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The Oldest Firearm in Your Collection

I’d be downright interested in reading about the oldest firearm in your collection, and I’m quite sure that there are many of our folks out there in cyber world who would be interested in reading the story about this particular gun and about how you came to possess it.

To kick this thread off, I’ll be happy to be the one to get the ball rolling, so to speak.

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My father, who is now 89-years-old, came into the possession of the unique firearm I am going to tell about back in January of 1961 when his father died at the age of eighty-seven.

His Dad (my Paw Paw) was a man of meager means all his life. The poor fellow struggled to conjure up a living for his wife and eleven children by farming a ten acre plot of land in central Mississippi, and by selling surplus eggs to the people in the city of Bolton each Saturday when he went to town to run his “egg route“. He also drove a school bus for the local school district to help make ends meet.

When Paw Paw’s father-in-law passed away back in 1916, he inherited the old gentleman‘s single barreled, Harrington & Richardson 12 gauge shotgun that was manufactured in 1901. According to my father, Paw Paw used it for many years thereafter to put the meat of countless small game animals on the dinner table for his large family.

Sometime after Paw Paw acquired the shotgun, he drove a large sled (drawn by a mule named Wheeler) down into the pasture near the edge of the woods to cut some firewood for the coming winter. Because snakebites are an ever-present possibility in this section of the county, Paw Paw always carried his loaded shotgun and a couple of spare shells with him when he headed to brushy, wooded areas to take care of any snakes he might encounter. Normally, he’d prop the gun up against a nearby tree while he took care of his chore. This time, it seems, he laid it down on the ground near the sled which was “parked” just outside the tree line.

After he’d cut a sufficient amount of firewood and had it loaded on the sled, he gave the mule the appropriate verbal command which should have got the beast moving forward. However, this particular time Wheeler decided to balk. Paw Paw laid a leather strap to the buttocks of the mule and encouraged him to get a move on, but not without the mule hee-hawing and bucking around a bit. In the midst of his tantrum, Wheeler stomped on the wooden stock of the gun with one of his hind hooves and cracked it so badly that Paw Paw had to remove the splintered stock from the gun once he got back to the house.

After a while of doing without the only means he had of bagging quail and squirrel, the old gentleman decided to make a stock for the shotgun. I remember seeing his handiwork when I was a boy, and even to my childish eyes the crudely-made stock appeared to be no more than a roughly cut out piece of board which seemed oddly out-of-place on the firearm.

When Dad inherited the shotgun after his father died, he set it aside in a closet for over twenty-four years. After his retirement from the dental laboratory industry in 1985, and finding that he had some quality free time on his hands, Dad decided to find a nice piece of cherry wood and attempt to make a more suitable stock for the shotgun. I was simply amazed when he proudly showed me the gleaming new stock he had made for my Great-Grandpa Holderfield’s venerable old shotgun.

About a year ago, Dad telephoned me and asked me to come down to his house. When I arrived he told me he wanted to pass the family shotgun down to me.

“I’ve done a little something extra to it since you last saw it back when I first made the new stock for it”, he said with a big broad grin. “Looky here at what I’ve done! I took my old dental laboratory hand-piece and put a number six round-head bur in it, and I’ve etched my name and the names of my ancestors who have owned this gun into the stock, complete with year of birth and year of death. Of course, you’ll have to carve my year of death into the stock when the Good Lord calls me up to the happy hunting grounds! Also, I‘d be quite honored if you would take your dental hand-piece drill and bur your name and year of birth into the stock underneath mine. And one other thing, son, be sure that the person you eventually pass the old gun down to will take care of it and cherish it for the grand old heirloom that it is; and not to someone who would run down and sell it at the pawn shop for a few paltry dollars.”

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Having devoted the best part of the past two years to the raising and caring for my little great-grandson (who is now thirty months old), I’ve had precious little time to myself and have not undertaken the tedious task of artfully cutting my name and year of birth into the hand made stock of the shotgun.

Of course, if I had spent a little less time here at TaurusArmed.net during the past few years :), I might have found the time to add my name to the esteemed roster that is listed on the beautiful stock that my precious father made from scratch.

I hope you enjoyed reading my account and the photos I have posted. Now, it’s ya’lls turn to share about your oldest firearm.
 

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Currently my oldest is a Remington 514 I received for Christmas in 1949. I posted pics of it on this board in other threads.

A gun I should have but don't is a 12 ga. double with exposed hammers, damascus twist barrel, a deer head carved in the stock with jewel eyes. The gun was worn out. My grandmother gave it to my Dad because my brother and I were her only grandchildren that had the family surname at the time. It was originally brought to this country from Germany by my grandmothers grandfather. It was made in Belgium.

Now for the sad part. When I left my first wife I left that gun behind. When I asked my son to retrieve it for me he said his mother had sold it in a garage sale. Thinking about it still boils my blood 30 years later. She did not steal it from me she stoled it from my grandmother, my father, our grandchildren and their offsprings far into the future.

Pics unavailable.

I also have 2 model 12 Winchesters that I have dated to the 50's (pre 64) One, the 12 ga. was my Dads. The other is a 16 ga. that belonged to my favorite Uncle. The 12 ga. is in pristine condition, the 16 shows only slight wear. Maybe my progeny will accept those in lieu of the old double.
 

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I have my grandfather's old Steven's shotgun from around 1907. It's well worn, dinged and scratched up. Every one of those blemishes has a story to tell. You have to imagine what they are though. That's part of the fun of owning it.
 

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I had a great uncle that was just as a grandfather to me. He passed away when I was 5 but I have memories of riding on his old case tractor, sitting on his lap while parking his. 39 dodge pickup. Trying red man chewing tobacco and hot brandy when I had the sniffles. He left me his Stevens 1925-30 16 ga. shotgun. It will get passed down to my oldest son when I am done with it.
Shot lots of pheasants rabbits and squirrels with that gun.
 

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I have my father-in-law's (deceased) pre 1939 Browning Auto-5 12 gauge shotgun. It was HIS father's before him.

At '39 the serial numbers get harder to track. His family was three daughters - I married the oldest. After his death many of us were at the house assisting 'mom'. The subject of the gun - long forgotten in the bedroom closet, came up and shortly all eyes were on me. I'm truly honored to be the the next generation to care for this fine piece. I took a set of images early on (6 years ago) and am running a search now hoping to find them. It shoots wonderfully. I'm planning a trap shoot trip soon for my 930 and this reminds me to take the Browning out as well.

The metal and wood work are exceptional on the gun (if I do not find the pics I will take a new set and do it properly!) - it was made while the guns were still manufactured in Belgium. It has the classic humpback design. A gem!

There is also a shot of the two men on a duck/goose hunt with the gun in the shot. Time to ask my wife where that is and scan it as well! They lived in Michigan and enjoyed hunting and fishing together.

Hmmm - no images in the search. I have downloaded the manual though. It was my first exposure to how pressure rings operate in a semi auto shotgun!

I'll post images and a range report of 'vintage semi' vs 'modern semi' and the flying clays next week!
 

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My oldest is the PT145 I bought in 2008.

My apartment was burglarized in about 1976 or so and all my weapons except my AR-15 were stolen.

I guess I was so shocked that I didn't buy anything else for over 30 years.
 

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My Ruger 10/22, bought it at walgreens for $49.95! when I was 16, my first and oldest.................40 years ago!!!...gotta have at least 1/2 million rounds thru it no bs...noticed a crack behind the charging handle in the receiver a few years ago....sent it to Ruger....and those nice people sent me a new receiver......OUTSTANDING!!!!:thumb:!!!,I did not think they would even do anything about it till I called them and they said send it to us for a look.
 

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My oldest firearm isn't as old as most will be here.
It's a 1960's era Ithaca Model M49 22 caliber lever action rifle.

Gun Rifle Firearm Trigger Air gun


Topped with a cheap Tasco scope.

I got it for free from a local gun shop in exchange for a Sunday
afternoon's work upgrading their computer network.
I didn't mind filling out the forms and paying the $10 for the background check
in exchange for my 4 hours of "work".

Fellow computer geeks call that "Money For Nuthin". ;)

Rick
 

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I know this one is weak, but I have a Mosin Nagant 91/30 that was made in 1940. Just like women, I like them a little older as long as then still function properly.
Same here, no old guns passed down to me. I will start the tradition in my family. I have a 1943 Mosin Nagant 91/30. It is fun to shoot.
 

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My grandfather's Mossberg single shot 22 rifle. It has a plunger that you pull after you chamber a round, then pull the trigger.

My research on it concluded that he bought the rifle around 1928, when he was 20, right before he married my grandmother. He bought it at Montgomery Wards, according to the serial number, which my dad says makes perfect sense, they would order stuff from MW once a year when he was a boy and it was an exciting time for him.

My dad used the same rifle in a field by his house. He took a big can of 22 ammo out with him and just shot the heck out of it. Rocks, varmints, whatever he could shoot. Believe me, when I raise that gun up to shoot it, I think of the two men who looked down those same iron sights and it gives me a tingle.....not like Chris Matthews though. ;)
 

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Will have to get it out this weekend to see if I can narrow the age down. Remington 44-40 pump (I am guessing from the 1920's). Found the following info:
Overview:
Description:Slide-Action Sporting Rifle
Introduction Year:1914
Year Discontinued:1931 (last appeared in catalog)
Total Production:Approximately: 126,000 ( includes the Model 14)
Designer/Inventor:G.H. Garrison, C.C. Loomis, W.S. Bradbury, B. Wheelock, O.H. Loomis, John Pederson
Action Type:Slide-Action
Caliber/Gauge:.38-40 W.C.F., .44-40 W.C.F.
 

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MY oldest is a Savage model 26 Crackshot, pre runner to the Savage -Stevens Model 72 Crackshot.
I think!-- I don't actually know the exact production date?
the oldest pistol that i have is likely a Smith /wesson top break lemon squeeze in 32 S & W ( not long-just s & W) and it still works.
 

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This is currently my oldest (though a recent acquisition)...a 1903 M96 Swedish Mauser (6.5mm).
 

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A Bay State single shot shotgun. They were in existence in 1870 - 1902 in Mass. It was my grandfather's, he was born in 1880, so maybe my g-grandfather purchased the gun.
 
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