Calls from the Wilds

Calls From the Wild

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For many years I've told people that one of the goals of my project is to preserve old gun catalogs for future generations before they are all gone and a large and important chunk of our history is lost. I have often used the image of children of a deceased collector faced with the task of cleaning out the old homestead. When they come to the pile of old gun catalogs they are apt to say something like "ew, old gun catalogs, yuck!" and throw them out along with all the debris we may consider precious but others look upon with horror.

So, please, if you don't think your executor will think the way you do, make a provision in your will for the proper placement or disposal of things like old gun catalogs (and on their way to the place of your choice I wish they would make a stop in my office for me to scan them… I'll even pay the postage both ways).

If you missed a newsletter or want to look something up - click here


I've written about this before but for the benefit of new readers I want to talk about ordering online one more time. First off, it is not dangerous to order online if you are confident that the person from whom you are ordering is honest!

Modern, encrypted, secure sites are extremely difficult to hack into to steal credit card information so it is much easier for criminals to find other ways to get the information. Mine is a modern, encrypted, secure site and if you order from my website I never even get to see your credit card information because it goes directly to Paypal.

On the other hand, if you call me on the phone, I, as with most other small businesses, turn on my computer and enter your credit card information at the Paypal website which is safe but ads a step and the opportunity for typos is compounded. Many small businesses do the same thing, they enter your information online; restaurants, auto repair shops, small retailers and others manually enter credit card information. But what happens to the scrap of paper with your information on it? I shred mine and I don't store credit card information in the computer but what about others?

So next time why don't you buy directly from my website and skip the middleman (woman!)? But what about Paypal? I know a lot of folks don't like them. I don't, but they are much, much cheaper for a small online business like mine than a bank… hundreds of dollars cheaper. I pass along the savings to you in the form of reasonable prices for what I sell and the less time I spend writing addresses and entering credit information, the more time I have to add old catalogs to my inventory.


I had several grumps and queries this last month about the "quality" of certain catalogs. The questions and yes, complaints, were usually along the lines of "your reprint was not up to my standards!!!" or "why isn't the catalog you sent the exact size as the original and why isn't it printed on the same paper and why are there blotches or squiggles?"

Most of the emails end up being as insulting and deprecating as the writer can muster. The better educated folks wielding the sharper rapiers. I try hard to return the favor as energetically as I can, but the death of a thousand cuts is enervating. The most hurtful criticism is in the form of a less than positive rating on Ebay where the damage results in sharply reduced sales for some time. It is funny how one neutral rating can outshine thousands of positive ones.

Last weekend a chappie named Zack Sudler, who is apparently a young real estate salesman in Chicago, gave me a neutral on Ebay (his Ebay name is "daedsikcaz"). He wrote me back in response to my complaint that he left me a neutral rating before even contacting me. He said, "In all honesty I had did that (sic) out of courtesy to prevent you from having negative feedback", gosh thanks, Abby! "I actually took your business into consideration and read your feedback from other buyers before making my decision. Again MY DECISION - as to what to leave you as feedback. The whole point of feedback is to give an unbiased opinion of the services rendered - not to make the seller look good for selling second rate product... Perhaps your other clients have low standards. I do not."

Essentially, Sudler said that he felt it was incumbent on him to go out of his way to give me a neutral rating to protect other less informed buyers, to shield them from what he perceived as the travesty I forced upon my customers with my inadequate products. Sudler joined an elite group of three valiant "big brothers", (one a "newby" and the other a non-English speaker) out of 1495 positive raters on Ebay in the last year. I felt a bit petty when I told him "… next time you need forty year old copy of a rare gun catalog, try Walmart! Abby"

Well now, about quality. As I say in my "About Us" column at my website, quality of my reprints varies. I make no effort to exactly reproduce old ephemera. I reprint old catalogs to preserve the information they contain. I do not choose only pristine originals to reproduce or I would have a miserable, small collection of forgeries. I accept, to misquote Emma Lazarus, "… your tired, your poor, your crummy copies yearning to be saved, your wretched refuse about to be tossed." And turn them into readable, reasonable reprints of otherwise unavailable old gun catalogs. No more and no less. Some are great, others are not but all will give you the facts and pictures promised.

New Books and Special Thanks

This month I prepared an eclectic collection of catalogs with several air gun catalogs heading the list. Virginia Carter, our website guru is adding many new mini-pages. A mini-page is one that contains all the reprints of one manufacturer or interest. The new interest category this month is Air Guns which comprise a list of catalogs featuring large air gun sections as well as dedicated air gun catalog. By the way, did I mention that Virginia just finished a website dedicated to glass target balls used in the 19th century for newsletter reader Ralph Finch?

These are Air Gun catalogs I completed this month are thanks to Jim Argone:

Jim Whisker completed two more of his comprehensive and historical works:

These are from my library:


Here are two mass merchant catalogs, the Varick almost completely dedicated to firearms and the Savage which sold most things that Sears did.


I've had a number of requests for Luger manuals. Here are a couple:


These catalogs are ones I offered before but only as reprints of photocopies. I recently bought the originals and have replaces the files with better copies.


* Download our latest flyer of old gun catalogs

This requires Adobe Reader, which is free.
Those on dial up, beware - it is a large download. (30mb)
Adobe Reader

Letters from Readers

*Hi Abby, This might be a nice thing to feature in your news letter. It is an F. Draper 12 gauge shot gun shell. It is dated 1864 and the rim screws off and allows you to put a percussion cap on a nipple under the rim for ease of reloading. They were made in a few calibers and several gauges, from 8 to 20. The one shown is a 10 gauge. A wrench was made for disassembling them, as fouling made it difficult to take them apart after a few shots. Dick Carleton

Draper Shell

*THINGS I OWE IT TO MY MOTHER (thanks to Joe Mollitor in Spain)

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE .
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning here."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION .
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet or you're dead."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL .
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC .
"WHY? Because I said so! That's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC .
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going shopping with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT .
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
"Shut your mouth and drink your milk."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM .
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA .
"You'll sit there until all those broad beans are gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER .
"This room of yours looks as if a cyclone went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY .
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times - Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE .
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION .
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY .
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION .
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
"You are sure going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE .
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP .
"Put your jumper on; do you think I don't know when you are cold?"

*Dwight Hart sent this link to a video of a baby moose frolicking in a water sprinkler. Delightful! http://www.wimp.com/babymoose/ 

* Kornelia Takacs has written a definitive, and beautifully illustrated book about the history of compasses. Well worth a look if you have ever depended on one to get you out of the woods. http://www.compass-chronicles.com


Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves image

This month's winners are:

1. "Iam looking for a mag for 22cal. vore rifle please let me no if u can get one thank you Doug Bonnell"

Doug, we don't sell parts but call Numrich, they may be able to help... and it is Voere not Vore. Abby

2. Hi, My request was for fish, frog or eel SPEARS not Speer reels. I took your suggestion and searched your website for spears but I must tell you that your indexing is woefully inadequate.  Many of your catalogs in the Fishing category only list FISHING TACKLE or RODS & REELS in the index.  This is not really of any help. You reprint lots of catalogs that I know have spears in them (because I have them already) but they do not show up in a search for SPEARS. You seem to be almost wholly focused on guns to the exclusion of all other interests. So, with all due respect, before you answer a legitimate question with a suggestion to search your website, you should make sure that you have an adequate index for each and every catalog. Respectfully, Gary Miller

Dear Gary, My website is geared toward firearms collectors and various police and security agencies that need information from old catalogs. To be quite honest, you are first person in the eight years I have been doing this project to request information on eel spears. I have had people who collect reels, rods, creels, boots, clothing, tools, toys, mirrors, cooking equipment, whistles, cages, decoys… plumb bobs, glasses, and a thousand other things but never eel spears. Sorry I didn't think of that when I made the indexes. 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.

* SPAM!! I get, on average, about 300 new subscribers each month. Many are folks who signed up. Others are people I automatically signed up when they bought something at an auction site or my website. Of the ones I sign up to get the newsletter normally only six or eight unsubscribe each month, usually because they have a last name the same as a catalog they bought or made the purchase for a friend or relative. I am naturally flattered that so many folks are pleased to hear from me once a month and thank you all for your indulgence.

*Spammers intercept emails using various tools and strip the emails of all the addresses. All it takes is for one addressee on your list to visit the wrong site on the internet and wham all the addresses you mailed to are on a spam list.

But there is something you can do to help fight SPAM. When you forward emails to many individuals use the BCC: space (stands for Blind Carbon Copy) instead of the To: or CC: spaces in your email forwards.

Many address books will only put selected email addresses into the TO: box so go ahead and do that. Hold down your left mouse key, select all the addresses with your cursor and release the left mouse key. Go to Edit, Cut. Then click on BCC:, click Edit and Paste. Finally, put your own email address in the TO: box and press Send. None of the other email addresses will be visible to any of the addressees and they will love you for not contributing to the spread of SPAM! Whoopee!

* Paypal - I don't like Paypal and I don't think they make much of an effort to be less arrogant than they have been in the past, but, I use Paypal to process credit cards because they are cheaper by far than a bank for a small online business, They are reliable and they are secure. No, I don't like many of their policies but they are the least expensive I can find so we have to live with it. I do accept checks if you prefer and I don't wait for them to clear. If you stiff me with a check you go directly to the Rants and Raves column with your full name and address displayed for the world to see. By the way, Paypal has softened (somewhat) its previously hard line with respect to firearms and is now more reasonable. I wrote about it in my July 2007 Newsletter.

* Ebay - The wizards at Ebay decided (just after they laid off a whole bunch of employees and their business is down) that they will no longer allow sellers to advertise that they will accept money orders or checks in payment for purchases made on Ebay. Customers may still pay that way but we cannot advertise the fact. I think the idea is to force people to use Paypal, which is owned by Ebay. Now, to be perfectly honest, I would be much happier if you bought things from my website Cornellpubs.com because that saves me sales commissions to Ebay!

* Hint- If you are using the browser Firefox and have trouble seeing any images on this website, try hitting the refresh button. Meanwhile I will continue trying to figure out how to make my website more compatible with the many different browsers out there.

* INDEXES for Every Catalog I reprint... Every catalog I offer has an index at the right of the page. Listings on Ebay, Gunbroker and Auction Arms also have indexes.

* More on Indexes: Not all my indexes are alphabetized and can be difficult to search. Until I find time to alphabetize all of them, hit the Control key (on the lower left) and the letter "F" on your keyboard. this will give you a little search box on the bottom of the screen. Start to type in the name of what you want to find on that page and it should be highlighted on the screen (this works with most browsers and on any web page). :-) Abby

At my website, you will find many gunmaker "master pages" listing all the catalog reprints of one brand. To the right of each "master page" are names of catalogs by merchants who carried that brand of firearms. For example, I reprint over 60 Remington factory gun catalogs but I also reprint over 160 gun catalogs from merchants that sold Remington firearms such as Sears or Abercrombie & Fitch or Spalding. Those are the listings on the right of the page.

Using the merchant links, you can identify a catalog from just about any year that displays the Remington line and by looking at the individual page indexes you can figure out what models were made in what year without spending a dime. Of course I would be happy to sell you those catalogs too! Most major gunmakers have a "master page" and I am adding more all the time. Just start with any category link: All Catalogs, 1835-1899, Ammunition or any other and you will find that the capitalized links indicate "master pages". When you select one you will see on the right, the links to the other merchants who sold that brand.

* I have some nifty tricks for you! If you have trouble reading small type on my website or any other, you can increase the size of the text on the screen by holding down the Control key (that's the one in the lower left of the keyboard with Ctrl on it) and scrolling the wheel on top of your mouse back and forth.

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.

Many folks call me to give me an order over the telephone because they "don't like to use their credit cards on the internet". So, a little more about credit cards and the internet. Every time you use your credit card at banks, gas stations, restaurants, stores and while browsing, the transaction is recorded on the internet! Small shops like ours carefully enter the information at a website belonging to a financial clearing house. Others, like Costco and Walmart are connected directly but they all go on the net.

What can you do to help make your credit cards safe? Know with whom you are dealing and what is happening when you hand over your card. Does a nervous and suspicious looking waiter disappear into the back room with your card? Hmmm. Does the gambling website where you are about to enter your card have no address, country or telephone number? Hmmm.

Your best bet is to confirm that the website address where you enter information begins with https:// rather than just http://. The 's' stands for secure, meaning encrypted. Also, be confident that the website itself is trustworthy, has 'contact us' information including a name, address and telephone number. Beware of offshore websites. Even with all these protections, some cards are stolen. We had a card stolen by thieves in Azerbaijan. How they got my card I have no idea but I check the charges on my card regularly (daily, in fact) and picked up the scam quickly and cancelled the card.

Parts Suppliers

We get hundreds of calls about parts.

Some folks are doing something about supplying parts...

Custom Holsters
by Ed Buffaloe
I make custom holsters.  I specialize in concealed carry holsters, but can make a holster for almost any gun and almost any carry method.  I do not make shoulder holster harnesses, but if you already have a harness I can make you a holster to fit it.  I have a fair collection of guns, and if I already have a gun that you want a holster for, I often can make it without your gun.  However, in some cases, I need to have your gun to me so I can form the holster to fit it.  All my holsters are completely handmade and are double-stitched by hand.

Although most of my holsters are made of cowhide, I recently found a source for vegetable-tanned horsehide in limited quantities.  I like working with horsehide and am happy to make rugged horsehide holsters for discriminating customers. I keep a few holsters in stock for popular concealed-carry guns. http://www.unblinkingeye.com/

Spare parts, accessories and original bayonets as well as complete original examples for all models of Ross Rifles- Barry DeLong   barryj@localnet.com   or 423-472-1972.

Hello Abby, I am responding to your request for parts source information for Remington Rolling Block Parts. We are attempting to supply reproduction parts needed to restore or rebuild the majority of models of rolling blocks made from 1867 onward. While this is a work in progress, I believe we are the largest supplier of these obsolete parts in existence. Thanks, Kenn Womack

Trapdoors Galore Email: trapdoorsgalore@gmail.com Address: 3240 W. Arby Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89118.   Phone No.  702-361-5322  Everything For The Trapdoors + Free Research On S/N's For The Trapdoor & Krag's

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

Phil Stewart sells parts, stocks and grips. He can be found at (740) 398-1941 in Mt. Vernon, OH.

The big parts houses for older guns are:

Jack First in Rapid City South Dakota their catalog (three volumes and over 2700 pages of invaluable information including parts diagrams) is available at (605) 343-9544 for $39.95

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

Sarco Inc. Stirling, NJ (908) 647-3800 email info@sarcoinc.com

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

Provenance for Your Gun

Ever wonder who first purchased your gun or rifle or wished you had a certificate of origin? It could increase the value of your gun!

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
Email: research@griffinhowe.com
Website: www.griffinhowe.com
(scroll down to see all the makes when you get there)

Serial Numbers and Corresponding Dates:

Gun sellers often give themselves a lot of latitude when claiming the provenance of weapons they sell. Age or factory modifications to the base model can add considerably to the value of any gun. The question repeatedly is- The Truth! Having a Serial Number from the gun in question can often lead you to the year it was manufactured and then to a catalog we reprint. This can be useful in determining how the factory intended to make guns... models, styles, calibers, engraving, checkering and options available.

To help you on your search I have put together a page on the website with links to websites that offer serial numbers and years of manufacture:


Original Gun Catalogs and Books for Sale

Here is the link to Box 4. All other boxes can be accessed from that page. If you would like prior notice of the sales, please sign up for the announcement newsletter. The hundred and fifty or so people who already signed up knew about this sale last week and some of the bargains are already gone. To register for the special newsletter, send an email to the following address and put the word REGISTER in the subject line: eightbore@comcast.net. Many thanks to all of you who signed up! IF YOU HAVE ALREADY REGISTERED THERE IS NO NEED TO DO SO AGAIN.

Old Newsletters are Available Online

If you missed a newsletter or want to look up an old one, please go to my website www.cornellpubs.com and look on the top of the first page for a link to old newsletters. You may view them online and in color with pictures. Also, on the subject of newsletters, I send out the newsletter in both HTML and plain text format. This means that if your browser is not set up to view pictures and colors, you automatically get the plain text version. I hope this explains why some of you don't see the pictures referred to in the letters - I know it has caused some confusion. Also, you should upgrade to the latest version of your browser for best results. To learn which version of you have, click the help button on the top line of this page and then look for the link that says "About [browser]".