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Old 08-24-2007, 07:53 PM
kwill1911 kwill1911 is offline
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How about some pictures of pre-war "belly guns?" Cut down, cut away, big-bore snubbies...call them what you will but I'd like to see them. Here's one that's not mine but someday...
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:28 AM
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3" 1917.

I never get tired of showing this one off.

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Old 08-25-2007, 10:37 AM
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My little $50 pocket H&R 32S&W. Always in my pocket.
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Old 08-25-2007, 12:23 PM
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Here's a M1937 Brazilian cropped and chopped for CCW.
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:00 PM
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Kevin,

That is a great belly gun! I think the grips are every bit as interesting as the metal. The right handed user obviously had some looooong fingers. I imagine that the additional grip surface he achieved for his finger tips and thumb gave a real good purchase on the piece. I've never seen one quite like that before and I have to say that I like the concept better than the usual finger grips.

If you do get that one and ever tire of it, let me know.

I also like the alternating Black Talons and Ball in the full moon.

Bob
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Old 08-26-2007, 03:03 AM
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Not a Smith,



Giz
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Old 08-26-2007, 04:43 AM
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Does a 3 & 1/2 count Kev ? cut down 1926 with SAA style grip mods.

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Old 08-26-2007, 06:41 AM
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Tony-of course it counts! Cool gun.

Bob-did you notice the King Super Police night sights and the McGivern style extended trigger guard?

giz-since you've broken the ice...
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:33 AM
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I've got two 3 1/2" guns. The Smith is a .44 Special and it now wears smooth magnas. The Colt is a .44-40.
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Old 08-26-2007, 08:54 AM
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Many of you know, either from my posts here or from reading Chic Gaylord's "Handgunners Guide" 2nd. and 3rd. editions for which I authored the foreword, that I am particularly fond of these types of modified revolvers.

The "crew" I ran with back in NYC, most of them by that time already retired from law enforcement, except for a few of us, all had different variations of these formidable custom wheelguns. All of them were Colt New Service or S&W 1917's. But as for the term "belly guns", at least in my experience, their size precluded any such description despite being chopped and bobbed.

A "belly gun" in the common vernacular of that place and time, generally could have been defined as/by any number of small frame guns, including auto loaders, that were suitable to be easily concealed and used at very short ranges. Perhaps the most common of those were the I and J frame S&W's and various Colt's like the Detective Special and Police Positives that were modified by removing the hammer spur for fast snag free drawing from a pocket or elsewhere. I don't mean to be a "nitpicker" but generally speaking, the modified big bore guns we had were capable of performing well beyond a distance of 15 feet and were carried in some sort of traditional scabbard. Sometimes perhaps, in an inside waistband holster like this one.



I concede that a particularly large man might find this IWB style practical and comfortable, but I imagine that would be an exception.

I like each and every one of the pieces that you guys have posted in this thread and I've posted my favorite of that breed several times before. So I won't bore you with having to download it again. Just thought I'd share that small insight with you all. The photos are very nice, thanks for sharing them.
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:00 AM
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Kevin,

I did see the King sights but I have to admit that I completely missed the trigger guard. Not sure whether it's the old eyes failing or the old brain just can't absorb too many details at once.

Love the Fitz Special, too. I'm just getting into reading a first edition copy of J. Henry FitzGerald's Shooting that I found on-line. It's a very interesting study. He used Colts predominently, but he covers every conceivable issue in handgun shooting and I highly commend it to anyone who likes to read works by one of the really great "oldtimers".

Bob
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:54 AM
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Wowww! They are all VERY cool. I was an MP in 1980 and drawn into the "only automatics are good for combat" crowd. Then once I switched Cammoflage for Patrol Blue, I tagged along with "We need Hi-caps to fight criminals". Its taken me awhile but now Im fighting the bosses to let us carry revolvers (atlest when off duty). So far no luck, but happily we can carry 45. I remember the old guys who complained about giving up their wheel guns, and now I understand....
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Old 08-26-2007, 09:55 AM
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Bob,

For those interested, Paladin Press is reprinting the book, Shooting by J. Henry FitzGerald and I'm told it will be available in about a month. It has two new Forewords--short biographies of Fitz--one by T.J. Mullin and one by me. (Sorry for the commercial. If it helps any I didn't get paid for it.)

Lefty,

I'll defer to your experience and agree with you that the big bore/big frame/short barrel guns were still accurate. That's why Fitz always remounted the front sight and would often checker the tops of the bobbed hammers to aid in single action shooting "for long range shots." And many fans from Applegate to Lindbergh carried them in holsters.

However, Colonel Charles Askins, Jr. defined belly guns not as something stuck in your waistband, but the "kind of hardware you jam against the other man's navel and trigger off a burst.... Eliminate the sights and shoot the guns from below eye level." I don't mean to imply that Askins in the last word on the matter, just that the "belly" some folks refer to in the term is the recipient, not the server.

I'm glad you posted the holstered gun picture. Please go ahead and post the revolver without the holster so that we get them all in this thread.

Thanks,
Kevin

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Old 08-26-2007, 12:25 PM
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Oh ~ here's my chance.....

Now I get to show the Fitz with leather....



Berns Martin Rig....

And if Lefty reads this, email me about making a similiar rig to Kevin's in the above picture. I fell in love with that holster, and your the only one I know that I would trust my Fitz to.....

Giz
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Old 08-26-2007, 01:18 PM
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Bob- I caught the trigger guard but completely missed the sights.

I have to agree with you about all the details at once.

Looking good, all.
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Old 08-28-2007, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwill1911 View Post
Bob,

For those interested, Paladin Press is reprinting the book, Shooting by J. Henry FitzGerald and I'm told it will be available in about a month. It has two new Forewords--short biographies of Fitz--one by T.J. Mullin and one by me. (Sorry for the commercial. If it helps any I didn't get paid for it.)

Lefty,

I'll defer to your experience and agree with you that the big bore/big frame/short barrel guns were still accurate. That's why Fitz always remounted the front sight and would often checker the tops of the bobbed hammers to aid in single action shooting "for long range shots." And many fans from Applegate to Lindbergh carried them in holsters.

However, Colonel Charles Askins, Jr. defined belly guns not as something stuck in your waistband, but the "kind of hardware you jam against the other man's navel and trigger off a burst.... Eliminate the sights and shoot the guns from below eye level." I don't mean to imply that Askins in the last word on the matter, just that the "belly" some folks refer to in the term is the recipient, not the server.

I'm glad you posted the holstered gun picture. Please go ahead and post the revolver without the holster so that we get them all in this thread.

Thanks,
Kevin

Kevin;

Is Tim Mullin an attorney pal of Leroy's? If so we have spoken on occasion and I've made some gunleather for him. If it's the same fellow, he was very knowledgeable about the "old timers" who've become so revered by some of us.

I guess my post was unclear, for that, my apologies. I really wasn't suggesting the term referred to the "server" versus the "recipient", but I see how my remarks could have been interpreted as meaning that. By Charlie Askins definition then, I suppose anything small enough could be characterized as a belly gun. I didn't mean to split hairs about the terminology, but wanted to emphasize that these big bore snubs if thoughtfully customized, were capable of performing well beyond sticking it in the bad guys ear.

Here's one of mine, .45 Colt New Service Custom, my winter carry gun. Looking forward to reading your contribution to "Shooting".
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:23 PM
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Lefty,

Yes, Tim is an attorney in St. Louis and knows Leroy well. No apologies necessary on the definition of belly guns. Here's an interesting illustration from one of Roper's books that gets into the spirit of the thing.

Kevin
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Old 08-28-2007, 05:50 PM
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Kevin,

That's a very interesting gun in the Roper picture. I don't think I've ever seen any of his grips with such a pronounced "grip adaptor" and concavity to the front strap outline. As you know, its also less common to see Smiths with the Fitz modifications to the hammer and the triggerguard than Colts. I would like to see another view (muzzle) of the front sight barrel band to see if it is contoured to fit the front locking lug. What book is that in?

I chased a Fitz modified Smith around several shows a couple of years ago but it sold before I could make a deal. (I think it ended up with Bill Powell so no telling where it is now). The modifications were very professionally done...indistinguishable from factory finish. It didn't have the barrel band or the Roper grips though.

Bob
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Old 08-28-2007, 08:02 PM
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Bob,

The picture is from p. 169 of Roper's book, _Pistol and Revolver Shooting_. The little gun below has similar grips, although not quite as pronounced. You looked at it at the Market Hall show.

Kevin
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:14 AM
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By anyones definition, this is a "belly gun".

Colt New Service 1905 .45 Long Colt Fitz Special
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:07 AM
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A great thread to revisit along with the custom combat revolver thread in the 1945 and newer section.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:06 AM
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I've shown this one before. It's a New Service in .45 Colt put together from parts and shop scrap saved for a special occasion. It does get used as a pocket gun, but depends on what I'm wearing.

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Old 01-01-2009, 12:45 PM
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Sporterized DWM .30 cal


C. Sharps .22
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:47 PM
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Happy New Year All.Now this is a real Belly Gun. Its a 1898 Iver Johnson Safety Hammer 2nd Model 2"er .32 Cal. S&W . The exact model of gun that President William MacKinley was shot with in the belly on September 6,1901 in Buffalo New York.Then died later with complications due to his injuries heres some pics Enjoy!!

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Old 01-01-2009, 01:53 PM
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45acp british proofs






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Old 01-01-2009, 02:35 PM
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I wrote a piece (so far unpublished) on the FN 1910 semiauto pistol and called it, "Browning's Belly Gun."

It was made flat, short, fairly light, and had sights that were too small to snag in a pocket. Mine also shoots good short-range groups if I just point it and look over the top of the slide.

I've noticed that Browning's small autoloaders are generally about the same size as Smith J-frames but hold one or two more rounds. I don't think that happened by accident.

Neat guns in this thread. I was going to have my 1917 Brazilian cut down but decided I liked it too much the way it was. Should have bought two when they were cheap, I guess.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:51 PM
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Gizamo, You still out there? I've seen this gun pop up other times. In my dad's early 60's gun mags they sometimes sold cut down new services for, I think, 29 bucks. These grey rat rods are what I'm into even though I have some cool new shiney stuff. If I ever come across a NS beater, it'll end up looking something like yours. But with sanbar stags like that other guy's cut down Colt N.S. on this post. Thanks for showing the back end of that Berns-Martin. I've been thinking a long time about making one of those
but the trigger guard area was a mystery. I just have to find two, is it two?, half springs for the cylidner areas.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rigmover:
Happy New Year All.Now this is a real Belly Gun. Its a 1898 Iver Johnson Safety Hammer 2nd Model 2"er .32 Cal. S&W . The exact model of gun that President William MacKinley was shot with in the belly on September 6,1901 in Buffalo New York.Then died later with complications due to his injuries heres some pics Enjoy!!
He actually died after weeks of excruciating pain and suffering from the ineptness of his doctors.
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:01 PM
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As a photographer, I know perspective in a 2 dimension photo of a three dimension object can fool you.

At first glance, I thought the wood on these grips were "Raised" to give a Palm-swell to a left handed shooter. It also looks like the wood near the trigger guard was relieved to allow easy access to the trigger finger of the left hand.

Is it an optical illusion to me Kevin, or is Bob correct and that is a groove cut for the fingertips of a right handed shooter?

Nice gun!
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:35 PM
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I posted this revolver last week in the pre-45 page. These modifications were done by a Detroit Police Officer in the 1930's. I just obtained this 1917 made in 1918 from the DPD officer's son a couple of weeks ago. Greg


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Old 01-01-2009, 08:47 PM
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Right handed shooter. I think what you're seeing as trigger finger access is just an early user modification to accomodate the speed loaders. We seem to have duplicate threads now going on a lot of these guns but here's a story about one of the times this gun got used:

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Kevin Williams
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Old 01-02-2009, 05:09 AM
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This is my Colt Official Police, cut down to 2.5 inches. This one had a bulged barrel just behind the front sight, so I had my smith cut it down to snubbie size.


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Old 01-02-2009, 06:04 AM
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I like this one.
Just because it's mine
1860 clone in .44
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Old 01-02-2009, 08:30 AM
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Time to drag out this one again. This is a 38/44 Outddorsman, originally shipped with a 6 1/2" bbl on September 19, 1946 to Sutcliffe Hardware in Louisville, KY. It has since had the barrel shortened to 3 3/4" and had a King's front sight installed and a trigger shoe. It has also been pawn shop engraved, had custom grips installed and the cylinder has been re-chambered to 357 Magnum. This is one of my favorite S&W's. I wish this one could talk.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:35 AM
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Looks like lots of us have favorites of these guns that we enjoy showing off at every opportunity so here is mine. If it is possible to attribute a "personality" to an inanimate object, these guns have one!


This Model 25-2 shipped to John Jovino in in New York in 1983. Jovino cut the barrel, rounded the butt, added his ball detent cylinder lock, and smoothed and rounded the hammer and trigger. I have to say that if I had to pick only one revolver to keep for carrying, this would be it!

Perhaps Jovino and his peers were responsible for the S&W Factory finally "seeing the light" and producing large bore, short barrel guns like this M29-4 which shipped in 1989.



It's very nice, but somehow, it lacks some of the "personality" of the Jovino.

Bob
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Old 01-02-2009, 06:24 PM
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Here are a pre-WWII Terrier and a Colt New Navy in .41 with a 3" barrel.



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Old 01-03-2009, 05:32 AM
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Great photo comp Mr. Rush, nice revolvers too.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:06 AM
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It's alway's a delight to see wonderful photos of this fascinating class of guns. Real workhorses that got the job done and how!


.45 Colt New Service Custom, Colt Police Positive .38 S&W c.1926 with chopped barrel and Sharps 4 shooter .22 Derringer. I just dig the heck out of these threads......nice guns and photos guys! Cheers!
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Old 01-03-2009, 11:31 AM
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Nice group Lefty. I especially like that modified Colt New Service.
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Old 01-03-2009, 08:00 PM
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Even though these are only .38's, they're a couple of my favorites... both k-frames:



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Old 01-03-2009, 09:53 PM
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Thanks for the stories fellas and the pics as well.
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:41 AM
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My regular belly gun---Colt Agent

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Old 02-15-2009, 06:47 PM
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My friend's Dad was a deputy in Tennesse in the '30's and '40's. This is what he carried.
Only thing close to a belly gun I have, I'm afraid.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:16 PM
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phenson,

That's not close to being a belly gun. That IS a belly gun! What a piece! Someone was serious about protecting themselves.

Bob
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by guy sajer View Post
Sporterized DWM .30 cal


C. Sharps .22
All of those guns are nice but that Luger is AWESOME!
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Old 02-17-2009, 06:41 PM
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Well, looking at all these pics put me over the edge. My 2" rd butt model 10 is now without a hammer spur. Made for a fun evening of tinkering!
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:14 AM
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It's all I can do to keep from spending a few hundred dollars to cut down a couple of 1917s. The worst part is they would be worth less than they are now.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:30 AM
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It's all I can do to keep from spending a few hundred dollars to cut down a couple of 1917s. The worst part is they would be worth less than they are now.
I think the trick is to find a real beater, or a piece that's already been altered with no real collector value and go from there. I also believe that some of the guns pictured in this thread are worth more than they were before they were customized or altered. Nearly every one I've modified came off the refuse heap, so to speak. No one is going to advocate modifying a collector grade gun or probably even a decent all original and matching specimen in a poorer grade. But Lord knows, there's many suitable potential candidates floating about out younder. Thanks for reposting this thread, it was real fun to read it again.

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Old 01-31-2011, 08:48 AM
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Yep, good rebirth of a classic thread. Good to see these old timers again. Anyone have new ones to add?

Bob
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:53 AM
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I think this thread qualifies for the Notable Thread Index.

Cheers;
Lefty
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