Tag Archives: historic gun

The Priceless Warehouses of Addis Ababa

By nature of the past 130 years frequented by conflict in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia has tons of vintage military arms up for sale.

One European importer, based in the Czech Republic, has been detailing their shopping trips to the African country where surplus firearms are stacked deep and priced cheap. Zelený Sport Defence’s mononymous globetrotting buyer, Schuster, has been sending snaps back from his trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s ancient capital, filled with historic firearms.

The old Ethiopian Empire fought several wars against Italy (in 1887–1889, 1895-1896, 1935-37), a cycle that was only broken after liberation in World War II. This left the country with not only stacks of guns both bought to fight off the Italians– M1874 Gras rifles, Gewehr 71s and 88s, Remington Rolling Blocks, FN-made Mausers, British Lee-Enfields, Russian Berdan and Model 91/30 Mosin-Nagants– but also those captured from the Italians including Vetterlis, and Carcanos of every stripe.

And that’s not even scraping the surface…

More in my column at Guns.com.

The Most Popular FN Pistol You Never Heard of

To satisfy a military contract for 60,000 modified examples of John Browning’s Model 1910 pistol, stretching that .380 ACP’s standard 3.4-inch barrel an extra inch and bumping up the magazine capacity from 7+1 to 9+1, FN introduced what was initially referred to by some historians as the Model 10/22 (not related to the later Ruger plinker) in 1923.

Later formalized as the Model 1922, or just the M1922, when compared to the preceding M1910, the new pistol had an elongated slide, complete with a small but distinctive barrel lug, over a slightly lengthened frame. The production model went 7-inches long overall and weighed 25.7-ounces.

A forerunner of the later success FN had with the Browning Hi-Power pistol and FAL battle rifle, the M1922 was soon adopted by military and police in dozen countries, and it would continue in active service for over 60 years in this role. Further, the Germans liked it so much that it was their most common handgun in WWII that wasn’t a P-38 or a Luger.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Texas Names the Most Texas Revolver Ever as Offical State Handgun

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott last weekend signed a resolution forwarded to his desk by the Texas lawmakers that makes the original 1847 Colt Walker the official handgun of the Lone Star State.

A hulking 4.5-pound 44-caliber revolver, the Walker was so-named after famed Texas Ranger Capt. Samuel Walker and only about 1,100 of the handguns were manufactured by Eli Whitney for Colt. Some 1,000 were promptly sent to Texas– two for each Ranger– and 100 leftovers for the commercial market. The gun was a collaboration between Walker and Colt, based on the latter’s earlier .36-caliber Paterson design, a five-shot revolver that weighed only half of what the Model 1847 would.

Samuel Colt (American, Hartford, Connecticut 1814–1862) Colt Walker Percussion Revolver, serial no. 1017, 1847 American, Whitneyville, Connecticut, Steel, brass, walnut; L. 15 1/2 in. (39.37 cm); L. of barrel, 9 in. (22.86 cm); Cal., .44 in. (11 mm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John E. Parsons, 1958 (58.171.1) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/24844

More in my column at Guns.com.

Caveat emptor by all means

Back in 1982, New Orleans area collector Robert Melancon got a tip from a fellow enthusiast that an esteemed local antique shop had a beautiful and historic firearm up for grabs. The early 19th Century Kentucky long rifle, engraved with information about the former owner, became his after trading the shop $18,000 worth of other antique guns and Melancon and his wife Linda spent decades on the trail of discovering the rifle’s backstory.

Then, last November, the FBI came calling and raided the couple’s home, recovering the gun for the rightful owner and returning it in a very public ceremony last week. It turns out that the gun, the only one in existence with a provenance that ties it to the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, was stolen and from an area museum, maybe as far back as the 1960s, and is worth upwards today of $650,000.

The rub? The museum that it was donated to in 1884 by the original owner’s grandson only found that it was missing and where it was from a historical article on the piece and Melancon, who has been extremely open about the piece for decades.

He is reportedly “heartbroken,” but glad to see it go back to the museum.

To Doc from Kate

A .41 caliber double barrel 1866 Remington derringer counted as one of John Henry “Doc” Holliday’s last earthly possessions is coming home.

The gun, a gift from his common-law wife, Katherine “Big Nose Kate” Horony-Cummings, is engraved on the grip’s spine “To Doc from Kate” and was among the pauper gunfighter’s belongings when he died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1887, aged 36, of tuberculosis.

The local Glenwood Springs Historical Society and Frontier Museum recently made a move to pick up the gun at auction. The gun, upon the gambler/dentist/gunslinger’s death, had passed to a local bartender as partial payment for the funeral and remained a family heirloom until it was sold in 1968.

Now it has come home.