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# 10913 - Puma Value
Robin, Charlotte NC

Beretta - Puma - .32 - Blue -

My father gave me his 1952/53 .32 cal. Beretta Puma. Does this have any value? Or something I should just hang onto? Thanking you in advance for your time in responding. R. Hood

Robin, the blue book lists Puma values between $100 and $225. Not a real collectors prize but you may still want to keep the pistol for sentimental reasons or self defense. Marc

# 10827 - AUTO-MAG T.D.E. Corp. of EI Monte, California
Henry, Blakely Ga.,USA

Lee E Jurras - High Standard auto mag Model 180 - .44 AMP - 6.5 - Stainless Steel - None listed -

TDE circled with arrows, Made in USA What is the value, and how many made?

Henry, your pistol is commonly known by gun enthusiasts as an Auto-Mag. These pistols were designed around a wildcat cartridge, the .44 Auto Magnum, which was developed in the 1950s. The cartridge was fabricated from a cut-down .308 case and it made use of a .44 caliber revolver bullet. Although the .44 Auto Magnum cartridge was designed in the 1950s, no gun existed that would fire it until 1970 when the Auto-Mag Corporation of Pasadena, CA introduced their Auto-Mag pistol.

At the time, it was introduced, anyone wishing to shoot an Auto-Mag pistol had to make his own ammunition, but several commercial ammunition companies promised that they would go into production if demand warranted.

Delivery of Auto-Mag pistols began in October 1970, but the financial burden of getting the weapon into production proved too much. In 1972, the Auto-Mag Corporation went bankrupt.

Shortly after the bankruptcy, Thomas Oil Company purchased the Auto-Mag patents, stock and machinery. Manufacture of Auto-Mag pistols was re-started through a Thomas Oil subsidiary, TDE Corporation in a new factory in North Hollywood.

In mid-I974, the High Standard Corporation assumed responsibility for Auto-Mag, they left manufacture to TDE, but guaranteed sales outlets and financial backing. Customized pistols with special grips, known as 'Lee Jurras Special' models were also available from the factory, supplied to special order.

One a result of the Auto-Mag buyouts and bankruptcies is that Auto-Mag pistols can be found with many different brand names and markings in several different configurations.

The blue book tells me that only about 132 pistols were manufactured by TDE with High Standard markings, these pistols should have all 'H' prefixed serial numbers. Book values for TDE pistols with High Standard markings range between about $1800 and $2300. I was unable to find a High Standard Lee Jurras Model 180 pistol in the blue book but values for Lee Jurras Model 100 pistols can go as high as $3200. The blue book says that only 10 Model 100 pistols in .44 AMP were made. Marc

# 11210 - Requirement To Mark Caliber On Guns
Grengory, Texas

Question: Is there a Federal statute or regulation (ATF?) that requires that all gun makers/gunsmiths/barrel makers, etc., mark the barrels of their guns, or any part of the gun, actually, with the precise caliber that the firearm is designed to use?

Gregory- I am not aware of any law or regulation from the federal government that requires caliber to be marked anywhere on a gun.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 did mandate that a unique serial number be applied on the receiver of all newly made firearms, as well as identification of the importer if they are imported. Those were new requirements. Manufacturers and dealers are required to enter the make, model and caliber of a firearm into their "bound book" when a firearm is received, and on the ATF Form 4473 when a firearm is sold. I believe that is intended for use in tracking a firearm for "gun control" purposes, and not as any sort of "safety for the user" purpose. (I believe these are found in 18 USC Sec 922 et seq.)

I do not know if there is any applicable policy or standard adopted by SAAMI (Small Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute) that requires that newly manufactured arms be marked with the caliber, and I do not even know where one would find such internal SAAMI documents.

As a matter of practice it appears that most manufacturers have applied caliber markings for at least 50 years or so in the case of commercial production. If the arms are delivered on a military contract the markings would be as specified in the contract and/or approved drawings and specifications.

However, if the caliber of a gun has been changed by a gunsmith or private owner by installing a new barrel or reaming the chamber or lining the barrel, I do not see any consistency at all. Some will mark a new barrel (if not already marked) and some will use abbreviations that may or may not be clear. Sometimes no markings are added, especially if the work is done to the owner's specifications or for their own use. This seems to be especially true in the case of guns in which the chamber has been altered by reaming, or the barrel has been relined or sleeved to a different caliber.

As a matter of common sense and prudent judgement, any person buying a gun where there is any doubt about the caliber or safety for use should have it examined by a competent gunsmith to determine its safety for use and correct type of ammunition prior to loading or attempting to fire.

If you need to consult an attorney who specializes in firearms laws, I can recommend someone with extensive background and expertise in the technical aspects. John Spangler

# 11209 - Canadian Purchases of Obsolete Lee Enfields
Pete, MD

In 1909 Canada apparently ordered some of the Long Lee Enfield Rifles (Magazine Lee Enfield Mark I). Do you happen to know why Canada ordered rifles of a pattern that had been obsolete in British service for 10 years? Alternatively, can you recommend reference books that I can use to try to figure this out?

Pete- The best info on all things Enfield is, of course, Ian Skennerton's "Lee Enfield Story." There are also a number of on line sites with more or less reliable info and details on various Enfields.

I believe that the Canadian purchase of an obsolete pattern is rooted in a maze of politics, economics, doctrine, tradition and perhaps a bit of influence peddling somewhere along the line.

Traditionally the regular UK forces have always received the latest pattern equipment. The older stuff made its way down the pecking order among the nations of the Empire/Commonwealth, with the colonial home guards in the most remote (and least reliable) hinterlands receiving the most worn out and obsolete gear. Canada was probably in the top 25% in terms of priority, but modernization lagged well behind the UK units. Even in the UK the "Volunteer" units lagged well behind the regulars in terms of which models of arms they were using.

Within Canada there was also the usual distinction between regular forces and militia units, with the latter politely begging for whatever scraps might be available. A ten year lag in rifles reaching Canadian militia is not bad in a time when there was little unrest in North America, and few calls on Canada to contribute forces for duty elsewhere. I would assume that some Magazine Lee Enfields had reached Canada earlier, perhaps for regular units, and then in the interest of arming ALL Canadian units, or perhaps just all Canadian Militia units, with similar arms, an order was placed for more of the same obsolete model. Having different models complicated training, tactics, logistics, repairs, uniformity of appearance, etc.

Remember, starting about 1903 Canada was feeling pretty independent on arms issues, and had adopted the Ross Rifle, also in .303 British caliber, so at least everyone was using the same ammo. (Locally produced items always seem popular!) Perhaps hopes of soon shifting to the Ross drove the decision to top off with the required number of arms of an obsolete pattern rather than shifting to a new model which would (hopefully) be replaced by the Ross anyway.

Anyway, that is about all I can figure out. This is based on what little factual information I could find scattered around, plus a lot of reading on Canadian militia arms of earlier periods, and experience with arming of U.S. military reserve forces. John Spangler

# 11208 - Musket Marked C. D. Ladd S. F.
Leo, KY

L. Pomeroy - Rifled Musket - 69 -

Markings: 1843 date on barrel, 1844 date on lockplate with U.S. under it, Eagle with L. Pomeroy under it on lockplate; U.S. JH and Circle P on barrel next to hammer, block capital letter ''B'' and ''H'' under those; Rectangle Cartouche on flat of wood opposite side of lock (JR I think), in same area under it in all capital block letters '' C.D. LADD S.F.'' under that- another oval cartouche (WAT); on the J bar opposite the lock side in all capital block letters is ''FROM C.D. LADD ..S.F); Butt Plate has U.S. with block capital letters ''FROM & FROM AGAIN'' - these are on top of butt plate by screw and under U.S.; bottom of butt plate has the same ''FROM'' again; Small capital block letter ''C'' appears on upper part of trigger guard under sling swivel, barrel bands, and on stock at rear of trigger guard; Bottom of stock midway between trigger guard and buttplate are capital block letters ''B O or C'' cannot make out last letter; Small ''X'' on left side of stock below the flat; Musket is 3 grooved rifled, finished in the bright, and just about pristine condition, has rear sight, with front sight made on to first barrel band, bands held by spring clips. As well, the rifled musket has been converted to percussion, which looks as though by the arsenal. I would like to know first who ''C.D. Ladd S.F.'' is? An approximate value in fine to excellent NRA condition? Any other information as to what units of the Civil War may have used this type of weapon. Thank you for your time and keep up the good work.

Leo- Your musket started as one of 6,000 Model 1840 .69 caliber smoothbore flintlock muskets made by Lemuel Pomeroy in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, between 1840 and 1846. At some point, probably circa 1855-58 it was converted to percussion, the barrel was rifled, and the rear sight was probably added at that time. These muskets had a 42 inch barrel and as far as I know none were officially shortened while in military service. Therefore I suspect your barrel was cut to its present 30 inch length at a later date. The markings you describe are all typical inspection or acceptance markings found on Model 1840 muskets except the "FROM" and "C.D. LADD, S.F."

Charles Douglas Ladd was born about 1849 and is believed to have operated in Stockton, CA, circa 1871, and in San Francisco, CA, circa 1872-1893. He received a patent in 1876 (probably for a cast iron reloading tool), and was involved with making breechloading firearms as Ladd & Smith circa 1876-1879. He also had branch stores in Portland and Seattle.

I suspect that your musket was sold by C.D. Ladd from their San Francisco store sometime between 1872 and 1893. Huge inventories of Civil War surplus muskets were being sold at that time as the Army had changed over to breechloading rifles and the obsolete arms no longer had any military value. It is likely that Ladd cut your musket to the shorter length which would have been more like the length of new arms being sold at the time. Stamping his name probably was either a form of advertising, or to prevent people who bought used guns elsewhere from trying to return them to his store. While the Ladd markings add some value to a collector of old western memorabilia, being cut down has destroyed most of the value to a military collector. Based on your description the value would probably be in the $400-600 range in my opinion, but the only way to find out is to see what a buyer would give for it. John Spangler

# 10815 - Gold Plated Universal Firearms Corp. 22

Universal Firearms Corp. - 22 rifle - 22 - Don't Know - 146557 -

This is a 22 rifle that is Gold Plated. I was told only a couple were produced about 30 years ago. It is in mint condition and has never been fired. I have just inherited the rifle and am trying find out a value. The only information I see on it is from Universal Firearms Corp. out of Hialeah Florida. It has a pat. # 3.382.766. The gun was purchased for $ 400.00 about 30 years ago. Please give me a value and any information on this rifle. I was told it was extremely rare. Thank you for your help. Gun is Gold Plated.

Scott, Universal Firearms Corporation of Hialeah, Florida is best known for their copies of the .30 M1 Carbine, and M1 Carbine variations with different stocks and sights. Universal operated from the late 1950s until 1983 when they were taken over by Iver Johnson and the Universal Firearms facilities were moved to Arkansas in the summer of 1984. Universal manufactured several models of gold plated firearms. The 3000 Enforcer Pistol (Gold-plated) came with gold electroplated metal parts, walnut stock, 11.25 inch barrel and was 17.75 inches overall length. This model was manufactured from 1964 to 1983 under the Universal name and after that under the Iver Johnson name. Models 1003 - 1015 were M1 Carbine copies, you probably have one of these. These rifles were manufactured in .22 and .30 carbine calibers, and were available with 16, 18, or 20 inch barrels. The bad news is that there is very little collector interest in firearms manufactured by Universal even if you have a rare variation. The blue book lists values for models 1003 - 1015 between $135 and $345.

# 11575 -
Todd - Florida

DWM Luger - 30 - Blue - 33489 -

Germany 33489 and DWM insignia, and American eagle crest I have a DWM Luger, .30 cal with American crest - very good condition - nice wood handles and clip with wood base. marked Germany 33489 with the 89 stamped on other parts as well how do I know the year of manufacture, and approximately what is it's value - and..where is the best place to sell it? thank you in advance

Todd, there are several variations of American Eagle Lugers. I need more information than you sent to be able to determine what you have. Values for American Eagles can go as high as $5000 or more depending on variation and condition. In my opinion the best place to sell your Luger would be at Send me an e-mail and we can try to determine what you have. Marc

# 10814 - FN J. C. Higgins 583.95

J. C. Higgins - 50 - 270 - 21 - 583.95 -

I have a J C Higgns Model 50, 270 cal rifle ser # 58x. xx. It has FN action made in Belgiun. A gunsmith told me it has a FN supreme BBl &˙action. It has a rose tip stock. It looks new. Has e pu &˙some markings on the barrel but I can't make when out Who made it what was their model # What year was it made. And anything else you can tell me about.

Robbie the brand "J. C. Higgins" is what is known to gun collectors as a "house brand". House brand firearms were sold under the brad name of the retailer who marketed them but they were manufactured by other companies, much like Sears would sell Whirlpool or GE appliances under the "Kenmore" label today. (They have also used Sears, Ranger, and Ted Williams as house brands.)

Your rifle was made by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, more often known as Fabrique Nationale and abbreviated simply as FN. The number you sent (583.95) for a serial number is another model number. I was unable to find any information about the J. C. Higgins Mod 50 or the 583.95 but it is probably the FN Mauser Sporter model. This model was manufactured between 1947 and around 1975. It was available in all of the popular American and European calibers, and came with 24 inch barrel, adjustable sights and checkered pistol grip stocks. The configuration of your rifle is probably a little different to meet Sears specifications for sale under the JC Higgins name. On the plus side, FN firearms have a reputation for high quality and they are usually more valuable than firearms made by other makers. On the minus side, there is very little collector interest in firearms marketed under the Sears brand name, values for Sears guns are often as much as 50% lower than they would be for the same firearm marketed under the original manufacturers brand name. Marc

# 11207 - 1898 Krag Bad Design- " One War Rifle"

Krag - 1898 -

I was given a M1898 Krag Rifle serial number 239349 by my Uncle. I saw in one of your other email replies and wondered if you had any history on this one. Your reply gave a pretty good history along with what I already had been told about the Krag rifle. The History Channel and on one of it's programs rifles and mentioned the Krag rifle was also known as the one war rifle since it was only used in the Spanish American War. It was the rifle used by the rough riders when they went up San Juan Hill.

It said the US Army picked this rifle because they thought the soldiers would preserve ammo since it took a little longer to load then other rifles. Good for cost saving on ammo but not so good for the soldier in the field. Thanks for your reply

Joe- The History Channel has some good stuff, especially the segments with my friend Phil Schrier from the NRA museum, and also "Mail Call" is usually pretty darn good too. No specific history is available on your rifle, although a lot in that range were once used by the New York National Guard.

The idea that the Krag was picked because it had a "longer loading time" is utter nonsense from someone who has not read the extensive reports of the trials which led to its adoption. The use of rimmed cartridges (common in virtually every country except Belgium at the time the Krag was adopted- they had just adopted the rimless 7.65mm cartridge) greatly complicated the loading and feeding process for magazine fed rifles. The Krag was one good solution, and the Lee approach also worked well.

The Krag did have the advantage of a magazine cutoff which allowed use as a single shot while holding the magazine in reserve. This was a tactical doctrine still in use by the US Army (and many others) in 1903 when the Mauser style action was adopted, along with rimless cartridges which were being adopted by most other countries in the period 1895-1905.

I have heard a lot of unwarranted criticism about the U.S. Ordnance Department and just wanted to set the record straight. Much of it seems to come from a worthless piece of trash book "Misfire" by some guy who used a lot of out of context, anecdotal, incomplete or inaccurate information.

As far as a "one war rifle" the same can be said of many other U.S. arms. The M1842 smoothbore percussion muskets were replaced in 13 years, after being used only in the Mexican War. (Okay, some were still used in the Civil War although no longer the standard issue arm, but the same applies to the Krag which was used to a minor extent in WW1.) The .58 caliber rifle muskets (Models 1855, 1861 and 1863) were all rendered obsolete by the breechloader and replaced in 1865, even faster than the Krag was replaced. The .45-70 Trapdoor and the M1 Garand only had service lives of about 20 years before they were replaced (1873-1892 and 1936-1956 respectively). The M14 rifle lasted about10 years. The M1903 Springfield was replaced in 33 years.

It seems that the longest serving longarms have been the smoothbore flintlock muskets, virtually unchanged between 1795 and 1842, and the M16 rifle which now has served for about 38 years since its adoption in 1966. John Spangler.

# 11180 - Italian Made Colt Used In Civil War?
Valerie, Roanoke, IN

Colt - 1851 Old Model - 36 - 7 1/2'' - Blue - C11258 -

The cylinder has a ship scene and it says engaged 16 may 1843. There is also on the cylinder what appears to be a coat of arms with a star on top and the letters PN with a star on top. On the butt it has a p overlapping a R and is stamped Italy. On the side of the barrel it has what appears to be a coat of arms with a star above it and beside that it has the letters PN with a star above it. Along the barrel it is stamped ''black powder only''. On the other side of the barrel it is stamped ''made in Italy''. Everything is in very good shape and has no pitting. Is this gun rare? I have not been able to find anything about an 1851 gun that was made in Italy. Was this gun used in the Cavil war? Was it someone's personal gun?

Valerie- Your pistol is a modern made replica of a Civil War era pistol. These were first made about 1960 and are still being made in large numbers. They are accurate copies of the originals, probably even better quality, but not old and valuable antique items. Sadly some have been artificially aged and passed off to unsuspecting people as originals. Sometime people buy them merely assuming that they are old. Hope you did not spend a lot. John Spangler

# 11178 - Krag Rifle History
Danny, Erwin, TN.

Krag-Jorgensen - 1898 - 30.40 Krag - 22'' - Blue - 480690 -

''band'' front sight, cartouch mark visible, but hard to identify date I obtained this weapon from a friend who brought it back from France after WWII. He was with the 4th Armored and was the company armorer as well as a tank commander. He told me he traded it to someone who was with the French Underground. It is in good condition, but can you tell me if this is a cut down rifle and what year it was made? Thanks

Danny- Your rifle was probably made about 1904 among the very last of the Krags made while Springfield was busy putting the M1903 rifles into production. The French underground story is very interesting, but perhaps incorrect. According to records uncovered by the Springfield Research Service, your rifle was apparently sold on June 8, 1940 to J.T. Weaver. I have no idea who he might have been, or any details. You can order a letter from SRS on our other site ( that will provide all the info that is available. It is possible that it will document as being sold as a "NRA Carbine" which was essentially a rifle cut to carbine configuration, but it started off as a full length infantry rifle. John Spangler

# 10791 - Intercontinental Arms Repro.
Nick, Jamestown RI

Intercontinental Arms Inc. - Kentuckian - .44 - 36'' - Don't Know -

Made In Italy, PN XXII 133 I would like to know about how old the gun is, What it might be worth and if it is worth it for me to have it fixed. It seems to be in good shape, the flint-lock seems to work fine and the barrel seems clean inside, although it has some slight surface rust on the outside. Thank You.

Nick, I was not able to find out much about Intercontinental Arms, my guess is that they were an importer of black powder replicas probably in the 1970s or 1980s. If my suspicions are correct, value will be in the $200 or less range. Marc

# 10777 - Radom With A Stainless Frame?

Radom - Vis 35 - 9MM - Blue - F8084 -

This gun has a 77 with an eagle above it on the slide. Just below that there is another 77 with an eagle above that. It also has a 625 just below the pat: no. On the right side theirs the number F8084.ON The grip safety it has the numbers 1344.on the bottom of the clip it has a 789 and a This gun looks like it has a stainless steel frame. Its definitely not plated. I'm trying to find out about the alloy Radoms. And how much there worth. Some say there were no alloy Radoms. Where can I find this information. This was my grandfathers gun.

Kathleen, collectors generally recognize the following 3 grades of Radom pistols:

  • GRADE l - All parts except the recoil spring and recoil spring guide (which are polished white) are blued with high quality commercial type blue finish. Grips are checkered hard rubber. Mayor may not have a shoulder stock slot and lanyard ring.
  • GRADE II - All parts except the barrel, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide (which are polished white) are blued over an improperly polished surface. Checkered black plastic, checkered brown plastic, fine checkered hardwood, or coarse checkered hardwood grips. Lanyard ring and disassembly lever are present, but the shoulder stock slot was omitted.
  • GRADE III - Parkerized frame, slide, and magazine. Rear sight, hammer, hammer release, magazine release catch, slide stop, and grip screws are blued over an improperly polished surface. The barrel, recoil spring, and recoil spring guide polished white. Lanyard ring present, but shoulder stock slot and disassembly lever are absent. Checkered black plastic, checkered brown plastic, fine checkered hardwood, coarse checkered hardwood, or grooved hardwood grips.

The Eagle over 77 markings are German WW-II Heerswaffenamt inspector's marks that are found on arms produced by Erma·Werke, Erfurt and grade II the Polish VIS model 1935 pistols. The inspectors marks should be located on your pistol forward of the serial number on the frame and beneath the hammer release.

The frames of grade II Radom pistols should be blued, they were never made of stainless steel or alloy. Suggest that you try checking your frame with a magnet, this will tell you if it is steel or not. Marc

# 10773 - Early Winchester M1917
Matt, Hebron, Ohio

Winchester - Model 1917 - 30-06 - unknown - Don't Know - 41385 -

circle with wings, eagle head, star in circle The receiver is marked Winchester/serial no., not the usual Model of 1917/Winchester/serial no. Why would that be? Also, many parts on this gun are stamped with the letter E. I'm assuming that stands for Eddystone, a subsidiary of Remington. Can these parts be mix matched, or does the E stand for something else?

The early receivers made by Winchester were not stamped with the model number. The earliest receiver I have seen (about 3000) just had the letter W stamped on it. This was the marking Winchester had used when making the Pattern 14 rifles for the British army.

The mix of parts marked with E, R, and W is what you will almost always encounter on the Model 1917 rifles. Almost all went through an arsenal overhaul after World War I ended. Parts were replaced without regard to the original manufacturer. Those that were heavily worn had the barrels replaced, and were reproofed. During World War II many Model 1917's were again arsenal reworked. During this time barrels were replaced with barrels made by Johnson Arms (JA and two groove), and High Standard (HS).

# 11174 - Japanese Rifle Owned By Grandfather
Nathan, Houston, TX

7.7mm - 21.5'' - Don't Know - 17774 -

Circle, bordered by three arches, forming a sort of three leafed flower? (Lotus flower?) Also, there is another circle containing a progressive triangle. Both are stamped on the left side of the receiver, the circle/triangle to the left of the serial number, and the flower to the right of the serial number. There is also a Japanese letter/symbol that is partially covered by an aftermarket scope. This symbol is directly forward of the receiver, on the chamber facing up. My grandfather was a Marine staff sergeant with the 2nd Marine Division, and saw action on both Okinawa and Iwo Jima, where he was wounded in the back by a blow from a Japanese battle sword. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in 1972, seven years before I was born, so there is much I do not know about him personally as well as the stories of action he saw in WWII. The stories that I do know stem from what my grandmother told me that he only told her once, shortly after they were married in 1949. He brought home many items from the war, including a Japanese 7.7mm rifle that, as my grandmother told me, he captured from the Japanese soldier he shot that had wounded him. I cherish this rifle not only because of it's history, but also because it is one of few links to the grandfather I never knew. There is much I do not know about this rifle (manufacturer, make, model, history), but I would like to know as much as I can. I will describe it as best as I can, and hopefully one of you gentlemen could help me learn more. The barrel appears to have been shortened, and is now 21.5'' in length. The original stock and barrel rod have been removed and replaced by an aftermarket stock, similar to most every stock on common calibers made today. It still retains the original bolt, barrel, receiver and magazine. The rifling in the barrel has a right-hand twist. There is a bolt release lever on the left side of the rifle, just to the right of the stamped flower logo mentioned above. The original iron sights have been removed, leaving two small holes on the barrel just forward of the chamber. There is no indication of where the barrel sights were mounted, which is why I presume that the barrel has been shortened. There is a magazine release ''trigger'' inside the trigger guard, forward of the firing trigger, that releases the 5-round magazine. Hopefully I have provided enough information. If there is any information you can find on this weapon, I would greatly appreciate it. I have many other items and things that he brought back from the war, including a bayonet?, Japanese rising sun battle flag, and other items. But this rifle is first and foremost in my searches for information. I do have a chit that my grandfather's CO gave to him releasing this weapon into his ownership and possession, but other than that, there is no information I have on this rifle. Thank you for your help.

Nathan- Your rifle was one of the millions of standard infantry rifles used by the Japanese during WW2, known as the "Type 99". It was made, probably in the period 1935-1943. Many American troops brought capture rifles home, and many were converted into hunting rifles. While that destroys any collector value, these men earned the right to do anything they wanted to with their hard won souvenirs. It is nice that you appreciate the sacrifices your Grandfather (and so many other men) made defending our country. John Spangler

# 11173 - Model 1836 Pistol Parts
Jerry, Fairfax, VA

US H. Aston - Percussion MIDD TN Conn 1848 - .54 - 8.5'' - Don't Know -

Initials on barrel - SM I just purchased this percussion handgun at an auction. It's in good condition but missing the rod and hinge attached to the bottom end of the barrel. Is there any chance of finding something like this? If so, how do I find them

Jerry- Since you live in Fairfax, I hope you have been to the NRA museum to see the great stuff on exhibit there. It is a great museum, and one the entire family will enjoy. If you have not been yet, gather up the family and head down there right now, it is free! Okay, back already? Forget about finding an original swivel ramrod assembly for the M1836 pistol. However, I am pretty sure that you can get a good quality reproduction from S&S Firearms on our links page. John Spangler

# 11158 - Vietnamese Flintlock Rifle
Rock, Rock Hill, S.C.

North Vietnamese - Handmade Flintlock - ? - 60 In. ? - Other -

I have what I believe is a handmade, N. Vietnamese flintlock rifle with an octagon shaped barrel and a pistol grip stock. Very crude in design complete with a black pouch for carrying spent lead to reshape and a cow horn with black powder. I have had it since at least 1967 and don't know how much older it could be. Was wondering if anyone has seen one before or if anyone has any additional info. on this. Thanks, Rock

Rock- Sorry, we cannot help with that one. Sounds like an interesting gun, but we just do not know anything about them. It may be an old item used for hunting, or maybe something made up for sale to American GI's as souvenirs. John Spangler

# 10770 - Yellow Rose Combo
Sherrie, Savannah, TN

FIE - E15 - 22L.R. - 4'' - Other - TB79936 -

Gold tone, made in Italy, F.I.E. Miami, FL on left side. 6 shot on right side under revolver. also has 5 different little insignia's or branding? stamped on the left side. it is either a TB or a T8 beginning the serial number I have been through all kinds of books and I would like to know the year of it. And is it Gold tone plated or is it a Satin finish on it? I traded a Hi Standard 22 for it. you have a great web site one that is needed for the gun collectors. Thanks Guys...

Sherrie, glad that you like our site, I hope that I can be of some assistance. You have a Buffalo Scout (E15 Series) - Yellow Rose Combo (note combo, it means that you should have both a 22 Lr and a .22 Mag. cylinders with the revolver). The Yellow Rose Combo was manufactured by Brescia of Italy from 1986 to 1990. References tell me that all metal parts of these revolvers were 24 Kt. gold plated. Marc

# 10767 - Military Issue Walther PP
David, Scottsdale, AZ

Walther - PP - 7.65mm - Blue - 264627 P -

looks like an eagle or something of that nature with a ''N'' bellow its feet. This marking appears all over the gun. The other marking is WaA359 which appears twice. What does the eagle looking thing with the N under it stand for and what does the WaA359 mean? Do these markings affect the value of the gun, if so how? any idea when it was made?

David, the eagle over ''N'' marking that you describe is a German proof that was set forth in the German National Proof Law of 7 June 1939. The "N" was an abbreviation for Nitro, meaning smokeless Powder. This proof marking should be stamped on the right side of the slide below the ejection port, on the right side of the chamber, and on the right side of the barrel near the muzzle.

WaA359 is a German WW-II Heerswaffenamt inspector's mark for arms produced at Walther, Zella-Mehlis, Germany. The inspectors mark should be stamped on the left side of the frame to the rear of the trigger and on the left side of the slide just forward of the slide grip.

The Heerswaffenamt inspector's markings indicate that your Walther was procured by the German military. In my opinion, military issue PP pistols are more desirable for collectors than comparable pistols that were procured by police forces or sold on the commercial market. Let me know if you want to sell. Marc

# 10749 - Strip Nickel Colt SAA?

Colt - SAA - 45 - 184288 -

This colt SAA was nickeled at some point in its history. Is there any method of restoring it to the original finish? What would be the estimate of the percentage of value it has lost because of the nickel application? Thanks.

Ronald, my records indicate that your revolver was manufactured in 1899, it is a shame that it has been nickel plated. As a rule, value for a refinished firearm will be at least 50% lower than for one that is in original condition.

Brownells is the world's largest supplier of firearm accessories and gunsmithing tools, they have an internet site at the following address:

Brownells sells a room temperature nickel stripper which strips all types of nickel plating without heating or agitation for around $50.00. The Brownells the item number is 082-078-160.

I have never used the Brownells stripper but friends who have experience with it say that it is a time-consuming, difficult and messy process. I do not think that there is much to be gained from stripping the nickel from your revolver because when you are done, the finish will still not be original and so value will not be increased. I would advise you to leave the revolver as is. It was popular to have firearms nickel plated before the wars so the finish is probably from that period. For many collectors a revolver with a period nickel finish will be more desirable than a revolver that has been stripped. Marc

# 11155 - Secret Service Special
Bobby Ray

Secret Service Special - Top-Break - 38 -

The Girps have SSS on them. The left side of the barrel has, SECRET SERVICE SPECIAL on it. The top of the barrel has, for 38 SMITH &˙WESSON CTGS. The trigger guard has the # 16 on the bottom of it. What could you tell me about this pistol. I can't find anything about it. IT was my uncle. Thank you for your time and help.

Bobby Ray, Secret Service Special was a sales name was used by Chicago gun-dealer Fred Biffard circa 1890 to about 1910 on a revolver manufactured by Iver Johnson and another manufactured by the Meriden Firearms Company. This type of firearm falls into the category of "old guns" that no one seems to be interested in as shooters, but collectors do not want them either. Generally these were basic inexpensive simple guns which sold at modest prices and still have little interest or value on market today. On the retail market they usually sell in the $100 or less range depending on condition and general appearance. Where there is any family history, we encourage people to keep these old guns for sentimental value. Please be warned that many may not be safe to shoot and have it checked by a competent gunsmith before firing.

# 11139 - Kentucky Rifle With Side Hammer
George, Attleboro MA

? - ? - ? - 28'' - Don't Know - NONE -

four small(1/8'' dia)flowerlike punch marks at the rear of the sideplate This is a side hammer percussion rifle on the lines of a Kentucky rifle. It has no markings, numbers, letters, or inscriptions of any kind except for the punch marks noted. The elegant brass trigger guard is square on both ends and is pinned into the stock so there are no screws. It has a metal moon inlayed in the rt. side of the stock and a metal star inlayed into the cheek rest on the left side. Looking at the end of the bore the hole is the shape of a seven sided figure. It has a wooden ramrod. I have never seen a rifle with no markings at all on it before. Any idea what it might be?

George- It was not uncommon for guns to be made with no maker markings. Some makers had religious objections to appearing vain by signing their work. Others may have decided that they did not want to waste the money for a stamp to mark a gun they were going to trade to a neighbor for a cow and some chickens or something, when everyone knew he was the only gun maker in town. The side hammer locks were sometimes called a "mule ear" due to the shape of the part sticking up from the hammer so you could pull it out to cock it. They were sometimes used on percussion guns because the nipple could be screwed directly into the barrel, and the flame from the cap went straight into the powder charge, instead of passing through a longer opening with a 90 degree bend on a barrel with a "drum" on the side and a conventional type hammer. Although more efficient, they were not real popular, and are something of an oddity. Someone familiar with the subtle nuances of that sort of rifle may be able to identify the region where it was made from some of the minor details, and perhaps even the specific maker. Unfortunately, we are not smart enough, and lack the necessary books to research it for you. The use of seven grooves for the rifling was fairly typical of the 1830-1860 period. John Spangler

# 11105 - Lincoln Assassination Gun
Brian, Milton, Florida

Unknown - Unknown - Don't Know -

What was the Make and Model of the gun that shot President Lincoln on April 14th 1865

Brian- Southern sympathizing actor John Wilkes Booth used a .41 caliber percussion pistol made by Henry Deringer of Philadelphia to kill President Lincoln. These are made in varying sizes with barrels from about 1.5 inches to 9 inches long. Booth used one with a two inch barrel. Many years ago there was an outfit that made plastic model guns, and one of them was a copy of the Lincoln pistol. Note that Henry Deringer used a single "r" in his name, but the generic term for any tiny pocket pistol "derringer" uses a double "r". Pay attention kids, this will help you get an "A" in spelling, but if the teacher finds out you have been looking at websites about guns you might get thrown out of school anyway. Given the unsafe state and sorry results of most publik skools today, that may not be a bad thing. John Spangler

# 10748 - 1911 A1 Union Switch And Signal .45

Union Switch And Signal - 1911 A1 - .45 -

I have a Union Switch And Signal .45 in NRA excellent condition. Do you have an idea of relative value?

The price of Union Switch and Signal Colt 1911A1's has shot up with all correct pistols bringing up to 50% more than their Colt, Remington Rand or Ithaca counter parts on some auction websites. There are several things to keep in mind:

  • First, the serial number on the frame must be correct for US&S. Many slides were separated from their frames and assembled to another pistol.
  • Second, if the frame and slide match then the markings on the slide must be correct for the serial number. US&S used several different sized proof P letters in different places on the slide and frame. The letters need to match up based on the serial number range.
  • Third, original finish was always bluing over non-polished steel. It gives a bluish gray look often mistaken for Parkerizing. The best way to tell is to examine the pistol in bright light. On the side of the slide you should many tiny machining marks running parallel to the long axis of the slide. Parkerizing covers these up, bluing does not. If the finish is Parkerizing or if these machining marks are missing, then the finish is not original.
  • Fourth the plug that holds the recoil spring it should have a couple of concentric circles around it.
  • Fifth - if the slide says Union Switch and Signal on the right (not the left side) it is a replacement slide and not original to the pistol.

I hope this helps, pistols selling for this much money will be subjected to a detailed inspection by the buyer simply because of the amount of money at stake. Marc

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