Calls from the Wilds
* If for any reason this letter does not display properly, you can view the newsletter on our website.
* Most people who grew up years ago did so with guns in the house. They were usually not locked up and we were simply told at a young age not to touch them. Then, a little later, we were taught how to handle various guns so as not to hurt ourselves or others. After that many of us were given our own guns, often a single shot .22 or a .410 shotgun. We all have tales about shooting, be it rats at the local dump (landfill for you youngsters) or club competitive shooting. Perhaps you liked plinking cans or squirrel hunting in the forest or walking a field of kale with your dad's dog or even Boy Scout or Civil Air Patrol sponsored events.
Each activity, in its own way helped shape out lives and characters and made us more responsible adults. Sadly, this free way of life has changed. Today, my husband wouldn't want to take his target Mossberg to school in a gun case for practice in the school basement when classes ended. A 12 year old caught walking down the road with his gun slung over his shoulder might attract some unwanted attention almost anywhere in the country.
Will Graves is putting together a book about experiences people had when "Growing up with Guns, The changing face of America" and he needs you to write him a story to feature in the book. Tell him about your experiences as a youth. Your story doesn't have to be polished and finished, ready for the New Yorker Magazine (which probably wouldn't want it anyway), just a good yarn or event you know about from years ago. Will and his editor can flesh it out and give you credit or not as you wish.
Please, this is an important project. Jot down your story or stories tonight and send them off to Will. When the book comes out, I will be sure to offer it here and I bet he sells a ton of them!
Will's Email is email@example.com
If you missed a newsletter or want to look something up - click here
* One reader last month griped that I whine too much about folks who are a pain in the tookas and who, in turn whine to me all the time. You know, the reader was right. I have no reason to complain if people are anxious or impatient to buy what I sell. If someone doesn't like what he gets, that is his right and just because he lacks the social skills to explain his distress politely I shouldn't become upset myself. I apologise. That said, I still wish a thousand paper cuts upon those who give me neutral ratings on Ebay... four in the last year and two in the last month! Who do these jerks think they are?
* Virginia Carter, my website guru, just completed a project to add more than 40 new "mini-pages" to the Cornellpubs website. A mini page is a single page containing all the catalogs of a particular manufacturer, but more than that, the pages also feature related company catalogs, reference books and probably most valuable, a list of retailers who featured the main company products sorted by year (for instance; Abercrombie & Fitch carried Griffin & Howe rifles so A&F is listed on the side of the Griffin & Howe mini page). Thanks Virginia!
New Books and Special Thanks
This month I cleaned up a pile of catalogs I have been meaning to get to for some time. They are a fairly diverse bunch and fill in some holes.
- Cragin Hickman- Gun Repairs and Accessories c1939 has parts drawings that may be useful to owners of the guns listed from that era.
- Crosman Model 357 Owners Manual This is a manual that has been requested regularly for some time. I guess there are a lot of these CO2 guns around.
- How to Shoot 1927 (UK) Some Lessons in the Science of Shot Gun Shooting b y Robert Churchill is a nice companion to Books such as:
Big Game Shooting 1901 by Clive Phillipps-Wooley
Partridge Driving 1904 by Charles E. A. Alington
Purdey, James & Sons Instructions for Shooters 1929
Red Deer 1912 by Rev. H. A. Macpherson
Shooting 1902 by Alexander Innes Shand
Shooting 1903 Vol 1- Horace C. Hutchinson
Shooting Field and Covert 1900 Lord Walsingham
Shooting Moor and Marsh 1893 Lord Walsingham
Shooting Woodpigeons by Eley- c1952
The Grouse 1894 edited by Alfred T. Watson
The Partridge 1896 edited by Alfred T. Watson
The Pheasant 1904 edited by Alfred T. Watson
Wild-Fowl 1905 edited by Alfred T. Watson
- GECO 1937 Catalog No. 65 - 50th Anniversary Issue is a massive German catalog that came from Rudi Prusak, the American Single Shot Rifle Association archivist. The catalog contains just about everything the huge company offered. Text is in German.
- Hunting and Fishing Magazine; Sample Store Catalog 1929 is a really interesting idea from the popular magazine. Essentially, if you owned a local hardware store, you could buy a quantity of these catalgos with your company logo on the covers. The stock was fresh and comprehensive. I wonder how well the idea worked during that dark year of the Big Crash, although the magazine lasted into the 40s. Thanks to Dick Carleton for finding that.
- Lefever Arms Co. 1892 Bob Decker in Hawaii sent me an original 1892 Lefever to replace the partial photocopy I had before. This copy is very nice and much larger.
- Malcolm Rifle Telescopes 1905 Catalog John Gangel sent me a copy of the Malcolm Telescope catalog. Thanks John!
- Marbles 1906 Specialties for Sportsmen Gun & Knife Catalog
- Marbles 1907 Specialties for Sportsmen Gun & Knife Catalog I know these are close together but I had them both and figured I should do them.
- Pacific Gun Sights and Reloading 1944 Gun and Accessory Catalog Thanks to Rudi Prusak
- Pacific Gun Sights and Reloading c1939 Gun and Accessory Catalog This company sold al lot more than the name would imply, nice variety too. Thanks to Al Carleton.
- Parker 1930, A.G. & Co. - June 1930 Gun Accessories Catalogue This was the company that shortly became Parker-Hale. Featured some Lee-Enfield sporters. Thanks to Robert Boss for this one.
- Thompson Auto Ordnance Corporation 1975 Catalog Thompson catalogs sell so well that I figured a later one would be of interest too.
- Watson, Jos. R. & Co. 1923 Ammunition Catalog (UK) was a custom ammunition maker- pretty little color catalog. I can't imagine where Mike Blake finds these little gems. Thanks Mike.
- Winchester-Western Ammunition 1957 Handbook & Gun Catalog Olin purchased Western cartridge of Alton, IL in 1944 before the bought Winchester.
- Williams Shooters Catalog No. 8 1957-58 Guns, Sights Reloading etc. Williams had greatly expanded their line by the late 50s.
- Wilshire Gun House Catalog c1954 Witshire carried a nice high-end selection of guns.
- Winchester Junior Rifle Corps 1921, Instructors Manual Tom Marker sent me this delightful booklet from a time when it was necessary for a boy to learn to shoot straight.
- Winchester 1961 Gun Catalog with prices
- Winchester-Western Ammunition Catalog 1959
* 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
* Dick Carleton has an inexhaustible supply of antique guns, catalogs and fascinating memorabilia. I am very grateful he shares so much of his collections with me for you to enjoy. This month he sent along a video clip of a punt gun firing at a huge rack of clay pigeons.
"A punt gun is a type of extremely large shotgun used in the 19th and early 20th centuries for shooting large numbers of waterfowl for commercial harvesting operations. Punt guns were usually custom-designed and so varied widely, but could have bore diameters exceeding 2 inches and fire over a pound (0.5 kilos) of shot at a time. A single shot could kill over 50 waterfowl resting on the water's surface. They were too big to hold and the recoil so large that they were mounted directly on the punts used for hunting, hence their name. Hunters would maneuver their punts quietly into line and range of the flock using poles or oars to avoid startling them. Generally the gun was fixed to the punt; thus the hunter would maneuver the entire boat in order to aim the gun. The guns were sufficiently powerful, and the punts themselves sufficiently small, that firing the gun often propelled the punt backwards several inches or more. To improve efficiency, hunters could work in fleets of up to around ten punts.
In the United States, this practice depleted stocks of wild waterfowl and by the 1860s most states had banned the practice. The Lacey Act of 1900 banned the transport of wild game across state lines, and the practice of market hunting was outlawed by a series of federal laws in 1918. In the United Kingdom, a 1995 survey showed fewer than 50 active punt guns still in use. UK law limits punt guns to a bore diameter of 1.75 inches (1 1/8 pounder)." Source: Wikipedia.org
* Dick, in the spirit of large guns sent along a couple of pics from his Winchester cannon collection. He said, "These 1898 model signal cannons by Winchester are interesting and may be something you might want to include in your monthly news letter. They are made for blanks only and are marked, not for ball on the top of the barrel. The breech opens for loading something like a bolt action and firing is best done with a lanyard, due to the noise level. Brass or paper shells are easily reloaded, using a charge of 8 drams of balck powder. About 19,000 were made up until 1958 when production stopped. The price was $10.00 in 1919, survivers are worth considerably more now days."
Rants and Raves
This month's winner is: "Just that dope who gave me a neutral on Ebay, this time because he was impatient to get the catalog and the mail was late. Gosh I am sick of these people who just lash out without thinking and who never, ever call or write to ask a question of me."
To see pages of Rants and Raves, and my replies, go to: RAVES and RANTS
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.
* SPAM!! 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.
*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 the addresses with 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 than 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Sammy Baugh, or Eddie Dew 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: email@example.com. 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]".