Main Page

Learn - Basics

Dates in Firearm History

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
(From the Cody Firearms Museum)

Links to Forums
At Other Sites

Evaluating History of a Gun
Article by Jim Supica

Learn - Advanced

Factory Letters
And Military Records

Museums With Arms Exhibits

Arms Collector Groups

Other Useful Links

Book Recommendations

Book Reviews


U.S. Military Arms

Factory Letters
And Military Records

Krag Bolt Removal

Which U.S. Bayonet?

M1917 Enfield Parts Markings

M1917 Enfield Sling Instructions

M1 Garand Disassembly and Parts

Cartridges and Ammunition
International Ammunition Association

European Cartridge Research Association
(headstamp info)

Edged Weapons
Society of American Bayonet Collectors

Sword Collector Homepage

Internet Sword Collectors


Manufacture Dates

Pre-1899 Antique
Serial Numbers

(From Empire Arms. Use at own risk.)


Mauser Pistol C-96


(& Factory Letters)

U.S. Military



Serial Numbers
(foreign language)

Gun Marks

House Brands

U.S. Inspectors

WWII German
Codes & Markings

Mosin Nagant Markings


Spotting Fake Firearms
Antiques Roadshow Advice

Article by Jim Supica

The Anti-Gun
Crowd Wants


Article by David Kopel

Collection Care & Records
(Preservation tips, inventory software, insurance)

Arms / Gun Show Listings

NRA List

Man At Arms List

Shotgun News List

Crossroads List

Living History
(Info coming soon)

Mannequins for Uniform Display
Make them yourself!

Main Page


"Factory Letters" & Military Records
You may be able to get a letter from the holder of the original factory records, showing when your gun was made, and any special information about it.
If you can identify a gun to a specific soldier, or a specific unit, you may be able to find out more about the individual or unit. (generally service records are NOT available for service since 1900 except to family members).

sponsored by
Antique and Collectable
Firearms and Militaria Headquarters


Utah Gun Collectors Association

Sources for "Factory Letters "
ListRecords are often incomplete, or do not reflect all the information you would like, but quite often they will identify the original configuration, date of manufacture or shipment, and sometimes the original shipping destination. Contact each source for information on currnet costs and types of recrods available.

Colt- (Prices are extremely high)
Colt's Manufacturing Co. Inc., PO Box 1868, Hartford, Connecticut 06144-1868 Phone: (860) 236-6311, Historical Department.

Marlin Firearms: Cody Firearms Research, C/O Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming 82414, Phone: (307) 587-4771.

Savage Firearms: J.T. Callahan, 53 Old Quarry Rd., Westfield, MA 10185
Factory ledgers for Savage pistols still survive despite the numerous company changes. For a precise date of manufacture and when and to whom it was sold and shipped, send serial number and payment (believed to be $20.00) to address above.

Sharps- Richard Labowski, Phone (215) 748 1376

Smith & Wesson Firearms: Smith & Wesson Firearms, PO Box 2208, Springfield, Mass. 01102, Phone (800) 331-0852 ext. 223 Roy Jinks

L.C. Smith- Cody Firearms Research, C/O Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming 82414, Phone: (307) 587-4771.

Parker Shotguns- Parker Gun Collectors Association.

U.S. Military- Springfield Research Service

Winchester- Cody Firearms Research, C/O Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 720 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming 82414.
The direct phone number to the Records Office is 307.578.4031
Fax: 307.578.4079



Sources for Military Service records and unit histories

Civil War Data:, has records on over 2,500,000 soldiers that served in the Civil War. $25 per year for unlimited access.

Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System: The CWSS is a computerized data base containing basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War, a list of regiments and descriptions of 384 significant battles. It is under development, but already several hundred thousand soldiers can be found. Searchable by name, state, unit, and has unit rosters of many units, as well as brief hsitory ofunit's service and engagements, with links to details on many of the engagements. FREE

Selected Civil War Photographs: From the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, over 1,100 photographic images from the Civil War.

The USMHI has a catalogue of over 20,000 US military photographs ranging from the Mexican American War of the 1840's until the present. Some of the photographs are identified. Images not viewable on line (yet) but excellent searchable listings and descriptions.

U.S. Military service recrods (related to specific firearms identified by their research)- Springfield Research Service:

Spanish American War Units and Rosters along with much other info on that War is on this site.(

U.S. Navy Ships (Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships- DANFS)- Complete history of every U.S Navy ship and photos of most. Info on how to get crew lists, logs, etc. Great site, all volunteer, but based on official USN publications. Part of the Haze Gray and Underway site, best Naval history site on the web.