Calls from the Wilds


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"ASSOCIATED PRESS 1/13/17 GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The Gerald R. Ford Museum in Western Michigan is displaying its own version of a statue that will be aboard the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford when it deploys. The 7-foot tall statue of Ford was unveiled last year and the smaller, 2-foot version, known as a maquette, has been added to the Grand Rapids museum's recently redone World War II exhibit.

The statue illustrates Ford posing in the ship's scupper rail with a modern navigation device known as a sextant, in hand. (sic)"

The scupper is a hole in the side of a ship where water and deck wastes return to the sea, a drain. Not the most complimentary place to locate a president holding a centuries old navigation device (ed). The again it could be the Navy having a bit of a joke.

(This is not political commentary, it is a joke) thanks to Jim Buchanan

4500 Years Ago- Skara Brae:

In 1850, A Farmer Found A Secret Door In The Sand In a small bay in Scotland, a well-kept secret is hidden among the green hills. At first glance, it might not seem particularly impressive, but step inside and you'll be amazed at what you see.

Thousands of years ago, it was a bustling society. But time and weather buried it under the sand. For millennia, no one knew that this place ever existed, but when a terrible storm swept over the Orkney Islands in 1850, an incredible secret was revealed.

Nestled in the mossy, green hills on the Orkney Islands off Scotland is a secret older than the great pyramids of Egypt.\

History of the Orkney Islands (see links to the right under "Section Contents")

This Makes Your Mind Wander:

Old Pictures. Can you confirm the weapons identified?

Caption reads- "Judging by the saddle style, this unidentified cowboy was working in the late 1870s or 1880s. In his holster, he carries a Colt model 1873 single action revolver with hard rubber grips, and he has looped his left arm around a Winchester model 1873 carbine in a saddle scabbard. On the back of the photo is the light pencil inscription "Indian fighter.""

Caption reads- "Moser's, Guns, Banjo's, and Mules at the Livery Stable in East Tennessee around 1890." (can you imagine the car seat our laws today would have required for that sprout on the back of the lead saddle?)



Caption reads: "Lulu Parr - Her skill with the gun caught the attention of Pawnee Bill, who signed her to his show in 1903. She left that show but came back in 1911. By that time, Pawnee Bill had joined Buffalo Bill's show. Buffalo Bill was so in awe of Lulu's willingness to ride unbroken ponies that he presented her with an ivory-handled Colt single-action revolver, engraved with "Buffalo Bill Cody to Lulu Parr—1911.""



Rob Mouat

How Eli Whitney Made Modern America... sort of.

Colonial American homes were built using traditional European methods of timber construction. Squared off logs were joined together with tongues and holes (mortise and tenon) that were secured with pegs through both. Making the joints with crude tools was a craftsman’s trade rare in America. The structure, similar to the barns we see all over, then had walls and a roof added. A minimum of expensive nails were needed for this sort of building. Balloon framing or stick built houses were not common until about 1830 when mass production of nails became common.

Eli Whitney was born in 1765 in Westborough, MA. He learned mechanical skills in his father’s workshop and by 15 employed people to help him manufacture valuable nails, a treasured commodity in colonial America. Nails were so special, in fact, that many people burned their homes when they moved west to retrieve the nails for a new structure. To make nails, iron ore was heated with carbon to make wrought iron. Narrow, square bars were heated in a coal fire then beaten to a tapered point and cut to length. Some were put in a die and beaten to form a top or “head”. Whitney’s business made him a businessman at an early age but despite success he decided he was lacking in education.

Whitney found his way to Yale at age 24 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1792. He moved to Georgia as a tutor where he saw first-hand the laborious and frustrating job of removing cotton seeds one by one from freshly picked cotton balls. His fertile mind quickly conceived and built his first “cotton gin” (gin- short for engine) in 1793. The invention revolutionized the south and made previously lowly cotton an enormously profitable crop. All of a sudden one person could process fifty pounds of cotton a day. The South produced 1.5 million pounds of cotton in 1794 and 18 million pounds by 1800. Whitney had changed life in the south, slaves would argue, not for the better, nor did the invention make Whitney his fortune.

By 1798 our nation faced a new world of challenges as the French Revolution ignited tensions in Europe and potentially threatened America. Napoleon Bonaparte began expanding the French Empire in Egypt and in succession in Russia, Syria, Austria and Italy. In 1800 he persuaded the Spanish to give back the Louisiana Territory to France and now, in the minds of the founding fathers, Bonaparte was also a threat from our west. America needed guns to defend against an anticipated French or European aggression but we had comparatively few gunsmiths to make them and, of course, each gun was different from all others in small ways because they were made by “smiths”, individual craftsmen.

This is where Eli Whitney came in. He had never made a gun in his life but in 1798 he bid on a government contract to supply 10,000 muskets. Whitney capitalized on the concept of interchangeability (although he didn’t invent the idea) and astonished the President and cabinet members by staging a demonstration (later proved “staged”) of guns made from common interchangeable parts. He didn’t deliver the guns until 1809, much later than the contract date of 1800 and he had used the government money in the interim to try to make his cotton gin business work, but the episode did establish his reputation as an inventor and innovator. It wasn’t until almost 200 years later that he was also found to be quite a showman. Meanwhile, his dramatic if imperfect demonstration of interchangeability gained such notoriety that guns with interchangeable parts and, in fact, for most machinery became the norm.

Fortunately for us, back in 1803 our government had sent a delegation to Paris to discuss the Louisiana Territory holdings with the French. To the surprise of the delegation Napoleon impulsively offered to sell the whole thing for about $15 million dollars. The delegation wasn’t authorized to make such a purchase but given Napoleon’s erratic nature they agreed on the spot and we doubled the size of the country in one stroke.

Eli Whitney's company lasted longer than he did. He succumbed to prostate cancer at age 59 in 1825 (get a PSA test and a colonoscopy... this month!)

Arms Heritage Magazine


Read all about Saluting Cannons

in Issue 1 of Volume 5 of Arms Heritage Magazine (see below)

This page tells us about "Firecracker Cannons" for kids!

"Back in the days before kids wore bicycle helmets,
when a skinned knee or elbow didn’t require an
automatic trip to the emergency room and where
“playing ball” was likely to involve a broomstick
and an old tennis ball, there were toy firecracker
cannons. Unimaginable now, in today’s world of highly
organized sports, electronic games and institutional
fear of anything even resembling a firearm-- then
kids could be kids--remember?"

If you are not already a subscriber to Arms Heritage Magazine, you can easily subscribe for a paltry sum of $19 by going to the website, Arms Heritage. Your subscription provides access to all five years of back issues plus those forthcoming over the next year.

We have produced “Annual Compendiums”- bound, printed copies, of our first five years of publication. We removed all commercial advertising and redundant material and the volumes are now pure articles on arms and related topics. They are available here: Annual Compendiums

Check in at Arms Heritage Magazine

Letters from Readers

Hi Abby & Rob, Thanks! You two are great!! Just want to say "Thanks!" for doing what you do. You receive so much crap from various idiots and jackasses, that you need to hear it more often. You deserve lots and lots of strokes for what you do so very well. Thank you a dozen times over! The education and accumulated knowledge of the shooting community would be so much poorer if it weren't for you two. I love what you do, and am very grateful for it. I do a little bit of freelance writing. I've been able to get a plug for your publications in the July 2016 issue of GUNS Magazine "Bully for the 30-30", page 50, and also in the Summer 2016 Surplus, Vintage & Classics Special Edition of GUNS Magazine, "Viva la 30-30!" Best regards, Roger Smith "Illegitimi Non Permitus Carborundum", eh?

Hi Roger, Thanks so much for the compliments and the Guns article, we really appreciate the help. I, unfortunately, missed the Guns piece and wonder if you could send me a scan of the page and the cover of the magazine? I like to put articles about us at the website. Not to worry if it is too much trouble, mainly I wanted to thank you. Cheers, Rob and Abby and Happy New Year!

Dear Rob, Oops! "Viva la 30-30!" was in the SURPLUS 2017 issue, not Summer 2016. The plug with a photo of a couple more of your catalog reprints and credit line is on page 166. Sorry for the boo-boo. Roger

(Dear Abby) Hello i see you have a few books on "Armory Gun Co." im looking for anything you might have on it. i have a single barrel breech shot gun. william haven

Hi William, I'm glad you found them and will be happy to print and bind your order. Just put what you want in the shopping cart and follow the directions. Cheers, Abby

(Dear Rob) #4476 and #3868 Proposals for Hughes Heligun. I ordered the proposal #4476 and I didn't realize that there is another proposal #3868 for the Hughes Heligun. Are there any differences between the proposals? Also in the back of #4476 there are engineering drawings, is it possible to have them copied on one sheet? William McQuade

Dear Mr. McQuade, I deleted the duplicate #4476. There are no detailed engineering drawings although there are photos and drawings throughout the piece. Cheers, Rob Mouat

Hello, I have bought from you in the past. I am now looking for a reprint of a booklet from the Federal Firearms Corporation from the 50's or 60's. They were somewhere in California. Thanks! John

Hi John, Everything we reprint is listed at our website. Cheers, Rob

Hello Ed, I wanted you to know that I refund $14.00 of your postage fee paid since they mailed together and you are a great customer! Thanks Abby

Dear Abby, Thank you very much. Your kind gesture shows that you are very customer oriented. I have no doubts that I will be sending you another order before long. I appreciate your efforts in making these manuals and catalogs available. Ed

(Dear Rob) I bought a pub from you about one year ago. Amoung your list of pubs, there is one of interest to me. "Mauser G41(M) Gewehr-Automatic Rifle- Manual, 28pps.,... Of this particular manual; is it in the original German language? Does it come in the original size? And do you have an original manual that you are copying from? Thank you for your time and effort in meeting my request. Bryan

Dear Bryan, If this is the one you are asking about: Mauser G41(M) Gewehr- Automatic Rifle- Manual, the text is in German (see the description in the advert) but we do not represent that we reproduce our publications in exactly the same size as originals, on the same paper or with the same inks. With over 6000 publications that would be impossible. This one is in English: G41 and 41-W Rifle German 7.92mm Manual. Cheers, Rob

(Dear Rob) I am searching for information on these single shot shotguns- Photo's and parts diagrams. I got a tip that this info might be in the 1903 Stevens catalog. Stevens 100-110-120 shotguns.

Gary, You will have to do a bit more research. I don't see those models listed in Abby's index of several Stevens calaogs I looked at. You can try yourself by going to an individual Stevens year catalog and pressing Ctrl + F. That gives you a search box for that page. Enter 100 or 110 or 120 (one at a time) and see if they show up in the list. I not, move on to Fox or Savage and also perhaps Sears (JC Higgins) or even Montgomery Ward. Every catalog Abby did is indexed for your convenience. Cheers, Rob

(Dear Abby) Simeon North- The First Official Pistol Maker to the U.S 1913. I need an illustration of the parts of the lock internals of a 1819 Simeon North pistol.Does this book contain this?Thanks,Dan

Dear Dan, No, I am afraid not.

Hi! I just ordered this my question does it show serial numbers of shotguns by date of manufacture? Thanks! Jim McKee #3320 - GE Lewis & Sons 1932 Gun Catalog

Dear Mr. McKee, No. What you selected is a sales catalog and that sort of advertising never has serial numbers. You see it is a brochure written before the sale and production of weapons is made so they have no idea of the numbers in the future. They would also not bother publishing numbers of items already sold. This of it like a sales brochure you get at a car dealer when you go to look at a Chevy. Cheers, Rob

(Dear Rob) Russian Makarov Pistol 1984 Silenced 9mm Model User Manual. Hi can you make custom sizing on these manuals, soviet manuals are allot smaller? Kind regards phil- Ebay way1440

Dear Phil, No, I am sorry, we reprint over 5000 old publications and as we say in our descriptions we do not make forgeries of originals. A major reason is the time it would take to individually match the size of everything we reprint. Regards, Rob Mouat

Hi, Can't find anywhere shipping costs on your website. What would be costs to Finland if I order two-thee catalogs? Estimation is fine. Thanks for doing what you are doing! Great resource! BR,Mikko Kääpä PS. Sorry my poor English

Dear Mikko, The website calculates shipping based on the shopping cart. If you don't like the shipping please don't complete the purchase. It is not possible to tell you how much money shipping costs for three of our publications because shipping is based on weight and I do not know which publications interest you. Best wishes, Rob Mouat

(Dear Rob) 1636alan (Ebay) does it cover anything on the 6.5 300 weartherby it the caliber at all. Speer 1959 Wildcat Rifle Loads Volume 4

Dear 1636a… This is a 1959 manual and I believe the Weatherby cartridge was new last year, no? Rob

(Dear Rob) my grandfather has been shooting that caliber since early 70's they just went into production last year though yes.

(Dear Rob) Jallas and Cie Catalog: Comments: I'm looking for a French company catalog by the name Jallas and Cie. There is a person on the doublegun forum who said he purchased a reprint of this gun from you but I can't seem to find one on your website. I'm wondering if you know what I'm talking about or have heard of this company. I'm interested in purchasing some of your Darne catalogs and this catalog is supposed to have information about the Darne's in it to. Thanks, Matt Buckley

Dear Mr. Buckley, I promised I would put your question in our newsletter. Mike Carrick the well known arms expert wrote the following:

"…concerning Mr. Buckley’s note below, obviously I’m not near my library (he was on the road, ed), but I have this reference in my database someone might want to check:pg 56, E. Jallas & Co.; proof mark IS over R in diamond. Chromed Barrels, in The Double Gun Journal, Vol. 26, Issue 1, Spring 2015."

I'll forward any others answers I get. Cheers, Rob

email Rob or Abby


Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves image

This month's winner is:

(Dear Rob) I received the copy of a manual for the Remington model 121, thank you. But honestly the pictures you would rely on for assembly are totally usless. If all of your materials are as poor as this one you are going to be short lived. You really need to do a better job. Honestly you look at that manual you sent out, how can you not be ashamed of the quality. Please do a better job. thank you jim

Well, Jim, them's fight'n words not normally chosen to elicit a positive response. But because I am an exceptionally patient person I will repay your discourtesy with a courteous response. Let’s start with the 15 years Abby and I have been preserving and selling over 10,000 books manuals and catalogs a year to collectors and historians all over the world. Considering that, no, we are not ashamed by anything we do. On the other hand perhaps you got a bad copy of the $7 manual you bought instead of stopping at Starbucks for a coffee. Therefore, because I am kind and generous, I’ll send you another for free. Cheers, Rob

Hey Rob, as you noticed I was not making a big deal about this catalog. It was more a critique of the quality of said book, and friendly at that. I know its only seven bucks [I don't drink or patronize starbucks], as someone who likes old firearms I appreciate what you all do but perhaps your quality control could use a little help. But before I piss u off any more I'll send this copy back to you personally and you can be the judge if its usable or not, you be the judge. thanks for your response, please let me know your opinion after you receive this copy of your manual. jim

Jim, Don't bother sending it back. As far as "quality control" we've sold 25 or so of those in the last year with no complaints. I told you I'll send you a color copy you may find better. Abby and I work alone, do this as a favor to our friends in the firearms community albeit not perfectly in every instance. What some people fail to understand or read at our website is that not every publication we retrieve from the last 150 years is perfect, sometimes we work from poor copies but we don't charge an arm and a leg either, only enough to keep going. Oh, and when people tell me I should feel shame for what we do, I take that as a big deal and not a particularly friendly remark either. How would you feel if someone told you you should feel ashamed for your work? RM

To see pages of Rants and Raves, and my replies, go to: RAVES and RANTS

Notes for New Readers (useful info repeated each month)

At the Cornellpubs 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, we reprint over 60 Remington factory gun catalogs but we 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 we would be happy to sell you those catalogs too! Most major gunmakers have a "master page" and we are adding more all the time.

Many folks call me to give us 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 or anywhere else, the transaction is recorded on the internet! The key is to trust the company to whom you are giving the information.

Gun Model & Makers, Parts Suppliers and Appraisers

Maker/Model - Cross Reference Link:

House Brand, Model Number, Original Manufacturer, Original Model


email William E Sterner Bill is certified by the American Gunsmithing Institute as an appraiser. His website for Black Shepherd Firearms Appraisal


Mike Rich, owner of I HAVE THIS OLD GUN. 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 selling parts for old guns...

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Abby and Rob