Calls from the Wilds


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To all our friends and customers who have supported our preservation efforts over the years.

Without your help, comments, criticisms and purchases we could never have even begun to tackle this project and we are deeply grateful. We hope everyone has a great holiday and a very Happy New Year

Rob and Abby Mouat

And for those left behind, our prayers and memories are with you.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Remember the crazy Russian?

Well, now he has a .308 minigun that fires 4000 rounds a minute!


Test Your Brain



Count every "F" in the following text but don't scroll down yet:











Count them again.












Really, go back

and try to find the 6 'F's before you scroll down.






The brain cannot process "OF":


Finished Files are the re

sult oF years oF scienti

Fic study combined with

the experience oF years...


...geez, I hate these things! The above picture of the brain in a jar? It belonged to a chimp.

thanks to Dick Carleton

The NEEDHAM Workshop

by Stephen Levrant

The house and workshop at Hammersmith Terrace in West London was built 1751-3 and the garden goes down to the River Thames. It retains much material and fabric from its inception - joinery, plaster-work, chimney pieces, floors, despite having undergone some alterations over the years. It is a statutorily protected building, "listed" as being of Special Architectural and Historic Interest.

Hammersmith Terrace

I am afraid there is not much to see of the workshop but is has always been used as one. When we bought the house, the previous owner's Chauffeur/handyman had it as his workshop but there was nothing in it that remained from the time of the Needhams, other than some rough timber shelving and a timber work bench, which we think must have been in place before the workshop was finished as it cannot now go through the doors.

Joseph Vernon Needham was probably the son of William Needham who was established as a gunmaker in Birmingham in 1841. William was the son of Henry also a Birmingham gunmaker. The firm's success lead to its establishment in London in 1844 and it became William & Joseph Needham, in 1851. They made the first successful hammerless needle-fire gun in 1852, to Joseph's patent. This was an historic patent and a milestone in the development of the gun. The firm prospered and opened another factory in Birmingham as well as London premises in the most salubrious areas of London.

In 1862 Joseph patented a breechloader in which the breech opened by moving the barrels forward and also a sidelever half-cocking mechanism, which was used by Holland & Holland, amongst others. In 1873 Needham patented lever-operated magazine guns; and in 1874 he patented the first gun in which the barrels cocked the tumblers and ejectors, this was a drop-down and laterally moving barrel action incorporating Francis Bacon's split ejectors with a lever and spring to eject fired cartridge cases. WW Greener took over the business in 1874 but continued to use the JV Needham name and his patents; and in 1875 Joseph patented yet another drop-down barrel action.

*Needham may have been living at Hammersmith Terrace before he closed his London premises in c1880,probably after being declared bankrupt, an event that we are still researching. The 1881 census records him as living here as a gunsmith and brassworker, with a daughter and 2 sons who were also in the trade. Needham worked from the premises until he died, probably making gun parts to his patents for other manufacturers, but continuing to invent improvements to guns. In 1881 Needham and J T Atkinson patented a revolving chamber, hinged chamber and magazine breech action; and in 1884 Needham and T H S Hawker patented a hinged breech-block action, these inventions were designed and made in the workshop at Hammersmith Terrace.* Needham's contribution to the development of the rifle and shot gun cannot be over-estimated. His guns are now avidly collected, some are extreme rarities and many are still useful, serviceable guns. His patents appear on other manufacturer's pieces in various forms.

The two catalogues you have are actually from the time the J V Needham gunmaking business was in the ownership of WW Greener, and Joseph had effectively ceased taking any new patents. They demonstrate the significance and status of his name and inventions long after he had ceased to have active involvement in the retail gun trade.

Joseph's 2 sons went on to become inventors in their own right, mostly of gadgets, and they took out numerous patents for automatic cigarette cases, card cases, a table fountain, metal crib etc., all of which they manufactured in the workshop. They died without marrying and the house was sold in 1930 to the parents of the artist Sir Howard Hodgkin, who was born in the house. They carried out numerous improvements, but left the workshop largely untouched. We bought the house from another artist who purchased it from the Hodgkin family in 1950.

The workshop is a fascinating structure. I am an historic buildings architect, so it has great relevance to me. It appears to have been constructed as a blast-proof enclosure. It is partially buried under the garden and is entirely constructed of mass concrete - no reinforcement - including a vaulted roof. It has buttresses off the basement of the house and occupies what would have been a small sunken yard or open area at the garden front of the house. When the house was built the front was approached from the river, through the garden, not from the road, which was no more than a mud track at that time, so the whole house appears to be back-front-by today's standards. The workshop also incorporated a small lobby and toilet, also all of mass concrete. The vaulted roof has had some concrete paving lights inserted in the 1950s and there are ventilation pipes that are also buried under the garden terminating in a vent pipe hidden the bushes. The structure is actually a great rarity as an early example of a mass concrete structure, and I am intrigued to know who designed and built it for Needham. It is very possibly his own design, as there were very few known practitioners capable of using that type of technology in the Victorian era.

It clearly would not withstand a major blast but the vaulted form and materials would contain any smaller accident that may occur in testing actions or loading cartridges, etc. (Needham did have two types of his own.) The floor is of hard ceramic quarry tiles, which may be a later alteration. Despite being constructed against the earth of the garden and acting as a retaining wall, it is amazingly dry and sound. The only problems have occurred around the later pavement lights.

We are still researching the history of the house (I have not bothered to bore you with more of that) so publication of the above may be premature. I am intending to publish something when I have more information on the entire history; however, if you think the above may be of interest or there is other information I can give you do please let me know. I would appreciate a credit of some kind if you do use any of this for publication.

Stephen Levrant, West London, UK

*much of this chronological information is from the Internet Gun Club and should be duly acknowledged.

The Internet Gun Club is a subscription based library. The website claims: HISTORICAL DATABASE OF OVER 20,000 GUNMAKERS: Constantly updated, this is the most complete and accurate source of information about the gun makers and rifle makers of the UK, we have some details of makers in the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia. In seconds you can search for any name, address, word or patent number. Many of the histories are illustrated by photos of original gun case labels. There are over 1000 of them!


Gun Digest is discontinuing many of its assembly and other gun books so shortly they will not be available. I have some left and will sell them at wholesale prices for Christmas presents, so get your copies while they are still available. Here are a few titles to start all for $19.95 each:

Gun Digest 2011 Book of Revolvers Assembly/Disassy list $34.99 now $19.95

Gun Digest - Standard Catalog of Browning Firearms list $29.99 now $19.95

Gun Digest - Book of the 1911- Volume 1 list $27.95 now $19.95

Winchester Model 94- A Century of Craftsmanship list $34.99 now $19.95

Gun Digest Book of Automatic Pistol Assembly/Disassy list $36.99 now $19.95

we were also able to get a few each of:

Hemingway's Guns - The sporting Arms of Ernest Hemingway was $39.95 now $19.95

New Freebie:

Spanish Manufacturers - Models, Codes and Markings

Rob Mouat


We've all heard opinions and stories about ammunition and what happens when it is abused- burned, dropped, shot or otherwise invited to explode. In the event of a local fire, what is a safe distance from a burning sporting goods store for your family, two miles, two hundred yards, fifty feet? Will the lot go up like an iron bomb leaving a smoking hole in the ground? Will popping-off ammo start a chain reaction? Well, we have the answers.

I recall in gun club being warned not to drop boxes of .22 ammunition on the concrete floor because they could go off like a string of firecrackers with bullets flying up to two miles in every direction. That was probably a good strategy to teach a twelve your old to be respectful of the sport but how true was the warning? I won't bring up the zip guns we made, particularly now that any self-respecting delinquent has a 9 mike mike but how safe is ammo anyway?

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute Inc. (SAMMI) did some careful experiments to find out how ammunition behaves under controlled and uncontrolled circumstances. They dropped bricks of shells, pistol and rifle ammo from great heights, shot at it with a .308 and then set fire to boxes, crates and whole stores filled with ammo. The results will startle you and this rather long video should be seen by every sportsman. police officer and firefighter, shopkeepers too.

SAAMI - Sporting Ammunition and the Fire Fighter

thanks to Dick Carleton

Arms Heritage Magazine

Who was William Anderson Thornton?

Even the most neophyte collector has probably seen the "WAT" inspector's cartouche on the grips of a percussion revolver, the stock of a carbine, a military powder flask or bullet mold. To some it is a mark of authority and often adds a premium to the price of the object.

WATWilliam A. Thornton was born in Albany, New York in 1802. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1825 as a Second Lieutenant assigned to the 1st Artillery and later the 4th Artillery. He served in the Black Hawk Expedition of 1832 and at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina with Winfield Scott in 1832 and 1833 during the threatened nullification.

His first posting to Ordnance duty was at the Watervliet Arsenal, New York in 1833. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1835 and by 1837 he was appointed Assistant Ordnance officer on Niagara Frontier, eventually in command.

On July 7, 1838, he was promoted to Captain and placed in charge putting the Gulf Defenses in order.

He was named to head up the New York Ordnance Depot, as Inspector of Contract Arms in 1840. This is where arms collector interest focuses. During the ensuing years he had numerous jobs:

  • Inspector of Contract Arms 1840 to 1854
  • Command of Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts during the Dorr Outbreak in Rhode Island 1842
  • Promoted to Brevete Major (Ordnance) May 30, 1848
  • Chief of Ordnance New Mexico August 31, 1855 to October 1, 1857
  • Served as a member of the Ordnance Board for the Trial of Small Arms in 1855 and for the testing of heavy guns and carriages.
  • Promoted to Major (Ordnance) May 28, 1861 where he headed up the New York Ordnance Depot until 1861.
  • Commanded the Watervliet Arsenal from 1861 to 1863, first as Lieutenant Colonel Mar. 1863 and as full Colonel later that same year, continuing as Inspector of Contract Arms until April of 1864.
  • He retired as Brevete Brigadier General on March 13, 1865 and died about a year later in 1866.

The story of his trek to take over his post in New Mexico is an incredible tale of hardship and endurance. It is told in the form of a daily diary which is posted on-line and is highly recommended.

I recently took a trip from St. Louis, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the same journey Thornton took in 1855. It took about two hours. I had to deal with Homeland Security, parking my car and an annoying bus ride to pick up my rental. What I didn't have to deal with is what William Thornton and party encountered making the same trip in 1855.

On my trip there were no deaths from cholera, no drownings or gunshots fired. There were no desertions, swollen rivers, hostile Indians, oppressive heat, mosquitoes and no wagons stuck in mud up to their axles. Water and food were abundant and best of all it didn't take six weeks.

The saga of his trip is poignantly portrayed in the Thornton chronicle and gives real sense of how things have changed in a little more than 150 years. The diary of his trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico provides a fascinating insight to cross-country travel in the mid-1800's. It is riveting and well worth reading from beginning to end.

The story will be told in a forthcoming issue of Arms Heritage Magazine. All previous issues are archived and available to subscribers. Go to the Arms Heritage website and view a sample issue. Subscription are only $19.

Check in at Arms Heritage Magazine

New Books and Special Thanks

You can always see the reprints added during the last six months by clicking on the Recent Additions link to my website. Many thanks to Angus Murdoch, Roger Michaud, Mike Blake, Jerry Schleiger, Tom Breeden, John Schank and Hans Schöler. Without the generous support of people who lend us copies of rare old catalogs our collection would be much smaller! By the way, if you collect 19th century weapons you should have a look at the JA Ross catalog, they carried a very nice assortment of offerings.

Some of the German publications don't have indexes because they are in German or old German which I don't understand well enough to make an accurate list. If anyone can help with a short description of the books I neglected I would be pleased to include their abstract be it in English or German.


* Download our latest flyer of old gun catalogs

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Letters from Readers

Abby, I have a very nice Georg Knaak drilling - 16, 9,3 x 72 no. 2788, and rifle no. 4242 7x57. When (was) each produced? Regards Martin Nyhuus, Norway

Martin, I have no idea because we don’t happen to have the factory records. Also, we don't normally do that sort of research, we sell old gun catalogs. It might be possible for you to learn something about your rifles in our catalogs though. Abby

Dear Cornellpubs, In the Marbles 1906 Specialties for Sportsmen Gun & Knife Catalog, I wanted to know if the folding saftey knife is in the book? and if it showed about handle material, I am looking for one with wood handles instead of stag.If this info is in there I will be very interested in your book. Thanks – tonythechief (Ebay)

Tony, Questions like this are very hard to answer. There is a page of the knife and several pictures. Stag handles are mentioned as an option but I haven't a clue what the handles are made of in the pictures. Cheers, Abby

Abby- The Index of the catalog mentions certain types of wood, are they the ones used on the knife? Tony

Tony, You really have to buy the catalog to get that sort of information. Abby (he didn’t)

Hello, I have ran across some of your auctions on Ebay (auctions 290704007721, 370608457314) and I am interested in only 2 Remington models, the Models 29 and 31 shotguns. I'm trying to find a decent Disassembly/Assembly for the Model 29, and some information on the Model 31, like what size chamber lengths were offered for the different gauges and series of 31's, (there were 3 series 31, 34, 41). Is it possible to purchase just those two manuals and or catalogs, or do I have to purchase the whole Feild Manual like auction number 290704007721, and if so which one will give me the better information, 290704007721 or 370608457314? Thanks for your help, Kellan Clark (Ebay)

Kellan, I think the thing to do is to look at our website which is much better organized than Ebay. Each item has an index so you can see what is in it. Here is a link to all the Remingtons: REMINGTON - ALL CATALOGS. Let me know if you need any other help. Abby

Abby, I have a J.Stevens,Arms Company Chicopee Falls,Mass. USA 12 guage,patented August 12,1913.I feel it might of been around 1928 manufactured looking for parts catalog. Richard Drew

Richard, Thanks for your note. Not knowing the model gun you have makes this a bit more difficult, they made two in that era. You could get Joe Vorisek's book on Stevens and try to identify a model and year: Stevens Arms Company History by Joe Vorisek or you could pick a components parts catalog around when you feel the gun was made, say the Stevens 1931 Component Parts Catalog which has parts for both basic model singles Stevens made at that time. We also have other year parts guides if you want to try that: STEVENS, J ARMS CO. - ALL CATALOGS Cheers, Abby

Abby: I bought your Winchester Model 94 Complete Takedown Manual. I would like to get a manual for the Winchester Model 64. I know that the model 64 is similar to the model 94 but some things are different. Do you have a manual for the model 64? How much is it and can I order it from you. Thank you. C. Michael Logan

Michael, No, I'm sorry, the M64 was apparently produced from 1933 through 1957, just before AA Arnold started his series on guns Winchester was making at the time. Abby

Hi Abby, I recently received a reproduction rifle manual from Cornell: Browning 1936 FN Automatic .22 Caliber Rifles Manual. It is Browning automatic rifles cal. 22. It seems some pages are missing. Thanks, Alan Hamel

Hello, that is too bad Alan... I will look into it and send you another one that is complete...... I sell this quite often and have not had problems. Sorry for your inconvenience. Abby

Abby, It appears to be missing the "exploded view" showing the various parts of the rifle. Pages 18 and 19 describe the various parts but there is no diagram showing for example that part #21 is the firing pin. Thanks, Alan

Alan, In 1936, when the booklet was printed, exploded parts views had not yet come into general use. There should have been a flat parts plan after page 21 (the picture of the fellow with the shotgun and the rifle). Assuming you don't have that page, I'll send you another copy of the booklet. Cheers, Abby (Alan later said the flat plan didn’t have all the parts pictured and he was right, I checked manuals from other years for the same rifle and all left off the larger parts like the barrel and the stock.)

Abby, Item #2572 (Pacific Gunsights - Rifle and Pistol Reloading Catalog 1966).....does your reprint have a clear view of the components making up the priming system? Thx, Randy Schoenberg

Randy, I don't understand your question... what priming system, what detail. Please explain in detail. Abby

Hi, The item # I referred to is the operators (owners manual) for various Pacific reloading products. The item (Pacific Deluxe prO) press that is shown on the right page (display) of your pictures that came up after I searched, has a priming system. You can see it as a horizontal protrusion from the upper left side of the Deluxe prO that is displayed in that right image. It is my understanding that there is a more detailed parts description on the Deluxe prO, which would include the aforementioned priming system. In general, I need data that must include the Pacific Deluxe prO reloading press AND a "parts blowup" or "parts diagram of the priming system" used on the Pacific Deluxe prO. Thank you for your time on this is appreciated Any further questions, just contact me, Regards, Randy Schoenberg

Randy, Ah, well in that case, no. The catalog is a sales catalog and only identifies the part as having to do with the primer. I think what you want it a manual for the unit, something I don't have. Cheers, Abby

Walther Model 2, Model 5: I'm looking for anything on these models... ads, manuals, inserts, brochures... anything. Can you help or point me in a possible direction? Thank you, Patrick

Patrick, I wish I had time to do research for you but this time of year I just don't have a moment. If you would like to look through our catalogs and manuals to find likely ones to have your weapon, I can see if it is in what you select but that is all I can do right now. Just enter Walther in the search bar. Abby

Dear cornellpubs, Good morning. I am interested in your Winchester 1981 Component Parts Catalog. I have a Winchester model 70-375 H&H Magnum, built between 1975-1980. Does this book cover my model? – fleetwayjohn (Ebay)

Hello, I'm sorry, I don't know. As you can see from the index there are several Mod 70 parts plans included but I don't know if one of them is the one for your specific caliber and cartridge. If your rifle was made during that era, I assume it is covered. By the way, we also offer a Winchester Model 70 Complete Takedown Manual originally published by Winchester around 1960. It is at our website or on Ebay for $9.95. Abby

Hi, I've just read your website's 'About Us' page and want to commend you on all your great work. It’s such a great thing to be preserving history. I have one question though; Do you ever sell the original books or can I get in touch with the person who has the original copy? I plan to open a museum about the New South Wales Military Forces and the copy I've just purchased from you "Handbook for the Martini-Henry Rifle-1897" is a unique example of this, one of the only publications on the subject I have ever seen. Is this possible or should I just be content with my copy? Thanks for your help and great work, Rupert

Rupert, I am afraid that book isn't for sale, it is part of the collection of a well-known collector. When you open your museum, let me know and I'll see what I can do about making you a nice copy to display. Abby

Dear Abby, I immediately read EK, JOHN Your Silent Partner c1965 Fightin Knives thru three times, and it now occupies a special space in my research library next to W.D. Randalls "The Fighting Knife" and Wm. Fairbairns "Get Tough!" It would be great if all of John Ek knives depicted were available today! esp. the Chopper Survival/Rescue knife. Keep up the great work, saving valuable yet obscure publications from fading into history. God bless you and all your staff. Wes Williams

Abby, Do you have any books on Long Range shooting or Bench Rest Shooting? Let me know? Greg Collins

Greg, All these books contain at least an element of long range shooting, each of a different era. There are others but I would have to know what aspect of the sport interests you. Abby:

Ewing, J. - Rifleman's Handbook for Military Riflemen 1904

Laidley, Col. - A Course of Instruction in Rifle Firing 1879

Roberts, Ned - Schuetzen Rifle, The 1951

Whelen, Col. - Handbook on Small Bore Rifle Shooting 1941 - Whelen

Whelen, Col. - Handbook on Small Bore Rifle Shooting 1947 - Whelen

Whelen, Col. - Handbook on Small Bore Rifle Shooting 1953 - Whelen

Whelen, Col. - Handbook on Small Bore Rifle Shooting 1946 - Whelen

Busk, Hans - Handbook for Hythe - The School of Musketry of the British Army 1860

Hi Abby, I have to admit that one of the first sections I check out when I get your monthly newsletter is the Rants & Raves section; it's a guilty pleasure I just can't seem to deny myself! What a hoot! And I wonder if you've noticed what I've noticed: The "ravers" folks seem to have a reasonable command of the language and basic puntuation; the "ranters" often seem to be barely literate. Or is it just me? Thanks for all you do and best from the Kansas prairie... Phil

Phil, Well, I suppose I should admit the truth. Your observation is basically correct but I confess to an occasional bit editorial work on the "good" letters. I leave the "RANTERS" to their own devices. I suppose there are several lessons in all this. For example, I should correct your typo of “punctuation” for publication. Thanks, Abby

Abby, I'm interested in receiving a reproducation of a Marlin 37 Owners Manual or Catalog. Dancy Simpson

Dancy, The Marlin 37 was made from 1922-31 and is in the Marlin 1928 Firearms - Catalog we reprint. Abby

Abby: I am considering Hopkins & Allen Arms Co. Fifty Years of Gunmaking 1867 - 1917; Vorisek ordering from you. do you know if it contains a schematic of the H&A Dictator ? I am trying to remanufacture some repair parts for the two I have in my collection.

Wayne, If it isn't in the index with the advertisement, then I don't know. Depending on when it was in production (if you don't know, you need the Vorisek book you asked about) Hopkins & Allen 1911 Arms Co. Repair & Parts Catalogue might help you. Also, often people think these catalogs have exploded isometric drawings of parts but they only have flat views like the picture in the ad for the Hopkins & Allen 1911 Arms Co. Repair & Parts Catalogue. Isometric didn't come into use until after WWII. Abby

Dear cornellpubs, Hi; Thanks for the booklet have left positive feedback, I am also chasing a booklet for the Remington model 1925 slide action rifle in 32-20 , I have tried other sellers in the US but for some reason they won't sell ,Can you Help with this item. Kind Regards Mark Stewart

Mark, We reprint thousands of old gun catalogs including lots of Remingtons. When you go to the REMINGTON - ALL CATALOGS page of publications at our website, on the left you see all the Rems and on the right catalogs from retailers who sold Remingtons. When you click on each individual catalog it will have an index on the right side. I'm sure you can find what you are looking for. If you need us to look at a specific catalog, please let us know. Cheers, Rob Mouat

Hi Abby, Thanks for the note. I visit your website often, and I'm always eager to see what new finds have been added. I love the Rants section of the site. You should be commended for your patience. I don't think I could do it. Best regards, Ken Georgi

Dear Ms. Abby, Many thanks for your newsletter and publication reprints, both of which I enjoy very much. I think you provide a valuable service. Yesterday was my 70th birthday. When I was in my early 20s, in the early 1960s, I joined the NRA and began receiving the American Rifleman magazine. As my interest in firearms increased I began to subscribe to other gun magazines, namely Guns & Ammo, Guns, and Shooting Times.

Here and there I'd find a good article that I might wish to reread at a later date, so I saved them, mostly in Avon boxes with lids as my wife was a successful Avon Lady. About 15 years ago I decided to 3-hole punch the new ones and put them in binders. The end result is that after about 45 years of saving magazines I've got boxes and boxes full of magazines, mostly in excellent condition, and also binders and binders full of magazines sorted by year and month. Here and there an issue or two might be missing, but that's an exception. I still subscribe to all of them.

I don't know if you have any interest in these, but I'd be happy to give them to you. I would take them a few boxes at a time to UPS, or another shipper if you'd prefer. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. Craig North

Dear Craig, How incredibly generous of you to offer your collection, thank you. When Bob Toth died last year he left us virtually the same magazine collection (American Rifleman, Guns and Ammo etc) in his will. So, I must confess that we already have most of the magazines you mentioned. That said, Bob also left us quite a bit of advertising material which we are scanning and adding to our collection (we can’t reprint the magazines because the publishers would become upset). Are any of your collections catalogs and flyers? If so, I would love to have them although I don’t want to put you to any trouble sorting them out (if they are in boxes by year that is important because I like to date the material). BUT, your magazine collection is so valuable for research that I wonder if you would be kind enough to let me help you find a good home for it? We know a lot of people who are potential candidates, some in your neck of the woods. May I have your permission to ask around? Cheers, Abby

ABBY, In spite of the rants, Keep up the good work. Seems like Ranters do not have or use spell checkers much. Art DeKalb

Art, Yes, they do move the bar down. I purposely don't help them out with spelling and grammar although I do sometimes help nice people. Usually though, I just leave letters as they were sent. Perhaps, by doing so I encourage the general deterioration of language skills, I hadn't thought of that. Also, sadly, some of the ranters profess to be teachers. Cheers, Abby

Dear cornellpubs, hello, i own a hollis and sons family heirloom shotgun. i would like to know if i can purchase an ele tronic copy of the catalog. - jb_travel (Ebay)

JB, Thanks for your note. Your Hollis is fairly rare, a nice piece to have. Unfortunately, we have learned over the years not to sell e-copies of our collection because too many have turned up on Ebay as copies themselves, so we sell hard copies only. Would you like a hard copy of our Hollis Guns 1893 Catalog (UK)? Abby (he didn’t)

Abby, I'm happy. Thanks for my latest order, it's really good someone like yourself reproduces these old manuals. Just reading your Rants & Raves column, got a good laugh out of them. Talk about the lights on and nobody home! Keep up the good work, will be back to buy again. Regards Gary White ( Australia)

Dear Abby, As a former collector of muzzle-loaders, I appreciate your very informative newsletter. At the risk of dating myself, I remember as a teenager looking forward to the Civil War Centennial about when the last Confederate Veteran died! I am of the generation that grew up in central New Jersey back in the day when I was allowed as a teenager to sleep with a pound of black powder sitting on the desk in the bedroom! But no worry since I kept the percussion caps separately in my top dresser drawer. We never thought much of the danger, maybe because the family used to make fireworks. My brother and I had a group of a half-dozen friends with muzzle loaders shooting in our fields in Scotch Plains. We also grew up with a Marlin 22 cal. lever action that belonged to Grandpa and a nice 12 ga. Parker shotgun that belonged to Dad.

Detwiller ImageAt any rate, my great great grandfather Henry Detwiller (1795-1887) of Hellertown and Easton, PA had an unusual hunting piece that had four barrels as described in the article below. They say one barrel fired mercury and I wonder if any of your readers have ever heard of such a thing? I did find one similar example on the web, but unfortunately, it is not ours! (photo attached).

Dr. Henry Detwiller - From Prominent Americans of Swiss Origin (James T. White & Co., 1932)

(extract of article by F.K. Detwiller - then the artist in residence at Lafayette College)

"... As a country doctor and scientist, we see him settled in Hellertown in the Saucon Valley, where in December 1818, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Appel. He had three sons and four daughters by this union.

His collection of ‘Flora Sauconnonsis’ attracted the attention of such distinguished botanists as Prof. Thomas C. Porter, Dr. de Schweinitz and Dr. Huebner. His herbarium was presented to Lafayette College, but was lost together with many of his original water-color drawings, when Pardee Hall was destroyed by fire. However his comprehensive collection of the fauna of Pennsylvania now [1932] is in a good state of preservation in the collection of the Basel Museum, in Switzerland, where a recent traveler [ca. 1930] counted more than a hundred of these zoological specimens...

Side ViewFor sending these exhibits to Switzerland, boxes made of birds-eye maple were used. The beauty of this wood at once was recognized by the Swiss artisans and its introduction into Europe followed.

Among his outdoor equipment for the collecting of ornithological specimens may be mentioned his four-barrelled shotgun, which was made in Paris from his own designs [he was in Paris in 1836]: one barrel for fine shot; another for coarse shot; a third for a small calibre rifle ball; in the fourth he used quicksilver or metallic mercury so as not to break the delicate feathers or frail wings of the hummingbirds and other desired winged specimens.”


I thought you might be interested in this apparently unique firearm and hope you or one of your readers may have encountered such an item. I’d be glad to know more about this unique firearm. Regards, Rick Detwiller

P.S. Attached are images of a 4 Barrel Swivel Breech Percussion Rifle/Shotgun from the on-line article at Black Powder Firearms Forum by the administrator Colin of Stolzer & Son's Gunsmithing. This is the quote from accompanying the images:

“I stumbled across this on an antique site the other day and since I haven't posted any new pictures of double rifles in a while I thought this would be a good one.

With two 45 Caliber Percussion bbls on top and two approximately 16 gauge bbls on the bottom, swiveling at the breech. Very unusual American made gun; retains a considerable amount of brown Damascene style finish on the barrels(and) the birds eye maple stock"

Good Afternoon: Please send me, at your earliest convenience, all pertinent information on your publications including your current catalog and wholesale price list. Please include any samples as you deem necessary to demonstrate your quality and craftsmanship. By way of introduction, please view our website. I have also attached our credit references necessary to establish an open account. Thank you for your prompt attention and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Sincerely, N. Brian Huegel COUNTRY KNIVES INC.

Brian, You bought things from us in the past, 2009 and 2011 to be exact, so you have an idea what we do, our "quality and craftsmanship" and whatnot. You can download a catalog from the website where everything we sell is listed. I am afraid I just don't have free samples to send out because we print to order. Cheers, Abby

Hi Abby....anything on a 22cal. Wurfflein rifle...?? Guy Mundale

Guy, Thanks for your note. Unfortunately, this time of year we are absolutely swamped with orders and questions. Unless you can give me more information, like what you want to know and when your rifle was made (era), I just don't have time to start a research project. Try entering Wurfflein in the search box at my website for starters. Cheers, Abby

Hi mate, I always read Rants and raves of your informative newsletter first to see just how dopey some folks must be. I get a lot of laughs. Being on another continent, I've learnt that it is a rare occasion when the Post Office delivers when you expect it to. Keep up the great reprint service. Peter Bindon (Australia)

Abbey, The publication is called ‘THE KYNOCH JOURNAL’. I have two volumes: 1) Volume III, October 1901--September, 1902, 152 pages and 2) Volume IV, October, 1902—September, 1903, 128 pages, so obviously there are at least four (4) Volumes. On the inside of one of the volumes is the notation, “from the book shelves of JIM BUCHANAN". I bought these Xerox copies at the Cartridge Collectors Show in St. Louis, some 5-6 years ago for $8 each. I would be interested in purchasing ‘the complete set’ if you can find copies. Thanks, Dr. Robert Woodfill

Dear Robert, I forwarded your note to Jim Buchanan just in case he has a few left. Meanwhile, there appears to be a reprint available of the 1899 volume. Follow this link. Good luck! Abby

Hello David, what a pleasant surprise to see your large order. Your support is greatly appreciated. You sure have a wide interest in many things.... glad you found us and I am also glad that the website worked for you this time. Take care, Abby

Abby, Well, I`ve been acquiring old firearms since I was about 10 years old. (almost 50 years ago) I grew up following Popo around the farm all summer long, he taught me about the workings of the old tools (his term for firearms) he had and I always loved to find out how they worked. Then Dad spent all that time in Japan, Korea and instructing in southeast. So as an Army kid I was around firearms all my life. I have always been interested in the mechanical aspects of firearms but, then I love the workings of Popo`s tractors and his stationary engines too. So, yep I have a wide interest in mechanical things. I think your books will be just another chapter in my interests. Thanks for a great site. David


Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves image

This month's winner is:

"Send me just the copies of the pages on the Reilly, Edward M. shotguns (prorated of course) as I have no need of the $100 for the set." Billy Conklin

Billy, If you really have no need of the $100 you can just send it to me, thank you very much. Abby

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.

Popups and Blockers

Popup Blockers on your computer may block some links in this newsletter from opening. Many people set their browsers to block popups. This popup blocker may make it impossible to see some of the links in this newsletter because the link may ask the program to open in a new window (popup). If you experience this and want to suspend the popup blocker in Firefox go to Tools/Options/Content and click the popup box. in Internet Explorer go to Tools and then Popup Blocker (about in the middle).

* Tired of SPAM? Virginia (our website guru from Carolina Web Creations) says:

1. Never use your real email address when signing up for stuff online. (ie: forums, purchases, etc.) There are many free email services out there (Google, Yahoo, Juno, etc.) where you can create an email address for your online activity. This will help ensure that your public email address is one you don't really care about, and will help keep your personal email address secure.

2. Use forwards cautiously - As much as we all like to entertain our friends with funny emails, cute links, and amazing videos, forwarding these things to your entire address book only add to the problem with email harvesters. While your address book may be clean and free of hackers, you can't guarantee that everyone receiving your forwarded email is as fortunate. Once you have forwarded that email (with all the addresses visible) and the recipient then forwards it to their address book, it's all downhill from there.

3. Use caution when visiting websites. Just because a site has appeared in the #1 position in Google doesn't mean it's a reputable organization. Web developers are savvy and are not only skilled at forcing a high ranking position in the search engines, but also at coding things to get what they want from those who visit their webpage.

4. If you get an email from someone you don't know, DO NOT OPEN IT. If you get an email from someone you know and the subject line is strange or inconsistent with something that you might normally receive from this person, DO NOT OPEN IT. And the most important - if you get an attachment from anyone with an extension of ".exe" - DO NOT OPEN IT! (.exe is an executable program, and once you double click on it, it will run some kind of program on your computer, usually designed to completely wipe out your hard drive, or something equally malicious.)

5. If you're interested in "cleaning up" your computer to remove possible spamware and malware, you can download programs like Spybot and Ad-Aware. I personally use both of these. Also, use caution when clicking advertisements - remember, these are ADS! They WANT you to click their ad and purchase their product and it's not always something "good for you".

* Paypal - I don't like Paypal any more than most people 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 were cheaper by far than a bank when I started the business and it would cost a fortune to change the code for each page on the website to a new processor.

* 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.

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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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!

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". Well, every time you use your credit card at stores, banks, gas stations, restaurants and, of course, 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.

Of course, the second consideration has to do with what the company does with the information, the company integrity. Be careful about companies you never heard of before, don't know where they are located and the website has no telephone number. 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 (Paypal holds that information for itself only).

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.

Parts Suppliers and Appraisers

Mike Rich, owner of I HAVE THIS OLD GUN, has been involved in firearms restoration and appraisal since 1962.  Although Mike specializes in appraising Early American “Doubles,” side-by-side shotguns and rare rifles, he also does firearm appraisals for most American made guns.  These appraisals are frequently used to establish value for insurance, estate sales and/or resolutions and for owner’s wanting to know “what’s it worth?”  Whether one gun or an arsenal, send Mike an email to get started. Prices for a written appraisal begins as low as $35.00.

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.

Remington Rolling Block Parts. Ssupplies reproduction parts needed to restore or rebuild the majority of models of rolling blocks made from 1867 onward. Kenn Womack

Peter Dyson & Son Ltd. Co. of Yorkshire, England. Parts and reproduction parts for antique arms. Leather products, Damascus barrels and tubes, miniatures, used guns, air guns, reloading tools and more.

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

Blacksmith Bolt & Rivet Supply "Blacksmith Bolt & Rivet Supply has a page titled Guns & Guitars. On it, one will find some hard-to-find screws used by different gun manufacturers. Also included are a few Weaver style scope screws. In addition, upon request, we will search for hard-to-find screws used in guns. We stock an extensive range of slotted oval head wood screws in a black oxide finish, and others. David Naven"

Joe Salter sells all sorts of things including butt plates, antique guns, collector ammo, air guns, holsters... well, check him out: Joe Salter

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 is three volumes and over 2700 pages of invaluable information including parts diagrams - (605) 343-9544

Gun Parts Corporation (Numrich) Kingston, New York (845) 679-2417. Well established with a good website.

Sarco Inc. Stirling, NJ (908) 647-3800 email

Bob's Gun Parts Po Box 200 Royal AR 71968 501-767-2750

Dixie Gun Works, Union City, TN (800) 238-6785

The Rifle Shoppe

Free Downloads

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!

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 Griffin & Howe website: They have records from Abercrombie & Fitch as well as the Von Lengerke companies.

Robert C. Beach,
Records Research
Griffin & Howe, Inc.
33 Claremont Road
Bernardsville, NJ 07924
Bob's Email

Website: Griffin& Howe (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 my website with links to websites and sources that offer serial numbers and years of manufacture: