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# 13532 - Serial Numbers Versus Assembly Numbers

Colt - 1917 - .45 ACP - 5-1/2'' - Blue - 118164 (OR 270968) -

Colt DA 45 US Army Model 1917 Which number is the Serial Number? According to, the number on the butt (118164) is ALWAYS the serial number; but according to Holt Bodinson in an article for ''Guns Magazine'' (Sept, 2006), the serial number is found on the frame (270968)!! ( He says that the number on the butt is a U.S. Army inventory number. I have been unable to confirm either piece of information. Can you help?

Sir- That is an excellent question. Let's just stick to the context of U.S. military contract revolvers made by Colt or S&W, and not try to include every maker anywhere at any time. This is confusing enough with just this very specific group of guns.

Military contracts called for their revolvers to be assigned serial numbers, usually starting with 1 and working up to however many guns were in the contract, say 50,000, so the numbers would run 1 through 50,000. The contract usually specified where the markings would be applied, usually on the butt. Thus was can safely say that the numbers on the butt are "serial numbers," and that they were applied by the manufacturer at the time the gun was made.

There was no requirement that guns made for civilian sale even have "serial numbers" prior to 1968, nor much concern about keeping them in sequence, or preventing duplications or omissions. Usually this was more of a matter for keeping track of inventory, or identifying when mechanical changes were introduced, etc. Sometimes the maker may start at a very high number and work up (or down in dequence of numbers) and then restart at a lower number. Sometimes they would start a series of numbers over again for no apparent reason. Sometimes numbers were in a single series but used on several different models, good for keeping tally of the total number of guns made, and even better at driving later generations of collectors stark raving mad trying to make sense of it all. In many respects, "serial numbers" used by makers were the outgrown of what were called "match" or "assembly" numbers used to keep track of hand fitted parts so that after final finishing (bluing or case hardening of the metal parts, varnishing of wooden grips, etc) they could find all the right parts so that everything fit back together with the proper fit and would function properly. Sometimes various combinations of file strokes, stamped numbers or full or partial serial numbers were used. Sometimes the numbers are totally unrelated to the final serial number, but just match up two parts during manufacture (e.g.- Colt SAA loading gates and frames, or Krag buttplates and butt traps.)

This brings us back to the Model 1917 revolvers, where Colt and S&W marked numbers on parts such as the frames and crane. These numbers allowed matching of these hand fitted parts later on, and if for some reason the parts were rejected by military inspectors, they could be for guns for the civilian market. This allowed pretty much the same process for both military and civilian guns at least until inspectors pulled the ones for miltiary use and stamped the military marks and serial numbers.

Therefore, in my opinion, if the military number is present, that is the "SERIAL number" and the other number, if present is an "ASSEMBLY number," even though that same number would be the "serial number" when found on the civilian gun. I am not sure what the Colt collectors or S&W collectors would say about that (let alone the folks at BATFE).

You may want to see what Charles Clawson's superb (but sadly out of print) "Colt .45 caliber service pistols" says about serialnumbers, and also the chapters in Charles Pate's U.S. military Handguns of WW2 and Robert Best's Colt Double Action Army Revolvers?????????????? As usual, my free advice comes with a full money back guarantee. John Spangler

# 13707 - Un- Ground T-99
Tyler, Greenwood, SC

Blue -

Japanese chrysanthemum I've inherited what I believe to be a Japanese Mauser from WWII sent home by my grandfather when he was stationed in Okinawa. I've done a little bit of research and it looks like it is actually an Arisaka K99(Im not sure if that is right). The gun is in excellent shape and its all original. It functions well and I don't see why I wouldn't be able to fire it. However, I am not sure about the ammo. It also has a symbol on it which is the Japanese chrysanthemum or emperors seal. From the research I've done it says that most of these were ground off after the war and I was wandering if that would make it worth more. Any information you could give me on this rifle including a ball park of what you think it may be worth would be very appreciated. Thanks

Tyler, the rifle you describe is called a Type 99. Depending on the model, it should have markings indicating this on the receiver unless it is a "last ditch" rifle. The markings are Japanese characters so you probably can't read them. The T99 rifle was adopted by the Japanese military in the year 1939, which gives you the year 99. The Bonzai website can help you to decipher the rest of the markings on the receiver including the maker, and which series it was from that maker. The website also has table that will give you the year the rifle was made.

If all correct and matching, with no modifications, your rifle should have the last three digits of the serial number stamped on the bottom of the bolt handle, the firing pin, the bayonet lug, and the end of the safety knob. The presence of the imperial chrysanthemum does add $50 to $100 to the value of the rifle. Marc

# 13703 - Modified Serial Number 1911
Daniel, Wilmington, N.C.

Colt - 19ll . US Army - 45 Cal. - 5 In. - Parkerized - X1744 -

On right hand side of frame the serial number and property of US has been ground away and a different serial number has been stamped on it. The serial number now is X1744. On the left hand side of frame there is a figure 7 stamped on the trigger guard approximately 1/2 in. from the magazine release button. Another mark about 5/8 in. above the magazine release button. I think it maybe a flaming bomb. Under the slide stop on the frame it has AA stamped on it. That is the only markings on the frame that I can see. As far as the slide it is a colt, reading as follows. patterned apr.20,1897.sept.9.1902, underneath that it reads dec.19,1905.feb.14,1911.aug.19,1913. Then there is a colt on rear legs with two slash marks on body of colt. The it reads colt' hartford,ct,usa. On right side of slide it reads MODEL OF 1911.U.S.ARMY. On the inside parts the barrel has colt stamped on it. The other parts I can't see any markings. All the internal parts have been reparkerized as well as the outside of pistol has been reparkerized. You can see clearly that the pistol has not been fired since it was repaarkerized. It truly a beautiful pistol even if you can seen some grinding marks where they ground away the serial number. I would like to know if you think this pistol is worth keeping and if you think it a true military 45 and if it is pieced together. Also I would like to know why the serial no. was ground away and another one added. I paid one thousand and fifty dollars for it. Do you think I paid to much, or how much you think it is worth.

Daniel, many pistols were stolen by soldiers from the U.S. military, to hide the crime, the U.S. Property markings were sometimes ground off. Some also removed the serial number so the pistol could not be traced. The loss of the serial number means the pistol cannot be reliably dated. Someone had to have stamped a new serial number on the pistol sometime in the past. Stamping a new serial number on a firearm without official approval is not legal. The initials AA were applied when the frame was reworked at the Augusta Arsenal. If the pistol is a Model 1911, not a Model 1911A1 (the A1 has beveled areas just behind the trigger) then it would have been blued.

The parts you describe are all parts made for the U.S. military. Is the pistol worth keeping? Because of the modifications, it has no interest to a collector. The altered serial number may make the pistol illegal. Did you pay too much? Probably. Marc

# 13525 - .45-70 Trapdoor With Broken Stock
Glenn, Kansas City,MO

1873 - Springfield - 45-70 - 32'' - Blue - 174632 -

This gun has been in our family for as long as I can remember. The gun stock is cracked completely through from the middle of the receiver to the end of the trigger guard (as a child I knocked it from the fire place mantle). It has a full front sight hood guard. Can this stock be repaired or would it be worth it for me to find a replacement. Can you tell me any history from the serial #?

Glenn- First, there is no documented history for that serial number, but other nearby numbers were issued to units serving in the Spanish American War, so it is likely it was used then as well. As long as the wood is all there (except for maybe a few tiny pieces) and the crack/break is not all oil soaked, it should be possible for someone good with woodworking to repair the stock. Replacement stocks are not common, but sometimes our friends over at have some on their classified ads page. It may be a little cheaper to fix the old one, and use it as a lesson to children to be more careful when handling old guns. John Spangler

# 13522 - Remington-Elliot Ring-Trigger Derringer Grips
Joel, Chevy Chase, MD

Remington-Elliot - Ring-Trigger Derringer - .32 - Approx. 3 Inches - Blue -

This is the zigzag grip model and I need replacement grips for mine, which has very crude homemade ones now. I ordered what I thought were the correct grips from Vintage Gun Grips, Inc., but they don't carry them for this model. Does anyone know where I can get replacement grips?

Joel- Sorry, we cannot help on that one. Maybe you can salvage a pair from a pistol that has other problems, but these are fairly scarce to start with, so even that will be unlikely. You are welcome to post this on our free "WANTED" page. Just scroll down on our main page until you find that section. It works for some people! John Spangler

# 13702 - Western Field Manufacturer And Value
Joe, Hampstead, NC

Western Field - 59A - .22 Cal - 23 Inch - Blue - UNK -

Who manufactured this .22 cal, it has a tube feed for numerous shells, and a patent # of 2094577. Also what is the value of this rifle. Thank You Joe

Joe, the closest that I was able to find to what you are asking about, is the Western Field Model M059 which is the Stevens model M87. Since I am not familiar with the either the Western Field 59A or the Stevens M87, I am not sure if this will be helpful or not.

There is not much collectors interest in any sort of Western Field firearms so value is easier to estimate than determining who the firearm's manufacturer is. Most Western Field .22 rifles of this type that I see at gunshows are selling in the $50 to $75 range. Marc

# 13521 - Danzig Pistols

Danzig - 13'' - Other -

Danzig & 50 are markings on top of the barrel I am trying to find additional information on a pair of Dueling Pistols by ''Danzig'' - I have been unable to find anything online under that name.

Dan- Danzig was home of a Prussian military arsenal, and probably numerous private gun makers as well. These may be military pistols that someone has put in a case together or they may be true dueling pistols, but I suspect the former. A thorough review of some good photos by someone who knows more than I do about that sort of thing may provide better answers. John Spangler

# 13700 - Fegyvergyar Holster And Magazine Source

Fegyvergyar - Frommer 'Stop' - 7.65 Mm - 95 Mm - Blue - 123678 -

Hungarian Crest on the left front side of the trigger guard. I am looking for a clip for this gun. Do you have any suggestions where I might obtain one. Also am interested in obtaining a holster for it.

Michael, we do not have any at the moment, but we get holsters and magazines for these from time to time. Keep an eye on our catalogs and you may find what you are looking for. You can also check with Gun Parts Corp (the old Numrich Arms people) at the following URL:

If that doesn't work, try posting it on our free "Wanted" page at the following URL:

Good Luck - Marc

# 13505 - Jesse James' Rifle

Winchester - 1892 - .44-40 - 30'' - Blue - OCT.14,1884 -

Manufactured by Winchester Repeating Arms Co,. New Haven , Conn. U.S.A. Barrel 44WCF Model 1892 Pat.1884 Oct.14 , Behind forearm and in front of the lever L65093 This gun has been said to belong to Jessie James . It was traded to a blacksmith for a horse in Lawrence Co. Tn., and has been in the family until now. Please clarify and appraise the gun. It is in fare condition with reasonable wear, no rust , never refinished. Still shoots great!

Leoma- The James brothers evidently had many wagon loads of guns at various times, judging by the number which can be found in collections.

I am not qualified to authenticate or appraise a gun like this. (Mainly because I think that none of them actually have the claimed connection, and are therefore worthless, and I would never want to be involved in the purchase or sale of one.) Leaving out any alleged historical connection, this sounds like guns I see at shows priced about $600-900.

I STRONGLY recommend that people interested in firearms with alleged connections to famous individuals read an excellent article by Jim Supica. Jim is formerly a highly respected firearms dealer, and is now the head of the NRA's National Firearms Museum. Read this great piece from his speech to he Ohio Gun Collectors Association at and become educated on this topic.

Two sharp eyed guests have pointed out one minor clue that we overlooked. Jesse James was killed by Bob Ford on April 3, 1882. That was several years before John M. Browning invented the basic design that Winchester eventually sold as the Model 1892, so it is highly unlikely that Jesse James had the chance to own this one. John Spangler

# 13695 - Need Buttstock
Larry, Elyria, Ohio, USA

Unknown - ''Trappers Special'' - .22 - 22'' Breach To Muzzle - Rusty - NONE FOUND -

stamped on barrel is ''TRAPPERS SPECIAL 22 CAL S.L.& L.R.- MADE IN USA'' I inherited this single shot bolt action 22 from my Grandfather. I know it's not a valuable gun but it means a lot to me. I believe it was probably purchased somewhere between 1890 and 1920 but can't be certain. The stock is all broken up and held together with glue and string. I want to replace the stock with one that looks exactly like the original. I am not so worried about authenticity or resale value, I will never part with this gun, but I want it to look good. Any help with a manufacturer or outlet where I might find a replacement stock for it?

Larry, glad to hear that you are holding onto your Grandfather's .22 for sentimental reasons. An heirloom like this rifle is a great way to remember your grandfather and your family's history.

The only place that I know of for you to look for a replacement stock is Gun Parts Corp of West Hurley NY, you can also try posting on the free wanted page. If that does not work you could have the stock copied by a custom stock maker. Try a Goggle search for something like gun stock makers or custom gun stocks. Good luck. Marc

# 13693 - Faded Nickel PP
James, El Paso, Tx

Walther - PP - 7.65 - 3 5/8th Inch - Nickel - 758864 -

Crown n proof right side and pre war Zella-mellis (thur) markings. The finish is almost an ''in the gray'' or old silver look. Gun functions flawlessly. Is this gun rare and what was most likely the original finish? Is the gun Valuable? What is most likely year of manufacture?

James, I believe that all of the Walther serial number records were destroyed during the war so I can not furnish a date of manufacture. It is known that Walther first introduced the PP for commercial sales in 1929, and that the first PP serial number was 750000. This would indicate that you have a fairly early pistol.

Values for pre-war PP pistols can go as high as $1200 or more depending on condition. References indicate that all early Walther PP pistols came with a high quality commercial blue finish. The nickel finish on your pistol is not original and it will lower the value considerably, by as much as 50 percent, probably more because of the faded gray appearance. Marc

# 13504 - Jaeger/Hawken/Plains Rifle?
Rich, Hamilton, Mt

Jaeger? Hawken? - .54 - 23'' - Don't Know - NONE -

PA I have inherited a heavy Octagonal barrel short for it's time muzzle loader. I believe it may be referred to as a plains or mountain rifle. Very nice condition with flip up peep style rear sight and a working patch box. Stock is possibly maple with a cheekrest. Checkering at grip and hand scrolled all along forearm. Only markings are a large ''PA'' on top of the barrel. Strangely it is only 36'' overall. It sports a bone or ivory inlay at the tip of forearm. Actually at the very muzzle end of the weapon. Possibly .52 or .54 cal. 23'' barrel length. Thanks for any ID or value help

Rich- We cannot help without seeing this one in person, and may not be able to tell you much even then. The caliber seems about right for a Plains or Hawken style rifle. However the barrels were usually a bit longer, so this one may have been cut down at some point. Perhaps cut down to make it even handier on horseback, perhaps by an Indian or trapper. However, bone or ivory inlays are more of a European feature, so your thought that it may be a Jaeger (German hunting) rifle) is a good possibility as well.

Based on your location, I would suggest that you take it to the Missoula Gun Show in August at the University of Montana field house. Maybe one of the many experts there can help you ID this. John Spangler

# 13691 - Remington 513 T Manufacture Date
Craig Salisbury, Pa.

Remington - 513 T - 22 LR - 27 - Blue - 139786 -

There are no date codes on the barrel. The rifle has not been refinished so the codes were not polished out. All the other barrel markings are there including the patent numbers. It says Remington matchmaster model 513T. How can I find out the manufacture date? Thanks

Craig, Remington manufactured about 166,000 Model 513T Matchmaster rifles from 1940 to 1968. For those who are not familiar with the model, the Matchmaster was designed for target shooting, it came equipped with a sturdy half stock with sling swivels, beavertail forend and a straight comb which rose at the heel. Matchmaster barrels were 27 inch heavy target semi-floating type. The patented Matchmaster trigger mechanism had an adjustable stop. Rear sights were usually Redfield patterns, with a replaceable-element tunnel at the muzzle. Pre-war Matchmaster magazines held seven rounds while post-war examples held six. Total weight was about 9 pounds.

The blue book lists values for this model from $150 to about $400 depending on condition. If you can provide some documentation of your rifles provenance/history some collectors may be willing to pay more for it. Marc

# 13503 - Colt 1851 Navy Value
Eddie, Spotsylvania, va

Colt - Navy 1851 - .36 - 7 1/2'' - Blue -

Squared back trigger guard What is the value of a functional original in 60% condition?

Eddie- I would expect to find ones matching your description offered at a gun show in the range of $2,000- 3,000. Be aware that there are more replica Colt Navy revolvers out there than there are originals, and many have been artificially aged and sold as originals to gullible people. John Spangler

# 13683 - Probably A Model 17

D'Armes Des Pyrenees - 16 Or 17 - 7.65 - 3.25 - Blue - 25425 -

Nazi Eagle over swastika proof mark on barrel what might be a Nazi eagle or tri plane over the WaA251 proof mark the grip says CAL 7.65 W/W not ''court 9 coup'' This gun has a ''square'' handle with no lanyard loop. It has the Nazi proof markings. There is NO hammer. In all my research I can find none with the square handle. As well the proof mark of the eagle holding the swastika is not in the book. Is this one of the earliest models of the occupation and how many of the square handled pistolet were made? At what gate did the Germans actually take over the armes factory? Thank You

Daniel, it sounds like you have the predecessor to the Unique Kriegsmodell, the Model 17. This was a hammerless design which was produced by Manufacture D'Armes Des Pyrenees and procured by the German military after the June 1940 occupation of France. Model 17 serial numbers range from about 21000 to 58000 so your pistol is fairly early. Estimated Model 17 German procurement is about 30,000 pistols.

Model 17 pistols have the following markings. Most of them match the markings that you mention in you'r question:

  • Eagle over WaA251 - Located on the rear right frame.
  • Eagle over Swastika - Located on the right barrel.
  • Hard rubber grips marked "7.65mm 9 SCHUSS"
  • The serial number - Located on the right frame, inside rear of slide, and the underside of barrel.
  • "7.65 COURT 9 COUPS 'UNIQUE,' MANUFAC--TURE D'ARMES DES PYRENEES, HENDAYE" - Located on the left slide. Some early pistols with leftover French contract slides do not have the "MANUFACTURE D'ARMES DES PYRENEES, HENDAYE" portion of the slide legend.

Hope this helps. Marc

# 13508 - Dutch Beaumont Vitalli Rifle Made At Maastricht
Rick Tacoma Washington

Maastricht - Blue -

Butt Plate stamped 1891---Stock has Masstricht on it and a Crown over letter W barrel has several crowns on it being over a NL and a J Barrel is stamped Pc stevens Maastricht What war / conflict was this weapon used in , when was it made and what country, where can I find cartridges for it and what caliber was it ? Approx. price in excellent condition ? Thank you

Rick- This is a Dutch military rifle, known as the Beaumont, made by J. Stevens in Maastricht (Holland) as a single shot in the 1870s, and then in 1891 it was converted to use the Vitalli box magazine to turn it into a repeating rifle instead of as single shot. Further research in Dutch military history may reveal info about their use, but I suspect it may have been limited to some colonial wars, perhaps in Indonesia or other remote places. These used a cartridge which basically is not available. These rifles are fairly common on the collector market. Values seem to run in the several hundred dollar range. Note that the J. Stevens in Maastricht is not related to the Joshua Stevens of Chicopee, Massachusetts, in any way, other than the similarity in the names. John Spangler

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