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Say you found this old gun....


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Say you found an old gun - literally.  Like under one of the following scenarios:

 

a) You're hunting, and you find an old revolver or pistol in some sheltered place in a rock outcropping.  Perhaps a bit of patina, but otherwise sound.

 

b) Renovating an old house you come across a war-era Luger, wrapped in an oily cloth in the garage rafters.

 

c) While exploring an old, abandoned barn (owner had passed away many years prior and had no heirs) you move an old scrap of tarp and discover an early 1900's           vintage Winchester and a Colt SAA of about the same vintage.

 

d) Similar to "b" above, but inside an old refrigerator freezer is a late 1990's vintage a Smith & Wesson Model 10.

 

What would you do?   :huh:

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im thinking if you own the property its found on and there is no reason to suspect foul play its yours , i see the real concerns these days of finding one under your bush after a crime on a nearby property , in that case i turn it in ...solved part of the manson murders back in 69 ...but how many of us live near a crime scene ? 

 

you gotta wonder at that rifle - what might cause a person to leave such a valuable and vital to survival item leaning there ? no mention of human remains yet after all these years of this being out there , 

that area of the west - that rifle of the times = could be a real interesting story but most likely a sad one - that was not a cheap rifle one might forget about 

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It's happened a few times to me and others. The 1849 Colt was plowed up in a field by my grandfather around 1942 or so. Scratched into the butt is C Smith April 29 1861. I've found three letters in the University of Utah's manuscript library written by a C Smith from three former stage stops in present day southwest Montana to his boss, Nat Stein, who was the Overland Stage agent in Virginia City for the territory.

 

The Iver Johnson .38 S&W break top was found in the wall of an old house about 50 years ago by a neighbor who was working with a demolition company tearing the place down. The grips are gone, and all the springs (7?) are gone - intentionally removed, as there is absolutely no trace of them.

 

The little .25 Mauser pistol was from the attic of an old house we used to play in on some property just below me my dad bought decades ago. The firing pin, spring, and magazine are missing. The house is now long gone, and the property was sold about thirty years ago. I remember stories that it was probably brought back as a war trophy or souvenir from WWII. 

 

The Luger is pretty much b). My grandmother had an elderly gentleman friend who left his house to her when he passed, and we found the Luger and a Colt Woodsman wrapped up in some rags between the wall studs going down the stairs into the basement. A bit of pitting, but it still shoots well. The Woodsman ended up with a cousin in Arkansas.

 

"The American" .32 came out of the attic of another old abandoned house a mile below me fifty or more years ago, and is beyond help. Rusted, pitted, loose, broken main spring, and the firing pin is broken off the hammer.

 

About twenty years ago, a friend had a trailer rented out to some derelict druggies and finally evicted them. We went to clean the place up and found a Ruger MKI 5 1/2" bull barrel .22 auto in plain sight on the kitchen table. The finish had been completely stripped, and it's got some real thick imitation stag grips, but other than that it's fine. He wouldn't even touch it, "They probably killed somebody with it and that's why they left it". I called the police, told them the story, they ran the s/n (whatever that entails), and nothing came up, so I ended up taking it home with me. My buddy never would touch it - figured it would be bad juju I guess. :lol:

 

 

 

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Unless I suspected the gun may have been used illegally I would keep it / them. 
 

A friend of mine bought a house in Long Beach, CA back in the mid ‘80’s. A short tie after moving in he went up into the attic crawl space and found a shotgun and two rifles wrapped in oily canvas inside a long cardboard box. He and his wife tried contacting the prior owners to no avail. My friend Mark showed me photos of them but I only recall that one was a Winchester semiauto carbine but I do not remember the model or even the chambering. The shotgun was a SxS. The other I don’t recall. 
Anyway, once they couldn’t contact the owners, his wife, being a dipstick from NYC and being a rabid anti-gunner called the police and turned them in. 
I never got to put my hands in them to see what they were. I only saw bad Polaroids of them. 
The sweet part about the whole thing is my friend and his wife bought a house in a neighborhood surrounded by drug crime that made it’s way into their “diverse little slice of heaven”, as my friend’s wife liked to call it, over a period of a year. They actually called me and invited me over to beg me to loan them a gun. I said “No, buy your own. You should have kept the ones you found.” And that was that. 
They eventually sold the house and moved after a break-in. No one was hurt not much was taken. Only food and their kid’s piggy bank. I have no idea what eventually happened to them. We grew apart. 
 

 

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A pastor I know bought the foreclosed house next to his church. Everything was taken out of the house. After the sale was complete he found a 1894 Marlin in .38-40. He asked me what to do with it. He was into guns but modern stuff, he didn't know anything about the old west guns. I'm not sure the year it was made but it was in good shape. He wound up selling it for $900.00. I should have bought it but it's not my caliber.

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In 1973 I was elk hunting near Del Norte, Colorado and came around a bend in the snow covered road and there was a rifle scabbard with a rifle in it laying in the road. It was a Winchester model 70 in .270 caliber. I brought it back to town and my dad told me to run an ad in the local paper to see if anyone claimed it. I also notified the local game warden and the Sheriff and no one ever came forward. The stock was cracked and I brought it to shop class and my instructor helped me repair it. It was stolen in 1988 in Yuma, Az. 

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This happened in a gated condominium complex in southern california populated by mostly older folks, e.g. not many kids.

 

My neighbor (lived above me) knew I was a gun owner and asked me if I had thrown away a couple of guns (perish the thought!). Of course I hadn't but he went into his garage and pulled out a 10/22 and a Crosman BB gun. He said he had found them in his trash can a few months earlier and put them in his garage to keep them away from his grandkids. He asked me if I wanted them as he did not. I, of course, said "sure". Well, my main thought was that some kid stole them, panicked and put them in the trash can. Again, no kids lived nearby. I contacted a retired Sheriff's Deputy that was a Cowboy shooter and asked if he could check the serial number of the 10/22 to see if it was stolen. He could and it was not. So I now have a 10/22. As a follow up, the stock was badly chipped and a few years later, a friend bought a custom stock for his wife's 10/22 and gave me the like new composite stock. 

 

Another instance - Around 1975, I was walking my dog early one Sunday morning and saw a Browning 9mm laying in the road. Now this was in one of "America's Safest Cities" so I wonder why is there a pistol in the middle of a road in a residential area. I turned it over to the Police as I was concerned about it being involved in a crime. I heard back from the Police a few days later that someone had claimed it. The owner had taken the gun out in the orange groves to shoot it for the first time and had left it on the top of their car when they left and it fell off. It was a nice pistol though it had a few scratches from hitting the road.

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As an electrician, I've seen many guns in attics just rusting away but I never said anything to the homeowner about selling them, it just seemed out of place for me to ask. This included antique/old guns that could have had a lot of value. The only thing I got out of an attic or the like was an old WWII Arisaka bayonet that I gave to Utah Bob. The bayonet was about 15' into the attic like it had been thrown in there. The GC told me to keep it. Utah Bob, in turn, displays it at his local VFW.

 

To answer the original question;

A - I would check with local authorities and if no one came forward and the gun was not stolen, I keep it.

B - I would see if the last owner could be located, if not, I would keep it.

C - I would keep it.

D - Refer to B

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Rye's story reminded me of when I  was in 10th grade my Mom and Dad took us along on a rental house search. We were looking at a house near Carmichaels PA and my brother and I  were looking in a bedroom to see if we "approved" of it if my parents rented this particular house. I opened  the closet and there was a shelf about 8' up. The ceilings in this place were at least 10' up. It was  an old house. I managed to reach up and feel around on the shelf because I  saw the edge of something lying on the shelf. It was a snub-nosed revolver. It was  loaded  with .38 Special cartridges. It was a Smith & Wesson. It could have been a model 10..  I wanted to keep it but my knucklehead brother ran downstairs and told my Mom that I had found a gun. The property  owner took the gun and said he would give it back to the last tenant. I was bummed.

 

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8 hours ago, watab kid said:

you gotta wonder at that rifle - what might cause a person to leave such a valuable and vital to survival item leaning there ? no mention of human remains yet after all these years of this being out there , 

that area of the west - that rifle of the times = could be a real interesting story but most likely a sad one - that was not a cheap rifle one might forget about 

 

i doubt it was left there on purpose.  

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My cousin lives near Hattiesburg, Ms and was hunting in the military area around Camp Shelby .  He was walking on a tank trail and came across an M-16! He turned it in at gate.  I figure some private had it fall off a military vehicle and got in big trouble

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9 hours ago, watab kid said:

im thinking if you own the property its found on and there is no reason to suspect foul play its yours , i see the real concerns these days of finding one under your bush after a crime on a nearby property , in that case i turn it in ...solved part of the manson murders back in 69 ...but how many of us live near a crime scene ? 

 

you gotta wonder at that rifle - what might cause a person to leave such a valuable and vital to survival item leaning there ? no mention of human remains yet after all these years of this being out there , 

that area of the west - that rifle of the times = could be a real interesting story but most likely a sad one - that was not a cheap rifle one might forget about 

 

One thing of note about the rifle is that the lifter (Carrier) was missing effectively rendering it a single shot firearm.  Whom ever left it leaning against the tree had repurposed the cleaning rod storage area of the butt stock for ammo storage.

 

 

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When I was about 15, I got to poking around in our attic, where my Dad had stored a couple of trunks.  Opening one, I found some long things wrapped in newspaper.  Unwrapping them, I found some odd-looking (to me) shotguns, including a three-barreled "drilling", a side-by-side rifle-shotgun (buscheflint) and some other stuff.  My Dad had brought these back from Europe at the end of WWII.  I asked him if I could clean them up.  He said since there was no ammo, he guessed it was okay. (He was never interested in guns, just brought them back as war trophies.  Having had NRA firearms safety classes, I checked the chambers to be sure they were empty, which they were.  However, the drilling had a trap on the bottom of the buttstock.  Opening it, I found six rounds of 9x72R ammo! :rolleyes:  Of course, I set these aside.  May still have them someplace.  Eventually, I was able to shoot these guns.  The buscheflint had a 16x65mm shotgun barrel and an 11.15x47R rifle barrel.  A Savage Four-tenner insert allowed shooting the shotgun barrel without going to short 16ga shells.  The amazing thing about these pieces is that they had been stored in the attic in the mid-West climate, wrapped in newspaper, yet suffered minimal damage to the finishes!

Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving, Pards!

Stay well and safe!

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6 hours ago, Trailrider #896 said:

The buscheflint had a 16x65mm shotgun barrel and an 11.15x47R rifle barrel.  A Savage Four-tenner insert allowed shooting the shotgun barrel without going to short 16ga shells.  The amazing thing about these pieces is that they had been stored in the attic in the mid-West climate, wrapped in newspaper, yet suffered minimal damage to the finishes!

Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving, Pards!

Stay well and safe!

 

'Rider, what's a "buscheflint?"  Is that a design or maker?

 

I have a mid-1880's vintage German built ("Stahl") cape gun that's10.5X47R x 16.  

 

Great idea to use a "Four Tenner!"  I'll be looking for one!  The rifle side's going to be a challenge, though.

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10 hours ago, Tall Tale Todd said:

What did you find, Hardpan? Also, why can you not accept PMs?

 

Howdy, "Triple-T!"

 

Huh!  Seems the old box got full over the years!  Okay, did a partial clean-out.  :)

 

I have a couple of "found" pieces.  One was an ancient, Damascus antique (see above! ^_^) that was found in a basement over fifty years ago by a dear friend's mom.  Even though it was in a city that is definitely not known for being "fun friendly," the lady was an old Idaho farm girl.  She kept it, later gave it to my friend, who later gave it to me.  :blush:

 

The second is an Arisaka Type 99 found on my aunt's garage roof by an 8-year old cousin about 1971.  Bolt knob and firing pin assembly were missing, and it was rusted tight.  Cousin's mom asked me to "get rid of it!" and I gladly accepted the assignment.  Actually, I had no interest in a rusted solid old pile o' junk, but couldn't even give it away.  So, I started a slow soak in solvents and DANG but it cleaned up nice!  The rust was mostly caked on clay-like dirt; it still had about 95% of the original finish when I cleaned it up and the chrome lined bore shined like a mirror.  Val Giannini of Val's Gun Shop in North Beach (San Francisco) sold me a bolt knob and firing pin with spring for five bucks, and I've enjoyed the heck out if ever since.  Heck, it still has the Chrysanthemum!  :lol:

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5 hours ago, Hardpan Curmudgeon SASS #8967 said:

 

'Rider, what's a "buscheflint?"  Is that a design or maker?

 

I have a mid-1880's vintage German built ("Stahl") cape gun that's10.5X47R x 16.  

 

Great idea to use a "Four Tenner!"  I'll be looking for one!  The rifle side's going to be a challenge, though.

IIRC that is the designation for a side-by-side rifle-shotgun, i.e., a cape gun.  Have to look back to my records for more info.  The rifle on mine was an 11.15x47R, based on a .43 Mauser case head, but shortened and bottlenecked.  I had a set of forming/trim and loading dies made up by RCBS.  Sized down 230 gr cast .45ACP bullets. Best thing for your rifle is to make a chamber casting with CerroSafe low-melting point bismuth alloy and slug the barrel. Won't be cheap, but fun. Good luck finding a Savage Four-Tenner.  They quit making them years ago.  Barrel is probably too thin to lengthen the chamber.  Apparently, there were a lot of these type guns custom made, many in Belgium for customers in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.  What sort of proof marks does your gun have?  There is an old edition of the Gun Digest with an extensive article on the various British and European proof marks.  They can tell you a lot about the length of the shotgun chambers.  Oh, groove diameter of the rifling was .446, like the .43 Mauser.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Be well and safe!

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1 minute ago, Trailrider #896 said:

IIRC that is the designation for a side-by-side rifle-shotgun, i.e., a cape gun.  Have to look back to my records for more info.  The rifle on mine was an 11.15x47R, based on a .43 Mauser case head, but shortened and bottlenecked.  I had a set of forming/trim and loading dies made up by RCBS.  Sized down 230 gr cast .45ACP bullets. Best thing for your rifle is to make a chamber casting with CerroSafe low-melting point bismuth alloy and slug the barrel. Won't be cheap, but fun. Good luck finding a Savage Four-Tenner.  They quit making them years ago.  Barrel is probably too thin to lengthen the chamber.  Apparently, there were a lot of these type guns custom made, many in Belgium for customers in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.  What sort of proof marks does your gun have?  There is an old edition of the Gun Digest with an extensive article on the various British and European proof marks.  They can tell you a lot about the length of the shotgun chambers.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Be well and safe!

 

Ya... I did the chamber cast many years ago; that and "Cartridges of the World" is how I determined the 10.5X47R.  It's a neat old critter, probably brought back as a "war prize" by some GI (or Doughboy!), but not treated well.

 

CapeGunrightlock.JPG.0a099e703a599b9085f7d80c00325829.JPG

 

CapeGunleftlock1.JPG.1d4063737bbd80d97865f3ef66dbd01e.JPG

 

 

 

CapeGunbreech.JPG.94a33502cfbe511754348185dbcece18.JPG

 

 

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The condition doesn't look all that bad. Probably used well by the original owner.  The engravings on these pieces are interesting...probably intended to show what that barrel was intended.  The left side looks like a roebuck.  Not sure what the critter on the right side...fox, maybe?  I've seen one with a wild boar for a rifle barrel.  Rebounding hammers for safety! To see if they still work, press forward on the hammers with your fingers OFF the triggers.  The hammers should not move to contact the firing pins.

Stay well and safe!

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Back about 1988 we lived next to an old widower, Larry, who kept very much to himself.  We would wave and be sociable when we saw him outside.  We got used to the schedule he would keep.  Our bedroom window faced his driveway and house.  Late one night we heard voices talking to Larry.  It was two young girls helping him get home.  Larry was confused, took a drive and lost his way home.  These two samaritans got him home.  I went over and asked Larry if he needed any help.  He deferred and went inside, I assumed to go to bed.  I went back to bed also.  Ma got me up the next morning and said I needed to check on Larry.  I went over and banged on the door but no answer.  Larry was mostly deaf and didn't wear hearing aids much so I banged a while before I started checking windows.  Well, Larry had passed and after the police came, took Larry away, I closed  up the place and locked it up. 

Someone got in contact with his daughter who I never met in the years we lived next to Larry.  She showed up to sort out what she wanted and get rid of the rest.  She was a tree hugger that worked for the forest service in Washington state.  Lived in Port Angeles.  One day I was in the back yard doing something and she comes over to me carrying two long guns.  She was carrying each of them holding them pinched between two fingers as though touching them would pass on some kind of disease.   She asks, do you have guns?  I replied yes.  She pushes the guns on me and says to take the guns.  I was somewhat dumbfounded.  I asked her if she wanted to sell them to me.  No.  Do you want me to sell them and give her the money.  No.  She just wanted them gone.  She was deathly afraid of them.   She gave them to me in return for helping her dad and watching over the house before she got there. (sewage backed up in the basement, cop had to break a window to get access and I got them both taken care of)  One was a Winchester 97 take down and the other was a Remington .22 pump rifle.  I had to get the Winchester fixed, wouldn't cycle properly and barrel shortened for CAS.  I still have the .22 but my son wants it.  Maybe.

She was there for a couple weeks, rented a storage unit, moved a bunch of stuff, not that there was much there to begin with and we never saw her again.

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In many jurisdictions you must turn in any found firearm to the county sheriff. Depending pg on the local laws they will check the stolen property data base and then advertise it for 60-90 days in the newspaper as found property. If no one can show proof of ownership, it’s yours. Assuming it’s not illegal. I imagine you might be out of luck in some places.

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On 11/24/2020 at 5:33 AM, Rye Miles #13621 said:

A pastor I know bought the foreclosed house next to his church. Everything was taken out of the house. After the sale was complete he found a 1894 Marlin in .38-40. He asked me what to do with it. He was into guns but modern stuff, he didn't know anything about the old west guns. I'm not sure the year it was made but it was in good shape. He wound up selling it for $900.00. I should have bought it but it's not my caliber.

I can change calibers quite easily. 

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23 minutes ago, Badger Mountain Charlie SASS #43172 said:

I can change calibers quite easily. 

 

Yours or the gun's, BMC?   :)

 

Heck, I'm always willing to add a caliber to "my" list!  ^_^

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On 11/23/2020 at 11:51 PM, watab kid said:

 

 

you gotta wonder at that rifle - what might cause a person to leave such a valuable and vital to survival item leaning there ? no mention of human remains yet after all these years of this being out there , 

that area of the west - that rifle of the times = could be a real interesting story but most likely a sad one - that was not a cheap rifle one might forget about 


Check out the Dug Up Gun Museum in Cody WYO (one of the coolest places around BTW) and you’ll see quite a number of rifles left in a tree crotch or branch where the tree eventually grew completely around it.  Careless hunters/shooters put their gun down and wander off, get lost and probably after a great deal of frantic looking finally give up and go home unarmed.  Apparently lots of folks are more careless with their firearms than your average SASS shooter.  
When I was about 12 my friend called me up all excited because he’d found a musket up in his attic. They lived in an old Victorian house dated probably from pre-1900. It was in pretty good shape and all very cool but I think his Dad just stashed it away or sold it because I never saw it again. 
 

Seamus

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I worked in a cardboard recycling plant till retirement.  Baled cardboard goes into a big pulper (think giant blender) until broken down into fiber.  The pulper had a junk trap at the bottom to catch heavy rejects such as metal, rocks, glass etc that was always in the bales.  One night we found the barrel and upper of an AK-47.  Serial numbers were still legible.  I took it to the local PD.  He called in the serial number to ATF.  They told him the gun was not in the US.  He said it was indeed in the US, so ATF finally agreed, said it illegally brought in.  They told the officer to keep it till further notice.  AFIK, further notice never came.

 

several handguns were found in the heavy rejects through the years, but I never actually saw one.

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