Calls from the Wilds

Calls From the Wild

* If for any reason this letter does not display properly, you can view the newsletter on our website.

*This month I spent a good deal of time working on Serial Numbers with Virginia Carter, my website guru. With Virginia's help we added a webpage of links to sites offering serial number and year of manufacture help. Virginia is currently adding links to all the individual catalog item pages that have serial number information available for that make.

Particularly noteworthy are Winchester, Remington and Marlin catalogs because many of them contain original manuals for their guns. This is particularly true of Winchester which between 1875 and 1920 included manuals in every catalog. So... all you have to do is find out when your gun was made, buy the appropriate year catalog and bingo you have an original manual! Among the makes we are working on are:

AYA, Boss & Co., Ltd, Browning, EJ Churchill, Colt, Colt Black Powder 2nd Gen, John Dickson & Son, AH Fox, German early Date Codes, German Modern Date Codes, Stephen Grant, WW Greener, Harrington & Richardson, High Standard, Holland & Holland, Italian Year of Mfg. Date Codes, Ithaca Gun Co., Charles Lancaster, Joseph Lang, Marlin Firearms, Mauser Broomhandles, Parker Brothers Shotguns, Piotti, James Purdey, Remington Date Code & SxS Shotguns, Savage/Stevens, LC Smith, Smith & Wesson, Spanish Year of Mfg. Date Codes, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Winchester Rifles, Winchester Rifle & Shotgun 1969+, Winchester Shotguns.

* Last month I mentioned that I am having my garage converted into an office. Well, things have moved ahead and the new addition for the garage and storage is built and roofed. Here is what it looks like now:

Addition 2

* We are lucky to have a terrific shooting range in town courtesy of the Michigan DNR. It has managed to survive despite vocal opposition from local homeowners. After extensive noise tests an enormous berm was built surrounding the entire setup and I think survival is likely.

Island Lake Shooting Range is part of Island Lake State Recreation Area, a 4,000 acre park located in Livingston County, just south of I-96. One of the nation’s safest and most modern shooting ranges, the facility first opened in 2000 with the rifle and handgun range. This area offers 10 shooting positions at 25 and 50 yards along with 20 positions at 100 yards. In June of 2002, the first portion of the clay target range came into use. A short time later, management of the clay target range was transferred to a concessionaire, nationally ranked shooter and instructor, Pat Lieske.

Since then, Pat has added an 18-station Sporting Clays course with two levels of difficulty. In 2003, the Skeet fields were up and running, making the 4 trap fields into combination Trap/Skeet. In the fall of 2004, the Trap houses were updated to bring them into compliance with American Trapshooting Association (ATA) standards. With constant improvements and consistent maintenance, it is no wonder Island Lake Shooting Range is the place to shoot clay targets in Michigan.

This is a view from the clubhouse (below) and the rifle range next to the skeet and trap range:

shooting range

clubhouseRifle range

* The Miniature Wunderland model railroad in Hamburg , Germany is the largest in the world, covering 16,146 square feet of space with more than 10,000 train cars running around its 6.8 miles of HO scale track.  Now, the makers of this huge layout have created a video that gives you a jaw-dropping look at the vast scope of this intricate work of art.

Construction started in 2000, and is still underway, with a tiny airport due for completion by the end of this year.  This is just the beginning — there are plans to double the layout by 2014.  I like the Las Vegas portion, complete with dazzling LEDs lighting up the night.

Watch the new video (click the link above) to get the full impact of this remarkable achievement, which has taken in excess of 500,000 working hours to build. There's good reason why this is Germany 's most popular attraction, already visited by more than 5 million flabbergasted tourists

New Books and Special Thanks

This month I tried to satisfy Cap Gun and Winchester collectors and throw in a few special oldies I had on my desk.

The Burkhard’s Gun 1934 Catalog sold a huge variety of guns for the time deep in the Depression. So did Powell & Clement in their 1909 catalog which was just after the Panic of 1907 and just before the Panic of 1910.

The Dale Wise Custon Gun Catalog of 1967 is especially valuable because of its large and clear cutaway drawings with parts descriptions of many collectable guns including Colts, US Pistols, Whitney, Starr, Remington, Cooper and more.

The Firearms International c1950 Catalog features many variations of Mausers, Sako, Star, Lion, Astra, Janssen and AYA guns. The 1925 Galef Catalog sold many unusual small automatics- Alkar, Bang, FL. Luger, Ruby, Bronco, Dreyse, Browniem Errasti, Haenal Schmeisser, Libia, Liberty, Martian, Precision, Walman and many more as well as a lot of more common long guns.

Here are four Hubley's including some oldies: Hubley c1929 Cap Gun Catalog, Hubley c1931 Cap Pistols, Hubley c1933 Cap Pistols, Hubley 1963 Toy and Cap Gun Catalog. I also added a Maco Toys & Cap Gun c1952 Catalog which had some really neat WWII guns from the early 50s. They were too expensive for my family though. I also didn't have any of these outfits or play sets: Smart Style Inc. c1951 Real Texan Catalog.

The L. Ancion Marx 1900-1901 Waffenfabrikant catalog featured some very small revolvers as well as some unusual European guns of the period. The Otis Smith 1905 Firearms and Hardware Catalog featured a bunch of "Smith" revolvers (I wonder how the S&W Co. of the time dealt with that- they are pretty aggressive today!). The Philip Jay Medicus 1949-50 Catalog from New York was a powerhouse of its day with a wide selection of US rifles and guns and Beretta automatics.

Finally, a Winchester collector requested all these and another dozen I can't face until next month (they take a lot of time each):


* Download our latest flyer of old gun catalogs

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Letters from Readers

* Abby, I would like to buy this Barber & Lefever 1875 Gun & Rifle Catalog if it contains any information on the antique Lefever shotgun that I have. The serial # is 34895H. Do you know how I can learn when it was manufactured? Thanks! Oldcrow848

Dear Oldcrow,

If your gun is an original Lefever and based on serial number information in "Uncle Dan Lefever, Maser Gunmaker" by Bob Elliott I would say yours was manufactured in 1900 and was probably an H grade introduced in about 1897.

The original Lefever Arms Co. was founded in 1884 by "Uncle" Dan Lefever. He was the developer of many SXS improvements, including the automatic hammerless system. In 1901 he lost the Lefever Arms Co. and founded the D.M. Lefever, Sons & Company. He died in 1906 and the new company went out of business. Ithaca acquired the original Lefever Arms Co. in 1916 and produced shotguns under that name until 1948. The Lefever guns have collector value; barrels were either Damascus or fluid steel. Your gun should be a nitro capable model and our 1892 Lefever Catalog will give you a good deal of history.


* Jim Buchanan sent me this:

The Urine test

(This was written by a oil rig worker in the North Sea - What he says makes a lot of sense!)

I work, they pay me.   I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to earn that pay cheque, I work on a rig for a drilling contractor.   I am required to pass a random urine test for drugs and alcohol, with which I have no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.   Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a benefits cheque because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand that I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet.   I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their arse drinking beer and smoking dope.

Could you imagine how much money the government would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a benefit cheque?

Dear Abby,  I need to say "AMEN" about the provenance services now being offered by Griffin & Howe.  They have been very helpful for a number of members of The Mannlicher Collectors Association, including me, in the cases of Mannlicher-Schoenauers marketed by Abercrombie & Fitch and Von Lengerke & Detmold . They provide in depth documentation at a reasonable price.

FYI, we are attempting to come up with a "Mannlicher-Schoenauer Manual", which has become a serious labor of love.  The object is to cover the commercial models to the greatest depth possible, as there are several books written upon the military Mannlichers already, but nothing on the commercials. Sincerely, Larry Stewart

From Dick Carleton:

A cowboy appeared before St. Peter  'Have you ever done anything of particular merit?' St. Peter asked 'Well, I can think of one thing,' the cowboy offered. 'On a trip to the Black Hills out in  South Dakota, I came upon a gang of bikers, who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So, I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker and smacked him in his face ...  Kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, 'Now, back off!! Or I'll kick the crap out of all of you!'

St. Peter was impressed, 'When did this happen?' 'Just a couple of minutes ago….....'

Dwight Hart observed that two of the greatest virtues in life are patience and wisdom:

patience and wisdom

Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves image

This month's winners are: "I have one of your guns and it has problems.Will you email me and please give me a phone number that I can contact you through. Thanks James"

We don't sell or manufacture guns. Abby :-)

"Hello. I got the catalogs today...Had to go back and check the auction description , it reads : "Glossy paper, full color". Actual catalogs are in blacck and white on a course non gloss paper. Why is there a discrepancy ? Lars Rosenstrom, Sweden"

Dear Mr. Rosenstrom, I regret to tell you that you misunderstood the item description. It says "glossy soft-cover in full color" meaning that the cover is in color and is glossy. The insides are not in color or the description of the insides (Printed on high quality 24# 97 bright acid free paper). would have been noted as color. Also, the photo associated with the item clearly shows an inside page in black and white. I have refunded your purchase price. You may keep the catalog reprint with my compliments. Cheers, Abby Mouat

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 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 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.

copy clips image

* 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.

Parts Suppliers

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   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.
Kenn Womack

Trapdoors Galore Email: 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:

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

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:

or Contact:
Robert C. Beach, Records Research
Griffin & Howe, Inc.
33 Claremont Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
(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: 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 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]".