BILL GOODMAN, P. O. BOX 2002, BOZEMAN, MONTANA 59771
TEL. (406) 587-3131 FAX (406) 219-3415
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 11/23/20. WATCH FOR FREQUENT POSTINGS THROUGH NOVEMBER/DECEMBER.
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) COLORFUL, FRONTIER USED BISLEY WITH HOLSTER, .32-20, 4 3/4" BARREL, #310XXX, MADE 1909. This is a really great set that shows miles and miles of real cowboy usage! The grips on this Bisley fit nicely and are worn almost completely smooth on both sides. There are a couple of tiny chips on the corners, but they are basically sound. The metal is an uncleaned gray/brown patina showing no evidence of ever having been cleaned or scrubbed. All markings are good including the correct two line barrel address used on 4 3/4" barrels (5 1/2" and 7 1/2" had a one line address), screws are generally fine to excellent as is the cylinder pin. The front sight has not been filed or altered. matching serial numbers. There is some aged blue in the cylinder flutes and along the upper and lower flutes of the ejector housing. Tight action with four clicks to the hammer. The bore is about excellent with any roughness being very slight and surface. The double loop Mexican holster fits perfectly and looks like this Bisley was at home in it for many decades. The holster is in remarkably fine condition, but shows much wear- as does the revolver itself. A Colt factory letter might prove interesting on this one. $2150.
3) SELDOM SEEN NICKEL FINISH NEW SERVICE REVOLVER, .38-40 CALIBER, 5 1/2" BARREL, #308XXX, MADE 1920. Almost the entire line of the big double action large caliber New Service revolvers was made with blue finish. Very few special order nickel finished guns were produced and are rarely encountered today. This one came out of Texas and shows honest use, but is still in fine condition overall. There is nickel peeling mainly on the front portion of the cylinder. The metal that is exposed has turned dark- if this area is polished a bit to remove the dark color the metal will blend better and give this example a better appearance. There is also some thinning of the nickel on the left side of the barrel from holster carry. The balance of the nickel has clouded a little from age, but is intact, even on the grip straps and trigger guard etc. Fine markings including the rampant colt stamping on the left side of the frame. The grips are numbered to the gun and there is only one very small chip at the extreme bottom inside where the grip aligning pin goes through the frame. The swivel has been removed and would be easy to replace. When I found this one it had been in storage for years and actually was a little clogged with grease. The action is tight with no cylinder movement or end shake, bore is generally excellent. A really unusual Colt. You can look for years and not find a nickel New Service. $1395.
4) EXTREMELY EARLY PRODUCTION RARE SHOOTING MASTER NEW SERVICE REVOLVER, .38 SPECIAL, #3283XX. According to Timothy Mullin's excellent book COLT'S NEW SERVICE REVOLVER, "Accepted wisdom has it that the Shooting Master occupies the serial number range 328000 to 348000." He further states, "The first Shooting Master, a .38 Special with a 6" barrel was exhibited at the August, 1931 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio..." It is known that #328185 was a presentation to Colt's exhibition shooter J. M Fitzgerald ("Fitz") on April 27, 1931. A factory letter might prove very interesting on this very early production example. This one with checkered back strap, checkered front strap and checkered trigger is in excellent condition overall. It retains nearly all the blue with only some scattered freckling toward the rear of the cylinder which is minor. Correct and original adjustable target sights, excellent blue on the hammer back and trigger, excellent checkered walnut grips are both deeply stamped on the inside with the matching serial number. This was Colt's top of the line revolver introduced during the beginning of the Great Depression when only the finest craftsmen were retained by Colt and production was very limited- especially on their more expensive guns. The quality of these hand fit and finished revolvers is second to none and could never be duplicated today. These have become very difficult to find on the collector market today. $2850.
5) EXCEEDINGLY RARE PRE-WAR .32 NEW POLICE (.32 S&W LONG) CALIBER OFFICERS MODEL HEAVY BARREL TARGET REVOLVER, #635XXX, MADE NEAR THE END OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION IN 1939. The standard calibers for all the Officers Models was either .38 Special or .22 Rim Fire. Only toward the end of Pre-War production when Colt was turning out few revolvers during the worst economic times this country had known for decades, did Colt make a small run of these fine revolvers in .32 Caliber. It is thought that only a few hundred were manufactured. This example shows most of the blue intact with only some faint “spotting” to the blue on the right side of the frame behind the recoil shield with- looks like either some drops of water or sweat rested in this area and thinned the blue. The six inch barrel is clearly marked with the usual Colt address on top with patent dates correctly ending with the 1926 date. The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT OFFICERS MODEL 32 HEAVY BARREL.” The standard factory grips have been replaced with beautiful thumb rest wrap around target stocks with a well executed checkering pattern with a diamond at the screw hole on each side. Tight mechanically and excellent inside, this is the highest quality turned out by Colt during the years when only the best craftsmen remained employed to hand fit and finish these top of the line handguns. $2250.
6) 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.
7) GREAT OFFERING! WOOLY MAMMOTH FOSSILIZED IVORY GRIPS FOR COLT (AND CLONES) 1911 AUTO PISTOLS! The Wooly Mammoth pretty much became extinct about 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene. A large number of the remains of these animals ended up in the permafrost of Siberia and Alaska. Their bones and tusks have been harvested for many years. the tusks typically take on minerals from the soil in which they were entombed for thousands of years. this gives the ivory a rich and very varied coloration. The ivory from the "bark" or outside of the tusk tends to be darker and heavily pigmented, while the more inner portions can be as light as creamy-white. Mammoth ivory can be separated from now-illegal elephant ivory by the grain structures. Elephant ivory has an even-lined structure while Mammoth has a "cross hatch" grain pattern (easily seen on the cross section cut of the ivory)- this is important when dealing with legalities! This beautiful grip set is probably from the mid-section of a tusk as it has both the rich creamy color of aged ivory mixed with darker brown. With elephant ivory no longer in the market place, Mammoth ivory is at a premium. It is very hard to find now and prices have really escalated. This grip set has been "stabilized" chemically so that it should not easily crack, chip or shrink. I've had a pair of these on a 1911 .45ACP for a number of years and they truly look rich and distinctive! $695.
MARLIN (click text for photos).
1) 1893 .38-55 26" OCTAGON RIFLE, #187XXX, MADE 1899. This one shows fine deep barrel blue with the mag tube ageing brown with no evidence of cleaning. The barrel markings are sharp as is the tang marking and has the desirable "SPECIAL SMOKELESS STEEL" barrel stamping. The receiver is also an uncleaned mottled gray with traces of case color in the most protected areas and good blue on the loading gate. Screws are excellent, fitted with original buckhorn rear sight with elevator bar and Rocky Mountain blade front sight. Fine butt stock and forearm with the butt stock having a neatly done copper rivet through the wrist for reinforcement. I can only find one tiny hairline crack coming back from the lower tang for about an inch that is hard to see- I guess this was enough for a past owner to reinforce. Bore is a little dark only, but shows fine rifling throughout. An attractive early 1893 with some frontier character! $1295.
2) SELDOM SEEN MODEL ’93 SPORTING CARBINE IN .32 SPECIAL CALIBER, #8XXX WITH SHORT-LIVED MARLIN FIREARMS CORPORATION BARREL MARKING FOUND ON GUNS ONLY FROM 1922-1924. The Sporting Carbine M-93 was introduced in 1923, so with this barrel address stamping only used for the first full year of production, makes this quite a rare variation and can be dated to that specific time. The Sporting Carbine was last produced by Marlin in 1935 with final shipment made in 1936- no doubt another casualty of the Great Depression. This model came standard with a 20” barrel, 2/3 magazine, straight stock and hard rubber shotgun butt plate. The rear sight was a buckhorn with carbine style front sight. It was produced in .30-30 and .32 Special calibers only, with the .30-30 more common. This example shows fine deep barrel blue, mag tube shows fine blue also with some wear to the sides only. The receiver case colors have faded to a nice mottled gray with some very light color remaining in the most protected areas. The receiver also shows fine blue on the loading gate and has excellent screw heads. Fine butt stock and forend showing only normal handling. Tight action, excellent bore, solid Marlin embossed butt plate. A not often encountered Marlin made in limited numbers and doubly scarce with the "Marlin Firearms Corporation” barrel stamping that was only used until 1924! $1495.
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 1894CS .357 MAGNUM & SPECIAL CALIBER, #03038XXX, MADE 1997. This one is in about new condition (no box) and has the fancy traditional large diamond checkering pattern Marlin has been using since the 1890s. 18 1/2" barrel makes these quick handling and a joy to shoot. Has the folding buckhorn rear sight and sling swivel studs. These are getting hard to find. $995.
ANTIQUE & CLASSIC RIFLES, SHOTGUNS AND PISTOLS (click text for photos)
1) SCARCE WHITNEY-KENNEDY SADDLE RING CARBINE IN .44-40 CALIBER, # I 137, MADE 1879-1886. This is a later production example as it has the desirable loop lever where the earlier guns had the more common "S" shaped levers. Quoting Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms: Carbine production estimated 1,000. Small frame calibers .44-40 and .38-40 with 20" barrel and 12 shot magazines; large frame calibers .40-60 and .45-60 with 22" round barrel and 9 shot magazine. Carbine style forend with single barrel band; singe leaf rear sight. Most of production apparently sent to South and Central America." Obviously, carbines are scarce as are all Whitney-Kennedy firearms, of which a total production is estimated at 15,000. Most of the carbines I've seen over the last years have been in very hard used condition. This one shows use, but is basically solid. the metal is mainly gray. It has the correct "Whitneyville Armory, CT, U.S.A." barrel marking with patent markings on the upper tang. The forend shows some wear, but is solid. The butt stock shows where a sliver of wood came out of the right side upper wrist area along the upper tang/receiver juncture and the original wood was put back with a couple of tacks. There is also a crack coming back from the receiver at the wrist for an inch or so that goes nowhere. Correct butt plate with trap for cleaning rods. Mechanically fine with only the half cock weak. The bore shows good rifling all the way through with some light roughness. Good screws with the center left screw head made into a "cross" with an interesting "sun burst" like markings around it. Lots of character in this one. Needs a rear sight. Front sight blade made of bone or ivory. Winchester bought out the Whitney company in 1888 and ceased production of all firearms! The quality of these lever action rifles is amazing and it seems Winchester didn't want the competition! A seldom seen carbine with lots of character. (3 photos) $1850.
2) SAVAGE 1899A .30-30 CALIBER RIFLE WITH CODY FIREARMS LETTER, #230XXX, MADE 1920. This is the classic early style rifle with straight stock, crescent butt plate, 26" round barrel and schnable forend. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming now has the original Savage serial number records. I called in on this one and found it is listed as described. There was a notation of "P" included that nobody seems to know the meaning of. It was also shown to be accepted on July 2, 1920 and shipped from the warehouse on October 17, 1922 to Sears Roebuck Company. This one turned up here in Bozeman, Montana, so might have been a typical mail order catalog purchase. Nice, unfooled with condition overall with sharp excellent bore, fine barrel blue, excellent markings, the receiver blue is thinning and mixing evenly with some brown, wood is generally fine with a few dings/storage marks on the forend with a very thin chip or sliver out near the forend tip on the right side- really minor. Has the correct Marbles tang sight with a blank slot filler in the rear dovetail. and a Marble #50 white bead front sight. Tight wood to metal fit and tight action with good rotary magazine spring. Has the cool little brass cartridge counter cut-out on the left side of the receiver. Nice crisp trigger pull. Desirable caliber! $1195.
MODERN AND OUT OF PRODUCTION FIREARMS (click text for photos)
1) GOLDEN EAGLE FIREARMS MODEL 7000, HOUSTON, TEXAS .300 WEATHERBY MAGNUM CALIBER BOLT ACTION RIFLE. These were made in the late 1970s-early 1980s and basically copied the popular Weatherby style of rifle. They were made in most calibers with the .300 Weatherby one of the most desirable and most difficult to locate. The Golden Eagle rifles were made in Japan by Nikko and were considered extremely high quality rifles. This one also has the desirable 26” barrel which will give maximum velocity in the .300 Wby. chambering. It is topped with a classic Redfield 3-9X scope with 4-plex reticle in tight fitting Redfield mounts. It sports all the Weatherby features like Monte Carlo comb stock, rosewood forend cap, recoil pad, sling swivel studs, Golden Eagle emblem in the rosewood pistol grip cap and skip-line checkering patterns on the pistol grip and forearm. It also has nicely figured walnut with a straight grain pattern for strength in this powerful magnum caliber. The scope also shows fine, clear optics and aside from a few minor handling marks in the wood, the overall condition is excellent with very minor blue wear. This rifle came out of here in Montana and probably accounted for a number of elk. (3 photos) $1150.
2) HARRINGTON AND RICHARDSON MODEL 949 FORTY-NINER FIRST MODEL, 2ND. VARIATION, .22LR, 9 SHOT DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER, #AE66XXX, MADE 1968. This was one of H&Rs best selling and most popular revolvers. There were several variations, mainly mechanical changes, with the 2nd. variation being made from 1963-1971. These fine revolvers all have 5 1/2" heavy barrels, blade front sight, drift adjustable rear sight and wide hammer spur. Trigger pull is crisp and double action smooth. This one looks to be in near new condition with no wear to the blue and only some light handling to the grips. Super tight lock up. $395.
3) WOOLY MAMMOTH IVORY GRIPS FOR M-1911 AUTO PISTOLS (see above in Colt section)
REMINGTON (click text for photos)
RUGER (click text for photos)
1) HARD TO FIND SPECIAL "BUCKEYE" BLACKHAWK CONVERTIBLE .32 H&R MAGNUM AND .32-20 CALIBER, 6 1/2" BARREL, ADJUSTABLE SIGHT REVOLVER, #610-05XXX, MADE 1988. These were made as a special run for Buckeye Sports in Ohio who was the sole distributor for this unusual model. Interestingly, they were made with FULL STEEL frames and grip straps, unlike the standard Blackhawks which at the time all had alloy grip straps etc. Further the top strap ahead of the rear sight is stamped with a buckeye flower. Grips are walnut with the Ruger medallions. this one appears unfired with both cylinders and the original box with correct end label. These are hard to find now and shoot exceptionally well. They are also about as strong a revolver ever made for these two excellent calibers. Hard to find in any condition, much less unfired with the original box and paperwork! $1395.
SHILOH SHARPS, MUZZLOADERS 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) RARE SHILOH OFFERING! THIS IS THE .45-70 CALIBER "HARTFORD MODEL" COMMEMORATIVE RIFLE OF WHICH ONLY 100 WERE MADE. It was introduced to commemorate the new owners of the Shiloh Rifle Manufacturing Company in Big Timber, Montana. These special rifles were serial numbered on a silver banner from B001 to B100 and also have a silver banner on the lock plate embossed "HARTFORD MODEL." Included with each rifle was a large oval silver belt buckle embossed with "Shiloh Sharps" and a Sharps rifle image along with the matching serial number to the rifle it came with. They were first offered in 1993 and sold out quickly. Apparently, there were problems with the silversmith supplying that aspect of this rifle which caused long delays in delivery, with the last of these special rifles being produced in 2000! This rifle is next to the last one with number B099. It is unfired and comes with the matching belt buckle in the original blue velvet box. The rifle also comes with the original check list hang tag, certificate naming the original purchaser and original serial numbered Shiloh cardboard box (no longer used by the company). Each rifle was fitted with highly-figured extra fancy walnut, a special very heavy full nickel-plated crescent butt plate (not offered on any other rifles and unique to this model only), 30" heavy octagon polished barrel, highly polished screws, pewter tip and Hartford collar, double set triggers and full buckhorn Lawrence ladder rear sight with blade front sight. This is a stunningly beautiful rifle complete with matching serial numbered buckle in pristine, new condition from the original owner who stored this rifle for twenty years! A rare opportunity for the Shiloh Sharps enthusiast! (4 photos) $4850.
2) UBERTI MADE REMINGTON ROLLING BLOCK SINGLE SHOT PISTOL IN .357 MAGNUM CALIBER. These high quality and well built pistols are copies of the scarce Model 1891 Target Pistols made by Remington on the 1871 Army Rolling Block Pistol action. The receiver is beautifully case hardened with the 9 1/2" half octagon barrel blued. The brass trigger guard and front strap really makes this a stunning handgun. This example was imported by E. M. F. Co. and is so marked on the barrel top with the usual Uberti markings on the left side of the barrel. This one has seen minimal use and aside from a couple of tiny handling marks is excellent inside and out. I actually have two of these that I shoot. One was a .22 Hornet that I had rebored years ago to .32-20 and the other is a .357 mag. like this one- lots of fun and accurate shooting! These are hard to find. $595.
SMITH AND WESSON (click text for photos)
1) RARE OFFERING: MODEL 1891 SINGLE SHOT PISTOL IN .32 S&W CALIBER, #7XXX. This was Smith & Wesson's first single shot target pistol of which only about 1250 were made. The majority of these were in .22 RF chambering with only 229 made in .32 S&W Center Fire caliber. The First Model is easily distinguished from the more numerous second model and third models by the recoil shield built into the frame at the rear of the barrel/frame juncture- a hold over from the 1891 revolver which used the same frame. Barrel lengths were 6", 8", and 10" with the shorter 6 inch length the least encountered. This one has the 6" barrel with correct "MODEL OF '91" marking on the top rib (centered as it should be and indicating that it is not a cut down longer barrel). This one came with blued or nickel finish and this is the latter. It also has the correct black hard rubber oversized extension grips with two screws and S&W logo. Matching serial number on the barrel, latch and frame (under the grips on the butt). Exc. blue on the barrel latch/target rear sight, good case color on the hammer and some on the trigger guard in the more protected areas. The nickel is bright with some light flaking on the frame ahead of the grips, a touch at the muzzle and on the front strap only. Something to consider: If S&W made 229 of these and lets say evenly produced blue and nickel finish and evenly produced the three barrel lengths, then there would be six variations of this caliber handgun model, meaning there would only be 38 produced with 6" barrel and nickel finish! This is a truly scarce target Smith by caliber, barrel length, nickel finish and condition. One can go years and never see one of these! (Note: bright photo lights make the rear of the frame appear to have less nickel than it has) - 4 photos- $2395.
2) EXCELLENT CONDITION, RARELY SEEN 1899 FIRST MODEL MILITARY & POLICE, .38 SPECIAL, #19XXX, ONLY MADE 1899-1902. This is the Great Grandfather of the famed Military & Police line of revolvers that evolved into the Model 10 in the 1950s and was seen in the holsters of most law enforcement officers around the country. The 1899 or First Model is easily recognized by not having a locking lug at the end of the ejector rod under the barrel. Barrel lengths were 4", 5", 6" and 6 1/2". Starting in 1902, this was included. Only about 20,000 of these were made and those that have survived are usually in hard used and rough condition. Many that belonged to police officers eventually were reblued or renickeled. This desirable 6 1/2" blued version is in remarkable condition showing most of the original bright blue. There is some light thinning of blue on the barrel sides toward the muzzle that is minor. there is also some light thinning on the back strap and edges. The front face of the cylinder retains most of the blue indicating that this revolver was shot little if at all. The hammer and trigger show vivid case color. Matching numbers on frame, cylinder and barrel. Exc. grips, exc. action and bright minty bore. A very difficult historical model to find in any condition, but particularly desirable with 6 1/2" barrel in blue finish. $1150.
3) HIGH CONDITION AND VERY EARLY PRODUCTION .22 LADYSMITH 3RD MODEL (.22 PERFECTED), #140XX, MADE 1911. The serial numbers for the 3rd Model Ladysmith began with 13951 and ran through 26154 with only 12,203 being made from 1911-1921. As these were delicate 7-shot revolvers and not suited for .22 LR High Speed ammo, many had their forcing cones cracked or blown away altogether...or worse! The end result is that few of these unusual Smiths have survived in any sort of condition and with excellent examples hard to locate. This one has all matching numbers and is in desirable blue finish (many of these show a "star" by the serial number on the butt indicating a factory rework or reblue- this one does not have that). It has a 3 1/2" barrel with excellent forcing cone just ahead of the cylinder. This example shows nearly all the original bright blue with only a small amount scuffing and thinning on the back strap and normal high edges. All markings are sharp and clear, the deep dish medallion grips are excellent and fit perfectly, the hammer and trigger sides show fine case color and importantly, the action functions as it should. and the bore is bright with any roughness scattered and light. In all, one of the best I've seen in a very long time. (4 photos) $1795.
4) BEAUTIFUL, HIGH CONDITION REGULATION POLICE .32 S&W LONG CALIBER, 4 1/4" BARREL REVOLVER, #449XXX, MADE 1917-1942. This is a distinct model separate from the usual .32 Hand-Ejector series because the Regulation Police revolvers have a cut or notch in the back strap where oversize grips fit necessitating the serial number placement to be on the front strap instead of on the butt which is covered by the extension-type grips. Serial numbers of these ran concurrently with the .32 H-E Third Model from about 260,000-536,000 (with the majority being the Hand-Ejector Model). Probably this one was made in the 1920s-1930s. It retains nearly all the beautiful S&W blue and case color on the hammer and trigger. At worst, there might be a touch of edge wear at the muzzle on each side, a hint of edge wear on the cylinder and some very slight scattered beginning of freckling on the frame mainly visible only under bright light- like in the photos. Action and bore are perfect, all matching numbers and the bottom of the crisply checkered excellent walnut grips retain the original 1917 patent stampings. About all the blue remains on the cylinder face indicating that it has been shot very little if at all. These early Pre-War Smiths were all hand tuned and fitted with a quality that simply doesn't exist in the modern world! A great example. $975.
5) RARELY 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.
6) ONE OF THE FINEST MODERN CARRY GUNS IS THIS MODEL 637-2 STAINLESS STEEL, 1.875" BARREL, AIRWEIGHT .38 SPECIAL +P CALIBER "J" FRAME REVOLVER. The Model 637-2 was introduced in 2002 and this one is brand new in the original box. Basically a super light and powerful (+P ammo rated and marked on the barrel) stainless/airweight Chief Special 5-shot revolver. A real classic and a joy to carry whether in a holster in the field or concealed in a pocket holster or inside the waist band holster. Rugged and ultra reliable, these are hard to beat. $695.
WINCHESTERS (click text for photo)
SELDOM SEEN AND DIFFICULT TO 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 magazine tube on the right side looks like it was dinged and pushed some side metal back about 1/4 of an inch- minor. 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 the upper tang for a couple of inches on each side 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.
EXTREMELY RARE, SPECIAL ORDER 1876 "SHORT RIFLE" WITH 24" OCTAGON BARREL, SET TRIGGER, .45-60 CALIBER, #29XXX, WITH FACTORY LETTER VERIFYING ALL FEATURES AND SHOWING A SHIPPING DATE OF 1882. According to The Winchester handbook by George Madis, only 79 Model 1876 rifles were made with barrels shorter than standard (standard for this caliber was 28") and only 4562 were made with set triggers. This example has a nice, uncleaned and unmessed with appearance. The barrel shows an even very aged blue-plum brown appearance with fine markings. It is fitted with the desirable "sporting" ladder rear sight (looks like an elongated carbine sight) that is stamped 1876 along with a standard Winchester blade front sight. The magazine tube is similarly aged to brown with no evidence of cleaning. The receiver is a naturally aged gray-brown also showing no evidence of ever having been cleaned. The brass lifter is a mellow un-polished patina and is clearly stamped "45-60" and shows no dings. It retains the dust cover and the mechanics are tight. The set trigger will set and release, but the small adjustment screw is missing. The stock and forend show only light handling with very tight wood to metal fit. Screw heads are fine and the bore is fairly bright with fine rifling all the way through with only very light scattered roughness. In all a very scarce variation in honest condition that is most attractive. $5800.
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.
EARLY 1892 32-20 ROUND BARREL RIFLE, #124XXX, MADE 1899. This rifle has a Cody Museum call-in sheet that comes with it showing that the Serial number was applied on October 27, 1899. It further verifies all aspects of this rifle as factory original and indicates it was received in the warehouse on December 22, 1899 and shipped January 2, 1900. Overall metal shows an uncleaned very dark aged brown patina with good aged blue in protected areas and on the loading gate. The stock and forearm show normal light handling with no abuse, cracks or chips. Original buckhorn rear sight with original Winchester small blade front sight. Tight wood to metal fit, generally excellent screws and good markings. Bore is a little dark with good rifling all the way through showing some light wear/frost. Nice "attic condition" 121 year old 1892 with attractive appearance. $1295.
LIMITED WORLD WAR II PRODUCTION MODEL 94 CARBINE, .32WS CALIBER, #1323XXX, MADE 1942! Nice example that has seen normal light hunting/handling usage. Most of the blue remains on the receiver with some light scattered freckling on the right side along with some edge wear only. Even the upper tang shows most of the original bright blue. Fine barrel and mag blue showing light scattered wear only that is minor. Correct serrated steel butt plate. Typical original buckhorn rear sight, exc. markings and screws, generally excellent wood showing light handling only with very tight wood to metal fit. Tight action. From an era when our young men were fighting for our freedoms, when few sporting arms were being made, and those that were made displayed solid blued steel and walnut! Almost 80 years old now and still has a lot of life left in it! $895.
VERY UNUSUAL 1894 .30WCF SEMI-DELUXE, 26" HALF OCTAGON EXTRA LIGHT BARREL TAKEDOWN WITH BRITISH PROOFS, #120XXX, SHIPPED IN 1901. After getting this one in, I called the Cody Museum for the factory info on this one. Here's what came back (call in sheet provided): "Rifle, .30, 1/2 octagon barrel, Extra Light, Plain trigger, Plain pistol grip stock, checkered, 1/2 Magazine, Takedown, received in the warehouse August 26, 1901, shipped August 26, 1901, Repair and Return on May 06, 1914." Needless to say, these are extremely rare features for one rifle to contain. The 1/2" octagon extra light weight is super scarce as most were round, a few were octagon and a very few were half octagon. there are numerous proofs on the rear left side of the barrel and one simple small proof mark directly behind on the receiver. Also, there are foreign stampings in the wood on the underside of the stock. Similar markings are shown in The Winchester Book by George Madis in the 1873 section. These markings are from Thailand (Siam)! They translate ownership by the Kind of Thailand etc. The barrel and short magazine tube show fine and deep lightly aged blue and typical of British rifles has a 3-leaf express rear sight and a tang sight. The front sight is on a short ramp which is correct as the extra light barrel is so thin at the muzzle a dovetail could not be cut. The receiver shows fine thinning blue that is mixing with some gray/brown with good blue on the bolt. There is some evidence of some rust on the takedown ring that is minor. Screws are excellent. The stock is unusual in that almost all pistol grip butt stocks were fitted with shotgun butt plates and this one has the attractive crescent rifle butt. The checkering on the pistol grip is still quite sharp and it has the correct hard rubber embossed grip cap. Checkering on the forend is fine and shows only light wear. There is one hairline crack in the bottom of the forend coming back a short distance from the forend cap- minor and goes nowhere. The rifle is fitted with period correct sling eye studs that might have been fitted when the rifle was returned to the factory in 1914. Overall, a very attractive, historical 1894 with super rare features! (5 photos) $3450.
SPECIAL ORDER 1894 .38-55 OCTAGON TAKEDOWN RIFLE WITH SHOTGUN BUTT, #296XXX, MADE 1906. This fine 1894 came out of right here in Montana. The barrel shows fine blue that is thinning on the high edges, the magazine tube shows nearly all the deep original blue. The receiver is mostly an uncleaned gray with some good blue in the rear portions and on the loading gate. The bolt on top of the receiver shows fine deep blue. the butt stock has a higher grade of walnut than standard which is fairly typical of special order rifles as select grade walnut was often used on these. There is some fancy grain toward the top or comb of the butt stock. It is fitted with a steel butt plate and like the forend shows only the lightest of handling and very tight wood to metal fit. The bore displays fine rifling all the way through and looks to have some surface roughness scattered toward the middle of the bore that will probably brush out better. The takedown is tight as is the action and screws are excellent. Retains the original buckhorn and Winchester small blade front sight. A really handsome and un-fooled with rifle from Montana. $2350.
EARLY ANTIQUE SERIAL NUMBER 1895 .30-40 CALIBER RIFLE, #52XX, MADE 1897. I believe this is one of the very first made without the "flatside" frame of the approximately first 5,000 production. Interestingly, this one comes with a factory letter that lists the serial number as being applied December 15, 1897 and further states that this is a "Rifle, Caliber 30, NEW SYSTEM, Received in the warehouse December 22, 1897 and Shipped on the same day." I've never seen a notation of "New System" but can only conclude that this indicates the new scalloped frame that was used until the end of production. The 28" barrel shows good thinning blue throughout with buckhorn and blade/bead front sight. The receiver blue has aged thinned to a gray brown with good thin blue on the right side and a bit less on the left. Fine deep blue on the bolt on top of the receiver. The screw in the top forward left side of the receiver is missing and should be easy to replace. Fine wood with tight wood to metal fit. Exc. mech. and bore that is only a little dark. A very interesting and early 1895 that is undoubtedly one of the first non-flatside models produced in 1897. $2150.
1895 SADDLE RING CARBINE, .30 ARMY (.30-40 KRAG) CALIBER, #109XXX, MADE 1915. These '95 carbines have become very difficult to find. Favorites with the Texas and Arizona Rangers as well as with cowboys especially in the southwest, most of these carbines that come to light show hard use and frequently are absent the walnut hand guards. This one is is complete. The barrel retains fine slightly aged blue with minor freckling and the receiver retains good somewhat aged blue on the sides, magazine sides and on the bolt. The balance has aged to brown. Fine markings and original rear sight with slide intact mated with correct front sight. The butt plate upper edge portion is pitted over the top, but never cleaned or buffed. The screws are excellent. Butt stock and forearm show light handling with tight wood to metal fit.- looks like the rear bottom of the forend has a "17" or perhaps "LL" scratched in just ahead of the receiver , might also be a brand. The hand guard has the usual crack, but this one was carefully and neatly repaired with walnut "patches" inletted perfectly over the crack and making it quite solid. Bore is sharp and excellent, action is tight. (3 photos) $1895.
RARELY SEEN SEMI- DELUXE PISTOL GRIPPED, CHECKERED MODEL 1903 .22 AUTO RIFLE, MADE 1915. A fairly plain but solid 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 aged to an uncleaned gray with good blue in the most protected of areas. It has the correct pistol grip cap. Interestingly, this one was returned to the factory for a new barrel at some point 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 then took a "Mail Order" replacement barrel out of stock and fitted it to the returned rifle- thus, the Mail Order plus Winchester Proof marks. The barrel has all the correct Winchester and Model 1903 markings and shows fine deep blue and retains some thinning blue on the forend cap. Exc. mech., exc. bright bore, buckhorn with blade/bead front sights. I believe CCI still sells .22 Auto ammo (different from .22 LR), pistol gripped/checkered Model 1903s are quite rare. Winchester's first auto loading rifle! $795.
VERY FINE CONDITION MODEL 04A, SINGLE SHOT .22 SHORT, LONG AND LONG RIFLE BOLT ACTION BOYS' RIFLE. Made from 1904-1931, the Model 1904 series was an upgraded and more expensive version of the simpler and smaller Model 1902. As such the '04 did not sell as well as the cheaper model. It featured a 21 inch barrel, flowing style trigger guard and schnable forend tip. Early examples were chambered in .22 Short, Long and Extra Long. After 1927 the "extra long" was replaced with the desirable "Long Rifle." This late model is so marked and chambered. Most 1904 rifles are found in atrocious condition as they were owned and used very hard by boys (and maybe a few girls). Stocks are usually found dinged and cracked and metal is usually lacking finish, showing rust and abuse. Bores are almost universally in the "sewer pipe" category. This example is an exception. The stock is very fine showing the original un-sanded light brown finish with no cracks or chips (!), the Winchester embossed hard rubber butt plate is also not chipped or cracked. Only the high edge around the schnable tip shows some normal wear. The metal still retains good blue that is a little aged and mixing with some plum- but mainly blue. The barrel also retains the original sights. Best of all, the bore is bright and excellent! Really difficult to find like this. Even the trigger guard retains nice aged plum/blue. $695.
SCARCE MODEL 36 SINGLE SHOT BOLT ACTION 9MM RIMFIRE SHOTGUN, MADE 1921-1929. These little guns are best described by George Madis in The Winchester Handbook as follows: In a departure from the trend to smokeless powder, Winchester produced the Model 36 single shot shotgun, intended for use only with black powder. Two rimfire shot cartridges were made by Winchester for the Model 36; the 9MM SHORT, or single charge, and the 9MM LONG, or double charge cartridge. Both of these shells were loaded with number nine shot. A ball cartridge was also offered. This little shotgun was considered a "garden gun" and an all around gun for boys or men. (Sounds a little sexist by today's standards...does that mean girls and women were forbidden from using the Model 36?) A total of 25781 of these were made when it was discontinued in 1929- no doubt the stock market crash and following Great Depression killed this odd little shotgun. When found today, they are usually in horrible condition as they were "garden guns" used for that purpose and usually didn't see the care and cleaning of the owner's other sporting guns. This one is one of the better examples I've seen as it has the original gum wood stock which is not cracked or chipped and retains good original wood finish. The barrel blue has aged and thinned to brown with excellent markings intact. the bore is basically bright with a few dark spots that will probably brush out. Has the correct bead front sight and no provision for a rear sight. Exc. mechanically and retains the original hard rubber butt plate. A true unique Winchester oddity! $695.
EXCELLENT MODEL 71, .348 WCF LEVER RIFLE # 38596, MADE 1954. This is a fine example showing only very light use. the receiver shows nearly all the original bright blue with only some very minor scratches/scuffs from normal handling. The barrel is much the same and shows nearly all the original blue. Even the forend cap retains good blue. The rear sight dovetail has a blank filler and the front ramped sight still retains the hood (these often missing). The butt stock has the original checkered steel butt plate and shows tight wood to metal fit. The forend is also excellent with only some very light handling marks. The receiver is mounted in the factory holes with a correct all steel Redfield receiver sight. The action is tight and the bore is excellent with sharp rifling. $1950.
BILL GOODMAN, P. O. BOX 2002, BOZEMAN, MONTANA 59771 TEL. (406) 587-3131 FAX (406) 219-3415 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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 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, P.O. Box 2002, Bozeman, MT 59771 (406) 587-3131 fax (406) 219-3415 email@example.com