It's the year 1955, what do you choose?


May 14, 2003, 03:15 AM
I'm perusing some 1955 Field and Stream Magazines. This is the year I was born. Its funny how though 48 years have passed, some of the same arguments, suggestions and answers continue today. I'm talking with some friends, and with all the current debates today, one wonders how today's shooter's would cope.

So what do you choose as a sidearm, shotgun, rifle? How do you maintain it. There are no ads for spray degreasers, no CLP, some of the considered 'old" gun products are not even on the market.

What loadings? No Corbons, no Golden Saber, or Hydra-shoks.

GASP! What will you choose, how do you maintain.

Yes I do expect to hear what some of our more seasoned members did use and hear the effectiveness compared to today's choices.

I'm going to sit back and dream of buying a handgun for $24.50 shipped to my home . How about military surplus for $ 19.95...

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May 14, 2003, 03:17 AM
I couldn't begin to choose. Ten years after WWII with all those rifles, SMGs and such. All that wonderfull stuff with no '68.

I'd take care of the rifle the old fashioned way. Clean it with my own two hands, some rags and an oil of some sort.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
May 14, 2003, 03:24 AM
That's easy. Browning/FN High Power for carry. I'd invest heavily in those 17.50 Navy Lugers also, along with every S&W 38/44 I could find.

I'd probably pick up all the registered .357 Magnums I could find because folks would be raising cash to buy the hot new wristbreaker .44 Magnum to be relased in '56.

Loadings would likely be cast lead homebrew hollowpoints until something proven came along.

Longarms- probably every 03A4 I can find intact, along with Enfield snipers as well. Mauser snipers, once confirmed as original, are on the short list too. If available, most any Garand would be picked up.


"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..."

May 14, 2003, 06:06 AM
Good question. I'll take a Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 (lots of surplus ammo for plinkin'), a 357 Smith and instead of a shotgun I'll get a 1911.

If I know what I know now I would invest in lots of Colt SAAs, best quality American double barrel shotguns, and a Thompson for the "rifle". That way I could sell them all today and retire.:D

May 14, 2003, 06:08 AM
That way I could sell them all today and retire

Blasphemy! Selling a Thompson... :scrutiny: :cuss:

Dave McCracken
May 14, 2003, 06:48 AM
Rifle, either a Model 70 in '06 or an 03.

Handgun, a 1911 or a nice S&W.

Shotgun, one of those new 870s(G)...

BTW, same choices today....

May 14, 2003, 06:59 AM
"Shotgun, one of those new 870s(G)..."

Dave, I was waitin' for that...

May 14, 2003, 07:02 AM
- -1955 - -
Easy. If I knew then, what I know now.

I'd go to the bank and get as many Buffalo Nickels and Indian Head pennies as I could get my hands on and stash them away.

- 1975- -
I'd sell them for a small profit and loan the money to a scruffy/geeky looking kid named Bill to start some wild a@@ idea of his about Micro-something or other.

- - 2003 - -
I could buy South Dakota and we could ALL retire!!!
(all 5K of us)

May 14, 2003, 07:09 AM
Truth is , I actually think the responses will not really be a surprise. With all the new-fangled stuff on the market today, I find it interesting today's shooters are still using/wanting/buying/ or going back to the classics.

I also have bet the farm on responses from Dave ( given) Art, Mike Irwin, CRSam ( c'mon Sam),and others.

Only concern is Tamara...I think we would have a city named after her. " Welcome to Tamara, USA, home of the World's largest gun collection". :D

I'm still curious about loads, components, etc. Also curious about maintainance.

Interesting tidbit, even then, the low brass vs high brass for game in shotshell loadings being hashed about...

H Romberg
May 14, 2003, 07:18 AM
Gun choices stay the same.

good pump .12 ga
Winchester .22 bolt gun
and Today's Wall Street Journal

The above will still serve most any gun need need anybody has.

May 14, 2003, 08:23 AM
I'm still curious about loads, components, etc. Also curious about maintainance

For loads I think I would be handloading good bullets for the rifle, much like today. The pistol would probably be feed handloads with cast bullets. The biggest difference compared to today is the likelihood of corrosive surplus ammo. That leads to your maintenance question.

For the corrosive stuff I think hot soapy water is best for cleaning out the salty stuff.
That aside I think overall today we focus too much on the minutia of maintaining guns. While there is a big difference between no maintenance and good maintenance, I believe that a gun that has most of the gunk cleaned out of it, and is kept lubed with almost any oil, from motor oil to the most expensive snake oil, will last for several lifetimes. Given that, I would be happy with the products of that day. Give me Hoppes #9, any decent oil and grease and I will not worry about it.

May 14, 2003, 08:37 AM
You gotta remember $19.95 was real money back in the day when you made $1.50 an hour. :uhoh:

May 14, 2003, 10:36 AM

If there were 100 of us who invested with that Bill guy in the early 80's we could buy California. Kick all the libs out and have a great place! Too cold in the Dakota's.

May 14, 2003, 10:53 AM

In handguns, all the 1911's and variants I could carry.
And all the S&W Mdl 10's/ M&P's I could carry.

As many US Rifle Cal .30 M-1, and its kid brother, The 'War Baby" M-1 Carbine as available. Some 1903-A3's and variants, too....just 'cause ya gotta have some turnbolt rifles.

As for Shottys of the era, probably the Remington clones of the Browning A-5, if I can't get the 'real' A-5's

For cleaning, a few 55-gal drums of the USGI Bore Cleaner.

For ammo, the proper GI Ball. Maybe some lead semi-wadcutter rounds for the .38's

4v50 Gary
May 14, 2003, 10:57 AM
Win Model 70 in 30-06. Scope? Weaver K-4 (was Leupold out yet?). The best civilian bolt action of its time (the Rem 721 was a good gun too, but not quite the 700).

Shotgun - Win Model 12.

Handgun - Browning Hi-Power.

Captain Scarlet
May 14, 2003, 11:02 AM
my main choices are:

USGI 1911 & 1911A1 pistols

Luger 9mm pistols

US M1 .30 caliber carbine standard & paratrooper model

surplus Springfield Model 1903 bolt action rifles

P17 rifle

Krag rifles

surplus Mausers

May 14, 2003, 11:50 AM
every old smith 38-44 and 357 reg mag i could find..
also pre war colt National Match 1911..
every pre war pre-64 m-70 In all the obscure calibers i could find
and some SMG's to keep unregistered for my grandchildren.

i think they maintained their guns with Hoppe's No. 9 back then.. my grandpa has a bottle out in his work shop from way back

Will Fennell
May 14, 2003, 12:00 PM
Win M70 30/06..

Remington 870 12ga.....

1911 .45 acp....

There must be a ripple in the time/space continuum.....those are all in my gunsafe now:scrutiny:

Mike Irwin
May 14, 2003, 12:01 PM
Rifle -- Savage Model 99EG in .300 Sav.

Shotgun -- Winchester Model 12 in 12 gauge

Handgun -- S&W pre-Model 27 in .357 Mag, or pre-Model 24 in .44 Spl.

May 14, 2003, 12:47 PM

Hmmm . . . if you're talking about firearms as investments, I doubt you could make a better long-term firearm investment than some top-grade (Holland and Holland, Westley Richards, etc.) English double rifles or high-end Parker shotguns.

Maybe I'd even field test these rifles . . . Kenya was still open to hunting in 1955, wasn't it? Hmmm . . .

Milsurp hardware also has some upside. (Thinking some choice Lugers, Mauser Broomhandles, and the heavy metal from Solothurn and Lahti.)

Now, as far as guns to actually use, I'd stick to revolvers for sidearms . . . the S&W N-frame .357, with handloaded ammo for target, hunting, and self-defense would be my choice. Heavy but reliable. The autos of the day - despite their military use - lacked many features (good sights, good ammo, and easy to manipulate safeties) that we've come to expect today.

Rifles - heck, in 1955 you wouldn't even HAVE to worry about getting a "Pre-64" Model 70 - that's all that was available! I'd take it in .30/06 of course, and another in .375 H&H.

If I had my current income in 1955, and knew then what I know now, I'd have my basement piled high with pallets of stuff from Klein's, Hunter's Lodge, etc.

Joe Demko
May 14, 2003, 12:54 PM
Big G makes an excellent point. Don't let those prices fool you. For a working-class stiff in those good old days, a high quality handgun was just as much of a major purchase as one is today. That's why there have always been cheap guns manufactured, at least since the industrial revolution. Today's Lorcins and Hi-Points are the descendants of yesteryear's "suicide specials."

Mike Irwin
May 14, 2003, 01:39 PM
Hey 1973,

Did you win your "Mike Irwin's Guns from 55" sweepstakes?

What do I get for being the guinea pig? :)

Sean Smith
May 14, 2003, 01:45 PM
I'd find a pre-war Colt National Match and load it with 230gr FMJ.

Art Eatman
May 14, 2003, 01:45 PM
Another Colt Woodsman.
Another 1911.
Another Garand.
Another Remington 550.
Another M2 Carbine (Okay, so the Army provided the one I wuz playin' with in Cold Rear in 1955.)

I was happy with my sporterized Enfield in .30-'06. :)

Reloading? 3031 and 4064, same as now. $1.25 a pound back then, though.

When Ike sent me the "Greetings!" in late 1953, I was working for the Texas Highway Department on a survey crew, for the magnificent sum of $1.08 per hour.

Gun cleaning? Hey, Hoppe's #9 still works. We had gasoline and Varsol and compressed air and toothbrushes and stainless steel cleaning rods and all that stuff. And truly cheap surplus GI bore cleaner. My uncle was selling the bronze GI .30 cleaning brushes for six bits a dozen.

I didn't own a shotgun back then, but odds are I'd have found a good used Model 12.

My uncle's Gebby-barrelled "Varminter" (that's .22-250, to you younguns) could provide ten-shot, one-inch groups with his Weaver K12 on it. I was getting five-shot, one-inch groups with my Enfield, using the same old 150-grain REmington Bronze Points they make today.

It takes fewer hours of work to buy the equivalent stuff in today's world, I've noticed...And the work is a danged sight easier!

:), Art

Will Fennell
May 14, 2003, 02:27 PM
After posting my thoughts on guns selection above, I got to thinking about what things musta been like in the "old days". I'm not so sure it was all that great by what my father has always told me.... least when I came along, we didn't have to walk to school barefoot-in the snow-uphill-both ways:p

But we could leave our deer rifles in the pickup in the parking lot in highschool so we could go hunting after school.

May 14, 2003, 02:39 PM
Mike : I cheated, I went with the Savage.

[For fun] A 1955 gift cerificate for $50.00. You see our Editor(Hugh Grey) is a nice guy, but not ,that nice. . We didn't know which you would appreciate most, the model 24 Savage($36.95) or the 29- G ( 44.95).


May 14, 2003, 02:51 PM
Art wrote:"...When Ike sent me the "Greetings!" in late 1953,...(Okay, so the Army provided the one I wuz playin' with in Cold Rear in 1955.)..."

Well Art, in Sept. of 1955, Ike was knee deep in the waters of the South Platte River at Pine, Colorado. Bamboo rod in hand fly fishing for trout.:D

In 1955, we read:

"Quick Firers mean fast follow-up shots in the timber, but sheer speed, whether with semi-auto, slide, or lever gun like the new model 88, counts less than accuracy". --Warren Page.

Is Public Hunting Doomed? --Frank Dufrense and Ted Trueblood

Picking a Pistol --Warren Page

The Second Bullet --Robert Ruark.
[" The shameful story of how Bob became foolishly famous from Calcutta to Nairobi,and learned that the worst mistake a tiger hunter can make is to count his bullets']

Hits that Kill depend less on what caliber you shoot than on where you place your bullet. On game those sudden-death spots aren't always where'd you'd think --Warren Page

May 14, 2003, 03:53 PM

I was minted in '55 too! Musta been a good year for rugrats.

I'd have gone with a Model 70 in .270 win, mainly due to reading that other rag, Outdoor Life, and all the O'Connor articles. (Although when I did take all my newspaper and mowing money I bought a Win Model 670 back in 1969 for my first centerfire rifle.)

As to what to get else to get in 55, that was around the last year of the Model 71 in .348 wasn't it? That would have made a good timber rifle. Some single action .45 Colts for handguns, and a nice Browning Auto shotgun.

Couldn't you get BARs back then? I mighta needed one of them too.

What I remember in those early outdoor mags was that before 1968, you could just order firearms through the mail! Ads with prices, a little form to fill out, an address to send your order and check to - and presto the mailman brings the gun!

Ahh - the good old days - JohnDog

PS - Didn't Ike vapor-lock while on one of those Colorado fishing trips, and have to recuperate at Lowry in Denver for a while?

May 14, 2003, 04:19 PM
I only have 5 issues, June, July, August, September and October.
I wish I had my birthmonth, April.

I admit, I don't know the History and dates like a lot of members. That's what Mike Irwin and others are for. ;)

Didn't see the BAR...umm one could order, by sending in the postcard, or the fill-in-the blank...and get : Browning's Ad...

Automatic Pistols, caliber .25, .380 and 9mm.

Individual pistols and Set of 3 in fitted cases. Standard models from $29.95; Set-of-3 $148.95. Engraved models from $75; Set-of-3 $390.

or maybe:
Browning Automatic -5 12 or 16 ga( 5shot)from $121.50.
Double Automatic, 12 ga ( 2shot) from $125
oh umm a "purist" huh...
Browning Superposed, 12 or 20 gauge (over-under)from $236.00. With 2 sets of barrels and luggage case from $435.

Would that fill a void?

May 14, 2003, 04:38 PM
I got out of the Navy in Feb., '55. $75 of my mustering out/travel pay went for a BHP. Between Feb. '55 and the end of '57, I had accumulated a K22, two 5" .357s, a 3 1/2" .357 (all "pre 27s), a Model 70 in '06 and a '97 Winchester 12ga. and a mint 12 ga. Model 21 double, field grade. Most were lost after I became a newlywed (in "fits of poverty" as one of our members called it :() b the one that hurt was the double. I paid $100 for it - Winchester had discontinued their double barrelled guns. I sold it for a princely $50 profit after one trip to the quail stubble, and Winchester re-introduced it as a custom shop offering at $1200 a pop....damndamndamndamn:fire:

May 14, 2003, 05:38 PM
Some of those $25 guns would be nice.

Standing Wolf
May 14, 2003, 05:47 PM
If it's 1955, I'm going to order a boat load of brand new Colt Pythons with very low serial numbers.

May 14, 2003, 06:45 PM
I don't remember many $25 guns. The "main handgouts" for my bunch of lunch-hour gun buffs in those days (in Tulsa) were Skaggs Drug Store. Their basement gun and sportng goods at one time had a display case of some 24 Colt lightweight Commanders in the then suspicious 9mm...for $50. Davis Bros. Sporting goods sold me a Colt SAA in .45 Colt for, IIRC, $85, and the above mentioned S&W .357s, around $75 each. The base pin jumped out of the SAA after about three rounds, so I took it back, and exchanged it for something I don't recall. Several days later, a young cop was directing traffic when a signal light went out at 4th and Boston....with my SAA stuck in his waistband :D Old HighSchool chum. He was given permission to carry it, for two days until his duty gear and M10 arrived. Said he had already been asked several times if he was expecting rustlers. Them were the good old days, but if I could go back, I'd go someplace else.

May 14, 2003, 08:46 PM
M1 Garand
Colt 1911
Ruger RST-4

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