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# 6535 - Waffenfabrik Bern M78 Swiss Vetterli Rifle
Michael Los Banos, CA

Waffenbrik - M78 - Don't Know - Blue - 17264S -

I have just bought this old rifle and I have been told that it is a Swiss Vetterli. That is all I know about it. I would really like to know the Caliber of this gun.

Michael- Your information is correct and this certainly sounds like it is a Swiss Vetterli rifle. These were once very common on the surplus market, with like new examples selling for $9.95 (but that was in the 1960s when a new Volkswagen bug cost $1,300, and a new Mustang was less than $2,000 and a good house was about $25,000. The Vetterli was a major breakthrough in military rifle technology with its magazine fed bolt action. However, the cartridge used was a somewhat puny .41 caliber rimfire (European designation 10.4x38mmR- (this indicates a bullet diameter of 10.4mm, case length 38mm and having a rim). Collector ammo is available for these, but I don't think any has been made since about 1940, when even American makers were producing it. Large numbers of the Swiss rifles had been sold in America after they were replaced by Schmidt-Ruben straight pull rifles beginning in 1889. I have heard that you can convert the Vetterli rifles to use centerfire ammo, but do not know any details. John Spangler

# 6530 - Federal Laboratories Tear Gas Baton

Federal Laboratories - Tear Gas Baton -

I have a Federal Laboratories Inc., Pittsburgh, PA USA Tear Gas Baton. There are some dates on it: Pat: Sept. 05, 1925, Dec 15, 1925 and below that Dec 29 1925. Stamped below that are the numbers 5088. A leather strap is attached. The firing pin mechanism works. The leather strap is worn and there is tarnish on the club. Can you tell me about this and if it is worth anything?

Sir- I am sure there are some collectors of this sort of thing, but they are a slightly different species than the gun collectors we usually deal with. There also may or may not be some issues about legality of this item due to obscure BATF regulations. We just do not know enough to know if this would be a problem or not. If it will accept conventional ammunition then it is probably a "bad" item, but if it uses some sort of oddball thing that is not like a conventional cartridge, then it may be okay. Only the BATF folks can tell you for sure, and if you contact them I urge you to get their decision IN WRITING. It is not unheard of for one bureaucrat to say "no problem" and another to look at the same item and say "Big problem! You have the right....." John Spangler

# 6437 - bcd K98k Production
Ron Columbus, Ohio

Gusloff - K-98 - 8mm - Blue - BCD -

How many of the Gustloff k98 rifles were produced in the ''bcd'' code?

Ron, the following are yearly production totals for Gustloff K98k rifles:

  • 1939 - 9295
  • 1940 - 130144
  • 1941 - 163669
  • 1942 - 158188
  • 1943 - 315107
  • 1944 - 348081
  • 1945 - 91679

Total production of Gustloff ''bcd'' marked K98k rifles: was 1216163. Marc

# 6403 - Luger Unit Markings
John, Coudersport, PA

DWM - Luger - 9mm - 3 1/4 Inch - Blue - 1439 -

93.R.9.7 Can you tell me what the special markings on the inside grip indicate?

John, collectors call the markings that you are asking about "unit markings". The Prussian Printed Instruction No. 185 "Small Arms Marking Instruction" from 1909 states that markings were added to small arms to facilitate identification of issued weapons for every day convenience of units and individual soldiers, not to facilitate return of weapons that get lost in war or that are retrieved by small arms collecting points.

German imperial era unit markings were usually applied in a standard sequence: Larger unit, smaller unit and then weapon number. Jeff Noll's book "Imperial German Regimental Marking [Revised Edition]" lists several similarly marked Lugers of the same vintage as yours. Your markings "93.R.9.7" probably stand for Infanterie-Regiment 93, Company 9, Weapon Number 7 (Infanterie-Regiment 93, Kompagnie 9, Waffe Nr.7). Marc

# 6402 - 22cal Mo-Skeet-O Bore Markings
Andrew, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Remington - Model 121 - 22 - Blue - 38581 -

''22cal Mo-Skeet-O Bore'' on top of barrel near breach I recently acquired a Remington model 121 smooth bore rifle. I was wandering if this ''Mo-Skeet-O Bore'' has any more significance than any other model 121 smooth bore, as I have not been able to find that name anywhere in my research. Thanks for any help you can give

Andrew, I was unable to find any information about the ''Mo-Skeet-O Bore'' marking that you describe. I did find that Remington introduced several smooth bore Model 121 variations in 1939.

  • The Model 121 Smooth Bore Rifle had a non-rifled barrel, white metal bead front sight, no rear sight, and a magazine that held fourteen-rounds of .22 Long Rifle rimfire shot cartridges.
  • The Model 121 Standard Routledge-Bored Rifle had a 23 and 1/2-inch round barrel bored to Routledge specifications for shot cartridges, a white metal bead front sight and no rear sight. Routledge guns were special-order only and were not listed in any Remington factory catalogs.
  • The Model 121 Skeetrap Rifle had a twenty-five-inch barrel bored to Loewi specifications, with white metal bead front sight, and no rear sight. Although I have not been able to find how the Skeetrap Rifle was marked, my guess is that this model is what you have.

Remington discontinued production of all Model 121 smooth bore rifles in January of 1951. Marc

# 6490 - Belgian Pinfire Folding Trigger Revolver
Dan Albuquerque NM

Unknown - Unknown - Nickel -

Father brought this pistol home from Europe after WWII. It has a 2-inch barrel with eight sides on the exterior and seven sides on the interior of the barrel. I cannot see any rifling. It is a revolver. The trigger is unguarded and folds forward, and when pulled back from the fully forward position, it will cock and drop the hammer. It fits in a coat pocket and can be hidden in the fist of a large hand. It is about the size you'd imagine a derringer to be. The hammer does not stay cocked. To re-cock and fire, the unguarded trigger must be pushed full forward again. The chambers in the revolving cylinder are round and have a small notch in their rear, so when a chamber is aligned with the barrel, the notch is up, where the hammer would strike. A guard on the right side of the cylinder flips open for loading. It holds six shots. There is a tiny pin sight at the end of the barrel that resembles a pawn in a chess set. There is no rear sight. Years ago, at a collector show, one exhibitor said this was a Belgian pistol and that it fired bullets that had a pin that extended through the notch in each chamber, which was stuck by the hammer. ''The bullets are more rare than the gun,'' he said. The size of the chamber looks like it could hold something larger than a .22 and smaller than a .38. The grips are two pieces of carved wood that screw into the metal frame. The metal is silver colored, but looks to be severely tarnished by black. There is no damage that I can tell. There is some simplistic scrollwork on the metal, but it is not overly ornate. This is all I know. Where did this gun come from? How old is it? Are what of the claim of the rarity of the bullets? And what is it worth?

Dan- Thank you for the excellent, detailed description which makes our job a lot easier. The information you received is correct. This is a "pinfire" revolver, which used ammunition that had a pin sticking outside the edge of the base of the cartridge. The pinfire primer sounded like a good idea in the 1860s when the rimfire and centerfire primers were still not real reliable. However, by about 1900 the pinfire fizzled out after the rimfire and centerfire proved to be much better, especially because you did not have to mess around trying to get the pin lined up in the notch when you loaded it. It was probably made in Belgium (look for the letters ELG in an oval or something that looks like the Washington Monument stamped on the cylinder or nearby.). Pinfire ammunition was made in many sizes, and I think that included 5mm, 6mm, 7mm, 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, and 12mm- just about every choice between what we would call .22 caliber up to nearly .50 caliber. The ammunition has been obsolete for decades, but cartridge dealers often have a few rounds, but at $1 or so per round (of ancient age and doubtful reliability) but there is not really a source of ammo for shooting these. These guns were made by many makers, and mostly were modest quality and inexpensively priced. The folding trigger made them handy to carry in the pocket or purse and provided a bit of safety as well. A few of the larger caliber pinfires saw military use, but most others were primarily civilian guns, and mainly popular in Europe and to a lesser extent in the export market (South America, etc) but never really caught on in the U.S. It sounds like the trigger return spring is messed up on yours, as you should not have to manually push the trigger forward each time. A number of these were brought home by GI's after WW2, and while some may have been taken from enemy troops, these were mainly souvenirs bought, traded, or confiscated from the civilian populace. A few people collect these, but every general gun collector should have one just to show the type. Values tend to be modest for the smaller examples, and I often see them offered at under $100. John Spangler

# 6269 - Mills Cartridge Belt
LaVonne, Astoria,Or.

Unknown - Unknown - Unknown - Unknown - Other - UNKNOWN -

No special markings MY husbamd has a canvas shotgun shell belt that the pat. date is 1881 there is the name Anson Mills/T.C. Orndorff sole manf. We have tried to find out about this shell belt, but with no luck. can you help us?

LaVonne- Anson Mills is the father of the cartridge belt. Born in Indiana in 1834, he flunked out of West Point, but later became an officer in the Union Army. In 1867 he received a patent for a loop cartridge belt for Spencer cartridges, invented while he was Commanding Officer at Fort Bridger, Wyoming. He was a tinkerer and inventor and installed his workshop machinery in his quarters at his various posts, undoubtedly to his wife's dismay and the irritation of the post Quartermaster who would have been reluctant to criticize his boss for messing up government quarters with machines in the housing. Although Mills' first patent was for the concept of cartridge loops, it was not until about 1879 that he came up with cartridge belts and loops woven as a single item, and another year or so to get power looms set up to do this. While he was seeking military contracts for his belts, he also had a contract with Winchester starting about 1881 to sell them for the sporting market. Mills continued in business at least through the World War One era. Various types of cartridge belts are still popular although more often with sewn loops than the patented Mills woven process in recent years. The civilian belts were made with simple wire "C" type buckles, and also with stamped brass plates with dogs, etc on them. The buckles have been reproduced for many years, but the belts seem to have been free of fakery. Stephen Dorsey's excellent "American Military and Naval Belts 1812-1902" has nearly 200 pages on various Mills belts and an extensive section on history of Mills and his company. This great book is available on our Books catalog pages. John Spangler

# 6258 - Tranger Percussion Revolver

C.Fisher, London - 6 Shot Percussion Pistol - Unknown - Unknown - Blue - NO 8027 T -

tranter patent Maker C.Fisher, 8 princes St, London. This is a six shot percussion pistol, in it's original wooden box with all it's tools, and bullet mold. Some art work is present on the metal work. A name (I expect the first owner's) is on a brass plate on the top of the box. How old is the pistol? How much is it worth?

Sir- Charles Fisher was a gun maker and also had an archery warehouse at 8 Princes Street, Leicester Square from1826 to 1877. There was almost always some very modest engraving on Tranter revolvers, but often much greater coverage. They are very attractive when found in cases with all accessories, and although not as valuable as a cased Colt, they still can bring good money. I would expect to find cased Tranters offered in the price range of $1200-2500 depending on exact model and condition. If further research shows that the name of the owner relates to someone famous or infamous, then perhaps even more. If condition is poor or there heave been alterations it may bring less. John Spangler

# 6359 - ERMA EP .25 Info.
Scott, Pomeroy, OH

ERMA - EP .25 - .25 - 3 Ins. - Blue - 13454 -

Wood hand grips with ERMA logo. This .25 auto belonged to my Grandfather and I have owned it for over 20 years now and know almost nothing about it. i.e. age etc. Any info you can give me would be appreciated. Yes, I do fire it although, because of its size, not very often. Thank you.

Scott, information on the Erma EP 25 is hard to find, the model was listed in one of my reference books but there was no information about it, and none of my gun value books even listed the EP 25.

Although I was unable to find information about the EP 25, I can tell you a little about the Erma company. Erma is an acronym for Erfurter Maschinen und Werkzeugfabrik, which was the firm's original name. The company is well known for the submachine guns that they manufactured starting in the 1930s, including the famous MP38 and MP40.

Manufacture of pistols at Erma began in 1933 when the German Wehrmacht began to reequip, they needed a convenient system for pistol practice without using a full-sized range. Ermawerke produced a .22 caliber conversion unit for Lugers, which was originally patented in 1927. The unit consisted of a barrel insert, breechblock and toggle unit, and a magazine, which turned a standard 7.65mm or 9mm Luger pistol into a .22 automatic. The Wehrmacht standardized the conversion units in November 1934, and shortly thereafter, Erma offered them for sale on the commercial market.

The success of Erma's conversion device, lead the company to believe that there could be a market for inexpensive target and practice pistols so in 1936, they introduced their first pistol, a .22 LR blowback automatic which is known today as the 'Old Model'.

My guess is that while firing your EP 25 may not be pleasant, it will not hurt the value much. I doubt that there is much collector interest in the model, which is probably why it is not listed in the gun value books. This type of small .25 caliber pistol is often encountered for sale at gunshows in the $100 to $150 range. Marc

# 6342 - 94 Or 64?
Dean, Lenoir, NC

Winchester - 94 - 30-30 - 20 Inches - Blue - 1351514 -

Winchester Model 94 30 WCF This rifle appears to be a simple pre-64, model 94 Winchester carbine; however, it has a hooded front sight, straight grip, metal shotgun style buttplate. It upper tang is totally devoid of any markings. Barrel marking is model 94 30 WCF. My question is - is this a model 94 or a model 64?

Dean, the Model 64 was first announced in the March 1, 1933, Winchester price list, the first deliveries of Model 64 rifles to warehouse stock occurred in February and May of 1933. The Model 64 was an improvement of the earlier Model 55 rifle, which used the same action as the 55 but incorporated several design changes including increased magazine capacity, sharply tapering barrel, pistol grip instead of straight stock, forged ramp for front sight base on the barrel, front sight cover, and lighter trigger pull.

Model 64 rifles were serial numbered in the same range as the Model 1894 so your serial number will not be of much assistance in determining which model that you have. I can tell you that your Winchester was manufactured in 1942. Because of the Model 94 marking and the straight pistol grip stock, I do not think that you have a Model 64. Marc

# 6314 - Reblue My Hi-Power?
Tom, Glassboro, NJ USA

Browning (FN) - Hi Power - 9mm - 4.5'' - Don't Know -

Eagle over WaA140 ''Fabrique National D'Armes DE Guerre Herstal Belgique'' above ''Brownings Patent Depose'' Wood checkered grip, matching Serial# on all parts, swastika, on barrel slide and frame. ''MR'' Stamped on Trigger Guard. Hey Marc- You have a great site here, very informative. Thanks. I just received my Father In-law's Nazi Marked ''P-35''/''Model 1935''/''Hi-power''. He brought it home from WWII. It's been stored in the brown leather holster ever since. It's got a bit of rust all around. through reading your other responses, I understand the estimated value in original condition being $300 - $700. Would I hurt the value if I had it ''restored'' to original condition? I wouldn't want to spend any more than it's value. Would I ever recover the cost to do this? What was the true original finish, and can you please recommend a true professional to take this task on? Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Tom, thanks for visiting, glad that you enjoy the sight. Thanks for reading some of our answers before submitting your question. If more of our visitors took time to read instructions and to check our previous old answers before submitting their questions, John's and my question answering duties would be much easier and less repetitive. Also in the case of shotgun questions and cheap handgun questions, I would not have to make use of the delete key so often.

Restoration of most old firearms is usually a bad idea. I have often seen people spend several hundreds of dollars just to end up with a gun that may or may not look better but is just about always worth less than it was before they started (sometimes much less). I would advise you to not have your Hi-Power restored. To prevent any further damage or deterioration, you should clean and oil it with some light machine oil. If the rust on your Hi-Power is just the light surface type, it may come off by lightly scrubbing with fine steel wool (00 or finer) soaked in WD-40. Marc

# 6255 - Hensoldt Wetzlar Duralyt 6x Scope
Mike Houston, Texas

Hensoldt Wetzlar - Duralyt 6X - 6X - Blue - 8503 -

Can you give me any information on the Value of this scope. It is on a 1954 Winchester Model 70 .243 that my Grandfather left to me.

Mike- Nick Stroebel's excellent "Old Rifle Scopes" tells us that this model was made circa 1953, and has a value in the $175-250 range. Their scopes are excellent quality, nearly as good as Zeiss, and it is a nice classy period scope for a pre 1964 Model 70. John Spangler

# 6244 - Gunsighting Telescope X8
S Jackson England

J.H.Dalmeyer,London - Gunsighting Telescope - Not Known - Other - 86644 -

Dated 1918,N2 18,GUNSIGHTING TELESCOPE X8. I have had this gunsighting telescope for a while now and wondered if it had some military connections its quite large and made of brass and has a central eye piece which is capped. It isn't marked with the M.O.D claw mark so I am not sure if its English or not, I would appreciate and assistance you can give me with this mystery telescope ,thanks very much.

Sir- I am positive that your telescope is a military item, but that it is related to artillery guns, not small arms. I so not know enough about artillery fire control optics (or have references that would make it seem like I knew anything abut the subject) so I cannot tell you what type of guns it may be been used with. John Spangler

# 5896 - Danzig Percussion Pistol

Danzig - Unknown - Larger Than 58 - 6 1/2 - Blue - 1857 -

Has the number 1857 on it has what appears to be the word Danzig, and crown markings on it in a few places. It is a percussion cap handgun, has wood handle with brass on bottom of back strap. Who made it, and what caliber could it be.

Erick- Danzig was a Prussian military arsenal that made a variety of small arms. It is likely that 1857 is the serial number, not a date, as most countries had abandoned pistols with large bores (circa .65-.69 caliber) by the 1840s. The barrel length is shorter than was usual for "horse pistols" carried in holsters on the saddle for use by mounted troops, so it may be a variant made for use by officers or police or something. I do not have a good reference on these, so that is about all I can tell you. John Spangler

# 6283 - Remington Nylon 66 Information
Frederik, ¸rhus, Denmark

Remington - Nylon 66 Semiautomatic - 22 - 19 Inches - Don't Know -

What year did it came out and how long time was it produced? Why did Remington stop the production of this particular rifle? And finally why isn't there being produced rifles with that special magazine system where you stuff the ammo in a long tube in the back anymore? Thanks for answering.

Frederik, for years Nylon 66 rifles with their lightweight design and futuristic looking stocks were very popular. They were the first rifle for many young shooters and today they have growing popularity with collectors who often try to obtain one of each color and variation.

Remington's Nylon 66 .22 caliber rifles weighed 4 pounds and came with 19 & 5/8-inch barrels, open sights and 14 round tubular magazines that were housed inside the butt stock. Stocks were made from injection-molded DuPont Zytel plastic and were available in black, brown, or green. Remington manufactured about 1,050,336 Nylon 66 rifles from 1959 to 1990 when the model was discontinued.

I think that competition from Ruger's 10-22 rifle was a major cause for Remington's discontinuance the Nylon 66. The high capacity (50 or more round) magazines that can be easily substituted for stock Ruger 10 round 10-22 magazines are very popular with shooters. This is probably why new designs are not often seen with the old tubular type magazines any more. Marc

# 6282 - Walther PP 22, Information Overload
Lynn, Buffalo, NY

Walther - PP - 22 ? - ? - Other - ? -

Numbers and letters on inside of grip. German writing on right side of barrel. N, on its side, with crown over it in 2 places. Numbers on right frame. Hi there! I recently inherited a Walther handgun, with holster and 2 magazines, from my Dad, and I am hoping you can tell me about it. This is what I have learned... The gun: on the left side (barrel?) of the gun the is the Walter Banner and ~***<><*++!ZZ!Waffenfabrik Walther, Zella-Mehlis (Thur)” below which is ~***<><*++!ZZ!Walther’s Patent Cal. 7,65 m/m”, the ~***<><*++!ZZ!Model PP” on the right. Right side (barrel?) has a N (on its side)with a Crown over it, this appears in the silver slide as well. There is also a number on this side (frame?) ~***<><*++!ZZ!986216~***<><*++!ZZ!. There are letters and numbers on the inside of the grip as well, ~***<><*++!ZZ!R.F.V. 13253 W~***<><*++!ZZ!. The plastic sidepieces of the grips have Walther Banner as well (both sides). Gun has a pin that pops out when there is a live round in chamber. Gun also ~***<><*++!ZZ!dry-fires~***<><*++!ZZ!. Gun is black and in very good condition, though it does show wear from use and holster. The holster: is leather and has compartment for spare magazine (which I have). Closure button could be steel. Embossing on holster: at the very end of the closure strap is the Nazi Eagle on a globe with the Swastika in it. Below this eagle is ~***<><*++!ZZ!Wa A286~***<><*++!ZZ!. On the inside, underneath the closure strap is ~***<><*++!ZZ!GENSCHOW & CO. A-G~***<><*++!ZZ! with ~***<><*++!ZZ!BERLIN~***<><*++!ZZ! below it, actually they form a circle. Inside this is ~***<><*++!ZZ!1940~***<><*++!ZZ! but the ~***<><*++!ZZ!0~***<><*++!ZZ! looks like is has been overstruck with a ~***<><*++!ZZ!1~***<><*++!ZZ!. There appears to have been something ink-stamped on the inside, but has long since faded and worn away. Holster is in good condition, but scuffed from use. Any info on this gun, including value, would be greatly appreciated. I don’t know whether to register it on my pistol permit, or sell it. Thank You!

Lynn, it looks like your browser program inserted a lot of garbage into the text that makes it extremely difficult to read. A serial number would certainly help. Your pistol was made sometime before 1940 when Germany changed their commercial firing proof from a Crown over N to the Nazi eagle. The letters RFV stand for the finance ministry and they mean that the pistol was probably used by those involved with finances, perhaps bank guards, etc. The fact that the pistol is early and has the RFV markings will increase its value over a privately purchase pistol. For a pistol like yours in 100% condition, Blue Book values are around $1500, but value falls rapidly with any wear on the frame or slide. It sounds like you have a nice gun. The holster sounds as if it's authentic but it is hard to say without more information. Marc

# 6280 - Erfurt Luger
Jack Littleton, CO

Luger? - 1916 - 9mm? - 3'' - Blue - 2558 -

On top of the retractor(?) is a ''crown'' symbol. Below that is words stamped in: ''Er Furt'' all serial numbers on the gun match. Front of holster says: ''1916'' (as does gun)''Sattler Innung'' ''Gopfert'' ''Dresden''. What is the value of this gun, please? Would it help if you had the scanned images of this pistol?

Jack, you have a WWI vintage Luger that was manufactured by the German Royal Arsenal at Erfurt for the German Armed Forces. Erfurt Lugers are marked on the toggle: with a crown over the arsenal name " ERFURT". The Erfurt arsenal began production of Luger pistols in 1910 to supplement Luger production by DWM in order to keep up with demand for pistols to supply Germany's military forces.

The quality of finish on Erfurt Lugers is usually lower than that on those manufactured by DWM. Erfurt Lugers are noted for often having a rough finish, with tool marks that are much more evident than they are on DWM produced examples of the same era. Erfurt Lugers usually bear an inspector's proof on each part of the weapon, including the grip screws.

Values for Erfurt Lugers ranges from $450 to about $1000 depending on condition, the holster will add between $50 and $150. Marc

# 6254 - Vickers, Ltd .242 Nitro Rifle
Butch. Victoria. Australia

Vickers Ltd. London. England. - 242 Nitro Express - .257 - 24 Inch. - Blue - 4033 -

On the barrel is ''Vickers Ltd. London England'' also ''NITROPROVED'' along with various proof marks. The action is Mauser 98. The barrel, action and wood all have the same serial no. 4033. The rifle may have been manufactured around 1920 to 1930. I am seeking any information on the Vickers Ltd , The rifle and availability of ammunition. Hope you can help with any information. Thank You, Butch Phillips.

Butch- The Vickers firm traces its origins back to John Vickers who was involved with firearms and ammunition in the early 1860s, and eventually became Vickers, Sons & Maxim Ltd. In 1911 Vickers Ltd superceded the earlier firm, and in 1927 they became Vickers-Armstrong, Ltd. Therefore your gun dates to the period 1911-1927, and during that time they were engaged in a wide variety of arms projects, including clandestinely importing Luger parts from DWM in Germany in order to assemble pistols for a Dutch contract, but the Dutch were displeased with the quality and sent the guns to FN in Belgium to be reworked. I do not know of a source of ammo, and the difficulty in legally shipping it to foreign countries may make that a big problem. I suspect you may be better off finding a source of reloading dies and reloading it yourself. John Spangler

# 6251 - Colt Single Action .45 Revolver
Jim, Sacramento, CA

Colt - Pat. Sept. 19, 1871 July 2, 72 Jan 19, 75 - 45 - 7.5'' - Blue - 151608 -

The ejector is missing. I inherited this pistol from my great-grand father, who was a rancher in okmulgee, OK Indian Territory. Can you tell me the age and any other info that may be useful. Thank you

Jim- You have a neat old family heirloom, as well as a valuable collector piece. Available references indicate your revolver was made in 1893. Those made prior to 1898 and in .45 caliber with the 7.5 inch barrel are most sought after by collectors, especially if they have a western history. It may be possible to get a "factory letter" from Colt documenting where the revolver was shipped. It could be a neat old west location, or something less exciting like Sears Roebuck Company, who in turn shipped it to your family. While the factory letters are interesting, their obscenely high prices make them hard to justify as a matter of mere curiosity. (It is interesting to note that Colt has basically gone bankrupt and is a mere shall of its former greatness, while Ruger, who provides factory letters FREE, is financially sound and prospering. That has much more to do with many other factors than just the letters, but it may indicate a big difference in management philosophy too.) As far as the missing ejector, I would not worry about that, or if it really bothers you, a good dealer such as Frank Higgins on on our links page can probably fix you up with one. John Spangler

# 6240 - Van Wey (Van Wei) Gunsmith Markings
Judy Pine Village Arkansas

Blue -

I am researching a John Van Wey (VanWei, etc.) who was a Pennsylvania Militia gunsmith. He was killed in the Battle of Wyoming, Luzerne Co. PA July 3, 1778. Could you tell me anything about the type of gun he might have made or what his mark might have been?

Judy- I cannot find anything on either spelling of his name. The style of rifles he may have made would probably be similar to those from other makers in his region, as there tended to be fairly consistent regional characteristics among nearby makers. It is not clear if that was based on the preferences of their customers, or the very traditional nature of handmade arms making where skills and tastes were passed from master to apprentice. While much of the literature and collector interest is in the true artistic masterpieces in the form or highly embellished guns, many, if not most were undoubtedly much plainer and utilitarian (and cheaper) versions. A good place to start looking would be in Henry Kaufmann's "The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle". If you need more detail, there are other excellent books such as Joe Kindig's "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in the Golden Age" or a series of books by James B. Whisker (with various other authors at times) which deal with rifles from specific counties or states. Although most of the literature deals with the rifles, it is likely that other arms (fowlers or pistols) would reflect some of the same characteristics. John Spangler

# 6275 - Luger With The Stamps On The LEFT Side
Mike, Bellingham, WA

DWM - Luger - 9mm - 4'' - Blue - 2280 -

Crowned eagle, Crowned F I have a Luger with the stamps on the LEFT side of the receiver and a unit marking of 114.RMC.23 Can you give me any info on the Unit and an approx. date of manufacture. I believe it was between 1908 and 1909. All serial numbers match except the trigger plate, that has no number.

Mike, I can't help much with dating your pistol without being able to examine it.

To decipher the unit numbers, I checked Nolls book of Imperial German Regimental Markings. The book did not list any pistols with similar unit numbers but from the definitions tables, I was able to determine that your markings probably stand for: Infanterie - Regiment 144, Maschinengewehr, [Gardes] du Corps Waffe Nr. 23 (Infantry Regiment 144, Machinegun Corps, Weapon Number 23).

Lately WWI German Lugers have been less popular than their WWII counterparts. I would estimate value for your pistol to be in the $400 to $900 range depending on condition. The unit markings will help but I don't think that the fact that the inspectors markings are on the left side instead of the right will make any difference. The unmarked trigger plate may not be original and that will hurt the value some. Marc

# 6079 - Walther Model 4
Scott, Midland, MI

Walther - Model 4 - 7.65 - 3'' - Blue - 483391 -

Waffenfabrik Walther Zella-Mehlis(Thur.) What is the value of this pistol? I understand it to be a model produced in Germany in the late 20's. It has some signs of wear on the bluing.

Scott, initially Walther scheduled introduction of the Model 4 in 1910 but records indicate that it was actually introduced about 1915, and that it was one of the first firearms to be manufactured in the newly-extended Walther factory.

The Model 4 was a larger design than its predecessors and it was probably developed with sales to police departments and the military in mind. The Model 4 design was based on the earlier Model 3 with an extended butt which would accept an eight-round magazine instead of the previous six-round type, and a barrel that was lengthened from 67mm to 85mm. The slide was also based on the Model 3 with an extension to accommodate the longer barrel. The earliest Model 4 pistols came from the factory equipped with left-over Model 3 slides. It is estimated that well over 100,000 Model 4 pistols were purchased by German army officers and other military personal during the First World War. Model 4 Production continued after the end of the war until about 1923.

The blue book lists values for Model 4 pistols between $80 and $250 depending on condition. It has been my experience that this type of pistol is hard to sell especially if it does not have military markings. Marc

# 6072 - Colt With No Serial Numberr
Bruce, Houston, TX

Colt - 1902? - 38 - Don't Know - NONE -

Automatic Colt Calibre 38 Rimless Smokeless No Patent numbers No serial number It looks much like the 1902 38 ACP you have (smof3474). Is there any way to find out more about it. I suspect it is a sporting version. I would very much like info and worth but don't know where to start.

Bruce, from your description it sounds like you have a Colt Model 1900, 1902 or possibly a model 1903. These pistols were the first automatic pistols Colt made, and are often referred to as the "square ruler" pistols because they look like a carpenter's square. The barrels of these pistols are pinned to the frame at two points and as the slide moves backwards the barrel pivots downward unlocking the action. These pistols were chambered for the 38 ACP cartridge only, though the case was later developed/improved into the Colt 38 Super cartridge. All three models have an exterior hammer, and most do not have a safety. The earliest Model 1900's had a rear sight that pivoted to act as a safety.

As to why the serial number, model and patent dates are not present I can only speculate. Some of these pistols were sold to the U. S. Army and Navy, and some of these were stolen. The thief or the recipient of the stolen property often removed all markings that would identify the pistol as belonging to the U. S. military. I've seen a number of Colt Model 1911 pistols with all military markings removed. A local gun store recently offered a Colt Model 1892 double action revolver for sale. The inspector's initials were still on the grips and frame which identified it as a pistol made for the U. S. military, but the lanyard ring had been removed and the military markings including the serial number on the bottom of the grip strap had been ground off.

The other possibility is that your pistol is what gun collectors call a "lunch box" special. These are pistols assembled from parts stolen by factory employees (taken home in the worker's lunch box thus the name). These pistols never had a serial number. Look closely on the frame and slide for evidence of grinding and refinishing. If the serial number of your pistol has been ground off it is illegal to own and you should turn it in to the ATF. Marc

# 6130 - Deringer Derringers In Pairs?
Joanna, Denver, CO

Blue -

Is it true that the type of Derringer used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Lincoln was made in pairs? If so, what serial number would its twin gun have to be? Thanks!

Joanna- Henry Deringer (note only one "r") made guns in Philadelphia, and like most makers in the era of handmade arms, he was quite happy to make whatever customers wanted and were willing to pay for. Each gun was handmade, and undoubtedly many were made and sold in pairs. It is believed that about 5,280 pairs were made 1856-1866, and perhaps a total of 15,000 Deringers including those not sold in pairs. However, as far as I know they were not marked with serial numbers, so dating them is pretty much an art based on minute differences in various features. Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms and their Values has several pages of detailed information on Deringer's pistols, and there is an excellent book "The Deringer in America" by L.D. Eberhart for those interested in more details. Note that the word "Derringer" (two "r") has become the generic term for any small pistol of large caliber, usually capable of one or two shots. Assuming that John Wilkes Booth had a pair of Deringers, there is no telling what might have happened to the other one. Perhaps he gave it to my distant relative Edward Spangler who got him into Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865 and held his horse. (Edward was convicted and spent time in prison on the Tortugas for his dastardly deeds.) John Spangler

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