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“Should be in a Museum”
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May 5, 2024 - 11:21 pm
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I’m not taking issue with Lou’s recent comment, I hear it and often say it myself. I love museums and try to support them as best I can. But I just realized every great example does not belong in a museum, some of the very best are in private collections as evidenced by our members’ posts and displays at shows. I promote the shows I’m involved with by pointing out that a visitor will see museum-quality artifacts. Great guns belong in private collections, what’s the point in collecting if all the best guns are in museums? When Lou’s book is published we’ll see that some of the finest Model 70’s are in private collections. We saw that in Kassab and Dunbar’s 1895 book, in JWA’s 69 book and Renneberg’s Model 94 books, among others. Our members and other collectors own some of the finest Winchesters in the world and that’s the way I like it!

 

Mike

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May 6, 2024 - 12:58 am
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Well said Mike. I agree.

Al

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May 6, 2024 - 2:12 am
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Very possibly true, Mike and Al…  

I think my point was that (IMHO) the best residence for rifles of particularly broad appeal, for whatever reason (historical, aesthetic, or design significance), is where they can be seen and potentially enjoyed by the largest number of interested people.  IMHO a “private collection”, where a gun may be locked up in a private vault for 50+ years and never see the light of day, is not necessarily that place…  It may bring a great deal of pride to the “owner” (temporary caretaker), but little else…

OTOH (arguing your point)… Museums will often accept “donations” only so that they can turn around and sell the donated items to raise funds for something that the current curator thinks is more “appropriate” for the museum collection.  I would not want to see a gun like M51 S/N 1 go to Cody only to be sold off to raise funds to buy a brass spittoon that Bill Cody was once rumored to have spat in while whoring in some bar… 😀

So I see your point…

What about these???  Currently living at my house (like the M51)…

RCS-Rifles-11062022-copy.jpgImage EnlargerRCS-Rifles-10292021-copy.jpgImage Enlarger

These are four of the five Alden George Ulrich engraved M70s made circa 1947 for Dr. Russell C Smith and subsequently pictured in Dean Whitaker’s M70 book.  Provenance is impeccable (from RCS to Lou Leonard on down)… The fifth gun (bottom) in the first photo is S/N 87160, the Style D carved “RCS” M70 shown in both Whitaker’s and Rule’s books.  Are you saying these should be indefinitely locked in my vault away from public eyes?  Or would it be OK/better for them to be seen publicly, i.e. “in a museum”?  Many MANY WACA members have firearms more noteworthy than these and I would like to be able to see (not “own”) them…

Perhaps many collectors’ driving interest is to “cash out” when they’re gone and sell their collection on to benefit survivors (who may or may not care where the money came from)…  I read that a lot here… Nothing wrong with that… But I don’t consider guns like these to be “investments” and I have NO interest in their market value, either now or when I’m gone…  They are interesting to look at and possibly learn from, and I’d rather maximize that opportunity than maximize ROI…  

Am I just weird???  What do YOU think???

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 2:47 am
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Lou,

I gather guns for research and don’t have any intention of taking them to the grave. BUT, I am not quite ready to part with any yet (if that makes sense).

Just curious, where are the sight hoods on those magnificent Ulrich rifles?  Were they not supplied with hoods?

Best Regards,

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May 6, 2024 - 2:54 am
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Louis Luttrell said
I think my point was that (IMHO) the best residence for rifles of particularly broad appeal, for whatever reason (historical, aesthetic, or design significance), is where they can be seen and potentially enjoyed by the largest number of interested people.  

Very true for you, me, & a small & diminishing group of connoisseurs, but the pool of even marginally “interested people” is small & shrinking.  Proof?  Visit any historical museum & observe the attention paid to the exhibits by the majority of visitors; that’s the pathetic reality of American culture, where many college grads can’t tell you the dates of the Civil War, let alone the Rev War; the War of 1812, the Big Event of my local area where much of it was waged–they never HEARD of it!   Or listen to the morons hired to do local TV news broadcasting, all college grads of course–they’ve never seen or heard of the most common facts of natural history that I knew by the 8th grade, & would strain to identify the face on a $50 bill without reading the name below it.

Those 70s, however, are spectacular enough to make even such dead-heads as I’m describing (& observed a thousand times while working for 10 yrs as a tour guide in a major historical museum) pay attention. 

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May 6, 2024 - 3:00 am
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JWA said
Just curious, where are the sight hoods on those magnificent Ulrich rifles?  Were they not supplied with hoods?

If Dr. Smith was an experienced rifleman, he’d have known they served no useful purpose, except possibly for use in trench warfare.

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May 6, 2024 - 3:04 am
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Hi Jeff-

I’ve done a fair bit of research into RCS and his guns.  I even have a copy (courtesy of another WACA member) of the RCS collection inventory prepared by Norm Schoonover prior to the purchase of the entire RCS collection by he and Lou Leonard in 1972…  Interesting stuff…

Anyway… RCS liked telescopic sights.  The RCS “grail guns”, the ones engraved by George Ulrich, were factory ordered with G&H side mounted scopes (half Lyman Alaskan and half Noske) and NO iron sights.  The scope mounts are factory installed.  They have Ulrich’s engraving all over them and the mount bases are visible in both a Winchester publicity photo of Ulrich with the 30 GOV’T’06 ‘RCS’ gun (disassembled) and of the 270 WCF on the cover of a 1948 Winchester M70 brochure.  On top of this, the slot blanks (like the mounts) are engraved…  So they were not supplied with either sights or hoods… 

I guess you’d have to say that “Doc Smith” was a guy right after Clarence’s heart… LaughLaughLaugh

Here are a couple detail composites I made of the 257 ROBERTS.  It’s the only one “signed” by George Ulrich…

SG-SN-59502-RCS-Composite-1-copy-2.jpgImage EnlargerSG-SN-59502-RCS-Composite-2-copy-2.jpgImage Enlarger

Best,

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 4:15 am
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Lou,

You can solve the problem by opening up your gun room to the public for viewing… charge $5 per person through the door and call it the Louis Luttrell personal museum Laugh

Bert

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May 6, 2024 - 11:26 am
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I was cordially invited to Lou’s home a couple of years ago and if Lou’s collection is considered a museum I would not argue that point. I have been to public firearms museums and they’re fine, but to go to a private resident and talk to the owner/ collector and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere and possibly handle a piece or two puts the normal museum crowd to shame. (did I mention elbow to elbow in some cases) And from what I’ve observed the private owner has a MUCH more enthusiastic approach to his field of interest than a curator, and in most instances has done a lot of research towards that goal. Do museums have their place. Yes, but for me it’s more enjoyable to actually stand in front of the owner and see his enthusiasm as he shares his hobby with you. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. (Half the fun of owning your collection is showing it and sharing it with others). How many times has someone handed you one and said “when’s the last time you saw one like this” and saw the sparkle in his eye when he hands it to you. That my friend is what it’s all about and pride of ownership is part of that. Oh, by the way “Thanks again Lou. I enjoyed every minute”.   RRM

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May 6, 2024 - 11:38 am
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Louis Luttrell said
Hi Jeff-

Anyway… RCS liked telescopic sights.  The RCS “grail guns”, the ones engraved by George Ulrich, were factory ordered with G&H side mounted scopes (half Lyman Alaskan and half Noske) and NO iron sights.  The scope mounts are factory installed.  They have Ulrich’s engraving all over them and the mount bases are visible in both a Winchester publicity photo of Ulrich with the 30 GOV’T’06 ‘RCS’ gun (disassembled) and of the 270 WCF on the cover of a 1948 Winchester M70 brochure.  On top of this, the slot blanks (like the mounts) are engraved…  So they were not supplied with either sights or hoods… 

Best,

Lou  

Lou,

Thanks for the explanation and additional fantastic photos!  Now I see the blanks in the front ramp and barrel which would have course have been supplied without a hood.  I blame Cinco de Mayo margaritas for my blurry eyesight when viewing your previous photo.

Those rifles are the pinnacle of the gunmaker’s art and I would be proud to place them in “The Museum of Jeff” Laugh

Best Regards,

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May 6, 2024 - 11:42 am
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Louis Luttrell said
I guess you’d have to say that “Doc Smith” was a guy right after Clarence’s heart… LaughLaughLaugh 

The West was won, the Indians pacified, the Buffalo exterminated, all without benefit of sight hoods.  Have heard they are the work of the same design team that gave cars tail fins in the ’50s.

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May 6, 2024 - 11:57 am
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 And from what I’ve observed the private owner has a MUCH more enthusiastic approach to his field of interest than a curator, and in most instances has done a lot of research towards that goal.Rat Rod Mac said  

To most curatorial staff, the artifacts they oversee are to them as shelf stock to any merchant.  Most curators come to the profession not after a lifetime of interest beginning in childhood (which describes most collectors) but after being advised by a college counselor that it was a good but undemanding career without a lot of employment competition.  I’m not making wild guesses, I’ve KNOWN many museum staffers who have absolutely no PERSONAL interest in the artifacts they supervise.

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May 6, 2024 - 12:32 pm
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When a private collector obtains a very special gun or even a high condition standard gun, studies and documents it as some of our outstanding members have done and then shares their findings with anyone willing to learn they have provided a valuable service to the collecting community, IMHO. The other side of that coin is indeed the special gun that never sees the light of day for decades and even generations for whatever reason. That’s disappointing, of course, but it’s their money, their gun, their call. Someday that gun will appear and may inspire new collectors, we can only hope. I too, have watched visitors to museums and have read about museums’ efforts to engage visitors and it’s disappointing. Museums are working hard to educate the public but something isn’t working. Many of the examples shown and discussed in the books in my little reference library are from private as well as museum collections so both are important. 
My point is that even though a great gun may seem right at home in a museum they may serve a purpose just as valuable in a private collection. We need special guns in private collections, IMHO, they are what makes collecting exciting.

 

 

Mike

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May 6, 2024 - 12:47 pm
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clarence said

 And from what I’ve observed the private owner has a MUCH more enthusiastic approach to his field of interest than a curator, and in most instances has done a lot of research towards that goal.Rat Rod Mac said  

To most curatorial staff, the artifacts they oversee are to them as shelf stock to any merchant.  Most curators come to the profession not after a lifetime of interest beginning in childhood (which describes most collectors) but after being advised by a college counselor that it was a good but undemanding career without a lot of employment competition.  I’m not making wild guesses, I’ve KNOWN many museum staffers who have absolutely no PERSONAL interest in the artifacts they supervise.

  

Clarence-

I hope someday you’ll have the chance to meet Danny Michael, CFM Curator. He loves guns and shooting and takes a personal as well as professional interest in the artifacts in his care as well as the quality of the exhibits. It’s disappointing that someone in that environment would not be interested in the history surrounding them, quite honestly I don’t understand. 

 

Mike

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May 6, 2024 - 1:46 pm
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Bert H. said
 

Lou,

You can solve the problem by opening up your gun room to the public for viewing… charge $5 per person through the door and call it the Louis Luttrell personal museum Laugh

Bert

Great idea Bert!!!  Then I can declare the “museum” a not for profit, donate my guns to myself, and take a big tax write off…  Have my cake and eat it too!!! Laugh  Wait a minute… Hasn’t that already been done???  I thought his role in assisting such tax fraud is what sent Larry Wilson to prison… Frown

It’s true RRM and a few other WACA members who like M70s have honored me with a visit.  I think there are a couple more due to drop in soon.  For anyone interested, my “M70 museum” is located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, not far from Interstate 81 near Winchester VA.  Admission is free.  Hours are whenever you’re in the neighborhood.  Just call ahead… Laugh

Still… For the general gun enthusiast, a trip to the Cody Firearms Museum, the NRA museum in Fairfax VA, or the NRA/Bass Pro museum in Springfield MO would prove more interesting, and the ability of museums these days to create “virtual” exhibits that can be viewed globally means you don’t have to travel to see artifacts that might otherwise be locked up in a vault somewhere.  Not the “hands on” experience RRM is talking about, but far better than nothing IMHO…

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 2:15 pm
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JWA said
Lou,

Thanks for the explanation and additional fantastic photos!  Now I see the blanks in the front ramp and barrel which would have course have been supplied without a hood.  I blame Cinco de Mayo margaritas for my blurry eyesight when viewing your previous photo.

Those rifles are the pinnacle of the gunmaker’s art and I would be proud to place them in “The Museum of Jeff” Laugh

Best Regards,

This for JWA… Those RCS M70s, as well as the M21 Grand American that George Ulrich engraved for Doc Smith, were used in a fair amount of Winchester’s own advertising.  Excuse the sub-optimal images.

The 30 GOV’T’06 M70 was used in a publicity photo of Ulrich done in 1947 or 48.  Ulrich is seated at a table with some of his engraving tools and the rifle (disassembled) is laid out in front of him.  The distinctive “running ram” floor plate (second from left in the photo above) is in his engraver’s vise.  You know the photo is “staged”, as all the metal parts are blued/ready for assembly.  If you look really close, you can see the G&H side mount base on the receiver…

Geo-Ulrich-RCS-M70-copy.jpgImage Enlarger

The 270 WCF was featured on the cover (and an inside page) of a 1948 Model 70 brochure/catalog.  It’s the rifle whose floor plate is on the left in the above photo.  Scope is removed, but the side mount base and absence of sights are visible.

RCS-270-WCF-1.jpegImage EnlargerRCS-270-WCF-2.jpegImage Enlarger

The RCS Grand American is on the cover of the 1948 Model 21 brochure/catalog.  Unfortunately, the present whereabouts of the RCS M21 itself, and the RCS 220 SWIFT that was part of the M70 “set”, is unknown.  Lou Leonard eventually sold the M21 to ??? and Leroy Merz last sold the M70 220 SWIFT to ???  So they are currently unavailable to be “shared”. Probably locked in a gun safe… I wish they were in a museum somewhere I could go see them!!! Laugh

Lou

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May 6, 2024 - 2:20 pm
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For the general gun enthusiast, a trip to the Cody Firearms Museum, the NRA museum in Fairfax VA, or the NRA/Bass Pro museum in Springfield MO would prove more interesting…Louis Luttrell said

You left out the greatest of them all:  Springfield Armory Museum. 

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May 6, 2024 - 2:32 pm
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 Museums are working hard to educate the public but something isn’t working.TXGunNut said

 

That “something” is the US educational (i.e., indoctrination) system.  Jessie Watters began his TV career with Fox asking ordinary folks he met on the street, visiting public monuments, attending major events, etc, questions of the simplest, most basic, nature about US history & politics; the ignorant if not idiotic answers he received were what made his reports a subject of TV interest.

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May 6, 2024 - 3:00 pm
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clarence said

For the general gun enthusiast, a trip to the Cody Firearms Museum, the NRA museum in Fairfax VA, or the NRA/Bass Pro museum in Springfield MO would prove more interesting…Louis Luttrell said

You left out the greatest of them all:  Springfield Armory Museum

  

I REALLY need to go visit this one soon….I think it’s classified as a national park too IIRC? (or some other historic marker…)

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May 6, 2024 - 3:13 pm
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Jeremy P said

I REALLY need to go visit this one soon….I think it’s classified as a national park too IIRC? (or some other historic marker…) 

Unfortunately, it is, so it does not escape the PC indoctrination the Feds always push, though here, it’s minimally intrusive.

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