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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2011 Digital Edition - Page 46
PISTOLSMITHING Alex Hamilton THE INSIDE SCOOP ON PISTOLSMITHING TECHNIQUES s long as there are human beings, there will be those who choose to reside in the devils lair. In short, there will be those who will try to make a living cheating others. The great gunsmith, Jim Clark, Sr., and I sat stuffing down Chinese food in a back street Atlanta restaurant one evening and were discussing a man who had just given us the royal shaft. Jim made a statement I will never forget. Jim said, “There are some men who just have larceny in their hearts.” One man I know with “larceny in his heart,” spent his entire life dreaming up ways to defraud unsuspecting gun owners, collectors and gunsmiths. I knew this man for over 50 years, observed as he defrauded hundreds of unsuspecting men, and spent two vacations in Leavenworth Federal prison as punishment for his foul deeds. The last contact I had with him he was buying cheap foreign made slides, removing the lettering with a surface grinder, and roll-marking valuable, rare marks in their place. The lettering was done with original Colt roll marks duplicating the rarest of rare Colt lettering such as was on the early 1911s, early commercial 1911A1s, and of course the ones carrying the rare marks such as Singer Sewing Machine Co. The slides were artificially aged and impossible to detect by the causal Left: For a gun supposed to be over collector or buyer. Now in his late 70s, he never got the larceny out of his heart and 165+ years old, this condition is simply never realized if he had applied his remarkable talent to honest endeavor, he would too perfect. Right: If this was an orighave made millions and become an icon in the firearms industry. inal Walker Colt, in this condition and with this mark it would probably sell in Dishonesty has a ceiling, honesty does not. If you swindle and deceive you will the hundreds of thousands of dollars. be discovered, you will be caught and you will forever be tagged as a fraud and a But it’s a fake. phony. If you are sincere and treat your friends and customers honestly in all your dealings you will have no limit on what you can accomplish. I have the ability to take an old Colt or a new one and turn it into historical piece worth thousands of s the price of Colt single-action If you discover you have been dollars and no one except an experienced revolvers and Winchester rifles sold a fake you will immediately collector would detect it as a counterfeit. go through the roof, fakes are want to attack the seller with hostile However, I would not even consider showing up at every turn. Up until words to vent your anger and frustrausing my 41 years of collective talent to now most antique guns have been tion. It’s possible the seller himself swindle an honest man. purchased at gun show and auctions was conned, as well as the fellow where the buyer has the opportunity before him. All parties involved to examine the piece and carefully could have lacked the sophisticated mainly on Colt single actions since examine the markings. Today, milknowledge to detect subtle mis-marks they are the most faked firearm lions of expensive collector and and changes to the original gun, so of them all. Exchanging a 7½" historical guns are purchased on please don’t bring grief down on bulged barrel on an old Colt with Internet auction sites and all you have another soul unless you are certain a new 4¾" factory barrel is not a is the sellers word the firearm is as he sold you a product with the intent fake because there is no “intent” described. If you discover you have to deceive. to defraud. A letter from Colt will been defrauded, usually the auction Defining the word fake is difquickly verify the original configusite will defend you legally and make ficult, but for our purpose, let’s ration of the piece. great efforts to retrieve your money. identify a fake as something created The first rule of the sophisticated But you must do your homework in for the sole purpose of defrauding an collector is to always pay the price, the beginning. unsuspecting buyer. Let’s also focus Continued on page 86 y numbered Original Walkers onl h lived a hard a handful, and eac this is life. Finding one like , so essentially impossible — beware of fakes like this one. A THE TEMPTATIONS 46 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2011