What would you carry in 1933?


April 26, 2003, 04:10 AM
Let's go back in time some seventy years. What guns would you have in your personal collection given what was available at the time?

Anything that you can't get today that you'd really want?

Anything made today that you'd really miss?

For me...let me think.

A 1911A1 in .45ACP would be in there. As would be either a Colt or a S&W 1917 in .45ACP.

A Smith & Wesson or Colt revolver in .45 Colt (if I could find a smokeless powder loading for .45 Colt that met or beat the blackpowder load a 250 grain bullet at 900+ fps ).

Shotguns? That's easy. A Winchester 97 Trench Gun.


A Winchester 1886 lever rifle in .45-70. A Winchester 1895 in .30-06.

And, just for those days when I felt like lugging around a twenty pound machine rifle, a Browning Automatic Rifle, M1918. :)

And, of course, the ubiquous 1928 Thompson Submachine Gun, .45ACP. :)

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April 26, 2003, 04:29 AM
What 1933 arsenal is complete without a first generation Colt Detective Special? Oh and put me down for one of those Winchester model 97's too. I want mine in "trench gun" garb.

Lone Star
April 26, 2003, 07:11 AM
Why 1933? Go a few years along, and you can add the .357 Magnum (1935) and the Winchester M70 rifle. (1937)

I discussed the guns seen in TV's syndicated series, "The Lost World" on that program's forum site a few times. If it goes to a fourth season, which is looking more likely, I'll probably try to interact wth the creative consultants and do a gun story for a shooting magazine. www.lostworldtv.net Check the forum archive pages. (Click on "Message Boards" when you get the main site display.) I post there as Explorer. We've had several gun discussions. Check local TV listings for the program, or catch it every weekday morning on TNT cable channel at 6:00AM Central time. Wonderful sci-fi adventure show, with basically authentic guns for the period!

I speculated which guns I'd take to a remote plateau in the Amazon circa 1920, and they included a Colt .45 SAA or two, a Rigby .275 (7X57mm) or Westley Richards .318 (7mm might be banned as a military caliber), and a S&W .44/40 Hand Ejector. The last was to get a wider case rim than on the .45 Colt, and the .44/40 was loaded hotter than the .44 Special, and could be used also in a Winchester M92. Also, I knew from Sasha Siemel's jaguar hunting books that .44/40 ammo would be available. I'd like a .500 Nitro Express by H&H for the larger dinosaurs found on the Plateau.

1933 would allow for S&W's .38/44 Heavy Duty revolver, and their classic M&P .38 would have better heat treating than in older examples.

Lone Star

Greg L
April 26, 2003, 07:31 AM
I would carry a wad of cash to buy a whole bunch of classics that weren't recognized as such and put them in a crate for my future grandson. He could then use them to pay off the house instead of hanging out online on a Saturday morning pretending to work. :D


April 26, 2003, 08:38 AM
Pretending to work also.:D

I'd definetly want a 1911 Colt and a BAR.

El Tejon
April 26, 2003, 09:50 AM
The Colt Monitor by greatgrandfather used against the Klan.

For a pistol, a 1911 is my choice, then as now.:)

Chris Rhines
April 26, 2003, 09:52 AM
Carry? In order, a Sauer M38 in .380, a Savage 1907 .32, or a Remington PA51 in .32ACP.

There would be a S&W .44-40 HE in my collection, along with a .44-40 Double Action Frontier model and a 1911A1 or three.

Lots of Winchester leverguns, a Sharps .45-110, another Sharps target rifle in .30/38-72 (a jacketed .30 caliber bullet in a necked-down .38-72 case.) A Thompson or two. Maybe a BAR to carry around in the trunk of my fliver. :D

I'd have fun.

- Chris

April 26, 2003, 11:07 AM
1911 in 38Super, Det Spec .38 special, Winchester in 30.06,Browning auto in 12 and a S&W 1917

April 26, 2003, 01:24 PM

April 26, 2003, 01:39 PM
The choice is as easy then as it is now: The Model 1911A1. On the 1933 model I'd have some better sights welded onto it.

The grips on most of those "old timey" double action revolvers reveal their single action roots and positively suck. Exhibit A would be the ergos on a Colt M1917 I recently had the opportunity to shoot. Yeech.:barf:

April 26, 2003, 02:20 PM
A good, Ol' French ChauChat. Nobody would mess with me cause they would either think I was totally friggen nuts, or actually got the thing to work and was thus on the level of JMB. :D
I'd also have a 1911 IWB just in case somebody doesnt know what a Chauchat is.


April 26, 2003, 02:43 PM
Probably a C96 or a Red 9, but I wouldn't turn down a FA one with detachable mags. :p
An NRA Springfield Model 1922 target .22 and a few Ainsley Fox sxs's in 12, 16 and 20ga would be really nice, and of course a Sedgley customized Springfield 03 in 30-06 with a Litschert scope mounted:D

April 26, 2003, 02:50 PM
Hmm, easily a couple of 1911's, a Colt 1908, a couple of .38 revolvers.
Maybe a Webley Mk.6.
Probably a Webley-Fosbery Auto-Revolver.
Definately a Thompson.

Some sort of shotgun, maybe the aforementioned trench gun, but with a twist: This being 1933 I'd send that badboy to a smith and have him chop the barrel back to 14 inches and reattach the bayonet lugs.

That's assuming I had no foreknowledge of what was to come.
If I did, you can bet that the number of Thompsons would be multiplied, and there would be a BAR or three as well.

Mike Irwin
April 26, 2003, 03:06 PM
Very simple...

Smith & Wesson Military & Police in .38 Spl., or perhaps a Heavy Duty in .38/44.

Shotgun? Probably an 1893 or a Model 12, but there were quite a few other choices, such as the Browning Auto 5.

Rifle? Savage 99.

Tommy Gunn
April 26, 2003, 03:23 PM
Two Colt 1911 .45 pistols and a 1928A1 Thompsen .45 caliber SMG.

Erik Jensen
April 26, 2003, 05:07 PM
what year did the NFA go into effect?

Jason Demond
April 26, 2003, 05:25 PM
Colt 1911A1

April 26, 2003, 05:28 PM
Ithaca Auto/Burglar gun
Maybe a H&R Young American as a pocket gun
1911 as a primary sidearm,of course.

Standing Wolf
April 26, 2003, 05:53 PM
I'd want a bunch of High Standards and Colt Woodsmen to bring back to the future.

April 26, 2003, 06:55 PM
I would be carrying a 1911 in 45 acp, a 1895 in 45-70, and a A5 or possibly a model 97 12 ga.
When did the 1911 get chambered in .38 super, I may opt for that instead of .45 acp in the 1911.

April 26, 2003, 09:25 PM
Winchester Model 12
1917 S&W/Colt revolver

April 26, 2003, 09:41 PM
A great thread!

I got here too late; I agree with what you guys said!


Andrew Wyatt
April 26, 2003, 09:49 PM
1911 (none of them newfangled a1's, either)


a 1903 with reciever sights

April 26, 2003, 10:36 PM
Brno ZB26

1911 or 12ga Coach gun

Captured German Bergmann M 18, would be very cool

In 1933 New Zealand it was a case of .303 Empire builder or nothing in regards to rifle ammunition. Exotic rifle calibers were normally imported and very pricey.

April 26, 2003, 11:04 PM
Colt Government Model in 45 ACP; maybe one in Super 38.
S&W Triple Lock in 44 Special. Colt SAA in 44 Special.
Pair of S&W M&Ps in 38 Special. Probably two inchers (but I don't remember when they came out... not that hack saws weren't already invented.)
A Colt Woodsman, or whatever it was called in those days.

Winchester 1892 in .44 WCF for a carbine. Possibly a Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington. Maybe a Winchester Self loader in .351 WSL.

Savage 99 in .300 Savage for a rifle.

Probably a large bore black powder cartridge gun for any really large critters.

If'n I could afford it, a .375 H&H caliber bolt gun of some kind.

For a shotgun, probably an L. C. Smith double. In 12, of course.

April 26, 2003, 11:45 PM
OK, 1933 which guns would my my main guns?

Well, I guess mine will be boring since they've all been mentioned but:
-the S&W 38/44, and the ammo would actually be available then (it came close to .357mag power levels)
-a S&W M&P for carry (since the question was "what would you carry" before getting into what you'd have)
-a Colt 1911
-a Thompson M1927 submachine gun
-a Winchester 1894 in 30-30 and a M92 (not sure which caliber I'd choose)
-Colt SAA in .45lc of course

If I'd decide to study in a Yeshiva for a time my choice would change and be expanded since just about all the Yeshivot at the time were in Europe and I know what was coming (in some countries already starting by 1933). I would bring a few dozen WWI surplus Mauser rifles and stash them for me and the buddies I'd make in Yeshiva since the Mauser would give 100% ammo compatability with captured Nazi ammo.

Byron Quick
April 27, 2003, 12:51 AM
Well, based on what I've seen of my family's possessions during this time period...

A no name single shot twelve gauge with stock repairs done with wrapped baling wire and a Remington .44 rimfire derringer would be all I could afford.

April 27, 2003, 01:12 AM

A 1911 for two legged predators

A .44 triple lock for bears

a .22 S&W for small game

A Savage 99 in .300 Savage for deer

A prewar magnum Mauser in .470 Rigby for big baddies

A .577 Nitro for dinosaurs

A Parker A1 Special to impress people

A Winchester High Wall Special Sporting Rifle in cal .50-110 for fun.

Lone Star
April 27, 2003, 08:18 AM
The Colt Super .38 appeared in 1929.

Don't recall which was first, the National or the Federal Firearms Act, but one was 1934, the other in 1938.

I had a high school chum whose dad had a pre-war Super .38 that he bought to carry while bear hunting, in case his Springfield sporter .30/06 failed or "ran dry". I later owned one, myself. They wouldn't shoot as well as .45's (headspacing problems until recent years) and Elmer Keith said that they didn't kill animals as well a a .45, either. He used soft or hollowpoint ammo, too, which I guess was loaded a lot sooner than I once thought.

The man who hunted bear liked the idea that the Super penetrated very well with jacketed ammo, and he'd use the gun at such close range that accuracy wouldn't have been a factor.

Attn. Tex-N-Cal:

The .470 is a rimmed cartridge, for double rifles. Your Magnum Mauser could easily be a .416 if you want a Rigby. There was also a .505, from Gibbs. The Germans loaded a rimless .500 for custom style Mausers, too. I doubt anyone needs a magazine rifle more potent than a .416, and Rigby made nice rifles...
Lone Star

April 27, 2003, 12:24 PM
How about a Brace of 1911A1swit three mags apiece, a Nice Thompson 1928 deluxe with a couple of drum mags, a decent Winchester Model 12, and a Winchester repeater in .405 Winchester (Ie Big Medicine):evil:

Phil in Seattle
April 27, 2003, 06:31 PM
A Smith & Wesson triple lock 44, until 1935 and then I am going to buy every darn Registered Magnum I can get my grubby (errr greedy!) little paws on.

Tom C.
April 28, 2003, 11:53 AM
What quickly comes to mind:

Square Bridge Magnum Mauser in .375 H&H and 416 Rigby
S&W Triple Lock .44 Special
Colt New Service .44 Special and .45 Colt
Luger Navy model and Artillery model
Winchester 1886 in .45-70
Browning Auto-5 12 ga.
Winchester Model 12 12 ga.
Colt SAA in .45 Colt, .44-40 and .38-40
Winchester 92 in .44-40 and .38-40
Marlin 39 .22
Thompson 1928
Colt Woodsman

Byron Quick
April 28, 2003, 12:22 PM
You guys sure had better jobs during the Great Depression than my folks did!

Brian Williams
April 28, 2003, 12:37 PM
a Colt SAA in 44-40
a Rem 14 in 44-40

Byron Quick
April 28, 2003, 01:03 PM
A Thompson retailed for about $129.95 in 1933. That was about thirteen weeks wages for my grandfather. Equating that to me, in 2003- about what a Thompson costs today.

Maybe the thread should be changed to "If I was rich in 1933, what would I carry?"

In terms of actual purchasing power folks, the price of these firearms hasn't changed. It still costs about the same percentage of a middle class worker's annual salary to purchase one of these firearms today as it did in 1933. Main difference is that a greater percentage of middle class folks have jobs today.

April 28, 2003, 08:20 PM
Well, nobody's mentioned the Walther PPK yet, I believe that was out at the time. If I was going for more power, however, I would choose a 1911

April 28, 2003, 09:44 PM
A pair of 1911s, crossdraw.
Tommy in a violin case. Couple of extra drums.

April 28, 2003, 10:13 PM
a pair of 1911s.1 in a shoulder holster and one tucked awqy in a crossdraw holster on the opposite side.

April 28, 2003, 10:33 PM
A pair of 1911... one with C-More sights, the other with tritium Novak sights... erp... wrong era. :D

A Tommy gun with 100 round drum. No need for a spare magazine.

A BAR and a few spare magazines.

April 28, 2003, 10:42 PM
Drum fed Thompson :)

A pair of 1911s is a goal I still aspire to even today.

Drum fed Thompson :)

Sorry, but doesn't that sound fun? Anyone ever shot a auto Tommy?

Navy joe
April 28, 2003, 11:37 PM
The personal 3 gun arsenal would be a pair of .38 Super 1911A1s, a Thompson on reliable stick mags, and a 1897 trench gun w/ bayonet.

For giggles I'd like a K98 brought back from the big one.

The Model A truck better darn well be equipped with dual 1919 mounts and a BAR under the seat or I'm not staying in that era long.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
April 29, 2003, 12:05 AM
Great Thread!

For everyday carry, probably a 1911 in a Great War type cavalry holster. Horses were still common where I grew up, but oil (BIG oil) had just been discovered, and it was getting pretty wild and wooly. My Texas Ranger idol, Lone Wolf Gonzallus carried a pair of .44 revolvers that are now in the Texas Ranger museum in Waco, but he was known to trade around frequently. For some work he had a 1911 on which he cut away the trigger guard and nickeled. My father acquired it some years back and now it is mine.

For social events, maybe a Red Nine C96 Mauser. The P35 was 2 yeas away, so that's out.

Housewarmer...probably a Winchester `97 or a model 1887. My brother has one in 12 guage that is a real piece of work. If I were flush, maybe a Model 12.

Longarm would be a tougher choice. Maybe a Savage 99 or Win 94, although Model 92's were more common in my family at the time. I'd not rule out a Springfield, but I'd imagine they were not really what you'd call common among civilians then. Besides, Texans in the '30's still didn't trust those slow-shooting bolt guns as much as a good lever action.

For the farm or the back yard, that'd be easy. A French 75 mm cannon like my grandfather fired in ROTC in the late 20's!


"If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world
peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until
the looting started..."

Missouri Mule
April 29, 2003, 01:34 PM
The obvious answer for me would be 1 1911 and a "Tommy Gun"!:D

April 29, 2003, 01:41 PM
...the M97 "Trench Gun" clumsy with all the doo-dads hanging off it... Wonder if that was the earliest example of "tatical doo-dads" in gun history?? :D

April 29, 2003, 01:48 PM
The two items I am aware of that were in Grandad's possession were:
A Remington 16 ga longtom (He was a squirrel hunter)
An Iver Johnson in 38 short something. (He was also a peaceable man) with the barrel cut off at an angle that shot anywhere it wanted.

I have the longtom.
My Uncle has the IJ.

I assume, all things considered, that is about the kind of arsenal I'd have had. Times were hard in western NC about then I have come to understand and there weren't to many Bonnie and Clyde wanna-bes ...so no tommyguns were needed.


May 1, 2003, 10:31 PM
Assuming I had a job in '33, probably all I could afford would be a military surplus rifle, most likely bought mail-order.

Admiral Thrawn
May 2, 2003, 02:11 AM
Two Colt Government Model M1911A1s

Using FMJ (Ball) ammo with lots of spare mags. (6+) for each gun.

A pump-action 12 gauge of some description and a Thompson SMG with several mags.

Vladimir Berkov
May 2, 2003, 02:32 AM
WWI surplus 1911 for me, with a M&P for some variety and as a backup.

1928 Thompson if I could afford it.

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