Jesse James Gun Going to Auction

Rumor has it that I’m related to Jesse James. As much as Sebastian & I have been able to learn about our families through genealogy, I can’t confirm or debunk this at this point. Regardless, it does mean that I spent quite a bit of time as a child checking out Jesse James-related sites when visiting Western Missouri during family gatherings.*

Anyway, the Colt .45 owned by my possible distant cousin is apparently going up for auction soon. This account claims that they expect it to go for more than $1.6 million.

While I mentioned this to Sebastian, he wondered if the gun used to shoot Jesse James was actually worth more money. A quick search indicates that while the price of that gun has been on the rise over the last 20 years, it’s not nearly as valuable. It was apparently predicted to go for about $150,000 when auctioned in 1993 and then again in 20033 for $350,000.

*I will not be surprised if I can eventually debunk this family myth. On the other hand, the James family that appears in my tree may have come from Missouri around the right time.

The Korean M-1s are back in the news

This time, Maxim Lott brings them up on Fox News. No new information here, it appears to be a rehash of the Korean Times article; except that Dennis Henigan brings some PSH to the discussion, and Chris Cox counters. Still no one directly involved willing to be quoted on the record.

A couple of things jump out at me based on this whole fiasco. First, The Obama administration denying Korea’s request to sell could be a PRO-gun move in that they could be saying “nope, you can’t sell them, you have to give them back.” (Could be. Not saying it is, or even that it’s likely. Bear with me). Secondly, there is no good that can come out of the administration’s official silence and buck-passing on this. It’s fired up the pro-gun side less than 90 days out from a make-or-break election for the White House; and if they do come in under the terms of the Lend-Lease (given back to the US, rather than sold directly), they have another stark choice; send them to Captain Crunch to appease the Bradies and PO the NRA, or give them to CMP (which will have the opposite result). Pick a side of the fence and stick with it, guys – straddling it just ends painfully when you slip… At any rate, this stealth gun-hating has consequences.

Seen at the Volokh Conspiracy – where Dave Kopel’s post gets a new world record by going from 0 to Godwin by the first comment. Which leads to the funniest thing I’ve seen all week on gun control “However, it is almost certain that Hitler wished that Americans didn’t have so many M1 Garands and Carbines. :)” (David Kopel)

Has anyone gotten the CMP on-record about these rifles?

(As a side note – I can’t own the Carbine – it be banned by name as an assault weapon in the state of New Jersey)

Webley Mark IV .38 S&W

Many of us, when we think of Webley revolvers, think of this iconic movie image, of Michael Caine and Stanley Baker playing Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead and Lieutenant John Chard in the 1964 movie Zulu, firing away with their Webley Mark VI in .455 Webley. Unfortunately for the movie, the iconic image is wrong. The revolver in question wasn’t introduced until World War I, thirty six years after the British Army fought the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. Nonetheless, the movie helped introduce more than a few people to the Webley, including me. When I noticed Century was carrying some Webley Mark IVs in their catalog late last year, I decided to grab one, since I had just renewed my C&R FFL. Delivered to my door a few days later. These aren’t very collectible revolvers, which their low price reflects, but they are in good condition, and should be a solid shooter, and a good introduction to the gun. The pistols are in .38 S&W, which is an older, than the .38 Special, and definitely more anemic than the man stopping .455 Webley. Unlike the Smith & Wesson designs, the Webley uses a top break reloading mechanism, where the entire barrel and cylinder can be moved away from the frame. This requires two hands to accomplish, so offers some obvious disadvantages to the more modern designs, but its’ still neat.

In the picture showing to the left, you can see the cross block safety that Century installed on these guns. That’s the main thing that kind of ruins these for collectors. Apparently it was done in order for Century to be able to import them under the ATF point system. Firearms explicitly listed on the C&R list can be imported by definition, without consideration to the point system (you can thank FOPA for that), but only the Webley Mark I is explicitly listed on the C&R list. These revolvers are C&R by virtue of the fact that they are older than fifty years. That gets it delivered to your door if you have a C&R FFL, but it doesn’t get you around the point system for importation.

In the picture to the right, you can see the origin of this particular pistol in Birmingham, England. I had wondered whether Century got these Webleys from one of the commonwealth countries, but I haven’t noticed any marks indicating that would be the case. I’m pretty sure that this Webley was never issued to any Commonwealth authority. It seems difficult to believe that it was imported directly from England, since I would imagine their export laws for pistols would preclude that possibility. In the picture to your left, you can see the proofs I am speaking of (click on the picture to see up close). Apparently all guns sold in the UK had to be “proofed” by one of several proof houses. This was one proofed by the Birmingham Proof House. The BV is the “Birmingham View” proof, indicating that the pistol passed visual inspection. The BP proof is a black powder proof mark, and NP is the “nitro proof” mark for certifying it will accept smokeless cartridges.

In the picture to the right, you can see up close how the Gun Control Act of 1968 forced Century International to butcher this pistol’s hammer. This would be a good collector piece otherwise. I didn’t even get a picture of the importer’s mark that was stamped on the underside of the barrel, something Bloomberg is demanding we make deeper and larger, in addition to adding a standardized extra serial number, further butchering imports and ruining them for collectors. You can see from the bit of serial number I didn’t Photoshop out, that it begins with A5, indicating a manufacture date of 1953. Had this pistol been imported into the United State prior to 1968, it would have been legal to import untouched, and an excellent collector piece. Thanks to our gun laws, it’s a shooter. I’m happy to finally have a Webley, and someday maybe I’ll spring for a collectable one. But for now I’m just happy to have something new to shoot.

ATF Inspecting C&R FFLs?

This is a rather odd report about ATF inspecting type ’03 FFLs.  Odd because the ATF is not supposed to just show up at a Type 03 licenses premises unannounced, they are supposed to make an appointment if they want to inspect your bound book.  They are entitled to look at your A&D book, and inspect the guns you have in your inventory.  This can be done at your premises, or at an ATF office.  Type 03 premises are typically residences, and are not required by federal regulations to have normal business hours.

Inspections are conducted by ATF compliance regulators.  They are not conducted by ATF agents.  If you’re a C&R licensee, and an ATF agent shows up at your door, you should treat that agent as you would any law enforcement officer who takes an interest in you.  Be polite, find out what his business is with you, but don’t say anything without talking to a lawyer.  If he does not have a warrant, do not allow him into your home.  If he does have a warrant, your next call needs to be to an attorney.

I hope this report doesn’t indicate that ATF is starting to harass C&Rs.  Mine expires next year, and if that’s the case it won’t be getting renewed.

Kimber Mauser Conversion Help

Rustmeister is blegging for some help in this area:

Have opportunity to buy a Kimber conversion of Swede M96 Mauser to 7.62NATO. Barrel cut down to Ranch rifle and forward sited scope mount permanently pinned into old leaf sight box (minus scope). Price is $250.00 tax & all. Anybody hear of anything about these Kimber conversions? And what scope would you suggest for a “ranch rifle”? Good deal? Bad deal?

If you can help him, head over and visit the comment section.

It’s Here!

I am now happy to finally own my very own M1 Garand. I’ve wanted one of these for a while, but since I joined a CMP affiliated club, I decided it was time.

This one was likely produced in 1955. Not a WW II model, but I wanted a good shooter. The history isn’t quite as important to me. The receiver looks to be in good shape. The blueing parkerizing is still very much in tact.

The manual can be rather amusing. Here’s a caution about “M1 Thumb”:


The bolt of the M1 rifle can slam shut unexpectedly if the shooter has not strictly followed these instructions. If your thumb or finger is in its path, a painful condition called “M1 Thumb” is a strong possibility. In a half-century of military service with the United States and its foreign allies, the M1 has bitten thousands of recruits in this manner. No one ever died from it, but it did lead to a deplorable expansion of vocabulary in many languages…

… If one day you get careless and acquire an M1 Thumb, think of it not as a digit but a diploma. It shows that you’ve learned not to do it again.

Heh. Now I just need to get some .30-06 and get to the range.

More on Going After Curio & Relic Licencees

I’ve done a bit of research into this topic, to see exactly how we could be affected by any change in ATF’s stance toward type 03 Federal Firearms Licensees.

Stepped up inspections of C&R FFL holders would be the most obvious way to make licensing uncomfortable enough that a lot fewer people would want to do it.

They could also change the C&R terms.  Title 18, Chapter 44 pretty much leaves this up to the Attorney General, but the standards for a firearm to qualify as a Curio and Relic are part of the Code of Federal Regulations, and to change it would require going through the rulemaking process.   This can be done without an Act of Congress, however, but ATF can’t (at least not without getting into areas of questionable legality, so that’s not to say it couldn’t happen) unilaterally alter the requirements for being on the list.

Eliminating the Curio and Relic license, changing the fee, or adding requirements to own a safe or other such things, would require an Act of Congress.

So my guess is, if ATF is going to start publicaly going after C&R licensees, it’ll likely involve the rubber glove treatment using the inspection powers they already have.   Make you all your C&R holders out there are keeping your paperwork in good order, which you should really be doing anyway.

Target: C&R FFLs

Ryan thinks ATF could target C&R FFLs once they drive the number of type 01 and type 02 FFLs down to low enough levels. This is not out of the realm of possibility. If there’s one thing a government bureaucracy hates, it’s losing power, funding, and people. If it’s current mission can’t justify an agency that large, they will find new areas to focus on that’s within the scope of their powers.

The whole Curio and Relics licensing system has flown under the radar so far, but there is a very serious risk that could change.

UPDATE: Uncle thinks they will go after home builders first.  I don’t disagree with this, but that doesn’t mean C&R FFL holders won’t get some attention too.   There are a lot of C&R FFL holders though, so to some degree we have the sea turtle defense.  It’s worth noting that ATF didn’t harass “kitchen table” dealers out of business, they started requiring that the licensed premises be zoned properly for the operation of that type of business, which is a standard that most hobby dealers couldn’t meet.  If you weren’t zoned, you weren’t getting your license renewed.  Home builders can be gone after easily because they operate in a tricky legal area that prohibits “manufacture for sale”  So if my buddy buys an 80% lower and asks me to drill a few holes using my jig and equipment, am I in the business of manufacturing and require a type 07 FFL?  The C&R stuff is a lot more straight forward, but ATF can definitely make C&R not worth the hassle.  C&R holders, what are the various ways you think ATF could make our lives miserable?  It’s a good exercise.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

M1 Sweetness

I am one step closer to getting my M1 Garand.  I received this e-mail this morning from the CMP:

We have received and verified your recent order. There is nothing that we will be able to tell you about the order until we have input all orders received ahead of yours into the system. Your order will now advance to our sales area and from there to our shipping area.  Please note, that unless otherwise listed, our order to ship time is 30 days. You will receive other emails as the order progresses.

The one I ordered was a Springfield Armory M1 in Correct Grade.  I hope I end up getting it.