Antique and Collectable Firearms
and Militaria Headquarters www.OldGuns.net Newsletter Number 8 - January 27, 2003 Celebrating Over Six Years Of
Service To Our Collector Friends! Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.
This is a good time to adjust your work and play schedules to ensure that
you get to the "Baltimore Show" March 15-16, 2003 at the Fairgrounds in Timonium,
MD, just off the interstate. Easy to get to from anywhere from Maine
to Miami, and worth the trip if you live anywhere from Kalifornia to Kansas
This is the finest gun show in the United States, held once a year by the
volunteers of the Maryland Arms Collectors since 1955. Tables are almost impossible
to get, but just attending the show during public hours is a great experience.
Bring the family, as they have really superb food, not the usual gun show
hot-dogs. Next to the food area will be many entertaining and educational
demonstrations by living history groups, and great displays from public and
private museums and collections. Springfield and Harpers Ferry are usually
there with special items, and there is usually a cannon collection to enjoy.
Post 1898 handguns are NOT ALLOWED in the building. No beef jerky,
no camouflage or surplus junk. Just 800 tables of really neat stuff
from pricey antiques from the elite dealers to modestly priced guns, bayonets,
parts and accessories from club members. Check out the photos from last
year's show in the "photo gallery" at http://www.baltimoreshow.com/
If you are a member of the Society of American Bayonet Collectors, don't
forget that their annual meeting is held Saturday night with a nice dinner
and great "show and tell" session afterwards that even spouses seem to enjoy.
(SABC members also get special rates at the Holiday Inn, if you need another
incentive to join.)
While at the show, stop by table M29 and say "Hi" to John Spangler.
If you have some stuff to sell or trade, bring it along.
Many gun collectors overlook the fact that without ammunition even the
most modern rifle is useless except as a bayonet holder which makes it a
poor substitute for the pike used from the earliest conflicts through the
mid 18th century. Ammunition is a vital part of the weapons system,
and there is often an amazing variety of types available. To really
delve into the details of a single caliber such as the .30-06 you could
read a 382 page book, called ".30-06". However, a
great introduction to .30-06 ammunition by the same author is now available
on line. It also has lots of color photos to show the details. Much
of it is focused on U.S. military .30-06 ammunition, but foreign and sporting
cartridges are also included. It will take a while to read it completely,
so wait until you finish this Newsletter before you go check it out on the
International Ammunition Association website http://www.cartridgecollectors.org/30-06intro/
My Ammo Corrosive?
Lots of new collectors and shooters are getting rifles from the CMP program
and finding out that part of the fun is to shoot them. Unfortunately,
many younger collectors and shooters are unaware of the hazards of shooting
"corrosive primed" ammunition. In simplistic terms, corrosive priming
is nasty stuff that will make your barrel rust and rot in a matter of days
and turn it into worthless junk if not cleaned properly. That means
cleaning with hot soapy water or the old foul smelling GI bore cleaner for
three days in a row, starting no later than the day you shoot corrosive
ammo. If that is too much work, or too big a risk, then make sure
you use NON-CORROSIVE ammo. Courtesy of the U.S. Army, we have a neat
table showing the exact lot number and date U.S. military makers made the
change. You can use that to see if that cheap U.S. surplus ammo you
got is okay. Check it out at http://www.cartridgecollectors.org/30-06intro/ammo-nctable.htm.
We regret that we cannot help with any foreign ammo, but if you are not
sure, treat it as corrosive.
BRASS CASED 7.62x54 Hungarian or Bulgarian rifle ammo with a number 10
on the base and painted YELLOW Tips- It has been reported by some users
that this ammo is dangerous and will blow the bases off. Apparently this
is some kind of super ball ammo and will function okay in Moisin Nagants
but may be dangerous in Dragunovs and Tokarevs. (Thank to Al in Phoenix
for this tip.)
We mentioned these last time, but finally got the info posted.
If you want to display one or more uniforms without spending a fortune on museum
quality or department store fixtures, here is a great option. This info
is located on the Utah Gun Collectors Association website and you may enjoy
looking around on the rest of the site as well. The mannequin info is
Please take a minute and give us your vote on these two topics. Here
are the questions for you to think about, and the link to the polls is after
the questions. Please vote. Your input will help us serve you better. (All
responses are confidential and anonymous, and will not raise the price of
your free newsletter.)
Question 1: How can we make it easier
to find the guns you are looking for?
We expect to be adding about 250 guns from a very nice collection, heavy
on military arms, ranging from some common surplus and DCM/CMP guns up to
some exceptionally nice or rare specimens of desirable sniper models or
scarce variations like a Johnson and a number of exotic Lee Enfields.
We want to try to organize the collectible gun sections of our catalogs
to make it easy for you to find things. (Okay, honestly, we really
want you to find all this good stuff and BUY it!) The non-collectible
modern guns will remain on a separate page. We have listed several options
for the collectible arms below. Which of the following would you like
us to use for the collectible guns?
Pre-1899 Antique Handguns
Post 1898 [FFL/C&R FFL Required] Handguns
Pre-1899 Antique Longarms
Post 1898 [FFL/C&R FFL Required] Longarms
AGE And NATIONALITY Combination:
Pre-1899 Foreign And US Antique Handguns
Post 1898 Foreign And US [FFL/C&R FFL Required] Handguns
Pre-1899 Antique US And Foreign Longarms
Post 1898 US [FFL/C&R FFL Required] Longarms
Post 1898 Foreign [FFL/C&R FFL Required] Longarms
I really don't care because I don't plan on buying anything.
Question 2: How old are you?
What are gun collector age demographics, and is there an age difference between
the folks who get our newsletter and those who just visit the page?
We will be asking the age question again on the main page of OldGuns.net
in a week or so. If you answer here, please do not vote again there, as we
want to see if there is an age difference. (All responses
are confidential and anonymous. No insurance salesman will call.)
The polls are located at the following address: (It only takes a few seconds
to vote, see the results and return here)
by Billy Pyle
296 pp. 8.5" x 11" Collector Grade Publications, 1999, $59.95
Billy Pyle is a dedicated researcher with an obsession for accuracy and minute
detail. This book is the definitive study of the "Gas Trap" Garand,
which is exceptionally rare now. Although about 50,000 were made, nearly
all (with maybe 50-100 exceptions) were upgraded to the "gas port" configuration
that is now immortalized as the "finest battle implement ever made" (according
to George S. Patton.) Far from merely a checklist of technical details
for a collector fortunate or optimistic enough to see a "gas trap" in their
collection, this is a superb history of the painfully slow development of
the Garand and its final adoption as the U.S. service rifle in 1936.
Additionally it is loaded with insights into the intended functions of many
seemingly simple parts that play an important role in making it function.
These are provided by Art Tuttle, who was the "troubleshooter" for John C.
Garand, as liaison with the manufacturing folks, and who probably knows more
about the details of the M1 Garand than any person except Garand himself.
As usual with "Collector Grade Publications", it is loaded with excellent
photos and well laid out.
I found it especially interesting to read this fine book right after Bruce
Canfield's excellent study of Melvin Maynard Johnson and his rifles (reviewed
in our last OldGuns.net
Newlsetter). Johnson constantly complained about how he was being
treated unfairly and his hastily developed rifle was not being adopted after
one or two trials because of Ordnance Department favoritism or corruption.
However, Pyle's study shows that Garand's design was not an instant success,
and endured considerable criticism and many trials and subsequent modifications
before it was adopted, and even more minor improvements as it was placed into
production. The "not invented here" factor undoubtedly worked against
Johnson and supported the Army's desire to stick with the Garand. However
it is important to remember that Johnson's rifle was offered at a time when
the Garand was already in production at Springfield, at a time when U.S. entry
into World War II seemed inevitable, and Remington and Savage were being flooded
with rifle orders from the British. However badly this hurt Johnson's
foundering gun making business aspirations, or his feelings as a member of
a wealthy family with helpful political connections, it appears that the Ordnance
Department was acting in its traditional bureaucratic ways, and, indeed, seeking
the best possible rifle for our troops. Perhaps if Johnson's design
has begun at the same time as Garand's work, and they had both endured the
same number of trials and opportunities for improvement the outcome may have
For the serious collector or student of history, it is essential that you
read BOTH of these fine books. Then for an entertaining, but meritless,
contrary view that the Ordnance Department never liked anything new or did
much worthwhile, you can read an execrable diatribe called "Misfire".
I forget the author, and would take issue on most of his contentions, but
mention it anyway. Find a copy in a library rather than wasting money
on it, if your masochistic tendencies impel you to inquire further.
I just learned that Pyle has released a second edition of his Ordnance
Tools, Accessories, and Appendages of the M1 Garand. While I have
not seen a copy yet, I love the earlier edition and encourage everyone interested
in Garands to get a copy of this book as well. This will identify numerous
neat items from slings and saddle scabbards to grenade launchers and ordnance
depot tools and rifle racks that you MUST have to complete your collection.
(Show it to your spouse in case they doubt your word on such matters.) Review by John Spangler
1. Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 US and Canadian troops
stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska. 21 troops were
killed in the ensuing firefight. It would have been worse if there had been
any Japanese left on the island.
2. During the Spanish American War, a U.S. Navy ship entered the
harbor of the Spanish controlled Island of Guam, and fired several shells
at the fort. The Spanish Commander promptly sent a boat out and apologetically
announced that he was unable to return the salute, as he had no ammunition.
He was unaware that the U.S. and Spain were at war, but promptly surrendered
when informed that it was not a "salute" that was being rendered.
(Two Grenade stories- Moral of these is- don't mess with explosive
stuff that is loaded. We would not want to embarrass your family by
printing a story about you!)
(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
Saw a Grenade
2002 Darwin Award Nominee
Unconfirmed by Darwin
(July 2002) This story was told at a symposium dinner, by two Austrian
pathologists who work together in Germany. A deceased male was brought
to them for a post mortem. He had suffered severe head trauma. According
to police reports, the man wanted to see how a German World War II hand
grenade was constructed. His curiosity led him to clamp the grenade in
a vise, and cut a thin band around the center with a circular saw, so
that he would be able to crack open the two halves. Unfortunately, the
man cut a little too deep, and detonated the grenade. The pathologists
stated that the man had very little brain material when he was brought
to them; however, they were not sure if that was a result of the explosion!
Short Arm of the Law
2002 Honorable Mention
Confirmed True by Darwin
(May 2002, Pakistan) Usually it's the criminal, not the judge, who attempts
to take himself out of the gene pool. But not in this twist of a familiar
tale! A man accused of possessing a hand grenade challenged police to
produce it at his trial. When the police brought the grenade into the
courtroom, the defendant claimed it was not real. The judge absentmindedly
took the grenade in his hand while listening to arguments -- and pulled
the pin! He was injured, but survived, no doubt with improved judgment.
Winchester Arms Collectors Association Address: WACA P.O. Box 367, Silsbee, TX 77656-0367
Membership is $35.00 per year in US, $45.00 for first year. Higher in other
Main Area of Interest: Winchester Arms
Collectors Association (WACA) was founded in 1977 and is devoted to everything
Winchester, although understandably most of the action seems to center around
the lever action rifles.
Geographic area of members: Large international organization,
with over 2,000 members worldwide, the vast majority from the U.S.
The Winchester Collector, published quarterly. About
40 pages filled with an eclectic mix of excellent articles, news tidbits
(sometimes a bit stale), and lots of advertising from various dealers and
collectors. Lots of photos and also a listing of Winchester related books
available to members at a discount. Quality of publication is somewhat erratic,
always nicely done,but often the content has less meat than one would hope.
has contact information and background on the group as well as several sample
articles from the publications, and a brief FAQ section.
Meetings: WACA sponsors two shows a year. The premier show is in
Cody, WY and provides an excuse (as if one is needed) to visit the famous and
magnificent Buffalo Bill Historical Center which happens to be home of the Cody
Firearms Museum, which had its origins in the factory collection established
by Winchester. The Cody show will be June 20-22, 2003. (Note: Another group
usually has a show in Cody a week or two from the WACA show.) Their East Coast
show is held in conjunction with the show at the "Big E" in West Springfield,
Massachusetts and will be held October 4-5, 2003. They sometimes have a West
Coast show in conjunction with the "Big Reno Show".
Prominent Members: Pick up any book on Winchesters and the author
is probably a WACA member. George Madisis probably the best known and
as the premier authority on the subject, he encourages high standards of accuracy
Who should belong: Anyone who collects anything in the Winchester
field, from flashlights (yes, and you would not believe the collection one
member has, with probably 50 different types, many new in the box, with correct
batteries, store displays,etc!) to all the Winchester firearms.
My observations/comments/recommendations: Amazing amount of knowledge
presented, and gladly shared among members via the publications, at at their
meetings and shows. Beginners welcomed as well as advanced collectors.
A fun group, from extremely diverse backgrounds, ages, interests. If you like
Winchesters, you should be a member. Despite the size, I sense that the group
is somewhat struggling, as is often the case with groups that depend on volunteers
to do most of the work. It has been much better in the past, and I expect
that it will regain its vigor again.
NOTE:There is a similar group called the Winchester Club of America
which is a splinter group formed about 10 years ago when some Winchester collectors
got in a peeing contest over who was in charge of WACA. Each group claims
they are the good guys and the other folks are not quite as good. WACA is
the older, and in my personal view, the better of the two. I expect that eventually
the two will merge again, but there are a lot of egos and agendas and emotions
involved, so maybe not.
Membership Applications: Submit application available from website.
(Note: John Spangler is a member and will be happy to sponsor new members
and send applications to you).