Auction: It’s On!

Crud. We meant to write about this one, and it’s on us, so we are giving you no advanced warning (well, maybe 1 hour, because we think they kick off at 0900 Central time), for which transgression we apologize: nostra maxima culpa. And all that.

But the nice people (and occasional furnishers of fine firearms for the Hogsafe, deep in the Hogcave naturally) Rock Island Auctions are running a, to steal an expression from Donald Trump, Yuuuuuge auction this week, with incredible amounts of cool stuff. It doesn’t matter what you like, from affordable needs-rewatting Class III to minty classic Winchesters and Colts from frontier days, to the most obscure oddities from the nether reaches of collecting, they’ve got it.

The auction will fun, ah, run, for four days, 25-28 February so it kicks off this morning. The lots are listed in a catalog that’s the size of a small-town’s telephone book (for those of you of a certain age who remember these things).

You can browse or search the catalog online. Looking for something specific?

Some Cool Lots

Here’s a set of three Ruger semi-auto carbines. We’re interested because of the first one, a Ruger Mini-14 in a folding stock that was one of several kinds available in the aftermarket prior to the AWB of 1994, and that never returned to the market afterward. It folds like an MP40 or AKMS.

three Ruger carbines2

There’s also a mint NIB Mini and a Ruger .44 Magnum carbine, a once-popular deer gun in these parts. It’s like a 10-22 that came back from boot camp with a deeper voice and more serious gravamen. All three guns are mass-produced 20th Century firearms, but if you like Rugers….

Here’s a Collector Prize and Collector no-Prize in One Lot. Everybody knows that the first double-action pistol was the Walther PP of 1929. Everybody is wrong. (And yeah, we’ve written that first sentence in earnest before). There are at least two prior claimants, a limited-production Russian firearm that’s mentioned in old books, and Alois Tomiška’s Little Tom pistols. The Little Tom was ahead of its time, as a DAO pocket pistol made even before World War I. Tomiška was a Czech, which meant nothing in the age of Empires; his state was the Habsburg Empire. Most Little Toms were made in Vienna (and are so marked: Wien auf Deutsch), but some earlier ones were made in Austria’s Bohemian province and are marked by the Prague proof house. This one? It’s in poor condition — for one thing, the trigger has not reset properly, suggesting a smith’s attention is needed — but it’s innocent of any markings whatsoever, and will provide someone with an interesting research project (as well as bragging rights for DA primacy over all us Walther collectors).

Little Tom and Friend

The other gun in the lot is apparently a FN1900 copy, a Mélior made by Robar et Cie., a prolific Liège manufacturer of small pistols, most of them copies of other designs, and not much of a collector piece. But it’s worth eating the Robar to own the Little Tom.

Of course, if you want just a Little Tom and in better condition, and will settle for a Wiener Waffenfabrik marked pistol from post-WWI Austria, Rock Island can hook you up there, too:

Little Tom Wiener Waffenfabrik 02

I didn’t check the calibers on these collector pieces, but I’d expect them to be .32 ACP/7.65 Browning caliber.

Want an NFA Gunsmith’s Special? Here’s a DEWAT registered Chauchat for relatively short money. As we understand it, this can be restored legally to firing condition, if it can be restored physically, with some documents filed with BATFE.

DEWAT Chauchat L

These DEWATs used to be sold from ads in gun magazines, just the thing to decorate your hunting camp or rumpus room (remember that term? That’s an easier way to date you than cutting off a leg and counting rings). You were expected to make up your own war story.

“The Sho-sho kept jamming, and the Boche were still coming… so I choked up on the barrel and began breaking skulls. Line drive to right field! Take that, Fritz. Then and there, I vowed I’d bring the thing back in my duffel bag and hang it on the wall, so I’d never forget.”

DEWAT Chauchat

Some of these old 1950s-60s DEWATS were only mildly demilled — they used to plug barrels with lead, for instance — and are an easy fix. That this one has not been fixed to date suggests that it might not be one of those.

Still, who buys a Chauchat to shoot? (Well, Ian or Karl would. They’d enter two-gun matches with it). But it’s the principle of the thing, isn’t it? Still, an 8mm Chauchat exuding World War I history, likely to go under the hammer for under $10k.

One last item: Three Chinese Mongrels. Two somewhat inept copies (of a Beretta and an FN 1900) and a Type 31 which is alleged to refer to 31 years of Chicom rule, but that would be 1980, and China didn’t make this in 1980. We’re guessing 31 years since Sun Yat-Sen’s Chinese Revolution, or 1950.

Three Chinese Copies

Don’t like these lots we’ve selected? There are over 9000 firearms in over 4000 lots, so you’re probably going to find something you want. Whether you can afford it — well, that’s between you and your next Roman numeral’d Plaintiff.

RIA’s  Own Tips on Maximizing your Auction Fortunes

RIA sends out an engaging email newsletter to its customers — you can sign up at the site, it’s free — and a recent one included these tips for getting the most out of a firearms auction. This is specific to RIA, but some of the tips apply when you’re working with other premium auctioneers, as well, and they get you in mind of thinking strategically about your auction bids.

That way you don’t ever take something out of the box and ask yourself, Why did I….? And you don’t ever see a hammer price and go, Dang I’d have topped that!

5 Bidding Tips to Help You Win the Guns You Want
1. Know Your Bid Increments
Lots of people already know that we used fixed bidding increments. So lots of people also know that instead of bidding $900, you should bid $1,000 so that the competing bidder has to make a larger jump in their bid. Many don’t make that jump, leaving you the winner. But many sealed bidders bid $1,000 (or $500, or $2,000) thinking that strategy will work the same as it does in live bidding. In fact, more people bid on round, even amounts than anything else, leaving many ties that are often broken by who bid first. Want to give yourself an advantage? Bid an odd number ($1,100 in this example), or consider adding a “+1” or “+2” to your bid. It just might be the difference you need.
2. Go Finish to Start, Not Start to Finish
Our catalogs are huge and many bidders don’t get through an entire one before finding the guns they want to win. Many guns on the third and fourth day of auction have fewer bids than those in the first two days. Take advantage! You could even start searching the catalog from the back to the front to help put some more collector firearms in your safe.
3. Early Bird Gets the Worm
As mentioned earlier, in the event of a tying bids, the winner will be the earliest of the bids placed. So get those bids in NOW for the third and fourth day items, because the early bird always gets the worm.
4. Use Bidder (Outbid) Notifications
We send these out 4 – 5 times before an auction, letting you know if you are outbid, tied, or the high bidder on an item. If outbid, This allows you to either increase your bid, or find a like item in a different lot. We will send our next notification later today and our last notification for this auction goes out on Friday, so there’s still time to take advantage of the outbid notifications.
5. Check Your Emails
Not only is this important before an auction with the outbid notifications, it can be very strategic to do so during an auction. After each auction day we send out notifications telling you if your bids were successful or not. If you didn’t get one firearm, there are often many like items in the following days of auction that you can still win. The bidding is FAR from over once the auction starts!

7 thoughts on “Auction: It’s On!

  1. archy

    ***Some of these old 1950s-60s DEWATS were only mildly demilled — they used to plug barrels with lead, for instance — and are an easy fix. That this one has not been fixed to date suggests that it might not be one of those.***

    Waaaaay back in the days when I was a teenager and dewat Chauchats could be had mail-order for as little as $12.50, no buttstock or magazine [I usually had mine shipped Railway Express, and mags could be had for a buck apiece, then] I had several of the things, three at one time for a while, and one or two of the U.S. .30-06 variant, which really was a prop-the-door-open-with-it piece. As stated, the barrel demils varied, and I think removal of barrel plugs [most of mine had a section of about 5-inches worth of 5/16th brass rod] caused some of the reliability problems; that and the really incredibly bad surplus ammo that was around, some of which was loaded with *powder* consisting of finely chopped-up nitrocellulose film stock, probably meant for the French rechambered single-shot or bolt-action 8mm Lebel rifles. When fed commercial Remington ammo or reasonably well-assembled handloads the Cha-cha guns would chug right along, though the conditions under which I was working with them were bright sunny days and not swampy muddy trenches at night. There were and are other possible solutions to the crappy ammo problem, including rechambering to other *interesting* calibers. I considered .30-40 Krag due to the cheap availability of brass and .308 bore diameter barrels but never got one working in that caliber. The Finns got 5000 CSRG M/1918s from France as military aid following the 1939 Winter War Soviet invasion of Finland, and the Finns considered conversion to the 7,62×53 rimmed cartridge using magazines from their own Lahti-Saloranta LS-26 autorifle. Many of the Chauchats that came to this country [including mine] were from that batch of 5000 of the things, swapped with a lot of other Finnish leftovers to the then-newish firm of Interarmco [later Interarms] as a trade for several hundred thousand Sten guns, just in case the Soviets thought about trying again. And the Germans even reworked some to use their 7,92×57 Mauser round, no doubt as military aid to some of their allies of whom they weren’t very fond or in very third or fourth-line last-ditch defense.

    Nevertheless, most of those who badmouth the CSRG guns have never fired one with good ammo or bad, and I can think of at least two other designs that are far worse than the *French shovel,* the name for it I learned for it from a WWI A.E.F. vet quite familiar with the things from his own two-year experience with the things. In the Summer days of 1963 I was amazed at how much fun this REALLY OLD guy had helping me get the things going again and sorting out ammo. Why, he was so old that I’d nearly forgotten that now I’m right about what his age was back then….

  2. James Jones

    I had one of the Mini 14 bottom folders exactly as pictured on the top rifle. It was purchased used, and was not manufacturer marked. The stock had a couple serious flaws. First, it weighed far more than the factory wood. As if that was not enough, the folding mechanism, was a rotating cylinder “secured” (and I use that term disparagingly) by a spring loaded plunger behind the receiver. The stock does not lock open securely, having at least 1.5 inches of up- down play when open, due to the plunger not securely interfacing with the pivot.. It does lock closed fairly well. additionally, the odd hard bakelite type material it is made out of is brittle, and cracked around the folding mechanism pivot. While I was able to strengthen this area with a couple screws and JB weld bedding, I really cannot recommend this stock as anything other than a range toy or gun room curiosity.

    James Jones

  3. Keith

    No real job, no money. I have to enjoy vicariously through sites like this and Ian and Karl’s sites.

  4. SPEMack

    Well darn. I’d be all over that River lot but that’s not a factory folder on the Mini. As a child of the 80s, I demand accuracy in my tv series firearms.

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