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Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters
www.OldGuns.net
Newsletter
Number 7 - November 4, 2002
Celebrating Over Five Years Of Service To Our Collector Friends!
copyright 2001 All rights reserved


Contents:



 
 

Feature Article:
VOTE- YOUR MOST IMPORTANT JOB THIS WEEK

You right to own a gun without undue infringement by busybody anti-gun politicians is in jeopardy.  It is vitally important that you and your family members and every other well informed voter get out and VOTE on TUESDAY November 5.  Lots of idiots,  gullible folks lured to the polls by crooked politicians, and dead people will be voting, so you need to vote too!  Turnout will be the key to this election.  The liberal (antigun) folks will be working their phone banks trying to scare or coerce people to vote against candidates who will protect your rights.  You need to do your part!  Gun owners NEED to keep a Republican majority in the House, and get one or more Republicans in the Senate to retake control of that outfit where Tommy Dasshole has blocked confirmation of judges, failed to pass a budget, and placed union interests above national security interests.  He will try to pass gun restrictions, including some form of registration if he can get away with it.  Throw the bums out!  VOTE!

(P.S.- There are some fine pro-gun Democrats too, and they are good guys, but the vast majority are your enemy, no matter what they tell you now, or how many photo ops they stage holding a gun.  They will say they love you to get what they want, but will they still respect you in the morning? Don't count on it!)
 

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Coming attractions (Part 1)
Protecting and Managing Your Collection:
 
We talked above about how important it its to protect your collection from the political threats.  Well, there are some pretty serious physical security threats as well.  Theft and fire are the big ones, and while good insurance might protect against a financial loss, you will have failed in your responsibility to preserve these artifacts for future generations.  That stuff never happens, right?   This does not apply to me, right?   We have friends who suffered devastating losses from their collections.

One guy had a couple dozen fine old flintlocks and Colts stolen from one of those "rent a storage place" operations.  Two were recovered in somewhat damaged condition.  We can only imagine the fate of the others once the perps discovered the drug dealers were not interested in them.
The other guy lost his entire collection, which is enough to make anyone cry.  His wife cried a lot too, but probably more about the family stuff and clothes and the whole bloody house that burned to the ground in one of those western forest fires this summer.  I cried when I saw some of the debris that was recovered.  These were all high end collector prizes- a nice Henry, a half dozen great Sharps rifles, examples of most U.S. military longarms and a couple dozen prime pistols, mainly percussion Colts.  We know people don't like attachments to e-mails, so we posted the photo of a formerly pristine Colt Revolving Carbine at http://OldGuns.net/burnedcolt.jpg just for your viewing agony.  (We almost had it up in time for Halloween to give everyone a good scare.)

We sold hundreds of our Collector's Inventory Starter Kits with some solid advice for keeping track of your collection to help minimize the losses from such events, as well as helping prepare your heirs to figure out what to do with your collection when you can no longer enjoy it.  We lost our source for the brass ID tags included in the kit, so we discontinued them.  However, we are working to make all this information available on line.  Watch for it, and then take heed and take action.
 

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Coming attractions (Part 2)
Affordable Mannequins For Uniform Collectors:
 
If you would like to display them you have probably thought about getting a mannequin for them, at least until you found out that a good one will cost hundreds of dollars and there are no cheap ones.  We recently met a collector who has designed and built his own, and they are excellent, and well within the capabilities of all but the most hopeless klutz.  Total cost is probably less than $25 each, with the Styrofoam head being the most costly part. We are still working on getting some good drawings done to show the basic design and suggest some options, but we know that these guys will be the answer to many a collector's prayers. They are even built to support the weight of cartridge belts, etc!
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OldGuns.net Secure Order Forms Working again:
 
You can use our secure order forms again to place your credit card orders over a secure server.  These were down for an unacceptably long time while our new server hosts got their act together.  We know a lot of you liked the convenience of ordering that way and we are REALLY happy to have them working again for you.


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Book Review- Johnson Rifles & Machine Guns by Bruce Canfield:

(This review is by Rick Slater, "Rick the Librarian" to those of you who visit the excellent forum pages at www.M1903.com and the Culver Shooting Pages (www.jouster.com).  We appreciate Rick's comments and commend Bruce on yet another great contribution to arms collecting literature.

Bruce Canfield's new book on the Johnson rifle is another winner (Johnson Rifles and Machine Guns: The Story of Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr. and His Guns) I wasn't sure I would find this book interesting because I always thought the Johnson rifle was just a footnote to the M1 Garand.  However, I would put this in the same category as Billy Pyle's fine book, The Gas Trap Garand-- to understand the development of the M1, you have to understand the background - and includes the Johnson rifle.

Before I go into detail, one of my pet peeves about many firearms books is that they are often long on detail and short on "soul".  For example, most are good at explaining even minor differences in great detail ("...the 1947 Thumblicker was replaced by the 1947A1 Thumblicker, which had two screws holding the rear sight on the rifle instead of one; the two screws holding the sight to the rifle are 7/64" in diameter instead of 1/8"..." ad nauseum) I pore through many firearms books and find little on what the average soldier thought of the rifle - how it worked and some good stories about the rifle in action.  I am prejudiced in this regard, because history to me as always meant "people" and "events", not just detail.

Using the above definition, I really feel that Bruce wrote the Johnson book to my liking.  What he really did was to write a biography of Melvin Johnson and his rifle, not a technical report.  He branched off into the writing of history, not just a narrow story of the rifle.  I enjoyed reading as much about Mr. Johnson's life as I did about the firearms he invented.  Mr. Johnson was a very talented man and it's too bad that his genius couldn't have been channeled more.

I especially enjoyed Bruce's detailed coverage of the Johnson rifle and LMG in action, with many personal interviews with soldiers who used the Johnson in action being included.  I found the coverage of the Johnson vs. the Ordnance Dept. very interesting, ca. 1939-1940 - I had no idea it went on so long or involved Congress as much.  Bruce covers the congressional hearings and tests on the Johnson-Garand controversy in great, but readable detail.  The researcher in me really respects the job he did in getting pertinent documents together.

I am not really in a position to comment on the technical aspects of the book - about 95% of what I now know about Mr. Johnson's firearms, I picked up from Bruce's book!  As with the M1/M1 Carbine book, I liked the way the pictures were used - generally, the pictures matched the text (another of my pet peeves is a book with a picture on the subject being discussed in the text -- 50 pages away!).

Bruce even had a section on post-war surplus sales of the Johnson.  I enjoyed reading the postwar advertising - one of my "minor" hobbies is the collecting and reading of old American Rifleman and other gun magazines from the 1960s and late 50s. I love the old advertisements and I have a couple of them that feature the Winfield ads.

The only negative (which I also felt about Billy Pyle's book) is that at first glance, the person with an interest in WWII firearms may think that this covers a relatively minor part of WWII firearms history.  However, as I stated above, to truly understand American military firearms development and production World War II, you do need to read this book.

I have seen a real "maturing" in Bruce's writing.  All you need to do to prove this is read any of the last three or four books he has written in the last few years and compare them to his earlier works.  Bruce has communicated to me that his objective is to educate the new and/or casual military firearms hobbyist.  When they're ready for the "hard stuff", they can move on to other, more technical books.  As this is the main reason I am "Rick the Librarian" in the CSP in several military firearms forums, I think Bruce has succeeded admirably.
Thanks again to Rick Slater for allowing us to share this review with you.


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Miscellaneous Notes:
Foreign Serial Number Translations
You may not know that the goofy looking foreign scribbling for serial numbers is on some of your guns.  Well, the BATF folks won't have any sympathy if they inspect your C&R FFL records and you don't have the numbers recorded.  By kind permission of the authors, we have posted a really great number table showing translations of the following: Kanji-Chinese, Thai (Siamese); Farsi (Persian), Arabic (Egyptian/Iraqui, etc), and Nepali (no, not Naples, it is from Nepal, between Indian and China, sort of like Afghanistan's eastern cousin). Check it out at www. ArmsCollectors.com


S&S Firearms Founder Dies

Ed Seiss, a fine gentleman and tremendous supporter of gun collectors (and historic arms shooters in the North-South Skirmish Association) passed away recently.  We assume that his family will continue to tun this fine business.


Bullet Effectiveness

We just supplied some obsolete collector ammunition (.30-06 Ball, M1906, Ball M1, Ball M2 and 7.62mm Ball M59) to a major U.S. military command for ballistics testing.  It seems some of the old hands don't think that the current stuff loaded in 7.62mm rounds does the job as well as some of the earlier types.  It will be interesting to see what the results show.  Our guess is that there is not a lot of difference, if any.  Glad to help our guys make the other poor SOB die for their country.


Support Our Military and Law Enforcement People and Their Families

Yep, they are getting shot at all over the place, and some are getting hit, even though the news stories fade after a day or so.  That is no consolation if it is your family member, or your comrade in arms getting shot at, or worse, hit.  Fly your flag, write your letters to the editor supporting our forces, and tell a "peace advocate" to stuff it (peacefully, of course).  Lots of Reservists and Guardsmen have been, and will be, called up to defend our interests around the world in both combat and support roles.  Our law enforcement folks are working their butts off, trying to secure the borders, keep an eye on the bad guys (yes, there ARE some rally bad guys being watched) and arrest plain old criminals like snipers and the like.  Our customers include folks who help train our very best troops, people in the intelligence business, and a Marine in the unit that took casualties in Kuwait recently. God bless them all, and we thank them for their service.


Springfield Sporters Closes

After about 30 years in business, Springfield Sporters of Penn Runn, PA, suddenly closed in October, and their inventory has reportedly been sold to other large dealers (SARCO and Gun parts Corp. were both mentioned).  This firm was a consistent supplier of neat items at good prices, and will be missed.  Apparently they were operating in leased buildings and the owners of the buildings/land had some inheritance disputes that forced them to cancel the lease on short notice.  Bummer.


Need Replacement Musket Stocks?

Absolutely the best we have found come from Dunlap Woodcrafts in Virginia.  They make them for virtually all US military muskets and rifles 1795-1903, using excellent quality walnut, and about 95-99% inletted so that just minor fitting is required.  These guys know what they are doing, and they sell a lot of these for shooters and restoration work.  They also can provide forends to "stretch" those butchered guns with a minimum of cost and effort.  I do not have current prices, but figure something like $175-200 per stock, or about $60 per forend.  Good stuff!  My table at Baltimore is about 30 feet from theirs and I really like their work.  Contact Wayne Dunlap by e-mail: dunlapwdcrafts@aol.com


Visit a GOOD Gun Show

We are proud to support the Utah Gun Collectors Association and think you might like seeing some of the highlights of some of their shows, which feature a lot of great displays of collector guns and related items. (No cellphones, beef jerky, camouflage, etc, just guns and related items.)  Take a few minutes to check and see what some other collectors are showing from their collections.  Better yet, attend one of their shows (January, March and October only, in Ogden UT, home of the John M. Browning Firearms exhibit.  We encourage your gun collectors group to post similar pages from your shows.  The public needs to understand more about why people collect guns, otherwise they think anyone who likes guns must be some sort of potential "serial sniper."  Check them out at http://ugca.org
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New Items At OldGuns.net  (posted now or coming soon):

Wow, too much to mention.  Lots of good guns, in all price ranges, and for all sorts of collecting tastes.  Remember that we have several categories on each of the gun pages, and new stuff will be found in several section, not just at the very top of the page.  Our militaria page is getting pretty full with Korea through Vietnam era goodies.  We are not big surplus dealers with pallets full of this junque, but only have one or a few of most items.  If you see something you like, get it now, because when it is gone, it is gone.  Don't forget there is some foreign militaria stuff on that page (British, and Japanese and a few other countries as well, not just U.S.   We may have to divide it some other way in the future, but you don't want to miss checking the whole page.  Sometimes we are not consistent on where we put stuff.  We recently noticed that M1907 slings sell quickly on the Accessories and Parts page, but are slow movers on the militaria page.  Many people do not realize that we have a nice assortment of sniper related collector items on the Accessories and parts page.  If you are afraid your boss will catch you looking at each of our pages, you can always reduce your time on our site by using the search tool at the top left of the main page.  We have a lot more stuff coming, just waiting for the time to get it
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Darwin Award Nominee:
 

(Sorry, No Darwin Award this time, but we will have one next time)


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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 Headquarters, http://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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