View Full Version : Help Mister Wizard!!

June 5, 2000, 12:24 PM
Need to find out the value of a rifle. I know that you can't really say much without seeing the gun, but a ballpark figure would really be appreciated. At work this morning we went to an old (85) widow's house to work on some water damage and had to move a bunch of furniture. Under the bed was a rifle case. I picked it up and took it to the lady and asked her where she wanted it put. She went into the story about how it was her husband's old deer rifle, and how heavy it was and probably nobody would use something like that now. She unzipped the case and pulled it out. I agreed that nobody uses anything like that anymore. I recognized the pot-bellied rifle immediatly even though I have never seen one except on tv. It was a Johnson .30-06. I let her know that I would be interested in it (while trying hard not to let her know how interested) just for target shooting. She is going to talk to her daughter and see what she wants to do with it, but I think there is a pretty good chance I can pick it up for a reasonable price. It is in pretty good shape, it has been scoped, and there is some light surface rust (no pitting that I could see) on part of the barrel but I think it would clean up to very good condition. What would it be worth, and what would you offer a very nice, old widow for it without feeling too bad? (She is "quite well off" so it's not like I would be taking food off her table)

Steven Mace
June 5, 2000, 02:38 PM
Bergie, the rifle you're describing is the Johnson Automatics, Inc./Johnson Arms, Inc. Model 1941. In very good condition it could be worth about $1,250-$1,600. Hope this helps!

Steve Mace

After today, its all historical

Harley Nolden
June 5, 2000, 03:19 PM
The Johnson rotary-magazine semi-automatic recoil-operated rifle was invented just prior to WWII by Melvin M. Johnson.

The Netherlands government ordered and obtained 50,000 Johnson rifles chambered for the 30-06 cartridge. Relatevely small quantities of Johnson rifles and light machine guns were also made and issued to U.S. Marine Corps and Army Special Service Forces.

The role of the Johnson rifles during WWII was a very minor one by comparison to the M1 Rifle which established an un paralleled record.

A few years after the the end of WWII, the Netherlands Govt disposed of a quantity of Johnson rifles and they became available through Winfield Arms Corp of Los Angeles, CA. In addition to the standard cal. 30-06 military model, the Winfield firm offered sproterized Johnson rifles, which had been restocked along sporting lines. Calibers offered were .270 Win, 7mm Mauser and 30-06.

Should you purchase the rifle, I have the assem/disassem insturctions for it if you like.


[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited June 05, 2000).]

June 5, 2000, 06:19 PM
Bergie 'fore you finish up on the job check the garage......there might be an old Chevy (Corvette) sittin' out there that belonged to her late husband. ;)

Gunslinger TFL Imperial Potentate

TFL End of Summer Meet ([Link to invalid post), August 12th & 13th, 2000

June 5, 2000, 11:36 PM
Nope, no 'vette, just a Caddy, (her hubby did have a really nice straight old Ford pickup) and the Johnson in the basement. Only gun she has left, they sold HER deer rifle back when she turned 70. There are about a half dozen nice muley and whitetail mounts around the house, and a good picture of her daughter with a nice elk. And an 8 1/2' split bamboo fly rod on a rack above which is a nice cutthroat her hubby caught. I do have permission to hunt on her 1/2 section of land out west of town. She is one great old lady.
Goin back later in the week, I'll ask her if she talked to her daughter, and be (mostly) honest with her, tell her that some old military rifles have some collector value, more if they are all original, less if they have been modified. I'll tell her that I really don't know what it is worth until it is checked out by somebody that knows more about them than I do, make her an offer, and tell her that if she really wants to get it checked out I'll give her the name of the guy that I would take it to.
Come on Gunslinger, what would you offer a really nice old lady (who is a friend of your mother-in-law and a member of your church) without feeling too bad about it? Or do Imperial Potentates have somebody to feel bad for them? ;)
Gonna have to put my deal on an Inland carbine on hold til I get this figured out.

by the way, were these rifles originally blued or parkerized? This one is blued.

[This message has been edited by bergie (edited June 06, 2000).]

June 23, 2000, 06:52 PM
I need the instructions, please! It is one of the Winfield sporterized models. Except for the light surface rust on part of the barrel it appears to be in pretty good shape. The lady said her husband would be spinning in his grave if he saw that rust on it, he always took such good care of his guns. The bore looks good, and the action looks to have been well oiled before it was put away, I just can't figure out how to get it apart, but then I haven't had that much time to play with it. It is scoped with a mount that follows the contour of the reciever, and fits into the dovetail where the rear sight mounted. 3 rings holding the scope, haven't found a model # on the scope, but it has a heavy post and wires from the side only,
steel tube (it has a few specks of rust.)

Can anybody give me a little better guess on what it is worth?
She knew it was an unusual rifle and had a little value so I didn't get it real cheap, in fact, I am wondering if I gave more than I should have.


Harley Nolden
June 24, 2000, 08:20 AM
I have sent the Disassem by separate email. My records indicate the value is for the Military model, $2,700.00-$1000.00. I don't have any records on the civilian model.


June 24, 2000, 04:03 PM
Out of pure curiosity I did a Metacrawler search on Johnson Automatics and found the following links to a biography, a history of the company and a history of the gun. Among other stuff they include a picture of the factory and a picture of the handmade(scrap metal) prototype with a knitting needle for the firing pin. The 21st edition of the Blue Book shows 90%=$995, 95%=$1250,98%=$1575 and 100%=1850. http://www.qis.net/~pullen/identification.htm
http://www.qis.net/~pullen/Biography.htm Learn something new every day around here. John

June 25, 2000, 02:04 AM
Thank you Mr. Nolden! I will now be able to get it cleaned up a little better and inspect the workings.
John, thanks, I'll check those links out.