Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters OldGuns.net FineOldGuns.com

 

 

Questions And Answers Page

If you have a question about firearms and you want it posted on this page click here.

Return to Collectors Headquarters.

Click here to go to the question and answer monthly index.

Click here to go to the question and answer subject index.


# 5999 - Escodin S&W Copy
12/30/2003
Zach, Zionsville, IN

Manuel Escodin - 1924 - .38 Special - 6'' - Blue - M35564 -

Says CTG next to the 38 special on the side of the barrel. Then right above the trigger has a stamp of a knight and a shield with the back end of a bullet on it. says under the shield u.s. patent and some other things we cant read any history on this gun would be greatly appreciated

Answer:
Zach, I was not able to find out much information about Manuel Escodin, I did find that the company was one of the many Spanish firms who made Smith and Wesson copies for import to the United States in the first half of the 20th century. Manuel Escodin was located in Eibar Spain and they produced a copy of the Smith and Wesson Military & Police Model from about 1924 to 1931, chambered in .32 and .38 special. Manuel Escodin revolvers typically have an ornate coat-of-arms trademark badly stamped on the left hand side of the frame. Spanish Smith and Wesson copies have a reputation in general for making use of low quality, steel which may not be strong enough to handle modern day high- pressure loads. My advise would be to retire this weapon and never fire it. Values for these pistols are in the $50.00 range. Marc


# 5992 - Old (?) Revolver
12/30/2003
Todd, Council Bluffs, Iowa

FIE Italy - PN Black Powder - ? I Think 32 Cal. - 4 1/2 Inches - Blue - A9994 -

The cylinder has engraved in it a picture of cowboys and Indians fighting around wagons. This gun is a friend of mine who is thinking about selling it to me but doesn't know how much to sell it for. I would like to know what year it was made, what caliber and approximately what its value is?

Answer:
Todd, F.I.E is an acronym for Firearms Import Export, they were located in Hialeah, Florida. F.I.E imported and marketed mostly inexpensive firearms from the 1980's until 1990 when they filed bankruptcy and all models are discontinued. There is no collector interest in FIE firearms, and I would expect to see a revolver like the one that you are describing sell at a gunshow in the $75 or less range. Marc


# 5985 - Colt Revolver- Pony Express & Gen. J.S. Mosby
12/30/2003
Daniel, Woodbridge, VA

Colt - Army Or Dragoon - .44 - 7.5 - Blue - 80208 -

Sam l Colt Harford Ct What type pistol is this. We were given it and its history said it was carried on the pony express and carried for a while by Gen J.S. Moseby.

Answer:
Daniel- Unfortunately oral history is often not worth the paper it is not written on. However, facts are seldom accepted as an excuse for ruining a good story. Let's assume that your pistol is indeed a Colt Model 1860 Army, but even that may be incorrect. We won't say it is a Dragoon model, because their serial numbers stopped well below the serial number you gave. Oaky, if it is an Army, then the serial number lists show that it was made in 1862. There is no documented history for that specific serial number in the National Archives, but a number of M1860 Army pistols in the same range were in the hands of the 1st Maryland Volunteer Cavalry in April of 1863. Gen. John S. Mosby (the most common spelling, although Moseby seems to have been used as well) led some Confederate forces in Northern Virginia during the Civil War, especially 1863-65. His 43rd Virginia Cavalry has been variously described as heroic patriots or despicable guerillas only slightly better than criminals, apparently depending on the heritage of the observer. Thus it seems POSSIBLE that Mosby, or more possibly some of his men, may have seized this pistol from some Northern aggressor unit and carried it in the late unpleasantness. However, it is also possible than I might predict tomorrow's winning lottery number. Getting from POSSIBLE to PROBABLE is a long and difficult journey, and getting to PROVEN is a lot further down that road. While family traditions are great, and are sometimes correct in every detail, many times they are a utterly impossible mess of contradictions muddled by old age, poor recollections, lack of written documentation and mixing of stories. For more on Mosby, you might check out http://www.wtv-zone.com/civilwar/jmosby.html As far as the Pony Express usage, that is impossible. The Pony express operated from April 3, 1860 through October 1861, when it was shut down as unprofitable, and transcontinental communication became possible by telegraph, and the Overland stages began to provide regular transportation, pending completion of the railroad in 1869. Since the pistol was made in 1862, not even the most fertile imagination or fervent hopes can make that dream cone true. John Spangler


# 5982 - Colt .22 Caliber Derringers
12/27/2003
Terry

Colt - Derringers (boxed Pair) - .22 Short - 2'' ? - Blue - 43242D AND 43243D -

This boxed set of Colt derringers has never been fired or seen daylight until this week. Can you tell if they are Colt reproductions and what is their value?

Answer:
Terry- Colt made these cute little derringers in .22 caliber starting in 1959. Known as the "Fourth Model Derringer" these were a direct descendent of the .41 rimfire caliber "Third Model Derringer made by Colt circa 1870-1912. The Fourth Model continued in production until about 1976 going through several variations in finish and name. In addition to plain guns these were offered as nickel plated, and as the "Lord" model with blued barrel, gold plated frame and walnut grips, and for the Lady, entirely gold plated with pearl grips. Some were sold individually, others as pairs, and some as Lord and Lady sets with one of each. A recent value guide suggests that a 100% condition pair would be worth about $350 or so, although I have never noticed much interest in these, and seem to recall them being sold at very modest prices for many years after production ceased. John Spangler


# 5979 - Ballard .44 Rimfire Rifle By Ball & Williams
12/27/2003
Eric, Newport, Washington

Ball & Williams Ballard - Sporting Rifle - 44 Rimfire - 30'' - Blue - 5187 -

Where can I find ammunition for this rifle? Does it fire a particular type of 44 RF? What are the exact dimensions of the bullet? Can I have ammo built for this gun? Thanks!

Answer:
Eric- Ballard rifles are an interesting topic which would require a lot of reading to understand fully. They use a dropping block type action a bit similar to the single shot Sharps or Stevens rifles with a lever underneath to open and shut the breech. [Purists will complain that mechanically they are very different, but for folks who can barely tell a bolt action from a bazooka, that description may help.] The first Ballards, like yours, were made starting in 1862 by Ball and Williams in Worcester, Massachusetts, and about 1,500 were purchased for U.S. military use during the Civil War but the maker abandoned a contract for 3,500 more when he found he could sell them to the state of Kentucky at a higher price. Later the Ballard design was made by other struggling makers (a) Dwight, Chapin & Company of Bridgeport, CT; (b) Ball & Company of Worcester; (c) Merrimack Arms and Manufacturing Company of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and then by their successor (d) Brown Manufacturing Company. In 1875 John Marlin got involved with Brown, and in 1881 Marlin Fierarms Company was created and they continued to make Ballards until 1891. These resulted in numerous model variations, but most were well made, and many exceedingly well made and respected as high grade target rifles. This firmly established their reputation, and amazingly, there is now a Ballard Rifle Company turning out the same basic design today in Cody, Wyoming. (If you visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center's Cody Firearms Museum they have some superb interactive video units that show many steps in making Ballard rifles. The factory is on the west end of town, but I don't think they like tourists interrupting their work.) The very earliest Ballards were offered in .32, .44 and .46 rimfire calibers. At that time there was little standardization of cartridges or chamber dimensions, and with soft lead bullets and copper cases and low pressures necessitated by rimfire priming, the sloppy tolerances resulted in the ability to function with not quite exactly the desired combinations. I am sure that you can probably find a dozen or more variations of .44 rimfire cartridges listed in George Hoyem's "History and Development of Small Arms Ammunition" from the 1862-1880 period. Thus your quest for .44 rimfire ammunition will be difficult enough without worrying about getting precisely the original loading. I will leave it to others to advise if shooting anything at all in your rifle would be safe. Now the bad news- there is no source that we know of for ANY .44 rimfire ammunition, other than dealers in collectible ammo who may have a few rounds or maybe a nice old box, but expect to pay a few dollars per round, and it is corrosive primed which may harm your rifle, that is, if it goes off at all. Old Western Scrounger (on our links page) has all sorts of oddball ammo for shooters, but not .44 rimfire of any type. While it is possible (but not easy) to fabricate cases and cast bullets for center fire ammunition, it is nearly impossible to do so, safely, for rimfire ammunition. John Spangler


# 5988 - Mis - Match 45
12/27/2003
Noel, City, Philippines

Pistol - Remington 1911A1 - .45 Caliber - 5 Inches - Parkerized - 860878 -

The slide lists ''Remington Rand Inc., Syracuse, New York'' while the frame lists ''UNITED STATES PROPERTY'' and ''M1911A1 U.S. ARMY'' I got this .45 Remington (per slide) but the frame indicates SN 860878 which is not listed for Remingtons 1911A1's manufactured since 1943 up. Could the frame be Colt's or some other manufacturer's?

Answer:
The answer to your question is yes. The serial number fits into the range made by Colt in 1943, and duplicated by Ithaca during the same time period. The Ithaca company used several geometric markings on the trigger guard as indication of inspection. Colt made frames will have a letter stamped on the top of the frame by the disconnector. Your pistol is one of the many we've seen with a slide made by one manufacturer and a frame from another. This is one of the problems with interchangeable parts. Marc


# 5951 - 1903 Sporter
12/23/2003
Shawn Gladstone Michigan

U.S. Springfield - 1903 - .300 Win. Mag. - ? - Blue - 1062920 -

Wondering if this firearm was a custom, or an original caliber?, what its worth might be? I paid $350.00.

Answer:
Your rifle was made in 1919 at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. When it left the factor it was chambered for the 30-06 military cartridge. It's now chambered for the Winchester 300 magnum so a gun smith has been busy. Without inspecting the firearm we cannot determine whether the chamber was opened up, or a new barrel put on the rifle. Enjoy it, but any interest by military collectors vanished when the rifle was rechambered. Personally I think $350 is a little high. Marc


# 5947 - Buntline Scout
12/23/2003
John, Baton Rouge, La

Colt - Single Action Buntline Scout - 22 LR - 9 1/2 - Blue - 173028F -

What is the value of this gun, I believe it was made in the late 1950s or early 1960.

Answer:
John, legend has it that the first Buntline Specials originated with a five-gun special order of ultra-long barreled Colt Single Action Army revolvers which was placed by Edward Judson, who wrote pulp fiction under the pseudonym Ned Buntline. Several Colt special order long-barrel revolvers with 10, 12 or 16 inch barrels made between 1878 and 1884 also carried the Buntline name. Many or all of the Buntlines Specials are said to have had shoulder stocks and folding-leaf rear sights. Factory records indicate production of about eighteen Buntline Special revolvers in all, some of which were apparently cut to a more manageable length within a few years. Limited numbers of the 12 inch and 16 inch Buntline Special revolvers were specially made in 1958 and again in 1970.

Colt announced the 9.5 inch Buntline Scout in January of 1959, it was originally chambered for .22 LR rimfire cartridge, but after 1964 revolvers were also available with interchangeable .22 magnum cylinders. Buntline Scout revolvers differed from regular Frontier Scout revolvers purely in barrel length (9.5 inches instead of 4.75 inches). My records indicate that the year of manufacture for your Buntline revolver (serial number 173028f) is 1964. Buntline values in the blue book range from $140 to over $350 depending on condition. Marc


# 5978 - Colt 1851 Navy With No Cylinder Scene
12/23/2003
Ron, Port Townsend, WA

Colt - 1851 Navy - .36 - Blue - 189915 -

This gun Has no scene on the cylinder -- it is blank. Should' it be engraved?

Answer:
Ron- When originally made the Colt Navy .36 caliber percussion revolvers had a "cylinder scene" depicting an engagement of the Texas navy in 1846. (Why the Texas Navy, one might ask. However, Sam Colt never missed a chance to promote the virtues of his product. About 180 of his Paterson No. 5 revolvers had been sold for use by the Texas navy, and presumably saw action in their engagement. Colt would have us believe that a battle among several large sailing ships with huge cannons blazing away was decided by the effectiveness of some .36 caliber revolvers. Therefore everyone should have one of these if they want to win their next battle.) These cylinder scenes were "rollmarked" by pressing the cylinder against a hardened steel plate with the scene details raised above the background, much like if you were to user a rubber stamp to mark a mailing tube. Over time the roll stamp would wear, or pressure was not heavy enough for a deep impressions, so that even moderate wear or rusting would render the scene invisible. I suspect yours was just lightly done and has disappeared from wear or rusting. In the 1960s (and perhaps even today) there are some folks out there who are happy to "restore" cylinder scenes on the early Colt revolvers. At one time they even sold nifty brass or copper plates with the scenes rolled onto them. The .31 caliber 1849 "Pocket Model" shows a stagecoach robbery scene where the bad gun is being thwarted by an armed passenger. {I wonder if he had a concealed carry permit?] The Model 1851 Navy and .44 caliber Model 1860 Army both used the Texas Navy "Engaged..." scene. Later revolvers began to use fluted cylinders, leaving little room for decorative [advertising] scenes. Interestingly, in the 1980s Colt returned to the use of cylinders without flutes on some of their commemorative arms, and used this large surface for portraits or other artwork promoting National Jello Week or whatever theme was being honored. John Spangler


# 5971 - Model 1898 Kraig [Krag]
12/20/2003
Skip, Lake City, Florida

3040 Kraig - Springfield Armory - 3040 - 30'' - Blue - 201826 -

Marking on top left side of receiver are: US Model 1898 Springfield Armory 201826 I own a 1898 3040 Kraig. Could you tell me about this gun and it's approximate worth? The rifle is in very good condition and internally it's almost perfect.

Answer:
Skip- Your rifle was made about 1899, and was probably issued to U.S. Army regular units, or perhaps a National Guard outfit and eventually turned in when replaced by Model 1903 Springfields. Several rifles in this serial number range were noted as being in the hands of the 12th Infantry in 1903, or the Washington National Guard in 1905, but your rifle is not specifically listed. Anyone interested in checking for possible history on U.S. guns should check the Springfield Research Services listing on our other site, http://ArmsCollectors.com Value depends on condition and could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars up, but from your description it sounds like a slightly above average example, so I would guess it might bring $600-800 retail. John Spangler


# 5968 - GEW 98 Mauser Marked 7.62
12/20/2003
Australia

Mauser ??? - GEm 98??? - 7.62 - 24 Inches Approx. - Blue - 189 ??? -

I recently met a bloke with an interesting old rifle. I was wondering if you could give me some information about its history and perhaps how it came to be in Australia. On the bolt lever 189 is stamped and on the back of the bolt 80. The side of the receiver is stamped with 189 the letter T under it. GEM 98 is stamped on the side of the receiver. On the front of the receiver is what appears to be a German eagle with part of a star under it. To the right of the star and below the 189 what appears to be a running writing lower case letter t followed by two crescent moons. In the cradle of the moons appears to be a wave. On top of the receiver is boldly stamped 7.62 with V.CHR.SCHILLING, SUHL, 1916 underneath. Between the receiver and the rear sight on the barrel is a small Number 2. Under the rear sight leaf is stamped 44 then perhaps a Roman 3 followed by 77. The sight is graduated from 1 to 20. Working forward on the first metal band that holds the woodwork on one side is stamped the letter S followed by a small 3.7 with 3 horizontal lines over it. On the front metal band is stamped the numbers 3696. On the other side of the receiver it appears to have 3 rounded crowns in a row with fancy letters under which may be T ??? and finally possibly G. Are you able to provide me with any history on the weapon Please?

Answer:
Sir- Firearms hardly ever wear out, and can be considerably modified one or more times to meet emerging needs or tastes. Your rifle started off as a standard German Gewehr 98, or Model 1898 Infantry rifle made by Schilling in Suhl, Germany in 1916, with a 29 inch barrel, in 8mm Mauser caliber (also called 7.92x57mm or 7.9mm). The "crescent moons" are likely Turkish marks, as many rifles previously used by the Kaiser's Armies were transferred to the Turks during WW1 and afterwards. The Turks are well known for their incessant tinkering and altering of their arms, and it is possible it was cut to a shorter length. The "boldly stamped 7.62" is almost certainly a marking applied in Israel when the rifle was converted in that country to fire 7.62x51mm NATO (.308) ammunition. The Israelis acquired thousands of mostly Kar98k type 8mm Mauser rifles after their creation in 1947, from various sources, and it is possible that some which had Turkish connections were among those. Since semi-automatic, and select fire rifles were becoming the standard infantry arm during the 1950s, the Mausers were placed in storage as they were replaced in active forces. During the 1960s the Israelis converted many of the Mauser rifles to 7.62mm in order to reduce the complexities of providing multiple calibers of ammunition. Mainly intended for reserve forces, the Mauser rifles were sold off as surplus in the 1970s or 80s when the Israelis switched to 5.56mm caliber rifles. John Spangler


# 5943 - Nickel Walther
12/20/2003
Lou, Princeton, NJ

Walther - ? - 7.65 - Nickel - 489111 -

swastika on top left of trigger guard, and rear right side beneath slide. CAL 7.65 on left side of slide, I can't see any other markings I know nothing about guns, have had this for about 30 years, was wondering if you could give me some info based on serial number, I'd appreciate it. Thx Lou

Answer:
Lou, there are no records that I know of that can be used to trace the history of your Walter by the serial number. I have heard that all of the Walther plant records were destroyed during the war. I can tell you that the nickel finish is not original, this will lower collector demand and decrease value by as much as 75%. Marc


# 5897 - Luger Markings
12/16/2003
Roger, Gainesville, FL

Luger - 1918 Erfurt - 9 Mm - 4 Inches (100 Cm) - Blue - 5112 -

Made in Germany I wonder if you can tell me anything about a 1918 dated Erfurt Luger I recently purchased. In addition to all the usual markings it is also stamped ''made in Germany'', in English oddly enough. I understand that many of the Lugers made in 1918 at Erfurt were actually stamped 1917. The serial number on my gun is only 5112 which would be consistent with a small production run of guns dated 1918, but why the ''made in Germany'' stamp? I would have to guess that it was a gun that was not released to the military before the end of the war but rather stamped ''made in Germany'' before being exported. Have you ever heard of this occurring? It was my understanding that most guns released after the war were given a 1920 date, sometimes as a ''double date''. Any insights or information would be appreciated.

Answer:
Roger, serial numbers on German firearms were unique to each maker, for each year of production. The Erfurt arsenal would have started with serial number 1 on January 1, 1918, and continued until they reached 9999. When they reached 9999 they would then add the lower case letter "a" as a suffix, so the next number would be 1a. This gave them the potential of 260,000 numbers during the year (the letter j was not used). The system was convenient because it did not require a central agency to coordinate serial numbers between all the manufacturers, but it meant that there are many duplicate serial numbers. Those who have to record serial numbers for their logbooks (holders of Federal Firearms Licenses) should always record German military firearms by the year of manufacturer, the manufacturer, and the letter after the number. There are horror stories of individuals being accused of theft because of this duplicate serial number problem.

Lugers were double dated because of the Treaty of Versailles which prohibited the manufacture of pistols with barrels longer than 3.94 inches or of a caliber greater than 8mm. Treaty restrictions did not apply to handguns that were reworked before 1921 and intended for the Reichwehr (the 100,000 man army that was to keep peace in post-WWI Germany). Reichwehr pistols received a 1920 stamp to indicate official authorized use under the Treaty of Versailles.

I think it is most likely that your Luger is a surplus WWI German military pistol that was exported to the U.S. for commercial sale after the war. The "Made in Germany" marking would have been stamped on the pistol in accordance with an 1898 US import law that required the country of origin to be marked on all imported goods. Marc


# 5881 - Stainless Steel Ortgies?
12/16/2003
Dave Lorton VA

Deutsche Werke Werk Erfurt - Semi Automatic - 6.35 Mm - 2.5 Inches - Stainless Steel - UNKNOWN -

Stylized D on slide and on wooden grips. ORTGIES PATENT on right side of slide. Slide length is approx 5 inches from muzzle to rear. Pistol appears in perfect condition. What is approx worth? Is it safe to fire? What ammunition can I use? When was this pistol manufactured? The safety appears to function as a ''squeeze'' from rear of grip -- how does this work? Where can I get disassembly instructions? Thank You

Answer:
Dave, we have answered questions about Ortgies pistols in the past. The answers to most of your questions including take-down instructions for .32 caliber Ortgies pistols which can be applied to the 6.35 mm (.25 ACP) model, have already been covered. Use the search term "Ortgies" in our Q&A search tool to find this information.

To determine if your pistol is safe to fire, have it checked by a gunsmith, you would be foolish to take the word of someone who has never even seen the pistol in this matter.

The value of your pistol will depend on it's condition. The shiny "stainless steel" finish that you mention is not original. Ortgies pistols originally left the factory with a dark blue finish, they were never made of stainless steel. The fact that your pistol no longer has it's original finish will lower it's value by as much as 75%. My guess is that value is in the $25.00 or less range. Marc


# 5967 - Mauser Short Rifle
12/16/2003
Atli, Flateyri, Iceland

Mauser - 1922 - 7x57 - Ca:19 Inch/ 48 Cm - Blue - 2061 -

Above the serial number are two pictures, can not see them clearly, in same line are #10 and some other pic. The letter A in front of the serial and letter B after it. Beneath it is 7x57 ORION. FAB.NAT. D'ARMES de GUERRE, HERSTAL-BELGIQUE. Pic of star on at least seven places. Overall length is about 40 inch / 101 centimeter. I simply want to know as much as I can. Was it used in war, value etc.

Answer:
I regret we cannot help with this one. Mauser rifles were used by hundreds of countries, and sold for commercial and police use as well. The short rifles or carbines with 19 inch barrels seem to have been popular with police forces circa 1920-1950, and I suspect that yours may be one of those. If it is 7x57mm caliber, that was most popular in South America, although used in other countries as well. I am not sure what sort of arms have been used in Iceland in the past, but in recent years they have used U.S. made arms. Perhaps this is from an earlier period. Value depends on the market region. In the U.S. Mauser rifles sell from $100 up depending on condition and any special features. John Spangler


# 5966 - Colt 1849 Revolver
12/13/2003

Colt - M1849 - 31? - 4'' - Blue - 88845 -

Stagecoach scene on cylinder, On barrel it says Address Sam L Colt New York City. In walnut box has all the stuff in box. Num. 88842 Where was it made and when. Grand mother died and found it in the attic

Answer:
Your pistol was made in 1854, in Colt's Hartford, Connecticut factory. It sounds like a nice example and probably would have a lot of interest to a collector if it does not have much sentimental value to you. A total of about 325,000 of these were made circa 1849-1873, the most of any Colt percussion model. Values depend on the exact variation, any special features, and especially the condition, and if the case and accessories are factory or added later. Assuming it is the typical model and condition we see, we would guess that the value is probably in the range of $1000-2000. Let us know if you need help recycling it to a good home. John Spangler


# 5962 - Model 1903 Springfield Stock Markings
12/13/2003
Richard, St. Louis, MO

Spingfield Armory - Model 1903 - N/A - N/A - Blue - N/A -

I recently purchased a stock for one of my Springfield Armory 1903s. It is of the ''finger groove'' type that was rebuilt at the Raritan arsenal at some point. Aside from the rebuild stamp on the left side of the stock there is a capital F with a small s over it at the very tip of the stock. I cannot find what these letters stand for. The letter F is in a style that is ornate if you will, consistent with the attention to detail that symbolizes early 20th century manufacturing, but what does it mean?

Answer:
Richard- Rebuilt rifles used whatever serviceable parts were on hand, regardless of how old they were. (As taxpayers we should be grateful.) M1903 stocks with the letter "S" on the tip were marked that way to indicate that they were for the M1903 rifle adopted to the Cartridge Model of 1906. Remember, the M1903 was originally made with a rod bayonet, then after President Teddy Roosevelt's condemnation of that feature, the model 1905 bayonet was adopted and the stocks were altered to take the familiar upper band, but the rifles were still chambered for the .30 caliber cartridge Model of 1903. The modification to .30-06 involved setting back the barrel about 2/10 of an inch, and for the bayonet to fit, the band had to be moved back the same amount, which required the stock to be shortened the same amount. To distinguish the stocks from the Model 1903 rifle altered for M1905 bayonet but not altered for .30-06 cartridge from the latest version the shorter stocks were marked "S" on the tip. As far as the "F" markings, I do not have any accurate information. I suspect is it an inspector mark of some sort, but it may be a later owner's personal mark. With due respect for "the attention to detail that symbolizes early 20th century manufacturing. I suspect that the difference in fonts from fancy to plain have much more to do with artistic fads in which simplified fonts were considered to be more fashionable. The fact that block letters are easier to make in stamps and things probably did nothing to discourage the change. John Spangler


# 5862 - Thames Arms Revolver
12/13/2003
Matt, Ingalls IN

Thames Arms Co. - .38 - Approx. 6'' - Don't Know -

Top of barrel says Thames Arms Company... Manufactured Oct. Jan 86 I recently acquired this Thames Revolver five shot. I tried to pull up info but could find nothing. Could you help me out on this one? Thames Arms Co. Jan. Oct. 86

Answer:
Matt, Thames Arms Company of Norwich, Connecticut marketed a double action, five shot revolver with ribbed barrel and hinged frame in .32, and .38 calibers, and a similar 7-shot revolver in .22 caliber during the latter part of the 19th century. Thames revolvers were marked with patent dates for patents of J. Boland (U.S. 333725/1886) and G. W. Cilley (U.S. 350346/1886). Thames called their handguns the 'Automatic' revolvers, but, this referred only to the self-ejecting mechanism which functioned when the revolvers were broken open. Due to similarities in design, it has been theorized that Hopkins & Allen or the Meriden Firearms Company were the actual manufacturer of Thames revolvers. Marc


# 5837 - Page Lewis Arms Company
12/9/2003

Page Lewis Arms Company - D - .22 R - Longarms - Don't Know - 10702 -

it has marking with upside down triangle with letter P inside the triangle. I wonder when this .22 Rifle Longarms was manufactured and what state/country was made in.

Answer:
The Page-Lewis Arms Company set up business in 1921 in the old Stevens Duryea automobile plant in Chicopee Falls Mass. employing about 150 workers. Company officers were the president, Irving H. Page; the vice-president, general manager and designer George S. Lewis of East Springfield; and the treasurer Charles H. Leonard of Chicopee Falls; all were experienced gunmakers. The first shipment of Page-Lewis rifles left the factory in July, 1921 but sales were not good and the first year the company just about broke even. In 1923 To increase sales Page-Lewis introduced a small bolt action .22 single-shot rifle design. The new design was quite popular and helped to increase sales. On August 6 of the following year Irving Page died suddenly of a heart attack. Without Page's leadership the company went quickly downhill. Page Lewis was purchased by J. Stevens Arms Company in 1926. Marc


# 5833 - Steyr Pistol
12/9/2003
Charles, Neenah,Wisc.

Steyr - Auto pistol - .32 - 3'' - Blue - 58771 P -

This pistol has PAT. No. 9379-05U. No. 25025-06 on one side of the barrel and on the other side PAT. No. 40335. This pistol is an automatic but the barrel breaks open by pressing a lever on the left side of the gun. The gun is 98%. Also a marking that looks like a phoenix. Also has original holster. I got this pistol from father-in-law's estate. Would like to know some information on it and it's value. There is a spring between the barrel and frame that makes the barrel break open, but the spring is broken. Would like to know where I can get a replacement spring. Thank You CRU

Answer:
Charles, the commercial pistols that Steyr sold in 6.35mm and 7.65mm were manufactured by Nicholas Pieper of Liege Belgium. Steyr introduced these tipping- barrel blowback automatics in 1909, they are marked 'Pat No. 9379-05 u No. 25025-06' on the upper left side of the barrel block; 'Oesterr Waffenfabrik Ges Steyr' on the left side of the receiver; 'Pat + No. 40335' on the right side of the barrel block (the + is for a Swiss patent number); and 'N Pieper Patent' on the right side of the receiver. Models manufactured after 1911 also had patent number 'No. 16715-08' on the left of the barrel block. The last digits of the year of manufacture are stamped on the left side of the barrel block, just ahead of the frame. Manufacture and sale of Steyr commercial pistols was suspended in 1914 and then resumed again in 1921, from then it continued until 1939.

Parts for your pistol may be difficult to find. Check with Gun Parts Corporation, we have a link to them on our links page. You can also try posting on our wants page. Since they were manufactured by the same company, parts for a Pieper pistol may also work.

There is not a lot of collector interest in most .25 caliber pistols, I would expect to see one like yours that is in need of replacement parts sell at a gunshow in the $25 to $50 range. Marc


# 5950 - Springfield 1846 (Model 1842) Musket
12/9/2003
Ed, Upland, IN

Springfield - 1846 - Unknown - 42'' - Rusty - NONE -

U.S. is stamped in the butt plate where it wraps around the top of the stock. Spring Field 1846 (on 3 separate lines)stamped in the plate on the side of the gun just behind the hammer. No markings on the barrel at all. Barrel is not rifled. Hammer is split where it sets over the hole for the primer. Gun has a full stock with three steel bands holding barrel in the stock. Not equipped for bayonet. Has shoulder strap loops, but no strap. Overall length is 57 1/2'' , barrel length is 42''. This gun is very plain. Do you think this is an authentic rifle? Where can I find more info on this gun?

Answer:
Ed- You provided an excellent description of a standard Model 1842 .69 caliber musket. One minor correction, it is equipped for a bayonet, but it is a socket type that slips over the barrel with a zig-zag slot that fits over the square stud on the bottom of the barrel. Production started in 1844 and ended around 1855 after about 275,000 were made at Springfield and Harpers Ferry. These were used in the 1847 war with Mexico in which we gained ownership of California, and the Civil War as well. (Some people claim we won the Mexican War, but except for some great weather, some question if the benefits of having California are worth the aggravation. Pretty soon it will probably officially resume the status of Mexico's northern province.) As far as being an original, there are some very nice reproductions being made, but they usually look ``new'` and there are some subtle differences that an experienced collector can detect. Although you called it a rifle like we call infantry weapons today, it is actually a ``musket.'` Rifles were more expensive, and only issued to special ``rifle'` regiments, who employed different tactics. While .69 caliber smoothbore muskets were still in use, the Model 1803 ``Harpers Ferry'` rifle, the Model 1817 ``common rifle,'` Model 1819 ``Hall's patent rifle'` and Model 1841 ``Mississippi'` rifle (all with barrels about 33 inches long) were being made. All the rifles were made in small numbers compared to the huge number of smoothbore muskets. In 1855 a family of .58 caliber rifles arms was adopted, including a rifle with a heavy 33 inch barrel, a ``rifle musket'` with a 40 inch barrel and a nifty single shot pistol-carbine with a detachable shoulder stock. In 1861 they ceased production of the ``rifle'` model, and by the end of the Civil War the ``rifle regiments'` were converted into infantry units. The longer range and greater accuracy of ``rifle muskets'` (as well as the smoothbores which had been rifled and were termed ``rifled muskets'`) forced changes in infantry tactics. The massed formations of the Napoleanic era, taught as ``Hardee's Tactics,'` were abandoned and troops began to dig field fortifications which necessitated different methods of attack, largely developed by a very young Union General Emory Upton, and proven at the battle of Spottsylvania in 1864. John Spangler


# 5934 - Barrel Markings On I. Hollis & Sons.
12/6/2003
Raj, Hyderabad, India

Don't Know - 48159 -

I. Hollis & sons London On middle of Barrel it is written as 33 On one barrel it is written as 14/1 On second barrel it is written as 52 Can you explain the model, make, its value in the current market.

Answer:
Raj- Sorry, we cannot help much on that one. I think we recently answered a question on Hollis and their dates of operation, but you can find that by using the search tool at the top left of our menu. The barrel markings used under British proof laws of the late 19th century are a bit mystifying, but usually refer to the bore size in terms of the number of round balls which could be made from a pound of lead. Most people are familiar with 10, 12, 16 and 20 gauge in shotguns, and they are based on the same unit of measurement. They also used the same system for rifled arms which originally fired round balls, but in later years after pointed bullets and especially jacketed bullets, they adopted a system where proof firing marks include the bore diameter and length of the cartridge case. Unfortunately we cannot identify the model or value. John Spangler


# 5933 - Whitney Kennedy Lever Action Rifle
12/6/2003
Rick, Nassau Bay, TX.

Whitneyville - Kennedy - 44 - 23'' - Blue - D960 -

Manufactured 12/79 I think that is the correct serial number. Pat# is IAN Y 7-73 Can you give me any information and an approximate value. Thanks Rick

Answer:
Rick- The Whitney name traces back to our pal, Eli, inventor of the cotton gin as many school kids can tell you, and also the father of interchangeable parts production for guns, which few schools would dare mention. While Whitney does not deserve full, or final credit for interchangeable parts, his was a major contribution which enabled him to get many government contracts. The site of his plant near New Haven was given the name Whitneyville. Andrew Burgess is one of the little known American firearm inventors, and he developed some pretty good lever action rifle designs, and also a good pump action shotgun. I do not have much info on Kennedy, but he was also involved in the lever action rifles, which were actually made by Whitney Arms Company. The lever action rifles began appearing about 1878 with successive models known as the Whitney-Burgess-Morse; then the Whitney-Kennedy; and finally the Whitney-Scharff. It is estimated that fewer than 20,000 of all types were made, and production stopped in 1888 when the Whitney company failed. All its assets were sold to Winchester who ceased all production of the Whitney products. Since Winchester was the leading maker of lever action rifles at the time, this pretty much assured them of a monopoly except for Marlin who began making lever guns about 1880, also based on patents of Andrew Burgess. The Whitney-Kennedy rifles used serial numbers with only numbers up through about 5,000 and then used a letter followed by a number, believed to advance after 1,000 numbers, with letters A through T reported.

Whitney Kennedys were made as carbines with 20 inch barrels, sporting rifles with 24, 26, or 28 inch barrels and muskets with 32 inch barrels. Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and their Values places the 24 inch rifles in the range of about $750 to $1750 in NRA antique very good and excellent condition respectively. John Spangler


# 5757 - Sporterized M1917
12/6/2003
Josh, Hillsboro, Oregon

Eddystone - 1917 - 30-06 - N/A - Blue - 104899 -

Has quite a few markings on barrel and bolthead. Has the number 8 on both locations. I picked up this rifle from an estate sale. The bolt has ''Model of 1917'' ''Eddystone'' Serial number 104899. The rifle is a 30-06 but with a half stock, built like a hunting rifle, not a military standard. I have done allot of research on the 1917 Eddystone models and found none that matched this at all. Curious if you know what this model was intended for and some history on it. I can provided digital photos of gun if needed, thank you!

Answer:
Josh, I would suggest you look at pictures of M1917 Eddystone rifles that we have listed for sale in our catalog and at our companion website ArmsCollectors.com where we have drawings of M1917 rifles and their markings. If the receiver of your rifle says Eddystone then the rifle was once a U. S. Model 1917. These rifles were sold to the public after World War II, and many became the basis for hunting rifles. Conversion varied from simply chopping off the stock and removing the upper handguards and front barrel band to fitting with a custom stock, and grinding off the sight ears. Barrels in custom and wildcat calibers were often fitted. It sounds as if your rifle is in the latter category. As such its value is that of a shooter, there is just about no collector interest in customized Eddystones. Marc


# 5749 - Universial M1 Carbine
12/2/2003
Charles

Universal Hialeah FL - M1 Carbine - 30 - Blue - 47956 -

None I recently inherited this M1 Carbine made by Universal Hialeah Fla. from a relative. Could you tell me the production year and its' relative value? It is in good condition but looks as though it has had plenty of lead pass through the receiver. Any possibility it saw combat action? The person I inherited it from was a war vet and I would like to know if it was his personal firearm.

Answer:
Charles, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there is not much possibility that your carbine saw combat action because it is not a U.S. military issue weapon. Universal was the successor to Ivor Johnson. They made copy of the U. S. M1 carbine for sale to the commercial market. The quality of Universal carbines for the most part was not bad, but was defiantly not up to the standards of U.S. government issue carbines. There is no collector demand for these copies, the Blue Book lists $229 as the top price for a brand new carbine. Marc


# 5738 - Spreewerke P.38 Info
12/2/2003

Spreewerke - P38 - 9mm - 5in. - Blue - 1966 r -

Eagle over circle with swastika , eagle over 88 two stampings on right side.Serial number 1966 r with the eagle over 88 above triger. Holster has eagle over swastika in circle with W&A101 stamped under it.Holster has date 1939 and EK.ST. on back. Can you tell me what the r behind the serial number means, about when this pistol was manufactured and where? What does the 88 stand for as well as the W&A101? Thanks Bill.

Answer:
Wartime German P.38 serial numbers were limited to 4 digits. Walther and Mauser stamped the year of manufacture on the left hand side of the slide and serial numbers were reset at the beginning of each year to number 1. When the number 9999 was reached a letter suffix was added starting with "a". Spreewerke (cyq) numbers are different, they do not have a year stamping. Spreewerke serial numbers are limited to four digits and a letter suffix but they did not start over at the beginning of each year and there is no year marking. For P.38 pistols manufactured by Spreewerke, collectors use the letter suffix to estimate the year of manufacture. My calculations tell me that Spreewerke P.38 pistols with "r" serial number suffixes were manufactured between June 6th and July 4th of 1944. Spreewerke P.38 pistols are marked "cyq" this is the WW-II German ordnance code assigned to Spreewerke GmbH, Metallwarenfabrik, Berlin Spandau, Germany. Spreewerke got it's name from the company's main offices, located on the bank of the Spree River in Spandau, a suburb of Berlin. The eagle over 88 stamping is a German WW-II Heerswaffenamt inspectors mark. The number 88 was used on P.38 pistols manufactured by Spreewerk and the eagle over a swastika is a military acceptance stamp. Spreewerke P.38 pistols typically exhibit rough machining with visible milling marks. The pistol should be stamped with an eagle over a swastika on the right hand side of the slide and an eagle over 88 twice on the right hand side of the slide, once on the frame above the trigger, once on the right hand side of the barrel locking block and once on the left side of the barrel group.

The eagle over WaA101 stamping on your holster is also a German WW-II Heerswaffenamt inspectors mark. The number 101 was used on items produced by several companies including Ehrhardt und Kirsten of Leipzig, Germany from 1938 to 1940. Marc


# 5908 - Colt 1851 Navy- Engraved
12/2/2003
Larry Marshall, Atlanta GA

Colt - 1851 Navy - .36 - Blue - 37714 -

Navy battleship engravings on cylinder, paisley type engravings on barrel, frame, hammer, trigger, and top/bottom of grip Question 1. All serial numbers(37714) on the gun match except on the cylinder where it reads ''Colt's Patent 70437 T''. What does this different serial number indicate? Does it diminish the value of the gun? Question 2. There is an engraving on the cylinder that reads ''Engaged 16 May 1843''. The research I've done so far indicates this gun was probably manufactured around 1852. With that said, why would the cylinder engraving reference 1843? Question 3. Colt's archives do not contain specific info on this specific serial number. Is there anywhere I can go to get more information on this gun? Question 4. The trigger/hammer mechanism seems to be somewhat frozen in that when dry fired, the hammer doesn't properly fit into the cylinder/chamber slots and the cylinder rotates freely when the gun is not cocked. Any advise as to what could potentially be wrong with the gun? Also, any advise as to how I would go about finding a reputable and knowledgeable gunsmith to perform necessary repairs. In performing the repairs, does this diminish the value of the gun? Thanks for the response.

Answer:
Larry- It sounds like you have a very nice gun, and engraved Colts tend to be fairly pricey, so you may want to invest a few bucks to get a formal appraisal from someone smart about such things, but meantime you are welcome to our free advice which is worth about as much as it costs.

(1) The different number on the cylinder indicates that it is not original to that gun, and has been changed sometime, but we cannot explain why. Did the original blow up or did the nipples get battered so the gun was no longer reliable? Careless mixing of parts by some owner? Maybe the owner had a spare cylinder (as it was faster to change the cylinder than load each chamber separately if under attack or burglars are creeping up the stairs) and the ``original'` got separated from the gun at some time while the ``spare'` was left in it. Yes, the non-matching number does diminish the value of the gun, but how much depends on many factors, but if in otherwise pristine condition it would be a substantial reduction, but if somewhat doggy and more of a ``representative'` piece than a real treasure, than probably a less unpleasant amount.

(2) The naval scene on the cylinder represents an engagement of the Texas Navy in 1843 in which they reputedly used some Colt revolvers, so this is an attempt to remind people of the great merits of Colt revolvers. Colt was a clever and successful advertiser as well as arms inventor, making elaborate claims (even by the standards of those days) in his advertising, and shrewdly bestowing lavishly engraved revolvers to key government officials in many countries, especially those likely to be involved in buying guns.

(3) The Colt archive ``factory letters'` (if they have the information) will usually tell date of manufacture, original shipping destination and often any special features. If they could confirm that your gun was factory engraved and where it was shipped, that would be most helpful. However for run of the mill revolvers, Colt factory letters are a dubious investment. The price used to be merely outrageous but is now truly obscene. [Interestingly, Ruger provides factory letters FREE!] Apparently Colt management has discovered that it is much less costly to produce a sheet of paper with some info from old records than to turn steel and wood into a firearm. They probably don't have to worry about feeding a flock of greedy lawyers over their letter writing activities, so this is a hugely profitable part of the Colt business. However, in my view it is a stupid business decision as it is likely to diminish the enthusiasm for collecting Colts, especially from the few younger people entering the gun collecting hobby, who are likely to be buyers of new Colts rather than megabuck old percussion and single action revolvers. Besides the Colt records, about the only information available is from Springfield Research Service (SRS), who has spent 25 years digging through the National Archives finding serial numbers of arms mentioned in old records. They do not have a listing for your serial number. However, it is interesting to note that four 1851 Navies with serial number very close were in the hands of the McClellan Troop of Tennessee Cavalry in August 1861. But, before you go singing Dixie and dreaming of dollar signs, there are some others that were documented as used by damn Yankees, and of course Colt was selling guns on the civilian market as well. We are the sponsors of http://ArmsCollectors.com where you can find the serial numbers located by Springfield Research Service and check to see if any of your guns have an exciting history. SRS can provide a letter stating what information has been found, and if linked to a specific individual, they can provide a copy of service record information in many cases. The cost of one their letters is very modest, especially compared to a Colt letter.

(4) Tinkering with the guts of a percussion or Single action revolver is not rocket science. Problems usually seem to be the simple flat spring with two leaves for the trigger and the gizmo that locks the cylinder in position, or with the ``hand'` which is a lever on the side of the hammer with a small spring that engages the ratchet on the back of the cylinder to make it turn. Anything more complicated than replacing those two parts are beyond my level of expertise. Most collectors would not be too upset about replacing those parts, and unless you are a slimy crook you wold of course point this out to a buyer. Other repairs may or may not change the value, but you can never go wrong by not doing anything to an old gun.

(5) Hope this helps. Sure wish we knew the rest of the story on this one as the ``paisley engraving'` on the barrel sounds pretty neat. John Spangler


# 5867 - Japanese Rifles With Defaced Crests
12/2/2003
Greg

Japanese - WWII Rifles -

I am writing to ask why the MUMS were ground off these great rifles? I have two of these rifles and the MUMS are intact. Does that make them more valuable?

Answer:
Most Japanese rifles are encountered with the crest defaced by grinding or chisel marks or something similar. I have heard that this was done by the Japanese prior to surrendering the guns, to avoid dishonoring the Emperor, or something similar to that. However, I do not think I have ever seen a solidly documented explanation, so if people can get away with putting forth their ideas, I will add mine too.

I speculate that rifles captured in the various island campaigns were shipped home basically intact, not defaced, especially early in the war. These rifles were largely obtained by individuals on the battlefield, and shipped home by mail.

I further speculate that late in the war and especially after the Japanese surrender, it had become standard practice to police the battlefields of arms and explosives, and place them in central storage locations. Then, troops were essentially allowed to select items to take as souvenirs, probably with some sort of rationing and priority. Perhaps everyone could get a rifle, NCOs could take a pistol as well, and officers could get a sword in addition. Personal gear such as flags, canteens, bayonets, etc were probably ignored and uncontrolled. Of course, any rationing system may work well for initial issue, but subsequent barter, card games, sales, and thefts probably resulted in some entrepreneurs accumulating large collections and some not wishing to be burdened by any of this old junk that caused nothing but bad memories.

Anyway, I speculate that the defacing of crests was done under the latter system to indicate that it was an "authorized" souvenir.

I further believe that while souvenirs earlier in the war were accompanied by "capture papers" authorizing someone to have an item, or ship it home, and that this may have been discontinued later or after the end of the war. At the end of the war, souvenirs would accompany the troops home on their ship, and the defaced crest alone was considered authorization.

Again this is all speculation, and if someone can provide us with documented explanations, I will happily stand corrected.

Collectors do seem to have a preference for, and are willing to pay a premium for those with intact crests. John Spangler


Return to Collectors Headquarters.