Calls from the Wilds
* If for any reason this letter does not display properly, you can view the newsletter on our website.
* Here is a link to a You Tube flick of the oldest B-25 bomber coming home to the USA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5SBfMK28yM.
Jim Buchanan sent this link to a 1924 vintage snowmobile "commercial": http://www.flixxy.com/snow-vehicle-concept.htm (push the arrow in the lower left to start)
and Donna Maio sent this really great animated video. I'm not a fan of animation but the story they tell is well worth the six minutes, don't miss it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEjUAnPc2VA
Roger Kurowski sent me this photo of part of his collection on display. He uses my period catalogs to illustrate the history of each of his firearms.
* Ginny Coombs sent this: WWII ended almost 65 years ago yet some historical trivia is still interesting: You might enjoy this from Col D. G. Swinford, USMC, Ret. and a history buff. You would really have to delve deeply to get this kind of ringside seat to history:
1. The first German serviceman killed in World War II was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the highest-ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the U.S. Army Air Corps - so much for allies. If you include Pearl Harbor, Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd was the highest ranking American killed by the enemy. He was killed on board the U.S.S. Arizona when the Japanese launched their surprise attack on December 7, 1941.
2. The youngest U.S. serviceman was 12-year-old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress).
3. At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top U.S. Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the U.S. Army's 45th Infantry Division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika." All three names were soon changed for PR purposes.
4. More U.S. servicemen died in the U.S. Army Air Corps than in the Marine Corps. While completing the required 25-30 missions your chance of being killed was 71 percent.
5. Generally speaking, there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.
6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics so at long range if your tracers were hitting the target 80 percent of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.
7. When the allied armies reached the Rhine River in Germany, the first thing men did was urinate in it. This was pretty universal, from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. George Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).
8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but it wasn't worth the effort (?).
9. The German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.
10. Among the first "Germans" captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and then forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and further forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by the U.S. Army.
11. Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 U.S. and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands. Twenty-one troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese soldiers on the island.
* Like everyone else, I am feeling the pinch of price increases for supplies. Paper, inks, heat and electricity have all increased recently so I am considering a price increase for my catalogs, the first since I started in 2004. I think a dollar will do the trick across the board and if I can figure out how to manage the changes I plan to implement new prices in February, so if you want anything at the old rate this is the month to order!
New Books and Special Thanks
Last month I entered Charles Carder's Side By Sides of the World and by mistake put in the number of pages (190) as the price. Oops! I fixed it and here is the link with the correct price $18.95. (I also managed to make an index of all the 1200+ makes mentioned in the book.) Carder also edited and wrote the Hopkins & Allen Arms Memorabilia Society Newsletter (HAAMS). This listing is the combination of the first six years of that newsletter all in one. A must have for H&A collectors.
I neglected last month to put in the link for the c1955 Gallyon (UK) Catalogue so here is that one too.
Andrew Michalowski lent me a Colt R-70 "Monitor" Instructions pamphlet. He also sent along these comments; "Abby, It took a little research but I found some significant information. According to the book Rock in a Hard Place: The Browning Automatic Rifle by James L Ballou (2000), the Colt Monitor was made from early 1931 to around 1940. Apparently there were less than 125 of these guns produced. 90 of these guns were sold to the FBI. It is safe to say this booklet was printed in the 1930's. Andrew."
The Kirkwood firm was located in Boston and produced some fine specialty rifles. David Kirkwood was a Scottish gunmaker who founded the company in 1873 and this Kirkwood c1924 catalog is most illuminating.
I also processed some interesting firearms manuals:
if you are uncertain how to wear your gear:
and to settle arguments about the output of the Springfield Armory:
Mike Carrick found a rare copy of William Renwick's 1934 Folding Trigger Patterson Colt. I think you will find his work is definitive end economical.
The little Bannerman catalogue from 1888 is, I believe the first real catalog Francis Bannerman produced it is only 13 pages and is not illustrated but it is interesting and only costs $5- reads better than a Starbucks cup!
The venerable Cogwell and Harrison firm in London was established before the American Revolution (or "disturbance" as they might have referred to it) and I am pleased to offer six of their catalogs. This latest one is Cogswell and Harrison c1910. You may still buy a fine gun from them at their website.
Col. Boxer was a serving officer in the British Army and an inventor of ammunition used by that government. He challenged the "gumment" to honor his inventions and they demurred. That set the stage for his resignation and this interesting story: Colonel Boxer and the War Office Debate, April 1870
I have several ammunition catalogues from UK and US for collectors:
and a fascinating Report on the Circumstances Attending an 1888 Explosion at Kynoch & Co
and some British Gun Catalogues:
and finally a few US makers:
Ed Agramonte Guns 1957 Catalog from Mike Carrick
Winchester 1903, March Repeating Arms Catalog from John Campbell
* Download our latest flyer of old gun catalogs
This requires Adobe Reader, which is free.
Those on dial up, beware - it is a large download. (30mb)
Letters from Readers
* Abby, This is something new to me. The owner claims this is a dart made by the Victor trap company. It is supposed to be fired by a spring trap and was made to kill wolves or bears. Ever seen the like of it? Dick
Nor I, Readers? Abby
* Abby, Thought you might find this worth a couple of minutes browsing.
Interesting numbers crunching comparing total population to shotgun, rifle,
and handgun purchase by regions. More variation than you'd expect. I'd seen
the Southeast was the largest gun buying market before, followed by the
Midwest and Rocky Mtn West with the Northeast the smallest market, but hadn't
run across this breakdown before (from the National Sporting Goods Dealer
Association so based on real sales rather than estimates of estimates.) Al Jones
VP Marketing & Sales, Merwin Hulbert & Co., email@example.com
FIREARMS SALES BY REGION
* Abby, The Winchester Model 12 shown has several special features and is quite a gun. As it was made in 1920, it is chambered in 2 1/2"- 20 gauge. The 2 3/4" chambering did not come along until 1925. The stock is English style,, which was a pretty rare order. The wood is very burley front and rear and may be four-X grade. The solid ribbed barrel has a modified choke and is 25" long. The factory engraving pattern is 12-5, which is the highest grade offered. This gun was ordered for a Doctor's wife, so she could accompany her husband on shooting trips. Judging by the condition, she didn't go often. Maybe she outshot him and didn't get invited again. Dick Carleton
Rants and Raves
This month's winner is:
Readers: Ebay and other auction sites such as Gunbroker.com and Auctionarms.com have a system whereby customers can rate the sellers. I advertise on the auction sites to attract new customers but when some dolt like the one below gives me anything other than a positive rating it hurts my business for a year. Skittish people don't like neutral or negative grades and my sales drop. The cost of advertising does not drop, so my costs go up- something you all pay for. It especially irks me when the rating is undeserved and the dumbo who made it is unapologetic... as in this case. Abby :-)
The man bought on Ebay: Field Engineering and Mine Warfare 1967 - Booby Traps. The picture and descriptions were identical on Ebay where he bought it. Then he gave me a neutral with the following comment:
Sam, Whoa! You gave my little company a neutral rating on Ebay because you failed to read the advertisement that clearly states that the booklet is 22 pages and lists the contents? What did you expect, a bag of limpet mines? That takes some bloody nerve, is grossly unfair and in conflict with Ebay rules and procedures (which require you to make your gripe known to the seller BEFORE you give less than positive feedback). And you paid a measly $6 bucks for the darn thing. I would have given it back to you had I know of your distress. It is a pity Ebay rules also prohibit me from giving you a negative feedback as well as a pop in the nose! Merry Christmas, Abby Mouat
Abby, I read the ad. I have nothing to apologize for . It was only a neutral feedback. Samuel Lance Early <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sam, Damage was done though, for no reason! I am scrupulously careful to protect my fine reputation and I pride myself with completely honest descriptions of what I sell for modest prices to preserve the firearms history and culture. You are an inconsiderate, unapologetic oaf who neither read nor understood what you bought then chose to strike out at me for your own inadequacies. Abby
Abby, It was only a neutral feedback and not a negative one. Sam
Sam, I have six thousand, six hundred and sixty-one ratings on Ebay and you are one of three jerks who "only" gave a neutral. Neutral ratings stand out like a sore thumb. You had the index to the booklet you bought, you knew in 24 point type that it was 22 pages, you saw the index and you still can't explain what you expected for your six dollars. In future you should go to bookstores where you can finger the merchandise before you buy it! You are way too tactile to buy in the internet. Abby
To see pages of Rants and Raves, and my replies, go to: RAVES and RANTS
Annoying Customer of the Month:
Notes for New Readers (useful info repeated each month)
* The purpose of this section is to repeat in every newsletter some of the things I have said in past newsletters. By naming the section "Notes for New Readers", longtime subscribers may simply skip over it and read something new to them.
* I get, on average, about 300 new subscribers each month. Many are folks who signed up. Others are people I automatically signed up when they bought something at an auction site or my website. Of the ones I sign up to get the newsletter normally only six or eight unsubscribe each month, usually because they have a last name the same as a catalog they bought or made the purchase for a friend or relative. I am naturally flattered that so many folks are pleased to hear from me once a month and thank you all for your indulgence.
* SPAM!! Spammers intercept emails using various tools and strip the emails of all the addresses. All it takes is for one addressee on your list to visit the wrong site on the internet and wham all the addresses you mailed to are on a spam list.
But there is something you can do to help fight SPAM. When you forward emails to many individuals use the BCC: space (stands for Blind Carbon Copy) instead of the To: or CC: spaces in your email forwards.
Many address books will only put selected email addresses into the TO: box so go ahead and do that. Hold down your left mouse key, select all with the addressees your cursor and release the left mouse key. Go to Edit, Cut. Then click on BCC:, click Edit and Paste. Finally, put your own email address in the TO: box and press Send. None of the other email addresses will be visible to any of the addressees and they will love you for not contributing to the spread of SPAM! Whoopee!
* Paypal - I don't like Paypal and I don't think they make much of an effort to be less arrogant that they have been in the past, but, I use Paypal to process credit cards because they are cheaper by far than a bank for a small online business, They are reliable and they are secure. No, I don't like many of their policies but they are the least expensive I can find so we have to live with it. I do accept checks if you prefer and I don't wait for them to clear. If you stiff me with a check you go directly to the Rants and Raves column with your full name and address displayed for the world to see. By the way, Paypal has softened (somewhat) its previously hard line with respect to firearms and is now more reasonable. I wrote about it in my July 2007 Newsletter.
* Ebay - The wizards at Ebay decided (just after they laid off a whole bunch of employees and their business is down) that they will no longer allow sellers to advertise that they will accept money orders or checks in payment for purchases made on Ebay. Customers may still pay that way but we cannot advertise the fact. I think the idea is to force people to use Paypal, which is owned by Ebay. Now, to be perfectly honest, I would be much happier if you bought things from my website Cornellpubs.com because that saves me sales commissions to Ebay!
* Hint- If you are using the browser Firefox and have trouble seeing any images on this website, try hitting the refresh button. Meanwhile I will continue trying to figure out how to make my website more compatible with the many different browsers out there.
* INDEXES for Every Catalog I reprint... Every catalog I offer has an index at the right of the page. Listings on Ebay, Gunbroker and Auction Arms also have indexes.
* More on Indexes: Not all my indexes are alphabetized and can be difficult to search. Until I find time to alphabetize all of them, hit the Control key (on the lower left) and the letter "F" on your keyboard. this will give you a little search box on the bottom of the screen. Start to type in the name of what you want to find on that page and it should be highlighted on the screen (this works with most browsers and on any web page). :-) Abby
At my website, you will find many gunmaker "master pages" listing all the catalog reprints of one brand. To the right of each "master page" are names of catalogs by merchants who carried that brand of firearms. For example, I reprint over 60 Remington factory gun catalogs but I also reprint over 160 gun catalogs from merchants that sold Remington firearms such as Sears or Abercrombie & Fitch or Spalding. Those are the listings on the right of the page.
Using the merchant links, you can identify a catalog from just about any year that displays the Remington line and by looking at the individual page indexes you can figure out what models were made in what year without spending a dime. Of course I would be happy to sell you those catalogs too! Most major gunmakers have a "master page" and I am adding more all the time. Just start with any category link: All Catalogs, 1835-1899, Ammunition or any other and you will find that the capitalized links indicate "master pages". When you select one you will see on the right, the links to the other merchants who sold that brand.
* I have some nifty tricks for you! If you have trouble reading small type on my website or any other, you can increase the size of the text on the screen by holding down the Control key (that's the one in the lower left of the keyboard with Ctrl on it) and scrolling the wheel on top of your mouse back and forth.
* Whenever I scan a delicate old catalog with its covers hanging by a thread (and not wishing to be the one who detaches someone else's covers), I line up a bunch of paper clamps along the hinge of the book to hold the covers in place and then scan each page. This simple technique works wonders and saves old paper from harm. It also gives you handles to pick up the book!
The picture shows my book scanner. When I use the book scanner, the catalog hangs over the side of the scanner and only needs to be opened 90 degrees. This allows much less stress to be placed on the spine.
So there you have it, a tip that I hope will result in a torrent of eager collectors now willing and eager to let me scan their old gun catalogs... but, please call or write first, don't just send them because I may already have scans of that particular item. I still have hundreds of old catalogs on file that I haven't got to yet.
* Gun Value & Parts - I get scores of phone calls that start out "I inherited this gun from my grandfather and I just want to know how much it is...", I do not do appraisals, nor do I sell parts. See here for parts suppliers.
* I often use the The Greenhill Dictionary of Guns and Gunmakers by John Walter, Greenhill/Stackpole Books 2001 - ISBN 1-85367-392-7 to answer many of the questions I get each week about the origins of gunmakers. Like many all-encompassing works, some of the information may be inaccurate but over-all it contains a wealth of facts, dates and important history of great old companies. Each year you can buy the Standard Catalog of Firearms which lists most guns and their value used at Borders or Barnes & Noble or online at Amazon.
* Why Buy Old Catalogs- originals or reprints? If you want to learn about a gun or gunmaker I applaud you, and am so happy you found my website. History is what I am working so hard to preserve by making old gun catalogs available to collectors and historians. Buy a catalog from a gunmaker of the appropriate year and you will learn a mountain of true facts about your gun- right from the maker's month, so to speak. Never again will you have to rely on hearsay or bluster.
*Research- To help you learn more about the history of gunmakers I have a page of what I call Reference Books on my website. They cover a wide range of information by authors and the page deserves a look. One of the most prolific authors of gun history was the late Joe Vorisek. I am fortunate to be the authorized only source of his gun histories. Joe even has his own webpage of all his histories.
* Browser Usage - Sometimes people mention they cannot follow the links I put in my newsletters, or that the pictures don't show up. Well, sometimes browsers are set to only receive messages in plain text. This is usually because their internet connection is slow and pictures make it even slower. There are settings to allow or disallow HTML language (pictures and links).
Your browser (the program you use to view emails and internet sites) can be set to allow you to click on links to other web pages. The link can either open a new window with the original window disappearing to a small block near the top of the screen or it replaces the current window with the new selection. In the former case to return to the prior window, click the box near the top of the screen. In the latter example click the "back arrow" also at the top of the page (different browsers such as Firefox, Netscape or Internet Explorer use different symbols for the back arrow). For the most part, I use links that replace the newsletter page with the new link. So, to return to the newsletter, you will have to use the back arrow to return to the newsletter.
* Must Read: If you haven't yet done so, please read the About Us link on the website. It explains a lot of things such as why graphics vary in books, why I do this in the first place, errors and mistakes, guarantees, loans and more. Also, if you see something in the Coming Soon page you want, let me know and I'll move it up the list for you.
* If you collect Military Arms please check out the link page I have to Government and Military Publications as well as 75 Manuals of the World's Military Weapons (1945) in A Basic Manual of Military Arms - 1945 as well as the link to Machine Guns.
* YOUR ADDRESS- Yes, I am shouting! Each month I get angry phone calls, emails or letters from folks who "ordered the book xxx days ago and STILL DON'T HAVE IT! Usually they don't have it because the registered address at the website where they ordered the book is false (to "protect" their identity) or long outdated. When I point that out, they usually say that I should have double-checked or that their correct address was on their check or some other excuse. Sorry, I print address labels from the website as you typed it in. If your address is wrong the book goes to the wrong address. Please check your address at the website whenever you order something online. Thank you.
* How to pay for things on the internet while using your credit card with some safety... There are two areas of concern when you make the decision to pay online with your credit card. First, you have to make certain the site accepting your credit card is secure. There are two clues to security. One is in the URL or site address found at the top of the browser. Normally the URL begins with http://www etc. but a secure site has a different beginning. It starts with https://www. etc. The "S" means the site is using encryption software and it is pretty safe to send your card information to the company. By the way, do not send your credit card information in an email. Emails are NOT secure!
Of course, the second consideration has to do with what the company does with the information, the company integrity. If the company is located in Nigeria and you are sending money to "the government" to pay taxes on the $2,000,000 you won in their very generous random lottery, well, go ahead, you are a lost cause and I cannot help you. The point is to be careful about companies you never heard of before, don't know where they are located and the website has no telephone number. Caveat emptor, buyer beware. That is one of the reasons I like to pay with Paypal. When you do that you are giving only an email address to the company, not your credit card number.
Many folks call me to give me an order over the telephone because they "don't like to use their credit cards on the internet". So, a little more about credit cards and the internet. Every time you use your credit card at banks, gas stations, restaurants, stores and while browsing, the transaction is recorded on the internet! Small shops like ours carefully enter the information at a website belonging to a financial clearing house. Others, like Costco and Walmart are connected directly but they all go on the net.
What can you do to help make your credit cards safe? Know with whom you are dealing and what is happening when you hand over your card. Does a nervous and suspicious looking waiter disappear into the back room with your card? Hmmm. Does the gambling website where you are about to enter your card have no address, country or telephone number? Hmmm.
Your best bet is to confirm that the website address where you enter information begins with https:// rather than just http://. The 's' stands for secure, meaning encrypted. Also, be confident that the website itself is trustworthy, has 'contact us' information including a name, address and telephone number. Beware of offshore websites. Even with all these protections, some cards are stolen. We had a card stolen by thieves in Azerbaijan. How they got my card I have no idea but I check the charges on my card regularly (daily, in fact) and picked up the scam quickly and cancelled the card.
We get hundreds of calls about parts.
Some folks are doing something about supplying parts...
Spare parts, accessories and original bayonets as well as complete original examples for all models of Ross Rifles- Barry DeLong email@example.com or 423-472-1972.
Hello Abby, I am responding to your request for parts source information for Remington Rolling Block Parts. We are attempting to supply reproduction parts needed to restore or rebuild the majority of models of rolling blocks made from 1867 onward. While this is a work in progress, I believe we are the largest supplier of these obsolete parts in existence.
Trapdoors Galore Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: 3240 W. Arby Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89118. Phone No. 702-361-5322 Everything For The Trapdoors + Free Research On S/N's For The Trapdoor & Krag's
Joe Salter sells all sorts of things including butt plates, antique guns, collector ammo, air guns, holsters... well, check him out: http://www.joesalter.com
Phil Stewart sells parts, stocks and grips. He can be found at (740) 398-1941 in Mt. Vernon, OH.
The big parts houses for older guns are:
Jack First in Rapid City South Dakota their catalog (three volumes and over 2700 pages of invaluable information including parts diagrams) is available at (605) 343-9544 for $39.95
Gun Parts Corporation (Numrich) Kingston, New York (845) 679-2417. Well established with a good website.
Sarco Inc. Stirling, NJ (908) 647-3800 email email@example.com
Dixie Gun Works, Union City, TN (800) 238-6785
Provenance for Your Gun
Ever wonder who first purchased your gun or rifle or wished you had a certificate of origin? It could increase the value of your gun!
William_S._Hart Sr., or Tom Mix or some other celebrity may have been the original buyer. Perhaps the provenance would increase the value of your favorite fowling piece or rifle. Well, now you have a chance to find out for free if the gun was sold by Von Lengerke & Detmold or Abercrombie & Fitch, two of the largest and most prestigious gun houses of the 20th century.
If you own a gun by one of dozens of manufacturers write down the serial number and compare it to the serial numbers at the G&H website:
Robert C. Beach, Records Research
Griffin & Howe, Inc.
33 Claremont Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Website: www.griffinhowe.com (scroll down to see all the makes when you get there)
Serial Numbers and Corresponding Dates:
Gun sellers often give themselves a lot of latitude when claiming the provenance of weapons they sell. Age or factory modifications to the base model can add considerably to the value of any gun. The question repeatedly is- The Truth! Having a Serial Number from the gun in question can often lead you to the year it was manufactured and then to a catalog we reprint. This can be useful in determining how the factory intended to make guns... models, styles, calibers, engraving, checkering and options available.
To help you on your search I have put together a page on the website with links to websites that offer serial numbers and years of manufacture:
Original Gun Catalogs and Books for Sale
Here is the link to Box 4. All other boxes can be accessed from that page. If you would like prior notice of the sales, please sign up for the announcement newsletter. The hundred and fifty or so people who already signed up knew about this sale last week and some of the bargains are already gone. To register for the special newsletter, send an email to the following address and put the word REGISTER in the subject line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to all of you who signed up! IF YOU HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED THERE IS NO NEED TO DO SO AGAIN.
Old Newsletters are Available Online
If you missed a newsletter or want to look up an old one, please go to my website www.cornellpubs.com and look on the top of the first page for a link to old newsletters. You may view them online and in color with pictures. Also, on the subject of newsletters, I send out the newsletter in both HTML and plain text format. This means that if your browser is not set up to view pictures and colors, you automatically get the plain text version. I hope this explains why some of you don't see the pictures referred to in the letters - I know it has caused some confusion. Also, you should upgrade to the latest version of your browser for best results. To learn which version of you have, click the help button on the top line of this page and then look for the link that says "About [browser]".