Identification & values.
Q: I have a Colt .38 double-action Lightning revolver, serial number 88XXX. The pistol has more than 95 percent of the original blueing, and the action works and is still tight. The barrel is five inches long. What is the worth of this gun, and when was it made?
--B.H., Pala, CA
A: Your Model 1877 Colt Lightning was made in 1892. According to the Thirty-First edition Blue Book of Gun Values (www.bluebookinc.com), it is worth $900. The Lightning (the same gun in .41 caliber is nicknamed the Thunderer) was a popular, if somewhat flawed double action manufactured from 1877 to 1909. Some 166,849 were made in a number of different barrel lengths.
Q: I am trying to find out the value of a Walther PPK that a friend inherited. Serial is 125XXX on both slide and frame. It's got the years on it as well as the Ulm address. The plastic heel on the bottom of the magazine is black, and the caliber is 7.65mm. There is a slight bit of rust spotting running about two-thirds of the way down the upper left slide, a tad on the same area on the right and some minor mars. As far as I know, it was not fired by the owner; he bought it new. The only rounds through it would be the original target rounds. I would guess it's in 90 to 95 percent condition (I'm not sure how to assess the minor rust and dings). Is it better to leave the rust alone and just keep it oiled, or should I clean it up?
--G.S., Anchorage, AK
A: Your PPK is one of the postwar guns that was imported by Interarms in Alexandria, Virginia, prior to the GCA of 1968. Value on the piece in 90 to 95 percent condition is $350 to $425. As far as the rust goes, a little oil lightly massaged with #0000 steel wool should take care of the problem.
STRAIGHT K98 MAUSER
Q: My uncle inherited a German Mauser K98k. On it is stamped the number 63XX; it appears seven times. On the upper receiver is stamped Model 98-BNZ-43. My uncle's understanding is that the rifle needs a matching No. 63XX on the stock of the rifle for it to be of significant value. Can you confirm this? And on what part of the stock would this No. 63XX be found? The rifle is in very good condition. Can you please provide an estimated value range?
--B.C., Moultonborough, NH
A: Based on the receiver code, your uncle's gun was made at Steyr-Daimler-Puch in 1943. I have a couple of bring-back K98ks in my own collection that do not have stock serial numbers, and I have seen others, so unless the gun has an obvious replacement, I don't think this is too much of a worry. The fact that all the other numbers match indicates that it is probably not a put-together. Assuming 85 percent condition, the rifle is worth in the $400 to $600 range.
Q: I would like to know about a Winchester rifle I have owned for more than 70 years. It is a .22 Long Rifle single-shot with a ladder-type sight. Although I have searched everywhere, I have been unable to locate a date of manufacture or its value. It has a bull barrel. Information I have picked up along the line of my research is that it is believed that it was manufactured as a training rifle in World War I. It is extremely accurate. The serial number is 121 XXX.
--J.M.E, Manheim, PA
A: Based on your description, you have a Winchester Second Model 1885 High Wall Musket (also called the Second Model Winder Musket). The serial number on your rifle dates its manufacture from around 1913-14. The one-band variation of the Winder, like yours, was introduced in 1911. The term "Winder" comes from marksman Lt. Col. Charles B. Winder, a proponent of small-caliber target practice.
Q: I have a bolt-action .30-06 that I bought 40 years ago and know nothing about. Please provide information on my Centurion Model 100 sporting rifle made by Golden State Arms in Pasadena, California.
--E.M., Interlochen, MI
A: Ah, I spent many a happy hour at Golden State Arms in Pasadena when I was a kid. It was a veritable Aladdin's cave of wonderful firearms and collectibles. The Centurion rifles (Model 100 standard grade, Model 200 deluxe grade) were built on Santa Barbara Mauser actions made in Spain. They were of good quality, but have virtually no collector value. Still, properly scoped up, yours is a good hunting rifle. As I remember, Golden State Arms went out of business in the late 1960s. There were actually rifles set into the concrete at the entrance of the store.
SEARS MODEL 54 LEVER GUN
Q: My father gave me a rifle. It's a Model 54 .30-30 Sears & Roebuck lever action. Could you tell me what it's worth and maybe some of its history?
--B.B., Smithville, TN
A: The Model 54 was actually a Model 94 lever action manufactured by Winchester for Sears. Your gun was probably made in the 1950s--certainly pre-1964. Value on the piece in average condition would be in the $200 to $300 range.
SAUER 38H AUTO PISTOL
Q: I have a J.P. Sauer & Sohn 38H .32 that is the second version made, I believe, in 1944. It has all the markings to authenticate it as made for German military use. It has "Cal 7.65" on the left side of the slide and the "eagle over 37" mark on the right side in back of the slide. Serial number is 432XXX. The pistol is in about 70 to 80 percent condition. The barrel is very bright with no pitting. I'd like to know what the value might be for this pistol.
--T.D., Union, OH
A: As its model indicates, the Sauer Model 38H was introduced in 1938. It was an excellent little double-action .32. Production of this pistol did not survive World War II. Worth of a Model 38H in the condition you describe would be in the $300 to $350 range, the Waffenampt adding a bit of appeal and value. The WaA 37 code was used for guns made at Sauer, among others.
Q: What have I got? It's a Suhl revolver marked "C.S.*CGH/SUHL." It is a six-shot single action. There is a plunger on the right side that, when depressed, allows the cylinder pin to be removed. The pistol has a lever safety on the left side of the frame. When down, the hammer cannot be cocked. When up, level with the barrel, it can. It has a broomhandle-type grip. A search indicates it may be an M79 10.6mm (11mm) revolver. Can you add anything? It's very worn--several nicks, all blueing gone. It looks as though someone didn't know how to get the cylinder out and was using pliers on the cylinder pin.
--P.B., Hartford, WI
A: You do indeed have a Model 1883 German service revolver (also called the Reichsrevolver). This very well-made 10.6mm was earlier (1879) offered with a longer barrel. They are often called cavalry and infantry models, respectively, but both types were used by most branches. These were made by a number of firms. Your gun was produced by C.G. Haenel. M79/83s are collectible, but the condition of your piece is working against it. Based on what you say, I'd evaluate it at between $300 and $375.
ON THE BLOCK
* A near-mint Volcanic repeating carbine sold for a phenomenal $120,000, plus 10 percent buyer's fee, at the October 28th, 2010, Little John's Auction Service sale in Anaheim, California. The .41-caliber carbine was complete with its original wood-grain cardboard box. Stamped with the company's New Haven address and the February 14th, 1854, patent date, it exhibits 99 percent of its original blue finish and the inside of the magazine tube and muzzle are still in the bright. The hammer and lever show most of their original colors, and the stock is fine to excellent-all in all, a superb piece that would be the the highlight of any Volcanic/Winchester collection. For more information about future auctions, contact Little John's Auction Service, 714/939-1170, www.littlejohnsauctionservice.com.
WHAT IS IT?
* Over the centuries, two-fers have always been popular, in firearms as well as in other areas of endeavor. One of the odder combination weapons is a 16th century "gonne shield" ostensibly made for England's King Henry VIII's bodyguard. It consisted of a round shield about 18 inches in diameter, through which a breechloading matchlock pistol protruded. The thought was that you could have an offensive and defensive arm all in one. Makes sense. The only problem with the thing was that it was awkward as hell to use. I had a chance to play with one a few years ago and can attest to the fact that unless King Henry's guard was composed of a phalanx of octopuses, it's almost impossible to manage easily, even under the most controlled circumstances. Too many things to do with too few hands. Interestingly enough, there are a number of gonne shields still extant, so we can only assume that Hank Ocho, realizing their impracticality, stuck them away in the Tower and turned his attention to other more fun, practical things like blowing off Pope Julius II, establishing the English Reformation and lopping off the heads of sundry spouses.