Mountain, on the front range of the Rockies, just west of Denver.  Since he died at her house, she got him planted on the mountain top, with great ceremony, befitting the old showman.
    Fearing envious body snatchers from the two jilted towns, Colorado posted guards (including a National Guard tank!) at the site, and after Mrs. Cody's death and burial, the graves were covered by a huge amount of concrete to ensure the Codys would remain permanent residents of Colorado. Cody's surrogate son established a memorial/tourist trap "Pahaska Teepee" adjacent to the tomb to honor his mentor and carry on the tradition of entertaining the public while making a profit.  Eventually the city of Denver took over the site, with its impressive collection of Buffalo Bill memorabilia, and established a small, but exceptionally excellent museum at the site.
     This is well worth the trip, any time you are in the Denver area, just follow the signs from exit 256 off of I-70.  The grave and museum are 3 or 4 miles north of the Interstate, but it really is worth the time to visit.  The view of Denver and the plains beyond is wonderful.  The museum film is exceptional, and the exhibits, although not as fancy as those in Cody compress much of the same sort of material into a place that you can visit and enjoy in an hour or two.  Anyone going skiing in Colorado should add this to their itinerary.
     Anyway, it was a great trip, and by now you have seen many of the fine items we picked up from one gun show, numerous antique shops and a large collection being consigned on that 1,700 mile trip.  All for you, our Oldguns.net visitor!
 

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Order New Flayderman's Guide Now and get Free Shipping!

       Our shipment of the NEW Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values (8th edition)  has arrived.
       List price is $34.95 (plus tax and/or shipping.)  However, as a special for Oldguns.net customers who want to order now: the price will be $30.00 including free shipping in the U.S.

      This is the single most essential reference book that anyone interested in old guns can own.  The previous seven editions are all acclaimed for the accuracy and detail of the descriptions and for the values being pretty accurate.  The new edition adds 16 pages for a total of  672 pages.  Unlike some price guides that like to sell books by printing a new one every year, Flayderman's is only revised every three or four years.

       Order your copy of the new Flayderman's Guide now:
       Pick the way that is easiest for you-

  • Send us your name, address and credit card info by email. Total charge to your account will be $30.00 (we are waiving the normal 3% fee).
  • Send payment by Paypal to john@oldguns.net. Send $30.00 (we are waiving the normal 3% fee)  Make sure you include your name, address and "Flayderman" in the message
  • Mail a check for $30.00 to John Spangler, Box 711282, Salt Lake City, UT 84171.  Make sure you include your name, address and "Flayderman" in the message
      Many people like to give these as gifts, or keep a copy in the car, so order several at this special price.        We will ship immediately, so you will be among the first to get your hands on a copy.



 
  • New Items At OldGuns.net  (posted now or coming soon):
  • A "trick shot" portrait of an Indian chief shot with a .22 rifle on a copper plate by famous Remington Arms Co. trick shot artist Tom Frye  All framed, ready to delight your spouse on Christmas morning when they find it on the wall of your den!
  • Many good foreign military rifles, such as a very rare Japanese Type 2 paratroop rifle that unscrews at the action, several nice Krag rifles.
  • A wide variety of collectible handguns and rifles such as a Remington Model 12 NRA target rifle, about mint Webley & Scott, Harrington & Richardson and Webley pistols and revolvers, plus a nice assortment of other above average rifles.
  • Also an extensive collection of percussion revolvers and early conversions to cartridge including Colt, Whitney and several Remingtons.
  • A bunch of US M3 trench knives, and many USN Mk 1 and Mk 2 knives, and US and foreign bayonets.
  • Several boxes of top grade militaria that we have not yet begun to catalog.
  • Large lots of collectors ammo and books.
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    Darwin Award Nominee
    (Note: Darwin Awards are earned by those who remove themselves from the gene pool by extraordinarily stupid actions, demonstrating the survival of the fittest members of a species.)   Used courtesy of http://www.darwinawards.com

    Confirmed True by Darwin, a 2001 Darwin Award Nominee!

    Coke Is It!

        (12 December 1998, Canada) A man crushed beneath a vending machine while trying to shake loose a free soda? If you thought it happened only in Urban Legends, you're wrong!
    Kevin Mackle, a 19-year-old Quebec student, killed himself at Bishop's University while shaking a 420-kilogram Coke machine. He had been celebrating the end of final exams with friends. He died beneath the soda machine, asphyxiated, with a blood alcohol level slightly over the legal driving limit.
        His last act was committed in vain. "Even as it fell over, the vending machine did not let out a single can," the coroner reported. Soda-holics take note! The report also states that toppled vending machines have caused at least 35 deaths and 140 injuries in the last twenty years.
        For those with questioning minds, I refer you to a website dedicated to the quest to clear Kevin's name. His family questions the official version on their cokemachineaccidents.com website, and recently sued Coca-Cola, two related companies, and Bishop's University for "gross carelessness."
        [More followed on their greedy scheme to sue others and deflect attention from their family's defective genes.  Perhaps you understand why we sometimes are skeptical about lawyers?]

    DarwinAwards.com © 1994 - 2001

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    Military History Trivia (WW2 this time)

    1. A malfunctioning toilet sank German submarine U-120.

    2. One of Japan's methods of destroying tanks was to bury a very large artillery shell with only the nose exposed. When a tank came near enough a soldier would whack the shell with a hammer. "Lack of weapons is no excuse
    for defeat."-Lt. Gen. Mutaguchi

    3. During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong British officers objected to Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the officer's mess. No enlisted men allowed you know.
     

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    Book Review-
    U.S. Infantry weapons of the First World War
    by Bruce N. Canfield
    293 pp. 8.5" x 11" Andrew Mowbray Publishers, 2000,  Available just about everywhere..  Price $39.95

         This latest offering from the well known prolific author and collector of U.S. military cartridge arms joins his earlier volume U.S. Infantry Weapons of World War II on my list of essential books for anyU.S. military collector.
         It is solidly researched, well illustrated, well organized, and comprehensive in its coverage of the subject matter.   (Bruce knows that I was not very enthusiastic about some of his earliest books, but these two are above reproach in any area, and deserving of the highest praise, which I gladly give them.)
         Proceeding in an orderly fashion it covers edged weapons, handguns, rifles, shotguns, automatic rifles, machine guns, grenades and grenade launchers, trench mortars, the Model 1916 37mm  gun and the earliest flame throwers. Within each section the weapons are thoroughly described, with lots of interesting background information, and excellent insights on the availability of examples on the collector market and things to watch for when making a purchase.  Besides the familiar US made weapons, he also provides good information on the relatively unknown foreign made but US used arms such as the Canadian Ross, the No.1 Mark III Enfield, the Mle 1907/15 Berthier, and Mosin Nagant rifles.
         Virtually every weapon discussed is illustrated with good photos, and most of the time accompanied by WW1 era photos of the item in use.  These are well selected, and in many cases very hard to find, and Bruce deserves credit for the hard work tracking them down for our edification.
         The sections dealing with the larger weapons are especially interesting, and present a lot of information that most people will never see anywhere else. These may help you recognize some exotic accessory that mystifies everyone else.  He presents easy to understand explanations of the complex laws and regulations concerning ownership of these sorts of things.  This will be a good starting point for anyone who would like to expand into this area of collecting historical arms, or provide a swift end to such aspirations for those daunted by the paperwork and costs involved.
         One of the books most useful features is the 22 pages of "Appendical Tables" despite the uninviting name.  For each weapon discussed earlier, there is a concise summary of technical data (size, weight, caliber, ammo capacity, etc) as well as info on dates of manufacture, numbers from each maker, etc.  While some of this info is widely known, much of it has been painstakingly tracked down from the most obscure sources and made available here to every collector.
         I have two minor complaints about the production of the book. The photos are printed a bit on the dark side in my copy, but perhaps better in others.  Second, the paper used seems inferior to that in the WW2 volume, more like that of a trade edition paperback than a permanent addition to a reference library.
         Either U.S. Infantry Weapons of the First World War or the author's companion book on WW2 should be on your Christmas wish list if you do not already have a copy. Each is an excellent value for the amount of information presented.  Your library is incomplete without both.

    John Spangler

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    Oldguns.net Site Insights - "Where do you guys find all this neat stuff?"

        We just wait around and people give it to us. Then we sell it and get rich.  It is easy!
        We wish!
        Actually, we work darn hard to track down this fine old junque so we can offer it to you.
        Some of the best items come from collectors thinning out their collection, or selling off a bunch of stuff so they can get other more expensive stuff.  We will buy, trade, or sell on consignment, so please contact us when you are considering disposing of items from your collection.
        We get some from estates of deceased collectors.  Sometimes the heirs know what they have, and other times they are clueless, or misinformed.  We try to make sure they get fair value for their items, and we work with them to be helpful in any way possible.  None of us really own any of this stuff, we just pay for the privilege of taking care of it for a few years.
        We find a lot at gun shows, flea markets, pawn shops, antique malls, junk shops, yard sales, in the newspaper ads, and occasionally even some from the auction sites.  Of course, we have to dig though an awful lot of trash to find the occasional treasure that you might want in your collection.  We attend about 25 gun shows a year (down from about 35 for a while) and put on about 35,000 miles a year to get around looking for stuff.  There are weeks when we do not see a single thing you would like, and other times when we get huge loads back to back.
        A lot of good items are found with little or no information, so we spend a lot of time doing research and depend on our extensive libraries to fill in the gaps in areas we are less familiar with.
        Most of the time we can only find a single example of an item, but on a few lucky days we may find several.  We never know what we will find, or when, or how much it will cost.  Therefore, we do not work want lists.  When we get something we put it out, and everyone gets an equal shot at the good stuff, not just leftovers after our buddies pick through.  We do not play auction games where the professionals swoop in at the very last second and get stuff.  We put our price on it, and put it out and whoever finds it first can get it.  Some items sell literally within minutes or hours of being posted. Some exceptional bargains lurk deep in the lists, overlooked for a long time.
        We appreciate your visiting Oldguns.net and hope we can help you with your collection.  Remember us when it is time to recycle your collection.
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    Featured Collector Group-

    International Ammunition Association
    Address: IAA Membership,  6531 Carlsbad Dr,   Lincoln, NE  68510
    Membership is $30 per year in US, $35 in Canada or Mexico and $45 elsewhere.
    http://www.cartridgecollectors.org
    Main Area of Interest:     The IAA was founded over 40 years ago to serve cartridge collectors and professionals in the areas of ammunition research and forensics.   Well balanced as to type of ammunition (early paper cartridges to latest James Bond stuff for special operations forces); calibers (tiny rimfires to artillery rounds); and country of origin (worldwide).

    Geographic area of members:  Large international organization, although vast majority are from U.S.

    Publications:

    • International Ammunition Association, Inc. Journal, published six times a year.  About 44 pages filled with exceptionally well done articles, photos, drawings. Every aspect of cartridges or ammunition is included (powder, primers, bullets, complete cartridges, boxes, advertising, etc).  Patents, makers, markings, headstamps, boxes and labels, and all sort of techincal data are presented.
    • Website http://www.cartridgecollectors.org/ The Guide to Ammunition Collecting and especially its extensive Glossary of Ammunition Terms is a tremndous reference source.  Take a few minutes to check that out and you will understand the significance and allure of the whole world of ammunition collecting beyond the casual desire for a pretty box to show with the a gun.
    Meetings:  Informal annual meeting of most members in March or April at the St. Louis International Cartridge Show (descendent of the one held in Chicago for many years). IAA members also flock to other Cartridge Shows around the country at various times, with activities similar to gun shows (displays, buy, sell, trade, B.S., etc) but focused on cartridges instead of the broader gun interests.

    Prominent Members: Pick up any book on ammunition and the author is probably an IAA member.  Willliam Woodin, Mel Carpenter, Chris Punnett, Steve Fuller, J.R. Crittenden Schmitt, Lou Behling, John Roth, etc.

    Who should belong:  Anyone who collects guns and is at all curious about the stuff that transforms them from mere ceremonial accoutrements or holders of bayonets into deadly weapons..

    My observations/comments/recommendations: Amazing amount of knowledge presented, and gladly shared among members via the Journal, and in person or by correspondence.  Beginners welcomed as well as advanced collectors.  A fun group, from extremely diverse backgrounds, ages, interests.

    Membership Applications:  Submit application available from website.
    (Note: John Spangler is a member and will be happy to sponsor new members).
     

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    This is the end of the OldGuns.net Newsletter
     We hope it was useful or interesting.  We invite you to visit Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquartershttp://oldguns.net when you are ready to add to your collection, or even if you decide to sell all or part of it.

    John Spangler & Marc Wade

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