Interesting War Souvenir


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Drakejake
May 21, 2003, 04:50 PM
I happened to be in a sporting goods store yesterday when a woman was showing a family war relic to a clerk in the gun department. She had a Harrington and Richardson M4 survival rifle with its metal box and full kit. This is a compact .22 hornet, bolt action rifle with sliding wire stock and removable barrel. It was given to pilots during WWII and some yhears thereafter as a survival rifle for downed pilots. I volunteered to research this item. I found that there appears to be no market for it, i.e., no sales or auctions, that it isn't listed in the three firearms reference books I own, and that it is apparently illegal because the barrel is less than 16 inches. I told the owner that it would probably be worth several thousand dollars if it could be sold legally, but that it had just about no market value as it was in violation of the NFA. The owner plans to donate it to a military museum and that seems to be a good solution in the circumstances.

Any comments? I would have loved to have bought and fired this thing!

Drakejake

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Mike Irwin
May 21, 2003, 05:27 PM
Unfortunate, but that's usually the case with a lot of these neat military weapons.

They were brought home legally, but when BATF kicked in and did their "30 second registration amnesties" without publicizing, all of these formerly legally held weapons were now illegal and the owners felons.

Years ago had a young guy walk into the gunshop where I worked with a canvas and leather case.

His Grandfather had been in Italy during WW II, and had brought it back. Had the WHOLE schmear of provenance for it -- signed letters authorizing carry back etc.

It was an EARLY Beretta submachine gun, 6 magazines, full accessory kit, whole 9 yards, stuff I had never ever seen before, and carrying case, that the Grandfather had somehow scored.

It had apparently never been used, and was in absolutely pristine shape except that the canvas case was starting to show some signs of age rot.

It was probably worth thousands and thousands to a collector, but it had apparently never been registered with ATF. The guy, probably 24 or 25, had no clue about guns, no clue about BATF, etc.

He wasn't very happy when we told him that it was probably illegal and subject to confiscation.

Gave him a few tips on what to do, such as calling BATF from a phone far away from home to inquire if it could be transferred legally, etc.

Never heard back from him, so I don't know what happened.

ACP230
May 22, 2003, 09:41 AM
Mike:
I have heard of cases where military "bring back" papers like you mention were accepted by the BATF as registration documents.
I hope that turned out to be true in the case you mentioned.

Unpapered guns can be donated to some military history museums, so at least they aren't destroyed and can provide a tax deduction.

Small Arms Review has covered this subject several times.

RustyHammer
May 22, 2003, 11:16 AM
:cuss:

Some where, there is a probably a BATF agent driving around with a really cool EARLY Beretta submachine gun, 6 magazines, full accessory kit, whole 9 yards in his trunk.

:banghead:

DrDremel
May 23, 2003, 07:08 PM
Can you still get it? Bring a buddy with you and have one of you take the barrel and the other one take the rest of the rifle. Ask ATF for a Form 1. Fill out the Form 1 to make a short barreled rifle. Then after the paperwork is approved, buy the barrel for $1 from your friend. Viola, registered. If you don't want to do this and pay the $200 tax, let me know, as I would be interested in saving this piece of history.

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