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# 12511 - Winchester Dates And Value
7/29/2008
Steve

Winchester Model 1894 - Lever - Action - 25-35 - Other - 171107 -

There is a stamp on the barrel that say's model 55 and on the stock it say's model 1894. I still use this gun for deer and I was wondering what kind of value this gun would be worth, the serial number said it was made in 1899 is this the correct year.

Answer:
Steve, depending on the source, date of manufacture records differ slightly but 1898 or 1899 is pretty close. The big jump in value comes for rifles manufactured before 1898, the blue book, indicates to add 40% for 1894 - 1898 antique rifles (pre-148,000 ser. no.). For rifles manufactured in 1898 and after, The blue book lists values between $350 and $1950 depending on condition. Your caliber helps, they say to add 25% for calibers other than .30-30 or .32 Special. Marc


# 12493 - Unidentified Owl's Head Revolver
7/29/2008
Karen

UK - UK - UK - UK - UK -

At the top of the handle grips on both sides it has a picture of an owl head. On the top of the barrel the name looks like oliverjohnsons,but nothing came up on any websites What type, caliber ,make and what its worth.

Answer:
Karen, with the information that you provided it is impossible to tell you what the caliber of the revolver is but I can tell you that an the owls head is the trade mark for Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works company. The company has been a manufacturer of sporting arms since they were founded as Johnson, Bye & Company in Worcester, Massachusetts around 1871. This concurs with the "oliverjohnsons" marking that you mention.

In 1883 Johnson, Bye & Company became Iver Johnson & Company. In 1891 the firm moved to Finchburg, Massachusetts and was renamed Iver Johnson & Co. to be renamed again Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works in 1891 with manufacturing moving to Fitchburg, MA. In 1975 the name changed again Iver Johnson's Arms, Inc., and two years later, company facilities were moved to Middlesex, NJ. In 1982, production was moved to Jacksonville, AR under the trade name Iver Johnson Arms, Inc. Iver Johnson Arms was sold in March of 1987 and was acquired by American Military Arms Corporation which ceased operations in early 1993.

There is not much collector interest in Iver Johnson revolvers, values usually top out in the $75.00 to $100 range.


# 13091 - Deutsche Werk Erfurt Rifle
7/29/2008
Jim, Glassboro, NJ

Logo: ''S Mod II'' - 22 Kurz - 18 7/8 - Blue - 5852 -

Deutsch Werke.Werk Freurt on top of barrel; S on left stock; D.R.P. on side of breach; single shot 22 shorts only. Who manufactured this weapon and when.

Answer:
Jim-  I believer that your rifle dates to the period 1900-1945, as the Erfurt arms factory  was destroyed with most of Germany’s other weapons facilities during WW2.  I think that the DRP indicates Duetsches Reich patent, a term used during the Nazi era, but I am not 100% sure of that, but I think it is probably most likely circa 1936- 1942.  John Spangler


# 13080 - Gasser Revolver
7/26/2008
John, Texas

Leopold Gasser - 6'' - Don't Know - 3074 -

Only 3 letter are stamped on it just above what appears to be the serial number 3074. The letters are VCS. Is this an reproduction of the 1870's Gasser or is it an original? There are no other markings on this weapon. Is it a collectors item?

Answer:
John-   As far as I know, no one has gone to the trouble of reproducing Gasser revolvers.  VCS is usually associated with the German (Prussian?) maker V.C. Schilling.  There is collector interest in just about any old gun, but few collectors seem to run around gun shows breathlessly asking at each table “Got any old ‘Gasser’ revolver for sale?” 
The Gasser revolver (invented by Vienna resident Leopold Gasser) was adopted as the Model 1870, 1874 or 1880 by Austria as their service revolver in 11.25mm, serving from 1870 to 1898.  In 1876 the Gasser-Kropatschek in 9 x 26mmR caliber was adopted, serving from 1876 to 1898.  In 1878 a Gasser in 9 x 26mmR was adopted, serving from 1878 to 1898.  Finally in 1898 a Rast & Gasser revolver in 8mm Rast & Gasser caliber was adopted which lasted until about 1945.  I am sure that some or all the above models were made for the commercial market as well, and that the Leopold Gasser is one of those.  Besides Austria, the Gassers were most popular in the Balkans, especially Montenegro.  All of these are sort of ugly and awkward, but some collectors do like ugly guns.  John Spangler


# 13081 - Annie Oakley’s Winchester?
7/26/2008
Edward, Chicago, IL

Winchester - 26'' - Blue -

I have a picture of Annie Oakley holding the exact Winchester that I own that a close friend of mine originally purchased in 1946. The stock is engraved with mother of pearl and uniquely decorated for show. Who would you recommend for an appraisal?

Answer:
Edward-  If proven to be one of Annie Oakley’s many guns, it would have great collector interest.  The best way to determine the value is to place is in a major firearms auction along with any sort of provenance or documentation that will help prove its pedigree.  Some auctions have a reputation for authenticity and accurate descriptions, while others have a more sinister reputation for inflated claims of dubious authenticity, sometimes written by prominent figures with a reputation for shady dealings.  However, as P.T. Barnum once noted, there is a sucker born every minute, so with enough hype and color photos in a flashy catalog, a gullible person somewhere may become the happy owner of something that more discerning collectors may avoid.  Conversely, astute collectors may fight over an item in a small sale somewhere if it has the right pedigree documentation.  Annie Oakley is a fascinating character as well as proof that women can be exceptionally good shooters, so collector interest would be high for an item like this with a plausible history.  John Spangler


# 12489 - Cheap Import Gun
7/26/2008
George, Miami, FL

H Schmidt Ostheii1 / Rhon - 22 - Blue -

I found what appears to be an old handgun. It has H Schmidt Ostheii1/Rhon Made in Germany written on the side of the barrel. It is a 22 cal and it says Western Six on the box that it was in. It has a pearl handle and seems to be in pretty good condition. I donate know nothing about this gun except I found it in a storage unit that I brought at an auction. Any help with this one?

Answer:
George, Rohm was a line of cheap firearms that were imported from West Germany, mostly in the 1960s before the gun control laws of 1968. In my opinion they are not safe to fire and values for them tend to be in the $50 range. I think that the best use for this type of firearm is to help dry up liberal funding by turning it in for some extra cash the next time that they hold one of their foolish gun buy backs in your area. Marc


# 12485 - Unidentified Rossi 32 Caliber Revolver.
7/22/2008
Glenn

Rossi - Unknown - 32 - 2-1/4'' (I Think!) - Blue -

Left side of barrel is marked Amadeo Rossi, S.A. and beneath that is Sao Leopoldo R.S. On right side of barrel is stamped .32 S & W long. Beneath hammer on right side is Rossi trademark and above the trigger is stamped ''Made in Brazil, The Garcia Corp., Wash, D.C. The numbers 9452 are stamped on the inside of the cylinder assembly. It has smooth rounded wooden grips and is a six shot. My wife & I found this gun while going through her deceased father's belongings. It is in excellent condition. We have looked on the internet and haven't been able to find any info about Rossi .32 caliber revolvers. Can you help us? We would like to know the history, year & value of this firearm. We read in your Q & A archives that Rossi's are not very valuable but would still like to know as much info as possible. Thank you very much for any info you can provide.

Answer:
Glenn,

It is hard to say what model you have, but I found several possibilities of Rossi revolvers that were chambered in .32.

  • The Model 69 was discontinued in 1985, it was a 6 shot Revolver with 3 inch barrel and walnut grips.
  • The Model 28 was introduced in the early 1960s, it was a smaller .32 caliber six-shot version of their Model 27 Pioneer.
  • Model 20 was introduced in the late 1960s, it was a six-shot revolver with a 3 inch barrel and an improved trigger mechanism.

They also made the Model 39 that had a 4 inch barrel and an adjustable rear sight, and the Model 89 which was stainless steel with a 3 inch barrel in .32 caliber.

The Rossi firearms that I am familiar with have all been pretty good quality and in general, they have a pretty good reputation among my gun enthusiast and gun dealer colleagues. Even though they seem to be pretty good guns, values for all Rossi revolvers are modest, in the $75 to $150 range. Marc


# 12484 - MAB Model D From Vietnam?
7/22/2008
Michael Earl Swindle

Pistolet - MA3 Model D Automatique - 7.65 - 6'' - Blue - HAVEN'T BOUGHT IT YET -

What is this gun? I recently found a Viet-Cong Officers TT-33 and the pawn shop also has this one. About what is it worth? It has the sculptured grips like the Makarov. The pawn shop sold me the TT- 33 for $80.00 and want $65 for this one . Help,Tanks Mike

Answer:
Michael, the MAB Model D is a French design, which was first introduced in 1933 and was kept in production up until when the company went out of business in the mid 1980s. Much of the Model D design was copied from the 1922 Browning and the Colt Pocket automatic. The Model D was used by the French military and also by the Germans in WWII. There is not much collector interest in most modern French firearms so $65.00 would seem like a fair price depending, of course on condition. If this pistol came with other items brought back to the U.S. from Vietnam, and you can find some sort of documentation like capture papers to prove the connection, value could be quite a bit higher. Marc


# 13076 - Use Of .32 Centerfire Ammo In Rimfire Pistols
7/22/2008
Aaron, Monte Vista, Colorado

Colts, Tranters & Webleys - .32 S Wra Co - Blue -

Did the Colt ''New Line'' revolver(1874)fire the .32 S Wra Co.(centerfire)cartridge, or only the .32 rimfire. Also. . .when a Tranter or Webley revolver was listed as a .32 rimfire, could it also fire the newer developed .32 S Wra Co., or did a rimfire pistol have to be modified to fire the .32 S Centerfire?

Answer:
Aaron-  The Colt “New Line” pocket revolvers were offered in either .32 rimfire, or .32 centerfire.  These were being made at a time when centerfire cartridges were beginning to take market share from the earlier rimfires.  The rimfires were very limited in the pressures they could produce due to the weakness of the case at the rim, which had to be thin enough to crush to ignite the priming compound located there.  This left them too weak to withstand higher pressures, which is a reason that percussion guns remained in use until well into the 1870s and even 1880s.  Also, there was no industry standard at that time for chamber or cartridge dimensions, but with the modest pressures of the rimfire cartridges, that was not too big a problem.  However, the centerfire cartridges could stand a lot higher pressures since the weak design of the rim had been eliminated.  This meant that there was now an increased danger of case failure along the walls or sides if the cartridge did not fit the chamber well.  This resulted in makers being more specific about what ammo and gun combinations were recommended. 
In any case, the firing pin had to strike the center of the cartridge for center fire primers, and the pin (actually more of a long blade type design) had to line up to stripe the rim of the cartridge where it was backed up by the rear of the cylinder in order to work. 
I am not familiar with the “.32 S Wra Co” cartridge, so I cannot comment if it was used in any of the revolvers you list.  But, I am sure that centerfire ammunition would not work in rimfire guns, or vice versa, even though they might physically slip into the chambers.  John Spangler


# 13073 - Stevens Rifle Date
7/19/2008
Bill - New Market, TN

J Stevens Arms & Tool Co. - .44 - 26'' - Don't Know - Y 946 -

Y946 marking is next to the trigger; no barrel sight; lever action, breech load; wood stock with a black, plastic (?)cap with two screws (standard) on the butt of the stock. What is the year of manufacture and an estimate of its worth

Answer:
Bill-  The Y946 number is just an assembly number or batch number to allow matching of fitted parts after final heat treatment and finishing.  Since these are not serial numbers and do not appear to be assigned in any understandable pattern, they do not help with dating.  However, the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company marking was only used from about 1884 to 1916, so we know it was made somewhere in that time frame.  My guess is that it may be the “Favorite” model and I usually see those priced at a few hundred dollars, but condition is a big factor.  John Spangler 


# 13069 - Ketland & Co / Wm. Pannabecker Flintlock
7/19/2008
Steve Keller Reading, PA

Ketland & Co / WM Pannepecker - Flintlock - Unknown - 57'' - Blue - TOO OLD??? -

Ketland & CO on lock, WM Pannepecker on top of barrel. gun weighs 40-60lbs, overall length about 6', back half of barrel is octagon, front half is round, barrel wall thickness about 3/16'', too heavy to hold, stock is oversized Is there anything you can tell me about it? I don't even know if this is a rifle or shotgun. I can send pictures. My grandfather had this hanging in his gun shop for many years before he passed away. I thought it was a punt gun at first but I am thinking that is incorrect now. Please Help!! My e-mail address is skeller001@comcast.net

Answer:
Steve- The name is actually Pannabecker, a family heavily involved in various aspects of the gun making business, especially barrel making, mainly in Berks and Lancaster Counties of Pennsylvania.  Since you are in Reading, this is obviously a local gun that never travelled far, perhaps never getting outside of Berks County in the last 150 years!   Some of the other family members (according to Frank Sellers’ American Gunsmiths) includeDaniel of Wyomissing Creek, another Daniel (perhaps the same one?) in Berks and Lancaster Counties 1761-1825; Daniel II in Reinholdsville making barrels 1825-1861 and his son Daniel III 1819-1894.  Jefferson Pannabecker was Daniel’s brother working in Hopeland 1790-11810.  Daniel’s son James worked in Lancaster 1833- 1850, and another of Daniel’s sons, Jesse, worked in Durlach1813-1861.  Yet another son, John, Worked in Lacaster 1825-1831.  Apparently having no televisions then, we find yet another son of Daniel’s, Samuel, also  working in Lancaster.  But wait!  There’s more!.  Probably the eldest of Daniel’s many sons, William worked in Mohntown, PA 1784-1868, and was the successor to Daniel’s gun business, and he probably made your barrel somewhere in that time period. 
John and Thomas Ketland made locks and complete guns in Philadelphia, and their family members still in England provide locks for them to sell to other gun makers well into the 19th Century.  Since you state that this is a flintlock gun (not percussion) that would likely date the manufacture of the lock to sometime before about 1845 when flintlocks were pretty much obsolete in the commercial market.  The extreme weight of 40-60 pounds clearly rules is out as a hand held sporting gun.  Your guess that it may be a punt gun is logical, but there are few large bodies of water in Berks County other than the Schuylkill River.  That is large enough to perhaps have attracted the number of waterfowl to justify use of a punt gun, or an ambitious gunmaker could have made one in hopes that it would work out, even if it was an unsuccessful idea. 
The other use of extreme oversize firearms of the colonial era through the early decades of the 19th Century was as a “Wall gun” or “rampart gun.”  These were a substitute for small cannons, intended to provide means for people in a fortified post to keep hostile military (or Indian) forces beyond normal musket shot range of the post.  The very thick barrel suggest that this was the intended use, where a solid ball was fired (rather than a handful of loose shot in a punt gun).  I am not familiar enough with the history of that part of Pennsylvania to know if there were still Indian problems then which would support this need, or if it was perhaps made just as a display piece to show that a gunsmith could make something out of the ordinary, perhaps as an advertising gimmick.
Unfortunately, we may never know the identity of the actual maker since Ketland mainly sold locks, and William Pannabercker mainly sold barrels.  It is possible that Pannabecker could have made a complete gun, or perhaps it was someone else. 
Normally, “Kentucky” or “Pennsylvania” rifles tend to show distinctive stylistic features that often help identify the maker, but in the case of punt or rampart guns, this is seldom the case.  This is an item where it would really help to have some good photos, but even then we may not be able to tell you much more than this. 
You mention that your grandfather had a gun shop, and it would be interesting to know his name and see how far back that trade runs in your family.  Perhaps this was made by one of your ancestors!  In any case, it would be nice to see this one stay close to home, especially in the same family that made it, if that turned out to be the case.
NOTE: Steve sent some follow up photos and they show a gun that is a half stock rifle with a rib under the barrel.  The lock is definitely late in the flint era, probably 1830-1845.  There is a trigger guard which was salvaged from a U.S. Model 1816 Type III musket (circa 1830s).  The style of the stock is about mid 19th Century, perhaps 1840-1870.   Based on the added photos, I believe this was made by a gunsmith for his own amusement to try some long range shooting, or perhaps as a conversation or decorative piece more than actual shooting.  Neat gun!
John Spangler


# 12481 - Burgsmuller .22
7/19/2008
Roy, Cardiff, UK

Karl Burgsmuller - .22 - Blue - 89352 -

Any information would be appreciated as the rifle is currently in South Africa, and I have to consider whether it's worth shipping to the UK. Does this rifle have any significant value?

Answer:
Roy, the only information that I was able to find is that Burgsmuller H. Burgsmuller & Sohne of Kreiensen am Harz manufactured sporting rifles and combination guns prior to 1914. The sporting rifles were usually built on Oberndorf-made 1898 type actions and the combination guns had an unusual action which was locked by a lever that ran forward beneath the forend. The lever was swung outward to the left for loading.

I could not find any mention of Burgsmuller rifles chambered in .22 caliber. If the rifle is a high quality custom model, built on a 98 action in excellent condition, it may be quiet valuable. If it is well used, with a lot scrapes and dents and without much finish left, it probably is not worth much. Marc


# 12480 - Early Commander
7/15/2008
Josh, Santa Claus, IN

Colt Commander - 9mm - Blue - 16006-LW -

I am curious to know the value of this particular handgun. It has been given to me by my wife's grandmother. Some posts that I have read on other sites state that the value may be as high as $750. Is that accurate? The gun is in perfect working order and the blue is in excellent shape. Some minor wear exists (small scratches just below the grip safety), but a solid gun nonetheless. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

Answer:
Josh, Colt introduced the Commander in 1949, the design was intended to be a lighter pistol than the standard M1911A1 that was easier to carry but still capable of firing the 45 ACP cartridge. To save weight, the frame was made from high-strength aluminum alloy. The slide remained steel, but it and the barrel were shortened for more comfortable carry and also to reduce weight. Commander pistols were available chambered in .45 ACP .38 Super, .30 Luger (for sales in Italy) and in 9MM like yours is.

My references indicate that your Commander was manufactured in 1951. I think that $650 to $750 is a fair price for an early Commander if it is in good condition. Most shooters want higher cartridge capacity if they are going to buy a 9 MM, so you will probably have to find a collector, or a shooter with small hands if you want to sell. Marc


# 12479 - Military 97?
7/15/2008
David, Erie, CO

Winchester - 'E' S/N Model 97 Question - 12 Gauge - Full - Blue - E997204 -

None that I could find. I have a model 97 that has E997204 on the stock and 997204 on the barrel . Is this a military version? I do not see a ''bomb ordinance'' on it though?

Answer:
David, Bruce Canfield's book is the definitive book on U.S. military shotguns. He lists the block of serial numbers for the Model 97 Winchester shotguns purchased by the government. The block begin at 912825 and went to 956222. All guns purchased by the Government had the ordnance escutcheon (flaming bomb) stamped on them as well the letters U.S. and the letter P. These stamps were applied to the barrel and receiver.

Your shotgun is outside the serial number range, and also lacks the military acceptance markings, it was not used by the U.S. military. Marc


# 13180 - You Might Be An Idiot If…
7/15/2008
Leslie

[Spelling and punctuation not corrected- this is what she actually wrote]

hello........... my husband jut bought 5 old guns from a lady today & we have no idea if they are really worth anything. A local gun deler tol us that the one i will tel you about is worth 1500.00 tp 10,000. The gun is a 3 barrel shot gun. 2 big holes & 1 small. the writing on the gun saysflussstahl.krupp f. ssen.(in a circle on the barrel near the begining)if you turn it upsidedown it says on the bottom hubertus suhl dural. I cant find anthing else on it but a few # that i'am sure are the serial # that start with 679. I could send you a picture if you need it. Thank you for yot help & i hope to hear from you soon :).

Answer:
Leslie- We cannot add anything to what a dealer who has looked at them in person has already told you. I trust that if they are indeed worth that kind of money, you will go back and pay the lady who sold them a FAIR PRICE since you probably paid very little for them. John Spangler


# 13179 - Questions About Old Ammunition
7/12/2008

I have several questions:

  1. How can I find out when some ammunition was produced?
  2. How can I find out the value of old ammunition?
  3. Where can I sell the ammunition?
  4. What are the restrictions and/or laws governing the sale of ammunition?


Answer:
Sir- These are all complicated issues with many answers, and I really don't have time to get into all the possible variations.  Here is some general
guidance.

Ammo falls into three categories:

a. Shooting ammo- worth about what you can buy it for from the surplus dealers or your local Wal-Mart or sporting goods store.

b. Collector ammo- stuff people want to have an example to go with a gun in their collection, or as part of a collection of ammo (by maker, caliber, a certain war, or whatever).

c.  Old ammo- corrosive primers or in poor condition so that shooters have no interest and so common that collectors or dealers don't want it.  (I have probably 8 large ammo cans full of this sort of stuff left over from ammo or gun collections I have bought that is just not worth the effort to try to sort or price.

1. How can I find out when some ammunition was produced?

Military ammo usually includes the last two digits of the year as part of the headstamp.  Civilian ammo has lot numbers marked on the boxes, but the style of the box or the headstamp usually can narrow it down.  In general, unless the ammo was made prior to about 1945 the date is not really that important.

2. How can I find out the value of old ammunition?

There are no "blue book" or price guides.  You need to see what others are SELLING theirs for, not necessarily the same as what they may be ASKING.  Most loose single rounds made since 1945 are in the penny/nickel/dime/quarter range if you can find a buyer.  Pre-1900 ammo in DESIRABLE early calibers (early rimfires, classic Sharps buffalo rounds, etc) may be a few dollars to $10-20.  Some really rare rounds will bring hundreds of dollars.

Boxes have little value unless they are full of the original ammo, and even then value is less if the boxes are scuffed or have markings on them.  Nice clean full boxes are usually $2-5 for .22s or $5-20 for centerfires.

Pre-WW2 boxes or some of the more desirable designs bring more.  Pre-1900 boxes in nice shape will being much more.  I spent $500 for a single box lrecently.  I also threw away as trash a dozen boxes in the last month, so it all depends on what you have.

3. Where can I sell the ammunition?

NOT on eBay! 

  • You can sell on gun auction sites.
  • You can sell at gun shows, or cartridge shows.  (Yes, they have cartridge shows- I attend one every year that attracts visitors from all over the US and as far away as Spain, Holland, Germany, Canada, and New Zealand.)
  • You can sell to an individual or a dealer.

4. What are the restrictions and/or laws governing the sale of ammunition?

  • Anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony or domestic violence is prohibited from purchase or possession of even a single round of ammunition.
  • Handgun ammo can only be sold to those over 21, all other ammo to anyone over 18 years old.
  • Ammo must NOT be sent via mail, only UPS ground.

Hope that helps.  John Spangle


# 13068 - Spencer Model 1865 History
7/12/2008
John, Jerome, Idaho

Spencer / Burnside - .50 - 20 - Blue - 6590 -

1865 Spencer/Burnside Carbine Can you tell by serial number (post Civil War) where this carbine was delivered and or assigned?

Answer:
John- As far as I know, no one has any info on that serial number. John McAulay’s U.S. Military Carbine book may indicate the units that used the Model 1865 Spencers, but cannot track them by serial number. Many were used by Army units in the West during the Indian Wars. John Spangler


# 12471 - H&A Information
7/12/2008
E'Lisa, Olive Hill, KY, USA

Hopkins & Allen Arms Company - Range Model Revolver - 35 - Blue - 6435A -

I got this gun from a friend and have been trying to find out what I really have and where to get parts to repair a loose firing pin. I would really appreciate any information that you can send my way. Thanks, E'Lisa

Answer:
E'Lisa, since I collect military firearms, I normally don't pay much attention to Hopkins & Allen. I needed some help, so I looked in the blue book to see if I could get some information and a value for you. The blue book indicates that there were two models of Hopkins & Allen Range Model Revolver, a large and small frame. Revolvers were single or double action with a solid frame, loading gate on right side and wooden target style grips. They came in .22, .32 and .38 calibers, I have never heard of a modern production handgun being chambered in 35. Values in the blue book for this model top out at around $200. You can probably get more information than the small amount that I have supplied by posting your question on the forum at ArmsCollectors.com. Good luck. Marc


# 12468 - Is It Collectable?
7/8/2008
Tim, Winooski, VT.

Unique - 35 - 2 And 1/2 Inches - Blue - UNKNOWN -

This piece has a bunch of markings on it. There is a capital A with a dot over it. There is a lion on both hand grips. There is a shield with a crown above it. It reads Spanish on it with big capital letters and has crossed sabers. Is this firearm a collectors piece, or limited edition and does it hav4e a monetary value?

Answer:
Tim, MANUFACTURE d'Armes de Pyrenees Francaises of Hendaye france (Unique) was formed in 1923. Prior to 1939 they manufactured and sold rifles and automatic pistols under a confusing assortment of brand names and pseudonyms which often applied to one particular outlet or another. Before 1939 most of their firearms were marked to defense, police and military markets. During WWII the company was forced to manufacture firearms under the control of the occupying Germans. During that time, all firearms production was deferred to the German military. After the war ended, production gradually focused on the manufacturing of target pistols.

Every collector has different ideas about which firearms are collectible and which are not, but in my opinion, the only Unique firearms that are worth collecting are those manufactured under the German occupation bearing German military proof marks. Marc


# 12469 - Nickel 1917
7/8/2008
David, San Dimas, Ca.

Colt.45 DA Model 1917 - Antler Grips - .45 - 5.5'' - Nickel - 123234?..OR 273209? -

on the bottom of the barrel it has ''UNITED STATES PROPERTY'' AND THE nO.347 stamped on it. At the base of the grip on one side of the lanyard eyelet is stamped ''US ARMY MODEL 1917'' and on the other side of the eyelet are the numbers 123234.. This revolver was left to me by my father who served in WW2. as a Naval Captain. My questions are, Is the 123234 numbers the serial #'s or is the serial # the one stamped inside on the frame just underneath the proximal end of the barrel with matching # on the cylinder swing? I know my gun terminology is not correct. Hopefully you'll know what I'm trying to say. Also the value of the revolver..I can send pics..To me it looks in very fine condition! It also came with original walnut grips.

Answer:
David, I know exactly what you are asking about because I wondered the same thing when I first saw one of these revolvers. The small numbers on the frame, barrel, cylinder and various other parts are assembly numbers that were used at the factory while the revolver was being manufactured. Collectors look for these numbers to all be matching. If they are not, the value of the revolver is decreased by 50 percent or more. The correct serial number to use is the one on the bottom of the butt ( 123234) where the lanyard ring is.

Demand for U.S. Colt M1917 revolvers in original condition is high and values for really good examples can go over $1500. The nickel finish that your revolver has is not original so I would expect to see it sell somewhere in the $300 range. Original Colt M1917 walnut grips in good condition sell in the $100 - $125 range. Let me know if you want to sell yours. Marc


# 13187 - Krag Dates Of Manufacture- Antique Or Not?
7/8/2008
Bill, Arvada, CO

U.S. Springfield - 1898 - .30 US .30-40 Krag - 30'' - Blue - 171004 -

John/Marc, I am an FFL Dealer and I use your info site all the time to identify the year of manufacture. We are selling an 1898 that was sporterized (on consignment) and the SR# is 171004 which makes it of 1899 manufacture. A customer made the comment that Model 1898's antique status is not determined by the year made but instead is determined by an arbitrary SR# ''cut off'' by BATF. He says that is SR# 152670 which was manufactured in 1898, however serial numbers 153671 through 161999 were also manufactured in 1898 according to the data you provide. Did BATF deviate from the general rule on the Model 1898 Springfields or is my customers data incorrect? His source is ''The Pre-1899 Antique Guns FAQ'' by James Wesley, Rawles http://www.rawles.to/Pre-1899_FAQ.html Thanks in advance, Bill

Answer:
Bill- Glad we can help. Remember, anyone can post anything at all on the internet and that does not make it factual, or mean that everyone else will believe it (or not).



It appears that BATFE accepts U.S. Model 1898 Krag rifles UNDER serial number 152670 as being made in 1898, a number used in several reliable references.

The BATFE has a reputation for not much liking gun dealers or owners, and get promoted based on how many convictions they can make, and work with hordes of federal attorneys (with similar motivations), so it is not prudent to challenge their choice of numbers without a lot of evidence. Their lawyers are fully paid by the taxpayers, while you have to pay yours out of your own pocket, and that can be expensive. Figure $25-50,000 minimum, even if you win. It gets harder if you get put out of business by the BATFE for a violation and your earnings drop to zero while the lawyer is demanding his money and your family is whining about rent and grocery bills.

My understanding is that the BATFE has never published what they consider to be a complete list of 1898 serial number cutoffs. But, they will respond to a written inquiry on a specific serial number. I don’t know if a Freedom of Information Act request would produce a listing of the dates they have testified to in court cases, but there is a good chance there would be bureaucratic opposition to doing the research or releasing the info. When they testify, they apparently cite some sort of vast reference library in their headquarters, but not specific documents or publications that the public can use. All that seems sort of unfair, expecting 100% compliance with an 1898 cutoff date they do nothing to help publicize. It works like this- you figure out the date, and if you get it right (according to their “secret” info) they will probably leave you alone. If you get it wrong, you will be in big trouble, and they score an easy “gotcha!” In my opinion they should post the 1898 cutoff dates right on the BATFE website.

Note that the serial number info we provide is approximate, and not to be taken as approved by the BATFE. In fact, I think that there is a coding problem that throws the dates off by a year, but my partner who is the computer geek claims the program works fine and any errors are the result of the data that was initially used (from various sources). In any case, it is too much trouble for us to go back and spend valuable time fixing a free service we provide and get absolutely no payment from. In fact, we may just delete it to avoid creating further problems for people.

I checked the link you provided, and while he does cite several excellent sources, he seems to be one of those “survivalist” types, and frankly so many of their views are so kooky that I just ignore everything they say, and avoid wasting time with them in any fashion.

Bottom line- Use BATFE information unless you fully understand the serious problems associated with challenging them and their data, and can afford the cost of debating it with them. John


# 13066 - French Percussion Conversion Musketoon
7/5/2008
Mike - United Kingdom

N/K - Flintlock- Percussion Convrsn - 0.7'' Or 60mm-ish - 29 Inches (737mm) - Rusty - NONE -

Letters ''AN'' separated by sword stamped small on walnut butt. Letters ''L.R'' on hidden face of trigger guard and the name Louis GARRIER on lock behind hammer/chien. Possibly 1777 stock with 1822T lock, Octagonal to round Barrel has no markings and may have been added at percussion conversion time. Musket recently found in French barn rafters, near Toulouse, in fair condition. ''AN'' I believe is Armes Nationale, but I wonder if LR and GARRIER or GARNIER refer to the maker or vendor. Any information appreciated!

Answer:
Mike- Given the location this was found, I agree that this is a French military arm. As with many frivolous Frog fashion fads, the French apply an excess of markings, the meaning or necessity for which is soon forgotten, but provided unproductive employment and an opportunity for officious inspectors to supervise whatever was being done. There was a French maker by the name of Garnier working in Paris circa 1812. Several others worked in France in the late 19th century, but the 1812 Parisian is probably your guy. No matches at all for Garrier. I am not sure of the meaning of the AN, but I believe that his shortness, Napoleon, decreed at one time that there would be a new calendar and that the dozen or so years that was in use they used AN to indicate it was the date. John Spangler


# 13060 - Charleville Musket
7/5/2008
Tim Waterloo, Wi

Charkeville - .69 - 42 - Blue - NONE -

Marked Charleville on the lock. Looks to be a crown on the lock also I took this to a military show that advertised free appraisals I don't want to sell the gun, I wanted to find out a value. All I seemed to get was how much I wanted for it. I was told it was a 1766 or 1777 Charleville musket that has been shortened (still in flintlock). The stock is full length with a ramrod, it has 2 barrel bands. I was also told the barrels were shortened due to use and thinning at the muzzle. This came from an estate about 20 years ago. Overall condition I would say is good. I tried to cock it once, I had two thumbs on it and got it back about .5 inch., I said this is too hard to cock so I left it alone. Thank You, Tim

Answer:
Tim- It sounds like an interesting gun, but I really cannot help much with value without seeing it, especially if it is one that might have been cut down. The French made all sorts of oddball length guns for mounted troops, dragoons, gendarmes, customs police, and perhaps even brothel inspectors. If an exotic rarity it may be worth more than a mere cut down. The hammer should cock with much less effort so that suggests there may be mechanical problems which would hurt the value. Early Charleville muskets were usually made with barrels 44-46 inches long, but after about 1790 they tended to be more like 42 inches, so I don’t know if yours is cut down or not. Also, they normally had three barrel bands, not two if they had a full length barrel, so that suggests something odd about this one (and not necessarily good). John Spangler


# 12455 - Walther 30-06
7/5/2008
New York

Walther - 30-06 - 28 - Blue - 961 -

Walther Bohler-Spezial 50-38 30-06 Can't find any information. Bought new in Germany 1964. How much is it worth? Excellent condition, only shot 1 box of shells.

Answer:
The only Walther rifle chambered in 30-06 that I was able to find in any of my reference books is the Model B. The blue book indicates that the Model B is a post war bolt action design that normally came with a 22 inch barrel. Values for the Model B in the blue book top out at around $450 but I think that is a little low. Marc


# 12456 - Husqvarna 1903
7/1/2008
Bill

Husqvarna - 1903 - 380 -

Can't find this weapon through computer search and local gunsmith has no idea what it is. The barell rotates easily and causes the pistol to jam sometimes. Is this thing junk or does it have any value? Shoots good.

Answer:
Bill, it sounds like you have a Husqvarna / Browning Model 1903 Automatic Pistol, Swedish Contract. John Moses Browning began designing automatic pistols for Colt and FN in the late 1890's. and the series of pistols that he designed set the standard for all other automatic pistols. Browning designs include the Colt Model 1900,1902, 1903 and 1908 hammerless pistols, and the U.S. Military Model 1911/A1. He also created the Models 1900, 1903, 1910 and High Power pistols for FN. The Swedish government requested FN to design and build an automatic pistol for their military. Browning used many features from his 1903 hammerless design in the service pistol design for Sweden. After Sweden accepted the new Browning design into service, production was moved to the Husqvarna plant in Sweden. The Model 1903 pistol remained in service in Sweden until it was replaced by the Finnish designed Lahti in 1940. Husqvarna made Model 1903's have a rough grayish blue finish which was achieved by bluing metal after it had been sandblasted. Though this kind of finish is less spectacular, it is also much more durable. Value will depend on condition but if I remember correctly the last Husqvarna 1903 that we had sold in the $350 - $400 range. Marc


# 12453 - M1934 Beretta With Unusual Proof Mark
7/1/2008
Kevin, Arlington, TN.

Beretta - M1934 - .380 - Blue - 8162AA -

I have a Beretta M1934 that was manufactured in 1944. On the back right of the gun there is a crown with a circle under it. Inside the circle appears to be an animal (possibly a squirrel). I have no story of this taken off of a German officer or anything like that. My grandfather stated it came from a Beretta factory warehouse when he was station in Italy. According to what I can find on these WWII made pistols it shows nothing on this marking. Can you tell me what this marking stands for if anything?

Answer:
Kevin, this is quite a coincidence, a friend just acquired a Beretta pistol like yours with similar markings. His Beretta Model 1934 in 380 caliber was manufactured in 1943 and marked with the Roman numerals XX indicating the 20th year of Mussolini's reign. It it has the same proof marks on the left side that you describe. We did a little research on the internet and found that It likely started life as a pistol destined for the Italian military. The proof mark comes from Brescia, it is said to appear on Italian pistols that were dispersed under the control of the German military who had dominion over most of Italy after Mussolini was overthrown. Marc


# 13052 - German Mauser Byf 41
7/1/2008
George, Boulder, Colorado, USA

Mauser - K98 - 8 Mm - Blue - 2323 -

Coded with ''byf 41'' and has same serial number ''2323'' on barrel, receiver, bolt, and buttplate. This is a family heirloom and I need a ballpark value for insurance purposes. The rifle was taken by my dad in Italy on V-E day and is very good shape and includes the sling. The code (and technical receipts/Waffenamt) indicates it was made by Mauser AG Oberndorf in 1941. Any ideas?

Answer:
George- I bet the guys down at one of the best gun shops in Colorado can tell you. Right there in Boulder, under the noses of the flaming liberals who run the place is “Gunsports Colorado” at 1707 14th Street, formerly the Bighorn Gun Shop. They have a great selection of good guns, not the cheap junky stuff from K-Mart or the latest debris from the greasy surplus wholesalers, but good collectible guns.

While this gun undoubtedly has sentimental value for you above the cash value to a collector, my guess is that similar examples can be found at gun shows it he range of $300-800 depending on condition and if it has the “duffel bag cut” under the barrel band made so the action and stock would both fit inside the GI duffel bag when brought home. John Spangler


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