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A short tribute to George L. Herter

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by mnrivrat, May 29, 2021.

  1. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    George was born this week in 1911. He was a Captain in the Army, but much more famous for starting Herter's sporting goods store in Waseca , MN. He had a retail outlet store as well as a catalog mail order business. He pioneered the business's that are now like Cabela's , and similar type sporting goods outlets. I visited the Herter's stores a few times as it was abought 65 miles or so from where I live. He was the inventor of the pistol cartridge called the .401 Power Mag as I recall.
    He sold two basic rifles in various chamberings, and imported them from Europe . One was made with the Mauser action, the other from the BSA action. Also sold were barreled actions, and so called 90% finished stocks in various grades of wood. I enjoyed mostly going through a separate small building, but next to the main store where they sold their close out or flawed items. On one visit there was a paper 55 gal drum stuffed with barreled actions. $25 for the Mauser, and $35 for the BSA barreled action. I chose a Mauser action made by FN in 7mm Magnum. On further search I found a cherry wood stock for $10 with nice grain. A lot of stock work later I had a nice 7mm mag firearm for $35.
    George was also an author writing colorful cook books and a survival type book How to get out of the rate race and live on $10 a month. I could go on and on, but better stop here. If anyone has comment on their experience with Herter sporting Goods feel free to comment. Particularly abought the .401 Power mag if you have one, or any other guns bought from them. All were imported I believe. (U9 and J9 ?)
     
  2. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    My only experience with anything “Herter’s” is as the house brand ammo at Bass Pro. I have a couple of unopened 250-round cases of .410, 28 and 20 gauge birdshot shells and a few boxes of 36 gr. HP .22 LR left in the larder.

    3A7AC6E5-2326-4774-890A-BE610851E61A.jpeg

    It’s been decent ammo; not top shelf batch stuff but not sooty, bi-metal bullet or communist steel cased stuff either. :)

    Stay safe.
     
  3. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Oh yes. I remember it well having spent many hours drooling on their catalog. I still have a gun rack that I bought 55 years ago. I also put a Herter's walnut stock on my Father-in Law's Mauser and the first aluminum arrows that I ever bought was Herter's. Everything in their catalog was a Model Perfect. I wouldn't mind buying a Herter's J9 rifle today.
     
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  4. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    The original Herter's went bankrupt decades ago. Not at all sure the ammunition company has anything to do with the original business.

    The J9 as I recall was the BSA actioned rifle.
     
  5. entropy

    entropy Member

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    There was more than one store. In the early 80's there was one in North St. Paul, MN, and of course Waseca. I spent many hours in the NSP store (grew up on the East Side until 12, then NSP), bought a beautiful compound bow with wood riser and wood/ fiberglass laminated limbs. The idlers were on the tips, and the eccentrics were on the riser supports. It was compact. They had it set at 70#, I could not pull it when I started going in there, started weightlifting with my neighbor and by the next spring, could pull it, and bought it shortly after with wages form Target, right across from the Herter's in the mini mall. I fondled the .401 in the case more than once, but I had a Colt Trooper already by then, so didn't buy one. It was a fun place to linger and dream, just like Larry's Live Bait a half mile down White Bear Ave from there.
     
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  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    My Dad use to get the Herters Catalog for fishing gear as he liked to go up to Canada with his buddies from work and fish for Muskies. I looked through it for BB guns and knives. I really wanted the Daisy Model 179 Peacemaker Six Gun BB gun. It was very realistic looking and I was ready to move on from my Mattel Fanner Fifties!
     
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  7. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    Wish I had a nickel for every round turned out on this Herter's #3 press I bought in 1954 or 5. ETA: If I did, and could find any, I'd even be able to afford to buy primers today!!:rofl:
    37020246202_a96c94d597_o.jpg
    It was my first, and only press until 1983 when the Dillon progressives were added for competition ammo requirements. It is still serving me well for all my single stage hunting ammo and when mated with the Primal Rites CPS priming tool handles precision priming duties nicely.
    36354973724_2f9fd9454c_o.jpg
    Don't recall the price in the '50's but in 1975, it was a few pennies under $24. Had to replace the priming arm spring right off the bat (original was too weak), but other than that never had an issue. It sure doesn't owe me anything today. :thumbup:

    49471251047_184e7c9a7e_c.jpg

    Regards,
    hps
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2021
  8. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    It’s like the “Ted Williams” or “Hillary” (Sir Edmund not the awful Clinton!) names on Sears stuff back in the day. Just a house brand name but made by someone else and packaged for the retailer to sell in their stores/catalogs. :thumbup:

    Stay safe.
     
  9. Pivot Dr

    Pivot Dr Member

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    I have a U9 Deluxe 30-06, the U9 is a BSA action, the J9 was a Zestava, Yugoslav action, not FN. I bought lots of stuff from Herter’s, loading dies, jig moulds, rifle scopes. It was all good stuff and priced right!
    The Herter’s name from Cabela’s and Bass Pro has nothing whatever to do with the old Herter’s company. The old Herter’s centerfire ammo and unprimed cases were made by Norma, powder was Nobel.
     
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  10. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    I still have my Herter's fly tying vise from about 1960. I was more into fishing than shooting at the time. Read that old Herter's catalog until falling asleep many a night in junior high and high school. Even as a kid, I knew a lot of what he wrote in advertisements was BS, but it was fun BS! :)
     
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  11. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    Started reloading with a Herter's C Press and their dies. Bought a number of things from them "mail order" as we called it in those days.
     
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  12. Archie

    Archie Member

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    I remember Herter's from when I first became interested in firearms; the early 1960s. I used to have one or two of the catalogs and slobbered and lusted over them. Several moves later, they're all gone.
    I did buy a "Herter's Nine Ton Bullet press" for making my own bullets by swaging. Turns out I didn't use it much (bad budgeting) and I sold or traded it to a friend.
    Then I remember when they floundered and died in the decades thereafter. They were outsold by places locally operated and the GCA '68 killed the mail order firearm business. A victim of the times, I suppose. Sort of like Studebaker and the original Shotgun News.
     
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  13. Dale Alan

    Dale Alan member

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    Great thread , I have always been a fan of anything Herters labeled , especially knives .
     
  14. Bob Willman

    Bob Willman Member

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    I remember Herter's Wasp Waist bullets for reloaders. Visited the Waseca store a couple times when I was in Rochester, MN for school with IBM.

    Bob
    WB8NQW - Benefactor - Golden Eagle
     
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  15. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    Thanks for the history and background story on Herter's. No personal experience with them but decades ago I recall reading and rereading their catalogs and seeing their ammo around. Also had some of that ammo years ago but can't recall which cartridge.
     
  16. montanaoffroader

    montanaoffroader Member

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    I have a whole pile of stuff with the Herter's name on, including a .357 Magnum Single Six (made by JP Sauer and Sohn), lots of reloading stuff, fishing stuff, etc. All of it is "The finest!", lol. ;)
     
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  17. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    I still use my Herter's 2 die c-press and have loaded thousands of rounds on it. I bought it used in the mid-70s. Last year I bought a RCBS kit that was traded in at the LGS, but never mounted it. I really see no reason to give up the old Herter's yet. It is so handy with the ability to have the sizing die and bullet seater side by side.
     
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  18. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    I collect Herters reloading equipment somewhat. I have about a dozen or so of the presses.

    Here’s a few:

    5372AE4D-CCB8-4F59-AC1E-4C9C95EEEE3C.png


    ^^^^ U-3 Super

    0127F423-0BAC-4ADF-A9DF-A9AEC23E3A6D.png

    ^^^^ 234 Turret, originally called the 243, but that was about the time the 243 came out or was popular, so Winchester or whoever owned the trademark made Herters rename the press.


    2B65C87D-B10A-4BC5-B291-7DBF54AADBB6.png

    ^^^^ I can’t remember the model name right now, but thus is an off beat single stage shotgun press. Not too popular.
     
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  19. Reinz

    Reinz Member

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    A BEAST of a press, the model 81. It’s like two of beefy No. 3’s welded together. I can’t get to mine right now, here’s an internet pic:

    E03D7049-A305-42ED-8024-E3A75C0EF2C7.jpeg
     
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  20. Dunross

    Dunross Member

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    I spent a lot of time daydreaming over the Herters catalogs as a boy. His descriptions were entertainment in themselves.
     
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  21. bearman49709

    bearman49709 Member

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    Atlanta Michigan
    Never heard of "Hillary" on any Sears stuff, did you mean "JC Higgins"?
     
  22. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Nope. JC Higgins was one, but Sears stuff was named after Sir Edmund for decades, too. We had a cabin tent, sleeping bags, camp tables etc. with the Hillary logo.

    https://hillarytent.org/

    Stay safe.
     
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  23. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Yep, that's it. It must be German made because it is over-engineered. Super heavy duty.
     
  24. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    I learned to reload on on of those, my dad's. In fact, he gave my son one, but it's got just enough slop in it that we don't trust it anymore.

    I grew up in the 50s and 60s, and my dad was an avid hunter, fisherman, and reloader. We always had a Herter's catalog around, and ordered a lot from them. I liked to tie flies, even though I never used them, so dad would order my supplies from them. He also made my brother and I fishing poles with components from Herter's. I still have mine, an 8' bamboo, two piece spinning rod with a wonderful action, light and nice for even little brook trout in streams (my favorite type of fishing).
     
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  25. HowardC

    HowardC Member

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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Thornton, CO
    Ah, I'll add to the stories:

    In 1973, I completely set up loading for loading 357 with the U3 press and model 5 torsion balance scale. Still use them today, along with a Rockchucker here at home, and another setup down at the home farm. Total cost was $52 for the main order. Another order added the 38 spl seating die for $2.98. I've used them ever since. Paid $8 for Pacific 30-30 dies at Gibson's and covered all my shooting for several years after.

    I bought all my fly tying gear and components from Herter's and even have the original grizzly neck, although most of the good small hackle feathers are used up. Still make the bigger streamers with them, tho'. While not related, my favorite rod was a Wright McGill 5' fly rod from right here in Denver. It was just the thing for creeping through the willows along the front range beaver ponds. My boy has it now. No, couldn't cast 70 feet, but could get across Boulder Creek with it, fairly accurately too.

    Didn't keep many catalogs, but have, I think, the '74 copy. It's fun to read through. Thanks for the reminiscings.

    -West out
     
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