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frank james guns

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by 32reeves, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. 32reeves

    32reeves New Member

    How many of Frank's guns are known to exist? and what are they?
    I know that his mother was known to have sold many guns that she said were Jesse's, but I heard many were manufactured after his death, so therefore not his guns.
    It would be interesting to find out where they got the guns they carried, did they buy them or steal them?
    If anyone here has this information or just an opinion, I would like to hear it.
  2. shiftyer1

    shiftyer1 Well-Known Member

    I would assume some were issued, some bought and some aquired along the way.
  3. murdoc rose

    murdoc rose Well-Known Member

    ^ yep it was just as easy if not easier to get a gun then as it is now
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Seeing that gun control laws were non-existant, and anyone could walk into a hardware store and buy whatever he could afford, it was certainly easy enough to get guns. Most crooks of that day did buy their guns; stealing them would be easy enough, but they didn't want to set off a hornet's nest (e.g. Northfield) over a few guns.

    Besides, a bad guy only needed one gun, or maybe a handgun and a rifle. If Jesse James or any of the other old timers, good or bad (or both) had really tried to tote around all the guns that were later "owned" by them, they would have needed a couple of semis, which hadn't been invented yet.

  5. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    My great uncle supposedly has one of Frank's rifles. I've never seen it, but next time I'm in Indiana I'm gonna check it out.
  6. 32reeves

    32reeves New Member

    I read somewhere that Frank preferred the 44 Henry rifle and the Smith and Wesson model 3 also in 44 Henry.
  7. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Some of Frank's guns are on display at the Kansas City,Mo. museum.
  8. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Well-Known Member

    Tje "BloodyBillAndersonMystery" Yahoo group(of which I am a member) has many photo albums (originals) of Frank,Jesse,the Daltons and many more. I dont' know if non-members can view them.,<http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BloodyBillAndersonMystery/photos/album/1394959956/pic/list?mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=1&dir=asc>
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Well-Known Member

    When Frank James surrendered to the Governer of Missiouri, he handed over a Remington 1875. I do not know for what cartridge it was chambered.
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Well-Known Member

    .44-40 Winchester. Serial number 5116. It, with the original belt and holster are in the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in L. A. / CA.
  11. oldmanriver

    oldmanriver New Member

    S&W Model 3

    I have a gun that my grandfather passed down to the family and I'm wondering if I could get some feedback on it. I plan on sending in some info to S&W to get a verification letter, but in the meantime I thought you guys might have some insight. I have attached a few photos as well. Here are stories/rumors with the gun.

    I was told that this was one of Frank James' guns and it was stolen from the Springfield Amory. I have looked all over it for a serial number and the only number I can find is on the inside of the wooden handle (see pic) of 1911. It has the US marked on the barrel and "G" and "O" in various places and pieces. I think those are the inspector marks? It has 12 scratches above the trigger and below the hammer and was told that these were put there by Frank and how many people he killed with the gun. The picture is of high quality so you might be able to zoom in and see them. The other interesting piece is that the sight at the end of the barrel must have broken off because what was put there is part of a buffalo nickel (very hard to determine the year and such as it has been made into a sight). So whoever had this gun must have broken the sight off and then replaced it with a "custom" made sight using an old and rare nickel. We have not tried to take it off the gun to find out more about the year and type of buffalo nickel. I can post a very close up photo of it if you like. Lastly, on the butt of the handle (where you typically find the serial number) are the initials "J" and then a wierd "F". If you can zoom in on the photo you might see how it is either a backwards cursive like "T" or an old variation of the letter "F". I have also read that Frank might have been left handed and the wear on the wooden handle is from shooting it in a left hand. I shoot right hand and you can easily feel and see the difference in the right vs. left hand. I have looked for other markings but it just doesn't have much. After many many hours on the internet I "think" this was the first model of the model 3 that was built for the US military and shipped to the Armory. That is about all I know. Any thoughts or questions would be appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  12. oldmanriver

    oldmanriver New Member

    S&W Model 3 More pics

    A few more pics.

    Attached Files:

  13. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    That is clearly a No. 3, First Model, aka, First Model American. The use of a nickel for a front sight replacement was (and is) common. I have done it, though I flatter myself that I did a better job.

    The serial number probably was 1911; those guns only went to about 8000 and S&W always stamped the serial into the right stock. That was not to keep collectors happy, it was because they polished the grip and stocks down together and wanted them to get back together after final finishing/plating was done.

    However, the original serial was apparently removed at some time; it should be on the bottom of the grip, upside down in Picture #5. I think I see some signs of it, but can't be sure.

    I don't see the U.S. marking, but I might have missed it. But the Army guns were in the 125-2199 serial range, so that one is right in that respect. Further, it is one of only 200 of the 1000 gun order to be nickel plated. It would have had OWA (O.W. Ainsworth) on the left grip. "A" and "P" markings are also seen, apparently government inspector marks. I don't see a mention of "G" or "O" marks, but that means little.

    So the gun would be pretty uncommon and valuable even without the Frank James association. I doubt the "stolen from Springfield Armory" story. Springfield Armory is in Massachusetts, and AFAIK, the James boys never got that far east. Of course they might have received stolen property but it seems more likely that the S&W's were sold off by the Army and could have been obtained by about anyone. (No gun laws or background checks, remember?)

    IMHO, a Frank James association would be hard to prove or even assert seriously based on nothing more than a family story and a couple of scratched-on letters that might or might not be the letters "J" and "F" in the wrong order.


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