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BILL GOODMAN, 280 W. KAGY BLVD. SUITE D #152, BOZEMAN, MONTANA 59715

TEL. (406) 587-3131 FAX (406) 219-3415

EMAIL: montanaraven@hotmail.com

 

Bill Goodman has been a collector of antique/collector firearms for well over 40 years and a full time dealer for over 30 years. Traveling around the country constantly seeking good quality collector arms at REALISTIC PRICES, Bill sells exclusively by mail order. Until recently, he has advertised in every issue of The Gun List (now Gun Digest the Magazine) since it’s first small issues in the early 1980s (as well as The Shotgun News before that). All items are photographed. To view them just click the text of the item you want to see. Be sure to scroll down as most items have more than one photo.  All guns are sold as collector’s items, not shooters. If you wish to shoot an item listed here, it is strongly recommended that you have the item checked out by a competent gunsmith who specializes in antique/classic firearms. All items are sold with the usual three (3) day inspection. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, call to say you are returning the item and you will receive an immediate refund when the item is received back in the same condition it was originally shipped. This list will be constantly updated as new items become available. Use the above phone number or email to check availability and for info on any item you wish to purchase. Prices do not include shipping. All federal/state laws concerning the transfer of firearms are strictly followed. Modern firearms must be shipped to an FFL dealer (or “Curio & Relics” license holders where applicable). Pre-1899 antiques may be shipped to non-FFL holders. All Layaway sales are final. AND PLEASE, MAKE CHECKS TO WILLIAM (OR BILL) GOODMAN AND NOT GOODMANGUNS

 

MORE GUNS WERE POSTED 5/20/24. WATCH FOR FREQUENT POSTINGS  THROUGH  APRIL/MAY.

 

 

NOTES FROM THE FIELD:

An interesting thing happened a few weeks ago that got me thinking… Here in Montana we had an early snow storm while most of the trees still had their leaves. As usually happens with these storms, lots of aspen and other tree branches broke under the weight of the snow. My brother called to have me come over to his place and help him cut up some branches. I arrived ready for action with my Home Depot purchased aluminum branch clippers. He met me at his garage holding MY FATHER’S OLD BRANCH CLIPPERS. So what’s the big deal? Well, I remember those clippers as a kid in the 1960s and I’m sure he owned them long before that. This tool was made of solid steel and had (wait for it…) riveted wood slab handles. This thing really had some weight to it! It also had a kind of double hinge for extra leverage cutting of larger diameter branches. It sure put my flimsy aluminum clipper to shame! I bet this solid steel beauty was made in the 1940s or maybe even before W.W.II. For all I know, it might have belonged to my grandfather! The point of all this is that it reminded me of why we all like antique/classic firearms. They too were made of steel and wood- no synthetics or alloys. They were made to last, and they have. My modern clippers are getting loose and worn. I was thinking of replacing it for another. Not my Dad’s clipper! It is generational. Same goes for the guns of that period and earlier. Not that I’m knocking modern firearms, but there’s something hard to describe about holding a Colt New Service or S&W .44 Hand Ejector revolver or shouldering a Winchester Model 71 .348 caliber… I know you get it or you wouldn’t be on this website.

COLT FIRE ARMS (click text for photo)

1) COLT’S FIRST MEDIUM FRAME SIDE-SWING CYLINDER TARGET MODEL IS THIS OFFICERS MODEL WITH LEFT TURNING CYLINDER BUILT ON THE OLD NEW ARMY & NAVY .38 DA MILITARY MODEL, .38 SPECIAL, #290XXX, MADE 1907. These distinctive revolvers are easy to spot as they have the double row of locking notches on the outside of the cylinder enabling the cylinder to turn in a counter clockwise direction (often called “left wheelers). Correct checkered walnut grips without the Colt medallions, checkered back strap and trigger, flat top frame with target sights. These earliest target models have the last patent date on the barrel of 1901 and on the left side of the barrel have “OFFICERS MODEL COLT D.A. 38”. Excellent overall condition with just the lightest of carry/handling wear- a spot of gray at the muzzle, light edge wear on the cylinder and a little thinning of the blue on the right side of the frame between the trigger and hammer. Interestingly, this one has the name “COX” lightly scratched into the butt between two tiny holes in which I assume a very small identification plate was once affixed. Inside each grip panel, aside from the matching assembly number, is “L-H COX, WATERLOO, GA. in pencil. The previous owner thought Cox had something to do with Georgia railroads. Overall, an interesting, high condition 117 year old Colt Target model whose history is worth investigating. A Colt letter might prove valuable on this one. (4 photos) $795

2) PARTICULARLY FINE CONDITION LIGHTNING .32-20 OCTAGON RIFLE, #88XXX, MADE 1901. This one retains fine deep blue on the receiver with only normal edge wear. and bottom of the trigger guard thinning. All sharp markings including the Rampant Colt stamping on the left side of the receiver. Fine barrel blue with the magazine tube ageing to a mixture of uncleaned blue/plum. Screws look unturned and the dust cover retains most of the bright blue. Excellent stock and correct smooth forend. Excellent mechanically- important to note that when the action is cocked, the slide should NOT be able to be pulled back, it should lock up. On most of these this is not the case and the lock-up is either weak or non-existent. This one is tight. Original buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and Rocky Mountain blade front sight. Strong half-cock safety on the hammer. Tight wood to metal fit. Excellent bright bore. One of the better Lightnings I’ve seen in a while. $3250. 

3)  NEW SERVICE “SHOOTING MASTER” .38 SPECIAL TARGET REVOLVER, #337XXX, MADE IN THE MOST DIFFICULT YEAR OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION- 1933. This was the culmination of the target New Service line and differs from the earlier models as this is a totally redesigned revolver that is more than the earlier flat top variation. The Shooting Master has a rounded grip frame and a barrel length of 6.” The standard caliber was .38 Special which was the most popular for bullseye matches at the time. During the 1930s Colt had to let go of many of its workers and kept only the most skilled gunsmiths and craftsmen. Since production was so small, a great deal of time could be spent on each revolver, with the target versions being meticulously fit, tuned and finished. The action and trigger on these has to be felt to be fully appreciated. This example is in excellent+ condition inside and out. It features factory checkered back strap, front strap and trigger. It retains nearly all the original deep blue with only a touch of wear at the muzzle and just a touch of wear at the forward portion of the trigger guard bottom. It also retains all the glare cutting stipled/matte blue on the top strap, around the hanmer and the hammer top. The grips are excellent with sharp checkering and one “impressed” area below the Colt medallion on the left side- still has good checkering in this spot. Small two-line scratch in the bottom of the right grip at the butt, meaning unknown (initial?) and minor. Even the front of the cylinder face retains about all the blue indicating that this revolver was rarely if ever shot. Mirror bright bore and super tight action with light jtrigger pull. Colt’s finest revolver then and now! $3250.

4) ARMY SPECIAL .32-20 CALIBER WITH DESIRABLE 6″ BARREL, #589XXX, MADE 1927. Fine example with perfect bore and exceptionally tight action with no movement to the cylinder upon lock-up. Fine blue with just normal thinning on grip straps and toward the muzzle on the barrel. Cylinder shows some light thinning on the outside edge. Nice fire blue on the hammer back and trigger. Exc. markings, grips appear to be a correct replacement that fit fairly well with some slight overhang at the butt that could easily be polished down- minor. Unaltered front sight. Made the year Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic for the first time in his single engine plane THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS. ! Most of these revolvers that were chambered in .32-20 instead of the standard .38 Special were used by outdoorsmen who paired them with .32-20 rifles/carbines. Hence, it is not uncommon to find .32-20 revolvers in much used and often abused condition.  This is a nice one. $795.

5) BEAUTIFUL CONDITION .22 LR OFFICERS MODEL, #5XXX, MADE THE FIRST FULL YEAR OF TH GREAT DEPRESSION IN 1930. The quality of these top-of-the-line Colts has to be seen and felt to be fully appreciated. The fit and finish as well as the hand tuned action are truly state of the art for any time period. All were made with checkered steel back straps and triggers. Adjustable target sights. This one appears to be about unfired as it retains all the blue on the face of the cylinder- which usually starts to “blast” away after a few boxes of shells are fired. Aside from a touch of muzzle wear on each side, it is in factory new condition inside and out. Sharp checkered Colt medallion walnut grips and exc. fire blue on the back of the hammer and on the trigger. I can’t even imagine the cost of Colt tried to make these today from their custom shop. Barely a cylinder line on this superb example. $1395.

6) ONE OF THE ABSOLUTE RAREST OF THE COLT “SNAKE GUNS” IS THIS COBRA, .38 SPECIAL WITH 5″ BARREL AND VENEZUELA POLICE MARKINGS, #770XX LW, MADE 1958! The standard barrel length for the .38 Special Cobra was 2″ (the .22 LR model was standard with 3″) and anything longer than this is quite scarce. According to the excellent book SEVEN SERPENTS The History of Colt’s Snake Guns by Gurney Brown, the First Issue Cobras were offered with barrel lengths of “…2, 3, 4, or possibly 5 inch in .38 special only.”  He further rates rarity of the Cobra variations 1-5 with 5 being the most rare. The 5″ barrel is listed as a “5+” rarity (the only variation to have a “+” after it). This example has checkered walnut grips without the Colt medallion and appear original as they fit perfectly and have the correct checkering pattern- perhaps this Venezuela contract revolvers had grips that didn’t have the medallions?  The left side of the frame below the cylinder release has the Venezuela crest stamping. The backstrap is stamped “POLICIA DEL DISTRITO FEDERAL” and the butt has the number “189” stamped. The barrel has the standard Colt address stamping on the right side and “COBRA” over “38 SPECIAL CTG.” on the right side. The allow frame retains fine black with edgee wear and obvious light rub marks from holster carry. The barrel blue is thinned a little with some holster wear on the sides toward the muzzle. There are some tiny stampings under the barrel above the ejector rod that are indecipherable that may be some kind of import markings- only visible by opening the cylinder. Exc. cylinder blue with only some light edge wear. Tight action and exc. bright bore. Unaltered front sight. One of the rarest of the Post War Colts! The most advanced Colt collections lack a 5″ barrel Cobra! $1895

7) MODEL 1902 MILITARY .38 ACP AUTO PISTOL, #33XXX, MADE 1911. This is a fine, unaltered and uncleaned example that shows deep blue on the frame sides and ahead of the trigger guard below the slide. the grip straps show blue wear to brown. The slide retains fine blue on the top with dulling blue on the sides. Exc. markings including the 1897 and 1902 patent stampings on the left side along with the Colt address. The right side of the slide has clear Colt Automatic pistol etc. markings. Exc. grips, original magazine. Some good aged case color on the hanner and fire blue on the trigger sides. Tight mechanically, solid half-cock on the hammer and bright excellent bore. Unaltered original sights, lanyard swivel intact.  Nice 103 year old example of the early days of auto pistols. $2250.

MARLIN (click text for photos).

 

1) HIGH CONDITION MODEL 27S .25-20 PUMP ACTION OCTAGON RIFLE. This is an interesting model that was first introduced as the Model 27 in 1909 and changed around 1913 to the Model 27S. It was ofered in .25 Rim Fire, .25-20 and .32-20 calibers. The improvement came in the form of a sliding button on the right side of the frame that facilitated unloading live rounds from the magazine. With a fully loaded rifle, the button was pushed forward while also pushing forward on the firing pin while the hammer was cocked. The forend or pump would then unlock and move rearward for ejecting live shells. All Model 27/27S rifles were made as takedowns. The Model 27S was made from about 1913-1932- another casualty of the Great Depression. Ths example with 24″ octagon barrel is in excellenbt overall condition and retains nearly all the receiver, barrel and magazine blue with only some very light thinning on the bolt and some equally light edge wear. All markings are sharp and the stock and forend are excellent. Original buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and ivory bead/blade front sight. Exc. bright bore. Tight action. Note: the two holes in the left side of the receiver are factory and hold internal parts, they are NOT gunsmith drilled sidemount holes. The upper tang is also drilled and tapped for a tang sight and retains the correct original filler screws. “SPECIAL SMOELESS STEEL” marked on the side of the barrel.  Exc. stock and forend. This model has no visible serial numbers. A particularly fine example. $1395.

 

A NOTE ABOUT “MODERN MARLINS”: Marlin has closed its doors for good in North Haven, Connecticut and been bought out by the folks who own Remington. It looks like some models have been put back into production with the barrels marked “Utica, New York.” I did see one of the new ones with the old North Haven barrel address so I assume they had left over barrels they were using up. Quality in wood to metal fit was fair at best and trigger pulls were off the scale heavy! I don’t know if any of the octagon barrel “cowboy models” will be produced again, although their online catalogue does show a model 1894 cowboy-type with octagon barrel in .45 Colt. UPDATE: Remington has sold the Marlin line to Ruger.  Ruger is now producing some Marlin models with more to come. In my opinion, all of this with past quality control problems will make the CT manufactured Marlins even more desirable as shooters and collectibles. I know I’ll be looking for them, especially the limited production models.

1) THE RAREST AND HARDEST TO FIND OF THE JM MARKED LIMITED PRODUCTION NORTH HAVEN, CT MADE RIFLES IS THIS 1894CB “COWBOY LIMITED” 20″ OCTAGON RIFLE IN .32 H&R MAGNUM CHAMBERING, #95203XXX, MADE 2005. I’m not sure how many of these were made, but couldn’t be many as they almost never show up anyplace. They are unique in the 1894 line as they don’t have a loading gate and instead load through the magazine tube like the Model 39 .22 rifles and carbines. This example appears about like new having seen little to no use. $2150.

2) EARLY JM MARKED MODEL 1894 .44 MAG. #71-157XXX, MADE 1971. This 53 year old Marlin has the gold/bronze trigger and matching saddle ring. At this time there were no safeties built in aside from the half-cock on the hammer. Factory drilled and tapped (with filler screws) on the receiver top as well as on the receiver side for a side-mounted receiver sight. 20″ barrel is fitted with elevation bar adjustable buckhorn rear sight and hooded front sight. No warning markings on the barrrel. Has a quick detachable swivel stud in the stock and a matching magazine band stud with locking swivels and Butler Creek sling with cartridge slide. Excellent inside and out showing only the lightest of handling marks. A classic especially with the saddle ring. $1195.

 

ANTIQUE & CLASSIC RIFLES, SHOTGUNS AND PISTOLS (click text for photos)

1SHARPS 1878 BORCHARDT .45-70 MILITARY RIFLE, #7XXX. The barrel retains fine aged blue with excellent markings including the OLD RELIABLE stamping. Correct military style ladder rear sight with slide intact. The receiver has aged to a dark gray/brown with worn markings. The butt stock has had a triangular piece of walnut spliced into the right side wrist/upper tang juncture, smooth steel butt plate, forend is fine and shows normal wear and handling, but is solid. The cleaning rod is an incorrect replacement (looks like from a muzzle loader), Bore is bright with a few small spots of corrosion, action is tight with the safety working. Comes with a heavy military style sling. $2150.

2) REMINGTON .50-70 UNUSUAL NICKEL FINISH NEW YORK STATE ROLLING BLOCK (see below in Remington section)

 

MODERN AND /OR OUT OF PRODUCTION FIREARMS 

1) ONE OF THE MOST RARE AND UNUSUAL AMERICAN MADE AUTO PISTOL: J. KIMBALL ARMS CO. .30 CARBINE CAL. AUTO PISTOL, ONLY 250-300 WERE MADE IN 1955. This Detroit, Michigan company attempted to produce a pistol for the popular .30 M1 Carbine round. During this time surplus ammo was cheap and readily available. However, there were problems with the basic design of this pistol and the company went out of business soon after production began. This example with adjustable target rear sight and serial number 1X IS BRAND NEW IN THE ORIGINAL BOX WITH OWNERS MANUAL! The box is in excellent condition with only some normal scuffs and handling. All end and top markings are sharp and clear. The owners manual is also fine. Even the most advanced auto pistol collections probably lack one of these. Of those that still exist, this may be the best. $3850.

2) DESIRABLE .358 WIN. CALIBER BROWNING BLR LEVER ACTION RIFLE, #30268PMXXX. It seems almost all of these that are encountered are in .243 or .308 caliber. The .358 WCF is simply the .308 case necked up to take standard .358″ diameter bullets and is a great heavy-hitter out to about 250 yards or a bit more. This Japan made example shows some light hunting wear, but is sound and solid. The receiver retains most of the original blue wIth some very light edge and surface wear mainly on the left side. Factory drilled and tapped for scope mounting- needs two filler screws. The 20″ barrel shows some light scratching on the barrel top ahead of the barrel band that barely goes through the blue in one small area- again minor- and retains the original fully adjustable rear sight with hooded front sight. Nicely figured butt stock has the original Browning marked recoil pad, checkred wrist and swivels studs. Exc. forearm is checkered. Tight action and exc. bore. A hard rifle to find. $1195.

3) REMINGTON 760 PUMP RIFLE, .30-06 (see below)

REMINGTON (click text for photos)

 

1) VERY UNUSUAL .50-70 NEW YORK STATE CONTRACT ROLLING BLOCK MILITARY RIFLE WITH FULL NICKEL PLATE FINISH, MADE 1871. Over the decades I’ve seen a few of these. Whether they were plated experimentally or perhaps for parade use is unknown. It is known that some of these were finished “in the white” with polished barrels and receivers, some had blued barrels and polished receivers and some had case colored receivers with blued barrels.  Lots of good info on these in George Layman’s book Remington Rolling Block Military Rifles of the World. This example is full nickel plated including the hammer, breech block furniture, sights and even the cleaning rod. The nickel shows age and is getting a thick/cloudy/dull look to it. There is minor freckling in areas and some edge wear, but most is intact. Solid stock and forrrend with rack numbers in the side and top of the stock along with a  light inspector cartouche. Tight wood to metal fit, all correct, exc. mech. and fine bore with stront rifling all the way through with some light corrosion that a good oil soaking and brushing should improve considerably. Correct early Remington markings on the upper tang identify this as one of the first contracts with the state of New York in 1871. Most unusual and handsome! $1695.

2) REMINGTON  EARLY MODEL 760 GAMEMASTER, .30-06 PUMP RIFLE. This one with serial number 387XXX was probably made in the mid-1950s and has the early features of a checkered aluminum Remington marked butt plate and serated forend without checkering at the wrist. Wood is excellent showing only minimal handling. Retains about all the blue with only minor ageing/freckling/wear. Original rear buckhorn rear sight with ramped front sight. Correct detachable magazine, sling swivel in the butt stock and half barrel band. Fitted with a Weaver style scope base. Tight action, exc. bright bore, military style sling included. With 22″ barrel, these are still popular fast action powerful rifles. $695.

3) 1871 ROLLING BLOCK PISTOL .50 CAL. (see below in Springfield/U.S. Military section)

 

RUGER (click text for photo),

1) OLD MODEL SINGLE SIX .22LR/.22 MAG CONVERTIBLE, 5 1/2″ BARREL, #436XXX, MADE 1960s. Fine condition Three-screw revolver that has NOT been converted to new model. Retains almost all the blue with just some muzzle wear on the left side and a smudge at the bottom of the back strap edge. It is fitted with high grade walnut oversize grips. On the inside is printed “A GENUINE HERRETT’S MODEL RX.”  Grips show only light wear. Tight action, excellent bright bore, extra .22 mag cylinder is also excellent and shows about all the blue. Classic early Ruger Single Six in very fine condition. $695.

2) RARE 10″ BULL BARREL MK II .22LR AUTO PISTOL, #210-75XXX, MADE 1984. These were made in limited numbers and don’t turn up too often. One of the more unusual variations of this fine pistol that began the Ruger Company in the Post War 1940s. Looks to be little, if at all, used and retains about all the blue. with one small rub spot at the very bottom of the back strap edge. Mecanically excellent with adjustable sights and factory grips. An interesting 40 year old .22 auto! $695.

 

SHILOH SHARPS, MUZZLE LOADERS AND OTHER REPRODUCTIONS. Note: I am a Shiloh Sharps dealer and can order you any Shiloh you want. Check out my other website for Shilohs: www.shiloh-ballard.com (click text for photos).

1) SHILOH SHARPS , BIG TIMBER, MONTANA MADE MODEL 1874 LONG RANGE EXPRESS, .45-70. This is an interesting early Montana rifle with serial number 6XXX that was made in the 1980s. It has the “OLD RELIABLE” and “C. SHARPS” barrel marking that was later omitted as well as the SHILOH RIFLE MFG. CO., BIG TIMBER, MONTANA receiver marking. It has a 34″ standard octagon barrel with no rear sight dovetail and is fitted with a sporting tang sight adjustable for elevation and a globe front sight with pinhead. Walnut is extra fancy and there is an accent line on the cheek piece along with double set triggers, “Sharps Old Reliable” embossed hard rubber shotgun butt plate and pistol grip. Weighs approx 11 1/4 lbs. All in about new, unfired condition. Current catalog price on one set up like this would be about $3800.  My price $3250.

2) HARRINGTON AND RICHARDSON .45-70 OFFICERS MODEL TRAPDOOR SPRINGFIELD. I am always on the lookout for these fine rifles that were made in the U.S.A. in the late 1970s. They are beautifully made faithful replicas of the Springfield Officers Models made in the 1870s as personal hunting rifles for officers stationed in the west. This is a particularly attractive example with rich brown oil finished walnut stock that is checkered at the wrist and forearm. The case colored butt plate, trigger guard, hammer, breech block, lock plate, receiver ring, hammer, and barrel band are nicely engraved, as were the originals. The barrel is richly blued with “U.S. SPRINGFIELD MODEL 1873″ on one side with the H&R U.S.A. address on the other. Pewter tip is also engraved and the original wiping rod is intact uner the 26” barrel. Sporting tang sight (like the originals) with blade/bead front sight. This one with serial number 5XXX is in about new condition inside and out. As I always say, compmared to other rifles of this type for sale, these are one of the best bargains on the black powder/replica rifle market these days- and made in the U.S.A., not an import. These are getting hard to find, especially in this condition. $1395.

 

SMITH AND WESSON (click text for photos)

1) HIGH CONDITION NICKEL WITH MEDALLION PEARL GRIPS SAFETY HAMMERLESS 2ND MODEL .32, 3″ BARREL #161XXX, MADE C.1909. The 2nd. model top break safety hammerless revolver was made from 1902-1909. Serial numbers ran from 91418 – 170000. Judging from that, I’d assume this one was probably made during the last year of the 2nd Mod. production. The Safety Hammerless was a popular design for pocket carry as it had no hammer to snag on clothing and the grip safety, “lemon squeezer,” feature made it very safe to carry without fear it might go off unintended. The only way this revolver could fire is if the revolver was firmly gripped which depressed the grip safety and then the trigger pulled. The .32 S&W cartridge wasn’t a powerhouse, but five quick shots double action could be formidable at close range. Because this revolver was easy to carry, many or even most were frequently carried in pockets or purses. Often they are now found in fairly worn condition. This example is particularly fine and comes with factory pearl grips with deep dish S&W medallions (pearl grips without medallions are almost always non-factory replacements). The full nickel finish is generally excellent with only some minor pin-prick freckling on a few very small areas of the cylinder and frame. The trigger guard and barrel catch retain fine factory blue. The grips are excellent and not chipped or cracked. The action on these is interesting as the double action pull initially revolves the cylinder and cocks the internal hammer. It then comes to a bit of a stop before a little extra pressure fires the revolver. This actually makes sighting for a deliberate shot very possible. Action is excellent and the bore shows good rifling and some scattered very surface corrosion or possibly lead that may brush out. A most handsome 115 year old Smith with all matching serial numbers and great pearls! $795.

2) RARELY ENCOUNTERED MODEL 1891 .38 S&W CALIBER SINGLE ACTION REVOLVER, #10XXX, MADE 1890s. One of the most attractive of the top break line the Model ’91 looks  like a scaled down New Model No. 3. It was the only single action pocket revolver with a trigger guard instead of a spur trigger guard. Supposedly almost 27,000 of these were made, but as all the sources reveal, this model is seldom seen. Either the number produced is wrong (probably) or most of this model was exported (p0ssible) as most Americans by this time wanted their pocket revolvers t.o be double action- like the safety hammerless models in .32 and .38 S&W. Regardless, this is one of the most difficult models to find. This example with standard 3 1/4″ barrel and nickel plated finish has all matching numbers on the frame, cylinder, cylinder latch and barrel. It  has the correct black hard rubber grips with S&W monogram. Grips are fine with one chip on the bottom edge at the butt on the left side that is mainly visible when observed from the bottom. Fine nickel shows some flaking on the cylinder and some scattered light freckling on the barrel sides and frame sides. Still retains some light case color on the hammer sides and back. Exc. mech, tight overall, fine bright bore with scattered surface corrosion that ought to brush out. Excellent markings including the “MODEL OF 91” on the barrel top along with S&W address and patent dates etc. Comes with unmarked brown leather holster that is very aged but sound and obviously made for this revolver. Nice example and super difficult to find! $1495. 

3) UNUSUAL SHORT BARREL .32 S&W LONG CALIBER REGULATION POLICE REVOLVER WITH 3 1/4″ BARREL, #364XXX, MADE 1922-1923. Made from 1917-1941, the Regulation Police series was different from the typical .32 Hand Ejector series in that the back strap is cut back so that oversized grips could be fitted that cover the butt of the revolver for a better grip.  They were offered in 3 1/4,” 4 1/4″ and 6″ barrel lengths. Most that I have seen are in the  4 1/4″ length with less in 6″ and almost none in 3 1/4.” The reason is fairly obvious, since the short barrel version would be used for concealment use, most people who wanted this length would buy the standard .32 Hand Ejector with small rounded grips. This revolver was intended for police use as well as field use, so again, the short barrel doesn’t make much sense with large grips. All numbers match on the frame (located on the front strap on this model as the butt is covered by the grips), cylinder, barrrel and inside the grips. It retains nearly all the blue with only some slight wear/freckling on the top strap edge etc. Barely a cylinder line and the front of the cylinder still shows about all the blue. The excellent grips have sharp checkering and are crisply stamped on the bottom with the 1917 patent markings. Exc. markings and exc. case colors on the hammer and trigger. Bright bore may have some minor scattered surface corrosion that may just clean out. Overall an excellent example of that superb between-the-world-wars hand fitted craftsmanship. A seldom seen short barrel variant. $895.

4) WORLD WAR I  UNALTERED .455 MARK II HAND EJECTOR 2nd MODEL, SCARCE CANADIAN ISSUE, #30XXX, MADE 1915-1917. As serial numbers for this model began in the 5000 to 6000 range and continued to 74755, this one was probably made in 1915 or 1916. Of these big N frame revolvers in .455 caliber 59150 were manufactured for English service and only 14,500 for the Canadian service. Many, if not most, of these were converted to .45 Colt or .45 Auto Rim (easily identified by having the back of the cylinder ground down and not showing the serial number… or just insert a .45 Colt or Auto Rim cartridge which will not chamber), this one is not altered. The Canadian models lack the British proofs especially in each cylinder flute etc. and are not marked “NOT ENGLISH MADE” etc. This is a very fine example that retains most of the original blue and shows only some normal very light holster wear on the barrel sides and no more than slight thinning on the bottom of the trigger guard and back strap (still retains almost all the blue in these areas). Even the cylinder face retains all the blue indicating that this one was rarely if ever fired. Nice case colors on the hammer sides and duller colors on the trigger. All sharp markings including the S&W logo on the frame. Exc. sharp diamond checkered walnut grips with deep dish medallions that fit perfectly. Lanyard swivel in butt intact. Matching serial numbers, tight action and minty bright bore. A very fine historical Canadian issue S&W from The Great War. $1295.

5) MID-1920s MANUFACTURE 22/32 HAND EJECTOR .22 LR TARGET REVOLVER, #384XXX.  This example has the “MADE IN U.S.A. ” frame stamping which began in 1922. It has the correct onc screw extension target grips with the June 1917 patent date stamped in the bottom. Grips are in excellent condition. Fine Cylinder and barrel blue with some edge wear and light holster wear on the barrel sides toward the muzzle portion. The frame shows some flaking to brown above the grips on both sides and on the portion where the barrel screws in.- a little blue touch up would go a long way. Corrrect adjustable target sights, very tight action, crisp light trigger pull, bright bore etc.- all from that wonderful hand fitted and tuned 1920s period of production! All sharp markings and matching numbers on the cylinder, frame and barrel. Still some good case color on the hammer and trigger. A beautifully crafted target/field revolver from 100 years ago. $595.

6) EARLY POST-WAR K-22, PRE-17 REVOLVER, #K59XXX, MADE 1948. This one appears unfired as it has all the pristine blue on the face of the cylinder. Retains about all the blue with one less than 1/2″ spot of light corrosion on the right side of the barrel that would touch up nicely. Exc. diamond checkereed grips. Matching numbers. Superb 1940s quality. $1150.

7) SCARCE .38/44 OUTDOORSMAN TARGET REVOLVER, #S 97XXX, MADE 1953-54. Only 6,039 of these big “N” frame revolvers were made between 1950-1957. All were hand fitted and tuned. This one has NOT been bored out to .357 Magnum as many were and is still in its original .38 Special chambering. Retains about all the blue with only some very slight wear at the muzzle and bottom  edge of the barrel lug with only a very light cylinder line. This one does not look like it was fired much if at all as it retains about all the blue on the cylinder face. Bright case color on the hammer and trigger, tight mech., adjustable target sights, bright exc. bore. Correct diamond checkered grips. All numbers matching on the frame cylinder and barrel. Only the grips not matching, but correct. Nothing like this made today! $1495.

8) MINTY CONDITION .44 HAND EJECTOR 4TH MODEL .44 SPECIAL TARGET (“MODEL OF 1950 .44 TARGET/PRE-24) Only about 5,000 of these were made from 1950-1957. This 5-screw example with serial number S 146XXX was made 1955-56. The standard finish on these was a dull blue. According to Supica’s book THE STANDARD CATALOG OF SMITH & WESSON bright blue finish should command a 25% increase in value. This one has the scarce and desirable bright blue finish, and about all of it remains. It also has the correct diamond checkered target grips. Bright case colors on the hammer and trigger. Tight action and perfect bright bore. I’m not sure this one was ever fired as about all the blue remains on the face of the cylinder. Barely a cylinder line. About as nice as one could hope to find especially with the special bright blue finish. $2350.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD AND U.S. MILITARY FIREARMS (click text for photos)

 

1) REMINGTON 1871 U.S. ARMY ROLLING BLOCK PISTOL, .50 CAL., MADE 1872-1888.  Approximately 5,000 of these handsome pistols were made for the U.S. Government.  The big question is WHY? They are beautiful and powerful single shot pistols, but during this time there were a number of big S&W and Colt revolvers that were issued and were more effective.  Regardless, they are interesting and scarce.  This example shows some fine case color on the left side of the frame and on the frame around the hammer/breechblock and upper trigger guard sides with the right side more mottled and faded. The barrel blue has aged to a soft, uncleaned dull blue/brown. Unaltered front sight. The receiver has the correct P and S government inspector stamp along with the usual Remington markings. The left side of the grip has a crisp inspector stamp. Grip and forend are fine and show only normal light handling. Tight action, fairly bright bore with fine rifling and some scattered surface roughness that may scrub out. Many of these were later gunsmith altered to target pistols, this one is all original and a fine example. $2150.

2) U.S. 1899 KRAG CARBINE WITH FINE CARTOUCHE, #286XXX. These are getting very hard to find now especially in unaltered condition. This example has a sharp 1899 cartouche as well as the correct Model 1899 receiver stamping used ONLY on carbines. Fine deep barrel blue shows some age and is mixing a little brown, but all there. The receiver is a mottled uncleaned brown with some very minor surface pin-prick pitting on part of the loading gate that is hardly worth mentioning. It has the headless cocking piece only used on some of these 1899 carbines as well as the “C” marked rear sight (needs front barrel mounting screw). Only the front sight blade that is pinned in to the base appears to have been filed. The walnut stock, forend is a dark and uncleaned color with matching “humped” handguard that is also only used on these M-1899s. There is a shallow chip on the left side of the stock at the top side of the butt plate that is old and worn in. Fine action with functioning safety and exc. bore that is only a little dark, but not pitted. Good even aged blue on the extractor. This was the last carbine made by Springfield for the U.S. armed forces. An attractive, unmessed with example. $1895

3) RARE LATE FIRST MODEL 1873 SPRINGFIELD TRAPDOOR RIFLE, .45-70, #83XXX, MADE 1878. This is a really interesting late First Model transition when the improvements were  being made to the later 1877 Model. This one still has the early markings of the First Model on the lock plate and high arch breech block. Importantly, it also has the short comb/long wrist stock of the First Model. It also has the two click tumbler in the lock and the rear sight base is graduated to “4” on the side, yet has the 1877 ladder graduated to 1100 yards. The barrel retains fine deep blue while the lock, breech block and hammer show the corrrect black oil quenched case hardening. There is still fine blue on the trigger guard with only minor wear. The U.S. marked butt plate has a small rack number stamped behind the top screw behind the U.S. marking. Correct cleaning rod intact. Wood is generally excellent and solid with only an age crack coming foreard from the lock plate screws on the left side. Also very importantly, there is the oval “ESA” script stock cartouche without a date underneath the initials (The Model 1877 has the date, but not the earlier Model 1873). Action is crisp and the bore is generally fine+ to excellent with any roughness scattered and minor. This is a very fine,condition, unaltered early Indian Wars rifle. Very difficult to find like this. $1950.

 

WINCHESTERS (click text for photos

 

1)  ATTRACTIVE EARLY 1873 SADDLE RING CARBINE, .38-40 CALIBER, #123XXX, MADE 1883. This one shows fine aged blue on the receiver that is mixing with a nice plum/brown and shows no signs of cleaning or steel-wooling. Similarly, the barrel and mag are ageing to a plum/brown with a little gray mixing on the mag tube bottom. Fine barrel and tang markings, saddle ring intact, original carbine ladder rear sight with slide intact, brass lifter marked “38 CAL” and the original dust cover is intact. Butt stock and forend may have been lightly cleaned and show only modest wear with one usual age crack coming back from the tip of the forend on the bottom left- minor and barely worth mentioning. Forend shows light saddle wear. Tight action with strong safety half-cock on the hammer. The bore is slightly dark with some frost, but strong rifling all the way through. A 141 year old 1873 carbine with a fine appearance. $3450.

2) 1886 OCTAGON RIFLE IN .38-56 CALIBER, #73XXX, MADE 1892. As I always say, this is a very misunderstood caliber often equated with the less powerful .38-55 cartridge. The .38-56 is simply the .45-70 case necked to accept .377″-.379″ bullets and held a full 56 grains of black powder. The .38-55 used the same bullets, but the case only holds about 42-45 grains of black powder- quite a difference. This example shows uncleaned aged blue on the barrel that is mixing with brown. The mag tube is also uncleaned and mostly brown with some blue in the protected extreme upper section below the barrel. The receiver has similarly aged to a soft lightly mottled brown patina with good aged blue on the bolt and loading gate. Stock and forend are fine and solid showing normal light handling with some slight saddle wear to the forearm. Wood to metal fit is tight, some thinning to the comb behind the wrist, but not chipped or cracked, tight action, fine screw heads, bore is a bit dark with good rifling all the way through with some scattered light pitting more to the middle of the barrel, exc. markings, buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and small Rocky Mountain blade front sight. An attrative big 132 year old Winchester. $2850.

3) VERY UNUSUAL SPECIAL ORDER 1892 .44-40 TAKEDOWN, FULL OCTAGON, HALF MAGAZINE, #922XXX, MADE 1923. The full octagon barrel and half magazine are actually TWO special order features because when a half magazine was specified the rifle came with either a half-octagon barrel or a round barrel. A full octagon barrel with half magazine was non-standard. This is a fairly late rifle and has all the correct late barrel markings etc. It retains fine barrel blue with some normal light wear. Theshort  mag tube retains fine blue. It has a buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and a small blade front sight. The receiver blue has aged to mostly brown with blue in protected areas, on the loading gate and bolt with some gray mixing more toward the receiver bottom. Screw heads are excellent. The stock and forearm show tight wood to metal fit and could use a good clean to reveal a little better than standard grade of walnut, which was typical for special order guns. There is some staining on the comb of the butt stock that ought to be fairly easy to remove along with some old grime. The action is tight with a strong safety half-cock on the hammer. tight takedown and best of all, THE BORE IS BRIGHT AND MINTY. An interesting and rare variation in a great caliber. $3450.

4) VERY FINE CONDITION 1892 OCTAGON RIFLE, .25-20 CALIBER, #201XXX, MADE 1902. This is a particularly attractive rifle that retains most of the bright original blue on the receiver sides and bolt. There is only some normal carry wear to the bottom of the receiver and on the upper tang with light edge wear. The barrel and magazine also show fine bright blue with minimal thinning or edge wear. All excellent markings and screw heads. Fitted with a buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and a Beach combination folding globe front sight. Stock and forearm are excellent with tight wood to metal fit. Solid safety half-cock on the hammer. Exc. bore is perhaps a little dark only with no pitting. One of the nicer .25-20s I’ve had in a while and this is a relatively early one being 122 years old. $2450.

5) SPECIAL ORDER 1894 .38-55 SADDLE RING CARBINE WITH SHOTGUN BUTT, #310XXX, MADE 1906. Very fine example that retains fine receiver blue on both sides with some light freckling and some edge wear. Good blue on the bolt shows some wear, exc. screw heads, saddle ring intact. Fine deep barrel and mag blue with just a little thinning on the barrel top. Exc. markings, correct carbine ladder sight with slide intact. Fine stock and forend with tight wood to metal fit. The toe of the Winchester embossed hard rubber shotgun butt plate is chipped for about 1/4″. Tight action, solid safety half-cock on the hammer and excellent sharp bore. A hard to find caliber in this nice condition special order 118 year old ’94. $2950.

6) VERY FINE CONDITION 1894 TAKEDOWN, .30WCF ROUND BARREL RIFLE, #850XXX, MADE 1917. Retains about all the blue on the barrel and magazine with excellent markings, flat top buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and Winchester smll blade front sight. The receiver also retains fine blue on the sides and bolt with only minor “flaky-brown” just beginning to show which is typical of receivers of ’94s made during this time, and only some edge wear/browning. Exc. screw heads and tight action with excellent sharp bore. Fine stock and forend with only light handling marks and tight wood to metal fit. These are getting hard to find in this condition especially in takedown. Really nice appearance on this 107 year old 1894. $2650.

7) VERY FINE 1894 .38-55 OCTAGON RIFLE, #104XXX, MADE 1901. This is a truly “attic condition” 1894 that appears to have been stored away for decades.  The receiver shows most of the blue on both sides and is partially covered with hard-dried grease. Fine blue on the bolt and bottom of the receiver with normal light edge wear. Generally excellent screw heads (with grease in the slots) and good aged case color on the sides of the lever and hammer back. Fine deep blue on the barrel and mag tube (with some dried grease there too). Stock and forearm show only normal light handling marks with tight wood to metal fit. Tight action, strong springs, solid half-cock on the hammer and exc. bore that is only a little dark. Standard Winchester buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar intact and Winchester blade front sight. Exc. markings. I made no effort to disolve the dried grease as this is indicative of a rifle that hasn’t been messed with in years! $2750.

8) A TRULY ONE-OF-A-KIND MODEL 1894 SADDLE RING CARBINE! I’m not sure I’ve ever offered, much less seen, a unique 1894 of which there are no others identical; but here it is! This one is is chambered in .38-55 and has a plain pistol grip with late-style serrated steel shotgun butt stock. It also has a 2/3 magazine… now here’s the kicker, IT HAS A STAINLESS STEEL BARREL MADE WITHOUT A REAR “SEAT” OR DOVETAIL for a rear sight. The serial number is 1038XXX which places it as manufactured in 1928.  This is important as the stainless steel barrel option was only offered from about 1926-1931 and was rarely ordered. Any stainless steel barrel ’94 is a rarity, but one made without a rear dovetail and placed on a pistol grip saddle ring carbine is pretty much unheard of.  Add to that the .38-55 chambering at such a late date, and I’d think that unless someone ordered two identical carbines like this, it is a one-of-a-kind! This one has the correct factory proof marks on the receiver and barrel. The stainless steel barrels could not be blued, so they were “Japanned” finished (like a black paint). As this tended to scratch and peel off, usually owners of these simply steel-wooled off the remaining black finish. Such is the case with this example. There are faint scratch lines indicating this was done. The barrel has the correct late style “MODEL 94” and “-STAINLESS STEEL-” markings. The 2/3 length magazine tube retains fine blue and there is still some good blue on the barrel band. The receiver blue has mostly dulled and flaked to a brownish-gray with some aged blue more on the left side panel. Fine deep blue on the loading gate and lever.  Possibly some cold blue was rubbed on at some point- easy to remove. The saddle ring is intact.  Stock has the correct Winchester embossed pistol grip cap and has the “fluted” comb typical of stocks made in the late 1920s. Exc. stock and forend. Wood shows light handling only. The upper tang is fitted with a later unmarked Lyman or Marble tang sight in the factory holes. Appears the rear tang screw is not pulling the lower/upper tangs tight as the upper tang appears raised slightly from the wood. All very minor. Tight action, strong safety half-cock and perfect bore. $5800

9) THREE HEAVY STEEL WINCHESTER MARKED TOOL ROOM “DIES” FOR THE MODEL 1895 MUSKET! Really interesting and unusual Winchester items that somehow survived to the present. Given their weight, it is surprising they weren’t sold for scrap at some point when 1895 Muskets were no longer produced and these tools became obsolete. First is is an oblong eight sided piece marked “95 MUSKET”  and “FRONT BAND” with a small etched measurement (?). With this is a corresponding “plunger” with stem/handle that fits perfectly in the milled center. It is marked along the stem in two lines on two sides, “MOD 95 MUSKET FRONT BAND” and “TEMPLET FOR MASTER GAGE” (yes gauge is misspelled). The polished flat bottom portion that fits into the milled section of the heavy gauge is stamped  “MOD”. Next is a rectangular piece marked “MOD. 95 MUSKET” over “FRONT BAND” over “1.875 = MOD” over some kind of very small circular etching. It comes with a perfectly machined unmarked “plug” that fits in the milled out section. Last is what I believe to be a butt plate die. It is a little difficult to read the stamping as there is some corrosion on this portion, but it can all be made read, “1895 BUTT PLATE MUSKET” over “B   U S H ..225 = MOD.” then there is a circle with a “J” and a small numberwithin  it and a small “s s”.  These are really great items for the specific 1895 collector or general Winchester enthusiast. The machining on these is amazing. The “plugs” or templets only go into the heavy gauges about 7/8 of the way before stopping and cannot be pushed all the way through. Perhaps a “go/no-go gauge arrangement. One-of-a-kind little collection that should remain together. For all three plus the two inserts/templets, $1250.

10) VERY FINE CONDITION 1895 IN .35 WCF CALIBER, #58XXX, MADE 1907. A particularly fine example with special order and desiravle shotgun butt, this one retains fine deep receiver blue with only normal edge wear and most of the blue loss to the lever. The magazine also retains fine blue on the sides with some dulling on the bottom only. Exc. blue on the bolt and some good thinning blue on the upper tang. The correct 24″ barrel retains about all the blue and is fitted with the original buckhorn rear sight with a small Lyman blade/bead front sight in the original barrel boss. Exc. stock and forend. Has the correct ebony inlay in the forend tip schnable and the Winchester embossed hard rubber butt plate. Tight wood to metal fit. Exc. markings, exc. screw heads, tight action, strong safety half-cock on the hammer and exc. sharp bore. Great 117 year old 1895 in a powereful caliber. $3250.

11) SCARCE SEMI-DELUXE MODEL 1903 .22 AUTO RIFLE WITH CHECKERED STOCK AND PISTOL GRIP, WITH CODY MUSEUM CALL-and IN LETTER, #27XXX, SHIPPED 1906.  A very high condition example with about all the deep blue remaining on the barrel and receiver with one finger-nail size spot on the top right rear of the receiver and some thinning of the blue on the bottom & trigger guard. No telling how the spot happened, but could be easily touched up to blend better. Correct Winchester embossed pistol grip cap with  fine checkering on the pistol grip and forend. the left side of the receiver is fitted with the correct Lyman receiver sight. Retains the correct original rear and front barrel sights. Bright excellent sharp bore. Winchester’s earliest model auto rifle. Factory ledgers verify pistol grip, checkering and shipping date. I believe CCI is offering .22 auto rim fire ammo. $1495.

12) FIRST YEAR PRODUCTION SEMI-DELUXE MODEL 1907 .351 SELF-LOADING RIFLE, #7XXX, MADE 1907. Fine blue on the barrel and receiver with only light edge wear and some bottom wear ahead of the magazine. Tang sight with small ivory bead front sight and blank filler in the rear dovetail. Worn checkering with excellent stock and forearm that may have been lightly gone over, yet still has tight wood to metal fit. Correct sling-eye studs and fine blue on the forend cap. Serated steel butt plate may be a replacement as it seems most of these I’ve seen have hard rubber butt plates. Matching numbers and exc. markings. Correctly marked magazine. Exc. mech. and bore. Scarce 107 year old auto. $1595.

13) NEAR NEW CONDITION MODEL 63 .22 AUTO RIFLE, #80XXX, MADE 1948. This early Post-War rifle appears to have seen no use. It retains about all the blue including on the checkered steel butt plate and forend cap. Wood is excellent, mechanically tight, bright bore, original sights. You’d have to examine this one very closely to fine a hint or edge wear or scratch to the wood finish on this 76 year old Winchester. Arguably the classiest .22 auto rifle ever made. This is what you’d see if you went to your local hardware store in 1948 and asked to see the Model 63 standing in the new gun rack! $1395.

14) EARLY PRE-WAR MODEL 71 .348 WCF, #13XXX, MADE 1937. Not many of these Pre-War rifles were made as the Great Depression was still in full swing when the first rifles came off the line in 1936. This is the “long tang” version found on early guns and this one also has the desirable bolt peep sight along with inletted super-grade style sling swivel bases in the butt stock and on the forend cap. Overall condition is excellent with most of the blue intact and just a few small areas of freckling on the barrel and lever. There is one thin line of very light corrosion- barely through the blue-  coming down from the bolt on the left side  to the bottom of the receiver that may have been caused by blood or some kind of  chemical. It is fairly minor and could be cleaned/touched up. It retains the original checkered steel butt plate and has a blank filler in the rear sight dovetail on the barrel. Wood is excellent and shows almost no handling with tight wood to metal fit. Tight action and perffect bore. A really fine 88 year old .348.  $1950.

 

BILL GOODMAN, 280 W. KAGY BLVD. SUITE D #152, BOZEMAN, MONTANA 59715 TEL. (406) 587-3131 FAX (406) 219-3415 montanaraven@hotmail.com

THESE WERE SUCH GOOD NOTES FROM THE FIELD I’M KEEPING THEM HERE.

FINALLY, MY SECOND NOVEL IS OUT! First, I’d like to thank everyone who read my first novel, DESERT SUNDAYS, and kept after me to get the second one done and published! So, after the usual delays and hitches, here it is. This one is called AN OBVIOUS SLAM DUNK and if you like courtroom scenes and a story that not only makes you think, but surprises you…well, this is a page turner I know you’ll like. And before anyone asks, yes, the third novel is almost done and I hope to get that one out before too long. All three form a trilogy, but each stands alone, so it doesn’t matter which you read first. Both are available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble (Kindle downloads too). If you want to save some money and have a signed copy, I have books here that I can sell cheaper than online at $13 each including shipping. Click here to see both books front and back with a synopsis of each.  Don’t bother to call to reserve a copy, just toss a check in the mail with shipping instructions.  MY THIRD NOVEL IS AT THE PUBLISHER NOW AND SHOULD BE OUT THIS SUMMER!! Thanks, Bill Goodman

CRACKED STOCKS! Seems like an odd thing to write about, but this is something I’ve not seen in print before. I’ve observed a lot of rifles with cracks coming straight back toward the butt plate from the upper and lower tangs. Sometimes the cracks are severe enough to warrant repairs (like cross bolts etc. through the wrist or extensive gluing) and other times the stock remains pretty solid as is. So what caused this condition in the first place? I’ve hunted with all kinds of rifles in all kinds of weather and terrain and never had a gun get damaged like all these I’ve seen. And I’ve taken some pretty bad falls too. Once, on ice I couldn’t see beneath a couple inches of fresh snow, my feet went out from under me and my rifle landed a number of yards away! Still, no cracks like these. So I’ve been puzzled by this for some time. Then it hit me, since these guns all seemed like Western big game rifles- large lever actions like 1876 and 1886 Winchesters or Marlin 1881 and 1895s as well as all over while the rifles were in saddle scabbards- fairly common in icy winter conditions, especially in the mountains. Also, sometimes horses will walk so close to trees that they rub against them. If a rifle is in a butt-forward position scabbard, the rifle can go on one side of the tree and the horse the other causing a stress cracked stock. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. The wrists are fairly strong on most rifles and it takes a lot to crack one. If anyone else has a different theory about this condition, I’d like to hear it!

“GUNS OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION YEARS” When the Great Depression began with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 America was taken by surprise. Prior to this pivotal event, in the gun industry production was high and sales were brisk. Almost overnight sales fell off hugely. The Winchester Handbook by George Madis shows production numbers by years of some of the major models. This is pretty illuminating. Here are some examples: Model 1890 .22RF had 12,367 produced in 1928 and 696 made in 1932; Model 1892 saw 64,833 produced in 1910 and 491 in 1930; Model 53 had 2,861 produced in 1925 and 30 made in 1937; Model 1894 had 29,967 made in 1927 and only1,192 made in 1934; Model 55 had 3,064 made in 1927 and 42 made in 1936. Colt, Marlin, Savage, Remington and Smith & Wesson etc. all felt the same pressure. With production down to a fraction of what it was, the big manufacturers had no choice but to fire employees. Those lucky enough to be retained were the most highly skilled and experienced craftsmen. They also had time to put extra fine fitting and finishing into each firearm. Generally, the quality of these guns is truly exceptionally. With production numbers of these late pre-war arms relatively small and quality without peer, their value should be assured. Some of the scarce large frame Colt and S&W handguns- especially the target sighted versions- are almost breathtaking in their fit an d finish. This has been an under-appreciated niche in arms collecting/investing. It is my belief Great Depression era arms are often “sleepers” on the antique market today and are bound to increase in value at a rapid pace making them excellent long term investments.

I have found a new shooting activity that I’m sure a number of folks who check out my website will either want to try themselves or will at least find interesting reading. I’ve discovered the fun of BLACK POWDER shotshells. And no, I’m not new to black powder. I’ve been shooting muzzle loaders since I was a kid (I was too young to buy ammo, but a can of black powder and a single shot muzzle loading pistol kept me shooting!) I’ve shot black powder cartridge rifles and some handguns since the 1970s. I’ve also tried a few muzzle loading shotguns, but a while back I noticed Midway was offering reloadable brass shotshells made by Magtech in Brazil. They cost about a buck a piece and come in a box of 25. So I thought this looked interesting and bought a box. They prime with a large pistol primer (I use CCI Large Pistol Mag. Primers) and require no special tools to load. I did buy a “cowboy 12 ga. shell holder” by RCBS which makes priming easier, but one can prime using a dowel, hammer and a flat surface to seat the primer. Anyway, I loaded with various loads of black powder as well as Alliant Black MZ black powder substitute. 27.3 grains equals one dram, so a typical heavy field load of 3 1/2 drams equals about 95 grains (by volume) of black powder or substitute. I load that through a drop tube to better settle the powder, using a wood dowel I seat an over powder card wad, then a cushion wad, pour in 1 1/8 oz. of shot from an antique shot dipper I picked up somewhere along the line, top with another over powder wad and then put about three small drops of CLEAR NON-FOAMING Gorilla glue on this top wad at the edge. Last, using a Q-tip sweep it around the wad edge. It dries making a nice seal with the inside of the brass case and holds everything together (note: this is the best glue I’ve tried, but do NOT use the brown foaming Gorilla glue as it pushes the wad up when dry and is awful to correct!). Firing removes any glue residue from the case. I picked up a particularly nice Remington 1889 double barrel with exposed hammers (damascus with exc. bores) and tried out my loads on some thrown clays. I’m not a good shot with a scattergun, but when I felt I was on, the clay targets broke as nicely as if I’d been using a modern smokeless shotgun. I used this double on a pheasant hunt last fall and did just fine with it. Truthfully, it made the hunt so much more fun I don’t know if I’d go again with one of my modern guns! Recently I tried the same shells in a Winchester 1887 Lever Action 12 ga. that was made in 1888. It fed beautifully and was a blast to shoot (no pun intended). The brass cases de-prime with a simple Lee type punch and clean up with hot soapy water. No resizing is required for the next loading. Pretty simple. The 12 ga. cases are 2 1/2″ long, which is exactly what a modern 2 3/4″ case measures LOADED AND UNFIRED. Remember, many of the older guns, like the Winchester 1887, have 2 5/8″ chambers. You don’t want to shoot a 2 3/4″ shell in them as they won’t be able to open up all the way causing pressures to jump etc. I don’t think Magtech offers brass cases in 10 ga. but they do in the smaller gauges. There are a lot of older shotguns out there that can often be purchased inexpensively and make wonderful shooters. Be sure to have any gun checked out by a gunsmith if you have doubts about it. With these brass cases and ease of loading, it’s worth trying. Buffalo Arms in Idaho sells the correct size wads for these brass cases- they actually take 11 ga. wads. If you give this a try, I think you’ll be glad you did- Bill Goodman

William T. Goodman, 280 W. Kagy Blvd., Suite D #152, Bozeman, MT 59715    (406) 587-3131    fax (406) 219-3415     montanaraven@hotmail.com

 

 

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