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# 4511 - Rock Island Low Number M1903
1/30/02
Steve, Willmar, MN

Springfield 1903 - Stock For A1 - 30-06 - 143822 -

Recently purchased an 03 Springfield. It was made by the Rock Island Arsenal. It has a low ser # but has the A1 stock and it was rebarredled in 7-44 as marked below the front sight. Question is this rifle safe to fire. I have read about the low ser # having heat treatment problems, but they must have been firing it if they rebarreled it. Can it be safely fired? ?

Answer:
Steve- I do not know if your rifle is safe to fire. There are varying schools of thought as to the safety and wisdom of firing "low number" M1903 rifles. (Those made by Springfield under 800,000 and Rock Island under 285,506.) We have an extensive discussion of this topic at http://m1903.com/03rcvrfail .

Personally, I fire low number rifles, and have no suicidal tendencies. Others join me, and some run screaming from the range, hoping to avoid shrapnel.

Any safety issues arise from the receiver heat treatment, and possible later general mistreatment. Any M1903 receiver will fit in any M1903 stock, so that does not indicate any more or less safety margin. Any barrel can be installed in any receiver. The date on the barrel merely indicates the date the barrel was manufactured, and it could have been installed the day it was made, or yesterday, and by whom will usually be uncertain. A new barrel in an abused receiver with improper headspace may be a deadly device. We strongly recommend you have your rifle examined by a competent gunsmith to see if it is safe to fire. If he/she says it is safe, make a note so your heirs can sue him if it blows up. If they say it is unsafe, you can always get a second opinion so you can sue someone else instead. Or, you can hang the rifle up and admire it. John Spangler.


# 4510 - British Flintlock/Afghan Rifle
1/30/02
Lee, Tampa,

information regarding 18th century British Tower flintlock rifle customized by Afghanistani rebels & used against British troops at the Khyber Pass during numerous skirmishes.

Answer:
Lee- It would take a real expert to figure out exactly what you have. There are many, many exotic looking flintlock rifles/muskets with ornate decorations and strange looking stocks. The generic collector term for these seems to be "camel gun" reflecting an assumed association with the Bedouin tribes roaming from oasis to oasis astride camels, dodging the French Foreign Legion or assorted other forms of officialdom seeking to impose civilization, or more likely collect "taxes" from anyone they find. Other variations are more likely from various parts of the middle east (Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and assorted other feuding despotic localities), and thence across the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf through Iran, and into India and the neighboring "stan" states. I am sure there are a lot of people who can distinguish among guns from all these areas and match them up with the appropriate bloodstained spots on the map. However, most people cannot, hence the "camel gun" category. Many of these seem to have used parts, especially locks, from British flintlocks such as the Brown Bess, with remaining parts a motley mix of salvaged or locally fabricated pieces. In many of these cultures, a firearm is as much a symbol of power, status, virility, wealth, etc (take your pick) as it is a tool for hunting, attack or defense. Therefore the decorative features compete with ability to function as selling points.

Narrowing our focus to the region of Afghanistan and the Khyber Pass, we find another unique set of circumstances. Besides a traditional hatred for foreigners, even more than for neighbors, folks in that region have a love of firearms of any type, and welcome excuses to use them. Catering to this demand, local artisans have made the town of Darra a center of gun manufacture. Shops there are not quite as advanced as the Connecticut River valley, and probably not much more technologically advanced than a Junior High School shop class in Appalachia of the depression era. Machinery is extremely limited, often hand powered lathes or drills, and the most common tools are files, hammers, chisels, and more files. Raw materials are somewhat primitive, generally whatever can be purchased locally, or rails stolen from nearby railroad tracks when a train is not sitting on them. Designs over the last century or so have evolved from flintlocks to Martini single shots, to Lee Enfield bolt actions to Kalashnikov clones. Handguns offered include every imaginable (and sometime even unimaginable) design of single shot, revolver, semi auto, and perhaps full auto pistol. Of course, these are all clearly marked, sometimes exactly as the arm they were copied from, often with fairly close imitations, and sometimes with a mystical cryptical mix and match of impossible combinations. (Crown and VR plus FN Browning and Mauser Oberndorf on a S&W style revolver?). My favorites include 1950s vintage Martini Henry pistols, apparently in .303 British caliber; and a fantasy creation combining Browning, Astra and Broomhandle elements. This would be a wonderful collecting field, loaded with unexpected treasures. I would NEVER, EVER, attempt to fire one of these. Their ammunition supply is similarly primitive, often using recycled bullets (rifling marks thoughtfully filed off) and any semi-combustible material as propellant.

There was a great article on these talented artisans in an old American Rifleman magazine, circa 1960s. Coincidentally, this should prove to any open minded individual the utter futility of trying to ban guns, unless they also ban files, drills and chisels.

Having digressed somewhat, let's return to your rifle. First, it may or may not be directly connected to the Khyber pass region, and its age and origin may be somewhat uncertain. Value of all these seem to be in the very modest levels, and often appeal to decorators as much as firearms enthusiasts. Although I have seen "camel guns" offered in all sorts of price ranges, many seem to fall in the $150-350 range, but I do not see a lot of buyers. The other Khyber Pass made guns seem to have a bit more collector interest as oddities, and prices vary with the eagerness of the seller and dementia of the buyer. John Spangler


# 4471 - Haenel .25
1/30/02
Mike

Haenel Suhl Schmeisser's Patent - Semi Auto Pistol - 25 Cal - 3" - Nickel - 15865 -

"Crown over N" stamped on both sides of slide. Where can I find a manual to disassemble the pistol? Is this pistol a collectible. . . . it's in good condition.

Answer:
Mike, Haenal pistols were made under patents of Hugo Schmeisser who designed the famous German submachine (or "burp") guns of World War II. They are of uniformly good materials and workmanship but there is not a lot of collectors interest in them. Values are usually in the $200 range. Sorry but I was unable to find any information about disassembly. Marc


# 4626 - Sporter Rifle
1/26/02
Bill Minnesota

Fab. Nat. D'Ames de Guerre - Bolt - 7.62 ( takes a 30-06) - 22 5/8 to action/ chamber - Good - 25G49 -

ColumbiaFuerz_ _ _ares A ELC*A---->>> I think it has a newer wooden stock. Any info would be appreciated. I could send picture if needed. What would this gun be worth?

Answer:
Bill, no need to send a picture, it sounds like you have a military issue rifle that was sporterized. Sporterized rifles like you are describing usually sell in the $100 to $600 range depending on the quality of workmanship that went into the conversion. Marc


# 4517 - Federal Ordnance (FEDORD) M1 Carbine
1/26/02
Kevin, Appleton, WI

Fed Ord Inc. - U. S. Carbine - .30 M1 - Not Sure - 50965 -

There is an AA, OX, AS on the stock of the gun below the sights. I would like some info on the gun as in how old is it and what it was used for in the military. I have been having a bugger of a time finding any information on it at all. I was also wondering on approximate value?

Answer:
Kevin- Federal Ordnance operated in South El Monte, CA from 1966 to 1992. They specialized in surplus firearms and also were involved in making guns using salvaged or newly made parts mixed with surplus parts. Their M1 Carbine and M1 Garands often used such parts. The carbines are probably good shooters, but have no collector value at all. My guess is that one would sell in the range of $250-300. The M1 Carbine was issued instead of the pistol to many troops, such as drivers, clerks, etc, who did not need a full size rifle, but needed something with more accuracy and longer range than a pistol. The Carbines were used during WW2, Korea and even in the early stages of Vietnam, and throughout the war by the Vietnamese. They are great fun to shoot and while not particularly powerful they are a reasonable choice for home defense. The stock markings could have been applied before or after assembly to your carbine. AA is often the mark of an overhauls at Augusta Arsenal. However it may mean just about anything since we do not know who applied it or when. Hope this helps. John Spangler


# 4504 - Krupp Guss Stahl
1/26/02
Scott

GussStahl Krup - M93? - 30.06 - Ornate - 5799 -

solid rib on barrel, very ornate, bolt action, montecarlo stock, Jaeger engraved by trigger. What's the age, background and relative worth of this gun? Its missing a locking pink for the stock/ barrel (similar to those on Kentucky model muzzelloaders. ) Can I get a replacement part or must have one made

Answer:
Scott- Being in .30-06 caliber suggests that your rifle was made for an American, rather than a German buyer. My guess is that it was made for a U.S. military person stationed in Germany after WW2. Talented German gunsmiths were desperate for work as German civilian sales were severely restricted. Rod and Gun clubs on various bases and individuals were able to get really fine rifles made at very modest prices. Most were built on German Model 98 Mauser actions, often in classic European style, other times more closely modeled after American tastes, or sometimes a tasteless blend of both. The famous German steel making firm of Krupp was the preferred supplier of barrel steel for gunsmiths. Stahl is German for "steel" and there is often another word associated with Krupp Stahl, denoting some special feature of the steel that I do not understand. If you are missing parts, you probably will have to have someone make a replacement. As far as value, these tend to be exquisite examples of the gunmaker's art, but seem to have very limited demand among contemporary shooters or collectors. For a person looking for a shooter and willing to put up with the appearance, it may be something as meager as $200-300. For someone who thinks it is a beautiful work of art, and eager to admire it for the rest of their life, you might be patient and extract $500-1000 depending on features, condition, etc. These are just guesses based on my visual image based on your description, and compared to other rifles I have seen. Since these are not an area I really care much about, my impression of value could be way off, but the only way you will determine the true value is for a willing buyer and willing seller to agree on a price. John Spangler


# 4363 - Johnson Bye Revolver
1/23/02
Dan, Sheldon, IA

? - Defender - .32 ? rimfire - 2.5" - Nickel - 110 -

Spur trigger, Five shot, single action revolver, brown checkered grips, has word "DEFENDER" across backstrap. Who manufactured this pocket pistol and approximately what years were they manufactured. Does it have any collector value?

Answer:
Dan, my guess is that your pistol was manufactured by Johnson Bye. Johnson Bye was formed in 1871 by Iver Johnson and Martin Bye, to manufacture cheap revolvers. Johnson Bye manufactured firearms until 1883 when Bye sold his holdings to Johnson which resulted in the Iver Johnson Arms Co.. There is not a lot of collector interest in Johnson Bye firearms, I estimate that value would be in the $50 to $100 range. Marc


# 4540 - Winchester 94 -32 W.S.
1/23/02

Winchester 94 -32 W.S. is this caliber ? What does the W.S. stand for? Is it more powerful than the 30-30 but less than 30-06? Where can I purchase the Ammo ? do you have 32-W. S. an how much? thank You Waiting to here do you have some sort of Scale or diagram you could Email again Thank You I aired this peace form my Farther in law what is it worth? Looks like a 94 lever action 30- 30 What year was it made ? I know this is a lot to ask but I don't know where to look.

Answer:
The markings .32 WS stand for .32 Winchester Special, a caliber used in a lot of the Model 94 rifles. It is not the same as the earlier .32 WCF (.32 Winchester Center Fire) also known as .32-20, a much smaller cartridge used in the Model 92 rifles. The .32 Winchester Special looks about the same as the .30-30, but has a slightly larger case, but no more power than the .30-30. This cartridge was actually introduced in the very early days of smokeless powder, and the case was made large enough that it could be reloaded using black powder, for those folks who were afraid of not being able to get smokeless powder for reloading out in remote areas. For whatever reason, the cartridge remained fairly popular in the Model 94. You should be able to find this at most (but not all) places that sell ammunition. Wal-Mart may or may not have it, but most gun shops would. You could probably order it from Old Western Scrounger on our links page, but by the time you add shipping, etc, it would be lot cheaper to buy locally. You can find out the date of manufacture by clicking on the Winchester date of manufacture link near the bottom of the left hand frame on our page. Click on Model 1894, enter the serial number, click on "lookup" and it will tell you when it was made. These are good solid rifles that will last forever if taken care of. John Spangler


# 4539 - Custers Rifle
1/23/02

I was just inquiring about Gen. Custers rifle from the Little Bighorn , what happened to it, is it still in existence?

Answer:
I am not a student of Custer's exploits, and therefore really do not know the answer. However, Custer was an avid hunter and often took personal rifles on his campaigns. (In fact, officers were required to provide their own weapons including rifles and pistols at that time, although they could purchase them from the Ordnance Department if they desired.) He may or may not have had any sort of rifle with him at Little Big Horn, so you first need to determine if he even had one there. Then you need to determine what type it might have been, and if possible the serial number. After that you can start searching for the rifle itself. There was a big auction of Custer memorabilia a few years ago, and searching the catalog from that sale might be helpful. In any case, I am sure that there are probably a dozen or more rifles that have been sold as "the" rifle Custer had with him at his foolish foray into big Indian camps with small forces. Due to the dearth of documentation available, and eagerness by many unscrupulous folks to profit from sale of fraudulent objects, I personally would never purchase ANY 'Custer" item. Others may invest differently. John Spangler


# 4544 - PIC .25
1/19/02
David, Riverton, UT

PIC - .25 - 3" - Blue - 64914 -

This gun is a semi-automatic and very small. Approximately 4" long. Side of gun has the following: PIC Decatur, GA Cal.25Made in Germany It has black handle grips with the words PIC, in large letters, at the top of the grip. Who made this gun? I can't find any information on it.

Answer:
David, my records indicate that your pistol was manufactured by Gerstenberger & Eberwein of Gussenstadt, West Germany. Gerstenberger & Eberwein manufactured of a line of cheap handguns that were sold in the USA in the late 1950's and early 1960' s prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968. Values for these firearms are in the $50 or less range. Marc


# 4529 - Pistol in .308 caliber
1/19/02
Travis

This may be a stupid question, but have there ever been any .308 pistols made? If so, are these legal to own in the USA?

Answer:
Travis- Not a stupid question at all. I believe that the Thompson-Center Contender was once made with a .308 barrel, but I think it may have been only a limited production of three or four for experimental purposes, although it could have been regular catalog item. In any case, since that was a "pistol" the geniuses at BATF decided that this made the .308 cartridge a "pistol cartridge" and hence it should be subject to the legal restrictions surrounding "armor piercing ammunition." Go figure. I don't think the pistols themselves are subject to any different rules than any other T-C Contender pistols. However, I have heard there is a problem if you have a T-C Contender carbine with a shoulder stock and 16" barrel and change the stock or barrel so that the final product is under 26" overall length or whatever the magic number is. If the new product is too short, then it is considered the same as a sawed off shotgun. If you took an identical T-C contender frame made as a pistol, and had a short barrel on it, they still consider it a pistol regardless of the overall length. Pretty goofy "gotcha" games they play, and I guess that technically they may be right. You would think they would be more interested in busting felons trying to illegally buy guns who get turned down by Brady checks. After all, they have an eyewitness, a document with the perp's signature and perjured answers, and address as verified from two forms of ID. Making a bust like that is easier than eating a donut. However, only about a dozen or so of those real criminals, out of several hundred thousand "fugitive felons and stalkers" illegally trying to buy guns have been prosecuted. Meanwhile they have the time to figure out ways to make a certain combination of T-C parts illegal, and probably are quite eager to bust otherwise law abiding citizens who did not stay up late reading obscure laws, or carry a tape measure with them. Remember, the murderous assault on Randy Weaver's home, ending with the killing of his son and wife by the BATF and FBI started out over a shotgun they entrapped him into cutting off just a bit too short. We must obey the laws, but there are some really stupid ones on the books, and some bureaucrats have a twisted sense of priorities. I also recall hearing that someone made some sort of barrel type gizmo that could be attached on a M1911 .45 frame that would then fire .308 ammo. I really have no interest in pistols, especially modern shooting stuff, so all of the above is based on vague recollections of magazine of newspaper articles from many years ago. I hope it will be helpful, but if this is anything more important than settling a bet over a six pack of beer, you would be well advised to consult the BATF technical people in Washington, or an attorney specializing in firearms law. Remember, our free advice is worth about what it costs you, but we do offer a full money back guarantee, so do with it as you please. John Spangler


# 4528 - Russian marked Winchester 1894 Carbine
1/19/02
Carl

Winchester - 1894 Carbine -

Were some Winchester Model 1894 guns assembled in Russia before 1917? Mine was built in 1913 according to the serial number Index, has the Russian equivalent of "g" then 3 & Ishevsk Proof (the well known triangle with an arrow in it) underneath the forearm stamped in the groove that makes room for the tubular magazine at the base of the barrel. this Proof also appears inside the lower tang with the stock removed. Can you give me any background information concerning this?

Answer:
Carl- As far as I know, no Winchesters were assembled in Russia, period. They MAY have had some sort of requirement that foreign made guns be proofed prior to sale, or perhaps as part of military/fish & game or other government trials or purchase program. Search for Winchester Arms Collectors Association (if we do not have a link on our links page) and ask there. They know EVERYTHING about Winchesters, and this is a very interesting question. John Spangler


# 4527 - 1859 Walch Navy Revolver
1/16/02
Dan

I would like to know if you have any info on an 1859 Walch Navy revolver. What I am told to believe is that it came in a .36 cal. and had two triggers, two hammers, and had 12 rounds. To me this seems like a farce to me so I was hoping that you would have some insight on this or could point me in the right direction. My thanks for any help that you may provide.

Answer:
Dan- About 200 of these neat pistols were made in 1859-60 by Union Knife Company of Naugatuck, Connecticut and by J.P. Lindsay. Although some consider these to have some possible military use, that is questionable. They can be quite valuable, with one recent price guide listing them at $2,500 and $7,500 in NRA antique good and fine conditions respectively.

Walch also sold about 2,000 of a somewhat similar .31 caliber "pocket" revolver with 10 shots in a five chamber cylinder, these being made by New Haven Arms Company, prior to their concentration on what became the Winchester line of lever action arms. These are more like $700 and $2,000 in good and fine condition.

J.P. Lindsay was intrigued by the idea of superimposed loads. A chamber is loaded with powder, ball and then another load of powder and ball. Two nipples are at the back of each of the chambers, with the hole for the flash from one leading to the front charge, and the second nipple had a hole leading to the rear charge. After his work with Walch on these revolvers, Lindsay designed a muzzle loading musket that was made in small numbers at Springfield Armory for use during the Civil War. Although usually reliable, the superimposed load concept was rendered irrelevant by the rapidly growing number of cartridge firearms being introduced at about the same time.

Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and Their Values is the source of this information.

Any of the Walch revolvers, or a "Lindsay double musket" would be a most interesting addition to a gun collection. We would be glad to help you find it a good home id you decide to sell. John Spangler


# 4521 - Krag and Trapdoor Rifles in Spanish American War
1/16/02

Could you give me some history on the two rifles used during the Spanish American War. I believe they were the "Trapdoor" and the Krag. I want to add these to my collection and would like to have them as close to original as possible. David

Answer:
David- The Model 1892 Krag (with cleaning rod under the barrel) was produced from 1894 to 1896. The Model 1896 had a 3 piece cleaning rod in a trap in the buttstock instead. Most of the 1892s were later updated to 1896 configuration, and unaltered examples are extremely scarce, and very pricey. Model 1896 rifles were made until about the middle of 1898, and composed the bulk of the rifles used during the SAW by the regular troops, and a few of the more fortunate volunteers. Either the 1892, the 1892 modified to 1896 , or the 1896 would be a correct Spanish American War (SAW) used arm. Although not introduced until the very closing days of the SAW, the Model 1898 Krag is still considered by most people to be a SAW arm, although production continued until about 1904. Over 400,000 M1898s were made compared to a combined total of about 110,000 1892 or 1896 rifles and carbines. (Of course, I think everyone will want to own Models 1892, 1892/96, 1896 and 1898, with all the subvariations.....) Usually many more 1898s can be found in better condition at lower prices, so that probably influences some collectors to select a Model 1898 as their one representative Krag. In general, Krags were not issued to state troops until 1903. Frank Mallory's "Krag Rifle Story" is the definitive work on these rifles. (Available on our book page.)

The .45-70 trapdoor rifles were already in the hands of the various state militias that were transformed into volunteer regiments. These were a mix of the Model 1873, 1879 and 1884 (differing only in minor details) and the Model 1888 with the ramrod bayonet. Within a regiment the rifles all tended to be of the same type. Some of the units marked their rifles with regimental markings (most often New York). The Model 1888 ramrod bayonet rifles are interesting variations, with about 65,000 made (about the same as the number of trapdoor carbines). Survival rate of the 1888 rifles is probably far lower than that, as huge numbers have been converted for sporting use or otherwise cut down over the years. The trapdoors were clearly obsolete by 1898, as the huge clouds of white smoke from their black powder ammunition gave away their position, unlike the smokeless powder used in the Krags and the Spanish Mausers. Al Frasca's "The .45-70 Springfield" in two volumes is the definitive work on these rifles.

For both types, there is a possibility of finding documented usage by a specific unit, and sometimes a specific soldier in the SAW period through the outstanding efforts of Frank Mallory of Springfield Research Service. Naturally, identified and documented arms will command higher prices than generic arms. Most collectors tend to lump the SAW and the subsequent Philippine Insurrection into a single package.

We usually have a selection of Krag and Trapdoor rifles on hand, although sometimes not all of them have been cataloged. These are various models, varying bore conditions, varying external condition, and of course, varying prices. We would be glad to check our inventory if you have specific preferences. John Spangler


# 4446 -
1/16/02
Linda Allen, Cooper, TX

H & R Aims - 22 Rim Fire - 22 caliber - 1 1/2 in. - blue - 885762 -

barrel is octagon shaped, 7 shot, Young American double action H & R Aims Company - Worcester, Mass. When was this pistol made and how much is it worth? I've had an offer of $25.00. Is that reasonable? Sincerely, Linda

Answer:
Linda, H&R firearms do not have a lot of collectors value, my guess is that $25.00 is probably a fair offer. We have answered several questions about these in the past, for more information try querying our Q&A search engine.


# 4427 - Savage 101 Pistol
1/12/02
Darel, Hahira, Ga.

Savage Arms - 101 - 22 LR - 3-5/8 Inches - Black - 8188 -

Can you tell me anything about the age of this pistol? I've had it for years, but I don't know much about it.

Answer:
Savage started manufacturing the Model 101 in 1960, it was the first Savage handgun to be manufactured since the Model 1917 was discontinued in about 1920. The Model 101 is a single shot pistol, chambered in 22LR with a 5.5 inch barrel, adjustable sights, and wood grips. The 101 looks like a Frontier-style single action revolver, but the barrel and 'cylinder' are a single unit which swings out of the frame for ejection and reloading. Savage discontinued production of the Model 101in 1968. Values for Savage 101 pistols range from $50 to about $100 depending on condition. Marc


# 4380 - Reform AM Pistols
1/12/02
Rick, Bayside, NY

Logo Is "AM" - Reform Pistol - .25 ACP - Dark (black? ) - NONE IS APPARENT -

4 vertically stacked, rifled, barrels. Pistol is very small, each barrel has it's own firing pin. Weapon is hammerless. Well, simply to identify it. Whose logo is "AM" on the black plastic handle? Also, why do they call these weapons "reform pistols"? Thanks, Rick

Answer:
Rick- I have seen these and they are a fascinating design, way out there on the oddity end of the collecting field. Apparently they were popular in France, German and Austria, probably about 1890-1920, and often sold in the far reaches of the world. I would be guessing even more than usual to tell you anything more. John Spangler


# 4359 - Japanese Rifle
1/12/02
Tracie, Laurel, MS

? ( Foreign Maybe) - ? - 25 - 6564 (ONLY NUMBERS FOUND ON IT) -

has a flower and 3 symbols (Chinese or Japanese) on the top in front of the bolt area. The stock is split into two parts that slide apart when to plate on the end is removed. My grandfather found this gun in the forest during WWII (I believe), and sent it home. He heard that since it had the flower and the symbols on it that it may have been some type of foreign "royalty" in the war. He was wondering if this was true; and if so, what is it worth?

Answer:
Tracie- You did a pretty good description, so we are pretty sure you have a 65.mm Japanese Type 38 rifle. These were one of the main rifles used by the Japanese army in WW2, and like most Japanese rifles they used a horizontal joint in the buttstock to join two pieces of wood together. This allowed use of smaller (and easier to get) lumber than for traditional one piece wooded stocks. Later Japanese rifles even used a separate piece from the lower band to the bayonet lug, pieced under the band, again allowing use of less desirable wood and simplifying manufacture. The flower (usually referred to as a "mum" because most people cannot spell chrysanthemum) is found on most Japanese military rifles. It does have some connection with the royal family of the emperor, but I am not sure of the exact significance. It was used much the same way the crown or broad arrow is used on British military property, basically to show that this is government property. The three symbols probably translate to Type three eight to designate the model. These are standard markings, and the place where it was made is identified by a symbol at the end of the serial number on the left side, sometimes looking like a "8" in a circle, or three small circles with another in the center, or other marks. Japanese rifle collectors get all excited about those, along with another symbol at the start of the serial number that indicates the "series". Japanese rifles were mostly made in a "series" with a character identifying the series then the serial numbers running from 1 to 99999, then they would start a new series with a different character.

You might want to ask about your grandfather's service in WW2. It probably involved a lot more than "finding this rifle in the forest." Most veterans are reluctant to talk about the gory details of their combat experience, but it would be interesting for you to know at least where he served and with what units. He may have been a front line fighter who, in the words of Gen. George S. Patton "made the other poor bastard die for his country" or he may have been an equally vital part of the military force stationed far in the rear typing up requisitions for toilet paper and ammunition or preparing yummy meals, or changing the oil in aircraft engines. We enjoy our freedom today because of men like your grandfather. John Spangler


# 4413 - 1920 Commercial Luger
1/9/02
Bill, Muskego, WI

DWM - Luger - 7.65 - 3" - Blue - 9805 -

Crown N numerous locations. "Geladen" located on ejector. Last two digits of sn on all components but clip. DWM logo on top of the action. No other markings noted. Frame has what appears to be a mounting for a stock on it. When was this produced and in what numbers. Any estimate on value? Thanks! Bill

Answer:
Bill, My guess is that you have a 1920 commercial Luger, the Blue Book of Gun Values calls these "The most common Luger". Many of these Lugers were assembled from a stock pile of parts left over from WWI but just about anything is possible in this variation, new and used military Lugers were reworked and /or renumbered, dates and markings were sometimes removed. In some cases military proofing and unit markings will appear with the commercial proofs. Values for 1920 commercial Lugers that are all matching and in very good or better condition are usually in the $500 to $600 range, yours maybe a little less because of the caliber. Marc


# 4480 - Herter Revolvers
1/9/02
Todd, Beloit, WI

Herter's - Single Six - 44 - 6" - Blue - Z2353 -

I was recently given this gun by my grandfather. It seems to be in pretty good condition, but I'm no expert. I'm wondering if this is reputable handgun or a cheap handgun. Also, I'm wondering what ammunition to use in this gun. I don't want to just go out and buy whatever's at the local Wal-mart. It does not say anywhere on the gun anything about 44 Magnum so I'm hesitant about firing 44 Magnum rounds. Could you help me here? Thank you very much.

Answer:
Todd- Herters' made an amazing variety of stuff. Sort of like a Cabelas' or Gander Mountain range of offerings, but nearly all under the Herter brand name. Canoes, decoys, reloading supplies, bore cleaner, gunpowder, guns, stock blanks, and who knows what all else. Everything was written up as "world's best, award winning, secret European family recipe", etc, etc. I have long thought that collecting Herters stuff would be great fun, if you have a large enough storage area to enjoy it all, and a very tolerant spouse. Their revolvers were made in Europe, and are generally considered to be pretty good quality items. Many were made in a proprietary .401 Powermag caliber that it is hard to find ammo for anymore, so value and interest in those is pretty low. Those in "normal" calibers would have a lot more interest and value. I have not seen many for sale, but would guess that they would probably bring less than a similar Ruger revolver, unless yours is in like new condition and you find a Herter collector who wants to pay big bucks for reasons that the rest of us would not understand. Not being a masochist, I have never been too thrilled by .44 magnum revolvers (unless Clint Eastwood wants to use one, and that I highly endorse!). If your pistol is chambered for .44 magnum, reportedly .44 Special can be safely fired in it, with much less abuse of your body parts. Happily, chambers for .44 special are supposed to be made so they do not accept .44 magnum cartridges, to keep lawyers from raising their obscene incomes. See is a buddy will give you a .44 mag fired case and see if it will fit for a rough check. Of course to be sure, you should have it checked by a competent gunsmith. John Spangler


# 4479 - Why Lead In The Bore?
1/9/02
John San Antonio, TX

Hello John, Why would someone fill up the bore of a derringer type hand gun with lead? Is there an approved solution as to how to remove the lead?

Answer:
John- Why? Sounds like someone did not want it fired again. Maybe a mechanical defect that made it dangerous, maybe intended for use as a stage prop, perhaps owned by little old lady afraid of guns. I am sure there are other possibilities. Removal may be tricky, and if successful, there may be problems with the heat from filling the barrel having damaged the steel due to the 630+ degree heat involved. If adamant about removing the lead, I would try CAREFULLY drilling out as much as possible being careful not to wonder off to the side and digging into the bore. If the lead has NOT soldered itself to the barrel, then plan on a lot of scraping with a sharpened brass rod. If it has soldered itself to the barrel, then you will probably have to use heat. Personally, I think removing the lead will be very difficult and the doubtful safety of the finished product when done make this a project not worth doing. John Spangler


# 4478 - H&R Handy Gun
1/5/02
Butch

H&R - Handy Gun - 410 -

Sir, I received an H&R Handy Gun in 410 gauge. I contacted ATF to try an register it and found out that the gun had never been registered ,therefor it was illegal. The ATF Agent said that I had three choices 1. Chamber the gun so that it would only shot a pistol round. 2. Give it to the local Police Dept. and let them have it for the Dept. or 3. Turn it over to ATF be destroyed. Do you know of anyone who can put a barrel liner in it so that it will only shot a pistol round? Any and all help would be appreciated.

Answer:
Butch- Sorry, we cannot help with that one. I am surprised that BATF suggested the option of making it suitable for a pistol cartridge, apparently including a rifled bore instead of smoothbore, thus removing it from the "sawed off shotgun" category. Frankly, given the BATF record of entrapment and selective prosecution, I think most gunsmiths would be very reluctant to take on this project. Mere momentary possession of this item in its current configuration could be prosecuted by BATF. Apparently they do not waste a lot of time prosecuting felons trying to buy guns illegally, even though they have an eyewitness, signed documents in the felons own handwriting, and the documented address of the felon. However, busting law abiding citizens for possession of this item, or a gunsmith attempting to change it from a "bad gun" into a "good gun" might be more to their liking. My recommendation would be to remove the grips and any other parts that can be removed, and turning the frame and barrel over to the BATF for destruction. You can probably get a few dollars for the small parts from collectors who have registered guns. Of course, you will notice an immediate decrease in violent crime in your community as a result of getting this "evil gun" off the streets. Dumb laws, but we gotta obey them. John Spangler


# 4466 - Mambsfield & Lamb
1/5/02
David

If you could please tell me a little about a sword that I have. It is marked, MANSFIELD & LAMB FORESTDALE P (P ?) not sure could be R.? as it is pitted in this area at the hilt of the blade on one side,U.S. C.E.W. (I assume inspectors markings) 1863 (the 3 being very warn) on the other side. The leather is excellent with some cracking and aging with the wire wrap tight and in place. Brass has a rich patina, unpolished also marked CEW. Blade lacquered, no chips and no evidence of sharpening. Additionally it has the steel scabbard, excellent shape, rust brown patina with what looks like the letter I-C or J-C or +C the -C being very clear the previous mark is not legible at the very bottom of the scabbard. I hope this is enough information to help me.

Answer:
David- Thank you for the excellent description. Henry Mansfield and Estus Lamb owned a scythe factory in Forestdale, RI, and had seven contracts for Model 1860 cavalry sabres during the Civil War. They delivered 37,458. Your inspector marks are those of Charles E. Wilson who worked 1862-1864. This information comes from Richard Bezdek's "American Swords and Sword Makers." Civil War cavalry sabres with scabbards seem to be offered in the range of $150-850 depending on conditon and to some extent the maker. Hope this helps.Thanks for contacting Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters. John Spangler


# 4371 -
1/5/02
Philip Hopedale, Ohio

J Stevens Arms Company - Favorite - .22 Long Rifle - 24 inches - Blue - L 114 -

I would just like to know when it was made, and any other pertinent information about this gun.

Answer:
Philip, the Favorite was one of most popular of the Stevens target rifles. The design was a simple take-down dropping-block type that was aimed at younger or cost conscious marksmen. The first Favorites were manufactured in the early 1890s and production continued until about 1935. Now you know your rifle was manufactured between the 1890 and 1935, you may be able to narrow this range down by looking at how your Favorite is built. Early models have a ring through the take-down bolt and a bowed mainspring held in the lower tang by a lug. About 1894 the action was improved by adding a flat mainspring held by a stud. A heavier version was introduced in 1915, with a knurled head take down bolt, a flat-top breechblock, and a coil spring instead of the riband type. The extractor was moved from the left side of the action to the center about 1901, but was replaced by an improved automatic type on post-1904 22 rimfire rifles. Marc


# 4453 - Looking For A Mk5 Dummy Rifle
1/2/02
Brian

Am looking for a "Mk5 Dummy Rifle"; a faithful reproduction of the M1903 rifle with the receiver cast in one solid piece. Do you have that item? Or know where I can get one? If no, do you have a demilled M1903? My son wants to use one for ROTC Drill and Ceremonies practice. Thanks, Brian

Answer:
Brian- Go to www.odcmp.com- click on rifle sales and look for dummy drill rifles (or similar name). They have oodles of them at $100 plus $20 shipping. They are deactivated M1903/1903A3 rifles, totally beyond restoration. These are similar to the USN Dummy Drill Rifle Mark 5, but only a collector would notice what the differences are. John Spangler


# 4449 - Winchester Pre-post 1964
1/2/02
Prentice, Houston, TX

Winchester - Model 94 -

What mainly separates (besides age) the pre-1964 Winchester 94's from the post-1964 Winchester model 94's. Construction, design, size, weight, etc. Thanks.

Answer:
Prentice- My understanding is that about 1964, more or less in the same mentality as Robert MacNamara's "whiz kid" management of the Department of Defense, management geniuses decided that they knew the cost of everything and could make brilliant decisions that would cut costs and make big profits (or shift money to other government programs). Unfortunately these folks could figure the cost of just about anything, but did not understand the value of anything. Winchester's whizzers decided that stamped parts and pressed in checkering were cheaper and therefore better than machined parts and handcut checkering, and made some engineering changes to make guns easier to make. They were right about cheap, and those, plus other cost cutting moves seriously degraded Winchester's reputation for quality arms. Customers stopped buying what they considered to be inferior arms. Interestingly, Ruger sales with classic designs and high quality workmanship soared. Eventually Winchester abandoned some of the more offensive shortcuts, but collectors have not forgotten and post 1964 Winchesters have significantly less appeal and value. Perhaps "Post-64" Winchesters would be a fun collecting niche for someone. John Spangler


# 4342 - Spreewerke P.38
1/2/02
Scott. England.

Spreewerke (cyq) - P38 - 9mm - 5 Inches - Blued - 3856 U. -

Standard Waffenampt Markings, all eagle over 88. Can you please tell me the year of manufacture of the above pistol and where the Spreewerke factory was?

Answer:
Scott, Walther and Mauser were not able to supply the German military with the enormous amount of handguns that were needed during WWII so the Spreewerke firm (code cyq) was ordered to tool up for the production of P.38s in 1943. Spreewerke was the third major contractor to build P.38 pistols in WWII Germany. Spreewerke GmbH got its name from the company's main offices, located on the bank of the Spree River in Spandau, a suburb of Berlin. Spreewerke also operated a factory in the town of Hradkou-nad-Nisou, northwestern Czechoslovakia. The first Spreewerke-made P.38's were issued to the German military in December of 1943. My records indicate that your P.38 was manufactured in September of 1944. Marc


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