I Have This
Old Gun

by J. Scott Moore

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   Dear I Have This Old Gun . . .
I just bought a K-32. Is this an old gun? The serial number is 80XX. How does the K-32 compare with the current K-80?

 

 

 

 

 

   The Krieghoff K-32, while not rare and not that old in firearm years, is unique and belongs to a small group of firearms. Like some single-name celebrities, it is recognized by just its model name without having to mention the manufacturer. In the firearms world, when you mention Model 12, most people know you’re referring to a Winchester; say “Superposed,” and shotgunners recognize you’re talking about a Browning over-and-under shotgun; and when you hear “1911,” the workhorse 45 ACP pistol is instantly brought to mind. In the world of shotguns, most people refer to the Krieghoff Model K-32 simply as the K-32. This shotgun is also responsible for introducing the German firearms manufacturer to the American shooting public. Until its introduction to the American market in 1959, few shooters in this country had heard of Krieghoff. The K-32 changed all that, and today you’ll find it and its successor, the K-80, at clay target ranges nationwide.

 The K-32 was designed by Heinz Krieghoff, a second-generation German firearms manufacturer, based on the Remington Model 32, which had ceased production just after WWII. While based on the basic Remington design, the Krieghoff version had some improvements, most notably a better trigger and tighter manufacturing tolerances. These changes made for an extremely crisp trigger and much faster lock time. The K-32 remained Krieghoff’s standard bearer until it was replaced by the K-80 in 1980. During this time, a few K-32s that were in production were completed, but essentially production of the gun ceased with the introduction of the K-80. The K-80 is an updated K-32, with improvements such as a hardened receiver, outward appearance changes (finish and engraving) and reshaping the trigger. Other external changes included stock and barrel options. Internal design improvements were made to the hammers, sear springs and ejectors. The designers at Krieghoff have made these improvements available for all but the earliest of K-32s. To find out if your gun can be upgraded with any of these K-80 improvements, contact Krieghoff International in Ottsville, Pa. Your gun was manufactured in 1972 as a Standard Grade and was originally fitted with a Monte Carlo stock and 30-inch barrels. In many cases in this column, I will assign a current retail price to the gun, but firearms such as these are generally best evaluated in person for a variety of reasons. One of the most important is the amount of wear on internal parts. While designed to shoot many thousands of rounds, competition guns still have wear and tear, and it is advisable to have a gun examined by a gunsmith familiar with the make and model you’re looking at purchasing. Depending on condition, you can expect to find Standard K-32s in the $2,000-to-$3,000 range, while the higher grades and four-barrel sets can demand $10,000 to $15,000 or more.
 

 From time to time I’ll be offering gun collecting tips. This gun brings up some good examples of what to look for in buying or selling a gun. The K-32 is a competition gun and thus built to withstand a lot of shooting, more than, say, many (but not all) field guns. So when your gunsmith tells you that the gun needs a new trigger group or some other mechanical piece, don’t give up on it. Many of these guns are designed to have these pieces easily replaced or updated, and once replaced, the value of the gun is not affected. Just factor in this repair when pricing the gun. Of course, this does not apply to major repairs such as a rifle that has been re-barreled due to being shot out or a handgun that has been re-blued due to holster wear. These types of repairs have a detrimental effect on a gun’s value from a collector’s standpoint. Also, look at any additions or subtractions to the gun. This gun features an adjustable comb and pad that were added after it left the factory. When evaluating a gun, determine if an addition was original or added later. Generally, non-factory added accessories detract from the collector’s value. While this is the case from a collector’s standpoint, from a competition shooter’s perspective, the addition may be desirable and therefore reflected in the price. If you are the one selling a gun, remember, you will not usually recoup all the money you spend on these changes. No matter if you’re looking to add a gun to your collection or just a good shooter, do your homework and spend some time researching the firearm you intend to buy or sell. For me, research is part of the fun of gun collecting!

 
I would like to thank Alex Diehl, general manager at Krieghoff International, Inc., for his invaluable assistance with my research in writing this article. Alex has dug through his archives and shared some rare pages from the 1977 Krieghoff catalog plus the spec sheets.

 

Be sure to come back and visit I Have This Old Gun for additional articles on old or interesting firearms!

 

J. Scott Moore is a Firearms Industry professional with over 20 years experience in gun related retail, events and promotion.

 

To have your handgun, rifle or shotgun considered for the column/blog, send an e-mail today to Scott at ihavethisoldgun@hotmail.com.
or through Trap & Field Magazine at

1000 Waterway Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
fax: 317-633-2084
editorial@trapandfield.com

 

    

 

   

   Dear I Have This Old Gun . . .

I have a Smith & Wesson Model 46, 22 LR. I’ve been told it’s similar to the Mod 41 Target Pistol. Also I have what appears to be the original blue S&W box.

 

 

 

 

 

   The reason it appears similar to a Model 41 is that it is a somewhat rare variant of the pistol. The 41 was designed to be a world class .22 target pistol to compete in the National Match Course in 1957 and versions are still being produced. S&W originally created Mod 46 for the US Air Force in 1959 as a lower cost target gun and decided to release it to the public that same year. To reduce costs S&W left off a few bells and whistles such as a detachable muzzle break and replaced the checkered walnut grips with molded nylon. These changes resulted in a pistol retailing for about 15% less than the original model while maintaining the accuracy. Even though this less expensive pistol was a great value it never really caught on and was discontinued in 1968. According to S&W factory historians a total of 4,000 Model 46s were produced in three barrel lengths, 5”, 5.5” and the most common 7’’.

   From the photo, I would judge this pistol to be in NRA Excellent Condition (at about 97 percent). This gun features the 7” barrel. The only thing missing is the barrel weight, which is not unusual. I rarely see them with either the 41 or 46 because they are easily misplaced. But the box is great to have; boxes are usually the first thing to get tossed and add value to the gun. As far as value, I generally like to give a full replacement insurance price (worst case scenario) as well as a day-to-day retail price. I would insure this nice piece for $750 and would expect to see one priced at about $695 at retail.

   A final note concerning the practice of manufacturing a less expensive model of a deluxe one: though not a common practice, S&W did offer these types of variants from time to time. Probably the most successful was the Model 28 in .357 Magnum known as the Highway Patrolman. This revolver was a Spartan version of the highly polished Model 27, one of the original S&W Magnums and was produced for over 30 years.

   J. Scott Moore is a Firearms Industry professional with over 20 years experience in gun related retail, events and promotion.

   To have your handgun, rifle or shotgun considered for the column/blog, send an e-mail today to J. Scott Moore at ihavethisoldgun@hotmail.com.
or through Trap & Field Magazine at

1000 Waterway Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
fax: 317-633-2084
editorial@trapandfield.com

 

    

 

     Dear I Have This Old Gun . . .
I inherited a JC Higgins Model 20, 12-gauge. Can you tell me who made this gun?

 

 

 

 

 

   JC Higgins was the brand name chosen by Sears for their firearms, hunting, fishing and other outdoor equipment. According to the Sears archives, Mr. Higgins was a corporate executive and allowed his name to be used on the Sears line of sporting goods. This brand was used for over 50 years until the name was changed to Ted Williams, in 1961, as part of a marketing program with the baseball great and outdoorsman as the spokesman. Sears used many firearm manufacturers to produce their guns, including giants such as Winchester High Standard, Marlin, Browning FN and Savage.

   Sears was not the only national department chain to sell firearms under a house brand name. J.C. Penney, Western Auto, Belknap and many regional department and hardware chains sold their own branded firearms. Sadly by the 1980s this practice had all but disappeared.

   Your shotgun was produced by High Standard (Model 200) and was made in the late 1950s. The exact year is hard to determine on these models as long guns were not required to have serial numbers until the Gun Control Act of 1968, and many of these types of firearms do not have them. Do not confuse a five- or six-digit number on the firearm for a serial number; most Sears firearms carried both a model number and a company product number. I consider the JC Higgins High Standard one of the most underrated pump guns of the era. It is ironclad tough, yet nearly as smooth as a Winchester Model 12. The choke system pictured on your shotgun is a Pachmayr PowerPac and originally came with three screw-in choke tubes. I would judge this gun to be in NRA Fair Condition (at about 50 percent); it looks like it has enjoyed a long glorious life in the field. I would place a retail value on this fine ole’ hunting piece around $125, which, even in its used condition, is more than it sold for new over a half century ago.

   Collectors Tip—Measuring barrel lengths

   One of the most important elements in determining the value or collectability of a firearm is barrel length. Barrels are one of the more altered components of a gun and the ability to correctly determine that length is the key to successfully identifying the gun. Mismeasuring the barrel can cost you to pay too much or to miss out on a rare find.

   Many people measure a barrel externally which is incorrect. To properly measure long guns, start by ensuring the gun is unloaded and close the action. Insert a cleaning rod down the muzzle until in bottoms out on the closed bolt face. Mark the rod and measure the length. For pistols the method is the same as for long guns. Revolvers are measured slightly different, barrel length is not determined from the frame to the muzzle but also includes the area known as the forcing cone that extends through the frame. Start by opening the cylinder. Insert the cleaning rod down the muzzle and stop at the opening of the forcing cone, then mark and measure.

   Long guns usually have even numbered length barrels such as 28”, 30”, 32”, etc., but not always. Some target rifles have longer barrels so they can have the barrel cut back as the throats are worn down from shooting. Handgun barrels come in all lengths, odd, even and fractional lengths such as 2 ½”, 4 ¾”, 6 ½”, 7”, etc. So measure twice and trust your conclusion.

J. Scott Moore is a Firearms Industry professional with over 20 years experience in gun related retail, events and promotion.

To have your handgun, rifle or shotgun considered for the column/blog, send an e-mail today to J. Scott Moore at ihavethisoldgun@hotmail.com.
or through Trap & Field Magazine at

1000 Waterway Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
fax: 317-633-2084
editorial@trapandfield.com

 

 

 

 

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