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checking for matching numbers of rare firearms
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eastbank
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October 10, 2022 - 6:33 pm
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i was buying a high priced german luger years ago and wanted to take it apart to check for matching inside numbers, and was told pay for it and you can check if the numbers match, if the numbers don,t match you will get your money back. if you mess it up its yours.

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October 10, 2022 - 7:03 pm
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What’s your question?  (Buy your Luger from Ralph Shattuck & the numbers are guaranteed to match; if they don’t match when he gets the gun, they will before he sells it.)

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October 11, 2022 - 12:06 am
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 When I’m working the purchase I simply ask if all the assembly numbers match. If the answer is anything other than no I ask for a guarantee. Once I’ve struck a deal I ask if I can pull the stock. If he says yes I do it in front of the seller, if the stock is sealed I don’t pull it. I will say when it comes to taking a gun apart, I am very capable and know when to stop. Most collectors are not and should not try.

 On my guns, if I pull the stock I take pictures, that stops the need to pull it for future buyers. I never had a dealer or auction company refuse to take pictures if it depended on the sale. T/R 

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October 11, 2022 - 12:27 am
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When I saw the title I thought of the 1 of 1000 where 2 guns have the same serial number…the gentleman that told me about this is no longer with us..sadly..

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October 11, 2022 - 2:10 am
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426crown said
When I saw the title I thought of the 1 of 1000 where 2 guns have the same serial number…the gentleman that told me about this is no longer with us..sadly..

  

Winchester did make duplicate serial numbers either by mistake or on purpose. I remember one that sold this spring. When the second one showed up in the warehouse they found the problem and corrected it by adding 1/2 by the serial number.

Bob

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October 11, 2022 - 2:55 am
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1873man said

426crown said

When I saw the title I thought of the 1 of 1000 where 2 guns have the same serial number…the gentleman that told me about this is no longer with us..sadly..

  

Winchester did make duplicate serial numbers either by mistake or on purpose. I remember one that sold this spring. When the second one showed up in the warehouse they found the problem and corrected it by adding 1/2 by the serial number.

Bob

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Holy Cow, did that really happen?

Are there any other examples of this?

 Doug

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October 11, 2022 - 3:01 am
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Doug,

The Fall 2012 Winchester Collector magazine has an article on pages 32-33 about an 1876 with a fractional serial number:

https://winchestercollector.org/magazines/201209/32/

Don

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October 11, 2022 - 12:07 pm
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  Colt has made SAA’s with duplicate serial numbers, I assume by mistake. When you get the letter it will provide a description of both.

  The restoration duplicate is the one to avoid. It is created during a high end restoration, they use donor guns of higher condition and very often change the serial numbers. The old frame or tang is sold off with other well used parts. This leads to the construction of another gun and brings up the question which is the gun. Is it the restored gun made with new or donor parts or the gun with the old parts? When you buy a restored gun with a re-stamped serial number, is another one with the same serial number out there? T/R

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October 11, 2022 - 1:55 pm
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TR said This leads to the construction of another gun and brings up the question which is the gun. Is it the restored gun made with new or donor parts or the gun with the old parts?

A similar question perplexed the ancient Athenians: after the naval Battle of Salamis, the city set up one of their galleys in a public square as a memorial to their great victory.  Over the yrs, parts of the hull rotted & were replaced, until after over a century of repeated restorations it occurred to one of the city’s philosophers to ask, “was this really one of the ships that had fought at Salamis, or only a copy of it, a reproduction?”  Same question can be asked today about HMS Victory & USS Constitution, & about many “restored” ancient buildings that were only scattered rubble before their restoration began. 

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October 11, 2022 - 8:47 pm
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TR said
  Colt has made SAA’s with duplicate serial numbers, I assume by mistake. When you get the letter it will provide a description of both.

  The restoration duplicate is the one to avoid. It is created during a high end restoration, they use donor guns of higher condition and very often change the serial numbers. The old frame or tang is sold off with other well used parts. This leads to the construction of another gun and brings up the question which is the gun. Is it the restored gun made with new or donor parts or the gun with the old parts? When you buy a restored gun with a re-stamped serial number, is another one with the same serial number out there? T/R

  

It’s very easy for a, “restoration” gun match the factory ledger – when the rifle is actually made up to match the ledger.  If someone takes a donor receiver, stamps the serial number to match the number in the ledger, and then add newly manufactured wood and newly manufactured barrel… you can still end up with a, “letterable” rifle!  

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October 11, 2022 - 11:43 pm
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steve004 said

TR said

  Colt has made SAA’s with duplicate serial numbers, I assume by mistake. When you get the letter it will provide a description of both.

  The restoration duplicate is the one to avoid. It is created during a high end restoration, they use donor guns of higher condition and very often change the serial numbers. The old frame or tang is sold off with other well used parts. This leads to the construction of another gun and brings up the question which is the gun. Is it the restored gun made with new or donor parts or the gun with the old parts? When you buy a restored gun with a re-stamped serial number, is another one with the same serial number out there? T/R

  

It’s very easy for a, “restoration” gun match the factory ledger – when the rifle is actually made up to match the ledger.  If someone takes a donor receiver, stamps the serial number to match the number in the ledger, and then add newly manufactured wood and newly manufactured barrel… you can still end up with a, “letterable” rifle!  

  

 Yes but the serial number is not made with the original Winchester dies. Knowing what the original numbers look like helps outing a fake. Most restoration makings have a tell, some Winchester dies do to. Saving good pictures of restored and original marking is the easy way to out the fake.

 If a restored gun has a newly stamped serial number how do you know it’s not a clone? T/R

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October 12, 2022 - 1:56 am
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clarence said

TR said This leads to the construction of another gun and brings up the question which is the gun. Is it the restored gun made with new or donor parts or the gun with the old parts?

A similar question perplexed the ancient Athenians: after the naval Battle of Salamis, the city set up one of their galleys in a public square as a memorial to their great victory.  Over the yrs, parts of the hull rotted & were replaced, until after over a century of repeated restorations it occurred to one of the city’s philosophers to ask, “was this really one of the ships that had fought at Salamis, or only a copy of it, a reproduction?”  Same question can be asked today about HMS Victory & USS Constitution, & about many “restored” ancient buildings that were only scattered rubble before their restoration began. 

  

Sounds like the farmer who retired and had a farm sale. Land, machinery, buildings, livestock and tools. He decided to keep his trusty hammer. After all, even though he’d replaced the handle four times and the head twice it was the same hammer he’d started out with all those years ago.

 

Mike

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October 12, 2022 - 3:21 am
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deerhunter said
Doug,

The Fall 2012 Winchester Collector magazine has an article on pages 32-33 about an 1876 with a fractional serial number:

https://winchestercollector.org/magazines/201209/32/

Don

  

Thanks for that Don

 I am sure i read that at some point, recall was lackingLaugh

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October 12, 2022 - 3:28 pm
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TR said

steve004 said

TR said

  Colt has made SAA’s with duplicate serial numbers, I assume by mistake. When you get the letter it will provide a description of both.

  The restoration duplicate is the one to avoid. It is created during a high end restoration, they use donor guns of higher condition and very often change the serial numbers. The old frame or tang is sold off with other well used parts. This leads to the construction of another gun and brings up the question which is the gun. Is it the restored gun made with new or donor parts or the gun with the old parts? When you buy a restored gun with a re-stamped serial number, is another one with the same serial number out there? T/R

  

It’s very easy for a, “restoration” gun match the factory ledger – when the rifle is actually made up to match the ledger.  If someone takes a donor receiver, stamps the serial number to match the number in the ledger, and then add newly manufactured wood and newly manufactured barrel… you can still end up with a, “letterable” rifle!  

  

 Yes but the serial number is not made with the original Winchester dies. Knowing what the original numbers look like helps outing a fake. Most restoration makings have a tell, some Winchester dies do to. Saving good pictures of restored and original marking is the easy way to out the fake.

 If a restored gun has a newly stamped serial number how do you know it’s not a clone? T/R

  

I’ve observed most, “restored” guns have nice, deep serial number stampings.  We know they are not, “re-stamped” which leaves a process where they are free to stamp the serial number again (that has been on the receiver) or stamp a new number (e.g. they are making a clone of something else). Which, raises the question, if someone has a rifle in fairly poor condition – where new wood, new barrel and a donor receiver is needed… why send the gun off vs. just send the serial number and a description of the configuration? I believe there is a legal answer here, but not everyone pays strong attention to that.

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October 12, 2022 - 9:35 pm
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i take  these  with my Samsung camera phone, and crop them  after  sending  to  myself as email,  saving  them in  pictures, the point  you can tell original lettering, numbering  by  the  color  inside the stamp  the  courseness  when magnified  these can  be  magnified greatly, showing every nook   and cranny, chipped “tooth” in the die, the grain of sanding   , . Added number  tend  to push up metal around  the letter or number as the steel is  tempered  some  from  heat in use over  decades., it  they look  pushing  the  metal around   you can feel  the bump.  walk away..20221009_14354617522-1.jpgImage Enlarger20221009_14360117521.jpgImage Enlarger

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October 12, 2022 - 9:48 pm
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 The roll dies  they use  puts pressure  around  the  letter ,number  while passing over  ,preventing  the metal  from  pushing. a hand stamp  pushes  the metal to either side, forcing  the letter-number into the metal  creating  the welling up around it. a lens can detect it.. I’ve  seen expensive Colt cavarlySA ,  wih US  added , that  the toughness of  the metal from. firing  hardens  the frame steel.  they never look right..

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October 12, 2022 - 10:57 pm
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 If you grind off the old serial number and re-stamp you have thinned the metal and changed the contour. The tang or receiver looks odd and crime acid can pull the old number. If you weld over the old number it scrambles metal grain and the serial number can not be pulled with acid, also you can machine to original contour. In this case if the die is perfect and the restorer is good enough it’s hard to tell. The good news  most are not that good. The bad news a few are. A Winchester is a big gun and you will probably see other mistakes made during the restoration.

 If you are having a rare gun restored do before pictures to prove what you started with. If your buying a restored gun ask for pictures of the gun before restoration. A clone is fine if your only paying for a clone. T/R

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October 12, 2022 - 11:39 pm
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TR said
 If you grind off the old serial number and re-stamp you have thinned the metal and changed the contour. The tang or receiver looks odd and crime acid can pull the old number. If you weld over the old number it scrambles metal grain and the serial number can not be pulled with acid, also you can machine to original contour. In this case if the die is perfect and the restorer is good enough it’s hard to tell. The good news  most are not that good. The bad news a few are. A Winchester is a big gun and you will probably see other mistakes made during the restoration.

 If you are having a rare gun restored do before pictures to prove what you started with. If your buying a restored gun ask for pictures of the gun before restoration. A clone is fine if your only paying for a clone. T/R

  

And we really don’t know how many out there are that good.  

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