BILL GOODMAN, P. O. BOX 2002, BOZEMAN, MONTANA 5977
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 7/6/20. WATCH FOR FREQUENT POSTINGS THROUGH JULY.
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) MODEL 1909 U.S. ARMY .45 COLT CALIBER NEW SERVICE REVOLVER, #29XXX WITH MATCHING U.S. ARMY No. 39711. This was the Army’s last .45 Colt chambered revolver. The only later .45 caliber Colt was the more common and heavily produced M-1917 chambered in .45 ACP for W.W.I usage. Unlike the Model 1917 which was finished in a dull military finish, the Model 1909 was finished in Colt’s high polish blue. Many of this model saw very hard service in the Army and later when sold as surplus on the civilian market or to foreign countries. This example certainly saw use, but is in fine condition with bright bore and excellent mechanics and lockup. It retains excellent markings including the rampant colt on the left side of the receiver, R.A.C. inspector stamps on the frame, barrel and cylinder, Colt barrel markings, “United States Property” on the bottom of the barrel (many had this ground off when sold as surplus) and the U.S. Army/Model 1909 with number markings on butt- the Army number matches the number inside the frame, cylinder latch back and yoke. Overall blue is good, but getting aged and dull, but still there with brighter blue in the more protected areas like on the frame around the cylinder, in the cylinder flutes, top and bottom of the barrel etc. There is evidence of some old rust on the barrel in one small spot on the left side that was simply wiped off, not buffed or cleaned. There are also some light dings on the lower barrel sides that are fairly minor. Front sight has not been altered, correct smooth walnut grips are fine, still retains some fire blue on the hammer back and trigger sides. Lanyard ring is also intact. In all, an attractively aged Model 1909. $1195.
7) WORLD WAR I NEW SERVICE IN .455 ELEY, BRITISH PROOFED, #134XXX, MADE 1917. This is a classic example of an issued revolver that no doubt saw service in the trenches, but was cared for. Also, this one has NOT been altered or bored out to .45 Colt caliber etc. as so many have been. All markings and proofs are sharp and clear. The front sight has not been filed or altered, the action is tight and the bore is bright and excellent. The grips are the correct style and fit well, but may be replacements. Only the lanyard swivel has been removed with a filler stud in its place. Overall good blue that shows normal handling and holster wear on the grip straps and some thinning on the barrel sides and frame. There is still nice fire blue on the back of the hammer. Nice appearance. $695.
8) A NEAR MINT EXAMPLE FROM THE EARLY YEARS OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION IS THIS OFFICIAL POLICE, 6” BARREL, .38 SPECIAL, #575XXX, MADE 1932! This blued finish revolver has the longest and most desirable barrel offered. While the model is not uncommon, one in this pristine condition is. This one retains nearly all the deep blue- you’d have to examine it closely to find any freckle- including the fire blue on the trigger and hammer back. The checkered walnut grips are excellent; markings are sharp and clear including the rampant colt on the frame. Last patent date on the barrel is the correct 1926. There isn’t even a cylinder drag line between the locking notches. Bore is perfect and the cylinder locks up like a bank vault. The front face of the cylinder retains all the blue indicating that this Colt was probably never fired. In the 1930s economic disaster, Colt (as well as all the major arms companies) laid off all non-essential workers as sales were so low. Those that remained on the job were the finest craftsmen of the day and were able to spend considerable time on each revolver at Colt. The end result is that guns produced during this time were some of the best quality ever turned out. We’ll never see this kind of quality again in a standard frame .38 Special caliber revolver as the manufacturing cost would be prohibitive- even if craftsmen could be found to do the work!. $795.
9) PRE-WAR, LIMITED PRODUCTION .22 LONG RIFLE CHAMBERED OFFICIAL POLICE, 6” REVOLVER WITH “T. H. P. No. 4” STAMPED BUTT. The Official Police .22LR was serial numbered in its own range and was introduced at the beginning of the Great Depression in 1930. By 1940 when production ended, Colt was manufacturing only a few hundred of these per year and had a total run of about 14,000 guns. This example with serial number 11XXX was made in 1937. Production re-started after the war in 1947 and again continued with limited production until 1966. Many of these revolvers were purchased by law enforcement agencies for training purposes. It was cheaper to burn .22 LR rim fire ammo than issue .38 Special cartridges for target use. This was especially important during the cash-strapped Depression years. The “T. H. P.” stamping on this one probably stands for either Tennessee or Texas Highway Patrol (both founded in 1929). Interestingly, here in Montana the highway patrol began in 1935 and out of a pool of 1500, 24 applicants were chosen! This example shows most of the blue intact with only some normal ageing/thinning on the grip straps and some very minor edge wear. Exc. markings, has fine fire blue on the sides of the checkered trigger and on the back of the hammer. Even the front of the cylinder retains good blue indicating that this revolver wasn’t fired much. The checkered walnut grips with Colt medallions show some holster/handling wear only. Very tight lock up and excellent bright bore. A Colt factory letter might prove interesting on this one. $975.
10) VERY EARLY 1903 .38 ACP POCKET HAMMER AUTO PISTOL, #22XXX, MADE 1908. These are truly intriguing early autos as they have the same characteristics as the first Browning designed Colt autos with no safety or slide locking levers or grip safeties! In fact the only safety is the half-cock notch on the hammer! Primitive, yet the cool-factor on these is off the charts! The .38 ACP is the exact same cartridge as the later .38 Super. It is important to know that while the Super will chamber, it is never to be fired in one of these early .38 ACP chambered Colts. It is not uncommon to see either the 1903 Pocket Hammer or the larger Model 1900, 1902 and 1905 autos with cracked slides caused from firing the higher pressure .38 Super. This example shows fine correct markings including the patent dates of 1897 and 1902 on the left side of the slide along with the Colt address. The right side of the slide has the wonderful early “AUTOMATIC COLT” stamping over “CALIBRE .3 RIMLESS SMOKELESS” marking. There is also a fine rampant colt in a circle at the rear of the slide on the left side. This Colt appears uncleaned and unfooled with. The slide blue has aged to a deep dull blue. The slide also retains the original dovetailed rear sight and small blade front sight. The frame shows fine blue in all the protected areas with the balance naturally aged blue/brown. The original hard rubber black Colt grips show normal handling and wear with no cracks or chips. Action is tight and the bore is excellent. It also has the correct unmarked magazine- these were unmarked in the production years of 1905-1916 after which the bottoms had various Colt and caliber markings. This is a nice example that came out of Arizona. It is interesting to note that all of these early .38 ACP models were popular in the southwest and Mexico. $1350.
11) 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.
12) 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.
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.
2) VERY HIGH CONDITION, EARLY SAVAGE MODEL 1907 .380 AUTO PISTOL, #9XXXB, MADE 1914-1915. Approximately 8,000 of these were made from 1913-1915 and then another run of 1,849 from 1919-1920. This example shows exceptional bright and deep factory blue overall with only very minor edge wear. The trigger still shows good case color and the grips are excellent. Tight mechanics and lock up, bright bore, correct magazine, about as nice as one could hope to find without being brand new in the box! One of the very best of the pre-war pocket autos and rare in .380 caliber. $895.
3) VERY HIGH CONDITION HARRINGTON AND RICHARDSON 922, FIRST VARIATION .22LR, NINE SHOT DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER, ONLY MADE 1927-1930. There is a great deal of excellent information in the book H&R ARMS COMPANY 1871-1986 by W. E. “Bill” Goforth. This model is described in detail showing that the 922 1st Variation has the distinctive “saw handle” checkered walnut grips which after 1930 were changed to a fully rounded back portion. This example has the standard 6” octagon barrel marked “H&R 922” on the left side with address stamping on the flat above. These were very high quality handguns made of solid steel throughout. This one retains nearly all the factory blue with the most minor of edge wear that you have to look carefully to find, and correct gold plated front sight. The walnut grips are excellent and retain most of their wood finish. Bore is bright and minty, action in both single action and double action is extremely tight. The front face of the cylinder retains about all the blue indicating that this revolver was fired very little if at all. The first variation with saw handle grip was only made for three yeas and are difficult to find now, especially in this excellent state of condition. One of the best I’ve seen. $595.
MODERN AND CUSTOM CLASSIC FIREARMS (click text for photos)
1) GORGEOUS BROWNING 1895 HIGH GRADE “ONE OF ONE THOUSAND” FULLY ENGRAVED WITH COIN SILVER RECEIVER (FRENCH GRAY) AND SIGNED BY MASTER ENGRAVER T. MORI. This classic .30-40 Krag caliber rifle has a 24” barrel with British style raised ramp three folding leaf express sight and classy barrel band front sight. The nicely grained stock is checkered at the wrist and forend. The receiver has a gold trigger and is scroll engraved with a gold mountain lion on one side and gold white tail deer on the other. In excellent condition. I believe these were made in the 1980s and DO NOT have the tang safety that the later editions have- it is built just like the originals. (4 photos: note lots of light reflection off the engraving in the bottom two photos makes it look like the engraving isn't sharp...which it is.) $1950.
REMINGTON (click text for photos)
1) VERY UNUSUAL REMINGTON No. 1 ROLLING BLOCK OCTAGON SPORTING RIFLE. This is a very interesting rifle in that it is chambered in .38 Extra Long. The breech block is a rim fire block, yet under the forearm are three stampings: the first is the matching serial number to the barrel 8XXX, the second is “S.T.” which means the rifle has a set trigger- which it has, and the third stamping is the most unusual “C & RF” which obviously means center fire or rim fire. I’ve searched the great book by Roy Marcot on the Rolling Block Rifles and he does not show this stamping. I take it to mean that this rifle was “probably” shipped with an extra center fire breechblock so that the shooter had his choice of shooting .38 Extra Long Rim Fire ammo or .38 Extra Long Center Fire ammo! It should certainly be easy enough to find a center fire breech block to go along with this fine rifle. The fairly stout barrel measures 28 3/8” and has the correct Remington crown at the muzzle where the edges of the octagon are beveled or rounded giving the appearance of a round barrel when viewed straight down on the muzzle end of the barrel (a good way to tell if a barrel has been shortened as cut barrels will have sharp octagon edges). The muzzle measures 7/8.” Standard barrel length for No.1 Sporters was 26” with an extra charge for barrels longer. Also interestingly this rifle seems to have better than standard grade walnut in the stock- possibly because it was ordered with a set trigger, two inch longer than standard barrel and extra breech block. The set trigger works fine, barrel sights are the original Remington blade front with the correct Remington buckhorn rear sight. Generally excellent wood showing only light handling and very tight wood to metal fit. The barrel shows fine aged and thinning blue. The receiver is an uncleaned mottled gray/brown with sharp Remington patent markings on the left side and equally sharp Remington barrel markings. Fine bore with good rifling and the usual scattered spots of light roughness. Tight action. Really nice appearance and the first “dual caliber” No.1 sporter I’ve seen! $1695.
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).
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! $4850.
SMITH AND WESSON (click text for photos)
1) ONE OF THE EARLIEST 1899 FIRST MODEL M&P .38 SPECIAL REVOLVERS I’VE ENCOUNTERED AND THIS ONE WITH SERIAL NUMBER 6XX IS IN SUPERB CONDITION! This is the first side swing cylinder model offered by S&W for the new .38 Special cartridge and was only made from 1899-1902. No doubt, this is one was made in the first few months of production as a total of 20,975 were made and serial numbered from 1 – 20975. Quickly distinguished by the lack of a locking lug under the barrel, beginning in 1902 this feature was added. One of the more difficult of the K-frame Smiths to locate, this one with 5” barrel and nickel finish with case color hammer and trigger is a gem. All of this model were made on the round butt frame. The original hard rubber grips are excellent and retain the perfect tiny “PAT’D JAN. 29, 78” marking on the lower edge of the left grip- this light marking is almost always worn away. Nearly all the bright nickel remains with only the smallest amount of freckling on the barrel top and slightly on the left side- hardly worth mentioning. Nice case color on the hammer with faded color on the trigger. Exc. mechanically and exc. bore. Even shows fine nickel on the front face of the cylinder indicating it was shot little if at all. These are all "4-Screw/Pre-5-Screw" revolvers as the fifth screw wasn't added until 1905! This is a truly excellent early S&W Military & Police revolver with an incredibly low matching serial number on all parts. $1495.
2) VERY HIGH CONDITION .32-20 HAND EJECTOR MODEL 1905, 4TH CHANGE, 5” BARREL, NICKEL FINISH, #86XXX. Serial numbers for the 4th Change started with 65701 in 1914 and ran through 114684 in 1940 when the .32-20 H-E line was discontinued. Judging from known serial numbers, this one was probably made about 1918-1919. Interestingly, starting with serial number 81287, cylinders were heat treated for strength. This is an outstanding early example with all matching numbers including the number stamped on the inside of the beautiful diamond checkered and deep-dish brass S&W logo medallion walnut grips. Exc. bright bore, exc. mechanics and very tight lock up. Still shows some vivid case color on the hammer sides and back as well as some lighter color on the trigger. Unaltered front sight, exc. markings and still retains nearly all the bright nickel with only some very minor edge peeling to the cylinder plus the usual very light surface scratches that are only apparent when the light hits at a certain way- hardly worth mentioning. Excellent screw heads etc. In all, an outstanding hundred year old .32-20 Hand Ejector S&W. $795.
3) PRE-WAR TARGET M & P 1905 .38 HAND-EJECTOR, 4TH CHANGE, #409XXX, MADE IN THE EARLY 1920s. These used to be more commonly seen than now. In fact, they rarely show up at all. This one has all matching numbers on the frame, cylinder and barrel. The grips fit absolutely perfectly and show no number on the inside- some of these were penciled and are now unreadable- I am sure these are the original grips. All markings are sharp and has good case color on the upper part of the checkered trigger and on the hammer sides- more on the right side. Good blue overall that looks as if some on the frame may be touched up with some cold blue with some flaking on the right side, but looks good. Exc. screw heads, bright minty bore, fine action with ultra-light trigger pull in the single action mode- too light actually, and should be checked by a gunsmith who can easily fix this. Excellent diamond checkered walnut grips. $575.
4) 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.
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.
U.S. MILITARY AND SPRINGFIELD (click text for photos)
1) COLT 1909 U.S. ARMY .45 COLT CAL. REVOLVER (see above in Colt section)
WINCHESTERS (click text for photo)
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.
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.
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.
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.
GORGEOUS CASE COLORED 1886 .40-65 CALIBER OCTAGON RIFLE, #78XXX, WITH FACTORY LETTER, MADE 1893. This is truly an investment quality Winchester. The receiver shows nearly full vivid case colors on the left side with fine case colors on the right side that show only minor fading, the bolt retains beautiful bright blue as does the loading gate. The hammer sides and lever sides show fine case color with a slightly more silvering on the right side. There is silvering on the lever bottom, receiver bottom and upper tang. The receiver ring still shows light faded color. The lower tang shows vivid color under the lever with more faded color behind the lever. The forend cap also shows very fine case color. Barrel and magazine blue is excellent and the barrel has sharp markings. The buckhorn rear sight retains excellent blue and is paired with a blade front sight. The excellent walnut stock is a rich deep color with a little better than standard grain and displays a very tight wood to metal fit, as does the forend. The bore is bright and excellent with strong rifling and only a few minor spots of surface roughness that might clean out. With tight action and excellent screws, this is a remarkably well preserved 1886 that has seen minimal use in its 127 years! (5 photos) $7850.
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.
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.
1892 SADDLE RING CARBINE, .25-20 CALIBER, #859XXX, MADE THE YEAR THE U.S. ENTERED WORLD WAR I IN 1917. A good example with barrel and magazine showing even aged blue mixing plum. The receiver blue has mainly aged dark with gray mixing. Two leaf rear sight with typical carbine front sight. Exc. barrel markings. Saddle ring and staple intact. Fine deep reddish/brown color stock and forend showing normal handling, good wood to metal fit and some light saddle or saddle scabbard rubbing on the right side of the forend. Tight action, bore a bit dark with some frost, but good rifling- a brushing out and perhaps a scrubbing with J-B Bore Paste would probably improve the bore. $1150.
PARTICULARLY FINE CONDITION EARLY 1894 .30WCF ROUND BARREL RIFLE, #126XXX, MADE 1901. Really nice example of a classic 1894, this one shows fine deep receiver blue with some normal edge wear- a little more on the left side- and on the receiver ring etc. Barrel and mag tube show fine blue with some age and thinning, but mainly good deep blue. Buckhorn rear sight with Rocky Mountain blade front sight. Fine+ reddish/brown walnut (Winchester’s trademark finish) with good wood to metal fit and showing only light handling. Nice case colors on the hammer and some small amount of color on the upper portion of the lever. Tight action and sharp excellent bore. Not easy to find such an early 1894 in this fine condition. $1695.
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.
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 CCI still sells .22 Auto ammo (different from .22 LR), pistol gripped/checkered Model 1903s are quite rare, $795.
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.
FIRST YEAR PRODUCTION MODEL 71 .348 WCF WITH BOLT PEEP SIGHT, SERIAL NUMBER 2XXX, MADE 1936! This is the desirable “long tang” early variant with the also desirable optional “bolt peep” aperture sight. Really nice condition overall showing light use only and no abuse. The receiver with untouched screw heads shows about all the bright factory blue with only a touch of edge wear, even on the upper tang and on the receiver bottom. The lever also shows almost all the blue. Fine deep magazine and barrel blue with a hint of freckling near the muzzle. The forend cap has some flaking, but retains some good blue and only the loading gate assembly shows some flaking. Excellent forend and butt stock with very tight wood to metal fit and only some light edge wear to the bottom edge of the pistol grip. Correct checkered steel butt plate, tight action and minty-bright bore. This one came out of right here in Montana. Great 84 year old Model 71! $2350.
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 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 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