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The loss of an old friend is always hard to take, especially when that friend has been a part of one’s life for an extended number of years. And so it was with great sadness that we in the gun collecting community witnessed the convoluted and agonizing last few months of The Gun Report, one of the staple resources of good reading for most of us.
In a world where collectible arms can reach six figures in value there are, believe it or not, areas of collecting that are still affordable. This column will regularly feature areas of specialization that are inexpensive, live, fun, challenging and highly rewarding in collector satisfaction.
Have you ever asked yourself that question? What is a Bowie Knife? What shape is it? How big is it? What does it look like? What materials are they made out of? Well, if you haven’t, you might contemplate those questions and then try to imagine a good Bowie. What comes to mind? No doubt the variety could be as endless as there are collectors and their stage of collecting.
Long before the trial of O.J. Simpson for the grizzly killing of his ex-wife and her friend, millions were engrossed by another sensational case which may take the proverbial cake as America’s first “murder of the century.” Like any truly good crime story, the case involved fame, fortune, a gorgeous woman, and, of course, a gun.
The Ring Lever Rifle was Samuel Colt's first production entry into the firearm industry. Another first was Sam's classification-nomenclature of the arms: "No. 1 Model" and "No. 2 Model." The Paterson identification system of Colt's is one of the only true classifications accurately used by hobbyists. For later arms, collectors have developed most of the "model" nomenclature used today long after Sam's death and subsequent manufacture of models of the production period.
The Massachusetts Arms Co. (more commonly Mass. Arms Co.) was founded in 1849 and incorporated on March 5, 1850 by the heirs of Thomas Wesson and a group of men whose names would soon become famous, both individually and collectively, in arms manufacture—Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson, Joshua Stevens and J.T.Ames. Thomas Warner was named superintendent and the firm set up in a portion of the already burgeoning Ames Manufacturing Company which was engaged primarily in sword manufacture.
Even with the anti-gun culture (regardless of age) seen today, there are several firearms- related topics of which virtually everyone in America, both young and old, has heard; Colt revolvers, Winchester rifles and Kentucky rifles are but a few. Another familiar term is Dueling Pistols; these are so often depicted in movies and novels that nearly everyone is familiar with the term. That doesn’t necessarily mean that what they envision is accurate.