ArmsCollectors.com menu


ArmsCollectors.com
Main Page


Learn - Basics

Dates in Firearm History

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
(From the Cody Firearms Museum)

Links to Forums
At Other Sites

Evaluating History of a Gun
Article by Jim Supica


Learn - Advanced

Factory Letters
And Military Records


Museums With Arms Exhibits

Arms Collector Groups

Other Useful Links

Book Recommendations

Book Reviews


Specialties

U.S. Military Arms

Factory Letters
And Military Records


Krag Bolt Removal

Which U.S. Bayonet?

M1917 Enfield Parts Markings
(from M1903.com)

M1917 Enfield Sling Instructions

M1 Garand Disassembly and Parts
(from CivilianMarksmanship.com)


Cartridges and Ammunition
International Ammunition Association

CartridgedCollectors.org

European Cartridge Research Association
http://www.ecra-net.de/

Cartridge-Corner.com
(headstamp info)


Edged Weapons
Society of American Bayonet Collectors
BayonetCollectors.org

Sword Collector Homepage

Internet Sword Collectors


Recommended
Dealers

OldGuns.net


Manufacture Dates

Pre-1899 Antique
Serial Numbers

(From Empire Arms. Use at own risk.)

Marlin

Mauser Pistol C-96
(Broomhandle)

Remington

Ruger
(& Factory Letters)

U.S. Military

Winchester


Markings

Serial Numbers
(foreign language)

Gun Marks

House Brands

U.S. Inspectors

WWII German
Codes & Markings

Mosin Nagant Markings


Warnings

Spotting Fake Firearms
Antiques Roadshow Advice

Fakes
Article by Jim Supica

The Anti-Gun
Crowd Wants

YOUR COLLECTOR
GUNS TOO!

Article by David Kopel


Collection Care & Records
(Preservation tips, inventory software, insurance)


Arms / Gun Show Listings

NRA List

Man At Arms List

Shotgun News List

Crossroads List


Living History
(Info coming soon)

Mannequins for Uniform Display
Make them yourself!


Arms Collectors.com
Main Page

 
 

ArmsCollectors.com
Frequently Asked Questions

(FAQ)

Here are some questions that have been asked numerous times.
You may find answers to the question you were about to ask, or to questions you were afraid to ask.


About ArmsCollectors.com

Firearms History (When was my gun made? What about this maker?)

Shotguns

Military Arms

Other Firearms and Ammunition

Full Automatic (Machine Guns) & Short Barrel Shotguns & Rifles

Values and Prices


Old Shotguns Questions:

We do not have a lot of information on these a huge number were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and sold through various retail outlets. This type of firearm falls into the category of "old guns" that no one seems to be interested in as shooters, but collectors do not want them either. Generally these were basic inexpensive simple guns which sold at modest prices and still have little interest or value on market today. On the retail market they usually sell in the $25-125 range depending on condition and general appearance for use as a "wall hanger" over a fireplace. Where there is any family history, we encourage people to keep these old guns for sentimental value. Please be warned that most of these are not considered safe to shoot.

Try posing your question on our ArmsCollectors.com Old Shotguns forum.

Top


Sporting Shotgun Questions:

We sometimes list sporting shotguns for sale in our catalogs at OldGuns.net but we do not have a lot of interest in collecting them and are by no means experts in this field. There are several dealers listed on our links page that specialize in shotguns who would be able to give you a better answer than we can.

Try posing your question on our ArmsCollectors.com Old Shotguns forum.

Top


When Was My U.S. Military Firearm Made?

Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our U.S. Military Manufacture Dates information.
Top

What Is The History Of My Military Firearm And/Or Who Was It Issued To?
Documented history has been found on only a small percentage of U.S. Military arms, we know of no source of information or documentation for arms issued by countries other than the USA  Even with U.S. firearms documentation is likely only a mention of being issued, damaged, stolen, or transferred on a specific date by a specific unit.  Previous and subsequent events are usually unknown, and only rarely do records link the serial number with a specific person.  It is pretty neat when you can find something.  We once found two .45-70 trapdoor rifles used in the Spanish American War by soldiers in the same Company of Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  The rifles were found about five years apart, one in Utah and the other in Missouri, and were reunited nearly 100 years after last being used together.  Another Span-Am era trapdoor was documented to a Kansas Volunteer who served in the Philippines, and was not a very good soldier and got court martialed, but also saw some action.  U.S. match rifles and service rifles sold prior to WW2 through the DCM program (forerunner of the CMP program) have fairly complete records and they even identify the purchaser and date of sale.
Top

Where Can I Find Ammunition For My Old Gun?
We recommend the "Old Western Scrounger", they are an excellent source for hard to find or obsolete ammunition, with an on line catalog.
Top

When Was My Remington Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our Remington Manufacture Dates information.
Top

When Was My Winchester Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our Winchester Manufacture Dates information.
Top

Flobert Rifles:
During the period from the 1890s through about 1920 "Boy's rifles" were very popular items for youngsters.  (Why could you give 10 year olds guns then and they wouldn't shoot anyone, while now guns are banned from anyone under 18 but kids are killing lots of folks?)  Anyway, Belgium was a major source of inexpensive guns, and many thousands were imported, often sold by big mail order companies like Sears, Montgomery Wards, etc.  The most common action used was a "Flobert" design, this is similar to what Americans often call a "rolling block" action. Most Floberts were .22 rimfire (sometimes short, or long, or long rifle).  Sometimes other caliber's are seen, .25 or .32 rimfire, or even 9mm rimfire, but ammo is basically not available for any of these.  Even in excellent condition there is little collector interest in Flobert rifles.  If your gun has some family history, it is probably a nice souvenir, if not, it is good decoration, but not something that is very valuable.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

Harrington and Richardson (H&R) Firearms:

There is not a lot of information available about individual models of firearms that Harrington and Richardson manufactured. Harrington and Richardson manufactured reliable utilitarian low cost firearms from 1874  when they were founded, until 1986 when they ceased production, the H&R trademark was also utilized by a new company (H&R 1871, Inc.).  H&R firearms were solid and durable, but plain and cheap.  Even in nice condition, there is about zero collector interest in old H&R firearms.  Values are well under $100, and usually under $50.00.  If there is any sentimental value we recommend that they be kept as a family heirloom from the days when people owned and used guns safely and responsibly without the need for draconian government supervision to make it "safe for our kids".   The exceptions to this rule are the H&R M1 Garands and H&R U.S. Model 1873 rifles.  H&R made the M1 in the 1950's and these are highly collectible.  They also made a replica Model 1873 rifle, which is collectible.

Try posing your question on our ArmsCollectors.com H&R / Iver Johnson forum.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

Italian Copies Of Antique Arms:
Italian gunmakers are turning  out some very good copies of Civil War and other antique firearms. Bill Edwards excellent book "Civil War Guns" describes some of their efforts, including a problem when an early batch of copies all had bent trigger guards, just like the original they had copied!  Navy Arms was one of the first companies to import copies form Italy, now there are many other importers including Centennial Arms, Dixie Gun Works, Lyman, CVA, EMF, Armsport, Cimarron, Euroarms, Federal Ordnance, Mitchell, Richland Arms, Stone Mountain, Taylor's, Traditions, and others.  We have observed that it is sometimes difficult for new collectors and individuals who are not familiar with firearms to tell the difference between a real antique and some of the Italian copies, especially if the copy is several years old and has some ware on it.  One way to tell an Italian copy form an original is that they just about all have Italian proof markings like a star over PN or something similar.  Italian copies will also usually have the manufactures name like Uberti, Pedersoli or ArmiSanMarco and "Italy" stamped on them.  Value for these firearms varies with the maker and condition.  A  carefully used Uberti might be in the $150-$200 range.  A  "no-name" copy or kit gun poorly assembled, poorly cared for and lacking a quality blue finish is worth about whatever you can get for it, usually less than $100.  These are nice decorators, maybe fun shooters, but  not a good investment for a collection.  We strongly recommend research into any firearm before purchase, a $25 book (like Flayderman's) can provide the information needed to avoid making costly mistakes.
Top

Iver Johnson Firearms Questions:

There is not a lot of information available about individual models of firearms that Iver Johnson manufactured. Iver Johnson started out in 1871 as Johnson Bye & Co., in 1883 the name of the company was changed to Iver Johnson & Co. and in 1891 the name was changed again to Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works.  Iver Johnson produced firearms under various names and owners form 1871 until 1993. In 1993 when operations ceased, Iver Johnson was owned by American Military Arms Corp. (AMAC). Iver Johnson gained a reputation over the years for producing low cost, sturdy, reliable firearms.  Unfortunately there is little or no collector interest in these firearms, values for most are in the $75.00 or less range.

Try posing your question on our ArmsCollectors.com H&R / Iver Johnson forum.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

Spanish S&W Copies:

There is not a lot of information available about the Spanish S&W copies.  It is reported that the logos for these revolvers were designed to be very close in appearance to the S&W logo in order to fool unobservant potential buyers. We have read in a major gunsmithing text book that the metals used in most of these revolvers is of very low quality making them dangerous to fire.  Values for the Spanish S&W copies is very low, probably in the $50 range if you can find anyone willing to buy one.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

Suicide / Saturday Night Specials:

A "suicide special" or "Saturday night special"  is a cheap, usually poorly made inexpensive firearm that is considered to be so inaccurate that the only good use for it is to commit suicide.  We get a lot questions about this type of firearm.  Beginning in the late 19th century, a huge number of these were sold through various retail outlets. This type of firearm usually falls into the category of "old guns" that no one seems to be interested in as shooters, but collectors do not want them either. Generally these were basic inexpensive simple guns which sold at modest prices and still have little interest or value on market today. On the retail market they usually sell in the $25-125 range depending on condition and general appearance for use as a "wall hanger" over a fireplace. Where there is any family history, we encourage people to keep these old guns for sentimental value.

Try posing your question on our ArmsCollectors.com Suicide / Saturday Night Specials forum.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

U.S. Revolvers:

THESE REVOLVERS WERE NOT U.S. MILITARY ISSUE. Arms made under the U.S. Revolver Co. name were cheaper versions of the  Iver Johnson line. U.S. Revolver Co. paralleled the solid frame Iver Johnson Model 1900 and the Hinged Frame Safety Automatic models, but did not have the safety hammer feature, they also  had some consequent minor changes in the lockwork and a lesser quality of finish. U.S. Revolvers were offered in  .22, .32 and .38 calibres, and were sold at the same time as the main Iver Johnson line until the 1940s. The pistols were marked 'U.S. Revolver Co.' on the barrel, and had 'US' molded into the grips.  U.S. Revolver Co.  values fall in the $50.00 dollar range.

Try posing your question on our ArmsCollectors.com H&R / Iver Johnson forum.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

Cheap West German Import Firearms Including: RG, Arimus Frontier Six-shooters, Burgo, Regent, Sontheim Brenz, PIC:
These firearms are usually of questionable quality, the smaller handguns were sold in the USA prior to the passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act.  The passage of the 1968 gun Control act, with its restrictions on pistol dimensions, severely curtailed the importation of the smaller handguns. Values for most of these firearms (including the lager western style revolvers) fall in the $25.00 to $50.00 dollar range.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

Top

Machine Guns and Shotguns/Rifles with Short Barrels:
We are not lawyers and the following summarizes our understanding of the basic Federal laws on this subject.   We believe this information to be accurate and correct, but strongly suggest you check with the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) office listed in you phone book blue pages under U.S. government.  They are the ones who will decide if it is okay for you to have these items, or come after you if it is not okay.  If the BATF says it is okay to keep the item, make sure you write down the date, time, name, title, and phone number of the BATF person who tells you that.  If at all possible, get them to put it in writing, in case some other BATF person later claims it is NOT okay for you to have the item.

Instead of relying on our information, it would be a better idea to consult an attorney who specializes in federal firearms laws.  Not your local divorce and accident specialist- this is a highly complex field and you cannot afford to pay for the time they will need to become smart enough in this area to protect your butt!

    Note that additional state or local restrictions may apply, especially in states run by idiots, like California.

DEFINITIONS:

MACHINE GUN-  Anything that will keep shooting if you hold the trigger back, including guns that have both semi-automatic and full automatic selectors.  This includes just the receivers from such a gun, and guns that were welded shut ("Dewats") and did not require registration until 1968.
SAWED OFF ("short barreled") SHOTGUN-  any shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches long (measured from the face of the closed breech to the muzzle), or with overall length of less than 26 inches.  This includes "hunting shotguns" which have been cut down and also smoothbore guns like the Marble's Game-Getter and H&R Handy Gun, which were originally made with short barrels.
SAWED OFF ("short barreled") RIFLE- Any rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches, with an overall length of less than 26 inches..
REGISTRATION:
The National Firearms Act passed in 1934 basically outlawed machine guns and sawed off shotguns/rifles.

People who had them were required to register them with the Treasury Department.  The Gun Control Act of 1968 had a whole bunch of requirements concerning gun sales, and also included an “Amnesty Period” for people who had not previously registered their machine gun or sawed off shotgun/rifle to do so without any penalty.  That Amnesty Period expired in 1968, and there has never been another, and it is highly unlikely that there will ever be another.

When machine guns (or short barreled rifles or shotguns) were registered in 1934 or 1968 the owners were given papers to prove that the guns were registered, and copies were kept on file with the BATF in Washington.  Theoretically, if you lost your papers, they could provide a replacement copy.  However, people familiar with the situation report that the BATF files are a disaster and they are very often unable to tell if your gun is registered or not.  (Therefore you should assume that if you do not have papers,  the odds of having BATF find copies for you are not very good.  Thus, the BATF will decide it is NOT registered, (unless you can prove that it is.)

IF IT IS NOT REGISTERED:
Possession of an unregistered machine gun or sawed off rifle/shotgun is a federal felony with big hard time sentences and hefty fines (something like 10 years and/or $10,000 fine).  BATF prosecutes a lot of these cases, even if the owner is not using the gun in holdups or anything..
 

Anyone who has an unregistered machine gun or sawed off shotgun/rifle has several options, none very appealing.  We recommend option (a).

a. Contact your closest BATF office (blue pages, US Govt., Treasury Dept., BATF) and tell them that you found/inherited or were given this item, or whatever the case is, and want to (1) know if it is legal to keep and (2) if not, turn it in for destruction.  If they confirm it is illegal then you can make arrangements for it to be turned over.  You will not be compensated, but you won’t be prosecuted.

b.   The most stupid action in the world would be to attempt to sell an illegal machine gun or sawed off shotgun/rifle.  It just would not be worth it.  Reportedly BATF actively looks for people doing this, and get lots of convictions.  Your legal fees would be horrendous, and chances of escaping jail are not good.  People (other than BATF agents) wanting to buy illegal guns are probably nasty violent criminals anyway.  You must be crazy to even think of doing business with them.

c.  The next most stupid action in the world would be to keep an illegal machine gun and hope no one finds out about it.  The plumber, baby sitter, ex-spouse, kid's friends, etc. might notice your contraband and tell someone else about it.  Eventually your friendly BATF agents would contact you.  The Branch Davidians at Waco and Randy Weaver's family at Ruby Ridge ended up dead as a result of reports of illegal firearms possession and subsequent BATF attacks.

d. Check with a military museum.  You might be able to donate it to the museum and preserve some important history.

e. The part of a machine gun that is taxed is the receiver.  Depending on the gun, the rest of the parts (stock, trigger group, barrel, bolt, gas piston assembly) may be of value to someone with legal owned similar weapon.  Strip them off, and turn in the receiver.
 


IF IT IS REGISTERED:
Properly registered machine guns are very desirable collector items and values usually start at several thousand dollars.  All sales of registered machine guns require prior approval by BATF and payment of a $200 transfer tax.  There are a number of dealers who specialize in machine guns and they can help with transfer paperwork, and find a buyer for you.  They will charge a fee for their services, but it is worth it to avoid making any mistakes in this complicated area.  The same dealers also know how to sell legally registered shots barreled gun with the proper paperwork.  These apparently have a smaller transfer tax, but values are a lot less than a machine gun.

For a detailed explanation of machine gun regulations and National FIrearms Act (NFA) issues, please click here to see the excellent and thoroughly researched paper by James O. Bardwell.

We hope this information is helpful.  This is intended as a very basic general introduction, based on our limited understanding of the subject.  The information above is not a substitute for competent legal advice or official interpretations by government authorities who enforce the applicable laws.

Top

Did I Get A Good Deal For An Item That I Purchased?
Fair market value is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller with neither being under pressure to buy or sell. Value depends on the exact model,  markings, variation, condition, and how badly the buyer wants that particular item.

If you want to know if you are getting a good deal, we suggest you invest in one of the numerous gun price guides on the market BEFORE making your purchase or, shop around and see what other people are selling comparable items for. You might try checking our catalogs for similar items we think our prices are pretty fair, so it you pay more, you may have been snookered. If you get it for less you got a good deal.

Top