Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters OldGuns.net FineOldGuns.com

 

 

Questions And Answers Page

If you have a question about firearms and you want it posted on this page click here.

Return to Collectors Headquarters.

Click here to go to the question and answer monthly index.

Click here to go to the question and answer subject index.


# 12066 - Weihrauch HW 52
8/28/2007
Larry, Lorton, VA USA

Weihrauch - HW 52 - .22LR - 26'' medium wt. - Blue - 360 -

Falling/dropping block action, eagle N proof marks, Marked Weihrauch Mellrichstadt on reviver and .22 KAL lfB of barrel. Has mid-barrel open sight on sliding rail, and fine diopter rear sight mounted on receiver dovetail base with knurled adjustments (not square clock key type). I can find no information on this fine target rifle, such as when it was made, who may have imported it, what was it cost when new, how common is it, etc. Any information on this curiosity would be of help. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.

Answer:
Larry, Weihrauch was founded in Zella St Blasii in 1899 where they manufactured sporting firearms, including Martini rifles until 1939. After World War II they were reestablished in Bavaria and the company is now best known for their high-quality Arminius-brand air guns.

The HW 52 sporting rifle was manufactured from about 1952 to about 1988, it had a lateral safety bolt and a finely adjustable trigger. Total production of this model is not known. Rifles were available chambered in 22 LR rimfire, 22 Hornet, 222 Remington or 5.6x50R. The action was locked by raising the breechblock behind the chamber with the tip of the operating lever. Typical rifles came with an open folding-leaf rear sight that was graduated to 200m (220 yards). Butstocks of the earliest rifles were a simple design with a shallow back or straight comb and a small oval cheek piece. A Monte Carlo type cheek piece was standardized in the early 1970s.

I was unable to find any information about HW 52 values in the blue book, but prices for their .22 caliber bolt action models top out in the $800 range. Marc


# 12036 - Stainless Steel with Brass Ithaca M1911A1
8/28/2007
Arch Blue Springs MO

Ithaca M1911A1 - 45 - Stainless Steel - 1872110 -

This item is Stainless with Brass accents (hammer) etc. Is this a special issue model? What is value?

Answer:
Arch, the original Ithaca M1911A1 finish was Parkerize (dull dark gray/green). If your pistol is shiny with brass, it is not stainless steel unless parts have been replaced, and it is definitely not original. The modifications to the finish ruin most collector interest, I would estimate value would be in the $200 range.


# 12562 - Argentine Mauser Dates Of Manufacture
8/28/2007
Dave Monte Vista CO

1909 Argentine Mauser - 7.65 Argentine - Blue - P5696 -

I have been unable to locate a source for manufacture dates of Argentine Mausers- I own two, one is 98%, all matching numbers including correct bayonet- I would like to know how to obtain manufacture dates. Thanks.

Answer:
Dave- Colin Webster has written a GREAT book, the definitive history on the subject, ‘‘Argentine Mauser Rifles 1871-1959.’‘ This could be a fun collecting niche with some real variety, and mostly at reasonable prices. Among the tons of other well researched and well presented info, the serial number ranges and dates for the Model 1909 are listed on pages 179-180. The P block of numbers was part of the 30,000 rifles made in 1912 under the 1911 contract. Made by DWM of the finest materials and workmanship, these are probably the peak quality mass produced military arms ever made. You can see a brief look at a display ‘‘Introduction to Collecting Argentine Military Rifles’‘ at http://ugca.org/05jan/ugca05janmain.htm#arg John Spangler


# 12555 - British Flare Pistols
8/25/2007
Kimber, Texarkana, AR

#4 Mk 1 Flare Pistol - 37 Millimeter - 4'' - Blue - NONE -

I own a flare pistol that is not marked with a * (star) to indicate the installation of a safety. My research tells me that the British recalled all of these, installed the safety and redesigned #4 Mk1*. As an amateur collector, I am interested in knowing as much as possible about my British flare pistol marked #4 Mk1. It lacks the *star designation indicating the installation of a safety modification, which this gun lacks. Is this gun rare? If so, can you give me a range of value for it? Thanks.

Answer:
Kimber- I regret that we cannot help very much on that. There is only one book that does much with flare pistols, and that is Robert Gaynor’s Flare Guns and Signal Pistols. While it is excellent for identifying most of the guns in those categories, it does not help much on values, so your best bet is to keep an eye on auction sites and some of the better dealers. Most flare guns seem to bring a few hundred dollars at best, with many of the common types selling for $50-100 at shows we attend. John Spangler


# 12551 - Danzig 1836 Smoothbore Musket
8/25/2007
Jim , Scottsdale , AZ.

Danzig 1836 - 69 Caliber - Blue -

Image of crown on all parts Looking for any information on this cap and ball smooth bore rifle.

Answer:
Jim- Undoubtedly this is one of the thousands imported for use by both sides during the Civil War. These were originally finished bright, so if it is blued, that was probably done in the last 50 years. Nice old decorator items, and they have some limited appeal to Civil War collectors, but values remain very modest at best. John Spangler


# 12029 - Not Enough Information
8/25/2007
Phil, Lansing, MI

9mm Luger - Blue -

Just a quick one, I have seen a WW2 Luger with the holster including spare mag and disassembly tool, it has matching serial numbers in good condition and also has the letter from the military stating it was brought into the US dated from 45, the asking price is 2,000 is that too much? Thanks Phil

Answer:
Phil, you did not mention manufacturer or matching numbers. $2000 is way to much for a mis-matched Mauser in good condition, but it is a great deal for a Krieghoff with all matching numbers. Marc


# 12871 - Dreyse .25 Model 1907
8/21/2007
Reg, Algonac, Michigan

Dreyse - .25 - Appox 2'' - Blue - 39281 -

Inherited the above mentioned without any knowledge of history or background on the pistol. Any literature available?? It also came with a black leather holster w/clip pocket and extra clip.

Answer:
Reginald, it sounds like you have a Dreyse Model 1907. Waffenfabrik von Dreyse was founded about 1842 to make the famous Needle Gun for the Prussian army, the Dreyse concern had also made needle pistols and cap lock revolvers. The 6.35mm Model 1907 design was based on the 1906 Browning pattern but it did not have a grip safety. The Model 1907 had a unique patented method of disassembly, lifting the rear sight clear of the slide allows the whole rib to be removed backward, allowing the pistol to be dismantled. Model 1907's are marked DREYSE on the left side of the slide and have 'RMF' monograms on the grips.

There is not much collectors interest in this type of pistol. The blue book lists values for the Dreyse Model 1907 between $60 and $260 depending on condition. Marc


# 12884 - Cobra With Al Capone Connection?
8/21/2007
Tom

Colt Cobra 38 Special LW CTG - Colt Cobra 38 Special LW CTG - 38 - Very Short - Don't Know - 226396 -

looks bran new !!!!!!! I don't think it was ever fired ! I know nothing about guns ! 6 shot A old lady gave me this gun before she died in Florida she told me that it was her husband brother ankle gun who was the first Hispanic mayor of Chicago who was killed by Al capon ! I don't think she lied to me is there a way I can look up the gun since he was a mayor ?

Answer:
Tom, my records indicate that your pistol was manufactured in 1967. Al Capone died about 20 years before that on January 25, 1947. Maybe your friend had this revolver mixed up with another. Marc


# 12549 - Warner Carbine
8/21/2007
Bruce Columbia S.C.

Warner M-1864 - 50-Caliber - 19.9in - Blue - 160 -

LL On all metal parts Can this gun be traced to the person to whom it was issued and what would it be worth now. Thank you.

Answer:
Bruce- The Warner carbine is one of many innovative designs to create a breech loading cartridge carbine during the Civil War. Its inventor, James Warner was involved in the arms trade and patented several other designs during his career. The best coverage is in a superbly researched book ‘‘Warner Civil War Cavalry Carbines’‘ by my old college roommate, Col. J. Alan Hassell. Value depends on condition, but a rough range for an average example might be around $1,500-$3,000. There is no source of information that I know of that lists any specific usage for Warner carbines by serial number. John Spangler


# 12548 - Bridesburg 1862 Half Stock Rifle
8/18/2007
Dana Herkimer NY

Bridesburg 1862 Haft Stock - 62.5 - 40 In. - Blue - 0 -

Eagle marking behind hammer breech loading Where can I find information on this long gun and is there ammo still available and some after market parts.

Answer:
Dana- Living just down the road from the Remington factory, you should be embarrassed to own a gun made by another outfit!

Bridesburg marked guns started as U.S. Model 1861.58 caliber rifle muskets with 40 inch barrels and a full length stock secured by three barrel bands. With tens of thousands of these flooding the surplus market after the Civil War, many were altered for use as hunting guns, usually involving cutting the stock and barrel back. In this case, it sounds like they only cut the stock. Often they reamed out the rifling so they would perform better when loaded with shot for hunting small game. If still rifled, then it would be possible to restore this, and possibly (if approved by a competent gunsmith) to fire it. These used .58 caliber Minie balls, black powder and percussion musket caps. Powder and caps may be available from local sporting goods stores or places like Cabelas, and they may have Minie Balls too. Another excellent source for Minie balls and all parts (possibly including reproduction forends for your restoration project) is S&S Firearms on our links page. John Spangler


# 12545 - Durs Egg Pistol
8/18/2007
Arthur, Winter Park, FL

Durs Egg - Unknown - 9''? - Don't Know -

D. Egg ultra hi Dear Reader, Thank you for time and offer to help. I have purchased from an estate a flintlock pistol stamped ''EGG'', ultrahi on barrel. I have found info on Durs Egg, but nothing on early production as this does not have a tower insignia, or London marking. Serial numbers are present and matching on all metal parts. I was told it was owned and used in Revolutionary period as a US piece, as it was produced and imported to the colonies before Durs Egg received British contract production. The main clue is the ultrahi on barrel. The bore hole is larger than a tower, British horse pistol I have. I am pure novice, and looking for any help identifying and or sale. Thank you, Arthur Haber pics available

Answer:
Arthur- Durs Egg was one of several makers with that surname who operated in London circa 1750 to 1880. Durs was probably the most talented and best known of the family, and worked 1777-1834, and was ‘‘by appointment’‘ a gunmaker to the Royal family. English proof laws are quite strict and specific, and no one of the stature of the Egg family would have dared sell guns with unproved barrels, nor would they have missed the opportunity to tout their London location. Therefore I am pretty certain that your pistol was not in fact made by Durs Egg, but rather by someone else hoping to profit from using his famous name. This was not uncommon for rascally Belgian makers of the period, so it may be an old piece. However, the ‘‘ultrahi’‘ definitely sounds like a late 20th century term, so I think there is a good chance this is a recent reproduction. While and advanced collector can usually spot the signs of age to tell an original from a repro, some fakers are very clever and can fool all but the most careful buyers. You may have purchased an education, but if it turns out to e a repro then at least you can play with it instead of leaving it in the bank vault. Collectors get a lot of fun out of handling their guns, and much more when they can share with others, instead of leaving them locked up in secure storage. A good friend put out a display at a local gun show ‘‘A Dozen Eggs’‘ featuring 12 guns made by members of the Egg family. Of course, it took him several decades, including living in the UK for several years to acquire these. This was a great opportunity for other collectors to enjoy these fine old guns, and you can enjoy them too at http://www.ugca.org/ugca02oct/02octmain.htm#egg John Spangler


# 12022 - Blackhawk Anniversary Numbers
8/18/2007
Richard C.

Ruger - Blackhawk .357 Anniversary Edition - .357 - 4 5/8'' - Blue - 52012535 -

gold trigger, hammer, gold lettered inlay top of barrel, gold inlay on cylinder and frame. 1-500 gold lettering on butt of gun. who do I tell what number in the run of 500 it is? I can't make heads or tails from the sr# on the gun

Answer:
Richard, the Ruger web site (http://ruger.com/Firearms/SE-H-R-NMBhawk357.html) indicates that Blackhawk 50th Anniversary Model serial numbers started at 520-00001. Your number (520-12535) would seem inconsistent when one considers the fact that only 500 were supposed to have been manufactured.

The following quote from the Ruger site may shed some light on the mater:

Sturm, Ruger does not produce firearms in serial number order. There are occasions when blocks of serial numbers have been manufactured out of sequence, sometimes years later. Also, within a model family the same serial number prefix may be used to produce a variety of different models, all in the same block of serial numbers. And in some cases, models may be stored for a length of time before they are shipped.

For exact information on your specific serial number, you can contact Ruger's Records Department either by telephone or mail.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
Records Department
6 Main Street
Newport, NH 03773
Telephone: 603-863-3300
Fax: 603-863-9371

We will be happy to give you the shipping date and model configuration of your Ruger firearm, at no charge. Please include the complete serial number, model number, and any other special markings or features of the firearm in your request.

Suggest you contact Ruger. Good luck. Marc


# 12020 - Remington Slide Action In 25-20
8/14/2007
Chris, Alsea, Oregon

Remington - 25-20 - 23'' - Blue - AA369 -

Left side of barrel stamped RH3, left side stamped K3. Underneath, in front of trigger guard stamped AA369. Stamped Pedersen's Patents January 5 1909 and july 5 1910. It has a ribbed pump handle, a pistol grip style buttstock, and a curved butt plate. This is a pump action rifle. I have been unable to find a model number from Remington that was a 25-20 in a pump action. I am interested in the model number, production date, and model history of this firearm.

Answer:
Chris, the only Remington slide action that I could find that fits your criteria, is the Model 25/25A. The 25/25A was available in both .25-20 WCF and .32-20 WCF. The model came with a 24 inch barrel, open sight, tubular magazine and plain pistol grip stock. The 25/25A was manufactured between 1923 and 1935, I was unable to find any production data about how many were manufactured. Marc


# 11997 - Mossberg Mod 10
8/14/2007
Scott Australia

Mossberg & Sons Inc - Model 10 - .22 - Blue - 4472 -

Could you tell me the age of this rifle and also if their is any value.

Answer:
Scott, the Model 10 is one of a group of inexpensive rifles that Mossberg manufactured between 1933 and 1938. Values for this model are in the $60 range but it has been my experience that they are very slow sellers. Marc


# 12533 - Mosin Nagant History
8/14/2007
Patrick, Boaz, Alabama

Mosin Nagant M44 - 7.62x54R - I Have No Clue - Blue - TC6467 -

It has the symbol of communist Russia right behind the rear site and a manufacturer date of 1945 I was wondering if you could give me any back ground information on the gun like for instance if it was issued and if it was who it was issued to if that person saw combat and also the regiment that the person who had my gun was in

Answer:
Patrick. We cannot tell you any of that about your gun, and such information likely does not exist anywhere in the world. However, you can findsome excellent historical information on the many different models of Mosin Nagant rifles at some of the sites on our links page. Just look for ones that have Mosin Nagant in the title. John Spangler


# 12528 - J. Marlin Ballard’s Patent Rifle
8/11/2007
Jeff Oakpoint Texas

J Marlin - .32 - ? Octagon In Shape - Blue - 1875 OR 7575 -

J Marlin New Haven Conn. Pat Pend 1875, Ballards Pat Nov 5th 1861, on the bottom of the rifle it has the number 7575 The rifle has been in the family and passed down to me, it's a lever action with a peep sight and octagon barrel. I don't know which number is the serial number, what the dates represent. I just want to know what all the marking's listed on the rifle are, as well as any history, such as War History. Thanks. Jeff Smith

Answer:
Jeff- Ballard designed the lever action to open the breech on a single barrel rifle in 1861, and a few of them had military use during the Civil War, but most were for the civilian market. These were well respected and sturdy rifles made in varying grades from cheap sporters or military rifles up to fancy target rifles. In 1875 the Marlin company bought out Ballard, and the rifles became known as Marlin- Ballards. Marlin’s contribution to the design was his reversible firing pin, patented in 1875 for use with rimfire or centerfire ammunition. In 1881 the firm became the Marlin Firearms Company, so your rifle dates between 1875 and 1881. The 7575 would be the serial number. Depending on the exact model (there are at least a dozen different ones) and the condition, the value can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Nice to see it stay in the family to be enjoyed. John Spangler


# 12525 - Safety Of Firing A Mortar
8/11/2007
James, Rossville, IN

Spanish Mortar, Model LL - 60 MM - 24 Inch - Other - N/A -

What can you tell me about this weapon. I just purchased one that had been de-milled by grinding off/down the firing pin and welding the firing pin base cup to the tube. I plan on making it into a ''Blackpowder'' mortar by drilling a fuse hole into the cup and using ''friction'' Matches and a lanyard to fire/ignite it. Will be using 1 ounce or less of powder as a propelling charge. Safe?

Answer:
James- I have no idea if that would be safe. I pondered ways to fire a Russian 50mm Mortar back in my high school days (before they were considered to be ‘‘destructive devices’‘). I ended up donating it to the USMC Museum before I ever figured a way to fire it.

I would check with your lawyer. He is the one that will end up filing suits claiming stupidity, greed and negligence on the part of the mortar maker, the powder maker, the matchmaker, and your hairdresser if the thing blows up. Therefore such a skilled legal beagle must be intimately familiar with all firearms matters and can provide accurate advice before an accident in order to prevent personal injury. In fact, I would hope that a lawyer would firmly seat him/herself on the barrel in order to provide adequate supervision at the time of firing. John Spangler


# 11996 - Beretta Puma In .25
8/11/2007
Ted

Beretta - Don't Know - 25? -

Beretta, Italy, Puma Not sure what this is, please let me know any value, history and where I could get parts.

Answer:
Ted, it sounds like you have a Beretta Model 418, also known as the Puma. The Model 418 replaced the Model 318 pattern in 1937. The new 418 had a more rounded plastic grip, a re-shaped grip safety, and an indicator pin in the slide which protruded when a cartridge was chambered. The 418 was a semi-auto, available in .25 ACP only, it had fixed sights, similar to Model 318. Some 418s were manufactured with an alloy frame but most were steel. A total of 178,000 Model 418 pistols were manufactured before the 1961 when it was discontinued, serial numbers on later guns are suffixed with the letters A, B, and C.

For parts, I recommend you check with Gun Parts Corp (the old Numrich Arms people) at the following URL:

http://www.gunpartscorp.com/

Gun Parts Corp has just about everything. If that doesn't work, try posting it on our free "Wanted" page. Values in the Blue book for this model range from $100 to about $225 depending on condition so it may not worth buying parts for. Marc


# 11995 - Beretta .32 Puma?
8/7/2007
Michael

Beretta - Not Sure - 7.65 -

PIETRO BERETTA gardone v.t. cal 7.65 on one side of slide, plastic handgrip has Beretta in 3 circle pattern with spear points and NEW PUMA lower down. MADE in ITALY on the other side of slide, serial # on frame just before handgrip, what looks like '' smontaggio >'' just before barrel pin, small stamp ''psf'' with star above it and XXII on front of trigger guard. Clip has PB cal 765 made in Italy stamped in side Any info, such as age, how it was issued from factory, historical significance, etc. As well as where I might find parts to get it working again. Wife's old roommate took it apart to clean it and lost most internal parts, springs etc.

Answer:
Michael, it sounds like you have a Beretta Model 70, also known as the Puma. The Model 70 replaced the Model 948 in 1958, it had a more streamlined shape than the 948 and a cross-bolt safety, a hold-open device and a push-button magazine release. Model 70 pistols were available with both steel and light alloy slides, chambered in 22 LR, 7.65mm Auto and 9mm Short with both fixed and adjustable sights.

For parts, I recommend you check with Gun Parts Corp (the old Numrich Arms people) at the following URL:

http://www.gunpartscorp.com/

Gun Parts Corp has just about everything. If that doesn't work, try posting it on our free "Wanted" page. Values in the Blue book for this model range from $100 to about $225 depending on condition so it may not worth buying parts for. Marc


# 11994 - Borchardt Serial Number
8/7/2007
Peter Australia

Borchardt - 7.63mm - 196mm - Blue - 2198? -

I am having trouble finding the serial number of the Borchardt pistol I have recently acquired. On the right side of the receiver are the words SYSTEM BORCHARDT PATENT DEUTSCH WAFFEN- UND MUNITIONFABRIKEN BERLIN On the right side of the toggle is DRP 75837 On the left side of the barrel is BG U 17328 On the trigger is 2198. This number also appears on the lug at the back of the action where a shoulder stock would have been attached. On the magazine is the number 1218. Am I right in assuming that the serial number is 2198? This is needed for registration purposes. Can you give me any information about the age and value of this pistol?

Answer:
Peter, the Borchardt pistol made use of a clock- type recoil spring that was housed at the rear of the frame, and the same toggle lock mechanism that was later to be used in the Luger Parabellum, it was the first automatic pistol design to place the magazine inside the grip. A shoulder stock was provided which clamped on to the rear of the frame and turned the pistol into a self-loading carbine. Although the Borchardt design was somewhat awkward,1 the grip being at almost a right angle to the frame, and the recoil spring housing at the rear of the frame having too much overhang, it was a brilliant piece of mechanical design and was regarded with considerable respect by gunsmiths of the time.

The original development and production of the Borchardt pistol was done by the Ludwig Loewe company, but the majority of production was done by DWM (Deutsche Waffen and Munitionsfabrik). The Borchardt pistol was first offered for sale by Loewe in 1894, pistols produced by Loewe are marked on top of the chamber 'Waffenfabrik Loewe Berlin', 'DRP 75837' on the toggle, and on the right side of the frame 'System Borchardt Patent'. After 1 January 1897, the markings were changed, DWM was engraved on the right side of the frame, but the patent number was retained on the toggle. Borchardt pistols were mainly offered in one configuration, with a 6 1/2 inch barrel, 8-shot magazine and chambered in 7.63mm Borchardt. It is rumored that towards the end of production, a small number of Borchardts were chambered for the 7.65mm Parabellum cartridge, and a few (possibly only one) were chambered for a special 9mm Borchardt bottlenecked cartridge. Production of the Borchardt ceased some time in 1899, when the Parabellum (Luger) was ready to go into production. Borchardt later made some attempts to improve his pistol, but by that time, the design was obsolete. Total Borchardt production was about 3000, 1100 by Loewe and 1900 by DWM. Blue Book values for Borchardt pistols range from $3700 to $12,000 for pistol alone, and can go as high as $2,3500 for examples that are cased and come with accessories. Let us know if you are interested in selling.

I looked at a friends Borchardt and the serial number is stamped on the lug that holds the shoulder stock in place, so your serial number is definitely 2198. "DRP 75837" is a patent number but I am not sure what the other numbers are, the BG U number sorta sounds like a unit number but the trigger sounds like it is a mismatch. It is hard to say without seeing the gun. Marc


# 12518 - Colt SAA 1st Generation
8/7/2007
Keith , San Antonio, TX

Colt SAA 1st Generation - 45 - Appox 5 Inches Not Sure - Blue - 4131 -

U.S. PAT Sept.19.1871 PAT July.2.1872 / Barrel is stamped with a small p Where can find the history for this handgun? What does the P letter stand for?

Answer:
Keith- Colt Single Action Army revolvers are a highly specialized field, and sadly, the subject of much fakery. I believe that an early serial number like that would be on one made for the U.S. Army contract, but some of those failed inspection and were sold on the civilian market instead. I highly recommend the books by John Kopec or Keith Cochran to learn more about these. Colt may be able to provide a letter telling you when (and where??) your gun was initially shipped, but the cost for this service is several hundred dollars. There is no other source of data on this serial number as far as I know. Hope that helps. John Spangler


# 12820 - No Answer To My Question Yet
8/4/2007
James

Would like to know if you recieved any of my 3 requests for information on my Identify Luger 7.62 w / o a date stamp --since MARCH TO early July ??

Answer:
Sir- We get dozens of inquiries every day and although we would like to answer them all, we simply do not have time to do that or we would never get any work done.

We did not think your question was one we wanted to take the time to answer for free, so we deleted it, as we do with many of the requests for free advice that we receive. We provided the option to submit it as a paid question, but apparently the information is not of sufficient interest for you to pay a modest fee for our expertise.

There are lots of sites with info on Lugers, and forums where people discuss firearms and you can probably get a free answer from one of them. There are dozens of books on Lugers (by authors such as John Walter, Jan Still, Fred Datig, Sam Costanzo, Ra;ph Shattuck and others) which are available from gun book sellers, or local libraries or even on interlibrary loan. We would have to consult some of these to find the answer, so you may want to try that option. John Spangler


# 12516 - Evansville .45 ACP ammunition lot S24713XC
8/4/2007
Dennis

45 M1911 - Blue - S24713XC -

Ammunition lot E.C. S24713XC I have a box of WW II steel case 45 cal ammunition from Evansville ordinance plant. The lot no is S24713XC.How can I find out what military campaign they were used in? Is this kind of stuff collected. Thanks

Answer:
Dennis- Each lot of ammunition is assigned a lot number so that all the ammo made in a certain batch using certain components can be identified in case there are problems later. A lot is probably many thousand to several hundred thousand rounds made on a specific day or maybe over several days. The military goes to great lengths to identify lots which show problems, so that they can be declared for restricted use only, or unserviceable. Thus, ammo made more than 60 years ago for use in WW2 may still be in the Army’s inventory, and suitable for use in combat just as much as ammo made a few months ago. If there is a bunch of this stuff near where some is needed, then it will be issued instead of shipping a different load half way around the world. However, if problems are encountered, the defective lot is reported and it may be limited to certain uses. For example, if the tracer elements no longer light up, the ammo may be fine for target practice or training use, and shipped back to major training areas for use there. If it has duds, misfires, or hangfires, or has blown up some guns, then the lot may be declared unserviceable and scrapped entirely. Thus, the military does keep records of the performance of each lot of ammunition.

However, they do not put much effort into keeping central records of where a certain lot of ammo was sent, especially during wartime, and even less so in the days before computers to keep track of details like that. When a lot of ammunition was accepted by the Army, it would be shipped to wherever it was needed, either a ship headed overseas, or maybe just an Ammo Depot somewhere in the states. It could then be issued in varying quantities to meet the authorized allowance for units, or to replace combat expenditures. This could result in ammo from a single lot being issued in dribs and drabs for decades. During WW2, literally billions of rounds of .45 ACP ammo were made by the Evansville plant, most of it using the steel cases (hence the S in the lot number). In fact, they made so much ammo that the plant ceased production in 1944 as there was more than enough ,45 ACP ammo to meet foreseeable needs. At that point the plant was converted to other war work (overhauling vehicles, if I recall correctly). Some of the ammo remained in inventory and was issued 10-20 years later, and large quantities reached the surplus market in the last 10 years or so. Therefore it is impossible to say if any (let alone all) of the ammo from a specific lot went to the Marines in Iwo Jima, the Rangers at Normandy, or was finally issued to the Idaho National Guard for training during Vietnam.

People collect just about anything, including ammo. I even know one lady who has a very advanced collection of .45 ACP ammo. The steel case EC headstamped rounds are pretty common, and nice representative WW2 era ammo, but value is modest compared to some scarcer rounds. John Spangler


# 11990 - Mercury 22
8/4/2007
Kit Wennersten

Mercury - 22LR - 1 1/2 - Blue - 130984 -

Made in Belgium. Would like to find any information on the pistol and what an approximate value would be. Looks to be in almost new condition with the box.

Answer:
Kit, it sounds like you have a New Model Melior, these were manufactured by Manufacture Liegeoise d'Armes a Feu Robar et Cie of Liege (Robar). Robar started producing cheap pocket revolvers around the turn of the century and they branched into cheap automatic pistols starting about 1910. Production of these firearms continued with the interruption of the world wars, until the early 1950s. Robar pistols were widely exported and are fairly common.

The Melior was introduced in 1920. The earliest guns were made in 6.5mm and 7.65mm calibers, but .22LR and 9mm Short versions were added in later years. The Mercury was an unusual Melior variant, it was made in very small numbers in the 1920s and was imported into the USA by Tradewinds, Inc., of Tacoma, Washington. These pistols were marked on the slide, "MERCURY MADE IN BELGIUM". In my opinion values for Mercury pistols would be in the $125 range. Marc


Return to Collectors Headquarters.