A Tale Of Two Guns...How I Got Started


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SteyrAUG
January 30, 2003, 01:05 AM
Ok, as some of you know I have a pretty decent collection. But I can hardly take full credit. I tell this story not to show off (not too much anyway) but to encourage you to start something similar.

Here are the very first 2 guns of what would someday be my collection.

http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0QwDeAqUSoVUdZqRgeoxnfinhZi*a8rmIJW2oyjMYOSlNWeQEH70wpD3BOpQXO!ZlGhpl3ikuqwPrN3bWb6bdXQjNvEoKnrOKwc5*ANhO5hg/001a0.JPG

The bottom one is a Winchester Model 1890 .22 WRF and is a John Browning design. It is the first "known" firearm in my family collection as it is fairly certain my Great Grandfather did not bring any firearms with him from Germany when he arrived in the United States around the turn of the century. The Winchester was given to my Grandfather as a boy and he even patterned it after a "Indian Gun" by creating a star pattern in the stock with tacks as was popular at the time. Among other things it served as the "kill gun" in the family meat packing house which was my Great Grandfathers business.

In the 1920s a few more shotguns and similar firearms were aquired by my Grandfather. But what he really wanted was a Thompson. As a boy he was routinely sent on errands to the hardware store for nails and bolts and such. But hardware stores of the 1920s were very different from the Home Depots of today. While they didn't have ceramic floor tiles they did sell dynamite and Thompson Sub Machineguns. Everytime he was in the store he would admire the Thompson and vowed to own one someday.

When he finally was old enough, and more importantly could finally afford one (my family wasn't rich but as business owners were better of than most in the 1930's) he went down to pick up his dream gun. A LOT of money in those days at around $250.00. He was horrified to learn that the recently passed 1934 National Firearms Act requires a ADDITIONAL $200 registration fee.

He left angry, dissapointed and without his Thompson. He was convinced that the government was trying to do away with guns and the freedoms of the constitution. He watched the post WWI disarmament of the US military and was convinced the world was changing (and not for the good). He knew of the recent Dick Bill of 1903 which declared the National Guard to be the Constitutional "militia."

Convinced ALL guns could be banned soon he aquired the most advanced military rifle made (not regulated by the 1934 NFA) and bought the top gun in the photo, a Springfield 1903 Mark I. He added several more to the collection throughout his life, especially weapons that could possibly be subject to regulation. He served in WW2 as a top turret gunner in a B24 crew (US Army 15th AF).

My father was born and aquired a interest in firearms and hunting. He continued the family tradition of "Hey I don't own one of those yet." As a doctor he ended up with a fairly extensive collection of his own. He was the first to add a "few" NFA items to the collection since $200 in the 1970s was not as big a deal as it was 40 years earlier.

I started collection guns from my youth. My primary focus was on those of WWII. My first gun was a Luger and that is all it took. I also quickly aquired a Colt 1911 like the one my Grandfather owned and carried during the war. When I got older and had some real money I got quite a few interesting toys for myslef. My brother, being mostly into hunting, aquired a rather nice collection fo sporting arms himself.

In our 20s the family collection of over 500+ firearms was divided between my brother and myself. Thankfully there was little bickering and trading. He was into hunting and that was pretty much it so the complete Weatherby collection, The Sharpps, The Remingtons, The Winchesters, etc. went mostly to him. The exceptions being a pre WW2 gas trap M1 Garand, a Colt AR15A2 Green Label and a handful of others.

The bulk of the modern military and WWII military guns went to my collection. Including a 800,000 serial unfired Springfield Garand, a Red 9 Broomhandle Mauser, a JP Sauer Luftwaffe Drilling and a bunch of neat stuff. The only sporting rifles I got were my Grandfathers M1890 and a Winchester Lever 30/30 from the 1960s. I have a few hunting shotguns and rifles but they are ones I bought.

My father retained a handful of personal favorites that will someday be ours but were not in a hurry to get them.

But it has become something of a tradition that will be handed down in our family. They belong to the gradchildren I don't have one day. And a LOT of guns we can buy today certainly won't be available in the future.

I learned form collection Japanese swords that we don't really own anything, we are just the current caretakers. I wouldn't have the swords (some fo them 400 years old) I have now (or the guns) if somebody long dead did not take care of and preserve them.

So if you weren't lucky enough to have someone start a collection for you, maybe think of being the one to start it for your family.

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Kaylee
January 30, 2003, 01:53 AM
I learned form collection Japanese swords that we don't really own anything, we are just the current caretakers ...
So if you weren't lucky enough to have someone start a collection for you, maybe think of being the one to start it for your family.


What a beautiful sentiment! Thank you!
Very inspiring!

-K

(and nice Springfield by the way! Did he buy it via DCM, or could you buy US Armory Service rifles over the counter back in the day?)

PATH
January 30, 2003, 01:57 AM
Ditto! I just hope they appreciate them!

SteyrAUG
January 30, 2003, 02:00 AM
Kaylee, if I remember the story correctly he walked down the block to either a Sears or a Woolworths and bought it in the firearm department. That was very pre 1968 gun control act and surplus military firearms were quite common in department stores, especially between wars.

The hard part is finding military rifles that weren't sporterized. I remember seeing a Sears ad that offered US Enfileds (1917) and 03 Springfileds for about $20.00 each. For an additional $5.00 the store gunsmith would sporterize it for you by shortening the front handguards (to lighten it and give it a commerical sporting rifle look) and drill and tapping it for a scope mount. Lotta guys had $25.00 former military hunting rifles.

Drjones
January 30, 2003, 03:17 AM
Steyr, what a beautiful post.

A shining example of another beautiful, wonderful aspect of firearms: they are pieces of history themselves.

I am so glad you joined our group here.

I learned form collection Japanese swords that we don't really own anything, we are just the current caretakers ...
So if you weren't lucky enough to have someone start a collection for you, maybe think of being the one to start it for your family.


Again, what a wonderful sentiment. :)

Here's the newest addition to my non-firearm collection: http://www.albionarmorers.com/swords/deltin/dt5154.htm

You really have to see it in person. Pictures do NOT do it justice. It is a MASSIVE sword. :D Very well-made too.

I too hope to acquire a collection of fine firearms and other interesting items, which I would joyfully pass on to a new generation.

Just remember: Buy quality, and only buy once.

45R
January 30, 2003, 01:33 PM
Great post!

and Nice Claymore!!!!!

If you enjoyed reading about "A Tale Of Two Guns...How I Got Started" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!