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# 50 - Baby Nambu
7/31/96
teads@unlinfo2.unl.edu

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Nambu (Japanese military) "Baby" (Type-A, I think--not positive) ??? 4" (Approx.) blue 549 (Magazine is 548)--all other numbers

No special markings.

My father, before his passing, gave me his cherished Japanese "Baby" Nambu which he has had since 1960. It is in very nice shape, with little or no rust and only minor wear on the finish. It has a pretty low serial number (549)and an apparent mix up at the factory caused it to be issued with Magazine #548. All other numbers match. What I'm curious to know about is the origin of the weapon, possible value, and Internet folks who might be interested in obtaining such a firearm. I have done some pretty exhaustive searching on the Internet and found little or no information about this weapon. Apparently, this very weapon (same serial number) was once featured in an American Rifleman article, believe it or not! Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Tom Eads,ConsultantUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln--Information Technology Support

Answer:
Tom, "Baby Nambu" is the name that the Type B Nambu is commonly called by, the type B Nambu is also called the "Officers Model". The Baby Nambu is of the same general design as the Type A Nambu but is smaller and fires a 7mm bottle-necked cartridge. The Baby Nambu was developed for purchase by senior Japanese Military officers as a badge of rank. The Baby Nambu never achieved great popularity because it cost almost twice what a comparable imported model did. Baby Nambu production began in 1903 at the Tokyo Artillery Arsenal, Koishigawa and continued there until about 1923 when it was moved to the Tokyo Gas and Electric company where approx.. 550 were made. The total number of Baby Nambu's produced is about 6500. Among military collectors the Baby Nambu is one of the most desirable of the Japanese military handguns, and the Blue Book of Gun Values lists it's value in 95% condition at $1800.00. If you would like me to try to find a buyer for you send me an e-mail and we can work out the details... Marc


# 47 - Universal 44 Mag. Carbine
7/19/96
John Palilionis - jpalili@king.igs.net

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Universal Unknown 44 mag. 18 inch Blue None

Looks like M-1 carbine, but is a pump action. Also has a plastic ten round clip Made somewhere in N.Y. state.

What is this gun? Who made it? What is it worth? Any other info appreciated!!

Answer:
Your Universal .44 magnum pump is the model sold in the 1960s as the "Vulcan 440". It was made by Universal Firearms Corporation of Hialeah, Florida. They are best known for their copies of the .30 M1 Carbine, and variations with different stocks and sights, and the short "Enforcer" pistol version. Universal operated from the late 1950s (it was the successor to Bullseye) until 1983 when they were taken over by Iver Johnson. Larry Ruth's definitive books on the M1 Carbine have an excellent section on Universal in War Baby Volume II, pages 756-764. He only lists the Vulcan 440 as being made in the 1960s, while most other Universal items seemed to enjoy longer lives, so I suspect that total numbers made were rather small. John, I wouldn't know much about the value of this, but Universal products, although reportedly good shooters, don't seem to have much collector interest. First, find someone who wants a pump .44 mag, then you can see how much it is worth!... John


# 49 - Refinish?
7/13/96
Frank Overbey - overbey@richmond.infi.net

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Any Military Firearm Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown

Is it a cardinal sin to sand the stocks, touch up blue, and refinish the average WWI/WWII ($30-$100) surplus firearm. I am not speaking of a rare sniper variant etc. I have done a couple and have really been pleased with the result. Thanks and regards, Frank Overbey

Answer:
Frank, the question of firearms restoration has been a matter of contention among gun enthusiasts for as long as I can remember. There are some collectors who do not want a restored firearm no matter how good the restoration job is. If a restoration is done correctly one can be hard pressed to be able to tell that the firearm had been restored. I have found that you never know about that "average WW-I / II ($30-$100) surplus firearm", in 10 years it's value may have increased greatly. You may find that when you sanded the stock on that old beater rifle, not only did you sand off the dings and scratches, you also sanded off $100 or $200 dollars worth of the guns potential value. My rules for what to restore and what not to restore are: 1- I never touch a firearm that has some historical significance, for example you would not want to restore a firearm that was used at the Battle of the Little Bighorn no matter how bad a shape it is in. 2- Keeping rule 1 in mind, I only restore firearms that I consider to be "junk" in their present condition. I have a favorite saying, "Rare junk is still junk!" 3- If I am trying to sell a firearm that has been restored I always make it a point to tell potential buyers about the restoration. You should also consider whether the value of the firearm after the restoration will be greater than the time and money it took restore it. Those are my rules Frank. In the end, they are your rifles, I think that you should do what makes you happy... Marc


# 46 - Winchester Pellet Gun
7/11/96
Hue Collins - hcollins@EbiCom.net

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Winchester 922 ? 177 Unknown Blue Unknown

This is a 177 caliber pellet rifle that was bought around 1969. It has the Winchester name stamped in the barrel on top. It has a solid wood stock and a rifled barrel. This gun breaks down to cock and load.

I would be interested to know any details at all about this gun including value. I have talked with someone at Winchester some time back and that person could not find any record of Winchester ever even manufacturing such a rifle.

Answer:
Between 1969 and 1974, Winchester marketed eight different models of air rifles and two models of air pistols that were made by a German manufacturer. A total of 19,259 Winchester air rifles and pistols were imported. The values of Winchester air rifles and pistols vary in range from under $100.00 to over $450.00 depending on model and condition. The most valuable Winchester air rifle is the model 333 which is worth $455.00 in 100% condition. I can find no mention of a model 922... Marc


# 48 - Old Fowler Muzzle Loader
7/7/96
Justin P Tracy - boutros@ix.netcom.com

Maker Model Caliber Barrel Length Finish Serial Number
Unknown Unknown .75 Aprox 36 Inches Unknown Unknown

My father gave me an old muzzle loader in very poor shape cracks, paint speckles, the only part in decent shape is the rod of the ramrod! He has no idea were it came from and would really like to know something about it. The barrel is close to three feet long and the bore is about .75 inches. The first eleven inches of the barrel is octagon but the rest is round. There is some engraving at the very beginning of the barrel, on the hammer (it's a percussion, not a flint lock), along a strip of metal on the right side of the grip, and along the trigger guard whose base plate runs about half the length of the but stock. There is checkering along the grip, about 14 lines per inch, with a double border. The only writing I can find is London stamped on the top of the octagon section of the barrel. Over all length is about 53 inches. It seems to me that this may be a tough one but any info would be great.

Answer:
Justin, while I can't be certain without seeing your gun, it certainly sounds like a "Fowler" probably made circa 1840-1870, which has had the barrel shortened at some point in its history. The London marking on the barrel usually indicates it was made in London, and the barrel would have two proof marks near the breech. However, some foreign makers of low grade guns applied English looking marks to fool unwary buyers. Normally these had barrels about 38-44 inches long, and were smooth-bored. (However, some were originally shorter, and some were longer). Typically the barrels were very thin construction, and intended mainly for shot, rather than round balls. Approximately .75 caliber is close to 12 gauge, popular as an all around gun at the time, which could be fired with balls at larger targets (deer, people, etc.) if necessary. Fowlers usually were "half stocked", often with a rib running up the bottom of the barrel and provisions for a "thimble" near the muzzle to hold the ramrod. Barrels were usually fastened to the stock with one or more "pins" or "wedges" instead of metal bands used on many military arms of the period. The trigger guard and butt plate are usually the same material (both brass, or both iron) but sometimes mixed parts were used. While some "fowlers" were very high quality guns, most were inexpensive, and intended for hard use by farmers or other non-wealthy people. Think of them as the equivalent of today's cheap single-shot shotguns. Again, without seeing your gun, and lacking further information, it is impossible to assess its value, but generally fowlers do not bring much on the collector's market. They are valued mainly as decorators, but if they have a history of family use, the sentimental value can be much more significant. One word of caution. A great many old muzzle loaders are found to be LOADED! Please use the ramrod and see that the barrel is clear to about 3/4 inch short of the distance from the muzzle to the back of the barrel. If it has an obstruction in the bottom inch and a half or greater, it may be loaded. (Or someone may have stuffed rags or sticks, or who knows what into the barrel at some time in the last 150 years.) If you think it is loaded, have someone familiar with muzzle loaders remove the load for you. To care for your gun, a little gun oil (or WD-40) will keep the metal parts from rusting, and a little linseed oil on the stock will preserve it. Please don't sand the stock or otherwise "clean things up" or you will destroy much of the value and the charm of it's appearance as an antique gun. I hope you enjoy it, and that it finds a home where it is appreciated... John


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