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# 1046 - Winchester Model 1876 Rifle .45-75(?)
1/30/98
Mark

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Winchester 1876 Maybe 45-75 ( Not Marked) Unsure Blue 84XX

Winchester's- Repeating Arms, New Haven. CT. King's Improvement-Patented-March 29, 1866. October 16, 1860 (Stamped on top of the octagon barrel in front of the rear sight). Underside of the stock to the rear of the lever lock believed to be serial number 8421.Top of stock located to the rear of the hammer " Model 1876". This rifle was carried by my Great Grandfather during the settling of the Oklahoma territory, or so I've been told. I'd appreciate any information you could give me concerning the history, value etc. The gun is at least in "very good" condition. I am also seeking information concerning ammunition. I am an avid hunter and I'd like to be able to take a deer with a rifle that my Great Grandfather may have taken buffalo with. Can you recommend a specific book that might shed some more light on this ? Thanks for your time. Mark

Answer:
Mark- Sounds like a neat old gun. Made in 1879, collectors call your the "late second model." The caliber is usually marked on the barrel near the receiver, and on the bottom of the brass elevator block that raises the cartridge inside the action. Once you figure out the caliber (.40-60, .45-60, .45-75 and .50-95 are your basic choices) you can start looking for ammo, which will be hard to find, and probably a tad expensive. A Winchester "Factor Letter" from the Cody Firearms Museum would probably tell when and where it was initially shipped, but tracing it after that is nearly impossible. The value in NRA antique good condition for the Model 1876 according to Flayderman's Guide is either $650, or $1,000 or $2,750, and in fine, the same models are worth $2,000, $3,000 and $6,000 respectively. We cannot guess which of these values applies to yours because you didn't provide the barrel length to help identify it as the carbine, rifle, or musket model. Now you know why we take the time to specifically ask for barrel length. It is not a scheme to increase ruler sales, but a way to help collectors get accurate information. Book recommendations: "Flayderman's Guide" ($21.50 plus $4 shipping- see our book page) for basic information. George Madis "The Winchester Book" for lots of minute details and photos on all the older Winchester models. There is a brand new book out (title???) specifically on the 1876 Winchester that would be fascinating to the owner of the unbelievable display of about TWENTY 1876s in .50 caliber we saw over in Denver last year, but may be a bit more than many of us really need. Hope this helps... John


# 1045 - Swiss Vetterli Rifle .41 Rimfire
1/30/98
Hoyt

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Vetterli 1868 10.4 MM Rim-fire 814 Mm (32 Inches) Blue - About 70% 132XXX

The rifle has the Swiss cross over a capital W in an oval stamped all over the rifle. The rifle has a Mannlicher s type two-piece stock. The rifle has all matching numbers except the bolt which is stamped 105. The blue is about 70%. The rifle is in VG minus condition with the original finish. It is missing its cleaning rod. What is a reasonable price to a Vetterli collector for this rifle?

Answer:
Hoyt- We must be getting near a full moon again with the Vetterli questions coming out. We have an index showing all the questions we answered before (some several times) and Vetterli rifles are pretty well covered. We like it when people check there first, so we can spend our valuable time answering exciting new questions. Besides, workman's comp won't cover facial injuries if I get bored answering the same one over and over and fall asleep and hit the keyboard. There is pretty good demand for really nice clean complete matching examples, but with a mismatched bolt and missing rod, you are probably down around the $150-200 range at best... John Spangler


# 1042 - P-17 Manufacture Date
1/30/98
Dave

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Remington P-17 30-06 Unknown Unknown 651XXX

Hello: I was just using your US manufacturing dates feature, it is real nice. I have a Remington U. S. Model of 1917 with serial number 651XXX with 10-18barrel date. Your page shows it as "outside range" and adds that 646000 is the highest recorded number in Remington production. Where did you get the 646000 number? I know that Jesse Harrison's book estimated 600000 as the highest number. I have written to him several months ago but have not heard a response. Thanks, Dave Casselman

Answer:
David- Thanks for contacting Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters. US Model 1917 Rifle Serial Numbers David- There is little really accurate info on the M1917 rifles. Our database uses several highly respected references compiled by different researchers. I consider the Harrison books to be so grossly inaccurate in many areas that I do not trust them on anything. Franks Mallory's Springfield Research Service is exceptionally thorough, accurate, and based on his personal research in the original records in the National Archives. He states- "The highest serial numbers are given in the Ordnance records as follows: 1,332,477Eddystone; 647,358 Remington Ilion; and 500,000 Winchester(estimated)." Benedict Crowell's "America's Munitions" is the official War Department work on the subject, and it lists service rifle production through November 9, 1918 as: 1,181,908 Eddystone; 545,541Remington Ilion; and 465,980 by Winchester. Note that manufacturers were allowed several months to finish up work in progress, apparently ending about March 1919 (based on barrel dates observed). The Mallory numbers are serial numbers, while Crowell used rifles produced. It is unclear at what stage the serial numbers were applied to the receivers, and if any or all three makers took measures to ensure that no numbers were skipped due to losses through scrap or rejection of receivers. This could account for serial numbers higher than number of rifles made. Also, huge amounts of partially completed parts were left over at the end of WWI. It is well known that Smith & Wesson sold "civilian" M1917revolvers for years made from surplus parts. The M1917 rifle design and probably left over parts were the basis for Remington's Model 30sporters, and a variant M1917 (Model 34 I believe) made for South American sales, and later the Model 720 rifles. Another possible explanation is plain old human error. The guy running the numbering press could have transposed the dies for the first two digits on a couple of guns before noticing it. "Out of range" guns are fairly common in the U.S. military small arms field, sometimes with very easy, logical explanations, and other times defying explanation. Interesting curiosities, but not something I would lose a whole lot of sleep pondering. John Spangler & Marc Wade


# 1034 - 1934 Beretta
1/30/98
Chuck,Sheboygan,WI,USA,cpo

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Beretta 1934 380 3 1/2 Blue 921XXX

Any technical information available? How old? Would like to know how to break it down for cleaning. thanks

Answer:
Chuck, The model 1934 Beretta was produced from 1934 to the late 1960's and was Italy's military weapon during WWII. Wartime 1934 Berettas (except for the late production models) have the year of manufacture stamped on the left hand side of the slide in Arabic numbers, and the Fascist date stamped in Roman numerals (the Fascist date is a combination of the Julian date and the Fascist calendar date which commenced in 1922). Military 1934 Berettas were stamped RE if the issued to the army, RA if the issued to the air force and RM if the issued to the navy. The 1934 was offered commercially but most pistols were procured by the Italian military during WWII. There is some collector interest in wartime 1934 Berettas and values will be in the $100 to $350 range depending upon condition and type of finish. To disassemble your 1934 Beretta.
1.Remove the magazine. Then draw the slide back and glance in the chamber to check that it is empty.
2. Turn the safety catch up to the rear or "safe" position.
3. Hold the pistol in the right hand. Push the slide back as far as it will go, using the left hand. When it is in its fully rear position, it will force the safety catch to jump up into a notch on the lower edge of the left side of the slide. This will hold the slide in rear position.
4. Holding the pistol firmly in the right hand, with the heel of the left hand push the barrel straight to the rear to disengage its locking lug from the recess in the receiver. It may now be lifted up by its breech end out of the long slot in the top of the slide.
5. Still holding the pistol in the right hand, grip the side of the slide firmly with the left hand and with the left thumb push the safety catch down to the Fully forward or "fire" position. This will release the slide and permit it to come forward on the receiver guides and off to the front.
6. The recoil spring and its rod may now be removed.
7. The safety catch can be shaken out of the left side of the receiver.
8. Removing the stocks will expose the lockwork for cleaning or necessary repairs.
Assembling:
1. Replace the safety catch and turn it to its rear or "safe" position.
2. Replace the recoil spring and its rod, making sure that the collar on the rod is to the rear in the receiver well.
3. Start the slide onto the receiver from the front end and push it steadily back. When it is in the fully rear position, the safety catch will engage in the notch in the side of the slide and will thereby hold the slide back.
4. Replace the barrel by inserting the muzzle through the top of the opening in the slide and push it forward until the lug below the firing chamber section of the barrel engages in its recess in the receiver.
5. Holding the pistol securely in the right hand, grip the slide firmly with the left hand and with the left thumb push the safety catch to the firing position. This will permit you to ease the slide forward under tension of the recoil spring.
6. Holding onto the hammer, press the trigger to lower it.
Inserting the magazine completes the assembly...Marc


# 1031 - Rifle- Muzzle loading A. Munson
1/28/98
Steve

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
A. Munson Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

Hi, I have a muzzleloader that my dad gave me under the stock is written 1871 A. Munson it's a 36 cal 37in.barrel 7/8 in hex smooth bore about 4in. in and rifled the rest trigger is jager double action double set English style back action percussion was wondering if you could help with any details on where it was made and if there are any more of these beautiful guns around thank you very much for your co-op please help can't find anyone who knows anything about this weapon thanks again.

Answer:
Steve- Albert Munson worked in Burlington, VT from about 1826 to 1900, and the last 16 years was with his brother George, so the marking they used then was "Munson & Brother" Vermont was also the home to George C. Munson and Russell D. Munson. but they lived in Williston in the 1880s. Undoubtedly there are many more of his/their guns around, but probably each one is a little different, and fall into the category of nice old hunting guns and a few others made for target shooting. These were made when the muzzle loading era was rapidly being replaced by cartridge arms. Some folks didn't want to change to new-fangled stuff, or thought they could save a few pennies by sticking with the old style stuff a little longer. Ned Roberts wrote a book (you can get it through interlibrary loan for almost nothing) called The Muzzle Loading Cap Lock Rifle which describes in great detail the shooting activities and theories of that period. Sharps, Ballard, and Remington breechloaders were becoming the main target arms, replacing the fine old "40 rod" muzzle loaders. Competition was keen in learning about the newly emerging science of interior and exterior ballistics. New powders were developed, bullet shapes changed, paper patching was used, all sorts of fancy sights and stock designs were tried, different steels, barrel lengths, rifling twists rates and depths, loading procedures. Basketball and baseball were not any big deal yet, and shooting sports were very popular all across the country, and even internationally. Now the news media try to make you feel ashamed to admit that you own a gun, even an old family piece. Guess they think you should be doing all the vile behavior that is glorified on TV instead of playing safely with your guns... John Spangler


# 1030 - Suicide Special
1/28/98
Gene

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Continental Unknown 32 Unknown Unknown Unknown

I have a 32 c revolver with Continental embossed on the barrel . It also has a serial number on the handle. I am told it dates back to the> 1890-1910 era. Is it worth anything?

Answer:
Gene- Unfortunately, the answer is simple- No!. These are generally knows as "suicide specials" based on their apparent accuracy and durability. Collector interest is slight at best, and they generally fall in the less than $50 range, often as low as $20 as curiosities or decorative pieces. However, many of them will still accept a cartridge and may either fire successfully or disintegrate in (or with) the operator's hand. I would recommend you file off the tip of the firing pin about1/18 inch to prevent it from being fired... John Spangler


# 1029 - Walther Model 4
1/28/98
Karla, Regina, SK Canada

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Walthers ? 7,65 3" Blue 241XXX

Left side - Watlthers - Patent Cal. 7,65. Scrolled flag with Walther written in capitals. There are 3 of the same symbols that appear - crown with an N. Right side - inscribed is WAFFENFABRIK WALTER ZELLA-MEHLIS. This pistol came from Holland in the Second World War. It has a left hand eject and has no external hammer. The barrel protrudes 1". I had picked up a book called "Know your Walther PP & PPK pistols by E.J. Hoffschmidt and can't find it anywhere in the book. I would like some more information about this pistol.

Answer:
Karla, it sounds like you have a Walther Model 4 pistol. The Model 4 was first introduced in 1910, it has a coaxial recoil spring around the barrel with the ejection slot on the left hand side, and an internal hammer. The Model 4 is chambered in 7.65mm and was intended as a holster pistol for police use. The Model 4 slide has a round extension piece (about one inch long) on the front end which is secured by a bayonet type catch at the muzzle. The Model 4 was widely adopted by police forces and by military officers during the First World War. A German military contract for about 250,000 Model 4 pistols was awarded to Walther in 1915... Marc


# 1028 - Springfield 1884 .45-70 Carbine(?)
1/28/98
Dom

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Springfield 1884 Cavalry Carbine 45-70 Unknown Unknown 435XXX

Circle P Proof mark on stock. A small "08" stamped just past trigger guard assembly I would like to get more info on this firearm. Date manufacture etc. and would also like to get your recommendation for a load for this both in smokeless and black powder. I had it checked by a gunsmith and he rated it in very good condition. Is there also a source to get the history of this firearm? You have a great site and also support NRA!

Answer:
Dom- Your gun was made around 1889. There is no listing for this in any of Frank Mallory's Springfield Research Service review of official military records. However, he has documented many .45-70s in the 435,000 serial number range. The bad news is that all are noted as rifles, except for a few cadet rifles (a number of which were converted from regular rifles in the 1890-1906 period.) There are no carbines anywhere near your number. Occasionally some will pop up "out of range" because a receiver got lost in the production line and ended up being used when a different arm with the same receiver was being assembled. I would suggest you very carefully check your gun using the list of things to look for to detect fake trapdoor carbines we provided in response to another recent question. Although written about 1873 models, most apply to 1884 as well. We would recommend inert primers and 70 grains of sand for shooting any trapdoor. That way we won't end up supporting some hungry lawyer's kids if someone has an accident. There are a number of loading books written by people with a higher risk tolerance that give loading info. Thanks for your support of the NRA, sorry we were not able to provide all the info you hoped to get... John Spangler


# 1027 - M1A1 Carbine
1/26/98
Chuck, Columbus, Ga, US

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Inland, Carbine M1A1 .30 Overall 35.5" Stock Open/25.4" Stock Folded Parkerized 5267XXX

OI in a circle inside forstock.2 other markings inside stock to rough to read. Part of a crossed cannon ordinance mark on the right side of pistol grip. RI over a 3 on the bottom of the pistol grip. Date of 6-44 along with Inland and General Motors on barrel. Steel tube folding stock. Butt Plate contains a part number of b257614.Butt Plate contains a circle with 6 wedges. Butt Plate contains a 3.Folding Stock Leather Cheek Plate rivets contain 7/4.The Sling Mount on the bottom of the pistol grip is stamped and made of several pieces. The round piece has 2 notches. It is obvious that the outer wooden portion of the stock has been refinished. There is a slight indentation on the left side where the "cheek piece" fits! although it has been sanded down some. The whole unit is in excellent shape and is said to be a bring back and not an import. No import marks are seen. What I would like to know is if this stock is a true "paratrooper" stock.

Answer:
Chuck- Congratulations! It sure sounds like you have one of the real ones. Without seeing it I wouldn't bet my paycheck on it, but everything sure sounds right. If a collector knows what to look for, and is willing to do a little research, they can usually avoid getting stuck with fakes. Now if we could just get some of the sellers to mention that their items are reproductions, we would be a lot happier. Sometimes they don't know. Other times sellers know for sure they have a repro and flat out lie, or conveniently neglect to mention the fact to a prospective buyer... John Spangler


# 1026 - Japanese Rifles Made In Italy
1/26/98
Terry

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Japanese Type I 6.5mm 30.5in Blue Unknown

This rifle was made in Italy for the Japanese around '38-'39.Its condition is 95%. How many were made?

Answer:
Terry- The 60,000 "Type I" (for "Italian") rifles were made following a 1937 agreement among Germany, Italy, and Japan (the 3 "Axis" powers) to exchange industrial help. The rifles used the stock, sights and fitting designs of the Japanese Type 30 rifles, but the actions were basically those of the Italian Model 1891 Carcano, but chambered for the 6.5mm Japanese cartridge. Terni agreed to make all the barrels. The remainder of the weapons were to be made by three other Italian makers, the government arsenal (RSFAE) to make 50%, and Beretta and Brescia each made 25 % of the order, with some small parts subcontracted out. Production was completed in 1939. Apparently most of the Type "I" rifles were delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy. (Fred Honeycutt's "Military Rifles of Japan" had most of this info).Despite the relatively small numbers made, they are seen frequently on the collector market, usually in good condition at modest prices (under $200). Note that the Beretta folks who made 15,000 of these were the same ones who bought Winchester's M1 Garand tooling after WW2 and made Garands, then BM59 assault rifles, and later the pistol adopted by the U.S as the M9 9mm. This is all so exciting I think I'll have spaghetti for dinner tonight!.. John Spangler


# 1025 - Colt SAA-Texas Ranger
1/26/98
Jim T. Graham, Nash, Tn,US

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Colt Single Action .45 4 3/4 Gold/worn 330XXX

This gun belonged to Texas Ranger Rufus Van Zandt. I knew him as a kid and remember him saying the gun was given to him by Texas or someone official. He left the gun to me and I'm just interested in the date it was made and any other interesting info that might be out there. I'd never sell this pistol, it is my prized possession. year? presentation piece? anything?

Answer:
Jim- You know how they say "You can't take it with you" when you die? Well, old Rufus did it! He took that darn history right up to Heaven with him. Well, maybe Saint Pete will chase him off to the other place for failing to write all that stuff down when he had the chance. Let that be a lesson to the rest of us! We recommend our Gun Collection Inventory Starter Kit for recording this type information, but just make sure it gets written down somewhere. That includes everything you know now about old Rufus and his/your gun! Colt made the pistol in 1915, and you could probably invest $75 to get a "Factory letter" to document when and where it was shipped, and in what configuration. (Call Colt at (860)236-6311, punch 5 for the Historical office, and give them you credit card info and they will give you an answer in a few minutes, and a letter in a few weeks.) You may be really lucky and find it was gold plated at the factory and sent to the Governor, or something, or it might only show that it was a standard blued gun at the time, requiring further research on your part to try to find out more about it. Somewhere in the great Republic, er STATE of you know what there is a Texas Ranger Museum. They would probably be the best place to seek help. They may be able to document special presentations and the like from their files. Good luck. You may even want to consider loaning or donating it to them so that others can enjoy this piece of history instead of keeping it locked up at your place... John Spangler


# 981 - Rifle- Bolt Action
1/26/98
Tom, S.Greensburg,Pa.USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
See Infor In Markings Unknown 8mm Unknown Unknown Unknown

A friend at work was telling me about a rifle he has and it made me curious to find out just what he has. The rifle is a bolt action, the barrel starts out round but once it goes past the stock it is octagon. There is a rib on the barrel and goes up at the muzzle where there are 3 front sights that popup when pressed. The Markings on the barrel are O.G. Hamnel-Suhl. Germany BOHLERSTAHL 2.75 9 GBP ST. m G The bolt has this on it: 52 (then it has a star on it) then a H (then it has a mark between the H and N that looks like a, c laying on its back with a protrusion sticking up from the middle of the c, then the letter N follows. It also has double set triggers. 8mm cal. Yours Truly Tom Life Member NRA

Answer:
Tom- This sure sounds like one of the many high grade European sporting rifles brought back by American GIs as souvenirs after WW2. These are usually superbly made and engraved, but often in oddball calibers, or stocked in a manner that some think strange. Hey, don't laugh. In some cultures plump women are considered beautiful, in others, its the skinny chicks. I would suggest you take your rifle, and your wife (plump or slender) to one of the Pennsylvania Gun Collectors Association shows in the Pittsburgh area and see what the experts there can tell you about the rifle... Jon Spangler


# 1024 - P38 Star Stampings
1/24/98

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
P38 Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

We received this information from one of our readers. Marc, your answer to John about his P.38 pistol was correct. The star was the stamp of Manurhin (Manufacture de Machines du Haute-Rhin), the French outfit which took over the Mauser Oberndorf plant and continued producing the"Mauser" P.38's from left-over parts until the Soviets complained. That production was from May 10, 1945 until May 2, 1946. That is from Gene Gangarosa's book "P.38 Automatic Pistol The first 50 Years." The French"stars" are usually not as collectable as the wartime pistols and can be had for less money if the pistols are in the same condition.

Answer:
Thanks for your assistance... Marc


# 1023 - 96 Mauser Parts Gun
1/24/98
Mark

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Mauser C.96 7.63 4" Rusty Patina, Light Pitting receiver-481121, frame-614252

Serial number: Barrel/upper receiver-481121, Frame-614252Markings: Crown over letter "U" on barrel/upper receiver and on bolt, "CATSTALBVT 7.63 GERMANY" on barrel, number 8745 on bolt, "NS" (small N inside big S) stamped on back of hammer (Stands for "Neues Sicherung" or"New Safety," correct?), Mauser logo on rear left panel on lower receiver, "WAFFENFABRIK MAUSEROBENDORF A NECKAR" on right side of lower receiver (between two milled recesses), "WAFFENFABRIKMAUSER OBENDORF-VII" on top of upper receiver. I received this pistol as a trade for services not rendered on a customized Mauser 98 rifle (parkerizing a WW2 receiver purchased from Federal Arms with everything else new manufacture - don't panic). The pistol is in NRA "Good/Fair"condition with an excellent bore. The pistol does not have a safety knob/lever, but I have been told that the "Neues Sicherung" designation indicates that it does not need one (although interior wear marks indicate that it did have one at one time). I am not sure if all the parts are original, but the different numbers between the upper receiver and lower receiver seems to be a good indicator that they are not. However, what I want to know is this: Is this pistol worth anything in the collectors market? I wanted to sell it for some time, but I cannot find a buyer. Because of this, I have decided to re-work it into a custom pistol (ala, Gun Digest Book of Pistol smithing, "Rebuilding The Junker"). The store/firing range I received this pistol from, had it priced a little under $200 U.S., and the owner is an avid collector (one of the few that has a license to own full auto firearms in the state of Illinois), but I just want to make sure that I am not destroying available piece of history. Other than its poor appearance, it is an excellent shooter, and the recoil and accuracy I get from it is akin to a .22cal Ruger target pistol. I really like this pistol, and hope to carry it as a side-arm when I'm overseas and off duty (although 7.63 Mauser is a little hard to come by these days. . .). Also, is 7.62 Tokarev safe to fire from this pistol? I've been told by some individuals that it is safe, and told by others that it is a potential safety hazard due to high pressures.

Answer:
Mark, Your Mauser's frame was manufactured in 1930, the Receiver was manufactured in 1923. I would advise you not to use Tokarev ammunition in your 96 because it is loaded to higher pressures than the 96 Mauser was designed for. Your Mauser should definitely have a safety, lever "NS" is stamped to indicate that Mauser changed the design of the safety to allow the hammer to be dropped from a cocked position, with less danger, by pulling the trigger. There is little or no collectors interest in 96 Mauser's that are in the condition that you describe, thousands have been imported over the last decade from China. I don't think that refinishing your 96 would hurt the value or collectability... Marc


# 1021 - Winchester 1873
1/24/98
Dave: Coquitlam, B.C., Canada,

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Winchester 1873; Lever Action ? 19" Unknown 90XXXX

This rifle was manufactured in 1882. Don't know calibre. Is it collectable? Value?

Answer:
Dave- Don't know the caliber, eh? The 1873 was initially made only in .44-40 caliber, and in 1879 they added .38-40, and in 1882 (at about 95,000 serial number) they added .32-20. A "Winchester Factory Letter" from the Cody museum would confirm original configuration and caliber. Standard barrel length for the carbine was 20" (measured from the face of the closed breech to the muzzle) so we think you have the carbine. There is a lot of collector interest in all 1873 Winchesters, regardless of condition, as the classic old "cowboy" gun. Really "minty" examples or those with special features can get pretty pricey. The most common "third model" carbines (which started at about 90,000 serial number) are listed in Flayderman as worth US$500 in NRA antique "Good" (see links for definitions), and of course more if better, or less if worse... John Spangler


# 1020 - Marlin 1889 Lever Action Rifle
1/24/98
Dave, Coquitlam, B.C., Canada,

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Marlin Safety; Lever Action .44W? 25.5" - Octagonal Unknown 55XXX

When was this rifle manufactured? Is it collectable? Value?

Answer:
Dave- Marlin dates of manufacture for lever action rifles are pretty easy from 1883 to 1906. All the guns in production at the time used the same single set of serial numbers, instead of each model starting at number 1 and working their way up. The late Bill Brophy's "Marlin Firearms" book indicates that 55576 was made during 1891. Only the Model 1889 was in production in 1891 and also marked "Marlin Safety" and available in .44-40 WCF caliber. There are a lot more WInchester collectors than there are Marlin collectors, so prices tend to be lower for comparable guns. About 87% of the 1889 rifles had 24 inch barrels, compared to about 8% with 26 inch barrels, so there would be some added collector interest and value on that factor. Flayderman's Guide lists the value of the 24 inch version at US $350 in NRA antique "Very Good" (see links for definition) and US$875 in Excellent. You might contact John Denner in Canada if you are interested in selling this. He is a very reputable dealer, which is one of the reasons we are pleased to include him on our links page. Make sure you tell him we sent you... John Spangler


# 1019 - WW2 Pen Gun
1/24/98
Jay

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Pen Gun Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

I recently came into possession of what appears to be a pen gun. Inside dia of bore is .298 or so. Marked Herstal in fine impressed print on upper end near pencil clip which may be gold plated. It is 4.60 inches long, and OD is .460 inches. Small x marks decorate the upper barrel. Appears to be made of hardened steel. Herstal marking is in three places on hexagonal upper breech piece. If this is something valuable, I would like to sell it.

Answer:
Jay- These are interesting items, usually associated with spies or clandestine operations, although some may have been made for use by paranoid business people for self defense. The "Herstal" marking indicates it was made in Belgium, although exact date cannot be determined from the information you provided. However, the BATF considers them illegal unless properly registered. Owning one without the proper paperwork is unwise. Recommended options are to (a) destroy the item (big hammer would probably do the job) or call you friendly neighborhood BATF folks and let them know you just found this beast and wish to turn it in for them to destroy. Hope this helps... John Spangler


# 1018 - Winchester Model 59 Barrels
1/20/98
Ken

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Winchester 59 Unknown 30" Unknown Unknown

My question is in regards to the Winchester Model 59 shotgun with a fiberglass wrapped barrel. Is it possible to have a choke tube system put on this gun and/or have the barrel cut down. The one I own has a 30 in. full choked barrel. Thanks Ken

Answer:
Ken- You must be one of them "shooter" fellas who is always running around tearing up the stuff us "collector" types are real careful with. I am sure you can cut the barrel down and/or put in choke tubes. However, I don't have a clue if it is safe to do, or if all the little fiberglass strands will start unwrapping. Better check with a competent gunsmith, preferably the guy who would do the work, and see if they will guarantee it. Anyway, if you tinker with this toy you may be messing up a potentially collectable gun. They only made about 82,000 of these between 1960 and 1965 (including some starting in 1961 with a "Versalite" choke tube system). You may find it more cost effective to trade your gun in for something that already has tubes in it... John Spangler


# 1016 - Sears FN 30-06
1/20/98
Randall, Copperas Cove, Texas,

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
J. C. Higgins/Sears, Roebuck And CO. Model 51 30-06 22" Blue 17XXX

Markings: Rear sight says,"Marble's Gladstone Mich. U.S.A." On the left side of the receiver there is a stamping which appears to be a backwards P or F with a star over it and a stylized lion that is underlined beneath it. Under the lion are the letters P.V and below that is what appears to be an obelisk. Also on the left side of the receiver is a circular stamp with a calligraphic N inside and a similar F stamped in the center of the N. The words," ACTION-MADE IN BELGIUM" are also stamped on the left side of receiver. There is lots of checkering on the stock along with a compass embedded in the side. The bolt appears to be stainless steel. The number 612 is hand engraved on the bolt. My father-in-law gave me this rifle to hunt with and told me it belonged to his dad. I recently had it reblued and the gunsmith offered me $600 for it. My question is should I take better care of it (i.e....no dragging it through heavy brush} or rush back up there and sell it. Did this guy quote this price so I wouldn't feel bad about spending $125 to reblue a $30 rifle? I don't want to sell the gun no matter what it's worth. Anything you can tell me about this gun would be greatly appreciated. I would especially like to know what year it was manufactured. I'm guessing late 1950's or early 1960's. Did Sears sell these by catalog?

Answer:
Randall, My advise, sell immediately you will probably never get another offer like that! I would estimate the value of the rifle to be in the $200 range. This model is not listed in my cross-reference listing. However, the action markings most likely indicate manufacture by Fabrique Nacional in Belgium. They were making bolt action sporters on the Mauser action from about 1947-63, and Sears was using the J.C. Higgins trade name during the same period. If it were mine, I would GLADLY sell it for$600 and turn around and buy a rusty old musket for my collection, or maybe a nice Ruger for hunting. But, YOU gotta decide what to do with YOUR rifle. If your gunsmith would advise you to spent $125 refinishing a $30 rifle, you probably don't want to do business with him anymore, any more than a mechanic who would recommend $1200 to fix the air conditioning in a 72 Pinto convertible. Good luck, whichever way you go... John and Marc


# 1015 - Bayonet-Swedish Model 1896
1/20/98
David, Tampa, FL, USA,

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Bayonet Unknown Unknown Unknown Black (blue?) hilt & scabbard, bright blade See markings

Blade is:8 1/4" long, no obvious rust pitting, but some scratch marking where it has been sharpened. It has a double edge tip and blood-booth on both sides. It is stamped w/ a crown on one side and an anchor symbol between "EJ" and "AB", all of which is over the number "423" on the other side. Hilt is: Metal, hollow and round with filed diamond pattern grip. Guard and fixture is crucifix style, one side for gun barrel, other as finger guard. All in black, some of it worn off with handling. At the butt end of the hilt is some strange device for which purpose I have no clear idea. It is round and points down at an angle towards and on the same side as the finger guard. Again, this is stamped with the crown symbol. The finger guard is stamped w/ the crown underneath. Similarly, the "EJ-anchor-AB", and "423" are on the underside, each side of the blade. On the side of the hilt-cross is stamped L--- No 28 a No 149I17Scabbard is: Metal, in black, grooved on both sides with a ball tip. Ball has crown stamp on one side, the same side as the belt pin, and "768" on the other. Blade only fits properly into scabbard one way. Top of scabbard has the "EJ-anchor-AB" stamp and the number "456" on the same sides as the hilt when correctly inserted. Outside of scabbard, opposite side to belt pin, is stamped D8---- No 758I.12I'm guessing the EJ-anchor-AB is the manufacturers ID mark, as is the crown symbol, and the numbers 423 and 456 are manufacturer's serial numbers. The cruder stamped markings on the scabbard and hilt I am assuming are Army issue serial numbers. What do the marks mean (My assumptions correct/incorrect)?What info is potentially available by following up on the markings/given info Was the seller's write up correct? David

Answer:
David- You have done a great job describing everything about the Swedish Model 1896 bayonet. These are well made of excellent steel, and are abundantly available in the collector market at very low prices (like $30 or so.) You are correct about the identification of the markings. I doubt if there is any chance of research turning up anything at all, let alone anything of interest, on the unit marks. I am not sure what the "seller" wrote-up so cannot comment on the accuracy of that. For about $125 or less you can get one of the really fine rifles that goes on the end of your bayonet. Very well made, and now that 6.5x55 ammo is readily available, an excellent piece for collecting or shooting. Enjoy!... John Spangler


# 1013 - Rifle, German muzzle loading "Gressmann"
1/20/98
Norm, Jefferson, NJ, USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
G. Gressmann in Zella percussion muzzle loader 41 40" Unknown none

The only markings are the name G. Gressmann in Zella this rifle was a custom built firearm with trigger set, cheek plate. rear peep sight, middle open sight with elevation adjustment, front post and dot and a bayonet stud. I am looking for info on the manufacturer and history.

Answer:
Norm- Sorry, we can't help on this one. Sounds like a high grade target rifle of the 1850-1870 period, similar to the Swiss "Federal" rifles which were more or less a cross between a target rifle and a military rifle. Some were reportedly used as sniper rifle during the Civil War, and have been popular with muzzle-loading shooters in the last 20-30 years. Gressmann is not listed in my references. However, there is multi-volume set "Der Neue Stockel," written in German, which has excellent info on older European makers which may help. This is a multi-bucks investment I have not made (yet). Maybe one of our visitors can help with info or sell me their set if they are finished reading it... John Spangler


# 1012 - Colt Frontier Six Shooter Nickel Finish
1/17/98
Ralph, LACLEDE, ID, USA, rritchey@netw.com

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Colt Frontier Six Shooter 44-40 5 Inch Nickle 2939XXX

Pat. SEPT.19.1871JULY 2.72 JAN.19.75 How can I find out when and where this Colt was nickle plated?

Answer:
Ralph- How bad do you want to know? That is a pretty pricey gun, so it must be worth investing a few bucks. To get an honest answer, grab your VISA or MasterCard and dial (860)236-6311, and punch code 5 to get the Colt Historical Department. Give the nice people there your card number and after ringing you up for $75 they will check the records, give you an answer over the phone and send you a "Factory Letter" in a couple of weeks. Records usually indicate caliber, barrel length, finish, and grip type, when and where the gun was shipped and how many guns were in the shipment, although not everything was always recorded on every gun. If you think it was factory rework, mention that so they will look all over, not just in the original manufacture date. Hope you get an answer you like. No way to tell when/where it was plated after it left Colt... John Spangler


# 1011 - Springfield Trapdoor Carbine Fakes
1/17/98
Scott Hubbard

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
U.S. Springfield 1873 Carbine .45-70 Unknown Unknown Unknown

John / M John / Marc....I have a general question regarding the early (serial number less than 60,000) Trapdoor carbines. How difficult is it for a reasonably educated collector to determine if the carbine is fake or real? Granted, buying from reputable dealers is certainly one way to minimize this occurrence, but this is not always possible. Yet all of the experts warn us that the M-1873 is one of the most commonly faked pieces. My question really is 'to what effort will these criminals go to build a fake carbine from a rifle or parts?' Are Micrometers needed here? Or will the standard assessment of parts for the corresponding serial number prove adequate? What are the most common features of a fake carbine, and what do you look for first?

Answer:
Scott- "If you don't know your diamonds, know your jeweler!" To learn about these, read a lot of books (Flayderman is a good start, the Frasca and Hill, or Waite and Ernst) and look at as many guns as you can and ask a lot of questions. I always look first at the front sight. Carbine sights are larger, and have a sloping "pyramid" type shape, while rifle sights are a neat little cube. Second the muzzle is the same thickness on the carbine as the rifle, and neatly crowned. Cut down rifles are much thicker 22" from the breech, unless someone has turned the barrel down as well as shortening it, and the crowning job is usually pretty sorry. Check the stock tip, including sliding the band forward to make sure no one replaced the whole tip instead of just filling a ramrod channel. On a true early 1873, remove the buttplate to make sure there is no inletting for cleaning rods (not added until 1877). Check the inletting for the saddle ring bar, tight fitting and smooth arsenal workmanship or some drunk with a pocket knife? Check for the "C" on the rear sight (or 500/1200 range markings on the 1873 carbine sight). Check the serial number against carbines documented in government records; frequently carbines will be clustered together and rifles with rifles, although they sometimes overlap. Lastly, ask the seller. Honest, knowledgeable dealers will point out features and flaws. Crooks or idiots either don't know, or won't tell you the truth. Hope you can tell these folks apart, or at least ask others what their reputation is. Last, and very important- If that little voice in the back of your head keeps saying that something just doesn't seem right about the gun, pay attention and pass on the gun. Maybe you can get someone else examine the gun, although that can be a delicate situation if someone were to look at a gun and thought it was a fake, and the seller didn't want to hear that. Be discreet and you can have someone walk over and look then give you their opinion. Be careful out there!... John Spangler


# 1009 - Swedish Nagant Revolver Value
1/17/98
Hokan, Vasteras, Sweden

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Husqvarna Mod. 1887 (Swedish Nagant) 7,5mm Swedish Nagant Unknown Unknown Unknown

Hi you guys & X-mas Greetings !What do you think would be a fair price to pay for one of these revolvers in conditions good-excellent ?I'm looking for one of these in a good shooting condition, any suggestions on where to look to find one ?Thanks, Hokan

Answer:
Hokan- We did not even know there was a Swedish variation! Prices here probably will be a little different from what you should expect there, so we just cannot help much at all on this one. By the way, we have a Swedish guest coming next week to ski for a few days!... John Spangler


# 1008 - Navy 3"/50 Shell Casing
1/17/98
Jason Worcester, MA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Naval Shell From WWII Unknown 3" 50 Cal Unknown Brass Unknown

On the base is marked: T.B.& C. Co 5.15 18 Lot 995 a picture of an anchor 3" 50 cal on the primer is marked: AB TS 37 XIV First off I would like to say that your site is great. I visit frequently and learn something new about guns with every visit. Also, I recently upgraded my NRA membership to a life member, and fully agree with you that we all need to support the NRA. Its important that we put up a strong fight against gun control now so that we can ensure that we will be able to hand the guns we collect down to our children. Sorry for the preachy bit, but I am sure you feel the same. Here's my question. My grandfather was a gunner's mate on a troop transport from 1943 to 1945. He brought home this shell with him after! the war. He is now passed away, but I remember him talking about it as a "three inch fifty". Could you tell me what the 3" 50 cal means and what kind of gun it would have been fired in (possibly anti-aircraft)? The shell itself is 23 and 1/2 inches long, has a mouth of 3", and a base of 4 and 1/4 inches. It has a tapering body and is bottlenecked like a modern rifle case. Also could you tell me anything about the codes and initials on the base and primer? Thank you very much, Jason

Answer:
Jason- AMEN, Brother!!! Glad to help a NRA supporter, and glad you find the site interesting. We learn a lot too (like how much we don't know...) USN 3"/50 caliber "guns" fired projectiles 3" in diameter through barrels that were 50 calibers long (1 caliber being the bore diameter, so lessee- 50 x 3"= barrels 150" or 12"6" long) The same sort of barrel might be used in several different guns depending on type of carriage and breech mechanism, and if they were enclosed (like a turret, but technically just an "enclosed mount") or an open mount. Most WW2 and earlier 3"/50 mounts were suitable for slow firing (maybe 10-15 rounds a minute) at surface targets, or slightly less at air targets, using open ring and crosshair type sights. The guy on the right side would crank away trying to keep on target in "train" (left and right) while the guy on the left would be busy trying to keep the sights on in elevation (up and down) The "Loader" would shove a fresh cartridge case like you have, but with the powder and projectile intact (hence "fixed" ammunition) into the breech after every time the gun fired. Another guy would be passing ammo to the loader, and someone else would be busy keeping the fired brass out of the way (saving it for reloading most of the time.) Maximum range was about 9,000 yards as I recall, or about half the distance to the horizon from a typical ship. Ah yes, reminds me of the good old days as a USN Weapons officer on destroyers. The thunderous boom of a broadside, the glow of starshells at night, the smell of cordite in the morning.... Anyway, the markings indicate he maker and date. Sounds like the case was made by Thomas[?] Brass and Copper Co, probably May 15, 1918, as part of lot number 995. The case would have been loaded somewhere else and the complete round given a lot number along with all the rest loaded then. These were frequently painted on, and then removed and replaced by a new loaded lot number whenever the case was reloaded. The anchor is a Navy inspectors' marking showing it was accepted. The markings on the primer indicate maker, lot number and type (Mark XIV). Some primers could be fired only by a firing pin (percussion), others by either percussion or by an electrical current. The last ship I was on had some 3"/50 "rapid fire" guns with automatic loading systems that should kick out about 30-40 rounds per minute. Uncle Sam ran out of money to overhaul these, but we kinda thought they would be nice to have working if we went to drop a bunch of Marines off somewhere unpleasant, so we decided to fix them anyway. We sent a sailor out to Louisville, KY with several empty seabags to visit the Naval Ordnance plant where they overhauled these mounts. It was just like Christmas when he came back, with sacks full of the parts we needed. I think the statute of limitations has run on that "cumshaw" episode, so I can tell you now. Couldn't do that now, would be too busy wasting time and money sending people to sexual harassment training to worry about combat capability. Anyway, all old sailors can tell sea stories. Hope you enjoyed this one... John


# 1005 - Savage 99 Rifle
1/13/98
Normand Gareau

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Savage 1899 303 Savage 26 Inches Blue 168XXX

no special mark Near the action at the top of the barrel there is a flange. Can you tell me if the wood go there, in this model was wood under and over the barrel(forarm).Is it possible to find the year of fabrication and can I buy a book to see photo or drawing. My 1899 has forearm just under the barrel for app 10 inches. Excuse my English I'm French Canadian. Thank's Normand

Answer:
Normand- Your English is excellent. Most U.S. citizens have a hard enough time with English that very few speak a second language, so I respect anyone who does. Your rifle was made in 1915. Most Savage 99s did not have wood on the top of the barrel. However, there were some "musket models" made in 1915 in the 165,000 serial number range made with a wooden "handguard" on the top of the barrel. These went from the receiver to the band. The musket barrel was 28 inches long, and the fore end (underneath part) was about 24 inches long. A number of these muskets, with very scarce special bayonets, were used by a Montreal Home Guard unit during WWI. They are very popular with collectors. A good Canadian dealer who may be able to help you more (and probably speaks some French) is John Denner, Box 122, RR1 North Lancaster, Ontario K0C 1Z0, (613)525-3849, or E-mail denner@glen-net.ca Hope this helps. John Spangler


# 1002 - Universal M1 Carbine Parts
1/13/98
Earl, Bowie, MD

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Universal Firearms M-1 Carbine 30 Unknown Unknown Unknown

I am curious about finding replacement parts and accessories for this carbine, which I purchased in the early 1980's. I've read that Universal Firearms and its successor firm, Iver Johnson, are no longer in business. Do you know of any companies that supply replacement parts, such as the wood stock which is quite scratched up?

Answer:
Earl- Gun Parts Corp, West Hurley, NY (914)679-2417 can help you out. I would suggest you try your hand at refinishing the stock yourself. There is little collector value to these, so you won't be messing up a priceless old historical relic... John Spangler


# 1000 - Black Widow Luger?
1/13/98
Robert, Carol Stream, IL USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Luger P08 9mm 4" Blue XX12

barrel: small eagle on side, ditto top with 655, bottom has serial number XX12 & 8.82 Frame: stamped P08 left side, stylized r (?) under serial number, importers mark Receiver assy: 2 small eagles 655 underneath one larger eagle all front right, above chamber marked 41, toggle marked byf All parts marked 12 (last part of serial number ?) breechblock marked with small eagle Magazine: FXO eagle with 37 underneath (twice) P08 black plastic bottom Coming from England have just realized a small dream and now own a Luger ! The gun is in 70% condition, may have been re-finished in the past but shows some wear to the bluing. Has black plastic grips with unbroken vertical grooves. Are the grips and/or magazine original ? Any information as to when made and possibly issued gratefully received. ! I suspect at $380 I've got no great deal, but this is the first one I found ! I think your site is splendid and provides much information and entertainment. Please keep encouraging people to join the NRA and their local organizations I can't stress enough that what has happened in England WILL happen here unless everyone stands up for their rights.

Answer:
Robert, I am glad to hear that you were able to purchase your first Luger, I am afraid that the first Luger that I ever purchased was in worse condition than the one that you are describing. When I bought my first Luger the condition didn't matter that much to me, I just wanted to have a Luger, I am afraid that I have been going down hill ever since. If you are going to collect Lugers I would advise you to purchase and read one of the Luger collector books. Datig's The Luger Pistol and Jones's Luger Variations are both good. As for the information that you requested, your magazine was manufactured by C. G. Haenel, Waffen- u. Fahrradfabrik, Suhl, FXO was their WWII Ordnance Code. The XX12 r stamping is your Lugers serial number (most WWII Lugers have a four digit serial number followed by a letter postfix), the 12's stamped on the various parts are numbers that match those parts to the rest of the pistol, 8.82 is the bore size in millimeters. Your Luger was manufactured in 1941 by Mauser, the 41 stamped on the chamber is the year that your Luger was manufactured and byf is the WW-II German ordnance code assigned to Mauser-Werke, Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany. The eagles over 655 are military acceptance stamps 655 being the German WW-II Heerswaffenamt inspector's mark on arms produced at Mauser Werke AG, Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany. I am not sure about black grips with vertical grooves. Some byf code Lugers came with black bakelite grips that had diamond checkering (much like ordinary walnut grips) and fxo magazines with a black bases. Mauser (byf) Lugers with black grips and black magazine bases are commonly called Black Widow Lugers... Marc


# 998 - Springfield .45-70 Carbine- Star Ser No.
1/13/98
Scott

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Springfield 1884 .45-.70 Carbine Blue 188235*

Barrel has VP and P proof marks. * after Serial Number. Rear sight marked c for Carbine and also has B marking and graduated to 800 yards-looks like Model 1879 2nd variation. Stock Cartouche barely visible. but the stock is marked 6 or 9 above the Buttplate tang. The lock plate is marked US Springfield. The barrel band has no stacking swivel and is marked with a large U. The carbine sling bar and ring is intact. The butt plate has a swiveling door and is marked US below the tang screw hole. The serial Number doesn't seem to jive with the Model 1884 breech block. Was it changed over the years? Is that what the star following the Serial #represents. If incorrect Can the breech block be changed to a Model 1873easily? and do you recommend it? Are good originals to be had? Back to the carbine do you have any history on this piece esp. !!regarding group or individual? And lastly any approximate value given it has a average finish on barrel. Much thanks.

Answer:
Scott- Your carbine was made about 1882. It is believed (and pretty well proven by Al Frasca's great new book "The .45-70 Springfield Vol. 2) that the star after the serial number indicates arms made using "recycled" parts from pre-1879 rifles and carbines. They were reassembled with current style wide receivers and breechblocks, etc and generally set aside for issue to militia or other second class citizens. I cannot find any reference to your gun in Frank Mallory's Springfield Research Service listings of arms noted in National Archives files. It is quite likely that the breechblock has been changed at some time. If the finish matches, I would leave it. Replacement, repair and general mixing of parts is a legitimate part of issued military arms. If it looks grossly out of place, then, you might consider changing. I feel it is best not to "fix" things unless you are absolutely positive it will be correct. Lots of M1 carbine collectors used to be busy tracking down "matching parts" to replace those provided during the wartime production when manufacturers ARE DOCUMENTED as having used parts for the other makers. Decent trapdoor carbines are running close to $1,000, with doggy ones a lot less and minty ones a lot more. Check our list and we have one of each to add to your collection... John Spangler


# 992 - Luger Unit Markings
1/9/98
Dave

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Erfurt Luger 9mm Unknown Unknown Unknown

I have an ERFURT ARMS P-08 9mm Para. Double date, 1920-1918 in very fine condition, all serials on all parts match. The weapon is very tight. Here's my ? Inside the grip the unit # has been struck by a single line. P.St.Z.65. What kind of unit would this be in WW1 era German Army, police, whatever. Maybe artillery? It has a lanyard loop behind the rear sight. Thanx Dave

Answer:
Dave, The marking that you describe sounds like a Weimar police unit marking. Many Weimar police unit markings start with a P (Polizei) followed by a code that identifies the area that the pistol was assigned to (St.Z.) followed by a weapon number (65). A double dated Erfurt Luger would be the correct type of pistol to have a Weimar police unit marking. I have been unable to identify what the St.Z stands for, maybe one of our readers can help... Marc


# 997 - Page-Lewis (Stevens) Model 50 Rifle
1/9/98
Reba Wagner

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Springfield Jr. 50 Bolt-action Single-shot Rifle .22 LR ??? Blue ???????

Page Lewis Arms Co. Chicopee Falls, Mass. Bolt appears to be soldered on. I cannot find a serial # on the gun. I was given this gun by my father. He has told me that his father gave it to him when he was 9 yrs. old and that he had ordered it out of the Sears catalog. This would have been around the years 1924-1925.I would like to find out more info on this gun and maybe it current value(if any) other than sentimental value. Its a great old gun and still shoots great and is in good condition. Any info would be a great help. I hope to pass it down to my son in '98.Thank you, Reba Wagner rgbirds@bledsoe.net

Answer:
Reba- Your "Mo. 50 Springfield Junior" rifle was made sometime between 1928 and 1933, and they sold for $5.87 then. Although marked with the Page-Lewis name, they were a slightly improved model (with fuller stock and 24 inch barrel) of the earlier Page Lewis Model D rifle. Yours was made by Stevens after they bought out Page-Lewis. They were pretty good shooters for an inexpensive gun. Value is probably in the $100-300 range, depending mainly on condition. Take care of it, use a little WD-40 on the metal parts (always remember to clean the bore out before shooting it) and your great grandkids can enjoy it a long time from now, unless it is confiscated first... John Spangler


# 994 - Winchester 1873 Rifle
1/9/98
John Lonedell,MO USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Winchester 1873 38-40 Or 44-40 24"? Blue 2898XXB

The above rifle belongs to a co-worker and he was wanting to know a little about it. It has been in his family for generations. I viewed a video tape of it and it looks to be in about 75 to 80% condition. Large initials are carved into the stock and the dust cover over the chamber is missing. What I am most interested in is the words on the barrel, "Kings Improvement Patened March 29, 1866." What does this signify? Any info. would help

Answer:
John- King's patent was for the little spring loaded door arrangement used to load the magazine on most of the Winchester lever action rifles through the side of the receiver. This was a big improvement over the system used on the Henry rifle, before King's idea was adopted. With those you had to retract the magazine spring, twist the front of the magazine tube to one side and drop the cartridges in, sorta like on a .22 rifle tubular magazine. Production of the Henry and the Model 1866 overlapped both in time and serial numbers, so the King's patent was a big selling point, and this was just carried forward after the M1873 came out. By the way, your rifle was made in 1889... John Spangler


# 993 - Tower Flintlock Pistol
1/9/98
James, Oxford, NY USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Tower? Flintlock Pistol ? 9 Inches Looks Like Plain Unfinished Steel 30XX

Next to the serial number, on the left side of the barrel, it says JAPAN. In the space under the flash pan, it has a picture of a crown with three crosses on it, and under the crown, the initials, "GP".The ram rod (which is one piece of solid metal, fluted out on one end) fits into a brass receiver neatly embedded in the stock under the barrel. I took the lock mechanism out and the whole seems quite sturdy and well made, though the inside wood looks rough. Any idea if this gun is worth anything? How can a muzzle loader use a solid steel ram road (I think it's steel..it seems too heavy to be aluminum, but I could be wrong)..wouldn't that cause some rather unhealthy sparks? Thanks.

Answer:
Jim- These are nice decorators, and I had fun shooting one once. They have been made for many years now ranging from very nice quality to barely better than junk, probably no better or worse than the originals made by hand 200 years ago. Steel ramrods were desirable so you could push the bullet all the way down after the barrel got really dirty from the black powder fouling. Wooden ramrods frequently broke, and if you didn't end up with part sticking through your hand, at least you were done loading your gun for the day. Used for loading, they were unlikely to cause a spark, and even if they did, the bullet was between the spark and the powder. I see these selling at shows anywhere from $50 to $250, so I guess value depends on how bad someone wants to sell or buy one... John Spangler


# 979 - Sauer & Sohn 38 H
1/6/98
Steve

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
JP Sauer & Sohn Unknown 7.65 Unknown Unknown Unknown

I recently obtained a small 7.65 cal JP Sauer & Sohn pistol. From a WW2 vet, with papers allowing him to bring pistol home. Grips marked "S&S". With a black holster marked " Berlin 1943" with eagle and swastika. I have not been able to find any info on the gun and wonder if you can help. I love your web page, and will return often. My thanks, Steve Anderson Steveffl@hctc.com

Answer:
Steve, Glad that you like our site. The Sauer Model 38 has a fixed barrel with coaxial recoil spring, the breach block is a separate component pinned into the slide. The Model 38 was unique in that it has and internal hammer which is linked to a de-cocking lever on the left side of the frame. If the hammer is cocked, pressing the de-cocking lever will allow the hammer to fall under control. If the hammer is down, downward pressure on the de-cocking lever will lift the hammer to full-cock. The lockwork is double-action and there is a magazine safety, and a chamber-loaded signal pin. Some very early model 38's and those made in 1944 and 1945 do not have a safety catch. Model 38 slides are marked 'JP Sauer & Sohn Cal 7,65' on the left, and `Patent' on the right. Model 38 grips carry the Sauer monogram (S&S). Model 38 magazine bases are stamped with the Sauer monogram and CAL. 7.65 (the Sauer monogram is omitted from magazines with a roll stamped floor plate). The military acceptance stamp (eagle over 37) is located on the upper left side of trigger guard. There is no military test proof. Commercial test proof (eagle over n) is located on the right side of the slide above the slide grip, on the right side of the frame below the slide grip, and on the right side of the barrel near the muzzle. Although this pistol was designated the model 38, its mass production did not commence until the late months of 1939. Sauer 38 serial numbers were initiated at approximately 260000 and terminated near 525000. Over 200,000 Model 38 pistols were procured for the German Military, Police, and NSDAP prior to April, l945 when the U.S. Army overran the Sauer factory. Because of the hammer-cocking lever, the Sauer 38 is one of the most advanced pistol designs ever to be mass-produced. The German designation for the weapon was Sauer Pistole Modell 38 Hahn Selbstspannung (Sauer Pistol Model 38 Hammer Selfcocking)... Marc


# 995 - U.S. Model 1896 Krag Rifle
1/6/98
Bryan, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Springfield 1896 30 30" Unknown 599XX

Markings: Berol- U.S. MODEL 1896. Springfield Armory. 599XX Underside of Stock- Capitol "G" and then a fancy "P" within a circle Butt of Stock-There is a small circular flip-open door which reveals a semi-hallow stock. What is your question? I read your Q&A on several Springfield Models in the 18XX range, and was very interested in some feedback on this particular model. Any information would be greatly appreciated. What is the "door" on the stock for? I've read some history on the subject & there seems to be a difference between carbine & rifle models etc.. What is the importance and the value of particular one?

Answer:
Bryan- Your rifle was made in 1896, and undoubtedly saw service in the Spanish-American War, although we cannot pin it down to a specific unit. The door in the buttplate was to give access to cleaning equipment stored there. The first Krags (Model 1894, made between 1894 and 1896) had a long one piece cleaning rod under the barrel. Part of the changes made to become the Model 1896 included changing the cleaning rod to three short sections, each about 8 inches long, that would fit in the buttstock. Therefore you had to clean the 30" barrel from both ends. After a few M1896 rifles and carbines were made, it was decided to add an "oiler" in the butt, about the size of a skinny lipstick tube. This required removal of some more wood at the lower part of the cavity in the stock. The Infantry carried rifles with 30" long barrels so they could shoot accurately at long range. Prior to shifting to smokeless powder, long barrels had always been required to burn all the powder to get good velocity and range. Cavalrymen sacrificed some of that velocity and range in order to have a "carbine" with a 22 inch barrel that they could easily carry and use on horseback. When the M1903 rifle was adopted, for the first time the Infantry and Cavalry were issued the same weapon, a rifle with a 24 inch barrel. A real collector addict would, of course, want an example of each rifle and carbine variation. Values depend on condition, and on the scarcity. Carbines sell for much more than the rifles, at least in Krags. Hope this helps... John Spangler


# 991 - Colt 1851 Navy Revolver- Fake?
1/6/98
Taylor

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Colt 1851 Navy .36 ? Silver Plate 957XX

The gun has "Sam Colt New york City" on the barrel, though from its serial number it should be "Hartford." On the cylinder it says engraved "May 11, 1843 Wlm. Ormsby, NY",though from its serial number it should have been made in 1860. It has a sea battle on the cylinder, further engraving on the frame, Ivory Grips. It appears to be silver plated. It is cased (in a case showing no wear) with powder flask, balls & bullets, two cavity mold, a tool and caps. Is this an original or a reproduction? The asking price seems low for an unfired original, high for a reproduction.

Answer:
Taylor- It is possible that old Sam Colt messed up the markings on one of his guns, and that it fortuitously got stuck in the back of someone's closet for the last 140 years in a case that shows no wear, and that some kind-hearted soul now wishes to sell it for far less than it is worth. It is also possible that our President always tells the truth. What does the seller tell you about the gun? Are they willing to put it in writing? Will they guarantee a full money back refund if you determine it is not what they say? Are you waiting for someone to tell you that all the things you spotted should be ignored so you can snap up a bargain? When that little voice tells you something just isn't right about a gun, listen carefully! I'd bet is just an over priced reproduction the owner is hoping to sucker some ill-informed person into buying. I'd check my Flayderman book real careful on every detail on a gun I didn't think I knew a lot about. I have found one or two things drastically underpriced in my years. Knowledge is power and money, so read all the books you can, BEFORE you buy a gun. Be careful out there!... John Spangler


# 989 - M1903A1 Springfield
1/6/98
Bryce, Buellton, CA, USA

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Springfield Armory 1903 .30/06 24" Parkerized 1,229,XXX

Barrel date of: 6-21, "K" in cutout on stock for bolt switch The stock is a "type C" pistol grip and has no inspector's marks. Could this be the original stock for this gun? Can you give me some clues as to how I can tell? Thanks, Bryce

Answer:
Bryce- Your rifle's receiver was made in 1921, so the 6-21 barrel date looks about right. The full pistol grip "C" stock was not used until about 1928 on National Match rifles, and not standardized for use on service rifles (as Model 1903A1) until 1929. Further, the "K" in the cutoff recess indicates manufacture by Keystone, who produced stocks only during WW2. You will probably find that there is a 1/16" x 1/4" notch cut in the stock near the front of the receiver. This was added in 1942 or 43 on all stocks being procured so they could be used with either the old M1903 rifles, or the newer M1903A3s that have a metal handguard ring located there to hold the back of the handguard. When buying a rifle with a "C" stock it is always advisable to take the rifle out of the stock to check for this. Even I, your neighborhood firearms guru, have been snookered a couple of times, once within the last 3 months! It is also good to check the Springfield Research Service serial number lists (including the out of print volume listing DCM sales) to see if a rifle is listed there as having a "C" stock. Some rifles from the early 1920s were later arsenal rebuilt and sold with "C" stocks, but not with the "K" marked ones. Hey, Bryce, no more "XXX" numbers, okay?... John Spangler


# 1041 - Military Usage Of Reloading Metallic Cases
1/2/98
Lynn

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

I am trying to locate any research material that I can on the Military usage of reloading metallic cases (including artillery) for the years1890 through 1997.Any information that you could provide to point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. Please E-Mail me at lynn.thornton@nashville.comAmmunition Reloading- US Military

Answer:
Lynn- A great question, deserving some good research and a full report. (That's YOUR job!! Mine is just to point you in the right direction.) Reloading became practical after the introduction of outside primers, especially the "Boxer" type primer still used today. This was roughly 1885 or so for U.S. small arms ammunition. The motives were mixed. Ammunition was heavy to ship, and it was also expensive to produce. Military budgets were very tight in the lean post-Civil War era, and it was thought that since the soldiers were getting paid anyway, why not let them reload ammo locally for the very limited amount of target practice that was authorized. This was the same time that "Forager" shotguns were issued to allow troops to hunt game to supplement their Army rations. Hackley, Woodin & Scranton superbly cover the evolution of cartridges in their definitive "History of U.S. Military Small Arms Ammunition" (2 vols, Vol I 1880-1940, and Vol II 1940-45) Volume I is out of print and expensive if you can locate a copy. Inter-library loan is your best bet. Volume 2 is in print at about $40 and fascinating reading for serious arms collectors. Bill Brophy's "Krag Rifles" and "The 1903 Springfield Rifles" have a lot of information on the "tong" type and even the "bench" type reloading tools made by Frankford Arsenal. I once saw a really nice complete display of these, and if the owner permits, I will be glad to get you in touch if you desire. The trapdoor books by Waite & Ernst, and Frasca and Hill have some info also, including the 20 GA reloading outfits for the forager shotgun. I highly recommend "Tools, Targets & Troopers" by J. Zupin which covers the subject in the trapdoor era. Gallery practice ammunition was reloaded in the field, and the brass molds for casting round balls for use in Krag ammunition are still encountered. Post 1903 reloading included Arsenal reloading of cases with added markings on the headstamps to indicate they were reloads, and also use of salvaged cases for loading into blanks. For may years older ammo boxes and bandoleer lot cards included a warning that "fired cases must be [cleaned] and turned in per Army Regulations" to support such reloading efforts. However, in later years this seems to have been more for scrap value than actual reloading. I don't know much about artillery reloading. (But ignorance has never kept us from providing answers before, so why stop now!) 60mm and 81mm mortar training rounds have had propelling charges replaced at the unit level, which is a kind of reloading. The Korean era "Ammunition Renovation" manuals showed how to break down, clean up and essentially reload artillery ammo up to about 105mm fixed rounds, including photos of the really big presses used (and the dirt barricades to hide behind). Artillery cartridge cases were routinely reloaded at the arsenal level, with the case headstamping and additional stamped or painted markings indicated reuse multiple times. This includes both fixed and separate loading ammo, and both Army and Navy. Other references include some obscure Ordnance Department "Ordnance Notes" published in the 1878-1890 period. These have wonderful details on ammunition developments and announcements of reloading tools, etc. "Annual Reports of the Chief of Ordnance" will have occasional tidbits. George Narramore's "Principles and Practices of Reloading" draws on his military background. Julian S. Hatcher's "Hatcher's Notebook" is loaded with so much interesting stuff you will forget what you started to look for. A reprint of the manual for the circa 1917 version of the tong type "cleaning and decapping" tool is available. You should also check back files of the journal of the International Ammunition Association, which has quite a few experts on artillery matters as well as just about every other aspect of old and new ammunition. I would greatly appreciate a copy of anything you put together on the subject, so I can learn some more. Think my wife would let me collect an example of everything in this field too?... John Spangler


# 970 - Rast And Gasser Model 1898
1/2/98
Ivan

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Raster-Gasser Unknown 8mm Unknown Blue XX161

Dear Sir, I've a 8shot 8mm Raster-Gasser revolver. It can be take in peace's w/o tools. On the right side of the frame is stamped '79R"and "49". The serial number is xx161. It's condition is very good ( almost mint...except for the blue finish) Please, could you tell me some more about this gun?? Is it valuable, collectible?? I thank you in advance Ivan P. Souza

Answer:
Ivan, Leopold Gasser was a revolver manufacturer who operated two factories, producing up to 100,000 revolvers a year in the 1880s and 1890s. Gasser revolvers were adopted by the Austrian Army and were widely distributed throughout Austria-Hungary, and the Balkans. The most common Gasser revolver is the `Montenegrin Gasser'. Gasser patents were used in the `Rast and Gasser' Austrian service revolver of 1898. Leopold Gasser died in 1871, but the company continued operations for many years under the control of Leopold's son Johann. The Rast and Gasser Model 1898 Austrian Service revolver is an 8mm, with an eight-shot cylinder, it has a solid-frame and is gate loaded, with rod ejection. The loading gate, on the right side, disconnects the hammer from the trigger, and securely locks the hammer when the gate is opened for loading. The 'Rast and Gasser' looks clunky and angular but they were extremely well made pistols... Marc


# 984 - M1911/1911A1 Dates And Inspectors
1/2/98
Steve, Teaneck, NJ

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

I am looking for a reference that contains the following information about serial numbers for 1911 and 1911 A1 45 ACP U.S. military pistols:1. the company or arsenal that manufactured the pistol2. the year the pistol was manufactured3. the initials of the inspector and the years that person worked at the facility I have the article that appeared on page 79 in the June 1972 issue of the American Rifleman. The reference I am looking for contains more detail. It has been suggested that the data described above appeared in an issue of the American Rifleman in the 60's. Any suggestions?

Answer:
Steve- Charles Clawson has written the book that has everything you could possibly want to know on this subject, "Colt .45 Service Pistols". Unfortunately it is out of print, and collectors are engaging in fistfights (well, a slight exaggeration) to snap up a copy at $200.00 if they can find one. He also has a smaller paperback summary that is still available for about $20, and I recommend it highly to anyone needing a handy reference to make sure all the parts on a gun are "right." There are some older articles and books with some basic info, but Clawson is absolutely the best researched, documented, and factual source. One source I would absolutely NOT recommend is any of the books in a series by a Mr. Harrison. Initially impressed by them, I have found them to have too many errors to be useful... John


# 982 - Swiss Vetterli Rifle
1/2/98
Dan

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
WAFFENFABRICK(Weapons Factory) BERN Germany M.81? .81mm (I Think) 32 1/2 Inches Blue 22XXXX

It has the number 594 stamped on it in three or four places; trigger, under rear sight, barrel (I think). I am trying to gather some information for a friend on a German bolt action rifle (Waffen Fabrik Bern?). I am looking for who made it?, is the company still in business?, is it worth any money? etc. Could you possibly give me any information or tell me where I can find some? I thank you for you time. Dan

Answer:
Dan- Your rifle was made at the Swiss arsenal in Bern, Switzerland sometime between 1881 and 1886. It is a .41 rimfire, and these were sold off as surplus and many imported into the US prior to WW2 and again in the 1960s. Nearly new examples sold then for $9.95, but they are worth 10-20 times that now. "Small Arms of the World" or Smith's "Book of Rifles" has more info on these... John Spangler


# 978 - M1903 Rifle Rock Island 66XXX
1/2/98
Ed Palacios, Ft. Worth, TX

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Rock Island Arsenal Model 1903 .30 22 Inches Parkerized 66XXX

Barrel: RIA with ordnance emblem underneath 1-19, C126Receiver: small hole that goes through the receiver and extractor Stock: Very dirty but few dings, finger groves, two circle P's, M, B.A.-J.S. eagle head with Y99 underneath, smooth buttplate I realize I have already sent this to you but I forgot to include my email address and state, etc. I acquired this recently and I would like to know when the date of manufacture was. Is this pre WWI and if so, what would be the correct bayonet for this rifle? What if any publications would give me more information about Rock Island M1903's and their history? Is this collectable or can I enjoy shooting it until my hearts content? Is there any way to determine which service this was issued to? I love this rifle and have always wanted one ever since I was a kid and saw Steve McQueen use one the movie " The Sand Pebbles ". I would like to collect the proper accessories to go with it? Thank you for your patients and I will be more than happy to contribute to the NRA or the Navy Relief Fund if you prefer. Sincerely, Ed Palacios

Answer:
Ed- Always glad to answer questions for customers and NRA supporters. Your rifle's "born on" date was probably about 1906, but it probably bounced around Rock Island Arsenal for another 2 or 3 years while they sorted out all the changes from rod bayonet M1903 to M1905 knife bayonet and then the caliber change from .30-03 to .30-06. Undoubtedly it is one of the rifles overhauled after WWI, possibly even one of over 100,000 broken down into parts in France and shipped back that way. The B.A. marking indicates overhaul at Benecia Arsenal, California at some time, and 1919 dated barrels could have been used until the 1960s when they finally ceased work on M1903 rifles. Any of the long M1905 bayonets would go nicely, although prior to 1918 they would have used the ones with bright blades; parkerized blades after that, and during WW2, even some of the long "M1942" bayonets with the plastic grips. RIfles and bayonets were not matched up forever, they just grabbed whatever was on the top of the pile when the were issued. If the rifle is not a really nice one, it probably would not hurt to "clean" the stock with some stripper, light steel wool, maybe steam out some dents, and then put on some linseed or tung oil. However, if you put three coats of varnish on after sanding the daylights out of a nice stock, the ghosts of a million Marines will haunt you forever! Err on the side of doing too little, rather than too much... John Spangler


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