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                                                BILL GOODMAN,  P. O. BOX 2002,  BOZEMAN,  MONTANA  59771

   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 call 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 ON 4/7/20. WATCH FOR FREQUENT POSTINGS THROUGH APRIL.

 

 

NOTES FROM THE FIELD: 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. Thanks, Bill Goodman

 

 

COLT FIRE ARMS (click text for photo)

1) SUPERB MODEL 1862, 3 ½ INCH ROUND BARREL "CONVERSION” REVOLVER IN DESIRABLE .38 CENTER FIRE CALIBER, #316XXX, C. LATE 1870s. These conversion revolvers made from frames and parts of left over percussion guns are some of Colt’s earliest cartridge arms. They are not only quite scarce because of very limited production, but extremely interesting with many variations. Because of the high serial number on this one, it was probably produced in the . last part of the 1870s. It has a full bright nickel plated finish of which most remains. There is only a small amount of limited peeling on the top of the barrel by the muzzle and a small spot an inch or so back along with some extremely minor edge wear. All serial numbers match and the cylinder shows a crisp and clear engraving scene. The frame, hammer, butt, grip straps, trigger guard etc. retain bright nickel with only a few very minor spots of peel. All excellent markings and screws. Tight action. One-piece walnut grips are excellent and still show quite a bit of the original finish. About ¾ of this model were made in .38 Rim Fire with only about a quarter of production made in Center Fire configuration. These were made on the 1849 frame and have the original “.31 CAL” stamping on the rear of the trigger guard over-stamped with an “8” to show “ .38 CAL.” There is extensive information on this model (as well as others) in the detailed book by R. Bruce McDowell A Study of Colt Conversions and Other Percussion Revolvers. About 10,000 of these were made, of which approx. 6500 were made from 1849 revolvers. Made without ejectors, these conversion Colts are among the most handsome firearms turned out. This is one of the finest examples I’ve seen. (4 photos) $2150.

2) FINE SINGLE ACTION ARMY .44-40, 5 ½” BARREL, #327XXX, MADE 1913, WITH INTERESTING FACTORY LETTER.  Aside from being in particularly nice condition, the Colt letter on this one states that it was shipped to Bond and Bours Co., Jacksonville, Florida, November, 18, 1913 as a one gun shipment. The letter also confirms caliber, barrel length etc. The rarity of this caliber during this time period is best noted in the classic book THE STUDY OF THE COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER by Graham, Kopec and Moore. In this book is stated: “From #300,000 to #338,000our research of existing SAs indicates a percentage for the .44-40 caliber as being only about 5.5% of the total production.  And when this SNR was expanded to #350,000, the survey percentage increased to only 6.2% of production.” In 1913 Florida was pretty much a wilderness with not much activity besides citrus groves. Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville etc. were little more than small towns until after the W.W.II. I don’t recall seeing another SAA shipped to Florida during this time. Matching serial numbers. The barrel has excellent markings including the one line address on top plus the famed “COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER” stamping on the left side and retains nearly all the deep blue with only some thinning toward the muzzle . The front sight has not been altered. The ejector housing shows blue wear to the outside edge (holster wear) with the balance deep blue. The frame case colors have faded to a soft mottled gray with excellent markings and some small traces of color in the most protected areas. Screws and base pin are excellent, cylinder retains most of the blue with light thinning only. The hammer fits perfectly, but has the knurling is of the earlier pre-1906 style- it is widely known that Colt never wasted a part, so it is possible this was a left over hammer. Grip straps and trigger guard are mostly gray with some good blue on the butt and protected areas around the trigger guard bow. Fine grips with a small crack on the left bottom front corner that could easily be reinforced with some epoxy- minor. Has a few very small spots of light pitting on the lower right side of the frame/trigger guard- all very minor and typical of any gun kept near the ocean! Tight action, perfect bright bore. Fine appearance, interesting letter and great caliber. (4 photos) $3200.

3) HIGH CONDITION SINGLE ACTION ARMY .45 COLT CALIBER, 5 ½”, #345XXX, MADE 1923. This example with matching numbers shows most of the blue overall with only some gray spotting/flaking on the outside of the ejector housing, a touch of muzzle wear and the most minor of edge wear on the cylinder and trigger guard bottom. Case colors are vivid in all the more protected areas and still visible on the frame sides below the cylinder with a little brighter color on the right side. Screws retains nice fire blue and the cylinder pin shows about all the blue too. The front sight has not been filed or altered, fine action, minty bright bore and fitted with period very wide and heavy mellowed stag grips. (4 photos) $3650.

4) VERY FINE CONDITION EARLY BISLEY, .32-20 WITH SCARCE 7 ½” BARREL, #192XXX, MADE 1900. This is a hard barrel length to find in a Bisley regardless of caliber as most were made in 4 ¾” or 5 ½” lengths. This one shows really fine deep blue on the barrel and ejector housing with only some light thinning mainly on the left side of the barrel and only slightly the ejector housing. The front sight has not been altered and markings are all sharp. The cylinder shows most of the blue with the usual edge wear only. The back strap and front strap blue is thinning to gray with good blue on the butt, upper back strap by the hammer and trigger guard. Grips fit perfectly and show only the lightest of wear. The frame in front of the cylinder on both sides shows vivid case color while the left side of the frame still maintains some light color. The right side shows some light color mainly on the rear portion by the loading gate and on top in the sighting groove. There is also good case color on the recoil shield on each side of the hammer. Fine screws that still show good blue, tight action with only the first hammer click weak. Very tight lock up at full cock. Excellent, bright and sharp bore! One of the nicer Bisleys I’ve offered. (4 photos) $3250.

5) ONE OF THE RAREST COLTS I’VE OFFERED IS THIS 1878 DOUBLE ACTION IN .476 CALIBER, WITH 5 ½” BARREL, NICKEL FINISH, PALL MALL, LONDON BARREL ADDRESS, #16XXX, MADE 1886! According to the excellent book COLT’S DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER MODEL OF 1878 by Wilkerson, only 344 revolvers like this were made. (I highly recommend this book as it has a wealth of info on all calibers, barrel lengths, finishes, English models etc.). I assume all were shipped to England with very few either returning to the U.S. or surviving at all. According to Wilkerson, many or most of these were shipped to England first and then further shipped to India, Australia and New Zealand. There can’t be more than a hand full of these in existence. This one retains most of the nickel on the barrel, ejector and frame with only normal small areas of peeling- mainly on some edges and on the front strap. The nickel on the cylinder seems to have peeled more heavily and now only has scattered nickel. The barrel has British proofs on the bottom just ahead of the cylinder pin (which is in excellent condition) and behind each cylinder flute. Action is very tight and functions perfectly, bore is excellent and bright with no pitting, “476 CAL” is clearly stamped on the left front of the trigger guard bow, lanyard swivel is intact and the front sight has not been altered. This is about as rare a Colt as one could hope to obtain. (4 photos) $2950.

6) ARMY SPECIAL IN DESIRABLE .32-20 CALIBER WITH 6” BARREL, #489XXX, MADE 1923. This example has seen some honest field use, but is still respectable. Shows most of the blue, but has typical holster/handling wear/freckling that is more blue/brown than worn to silver or gray. There is some of this on the bottom of the trigger guard, back strap, right frame side where a holster safety strap rubbed and the high edges and top strap. Nothing unsightly, but it is there. Front sight has not been altered, still retains fine high polish blue on the barrel and cylinder etc. Nice fire blue on the hammer back and trigger sides. Correct fine hard rubber grips. And best of all the bore is bright and excellent with an action that locks up as tight as it did when this Colt was new 96 years ago! Excellent markings including the rampant colt on the receiver and barrel address and patent dates correctly ending in 1905. All of these pre-war double action .32-20s are becoming hard to find.  $650.

7) HIGH CONDITION MODEL 1903 U.S. ARMY .38 COLT CALIBER DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER, #202XXX, MADE 1903. These were the standard issue revolver for the United States Army during the Spanish American War in the Philippines. They were considered under powered and lasted only from the time ending the use of the famed Colt Single Action Army and the Colt 1909 New Service .45 Colt revolver/Colt 1911 .45 ACP pistol. Interestingly, Theodore Roosevelt carried one of these in Cuba and killed a Spaniard with it. (For years that revolver was on display at Roosevelt’s home in Long Island, NY where it was eventually stolen and later recovered!). This example is in superior condition with most of the original Colt high polish blue remaining. There is the usual blue wear to gray around the muzzle and a bit coming back on the barrel sides along with some edge wear on the cylinder. The back strap is mostly gray and the front strap is thinning. The balance of the frame, barrel etc. show beautiful bright blue with excellent markings, matching numbers on the frame, crane and cylinder latch. There is also the usual inspector stamps (J.T.T. and R.A.C. and P and K) on the bottom of the grips, under the barrel, on the rear of the cylinder and on the upper  left side of the frame  ahead of the grips. On the bottom left frame is “1903.” Action is tight, front sight has not been altered, bore is minty and there is nice fire blue remaining on the trigger sides and hammer back. Grips are fine, inspected and show only a minor corner chip on the left bottom corner. The swivel in the butt is intact. Now at 117 years old, these don’t turn up much any more and this is a superior example that will only go up in value over time. NOTE: looks much better in person as light reflection makes it look like this revolver is full of scratches etc. which it is not. (3 photos) $1150.

8) A REALLY BEAUTIFUL LITTLE 1908 RARE NICKEL FINISH .25 ACP VEST POCKET AUTO, #295XXX, MADE 1921. This sharp diminutive auto retains about all the nickel finish with only a tiny bit of peel at the extreme front left edge at the muzzle. All markings are sharp and clear including the rampant colt on the left rear of the slide. Two-tone magazine is marked on the bottom “CAL. 25 COLT.” Excellent, tight action with both the lever safety and grip safety functioning perfectly. Exc. Colt hard rubber grips. A classy little special order nickel finished pocket auto from the Roaring Twenties Era in great condition! $895.

9) VERY EARLY MODEL 1908 .380 ACP POCKET HAMMERLESS AUTO PISTOL, #8XXX, MADE 1911. Nice example that has been carried, but taken care of and not abused. Generally good blue overall with some areas of surface freckling/spotting mainly on the middle of the slide on each side and on the front strap. Nothing serious, just what you would expect of a .380 that was holstered or carried in a waist band. Excellent early style grips, exc. markings including the rampant colt on the rear of the slide on the left side. Nice fire blue on the safety and trigger sides. Original sights have not been altered. Minty bore, tight action, grip safety functions correctly. This is a very early second model differentiated from the first model which has a barrel bushing. These .380s are getting hard to find especially such an early one that is now 109 years old! $995.

10) THE 41ST OFFICERS MODEL SPECIAL REVOLVER MADE! The Officers Model Special was only made from 1949-1952 and only a total of 6210 were made in .22 LR and .38 Special combined. Serial numbers began at 783001 and continued to 789211. This example in .38 Special is serial number 783041 and was probably turned out in the first day or two of production for this model! One of the more scarce of the Post-World War II Colts, the Officers Model Special had a heavy 6” barrel and a distinctive long ramped front sight. Rear sight was adjustable. At the time Bullseye Shooting was the most popular form of pistol match shooting and the Officers Model Special was the finest .38 Special target revolver in the Colt line. The single and double action pull has to be felt to be believed. These were all hand-honed and fitted by skilled craftsmen and will never be duplicated. The Officers Model Special gave way to the Officers Model Match which had quite a long run from 1953-1970. The Officers Model Special was fitted with “Coltwood” plastic grips that just about everyone hated! Why Colt though American shooters would accept plastic on such a fine revolver is baffling. Most revolvers so fitted have had their grips changed and this example is no exception. It now wears Pachmayr rubber grips, but the original style Coltwood grips would be easy to replace. The blue finish shows some honest wear, but overall there is no abuse or rust. There is the usual blue wear and dulling on the barrel sides and edges of the cylinder etc., but overall this scarce Colt has a fine look to it. All markings are sharp and clear including the “COLT OFFICERS MODEL SPECIAL” marking on the left side of the barrel. Perfect bore, tight action, amazing mechanics!  These are not often encountered and this has to be one of the lowest serial numbers extant. $1195.

 

                      

MARLIN  (click text for photos).

1) 1889 .32-20 ROUND BARREL RIFLE, #88XXX, MADE 1893. Aside from the 34 rifles made in .25-20 caliber, the .32-20 with only 15,441 manufactured was made in fewer numbers than the .38-40 and .44-40. This example retains good aged and thinning blue on the barrel and upper protected portion of the mag tube, the receiver shows very aged and thinned blue mixing mainly brown with some better blue in the protected areas and on the loading gate, fine wood with one small oval wood-fill spot on the right side of the wrist by the upper tang- old and darkened. Tight action with only the half-cock weak. Bore is fine but a little dark with strong rifling throughout and any roughness is minor- could use a good brushing out. Buckhorn rear sight appears to be a replacement and needs the elevator bar only, small brass blade/bead front sight. Exc. markings and nice appearance overall. 126 years old! $1150.

2) ALMOST NEVER SEEN MODEL 1891 SIDELOADER .22 RF RIFLE, #54XXX, MADE 1891. Only the first 5,000 of this model have the rare side loading feature with the balance having the tube feed that Marlin still uses today. Most Sideloaders encountered today have seen long and hard usage and nearly all I’ve seen have had “sewer-pipe” bores with no rifling. This example has obviously seen use, but retains a very fine bore with only minor light and scattered pitting with good rifling all the way through! Actually, one of the best I’ve seen for this model. The 24” oct. barrel and correct short magazine (standard on Sideloaders) is mostly gray/brown with only traces of blue. Markings are sharp and clear and the gallery rear sight and small blade front sight appear original. The receiver is similarly gray/brown with some aged blue in the more protected areas, on the loading gate and on the side plate thumb screw on the right side. Overall fine wood shows handling and use, but is solid. Tight action and good hammer notches. One of the more difficult to locate Marlins. $1595.

3) ONLY MADE ONE YEAR! MODEL 1936 SPORTING CARBINE, .30-30 CALIBER.  This model was begun late in 1936 and in 1937 the model designation was changed to Model 36. Some early M-1936s had flat hammer springs with the later ones having coil springs- those with the coil spring have a “B” prefix t the serial number. This one has the updated coil spring and is serial number B 5XXX. The 1936 was made in a 24” rifle version a 20” carbine version with full magazine and barrel bands etc. and a Sporting Carbine with 20” barrel, rifle style steel forend cap, no barrel bands and a 20” barrel with the ramp front sight dovetailed into the barrel (this is correct for this model). The Sporting Carbine seems less often encountered than the rifle version and all Model 1936 marked Marlins are seldom seen. This one has fine lightly faded case colors on the receiver, exc. blue on the barrel, magazine and forend cap, exc. bore and tight action. The stock is generally excellent with only light handling marks. There are a few more handling marks on the right side of the forend from normal usage. Correct buckhorn and ramped front sights. Correct hard rubber butt plate and Marlin Safety markings on the receiver top. One of the more scarce Marlin deer-caliber rifles made during the height of the Great Depression when sales were slow and production limited. (5 photos)  $1295.

 

 

                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.

1) MODEL 1894S .44 SPECIAL/.44 MAGNUM 20" CARBINE, #11104XXX, COMPLETE WITH WEAVER 1.5-3X SCOPE, MADE 1989. This one with nicely grained walnut is in near new condition. Exc. blue overall and exc. optics in the scope which is mounted in Weaver base and rings. Complete with flip up lens caps. The barrel sights have not been removed. With the turn of two large knurled screws on the rings, the scope is easily removed or replaced in seconds. $895.

 

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

1) PARTICULARLY NICE CONDITION EARLY SAVAGE 1899B 26” OCTAGON RIFLE IN STANDARD .303 SAVAGE CALIBER, #95XXX, MADE 1909. It is getting very difficult to find Pre-World War I Savage rifles in any condition. The octagon version is especially elusive. This is one of the better ones I’ve seen in a long time. The barrel retains nearly all the deep blue and has excellent markings including the “SAVAGE HI-PRESSURE STEEL” over “MODEL 1899” stamping and barrel address etc. The receiver also shows most of the original high polish blue including the upper tang with only some thinning on the receiver ring and bottom forward “balance point” where there is silver mixing on the bottom edge and silver on the bottom forward portion. The butt stock and forearm show only light handling marks with tight wood to metal fit and only one small, typical hairline stress-crack coming back from the upper left receiver edge back for about an inch. Original buckhorn and blade/bead front sights. Excellent sharp bore. A really attractive  and scarce early octagon ’99. $1295.

 

 

MODERN AND CUSTOM CLASSIC FIREARMS (click text for photos)

1) RUGER MARK II .22 LONG RIFLE, 5 1/2" BULL BARREL TARGET PISTOL, #213-94XXX, MADE 1988. These are truly great auto pistols. They are known for their accuracy as the sights are mounted on the stationary frame and barrel. When the pistol is fired, the sights don't move as they do on most auto pistols which have the rear sight mounted on the slide. This example has seen very little use and retains nearly all the blue with excellent Ruger grips.   Has some red nail polish on the front sight that could beeasily removed or just left as is. I've been shooting an earlier version of one of these bull barrel models since I bought it new the late 1970s! $395.

 

 REMINGTON (click text for photos)

1) FRONTIER USED No. 1 ROLLING BLOCK MID-RANGE OR FANCY SPORTING RIFLE IN .40-70 BN CALIBER, 30” HALF OCTAGON BARREL, CHECKERED PISTOL GRIP AND SHOTGUN BUTT, #4XXX, MADE APPROX. LATE 1870s. This rifle fits the description of a Mid-Range Target rifle or could have simply been ordered as a fancy sporter. It shows a good deal of Western use, but is basically solid and all original. The metal surfaces are an even dark brown patina with some scattered very old dings and scratches to the barrel and octagon receiver top. Good Remington markings on the barrel top and “40 70” on the bottom ahead of the metal forend tip. Under the forend is the matching serial number plus “PG” indicating this rifle was shipped with a pistol grip stock. There is also a “V W” stamping indicating it was supplied with a vernier tang sight and windage front sight which are now missing. Very possibly this was an eastern target rifle that came West and used as a sporter/hunting rifle during the buffalo days. It has a Remington style very small buckhorn rear sight with blade front sight. Patent markings on the left side of the receiver are fine. Tang has old filler screws where the tang sight was once mounted. Fine original forend shows light wear only with no cracks or chips. Pistol grip checkering worn, but all visible and good. Pistol grip gracefully curved bottom retains the fancy  factory ebony wedge inlay, smooth steel shotgun butt plate. Butt stock shows some handling and wear. Tight action with solid half-cock safety notch. Bore shows some wear, but is surprisingly fine and only needs a good scrubbing/brushing as it has good rifling throughout with some possible corrosion ahead of the chamber and scattered surface roughness- fairly minor. This one came out of the North Dakota/Eastern Montana area. A scarce rifle with lots of character. $2150. 

2) VERY RARE REMINGTON-ELLIOT SINGLE SHOT DERRINGER, CALIBER .41 RF, #2122, MADE 1867-1888.  To quote from FLAYDERMAN’S GUIDE TO ANTIQUE AMERICAN FIREARMS AND THEIR VALUES, 9TH EDITION (last published 2007…and still the most indispensable general book on antique guns available), “Total quantity estimated approximately10,000 (likely less). .41 rimfire caliber, 2 ½” round barrel screwed into frame. An ingenious mechanism consisting of trigger, combination hammer-breechblock and mainspring…Serial numbered under barrel. Barrel marking: REMINGTONS, ILION, N.Y. ELLIOT PAT. AUG. 27, 1867…Another creation of William H. Elliot’s, this unusual, diminutive pistol is one of the most practical of American derringers. Fine $1,500” This example with sharp markings and excellent rosewood grips (the standard was walnut) shows no cleaning or steel-wooling. Aside from a few scratches on the barrel, all metal surfaces are an attractive gray/brown with some traces of aged blue in the most protected areas of the barrel, fine rifled bore and tight action. $1195.

3) UNUSUAL MODEL 12 PUMP ACTION IN VERY SCARCE .22 RF SMOOTH BORE CHAMBERING FOR .22 SHOT SHELLS, #381XXX.  This one is a bit of a mystery as the left side of the receiver is marked “GALLERY SPECIAL” indicating it was made for the .22 Short cartridge. Whether this was a left over action that Remington decided to use for a smooth bore gun is unknown to me. It is also possible that it was originally manufactured as a typical .22 Short Gallery gun and returned to Remington for a smooth bore barrel. The barrel is correctly marked “.22 CAL. SMOOTH BORE” on the left side ahead of the receiver. The top of the barrel has the usual Remington Arms marking over several patent numbers. The wood is generally fine and looks like it may have had some extra stock finish added without sanding. Action is tight and blue is generally full coverage on the barrel and receiver showing a little ageing on the barrel. The mag tube is mixing/turning more brown. Correct bead front sight and no rear sight dovetail. Bright, exc. bore. Certainly an unusual Model 12. (4 photos)  $695.

 

 

SHILOH SHARPS 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).

(ARRIVING SOON)

 

SMITH AND WESSON (click text for photos)

1) VERY RARE BLUE FINISH/SMOOTH WALNUT GRIP “BABY RUSSIAN” MODEL ALSO KNOWN AS THE .38 SINGLE ACTION FIRST MODEL, #9XXX, ONLY MADE 1876-1877. This is really a great condition example. Most of this model were made in nickel finish with hard rubber grips. Blued examples with wood grips are seldom encountered. .38 S&W Center Fire caliber, five shot.  This one shows fine original blue overall with only some plum/brown mixing mainly on the cylinder and barrel from age only and even the grip straps show good blue. Excellent smooth walnut grips fit perfectly and are numbered to the gun. All matching serial numbers, exc. screws, tight cylinder lock-up with hammer seeming to take a little extra backward force to hit full cock with half-cock a little weak. Nice vivid case colors on the hammer, fine barrel markings, bright exc. bore. All Baby Russians are fairly scarce with blued examples rare and any Baby Russian in this kind of condition is very hard to come by. $1650.

2) EXTREMELY SCARCE PRE-WAR .22/32 PRE-WAR KITGUN, #532XXX. These were only made in very limited numbers during the Great Depression years from 1935-1941. All fall in the serial number range of 525670-536684. All were built on the small 5-screw “I” frame (.32 frame). When factory fitted with small grips the serial number was placed on the butt and when fitted with larger target grips which concealed the bottom of the frame the serial number was placed on the front strap. This one has the serial number on the butt. It now has hard rubber grips which are correct for the “I” frame guns, but are not original to this revolver- left grip has a small chip on the very bottom.. This revolver should have checkered walnut grips. Fine blue overall with some thinning on the rear of the frame, a little on the grip straps and one very small round spot of old pitting just below the cylinder latch. Excellent markings, nice case color on the hammer and trigger, exc. bore. This one does not appear to have been fired much as most of the blue remains on the front face of the cylinder, matching numbers on the frame, cylinder and barrel. These almost never seem to show up. $1495.

3) EXTREMELY SCARCE EARLY 5-SCREW MODEL 1950, PRE-22, .45 ACP (OR .45 AUTO RIM) CALIBER, 5 1/2" FIXED SIGHT REVOLVER, #S 86XXX, MADE 1952-1953. Only 3,976 of these were made between 1951-1966. Serial numbers began at the  S 85000 range, making this a very early example. In 1956 the upper sideplate screw was eliminated (making all after this date 4-screw models). Obviously, the 5-screw variation was made for only the first 5 years of production in very limited quantities. This is a very fine example with all matching numbers including inside the diamond checkered grips. Retains nearly all the original blue with only minor edge wear and a slight bit of ageing  to the blue on the back strap and front strap- minor plum mixing. Excellent markings including the “45 CAL MODEL 1950” on the right side of the barrel.  Tight action, exc. bright bore, exc. grips, rich case color on the hammer and trigger. Much less common than the also scarce pre-war Model 1917 commercial model. $2450.

4) SELDOM ENCOUNTERED ALUMINUM CYLINDER  PRE-37 CHIEF SPECIAL AIRWEIGHT REVOLVER WITH ORIGINAL AND VERY RARE SQUARE BUTT FRAME, #28XXX, MADE IN 1952-1954. Only 3,777 of these small “J” frame revolvers were made with aluminum cylinders and of this number only 900 were produced with square butt. Many, if not most, of these .38 Special “Mid-Range” chambered revolvers has their cylinders replaced with safer steel cylinders. Today, it is considered unsafe to fire one of these that still retains the original aluminum cylinder!  Example with matching aluminum cylinder would be considered a true S&W rarity. An original square butt This example has matching numbers on the barrel, frame and cylinder. It was finished in a kind of black finish that stuck to the aluminum almost like paint because normal blue only works on steel. This aluminum blacking tends to chip and peel easily. This revolver shows most of the black with only light scattered speckling mainly on the edges and bottom of the trigger guard from handling/holster carry. There are excellent case colors on the trigger and hammer. The bore is bright and mechanically it is excellent. The diamond checkered grips fit well and are correct, but not numbered to this revolver. It has the correct flat latch, pinned barrel and four-screw frame. An almost never seen variation. $895.

 

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

1) CLASSIC 1898 KRAG RIFLE, #282XXX, MADE 1899. Nice example with sharp 1899 stock cartouche (matching the manufacture date as determined by the serial number), mottled gray receiver with excellent markings and no extra holes etc. Good thinning barrel blue with correct sights. Forend cap/bayonet lug missing only the wire sling swivel which should be easy to replace. Bore is a little dark, but excellent and not pitted. Unusual golden colored walnut stock and matching original handguard generally excellent (3 photos) $975

2) COLT 1903 U.S. ARMY .38 COLT DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER (see above in Colt section)

 

WINCHESTERS (click text for photo)

  1. SELDOM SEEN AND DIFFICULT ACQUIRE 1873 SADDLE RING CARBINE IN VERY LIMITED PRODUCTION .32WCF (.32-20) CALIBER! This rare saddle ring carbine is serial number 601xxx and according to the call-in sheet I got from the Cody Museum, was shipped March 5, 1907. Most of these late 1873s were exported and when found are in horrible condition. This one has seen use, but is very decent. Easily identifiable by the front magazine retaining band instead of the normal barrel band found on .38-40 and .44-40 carbines. The receiver shows even aged blue that is also evenly mixed with a most attractive plum (but certainly NOT brown or gray). Fine blue on the loading gate, mellow, uncleaned brass lifter with "32 CAL" markings, original dust cover, surprisingly excellent screws, barrel and magazine blue similar to the receiver with a tinge more brown to the plum and some light freckling on the barrel. Original carbine rear sight needs the slide and screw only, front sight boss is correct with a high blade pinned in. The end tip of the mag tube on the right side looks like it was dinged and pushed some side metal back about ¼ of an inch. Fine barrel and tang markings. Bore is a bit dark with light pitting, but good rifling all the way through. Lever spring only is a little weak. Walnut stock and forearm show normal handling, but no abuse. There is a stress crack coming back from for a couple inches on each side of the rear of the upper tang that go nowhere. Tight wood to metal fit and correct butt plate without the trap for cleaning rods- only the .32 WCF carbines lack this. One can search for a ’73 Saddle Ring Carbine in .32-20 for years and not see one! $3250.

  2. ALMOST NEVER SEEN 1876 FIRST MODEL OPEN-TOP RECEIVER ROUND BARREL RIFLE WITH SPECIAL ORDER SET TRIGGER, #7XX. This one came out of right here in Montana. Only the first batch of 1876 rifles were made with the open top, like on a Model 1866, without a dust cover.  Soon after, dust covers became standard on this model and many of the open tops were returned to the factory and fitted for a dust cover. Obviously, this example is unaltered from its original open-top configuration. A Cody Museum call-in sheet comes with this one verifying that this rifle left the factory with a round barrel and set trigger. It was received in the warehouse November 8, 1877 and shipped November 15, 1877. All early 1876 rifles were chambered for the .45-75 cartridge and this one has a near exc. bore that has strong rifling all the way through and is only a little dark. It has a buckhorn rear sight with Rocky Mountain blade front sight. Correct 28” barrel, set trigger works fine and has the adjustment screw intact. Overall the metal is uncleaned and retains an attractive gray-brown patina with some aged blue in the protected areas and on the loading gate. The mellow brass lifter has never been cleaned or polished and is dent free. Screw heads are in fine condition and the stock and forend have never been sanded or cleaned and show only normal light handling with fine wood to metal fit. Tight action with good springs and the hammer holds firmly at half cock. Lever catch is intact. This is really a fine, 3-digit serial number, unmolested example of one of the most difficult to obtain of all the Winchester lever action rifles. Most of the finest Winchester collections lack a 1876 Open-Top rifle.  (4 photos) $6450.

  3. 1876 .45-60 OCTAGON RIFLE, #30XXX, MADE 1882. This is a very attractive example with standard 28” oct. barrel with the desirable 1876 Sporting Ladder Sight that looks like an elongated carbine sight. This one retains the slide and is complete. Front sight is the typical small blade. Fine even aged blue on the barrel and mag tube that is aged/mixing plum and shows no sign of being cleaned or steel-wooled. Sharp barrel markings. The receiver is also basically uncleaned and shows an aged gray/brown with good aged blue in the more protected areas around the side plates etc. and on the loading gate. The brass lifter is caliber marked, un-dented and is a mellow, unpolished brass. Butt stock and forend show normal light handling with good wood to metal fit. Tight action with generally fine bore showing only light scattered pitting more toward the center of the barrel and good rifling all the way through. Original dust cover intact. This one came out of Arizona. A fine 1876 with a great appearance. $3450.

  4. ONE OF THE MOST UNUSUAL AND RARE 1885 THICKSIDE HIGHWALL SINGLE SHOT RIFLES I’VE SEEN. This one is a very early thick side rifle #5XXX that according to the factory letter was shipped in 1886 as a caliber .45 2-3/8 (this has to be a mistake as there is no “.45 2-3/8” cartridge.  Probably meant .45 2-7/8) It further states it had a 30” #4 weight octagon barrel with plain trigger. Now, here’s the fascinating part: It was “Returned by Meacham, October 29, 1894, Received in warehouse on February 27, 1895” and listed as “Rifle, 30 Gov’t., Octagon barrel” (again, an obvious mistake as the .30 Gov’t. or .30-40 Krag caliber was never available in an octagon barrel, only chambered in nickel steel round barrels). “Plain trigger, 30 inches, #3 ship date and order number blank.”  Here are some interesting things to consider: The first smokeless caliber in the famed Model 1894 lever action rifle was the .30 WCF or .30-30 in late 1895 to early 1896- no doubt earlier than the year this rifle was changed to the new smokeless .30-40 Krag cartridge that was introduced in the U.S. Springfield Krag rifle in 1894, the same year this rifle was returned to Winchester. Whoever returned this rifle to be changed to the new military cartridge that was just out must have been a very savvy individual when it came to the latest guns and cartridges! Remember, this was before any kind of information getting out beyond newspapers and printed journals didn’t exist.. Word didn’t spread particularly fast in 1894! Winchester had this rifle from Oct. 29, 1894 until February 27, 1895 before shipping it back- that’s almost 4 months. Makes me wonder if they had to tool up for the new chambering. In the Model 1894, they didn’t have nickel steel barrels for the new smokeless .30 WCF round until late 1895 or early 1896 and this is why the first rifles made in 1894 were for the black powder .32-40 and .38-55 rounds. Winchester introduced the Model 1895 lever action box magazine rifle in 1895 with the standard caliber being .30-40 Krag.  But, the earliest Model 1895s carry a patent date of Nov. 5, 1895 which leads me to believe that rifles didn’t start coming out of the factory until after that date. This would be supported by the fact that only 287 rifles in all calibers (including the black powder .38-72 and .40-72) were made in 1895. Another interesting aspect of this Highwall rifle is that the caliber is simply stamped on the barrel top ahead of the receiver “30 N.S.” Since the only .30 caliber cartridges at this time (not including the .303 British) were the .30 WCF (possibly) and .30-40 Krag or Gov’t., I think the “N.S.” stood for Nickel Steel. So, in conclusion, it was shipped before the Model 1895 began production and certainly before the Model 1894 was chambered in .30 WCF (or .25-35 at the same time).  Could Winchester have chambered another Highwall single shot in .30-40 Krag before this one?  Yes, the first .30-40 Krag chambered in a Highwall was in April, 1894. I’m thinking it very probably may have been an ammo test rifle or a prototype smokeless rifle and not necessarily a standard sporter sold to the public as they had not even geared up to manufacture sporting ammo in this caliber yet. But I believe this first .30-40 was probably NOT a thick side action.  There were a little over 1,000 Highwalls made in .30-40 Krag and I believe all were on thin side actions. If you have read this far, here’s the description of this rifle: generally fine blue on the barrel with only a little dulling from age and a thin area down the left side of the barrel where some light rust had formed at one time and been wiped off with an oily rag- nothing unsightly. The bore is slightly dark, but excellent and free of any pitting with sharp rifling. The receiver is a mottled gray with some small traces of case color in the most protected areas, tight action, fine butt stock and forearm with ebony inlay in the schnable tip, tight wood to metal fit, fitted with a Marbles tang sight paired with a Rocky Mountain blade front sight and a slot filler in the rear dovetail. Probably the only thick side Highwall in .30-40 Krag! $3450.

  5. VERY FINE CASE COLORED 1886 OCTAGON RIFLE IN .45-90 CALIBER, #80XXX, WITH FACTORY LETTER, MADE 1893. This example shows fine light case color on both sides of the receiver that is a bit more silvered on the right front half with more vivid color in the protected areas on and around the hammer and in the edges, etc. The lever sides and forward part of the upper tang show good color. The bolt displays bright deep blue with fine blue on the loading gate and screws are excellent. The barrel and magazine show good aged blue that is thinning somewhat and evenly mixing with a little soft plum brown. Buckhorn rear sight with standard Winchester blade front sight. Butt stock and forearm generally excellent showing very tight wood to metal fit and only light handling. Tight action, excellent bright bore with any surface roughness extremely light and scattered and might scrub out even better. Overall, a superior early Model 1886 that still retains lots of case color plus is in a very desirable caliber! Amazing for a 127 year old Winchester! (5 photos) $4650.

  6. VERY ATTRACTIVE 1892 .44-40 OCTAGON RIFLE, #714XXX, MADE 1914. Great example of a very desirable and difficult to find caliber and configuration. This one shows fine deep lightly aged blue on the receiver with only some thinning on the upper tang and on the bottom front of the receiver by the serial number. There is one very old, aged and uncleaned finger tip spot of old rust/pitting on the lower left edge of the receiver that is dark in color and blends well- hardly worth mentioning. Exc. screws still show good blue. Fine+ deep magazine blue, barrel blue is also fine and mixing just a little from age with minor plum. Even the forend cap shows good blue.  Buckhorn rear sight with standard Winchester blade front sight. Excellent markings, fine+ wood showing only light handling and very tight wood to metal fit. Tight action with fine+ bore is fairly bright and shows good rifling all the way through with only some very small spots of scattered pitting. A really fine looking ’92 .44-40 with a lot of finish. $2495.

  7. EXCELLENT CONDITION SPECIAL ORDER 1892 ROUND BARREL RIFLE WITH HALF MAGAZINE, .25-20 CALIBER, #340XXX, MADE 1906. Most people don’t realize that savvy riflemen of the day often ordered their lever action rifles with half magazines is that they tend to be more accurate than full mag rifles.  This is because a fully loaded full magazine hanging on to the bottom of the barrel changes the “harmonics” of the barrel each time a shell is fired and another is fed from the magazine into the chamber. The actual weight of the mag changes with each ejected cartridge and new round fed.  Teddy Roosevelt obviously knew this and ordered almost all of his rifles from Winchester with half magazines as did the British shooters. This rifle retains most of the deep blue on the barrel with only the most minor of ageing. The receiver sides also retain excellent blue with some age and thinning, but basically full coverage. There is some gray/brown on the forward part of the bolt and also on the receiver bottom ahead of the lever. Bore is bright and excellent- if not perfect, not far from it.  Excellent stock and forearm with tight wood to metal fit, exc. screws, tight action, flat top buckhorn rear sight with blade/bead front sight. This is a really fine special order 1892. $1850.

  8. HIGH CONDITION 1892 32-20 ROUND BARREL RIFLE, MADE 1903, a really beautiful example that shows excellent deep barrel and mag blue with only the most minor of wear on the bottom of the mag tube and very slight ageing of the blue, receiver shows excellent deep blue with minor edge wear and a little plum mixing on the bottom and upper tang, but shows most of the bright blue with the lightest of wear only, exc. stock and forend with very minor handling marks only, tight wood to metal fit, still retains some good dark case color on the upper portions of the lever and on hammer, bore appears a little worn and may have some leading in it that should scrub out to fine or better, original buckhorn rear sight with standard Winchester blade front sight, exc. markings, unfooled with overall and super attractive. $2250.

  9. HIGH CONDITION EARLY 1894 .38-55 OCTAGON RIFLE, #56XXX. Very difficult to find such an early rifle in such fine condition. This rifle shows excellent deep blue on the barrel with buckhorn rear and Winchester blade front sights. The mag tube blue is evenly thinning with a fine appearance. The receiver shows deep blue on the side panels, receiver ring and bolt with gray/brown mixing toward the edges and upper tang. Best of all, the bore is bright and excellent with sharp rifling. Excellent forend and stock with tight wood to metal fit and only a couple of typical hairline stress cracks coming back from the receiver in the wrist area that you have to look carefully to see and go nowhere. Tight action, excellent markings, desirable caliber and great appearance overall. $2750.

  10. CLASSIC EARLY 1894 OCTAGON RIFLE IN .30WCF CALIBER, #185XXX, MADE 1903. An attractive example retaining most of the original deep barrel and mag blue with only very minor light ageing/edge wear. Exc. markings. Has a Rocky mountain blade front sight, small single leaf rear sight with a newer Lyman tang sight (and no extra holes underneath- I checked). The receiver shows exc. blue on the loading gate,  good aged blue on the sides and bolt with gray/brown on the edges, bottom and receiver ring. Very fine forend and butt stock showing only the lightest of handling and very tight wood to metal fir.  The bore is a bit dark with deep strong  rifling all the way through and a tight action. A handsome early 1894 that came out of here in Montana. Lots of history in this one. $1395.

  11. SCARCE CONFIGURATION 1894 .30WCF RIFLE WITH HALF OCTAGON BARREL AND FULL MAGAZINE, SHOTGUN BUTT, #228XXX, MADE 1904. This is an especially fine condition rifle that retains nearly all the deep blue on the barrel and mag. tube. Receiver shows good blue on both sides with normal thinning and edge wear, exc. blue on the bolt, exc. screws and even shows good blue on the forend cap. Exc. butt stock and forend with very tight wood to metal fit, checkered steel shotgun butt plate, flat top buckhorn rear sight with Winchester blade front sight. Bore is slightly dark, but excellent, tight action. This is an early 1894 with a very attractive appearance that has very scarce and desirable features. $2450.

  12. SPECIAL ORDER 1894 .38-55 CALIBER ROUND BARREL RIFLE WITH HALF MAGAZINE (BUTTON MAG), #562XXX, MADE 1911. It is a little known fact that lever action rifles with half magazines tend to be more accurate than full magazine rifles- makes sense as each time a cartridge is pulled from the magazine and lifted into the chamber it changes the weight/balance of the magazine hanging from the bottom of the barrel. That’s why some of the more savvy shooters of the day ordered their big game rifles with half magazines- check out most photos of Theodore Roosevelt holding rifles and they all seem to have half magazines. This one shows fine deeply aged blue on the right side of the receiver with a bit less on the left side where it has flaked a bit. The barrel also shows fine deeply aged blue that has some plum/brown mixing. The wood is fine overall with maybe a couple of age cracks coming forward from the receiver on each side of the forearm that go nowhere and are very tight. Fine bore shows light wear and maybe a bit frost, but a good scrubbing ought help. Lyman tang sight with a small Lyman blade/bead front sight and King patented dovetail filler where the rear sight was removed. Exc. screws, tight action, nice appearance. $1495.

  13. DELUXE PISTOL GRIPPED, CHECKERED MODEL 1903 .22 AUTO RIFLE, MADE 1915, fairly plain but uncracked walnut stock and forend, this was someone's well used and taken care of "pride and joy" rifle as the checkering is all there, but fairly worn, the blue on the receiver is pretty well worn off to an uncleaned gray with good blue in the most protected of areas, has the correct pistol grip cap, interestingly, this one was returned to the factory for a new barrel as the barrel has both the oval P "Mail Order" proof as well as the Winchester proof- this means, the rifle was sent back to Winchester who took a "Mail Order" replacement barrel out of stock and fitted it to the returned rifle, has all the correct Winchester and Model 1903 markings on the barrel, fine deep barrel blue, retains some thinning blue on the forend cap, exc. mech., exc. bright bore, buckhorn with blade/bead front sights, I believe I still sells .22 Auto ammo (different from .22 LR), pistol gripped/checkered Model 1903s are quite rare, $795.

  14. SUPER SCARCE MODEL 53 IN .44-40 CALIBER, #8XXX, MADE 1926. This model was introduced in 1924 and was killed off by the Great Depression in 1932. During this time only 3293 were made in .44-40 caliber. For some reason, they almost never seem to show up. This one shows good receiver blue that is thinning a bit more toward the front of the side panels with good blue on the loading gate and deep blue on the bolt. Upper tang and receiver bottom thinning/mixing gray. Fine fairly even barrel blue that only shows some very light thinning toward the muzzle and ahead of the receiver- minor. Flat top buckhorn rear sight with small Lyman blade/bead front sight in the correct short boss or ramp. Screws look unturned. Excellent butt stock and forend show light handling only and display very tight wood to metal fit. Exc. markings including the "NICKEL STEEL .44 WCF" stamping. Has the correct steel shotgun butt plate. Tight mechanics and minty bright bore! Very hard to find. $3450.

  15. MODEL 71 STANDARD RIFLE, .348 WCF CALIBER, #35XXX, MADE 1953. A nice example of one of the most powerful lever rifles Winchester made. It retains most of the original blue on all metal surfaces with only a trace of wear. The stock and forearm show light handling/hunting marks only and there is a tiny sling swivel hole in the bottom of the butt stock only. Retains the original checkered steel butt plate and has the original buckhorn rear sight with hooded front sight. Tight action, exc. screws, perfect bore. One of finest big game lever actions ever made! $1695.

  16. MODEL 88 LEVER ACTION RIFLE IN RARE .284 WCF CALIBER, #H250XXX, MADE 1970. Winchester’s last great lever design, the Model 88 was offered in .243, .308, .284 and .358 WCF chamberings with the last two seldom seen. This rifle retains nearly all the blue, has excellent walnut stock and has seen very little use. It also has the correct Winchester Model 88, .284 marked magazine. Still retains the front sight hood. Great caliber. $1495.

 

    BILL GOODMAN,  P. O. BOX 2002,  BOZEMAN,  MONTANA  59771           TEL.  (406) 587-3131          FAX  (406) 219-3415           montanaraven@hotmail.com

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

 

 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 f elt 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