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Old August 17, 2021, 06:02 PM   #26
BornFighting88
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Was it certified numbers matching, or force matched?? Just curious. I have read about/heard about Mitchell's doing that.
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Old August 17, 2021, 09:02 PM   #27
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Was it certified numbers matching, or force matched??
What would you consider "certified" to be??

Unless you have valid, historical documentation, a chain of custody with sworn affidavits acceptable in court, all the way from the maker's shipping dock to the hands of the guy you're buying it from, you've really got nothing but a story.

And, the entire issue is based on the general assumption that a gun with all matching parts numbers has all the original parts it had when it left the factory.

Therefore, since its "obviously" all original, its worth more money to collectors, so it sells for more to everyone, collector, or not.

The problem with this is, other than just assuming its all original, how do you prove it is?? Complete chain of custody records for these guns simply never existed.

The "forced match" is possible because of the German practice of marking several of the parts of the guns with the LAST TWO DIGITS of the gun's serial number.

But, its only the last two digits and many German arms were serialized in repeating number blocks, which further clouds the issue.

Say you have a warehouse full of guns to search through and ser# 123498 is missing a numbered part, but you have ser# 456798 that does have the part that #123498 is missing. #456798 is missing some other stuff or is damaged etc so its a parts gun. You take the needed part off and put it on #123498 and voila, you now have a matching parts gun.

matching parts gun sells for more money, you just increased your profit, and it "looks right" because all the parts say "98".

Is this a crime? Not exactly. It's fraud if you claim the gun is all original, and you know it isn't, but if you don't claim that, if all you claim is that the parts all have matching numbers, that is factual. Letting the buyer assume that means its all original, isn't ethical, but its not a criminal offense. And that is what many believe Michell's Mausers did, have done, and possibly still are doing.

Read their ads closely, you'll see that what they actually claim are things that are verifiable facts. But if you think the gun is worth the asking price based on what you assume, that's on you.

The old wisdom when it comes to historical guns is, you buy the gun, NOT the story. Guns with stories are everywhere. Guns with verified historical provenance are exceedingly rare, and that is why they're worth so much. The rarity is what makes them more valuable.

Interestingly enough, you never hear this issue come up with US milsurps. There is no "force match" possible because we never numbered any of the parts to the gun, and while there are examples of guns having all the parts from the same manufacturer, there are also guns that never had all the parts from the same maker and are fully historically correct.
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Old August 18, 2021, 12:57 PM   #28
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^^^thats a great point 44amp. Many milsurps that are “numbers matching” probably aren’t original as they left the factory when they were first built. Almost every nation re-arsenaled weapons on occasion. It would be rather foolish to think that a no1mk3 Enfield known to be built around the WWI era, that is in excellent shape and numbers matching, went through 2 rough wars and still looks that good. Of course the Brits mostly marked rifles as FTR that were restored so that’s an easy spot. Some other nations didn’t obviously mark arsenal reconditioned rifles. Some did, and the roll mark history didn’t survive for us to know. In addition, it’s almost assured that rifles on the line during the two world wars occasionally went down and received field repairs. This could include swapping a bolt or any other needed part from a junk parts gun in the field. There would be no records kept, and likely no roll mark indicating repair (though some countries may have had their armorers mark them even in the field, I am unable to advise if this was a thing or not).

Yes there is no “certificate of authenticity” that can prove 99.9% of the milsurp market is all original as it left the factory. I will say, though, that I accept rifles for their history. Part of that history includes factory arsenal reconditions, field repairs, and battle scars received during their service life with the country that actually manufactured and used the rifle in service. I think many other collectors likely feel as I do. Repairs and part swaps conducted by the military that actually fielded the rifle in war does mean it’s not original as it left the factory, but it is part of the rifles service history. I have an FTR’d (shortly after WWII) enfield that is one heck of a shooter, and it’s one my most accurate rifles. I have tried to find opinions as to whether the factory thorough reconditioning process makes it less collectible/valuable, and no one really has an opinion one way or the other. I don’t really care either way, as the rifle is as it was intended to be by the British military and it is one heck of a shooter.

All this to say, I think there is a stark difference between a “force match” conducted by German armorers making repairs to a rifle during the war and Mitchell’s mausers grinding smooth and re-stamping bolt handles. I believe most others feel as I do as well. I will accept the former as “numbers matching” as it is still in the condition the fielding army left it in. The latter... to me is fraud if advertised as original numbers matching and unethical if not advertised but the buyer is left to assume that.
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Old August 18, 2021, 11:00 PM   #29
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All this to say, I think there is a stark difference between a “force match” conducted by German armorers making repairs to a rifle during the war and Mitchell’s mausers grinding smooth and re-stamping bolt handles
Oh there most certainly is a huge difference, especially since the German repairman did NOT try to match repair parts numbers with the gun serial number.

An arsenal rebuild might install a "blank" part and then number it to the gun, but I guarantee you that in field level repairs (which covers everything below arsenal level) parts is parts and the point is to return the arm to service, not to waste time worrying about parts numbers matching.A

Same goes for group cleaning when is service. Major parts (action. bolt, etc) were kept together, but the rest of the parts might go in a common barrel of solvent, and troops would take and use any part that fit and worked, and most did.

Not every gun in every army got that kind of treatment, but many did. And, as to a gun serving in both world wars, and looking "too new", I've seen a couple. It all depends on what that particular gun did during the wars. In the mid 1970s I found a few 1911s (NOT A1s) still in service in units in Europe. One had clearly "been to the wars) but a couple of them looked virtually brand new.

A number of weapons served in all services and theaters in both wars and still got very little use and wear. Others saw heavy use and took a beating.

I put milsurps in two groups, "as first issued" meaning the way the gun was turned over to the military from the factory, and "as found in service" which means the gun is complete with all period correct parts. And that includes "upgrades" performed in service.

For example, lets look at one of the Army 1911s. Lets say it went into the service in 1918. OK, now there are two conditions you will find this gun in today. Totally original parts or with some 1911A1 parts.

After the adoption of the 1911A1 military SOP was that the 1911 pistols were to be maintained as needed with 1911A1 parts. (note the "as needed"). IF the gun never broke, if it never needed repair, it didn't get repaired. And some of those guns were still on active duty when the 1911A1 was retired in 1984. Very rare to find an entirely original 1911, but not extremely rare to find a 1911 with the WWII 1911A1 brown plastic grips.

Its up to the collector to decide how much more "as originally issued" is worth over "as used in service", and its a matter of rarity (and provenance if any) that makes the difference.

A rusted solid relic dug up on a battlefield can be worth more to the right collector than a good condition fully working firearm of the exact same make model and vintage that doesn't have a concrete verified link to a specific point in history. Not to a shooter, of course, but some collect for the history alone and shooting is beside the point.

Most of us want a piece of history that we can also shoot, because for us, that strengthens the link with history.
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Old August 21, 2021, 06:21 PM   #30
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If one is a student of history, the manufacture of small arms tends to define the history of manufacturing in general. I reckon if we trace back far enough, the first things we manufactured were tools. Some of those early tools were weapons. Well manufactured weapons in quantity are a defining factor to establish dominance or defense.
Military arms are especially interesting in this respect and I do have several. No theme, best described as an accumulation.
Since I've been in manufacturing 30+ years I find the history fascinating.
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Old August 25, 2021, 11:10 AM   #31
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They used to run ads showing all manner of stamps on special rifles. Most did not start out that way. Unless it's a gift and shoots great, I'd pass.
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