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# 3219 - Eight Inch Colt Automatic? 12/30/00 Gonzalez
Colt - ? - .45 APC - 8" - Nickel - NONE FOUND -
I have recently acquired a Nickel Colt .45 APC with no model # and no serial #. It has four patent dates on the slide April 20, 1907, September 9, 1902, and December 19, 1905 and the last one is hard to make out but it seems to have a day of 14th and the year looks like 1911. It has Colt's PT.F.A. Mfg. Co. Hartford Ct. U.S.A. Can you tell me what model it is? How old it is? and How much is it worth?
Answer: Gonzalez, I don't believe that I have ever seen anything quite like the firearm that you are describing. A Colt type .45 semi-automatic with an eight inch barrel is unusual, possibly you measured the length of the whole slide instead of just the barrel. You may have some sort of "Frankenstein" gun assembled from parts, all of which may or may not be of Colt manufacture, or you may have an original Colt that has been badly re-finished. The fact that there is no serial number is of serious concern. There is a good possibility that the serial number was buffed off when the pistol was refinished. If the serial number has been removed, your firearm is illegal to own. Values for this type of item are not high and in my opinion, the nickel plating will not help (I have always disliked nickel plated firearms). My opinion, offered as always with a full money back guarantee is that value is in the $150 to 200 range. If the serial number has been removed value is $10,000 of your dollars and 10 years in prison. Marc
# 3284 - James D. Mowry Musket 12/30/00 Kirk & Diane
JA D. Mowry - Muzzle Loader -
There is an American Eagle on the plate on the right side of the gun where you cock the gun. Also, U.S., and to the back 1864. The plate also has Norwich, Conn. inscribed on it. My son Kirk was given this gun as a gift. Can you tell us if this gun is possibly a Civil War relic, and the value. Also, is it better to leave an antique as is, or restore it? Thank You for your help.
Answer: Kirk- James D. Mowry of Norwich, Connecticut had a contract during the Civil War to make muskets for the Union Army. He delivered 22,000 Model 1861 muzzle loading muskets, which were .58 caliber with rifled barrels (three broad lands and grooves), having 40 inch barrels and a stock reaching to within about 4 inches of the muzzle, secured by three bands holding the barrel and stock together. That is how your gun started. If it no longer looks like this, it may have been altered at a later date. Some were converted to breechloaders between 1866 and 1870. Many were sold off as surplus and since there was little demand for .58 caliber muskets, they were converted to shotguns. This involved boring out the barrels to remove the rifling, cutting the barrel (usually to about 33 inches), and cutting the stock just ahead of the first band. The rear sight and sling swivel were thrown away, and a metal loop soldered under the barrel to hold the end of the ramrod. These shotgun conversions are seen about as often as unconverted muskets.
My first military gun was a Civil War musket converted to a shotgun (but a foreign import, not a U.S. made gun), and it got me interested in the history of military arms. There is an excellent book by Jack Coggins "Arms and Equipment of the Civil War" that explains how these worked and it is pretty interesting. Your library might have a copy, or they can get one on interlibrary loan for almost nothing. We also sell copies, since it is such a good book. Enjoy. John Spangler
Belgian Mauser - M 98 - 8mm - 24" (excluding Action) 31" (with Action) - Blue - 15425 -
It has the FN crest on the very top of the bolt mechanism, on the left side an inscription that reads Fab. nat. d'armes de guerre, herstal - belgium, and under the wood covering the top of the barrel on the left side more inscriptions that read 7.9ME , B.Bundee, with allot of crests underneath that, which are mostly P.V. Could someone help me find out where this rifle was going, and what year it was made if I sent a drawing of the crests and markings?
Answer: Eric- I regret that I cannot provide an exact answer about which country may have ordered your rifle without seeing the rifle and doing a lot of research. I recommend you get a copy of Mauser Military Rifles of the World and go through that to find the answer. It is really amazing how many different countries used various Mausers.. It is a great collecting field with tremendous variety, and often-reasonable prices. JohnSpangler
Patent date, Aug 28, 1886 What is it and what might it be worth?
Answer: Ed, Continental Arms Co. of Norwich, Connecticut manufactured a Pepperbox revolver in the late 1860s which had a shield encircling the barrel cluster, causing the barrel group to look like it has a cylinder at its breech. The design was Patented by Charles A. Converse and Samuel S. Hopkins and the revolver was known as the "Ladies Companion." The total quantity of Ladies Companion revolvers produced is estimated to be at several hundred. In later years these revolvers were manufactured by the Bacon Mfg. Co. of which Charles Converse was president. Ladies Companion revolver values range from about $300 to $700 depending on condition. Marc
# 3301 - Winchester Model 1873 12/27/00 David, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, USA
This gun has a set trigger screw and a thumb dust cover.Kings-Improvment-patented-march 29, 1866, October 16, 1860 Could you tell me who this gun was sold or issued to, and is it valuable ?
Answer: David- There is a lot of interest in Winchester Model 1873, especially early ones, or those with special features (set triggers fall into that category). We cannot tell you much other than date of manufacture, with was in 1874. The Cody Firearms Museum can provide a "factory letter" telling the date of shipment, and in some cases the destination of a gun, along with notes on any special features noted in the records. These records are somewhat incomplete, but are considered to be the best information available. There is a fee for the letters (about $50 or so, nothing like the outrageous ransom demanded by the folks at Colt for letters from their records.) Any Model 1873 has pretty good collector value, and based on your description, I would think that it would bring at least $750, and perhaps more, depending on condition, and any exciting info from a factory letter. John Spangler
I have recently been asked about the age of a certain muzzle loading rifle. I believe the maker's name is Galton or some variation of that. Identifying marks are, a brass Indian portrait embedded just behind the hammer, engraved, bow, crossed arrows (2) and shield, on trigger guard as well as the brass clips holding the ram rod are fashioned to resemble an arrow (i.e., the pocket is in the form of the head and the two clips that hold it just underneath the barrel are made to look like sinew lashings.)Any information would be greatly appreciated. What is the approximate age of the rifle?
Answer: Ryan- If you sent a photo, we may be able to narrow down the options. If the gun is a flintlock, or percussion, or flint converted to percussion, that will help tell the age. Design features may help identify it as an old "Northwest Trade Gun" or something more recent "in the spirit of" an Indian gun. Barrel length, caliber, small markings on the breech (proofmarks indicating the country and sometimes the date of manufacture) are all important clues.
At least three Galtons worked as gun makers in England, assuming this is an English made gun. F. Galton worked in London circa 1756-1790. Thomas Galton worked in London and Birmingham circa 1780-1795. Samuel Galton worked in London and Birmingham before and after 1812. It is suspected that all three were related, but no further details are known. This information is from Robert Gardner's "Small Arms Makers". John Spangler
I am seeking proof, positive or otherwise, that the Maynard rifle was manufactured using a 22 caliber cartridge. I have, what is supposed to be, a 22 caliber Maynard Model 1873 cartridge. According to a few of the older cartridge books, this cartridge was used in the Maynard rifle for hunting small game, as well as target shooting. I have today been informed that Maynard never made a rifle that shot this caliber cartridge, and that this cartridge was probably made up by one or more cartridge clubs, as a memento. The cartridge has the traditional Maynard oversized rim, as do the other Model 1873 cartridges, with the case soldered onto it. Please let me know if you can shed any light on this matter. I thank you in advance, Bob Vaughan, LMV28%40csufresn!o.edu
Answer: Bob- Great question, but you need someone greater than me to answer it accurately. I know there are collectors who specialize in Maynards, and they would know. There was a great display of Maynards at the Colorado Gun Collectors show in May, 2000 and that guy would probably know. You might check with some of the other sites on the Collectors Ammunition Web Ring link on our ammo page. John Spangler
# 3280 - M1903A3 Part Markings 12/23/00 Michael St. Matthews KY
All exterior metal parts marked "R"; exception with bolt marked "cc"; stock marked with S in cut-off area. SCANT stock. Barrel marked RA, ordnance bomb with punch mark, 1-44. What is the CC bolt? Was it a sub-contacted part by Smith Corona or Remington?
Answer: Michael- Your M1903A3 rifle has been overhauled at some point. As far as I have been able to determine, the only rifles which left Remington with "scant" stocks ("semi-pistol grip" in some dialects) were the M1903A4 sniper rifles. During the overhaul process rifles were usually taken apart and parts placed in different piles or started through the inspection and refinishing process. Some parts were rejected as broken or damaged and the shortfall made up by requisitioning parts from the supply system. This would account for the use of a scant stock and the "CC' marked bolt. There is a very active discussion board about M1903 series rifles in the forum area of www.gunandknife.com (along with many other topics visitors to our site would find interesting.). Many well informed and respected authorities contribute, but it is open to anyone with internet access and a keyboard, so a bit of skepticism is advised at times. They had quite a discussion on bolt markings. Bottom line seems to be that Smith Corona bolts have an "X" stamped on the top of the handle, and the Remingtons have an "R" underneath. Anything else (including a CC marked bolt) was made elsewhere, probably as spares intended for use keeping the M1903 and M1903 (and A4) rifles in use as long as needed. Remember, the military people had absolutely no clue that any of these markings meant anything at all, once it got inspected and stuffed into the packing and sent off to the supply people to store until needed. Parts was parts, as long as they worked. John Spangler
# 3268 - ?? Winchester 1873 Single Shot ?? 12/23/00 Brenda Oxford, MS
Winchester - 1873 - 24 1/4 in. - 3045845 -
This is a single shot lever action rifle with a octagon barrel. It is marked with 32WCF. We were wondering what year it was manufactured, and what caliber it is.
Answer: Brenda, The data that you have provided leads me to believe that you have made a mistake. The Model 1873 was not a single shot, it was a lever action repeater that Winchester manufactured from 1873 to about 1924. Model 1873 serial numbers start at 1 and go to about 702349, the number that you sent us (3045845) falls well outside this range. Winchester's popular single shot rifle, was the Model 1885, but Model 1885 serial numbers start at 1 and only go up to about 151170. Please double check your serial number, manufacturer and model. With the correct information we can possibly be of some assistance. You may also want to check our Winchester Manufacture Dates section, there is a link towards the bottom of the menu on the left hand side of the site. Marc
# 3259 - Jefferson- Belgian Mauser 12/20/00 Robert, TX
Mauser action with following markings: lft-bacward P with star over it, upright lion, P.V underneath with downward looking arrow beneath that; right-Serial number, FN inside circle, words "MADE IN BELGIUM". Barrel had "Jefferson Made in USA Model 158, CAL. 30/06" no sights Trigger had FINLAND stamped on the right side. Bolt has same upright lion with P.V underneath. Stock is very nice custom look Is anyone familiar with this weapon? Is is a custom, or was there a Jefferson Firearm company? Any clue as to the worth? Where might I find more information?
Answer: Robert- I cannot find a listing for Jefferson, but we recently answered a question on Colt rifles made circa 1957-64 and we noted in there that many of them were actually made for Colt by an outfit named Jefferson, first on Belgian Mauser actions, then later they switched to SAKO actions. I strongly suspect there is a connection with your rifle. You can use the index to look up Colt rifle in the subject index. John Spangler
# 3274 - Custom Mauser Sporters 12/20/00 Bill , Lenoir, North Carolina
CZ action - ????? - 7 X 57mm - 20 inch - Wood stock, Mannlicher - I'm at the office, rifle is at home. -
Actually I have two rifles, They are two nice prewar sporting 98's on CZ actions with scopes, one claw mount (with Hensoldt-Wetzler 4X scope) , one with Jackenroll(?) mount (with an SRB/Praha 4X scope). Both scopes are clear with all adjustments usable. Both are manlicher stocked with double set triggers. One is 7 X 57mm, one is 8 X 57mm. They are very pretty and in very nice condition. They have been handled and used but have been cared for. Both have the "butterknife handle" bolt handle. Any idea where I could get a good estimate of their value? I have little experience with "collectable" firearms and don't know where to start. Thanks for your time.
Answer: Bill- I don't have any information on ones specifically made by CZ, but they sound like top quality guns. Putting a value on these is tough as they were made for European tastes. Remember, a long time ago, they though plump chicks with hairy armpits were the ideal woman; but Americans today seem to ogle the skinny babes. The bells and whistles that sold guns to pre-1939 buyers do not necessarily make American shooters reach for their wallets today. For the right guy who loves classic European sporters they may be a bargain at a couple of thousand. For you, me and Joe six pack a Ruger 77 and scope in the $500 range may catch our eye over one of your rifles, even if priced the same. You might start off at $1500 but I have no idea if that will attract buyers or chase them away. John Spangler
# 3282 - Vickers Luger 12/20/00 Victor Craigavon N. Ireland
Luger - ? - 9mm - Short - Blued - 8778 -
Brass plate soldered to left of frame markings "i-Mar. Atj" and the number "5"top marked "Vickers" and safety has the word "Rust"1929 stamped on barrel What does the brass plate mean? and is this one of a batch sold to Holland using the Vickers name? (or another country)---plus any other info available
Answer: Victor, Vickers LTD was an English company to whom a Dutch military contract to manufacture Lugers was awarded. The Dutch picked an English company instead of a German one due to hostilities between Germany and Holland at the time of the contract. Vickers Lugers are marked "Rust" (the Dutch word for safe) and have the brass plate that you mention, with the Vickers name. Quite often the brass plates are missing or have been filed clean. Vickers Lugers are often encountered with a rough finish and appear to have been sandblasted, then blued. Some experts theorize that the rough finish is original while others claim that examples with the original finish have a more brilliant rust blue and that the rough finish is due to arsenal reblue. The 1929 stamping is the year that your Luger was manufactured, references tell me that Vickers manufactured Lugers from 1923 to about 1933. Your Luger should also be marked with a Dutch proof on left side of receiver and a British proof on the barrel, breechblock, front and rear toggle links, and, frame. Vickers Lugers are a rare variation that is seldom seen, in the 20 or more years that I have been collecting firearms I have only encountered 2 or 3 at gunshows and have never personally owned one. Marc
Can you provide me information on this Rifle. When was it actually manufactured ?
Answer: Robert- All U.S. Model 1917 rifles were made in the very short period between about July 1917 and March 1919, although the vast majority were made between September 1917 and December 1918. Consistent with U.S. military practice at the time, barrels were marked with the date that the barrel was made, and usually they were assembled into rifles within a month or so, giving a pretty good indication of date of manufacture. Of course, barrels were later salvaged and reused, or originally delivered as spare parts and installed many years later, so this method is not always correct. We also have links on the left side of our main page for all sorts of great information for our guests. Two of them are search tools to look up when U.S. military arms and Winchesters were made, based on serial numbers. This shows that your rifle was made in 1917, and this is consistent with a very low serial number and total production of about 500,000 rifles by Remington. We hope everyone checks out all the good links we provide. We would not do it if we didn't think they had valuable information. Hope this helps. John Spangler
# 3257 - Patriot Brand Revolver 12/16/00 Kenneth, Berryville, VA
Patented April 23, 1878 The weapon is a spur trigger 5 shot single action revolver. Caliber .32 rimfire long. The only marking on it is "Patriot" and the 1878 patent date. I am assuming it is a store brand name. My question is who was the manufacturer?
Answer: Kenneth- Your revolver was made by Bliss & Goodyear of New Haven, Connecticut. This information comes from the book "Suicide Specials" by Donald B. Webster. This is the definitive study of the hundreds of different cheap revolvers made circa 1870-1910. (The book is out of print, but a necessity for anyone interested in the subject.) This is a fun and inexpensive collecting field with a tremendous variety, and most items qualify as antiques. They may even be a good investment, as most sell for very modest prices, especially when found in poor condition (as they often are). Just think of the fun and profit waiting for you as you build a huge collection for about $20-30 each, and the opportunity to sell them during one of the "gun buyback schemes" that the liberals love. They usually pay $50 or more per gun. You can make a profit, and get loony liberals to spend a lot of THEIR money to help you upgrade your collection with even better guns. What a country! John Spangler
# 3296 - Nickel HD-Military 12/16/00 Galen, San Antonio, TX. USA
Has the word Franzite on the handle with a picture of and eagle Can you tell me how old this gun is and maybe if it has been nickel plated after manufacture.
Answer: Galen, High Standard began manufacture of the HD-Military pistol around serial number 147000 in early 1946 and continued until about 1955, estimated production was over one hundred fifty thousand. My records indicate that your pistol was manufactured in 1948. HD-Military pistols were originally manufactured with a blue finish and came with plain checkered walnut grips. I have never seen an HD-Military with origional nickel finish and can find no mention of HD-Military pistols with original factory nickel finish in any of my reference books. This leads me to believe that the finish on your pistol is not original. Marc
# 3360 - Sontheim Brenz Revolver Value 12/16/00 email@example.com
Made in Germany Rohm -Gmbh When made, where and estimated worth? Thank you
Answer: These is one of the many inexpensive "Saturday night special" type revolvers manufactured in West Germany during the early 1960s for export to United States. Value is low as is quality of materials and workmanship. These usually sell somewhere in the $25 range. Marc
# 3396 - Derringer Pistol- Curry Agent 12/13/00 Charles
I have recently come in contact with a very old handgun. I do not know too much about handguns especially something like this with obviously a great deal of history. It has several engravings as follows: Derringer Philadel (exactly so, no misprint) N. Curry (symbol present in between not clear) B.K San Fran (symbol present in between not clear) Calif (not to sure not clear) AGENTS As stated above some of the lettering is not legible. The handgun is a flintlock type blackpowder. Again not too familiar with details of handgun. Just looking for maybe some kind of reference I could use in order to get some info
Answer: Charles- Henry Derringer in Philadelphia made the small handguns from which the name derringer (with two r's) was derived. One of his pistols was used to shoot Abe Lincoln. They are percussion, not flintlock, but it is easy to get them confused if you are not a big gun enthusiast. These were made from very tiny sizes up to a pretty good pocketful size from about 1830 to 1868 when cartridge guns pretty well killed the market for the percussion guns.
N. Curry & Brother were the San Francisco, California, agents for Derringer's products from about 1863 to 1868, having taken over from their brother C. Curry who handled them prior to 1863. These are fine collector items and attract a lot of interest. Values will typically run anywhere from $500 for the more common sizes in NRA antique good condition up to several thousand dollars for ones in excellent condition. Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and their Values has pretty thorough coverage on these, but the definitive work is The Derringer in America, Vol I: The Percussion Period, by R.L. Wilson and L. Eberhart. We have the Flayderman book on our book page, and your library can get the Wilson & Eberhardt book on interlibrary loan for you. Hope this helps. If you decide to sell, we would be glad to help. John Spangler
# 3395 - Firestone 40MM Anti Aircraft Gun 12/13/00 Steve
I am researching a 40MM anti aircraft gun for a museum. It was built by Firestone and has a tag identifying it as a "M2". It is on a trailer to be towed. Any info about this kind of weapon would be appreciated. Many thanks Steve
Answer: Steve- The 40mm AA gun is usually called a Bofors, after the Swedish designers. The same basic gun was used in either single mounts, twin mounts, or quad mounts by both the US Army and Navy, and also by many allies during WW2. The Air Force AC-130 gunships still use the 40mm single gun along with a 105mm howitzer and one or more 20mm Vulcan "Gatling" guns. A friend of mine used to be associated with that operation, and reportedly they depended on the US Navy Battleships converted to museums as a source of spare parts to keep the 40mm guns operational. Your rig should have four 6.00x20 pneumatic tires and two folding outriggers on the carriage and four leveling jacks. Overall length 19 feet, width 6 feet, height 7 feet. Road clearance 14 inches and weight 5,549 lbs. These were towed by a 6x6 truck. Rate of fire was 120 rounds per minute, with maximum effective range of 3,000 yards with a muzzle velocity of 2,870 feet per second using a 2 pound projectile and .65 to .72 pound propelling charge. (In case you needed reloading data!) Ammunition was loaded into the gun on four round clips. There are several tech manuals related to the guns and carriages and I can provide numbers if you want to try to track them down. The Army referred to the single as "40mm Automatic Gun M1 on carriage M2 or M2A1". Therefore I suspect your data plate refers to the mount, not the gun. Hope this helps. John Spangler
# 3394 - 20th Anniversary Charter Arms Undercover 12/13/00 Tony
Charter Arms - Undercover -
I own a 20th Anniversary Charter Arms Undercover. One of 20 made. Stainless steel, engraved, in factory condition. Have everything including autographed copy of book, "And Now Stainless". Any idea of value?
Answer: Tony- I personally think Charter Arms have some collector potential, but no one else seems interested. If you wait another 50-100 years (and guns are still legal then) there might be some serious interest in your gun. Right now I suspect that both people who Collect Charter Arms have one of these, leaving 18 others looking for a good home. Book value on the gun itself is about $250 without the commemorative enhancements. This is not one of the grossly overproduced commemorative Colts or Winchesters, or over priced American Historical Foundation guns for National Jell-O Week and the like. I think all of those are a real waste of money. Yours has some potential. John Spangler
This rifle is in mint condition and looks to be a special edition. My uncle new someone in upper mgnt at colt. It is a bolt action Colt 30-06 Caliber with JJ or J&J as model noted on barrel. Any information will help.
Answer: Mark- I think you might have a real rarity in Colt firearms. Except for the AR-15/M16 series, Colt rifles in the 20th Century were a financial disaster and never caught on. The Colt "57" Bolt action rifle was introduced in 1957, made on a FN Mauser action, and offered in .30-06 and .243 calibers. These were all assembled by Jefferson Manufacturing Company in North Haven, CT. These were offered in both a standard and deluxe grade, but neither was engraved. About 5,000 of these were made.
In 1958 the rifles were redesignated the "Coltsman" and .308 and .300 magnum calibers were added. In 1962 they shifted to use of a SAKO barreled action, with a total production of about 10,000 from 1958-65, in standard, deluxe and custom grades. Jefferson was involved with some of these. None were engraved.
Production from 1963-65 (included in the 10,000 above) continued use of SAKO actions but different stock patterns. The custom grade rifles inthis series were sometimes engraved, and Larry Wilson's superb "Book of Colt Firearms" notes that "A few specimens [are] known to have been presentations inscribed from the Colt factory." John Spangler
# 3335 - P.38 Serial Numbers 12/9/00 Derek
Walther - P.38 -
Does the Walther P.38 have a letter following the serial number? Wasn't the letter to indicate the month of production, or was that only with the P.08?
Answer: The Germans limited P.38 serial numbers (as well as many other small arms numbers including military Lugers) to 4 digits. Walther serial numbers started out at the beginning of each year with serial number 1, when serial number 9999 was reached a letter suffix was added starting with "a". This serial number information applies to both Walther (ac) and Mauser (byf) manufactured P.38 pistols. Spreewerke P.38 (cyq) pistols are different because they do not have a year stamping. Spreewerke serial numbers are limited to four digits and have a letter suffix but since they have no year stamping, they do not start over again at the beginning of each year. In the case of Spreewerke, collectors use the letter suffix to determine the year of manufacture. Marc
# 3381 - Cannon Bore sizes. 12/9/00 Trueman
What does a gun being a 9 pounder mean? I wondered if that meant the weight of the projectile??? I expect this is elementary to you, but puzzling to me. Thanks for your help.
Answer: Trueman- Thanks for contacting Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters. Both your guesses are absolutely correct. In the days prior to the industrial revolutions and the advent of precision measurement techniques, the bore of small arms and artillery were both designated by the weight of the projectile to be used. However, actual bore diameter may vary quite a bit depending on what the maker though was appropriate "windage" needed to allow for the build up of fouling, and variations in diameter of shot cast in crude molds. This system worked reasonably well with smoothbores, but fell apart with rifled arms which started using projectiles other than round balls. Small arms were then designated by bore diameter. (For example, the .58 caliber musket was close to 24 gauge, but fired a 500 grain conical bullet that was equivalent to about 13 to the pound, and this weigh bullet would normally call for about .70 caliber barrel.) Smoothbore artillery bore sizes are listed as: 6 pdr- 3.65"; 9 pdr- 4.187"; 12 pdr 4.625"; and 32 pdr- 6.343". Some rifled artillery examples show the difficulty matching bore diameters and projectile weights. The 10 pdr Parrott rifle had a bore diameter of 3.00 inches while the 12 pdr Whitworth rifle bore was 2.75 inches (and hexagonal instead of round!).
The best books on muzzle loading artillery are Harold L. Peterson's Roundshot and Rammers, and from an author I have forgotten, British Smoothbore Artillery. We also have several links on our links page to sites dealing with Civil War artillery, and there are several good books on that topic. John Spangler
# 3380 - Hawkens Black Powder Rifle 12/6/00 Ed
Hawkens - Black Powder Rifle -
How do you know if the rifle is authentic?
Answer: Ed- On a Hawken rifle, you need to do a lot of homework reading available reference books, visiting museums to view authenticated examples, and spend a lot of time looking at antique guns of the period to get a feel for how finishes age, what types of markings were used, and see the difference between old, new and restored guns. It is mighty nice to know what is being offered in the market for use by the black powder shooters. It also helps a LOT to buy from a reputable dealer who will give a written guarantee of authenticity as being made in the present configuration no later than a certain date, and offering a full money back guarantee and a reasonable inspection period. Be very cautious and skeptical. It seems that just about any muzzle loading long arm that cannot be sold as a Kentucky rifle, Confederate musket, or Wells Fargo shotgun is likely to be offered as a Hawken rifle. Most of the time this is due to well intentioned but ill informed descriptions, but sometimes it is with deliberate intent to defraud the buyer, although you may never be able to prove it in court. If you don't know your diamonds, you better know your jeweler. John
# 3379 - Joslyn Carbine 12/6/00 Ken
Just visited your site, and have bookmarked it. Great stuff, keep up the good work. I just acquired an old Civil War era carbine from my mother-in-law, owned by her late husband. He was very interested in the American Civil War, as I am, and I have noted these markings on the gun, and wondered if you could tell me any other information about the gun.
21 inch barrel
Side ring for possible cavalry use
Release and swing over dome unit where one shell at a time is loaded
Markings on the gun: JOSLYN FIREARMS CO
STONINGTON CONN 1864
On loading unit the number 11204
On bottom of butt plate US
On barrel opposite above information the initials G. W. S.
Any information would be greatly appreciated, gun is in excellent condition too. Thanks.
Answer: Ken- You have a Model 1864 Joslyn carbine. These used the .56-52 Spencer cartridges and were simple but reliable guns. About 8,000 of this model were purchased by the US government for military use and another 4,500 privately purchased by individuals or states. These have a value of about $800 in NRA antique good condition and $2200 in fine. There was an earlier 1862 model with a slightly different arrangement to lift the breechblock that is worth a little more. There is not information yet found in the National Archives to document where your carbine was shipped or used. Many of the M1864 carbines arrived too late for use in the Civil War and many were then sold as surplus and a lot of these were shipped to France for use in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The GWS initials are standard inspector markings. The ring is for a shoulder strap with a snap hook so that the trooper would not lose control of his weapon if he lost his grip. (These are usually but erroneously called "saddle rings"). John Spangler
# 3378 - British Musket 1774 12/6/00 Roy
I have recently obtained a musket that I need some help to get info on. It has the word TOWER on the side. A crown which I believe is British., with VR under the crown. It has a 3/4 inch inside diameter barrel. (75 cal.)? The barrel length is approx. 39 1/2 inches long. The leather is still with the flint on the gun. There is a shoulder strap sling at the trigger. I'd say the condition is approx. 80% . The VR is what I am really having trouble finding info on. King George lll was under rule at the time of 1774. Could you please give me info on the musket and its value if I was to sell it.
Answer: Roy- It sounds like you have a musket composed of all original parts made in the reign of Victoria (about 1817 if I recall correctly, but maybe she took over later than that). They were still making flint musket then but not many as they had a huge surplus left from the Napoleanic Wars, and percussion arms soon were introduced. Manufacture of flintlocks for military use ceased, except for some for colonial issue which continued a bit longer. Another option is that you have a composite gun made up of various vintage parts. I am not sure where you get the 1774 dating, but I assume it is on the lock, as was the usual practice. That could be an attempt by someone to put an old date on a newer gun, probably to sell it as a Revolutionary War piece. Brown Bess muskets followed a fairly well defined evolutionary course over the years, and if you sent some photos showing both sides of the lock area, the top of the buttplate tang, the trigger guard, and the ramrod pipes we could probably pin it down a little better. One major clue is the barrel length. The 39" length was usually used on the "third" or "India pattern" musket, generally made after about 1800. Hope this helps. John Spangler
# 3362 - Stonewall Jackson's Pistol 12/2/00 David
I met a lady this weekend who owned an antique shop, and said she owned a gun that was Stonewall Jackson's. She told of how it was lost for many years and was found in a flooded safe in an abandoned cabin. It was mounted (and rusted) in a case with a picture of Jackson and a plaque with the guns serial number. I don't have the serial number but I can get it. She said she would sell it cheap, but how could we verify that it was his pistol? It was a black powder pistol, the barrel clicked down to be loaded with powder and ball. Any help would be appreciated! David
Answer: David- You are smart to ask how it can be authenticated as Stonewall's gun. The first step is to determine what type of gun it is, and when it was made. If made after June, 1863 it would have been a posthumous acquisition. If made prior to that, further research is needed. Jackson was a leader, and a former artilleryman, but this did not mean that he burdened Little Sorrel with dozens of assorted firearms for his own use or to give away to his troops. He likely had only a few personally owned guns, and a few more may have been presented by admirers. I believe that one thoroughly documented Jackson pistol is in the Museum of the Confederacy or another museum in Richmond, Virginia. The VMI museum in Lexington, Virginia, may have something as well, but I am not sure about that. But let us review the situation. We have an antique dealer in Kalifornia, supposedly hoping to make a profit, willing to give you a really good deal on a very rusty old pistol that belonged to a Confederate hero who died in Virginia. Now maybe a lot of cabins in Kalifornia have safes in them, but that sounds a little odd to me. Jackson was nearly worshipped by Southern citizens, and Confederate stuff routinely sells for big money. Apparently she has not been watching "Antique Roadshow" (before the unethical militaria guys got kicked off) or she is just one of the most generous antique dealers around. Sounds fishy to me, but don't let me talk you out of a really good deal. It could be genuine. But, I would not bet a lot of my money that it is. Send us a picture and serial number if you can, and we will be glad to give further free opinions. John Spangler
# 3364 - Forehand Arms Pistol 12/2/00
Forehand Arms -
Found pistol and pick axe wrapped in oil cloth in death valley Ca., it says Forehand Arms on it, any ideas how I can find out what I have?
Answer: Sounds like a neat find. Forehand Arms Co was a continuation of Forehand and Wadsworth making the same models but omitting the Wadsworth name after he retired in 1890. Forehand died in 1898 and his heirs continued to operate until maybe 1902 when the assets were sold to Hopkins & Allen. Their products ranged from small .22 revolvers up to .44 caliber "cowboy" type guns. That pretty well dates the gun to 1890-1902. Therefore it could not have been left there any earlier than that. Depending on the context provided by the other items found it may help indicate if the owner left it shortly after purchasing it new, or if someone got rid of it a few days before you found it. John Spangler
# 3363 - Little scout 22 12/2/00
J Stevens - Little scout - 22 -
My dad gave me this rifle for a gift and I was wondering if you could give me a price range on it , and some explanation of it's background. It is made by J Stevens Arms Company Chicopee Falls Mass. U.S.A. It is a Little scout22-long rifle pat, july2-07 and has a big 14 1/2 on the barrel. The rifle is in excellent condition. Any information you guys could give me would be very much appreciated. Thanks, hope to hear from you soon
Answer: Kerry- I am very familiar with these rifles. My Dad gave me one when I was about 12 years old (a long time ago). They are very reliable and sturdy guns. They were made from about 1911 to 1941. They are typical of the type of guns that collectors call "Boys' rifles" intended for use by youngsters just learning gun handling and safety. One price guide lists them as worth $125 in NRA antique very good condition and $350 in excellent. I still have mine, even though I have acquired MANY more guns since then and sold lots too. I hope that stupid politicians will not end up passing laws that will prevent you from giving it to your kids someday. John Spangler