Click here to go to the question
and answer monthly index.
Click here to go to the question
and answer subject index.
# 12368 -
British Brown Bess By Henshaw
Chris, Maryville, TN
Revolutionary War British Brown Bess style Carbine with Henshaw on the Lock I am trying to find out any
info on the ''Henshaw'' markings on the lock of a dragoon carbine from the rev war. It is definitely a Brown
Bess style but has Henshaw on the lock. Does anyone know of this manufacturer and whether they were
a large arms maker or a small one. Is the Henshaw lock any better than a Tower lock for instance.
Answer: Chris- Bailey & Nie in their "English
Gunmakers" lists John Henshaw as working in Cambridge, 1783-1792 and Widow Henshaw in the same
location in 1792. Gardiner's "Small Arms Makers" lists John Henshaw as working there 1771-1796.
Gardiner also lists a Henshaw working on the Strand in London circa 1780-1814. That is about all I can tell
you. John Spangler
Columbian F.A. Manufacturing -
Philadelphia Pa -
32 Cf Top Break -
3 Inch -
I just add this gun to my collection and am having a hard time finding any info on it. I think it actual may
have been manufactured by Foehl & Weeks, but have not found much information on them. Could you
please share any information you may have on my gun or point me in the right direction. Thanks,
Answer: Sindy- Frank Sellers' "American Gunsmiths" notes that
this company was listed in a 1896 directory for Philadelphia, PA, and that they were associated with
"owlhead revolvers." Charles Foehl of Philadelphia worked with Deringer (yes, THE Deringer!) and
continued production of single shot rifles, pistols and revolvers as the Deringer Pistol Company. Circa
1889-1900 Foehl joined with Charles A. Weeks, with whom he held several patents on revolvers, to
become Foehl and Weeks where they made single shot rifles and cheap double action revolvers. While
interesting minor players on the very broad spectrum of late 19th century gun makers, I doubt if their
products have much collector appeal or value. John Spangler
Answer: Joe, my records indicate
that The year of manufacture for 876760 is 1920. Blue book values for Model 1894 Winchesters made
between 1894 and 1929 range from around $800 to over $1900 depending on condition and special
options. I have noticed that there is a little less demand for rifles chambered in .32 Special than some of
the other calibers that they came in. Marc
# 11914 -
Utah Centennial 52-C
Ron, Tucson, AZ
52-C Commemorative -
.22 LR -
100 UT 0331 -
Utah Centennial, 1896 - 1986 What is the approximate value of this rifle? It is NIB, I bought it on closeout in
Salt Lake City in December of 1996, intending to shoot it - but I never quite got to it and now I am almost
afraid to! It surely is a beauty....
Answer: Ron, this model is pretty
common here in Utah. The last one that we sold went for $550 but it took a while to go.
# 11913 -
Late War PP
Paul, Livingston, Texas
Walther PPK -
32 Automatic -
383428 P AC On slide, Eagle N on Slide, Eagle N on barrel, 383428 p on Receiver behind Trigger, Black
Checkered grips with Walther stamped on them, and the Clip has Walther stamped on it with PP 7.65 M/M.
All Markings are on the right side of the gun , pointing away from you. Why is Walther not stamped on the
gun receiver or slide? And Do you have any idea when this gun was made? Walther is stamped on the
grips and the clip. The small eagle with an N underneath is stamped on the barrel and the slide. What
does this mean? Why do they put the AC below and the P beside the serial numbers on the receiver?
Can you tell me anything about this gun?
Answer: Paul, the
"P" besides your serial number indicates that you have a Walther PP not a PPK. The first PP
and PPK pistols were all numbered in the same sequence with different serial number blocks allocated to
each model. Soon after production reached one million, a new series of numbers was initiated, which
began with 100000. Thereafter, blocks of numbers allocated to PPK production were followed by the letter
K, and blocks of letters allocated to PP production were followed by the letter P.
Your PP is a late war variation Type 5 pistol (serial range 371875P to 390653P) probably manufactured
in 1944 or 1945. Type 5 PP pistols have the following characteristics and markings:
WW-II German ordnance code assigned to Carl Walther, Zella-Mehlis, Germany "ac" on
the right side of the slide. This replaced the Walther legend that was on the left side of the slide . The
"ac" ordnance code is only seen on late Type 5 pistols.
Two piece checkered walnut, black or brown plastic grips with the Walther trademark located at
the top of each plate.
Late eagle over "WaA359" military acceptance stamp.
Serial number stamped on the right side of the frame to the rear of the trigger and on the right side
of the slide just forward of the ejection port.
Military acceptance stamp Eagle over WaA359 on the left side of the frame to the rear of the trigger
and on the left side of the slide just forward of the slide grip.
Commercial test proof Eagle over N on the right side of the slide below the ejection port, on the right
side of the chamber (barrel), and on the right side of the barrel near the muzzle.
No military test proof.
Some of the last production pistols are mismatched, and without proofs or legend.
# 12360 -
Fur Trade Era Muskets On Pacific Coast
Nick ... John Day, Oregon
Year: Abt. 1808 -
I am writing an article for the Oregon Historical Quarterly, and trying to determine the likely type and caliber
of firearm that would have been carried on a British Maritime fur-trading voyage to the Northwest Coast in
1808-09. There seems to be quit a bit of information out there for fur-trade era guns, focusing on the
interior fur trade, but not much on the Maritime trade. Because of mercantile policies, and being a British
ship, I think they would have been limited to English-made muskets (and again, this is about 1808). They
were after sea otters, but I believe most of the otters were taken by natives and traded. The muskets, in
this case, probably would have been used to hunt large and small game for food. I am particularly
interested in what calibers they would have preferred or carried, as I am trying to determine how many
shots they might have had with a stock of 20 lbs. of lead and 6 lbs. of powder. What possibilities or good
references would you suggest? please let me know if you can answer my query:
Answer: Nick- Good questions! I think the folks
at the Museum of the Fur trade in Chadron, NE would know a lot more. It would be well worth your time to
visit their excellent museum to see what they have on display, as well as to check their archives. I believe
that Charles Hanson was the founder of the museum, and his books are pretty much the key references to
start with. It may be possible to find old manifests from ships of the period, or trading company records.
Don't limit your research to U.S. sources, as our Canadian neighbors were part of the same trade. There
is an excellent museum in Victoria, BC, that has quite a bit of material on exhibit, and undoubtedly have
some archival resources as well. I do not have any documented specifics to cite, but this is my best
guess: You are correct that they would have been trading British made flintlock arms, probably of low
quality, typical Indian trade goods of the era. Most smoothbores of the period could fire either solid round
balls for use on large game, or humans, or loaded with shot for birds or small game. Most were about .55
to .75 caliber. These would use lead balls about 12-20 per pound so 20 pounds of lead would yield about
240-400 rounds. With a powder charge of very roughly 70-100 grains (by weight, not counting each
granule!) per shot. A pound is 7000 grains, so six pounds would be 42,000 grains so about 600-700 shots.
# 12359 -
Krag Rifle Altered By Military?
Jeff, Duncannon, PA
Springfield Armory -
Model 1898 -
not original butt plate. Stock has no stamps and looks to have stain or paint repair marks on one side of
the butt. I purchased this piece out of a collection in California because it's story was unique. The
collection was owned by a 94 year old gangster movie star from the past. I purchased this through his
grandson on the east coast. The reason I purchased it was because it had a hand written note with it that
said all work done on the gun was done in the field during active service. I took ownership of the gun and
was waiting for the letter to be sent from California. The gentleman, in the mean time, passed away and I
never got the note. I believe everything is original except for the butt plate and accessories and the trap
door is made of wood. Question - Is this piece worth anything without the note? If this was repaired while
in service, was there a wooden repair door manufactured? Thanks. Jeff
Answer: Jeff- Your rifle started off as a standard Model 1898 infantry rifle with a 30
inch barrel. I am certain that it was cut down for use as a sporter after being sold as surplus, and there is
no documented history available on this number. Rifles and carbines made after 1896 had the trap in the
buttplate for access to a storage hole for cleaning rods and an oiler, but the trap door was always made of
metal, not wood. In my opinion it is worth whatever sporterized Krags are bringing, and a note that is likely
full of erroneous information would not help the value at all, except with the most gullible buyers. John
# 12358 -
German Used Mosin Nagant
Andrew, St. Louis, MO
Mosian Nagant -
SORRY DON'T HAVE IT -
Nazi eagle with swastika behind trigger group on bottom of stock and random waffenamp's on the gun
itself. Was this gun captured and re-issued to German soldiers or was it made in a captured Russian
factory and issued to German soldiers? Or is this just a reproduction stock with a Russian Nagant placed
in it? Thanks for your time.
Answer: Andrew- I know that the Germans
used large numbers of capture Mosin Nagants during WW1. I do not recall seeing anything that shows
much German usage during WW2, although many probably ended up with various German allies and
German sympathizer units in countries where the Mosin Nagant was in use. As far as I know, no plant
making Mosin Nagants was captured by the Germans during WW2. Since Waffenamt inspector marks
were normally applied only at time of manufacture, their presence makes me think that the markings are
fake, added later to "enhance the value" of a cheap Mosin Nagant (selling for as little as $39 at times in
recent years!) and get a much higher price. It may be a rare treasure, but it sounds like come con artist's
fakery to me. John Spangler
# 12495 -
IJ Pistol Info
Blake, Katy, TX
Iver Johnson Target Mod. 57 -
4 Inch -
Target Grips-- Looks like a owl logo on handle. Just curious how old or any history. My father-in-law passed
away and he left it to me.
Answer: Blake, references indicate that the
Model 57 Target was manufactured from 1955 to about 1975. It was an eight-shot a solid frame non-ejector
.22 revolver that came with a 4.75, or 6 inch barrel, adjustable sights and a thumb-rest grip. That is about
all that I can tell you except that value is in the $100 range. For more information try posting a question on
the forums at ArmsCollectors.com Marc
# 12576 -
What Caliber Is It?
Kevin, Duluth, MN, USA
Lever Action -
23 1/4'' -
PAT'D NOV 19.1878 APRIL 2. 1889 AUG. 12. 1890 MARCH 1. 1892 MARLIN MODEL 92 I have
looked this old gun over and over and I cannot find a caliber marking on it. I have taken the calipers and
miked the muzzle and I get aprox. .298 on the lands and .310 in the grooves. How can I find out what
caliber this great firearm is?
Answer: Kevin, the only safe way that I
know of to determine the caliber of a rifle, is to take it to a gunsmith and have him make a casting of the
chamber. The gunsmith will be able to measure the casting that he makes to find the proper caliber.
# 12634 -
Mauser Copy -
On one side is a round gear like symbol with a bow and arrow inside of it; on the other side is a ying and
yang symbol with five oriental characters above it; surreal number is located behind the rear site. I have a
C96 pistol with marking that I have not been able to identify, can you help me out and tell me who and
where was this pistol made and in about what year was it manufactured?
Answer: David, the symbol you are asking about is one used by the government of
Chiang Kai Shek for its arms, it would have been used from the 1920s until 1949. The symbol was
stamped on arms imported for the Chiang Kai Shek military, and also on arms made in Chinese arsenals.
The Chinese made copies of the Mauser C96 pistol and marked them with Chinese characters so there is
a good possibility that you have a Chinese copy, but the pistol could also be an import that was marked
with military markings. Without pictures it's just about impossible for me to tell for sure what you have. You
may want to double check the caliber. If it's 9 mm Luger or 45 ACP then it's almost certainly a Chinese
copy. Copies chambered for 45 ACP are quite popular among collectors.
This pistol has all the appropriate markings that were associated with the hand guns purchased for the
Confederate States from the LondonArmoury Company, including the JS Anchor stamp and Kerr,s Patent
#S248. Is there any way of finding out if this is one of the weapons purchased by Caleb
Answer: Joe- Nice gun, and as with anything actually used by
the Confederates, or even alleged to have been near a Confederate, the value would be high. I do not know
of any listing of serial numbers from Caleb Huse's time in Europe purchasing guns for the South. Several
authors have worked in that field, and I am sure that if any records survived, we would know about them.
As with any purported Confederate item, I urge extreme skepticism and some good documentation. Sorry
we cannot help provide it. John Spangler
# 12352 -
Sellers Gun Makers In The Carolinas And Tennessee
Bill, Lubbock, Texas
My wife's mother's family were gunsmiths in the 1700's into at least the mid-1800's in Tennessee in the
Monroe County area and in the Carolinas before that section of Tennessee was opened for non-Indian
settlers. I have searched high and low for info but all I have located is US Census records which do ID
them as gunsmiths. Anything you could point me to? My mother-in-law is very aged and I'm trying to
complete a family history for her. The name was/is McKee but info on anybody or history of gunsmithing in
the region is appreciated.
Answer: Bill- I regret that I do not have much
to add to what you already now. Frank Sellers' "American Gunsmiths" lists James McKee as working in
Mecklinburg County, NC, apprenticed in 1805. He cites John Bivins' "Long Rifles of North Carolina" as the
source for this info, so you might follow up on that. John Spangler
My grandfather brought this gun back from Germany when he came back from WWII. Is this gun
chambered for the ''new'' 8mm Mauser with 0.323'' bore? Also, I know that in general, military 8mm
Mausers are pretty common, but is this gun unique having been made in Poland by Radom?
Answer: Chris- The Polish WZ29 is a short Mauser rifle adopted in 1929, and very
similar to the Czech VZ24, the FN Model 1924 and the later German Kar98k. The WZ29 had a recess on
the side of the stock for the bolt handle, and a bent bolt for cavalry use, but retained a straight bolt handle
for infantry use. Made by Radom in Poland, the WZ29 rifles were absorbed into German service after their
occupation of Poland in 1939. All were made for the common modern 8mm Mauser ammo. There is
collector interest in all types of Mausers, but I don't detect any real excitement among collector for the
WZ29 and values seem to run significantly less than for comparable examples of the very common K98k
rifles made in Germany. Robert Ball's "Mauser Military Rifles of the World" is a superb reference for
anyone interested in learning more about any type of Mauser rifle. John
# 12649 -
Modified Steyr Rifle
Roberto, Garden City, MO
bnz. 41, 8207 on the bolt, three horizontal lines with the number 77 on the bottom of the rifle, either 3657 or
8657 on the bottom next to the 77. I inherited this rifle from my grandfather after his death. It has the thick
barrel on it. It also has peep sights with Williams on the side of the sight and Bishop on the butt. The rifle is
in great condition besides a bit of discoloration on the bolt. I do not know what kind of rifle this is as far as
the make. I know I left out some pertinent information but hopefully you can help me out with what I have
provided. I do not know anything about this rifle.
Answer: Roberto, it
sounds like your rifle started out life as a K98k that was manufactured at Steyr for use by the German
military in WWII. bnz is the WWII German ordnance code that was assigned to Steyr-Daimler Puch, AG of
Steyr, Austria and WaA 77 is a German WWII Heerswaffenamt inspector's mark that was used on arms
produced at Steyr.
It is anybody's guess what has been done to the rifle between when it left the Steyr factory as a new rifle
and the present time. It sounds like at a minimum, a different barrel, stock and sights have been added.
Try taking the rifle to a gunsmith in your area, they should be able to tell you more about it.
# 12587 -
Polish Eagle Captured Radom
Deb, Canadian Lakes, MI
ViS Wz. 35 -
Don't Know -
Polish eagle, swastika, It looks like nickel, the handle has dark brown plastic plates. I am trying to learn
more about this gun. My father in Law brought it home after WWII. I have found info out about some Polish
Radom 35, but not those that have both the eagle and the swastika.
Answer: Deb, VIS M1935 (Radom) pistols with both German and Polish markings are
known to collectors as the Polish eagle captured variation. Some pistols of this variation were assembled
from partly completed pistols and spare parts that were on hand at the Radom factory on September 11
1939, when it was seized by occupying German forces. Others were captured Polish army issue pistols
that were re-proofed with German acceptance stamps and German test proof marks then re-issued to the
Polish eagle captured Radoms should be dated 1936-1939. They should have a high polish commercial
quality blue finish and checkered hard rubber grips. The blue book lists values for this model between $500
and about $1800. Unfortunately, if your pistol has been nickel plated, value will probably top out at around
$350 as a shooter. Marc
# 12591 -
Need A Part For A FIE
Andy, Nathalie, VA
Mod. TA 76 CAT 885 I am missing the pin that holds the cylinder in place. What are the chances of finding
one? I know the company is out of business.
Answer: Andy, chances of
finding a new cylinder rod are not very good, you may have to purchase a similar revolver that you can
cannibalize to obtain one. The good news is that if you can locate a similar revolver for parts, you should be
able to purchase it for under $50.00. Gunshows and pawnshops would be good places to look.
Another alternative may be to fabricate a replacement cylinder rod from a bolt or a metal rod, if you are
good with your hands. You could start with a piece of metal that is already close to the diameter that you
need and use a power drill and a hand file to shape it to fit. The operation may be time consuming and it
could require some experimentation and fitting, it may not be worth the effort. I would advise you to
purchase a nice Ruger Single Six instead of wasting your time on the FIE. You could retire the FIE and turn
in for a little cash the next time the libs in your area hold one of their foolish gun buy backs.
# 12594 -
M. Zulaica y Cia. of Eibar Info
Mzulaica Elbar & Co -
This pistol was acquired by my father in Europe during WWII. Its condition is somewhere around mid-
range. I haven't been able to find any information about this manufacturer either on-line or in gun
Answer: Bruce, M. Zulaica y Cia. of Eibar, Spain started out
business in the early 1900s manufacturing small inexpensive 'Velo-Dog' (velocipede - dog) type folding
trigger pocket revolvers that were designed for use by bicyclists as protection against dog attacks. In
1905, Zulaica patented a design for an automatic revolver but few were ever manufactured and even fewer
In 1915 Zulaica started manufacturing 'Eibar' type semi-automatic pistols for WWI French military
contracts. After the war, the Eibar pistols were sold on the civilian market into the 1920s. Zulaica's last
design which was introduced in about 1930, was a copy of the C96 Mauser.
# 12505 -
Reproduction Or Original Colt 1860 Army
Rob 9086 Daybreak Dr. Sandy, UT 84093
1860 Army 44CAL -
NO MARKINGS OR ENGRAVINGS -
The only markings on this revolver are on the cylinder Colts Patent No. no number PAT Sept 10th 1850.
On the left side of the barrel is marked Colt 1860 Army 44CAL. The right side of the barrel is marked Black
Powder Only - Made in Italy. Did Colt produce 1860 Army revolvers in Italy possibly before manufacturing
in England? If not were they produced for a European market? What would the value of this be it is most
certainly not a replica there is no way to age this the way it is in its current condition.
Answer: Colt NEVER made percussion revolvers in Italy in the 19th century. ALL
percussion revolvers marked “Made in Italy” or “Black Powder Only” are modern replicas. Many are now
being sold with an “antique” finish with worn finish, assorted nicks and dings so they actually look pretty old.
In addition, some larcenous louts are very clever at artificially aging replicas so they appear much older
than they are. Your revolver is a 20th century replica. If you disagree with my assessment, then I guess I
will have to admit that it really is old, and Colt had them made in Italy for delivery by the Easter Bunny and
Santa Claus and that you can sell it for a lot of money. P.T. Barnum was right! John
# 12439 -
One Of 20 Guns Used By Elliott Ness
Smith And Wesson -
I was left a Smith and Wesson revolver model 32-20 CTG patent date 02/06/1906 the last patent date is
Dec 29,1919. What is its worth? It is blue, mint condition serial number #10034 I was told by my
grandfather that it was used by Elliott Ness and was one of the 20 issued to Ness and his task force. Is it
Answer: Diane- Sorry, we cannot help with that one. We
have no feel for the market for "celebrity" guns, and have no means to authenticate any claims concerning
prior ownership or use. John Spangler
# 12597 -
Andrea, Sterling Hts, MI USA
ARMI F.LLI Tanfoglio Brescia Italy -
Model E15 -
22 L.R. Single Action -
Has a bull (bucking bull on the right hand side handle (grip). Also has a thumb rest on the left hand side of
the grip. Has a push lever hammer block. I'd like to know the value of this gun, its in very good condition
bluing 90%. Its been in my family since I was a little girl.
Answer: Andrea, the blue book values Buffalo Scout E15 Series revolvers in the $30-
$85 range. Sorry that your family heirloom is not worth more. Marc
# 12487 -
Old .25 Still In The Box
Karl , Barberton, Ohio
There is a symbol that looks like a dollar sign on the handle. The barrel is stamped C.G.HAENEL SUHL,
GERMANY, SCHMEISSER'S PATENT. I inherited this gun from my Grandfather. It has the original box, and
instructions with the gun. The gun is in mint shape. Could you please tell me what the value of the gun is?
Answer: Karl, in 1921 Hugo Schmeisser started work at the
Haenel company as chief engineer. He brought with him, a 6.35mm blowback automatic pocket pistol
design which he had previously patented in 1920. Production of the Schmeisser pocket pistol design began
in 1922 and continued until about 1927 when the Model 2 was introduced, and at which time, the original
design became known as the Model 1. The Model 2 was mechanically identical with the Model 1 but it was
shorter, lighter, and had a much more squared appearance. Both models 1 and 2 bore the same
inscription on the slide , but the Model 2 had 'SCHMEISSER' printed across the top of the grip. Since you
did not mention that SCHMEISSER is on your grips, you probably have a Model 1 which is the most
common of the two models. Production of the Model 2 ended about 1930 when the Haenel company
moved away from manufacturing handguns to produce submachine-guns and other military
The little Schmeisser Model 1 and 2 pistols are said to be very well made and of excellent quality. The top
value that the blue book lists for one in 100% condition is $390. Yours may be worth a little more because
of the condition, box and papers but .25 caliber pistols in general always tend to be slow sellers.
# 12586 -
WWII French Sniper?
Le Etienne -
32 `` -
On the barrel -- ''MA S 1918'' and ''Le Etienne M M 16'' and ''T.K 73061'' or maybe it is an F or a J
instead of a T -- hard to read -- it is a kind of script lettering. The bolt itself has the same initials and
numbers on it. It also has a funky looking metal thing on the bottom in front of the trigger that appears to be
some sort of magazine. Is this in fact a WW I sniper rifle (person who gave gun to me says that is what it
is); and in any event, is worth anything (I have a person here in the area who wants to buy it from me, but I
don't know its worth, if any).
Answer: Genie, you have a French military
rifle known as the Berthier Model 1907/15. This model originally held 3 rounds in a metal magazine but the
French increased the rifle's capacity to five rounds by adding that "funny" metal thing you mention. The
Berthier was the primary rifle of the French army during World War I and the marking on the barrel
indicates that your rifle was made at the government arsenal at St. Etienne in 1918, the last year of the
The rifle was originally chambered for the French rimmed cartridge in 8 mm. This was the first military
cartridge in the world to use smokeless power and it was another French invention. When the rifle left the
arsenal it had a wooden stock that ended about 5 inches from the muzzle. There would have been a metal
band about two inches long at the tip of the wood that held it to the barrel. There would have been a second
metal band about 12 inches behind the front one. Many old military rifles are seen with the stock cut short
to 'sporterize' them for hunting.
Since the number stamped on the bolt of your rifle matches the number stamped on the barrel, the rifle is
said to be all matching. A matching firearm is something that collectors look for and it adds value.
I'm doubtful about the rifle having been a military sniper rifle. It may have had a scope mounted on it by a
hunter. I have never seen a correct French WWI sniper rifle, and doubt if many other gun collectors in the
U.S. have either.
There is little interest in French military rifles and if the stock has been cut back, or if a modern commercial
scope has been mounted, then you'd be lucky to sell it $50. If it is an all matching rifle in very good or
better condition, without alterations then it might be worth up to $350, more if it is a sniper. If you can send
some pictures, I can give you a better estimate. Marc
# 12336 -
Morse Carbine -
Brass Receiver -
20 Inch -
Are There Interested Collectors? And Where Could I Find Them.
Answer: Sir- The Morse carbine is a super good collector item, being made for South
Carolina during the Civil War. (Note they were made for the state, not for the Confederate government, a bit
of parochialism that was common during the short lived Confederacy.) George Washington Morse was a
clever arms inventor, who had several novel ideas that were mechanically sound, but never commercially
successful. (Check his conversions of percussion muskets to breechloaders, the carbine you have, an
“inside lock” musket, a cartridge case, and some lever action rifle designs made in conjunction with
Whitney.) Your carbine is very popular with [wealthy] collectors of Confederate arms. Value is probably in
the range of $5,000- $25,000 depending on condition. Although any number of individual collectors would
love to buy this, you would probably do best selling via one of the big auction houses in a sale where they
have other Civil War era arms. John Spangler