Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review

Happy New Year!

The close of our 7th year, more than 650 blog posts, dozens of projects. We continue our quest to save as many guns possible from the scourge of iron oxide.













Upcoming Projects:

Mauser 98 Sporter: An inherited project, Mauser 98 action, re-barreled in 270 Winchester, a Richard's Micro-fit  stock and a box of parts

Ruger Standard Pistol: a 1966 vintage Ruger Standard will get restored

Winchester model 97: My FIL inherited this 1926 vintage shotgun from his Brother, it was rusty and pitted, I give it a complete overhaul

Remington 512 Sportmaster: Yes another one, this will be #3

Remington 511 Scoremaster: Another inherited gun that sat unloved for too long

Remington 513 Matchmaster: Yet another inherited gun, this one from my uncle. It has been stripped and is in pieces....just my kind of fun

Stevens model 73: Another model 73, this one belongs to my adopted grandfather. It needs rebluing and some extraction issues fixed

S&W model 27: A beautiful revolver with some graffiti gets refinished

S&W model 19: Yet another model 19, my 4th one

Winchester model 77: A $50 "wallhanger" gets the full treatment

J.C. Higgins model 36: A $10 LGS buy gets some redemption

Springfield model 83: I hope to move this one from the project list to the finished list

Marlin model 60 "Super Deluxe Edition": I build what Marlin could have (or should have) built.

Savage 325A: The Post Apocalyptic gun, gets a second make-over

Hi-Standard Model B: A 1935 vintage gets refinished

Ruger Standard: a 4" barrel 1953 vintage "Red Barn" pistol gets cleaned up 

Hawes Western Six Shooter: A .22 Mag single action in need of love

Winchester model 47: Purchased as just a barreled action with a cracked stock, I will rebuild this single shot rifle

Ruger 10/22 Projects:

  •  Finger Groove Sporter Tribute: I take a painted and modified walnut stock and turn it into something beautiful
  • The Continental: An International stock, high polished steel receiver and barrel and a new aluminum trigger assembly make for one beautiful rifle
  •  The Deluxe Sporter: I purchased a checkered Deluxe Sporter Stock, now I need to out fit it
  •  The Zombie: I finally get to do some Lichtenburg wood burning and stock carving
  •  The Hawken: fitting brass muzzle loader parts to a factory 10/22 stock
  •  The Pirate Charger: I attempt to make a pirate pistol from an old beech wood factory stock
  •  The Liquid Lava: I customize a factory wood stock and give it a unique paint job.
  • The Sniper: A threaded bull barrel, parkerized steel receiver, 50mm scope and a Hogue thumbhole stock make for a unique project
  • The SR-22 Project: A chance gun show find results in a Ruger SR-22 being added to my collection

See you next year!

Friday, December 27, 2019

Interesting Firearm Photos XXXVI

Sears and Roebuck catalog

I assume this is from the Vietnam War

Knives forged from a rifle barrel...looks like a 303 British or perhaps a 7.7mm Japanese

You find American Patriots in the oddest of places, funny they are not asking for the help of the British, who used to rule over them

Tombstone....the greatest movie of all time and no this is not up for debate

We'll finish with a copy of the holster rig that Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) wore in the movie.

The pictures posted above were found freely on the World Wide Web and have been credited where possible. They are being used for entertainment purposes under the fair use doctrine of section 107 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. If you own the copyright to any of the images above and would like them credited or removed, please contact me immediately. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Restoring another Remington 512 Sportmaster part 3

If you missed parts one and two click on the links below

Part One
Part Two

Assembly begins

I didn't get a whole lot of pictures of the assembly, but I can tell you this: it is one of the more complicated .22 rifles to assemble.

Here is the gun assembled and ready to go back home

I'm glad I left the bolt handle in bare, polished steel, I think it looks great this way.

and the before & after pictures

 On to the next project!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Firearm Factory of the Month: Hopkins and Allen

The story of Hopkins and Allen starts with another gun company: Bacon Manufacturing Co. 
Bacon Mfg Co. was started in 1852 in Norwich, Connecticut on the banks of  the Yantic River, just below the falls. 
After the Civil War ended, hard times fell on the gun maker and two of it's employees were given the responsibility of selling the company's assets. The two employees: Samuel S. Hopkins and Charles Converse, decided to recruit some former Bacon employees and some local gunsmiths and businessmen to start a new enterprise. The year was 1867.

Samuel's brother Charles Hopkins worked for Bacon Mfg, Manhattan Firearms Co. and Allen & Thurber (the predecessor of Forehand and Wadsworth, a company that would later be purchased by Hopkins and Allen...).
They also teamed up with a local gunsmith by the name of Charles H. Allen (not related to Allen & Thurber) and local business man Horace Briggs.
With $6,000 of capital the team purchased the old Bacon Mfg plant at Yantic Falls  (they needed the water for power, as this was before electricity). With 5 principles and 12 employees they were up and running. 

In 1874 founder Charles Converse sold his interest in the company to William and Milan Hulbert. This gave the Hulbert brothers a 50% stake in Hopkins and Allen.
Two years later the Hulbert brothers formed a new business with gunsmith/gun designer Joseph Merwin. The new endeavor was called Merwin-Hulbert. That is another story for another day....

By 1877 sales were strong enough that they found themselves in need of a larger facility. Sometime in 1877 or 1878 they moved to an existing factory that sat on the corner of Willow and Franklin streets in downtown Norwich.

The plant was the previous home to the Allen Spool and Printing Co, owned by Edwin Allen, a relative of founder Charles Allen. I believe this factory was powered by a coal fired steam engine.

In 1888 Joseph Merwin passed away and the Hulbert Brothers reorganized as Hulbert Brothers and Co. In 1894, due to some failures of other companies they owned, the Hulbert brothers declared bankruptcy and in 1896 their assets were liquidated. 

In 1895 Hopkins and Allen purchased the Bay State Arms Co. of Worcester, MA.

Hopkins and Allen continued to make revolvers and shotguns, but in 1898 Hopkins and Allen were also in financial difficulty and had to reorganize as Hopkins and Allen Arms Co.

On February 4th, 1900 the Hopkins and Allen Factory at the corner of Willow and Franklin streets caught fire. A night watchman discovered the fire around 6AM, stating that he heard some loud bangs just before discovering the flames. 

The devastation was complete, the loss was estimated at $500,000. I would have to guess that Hopkins and Allen were insured as they immediately made plans to rebuild.
A new 80,000 sq ft building was erected on the site and rededicated in March of 1901.

Later that year Hopkins and Allen purchased the assets of the W.H. Davenport Fire Arms Co.

In 1902 Hopkins and Allen purchased the Forehand and Wadsworth company, a firm for which they had been making guns for.

In 1915 (during WWI) Hopkins and Allen received an order to produce Mauser 98 rifles for the Belgian government. The contract fell through when Germany invaded Belgium, which left Hopkins and Allen in a bind, financially.
In 1916 Hopkins and Allen went bankrupt, their assets were purchased by Marlin-Rockwell (the new owners of Marlin Firearms Co.) and the factory was used to produce machine gun barrels and parts during WWI.

While I found no official numbers online (and maybe they don't exist), but I would estimate from my research that Hopkins and Allen produced somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 to over 1 million firearms.
They would often brand label guns for merchants and other arms makers, which makes it very difficult to pin down any reasonably accurate production numbers....some of the trade names included:

A smattering of the guns produced by Hopkins & Allen:

I happen to own a Dictator No2 revolver, made in the old Franklin street factory (1880s-1890s), see my write up on it here

What remains

The factory buildings at Yanic Falls still exist, although I do not know which one of these was the old Bacon Mfg/Hopkins & Allen building. The area is now on the Registry of Historic Places

The building at the corner of Willow and Franklin, built in 1901 (after the fire) still stands. It can be found at 132-176 Franklin Street in downtown Norwich, CT.

NY Times
Connecticut Mills
American Society of Arms Collectors
The Forgotten Founders
True West Magazine
NRA Museum