Counterfeting collectible firearms


October 10, 2004, 10:34 AM
Anyone ever encounter a faked collectible? Seems like this is not all that uncommon these days, and a few folks get taken every now and then.

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October 10, 2004, 01:55 PM
I've seen a couple of fake claims (e.g. a S&W 1917 that the seller was trying to pass off as a pre-war Triple Lock), but I've never actually seen a faked gun. I guess down here in Louisiana there isn't that much of a market for them. However, I've seen some Internet examples which were fairly obvious fakes (e.g. a claimed "1st generation" Colt SAA that was obviously a hodgepodge of bits and pieces put onto a 1st generation frame).

Then, of course, there are the gunshow commandos who claim to have "General Patton's pearl-handled Colt SAA" for a mere $5,000 or so... :rolleyes:

Standing Wolf
October 10, 2004, 04:13 PM
I've never seen a fake gun, but have encountered more than a few fake dealers.

October 10, 2004, 05:35 PM
Yes, I have seen guns that I suspected were fakes. I don't know for sure that they were.
I examined a table full of 1903s, 1903A3s, M1s, and M1 carbines that were all absolutely pristine, all with the same stock cartouches today at a gun show. I didn't talk to the people at the table (today), but the implication was that they were all original GI weapons.
The most common thing that I always suspect as being fake is the military sniper rifles. Yeah, they are out there: but I believe that a lot of them are fakes.

I was at a pawn shop a couple months ago where a guy was doing his best to sell me a genuine GI M1 "tanker". :rolleyes:

October 10, 2004, 05:42 PM
Yes.I've got 2 Star B's with the faked waffenmant stamps on them.I knew they were fakes when I bought them.Some importer thought he could jack up the price by making people think they were WWII Nazi guns.:rolleyes:

They are pretty good shooters other than that.

October 10, 2004, 06:23 PM
Yeah, I got taken by a kitchen table dealer on a 1st generation Colt SAA. The nickle plating was scratched in spots but not flaking off, and looked to be in fairly decent shape. Without doing my homework, I paid $800 for it.

When I showed it to a friend who knows SAA's like no one else, he told me almost immediately that it was a parts gun, and was worth maybe $450 tops.

I went to the dealer's home, which was in a really high-end neighborhood, and confronted him about misrepresenting the gun. His only answer, which he repeated every time I challenged him, was "caveat emptor."

Eventually I sold the gun for, IIRC, around $500 at a gun show.

The dealer died just a few years back, and I felt bad, but not too bad.

In the meantime, though, I bought every book I could find on SAA's. The ones I bought after that were the Real McCoy.

October 10, 2004, 08:00 PM
Then, of course, there are the gunshow commandos who claim to have "General Patton's pearl-handled Colt SAA" for a mere $5,000 or so...

How odd. So I guess that the ones in the Patton Museum at Ft. Knox are fakes, then?:p

October 10, 2004, 09:12 PM
My first pistol was a WWII Browning HighPower (Nazi issue Model 640b). It wasn't very expensive and I had assumed that it may not have been in orignal condition because the finish on the receiver and slide didn't match. I had just assumed that someone botched the job of trying to refinish the pistol or that it was a collection of parts from two different guns. Several years later, through a little bit of research, I was surprised to learn that the poor, mismatched finish was a characteristic of late war production pistols. The gun was authentic ...

ken w.
October 10, 2004, 09:57 PM
I have a friend that has a set of original cartouche stamps from Winchester during WWII.He's honest enough not to make fakes,but showed me how easy it is to do and what to look for when checking out a gun.I belive there's more fakes out there than you would belive.

October 10, 2004, 10:01 PM
You can buy cartouche stamps, and there is at least one guy that has a website that will stamp a stock for you.
He says he won't stamp a new stock. I get the impression he is just willing to stamp your stock to make the original stamps legible. But, even if he isn't faking stock cartouches, other people are.

October 11, 2004, 02:25 AM
There is a fine line between faking and "building".

Really i dont think there is anything wrong with a person taking their 1903 or K98 and turning it into a "sniper" varient because thats what they want.

The problem is that when they do a really good job and then sell the rifle even with complete disclosure and then after it passes hands a few more times eventually the "replica" part gets dropped and the "genuine sniper" part gets added.

This happens a lot with cars too.

October 11, 2004, 09:39 PM
There was quite a stir a while back when Inter-Ordnance sold a bunch of Mosin-Nagant "WWII sniper rifles" that had been built from spare parts, with the stocks cut in the right places.

IIRC, they didn't actually say they were genuine WWII snipers, but they alluded to it. Supposedly, many of the M-N snipers you see at gunshows today are these guns.

October 11, 2004, 11:21 PM
There are a lot of fakes out there. I know of several people who built them, and it is one of the reasons I've lost some of my interest in guns over the years. Perhaps the most popular fakes I've seen are the 28ga Winchester model 12's, and upgraded Parker shotguns. I've seen dozens of both, and there were shops that specialized in the manufacture of these "upgrades".

I remember one time standing next to a friend looking over the display of a very well know dealer, and as we walked away he mentioned that he had previously owned one of the guns in the display. It had been considerably reworked and $10,000 added to the price tag.

I don't trust any engraved american guns, and even the provenance can be faked. You get to know the honest guys, usually the hard way.

There are also a lot of stupid people out there. I once traded a $2,500 custom Colt to a dealer. His in shop gunsmith convinced him to "fix" it by replacing the hammer with a commander type own. That required replacing the hand fit grip safety with a drop in piece, and ruined the trigger job. It stayed on his shelf for a couple years due to the obvious change. I offered to buy it back if they could find the original part, but they had thrown it away.

October 12, 2004, 01:13 PM
Several decades ago, when I was still a kid, my first gun show introduction to a fake was a Thompson/Center barrel in .45LC/.410 Shotshell . . . T/C originally built a few of these, and then were "asked" by the BATmen to stop, so originals went up in price sharply. (The barrels were rifled, so the pistols didn't meet the technical definition of being a "sawed off shotgun" but the BATmen still didn't like them.) Of course, T/C kept right on making .45 Colt barrels with the detachable choke so one could use .45 LC-based shotshells. It was no problem to ream out the chamber to accept a 3" .410 shotshell. Presto - instant collector's item. (My Dad pointed this fakery out to me, as well as several other gun show attendees, much to the dismay of the seller.)

More recently, I've seen some "genuine Imbel FAL" rifles where the seller insisted they were assembled by Imbel. Funny, though the receiver actually was Imbel, it also had "CAI" on it as the importer.

And then there's the "genuine" article represented as being something extra special, like the rebuilt M1 Garand which had parts from ALL FOUR USGI suppliers in it, something you don't see every day, and was clearly worthy of a premium price. :rolleyes:

October 12, 2004, 01:30 PM
There are many "fake" Mosin-Nagant 91/30 snipers out there. Of course most were never intended to be fake, merely legitimate repros off of Finnish 91/30's. But I've seen plenty advertised as rare snipers for well over the ordinary asking price. They are very easy to spot if you know what to look for.

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