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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Several times, in the gunshops I've been involved with, guns are brought in that had been found in the woods or underwater. If cheap enough, I buy them and sometimes rebuild them. My best buddy would run them through NCIC to see if there's a report of it but I've never had a 'hit'.
Who loses guns? How? For how long? I know of several lost and near lost.

Several years ago, a buddy and I rented an SUV and met a friend in N. Dakota to hunt some land he had leased. For three days we followed 'Kenny' around to his secret honey holes...that all looked pretty much the same and were somewhere on a maze of section roads and cross roads. We got back to the motel dead dog tired, wet and cold. Two dogs to feed, birds to clean, supper to be eaten and a re-dial tomorrow. About 8:30 with it snowing, I went out to get my Merkel to wipe it down .....and it was gone. :eek: It was like I'd just lost an arm!!
I knew where it was....within ten miles or so. Our 'guide' wasn't in his room. The 'guide' was in a bar downtown making impossible shots and telling tall tales to the natives that didn't believe him because he was drunk as Hootie's goat. He sobered up some when I told him what I was about to do if he didn't.
It took a while to describe one of the last of a dozen hunts we'd made that day and there was four inches of snow on the ground by the time we found it. I recognized the spot and ran to where the Merkel's case was tucked in the high grass of an old homestead.
I'd limited early on pheasants that day so while they hunted birds, I'd gone over the hill to a small prairie dog town with the Fireball and a coyote was on the hillside beyond..... I'd hidden my shotgun because I couldn't lock the car and then killed the coyote.... that had to have the range confirmed and argued about by my doubting 'friends' and somehow in the good-natured revelry my shotgun got left behind.

"Lost" for about ten hours is different than for years. Nash Buckingham's "Bo Whoop" shotgun was lost off a car fender in the 1930s and never seen again. A Model '73 Winchester was found in the desert not long ago, still leaning against a juniper tree. I've seen many such guns on display but they're little more than rust and drift wood. There's a Model 60 S&W in 300 feet of water off the Bahamas. I saw it slide off the bow just after it was used to shoot a shark, but it wasn't mine. :cool:

Who's lost and who's found?
 

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Fishing for salmon last fall. We all met after the day at the Surburban and got out of waders. As always I set my fly rod/reel (9.5') on the roof racks to avoid feet and car doors. All olde timers, we all hurt from a full days wading in fast river currents (I'd tumbled twice in current).

So we drove 40 miles to a cabin. got there and unloaded my gear...only an empty rod case...ouch. Drove back looking all the time. figured if we found it , would be at trails end, there abouts. No go.

driving to camp again, we spotted it about 4 miles from trails end...it was laying perfectly across a drive way, 5 foot from main road. only a slight abrasion on the cork handle. Must have sailed and landed on the cork grip, the fell gentle down. Fished it the next day..worked great.

if anyone would have driven into that gravel driveway, I'd had a 4 piece rod.

Lucky me.
 

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I’ve not lost one. Yet.

I’ve seen 3 lost. Two shotguns and one revolver. All were found.

1st was a benelli SBE left on a tailgate after cleaning a bunch of quail. Drove off. Got back to town. Then had to return and look for it at night!

2nd was an 870 wing master that belonged to a different friend. He later it down against a tree to go shoot prairie dogs! Couldn’t find it later! Took about an hour to find that tree!

The 3rd belonged to a friends dad. He lost it for about 4 years. Traded in his older truck. Got a call from the salesman because they found a gun in his truck a week or so later cleaning it!

I did drop a 686 in a river once. Emptied my pockets and jumped in after it. Found it immediately. Got lucky there.
 

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I lost a Caldwell rear rest and a bag of lead shot hunting prairie dogs. Wasn't my fault it was loaned to my friend's buddy. Worked our way back around a 300 acre dog town and it was like they evaporated. My friend Wes is a stand up guy, he replaced both.

Another time was shooting PDs off the Cheyenne river. My buddy was blasting along on his ATV. At the gate he started berating me for riding so slow. Handed him a cased rifle that tumbled off his 4 wheeler, he took it with a sheepish grin.

When hunting I usually check gut piles. There have been a few cases I've found hunting knives, binocs and one time a range finder. Haven't been lucky enough to find a rifle yet.
 

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Do these count
1) Lost my brothers Italian 36 Black powder in my safe for about 3 years. It was in a black case that fell down the back in the corner, did not find it till I completely emptied safe to move to another room.
2) My brother lost his brand new sig for about 3 hours, had it on the seat of his jeep and an emergency came up and had to leave the house for an hour. Came back to the house and could not find it. After a couple hours went by a friend stopped by and said that the jeep door was open and he saw the pistol and grabbed it before anther less honest person saw it. took it home and then Gave it back
3) I was at my LGS and had 2 cases of pistols (about 7 pistols) and after about 4 hours of BS left and left them on the counter. Had to wait till following Monday to retrieve. Honest Gun store owner.
4) This a little different, before my brother got his 3rd gun safe he had me hold a few of his guns in one of mine. When he came for his guns, he took them home and told me later that one = a colt Gov 1911 38Super = he could not remember buying. I could not remember buying it either. So now it is his (possession is 9/10th of the law) we still can’t find a receipt.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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In 1963, had a canoe overturn in the middle of a black water lake in Canada. Companion had a Savage Mod 99 in .300 Savage and my Winchester Mod 70 in .300 H&H head for the bottom. There was 10" of wet snow on the ground around the lake as we struggled with the overturned canoe laden with our soaked wool hunting togs. Luckily, we made it to shore after a terrible effort. Guess we were ordained to only lose material stuff that could be replaced. Hired a scuba diver with the provincial police to scour the bottom, but the water was so murky he went up past his elbows in the muck on bottom and couldn't see 6" in front of his mask. Shame really.
 

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I've found two guns in the woods over the years. One was a Winchester 1890 in .22wrf and the other was a Remington 870 Wingmaster in 12ga. I found the Winchester almost sixty years ago the first year I started hunting. It was leaning against a tree about a mile back from the nearest road in Indiana County, Pa. Someone must have left it there during small game season and I found it during deer season. It had a little bit of rust on it, so it wasn't out there for a very long period of time. It was on a private farm and the farmer wasn't aware of anyone hunting small game on his property and no one had reported it missing. I was a pretty happy twelve year old until I found out how scarce ammo was for it. I ended up trading it for a Browning semi 12ga and some cash. Wished I'd kept it now. The second gun was a like new Remington Wingmaster pump 12ga. It was leaning against the gate to my property....which is posted. I put a sign on the gate advising anyone who forgot their gun to contact me and I'd give it back to them. Since it was found on the outside of the gate there was no issue about trespassing. No one ever contacted me about it even after leaving the sign/note on the gate for almost a year. That was over twenty years ago and I finally sold it since I didn't really have any use for it. If I found two in my life, there must be a LOT of guns out there in the woods somewhere. I knew a kid my age back in the sixties whose dad took him bow hunting in PA. This kid had an attention span of about twenty seconds. He laid his bow and quiver and decided to walking around without it. At the end of the day he couldn't remember where he left it. He didn't hunt again until he was an adult...several years later.
 

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A friend of my Dads leaned a rifle on a tree at our Ranch back in the 60's and it was never found. He did a walk-about and figured he could find it again. Not to be. Our ranch was 2200 acres and I probably walked every inch of it and never found that rifle. It was in the very back that positioned against Lake Brownwood. I always figured some hikers or poachers found it. It was close to a State Park and we did have people unknowingly hike onto our property every so often.

I've not lost one....but did have one stolen. A model 15 Smith built in 1970. I get a letter from the local PD every year asking if I ever found it?? I figured they would be looking for it. I also had a set of custom 20, 28 and 410 tubes stolen at the same time along with a case I had made for them. I can understand whoever stealing the handgun, but the tubes??? They were made for my shotgun...they probably just saw they were in a case and shiny and figured they had to be worth something.

I guess I have been lucky. I have known people that have had whole collections stolen. I keep a running spreadsheet on all mine along with photos, serial numbers, estimated value, etc.

I just sold the pictured SXS on gunbroker. I should have priced it higher, but it was taking up room in one of my safes as it could not be stored in one piece. It had no real sentimental value and I am somewhat glad to be rid of it.

That was the last of the "problem" guns I had. The only ones I have left are ones I really want....save one or two pistols.
 

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55 years ago, a Friend found a Savage 24, 410/22 leaning against a cactus in Arizona. Dry place but this had a medium coat of rust; figure it was there at least 10-15 yeaars based upon the serial number and rust years. some oil got it open. everthing taken apart and polished, then reblued. springs were shot. works good today. stock was drycracked; exopied together. I'd have put a new factory stock on it.
 

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I had a Remington Nylon 66 stolen right from under my nose being a fool.
I had it at the range just goofing off with it then set in in the rack behind the station.
Started shooting my 243 and was being serious about it. when it was time for us to leave the 66 was gone.

I knew just the person who I suspected of taking it but of course no name or information so I could sic the law on them.
A teen age looking kid a couple bunks down ands seen me standing and shooting away and makeing apple sauce with it 50 yards out.

I was shooting rhe 243 200 yards and bet money when I went down range to check my target he pick up[ the 66 and made off with it.


I to day have pictures of my rifles serials Numbers and any thing not normal listed. I get them appraised about every 5 to 7 years also.

Remington 700 # custom in 300 win mag.




Mag Na Ported.
 

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When I moved about 12 years ago, movers moved my safe but I had to move my fire arms myself. About 2 years later
I was looking for a certain gun and it wasn't in the safe, pulled all the guns out and noticed several others missing. I realized I hadn't seen them since the move and after a bit of searching found 13 guns in a storage container from the move. Wasn't climate controlled and thankfully no rust.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
About 1970, I heard a rumor that Ruger was working on what became the Mini14. I had a friendly wholesaler that had an 'in' with Ruger so he ordered two of them before they were named. Several years later, I was a deputy sheriff and my friend called and said my rifles were in. I traded them to friends.

Three of us were hunting deer and hogs in a vast river swamp and piney woods area of the Gulf coast. About noon, we decided to go nearly 30 miles to a store that made hogshead cheese and get us some and hunt a different area in the afternoon. The shortcut road was rough and muddy but we (barely) made it through, ate lunch, fished a while, and started back up river to hunt. In typical confusion, the web of old logging roads didn't take us to where we wanted to go but instead back on the muddy mess we'd been though that morning. Laying in the muddy tire tracks of our 4 hour trip though that morning was a Mini 14. We grabbed it up and marveled at our fortunate find....then realized it had fallen off the roof of my Scout that morning. It was lost on a road we shouldn't have been on and found while lost and didn't know it. :confused:
 

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MY UP Michigan property is near a area called Indian point that sticks out about 300 yards into Big Bay DeNoc. the water there gets really ruff wind from every direction over 10MPH.

The neighbour told me of one october afternoon seeing a over turned Boat floating out in the bay from his cabin window.
Looked as if some one was hanging on for dear life.
He fired up his big boat just for fishing the rough water and went out there. Two hunters nearly naked we hanging on the boat no PFD. He pulled them into his boat hooked a tow line to his boat from their boat and towed it in.

They had ran up the coast line to a spot near Indian point where ducks crossed. A gust of wind sprang up and a 5 foot swell flipped their boat, water is about 25 foot deep in the area. the lost two browning A5's and every thing else that would not float. since they were not wearing the PFD's those were found later along rhe coast. the guns were never recovered nor their clothing they stripped off so it was not pulling them under.

Not. agood place to float hunt ducks unles syou have a boat with a deep draft wide beam to handle the waves.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not quite a 'lost' as in a house fire, but close. I figure those guns were worth it, though. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I was about to tell of watching three duck hunters turn over in the Snake River and helping them recover their shotguns with a big salvage magnet and then thought of a better one--

In the early '70s, I was a deputy sheriff. North of Tallahassee is a pair of river sloughs that puts overflow river water into a large lake. The alligator gars flooded into and out of that lake when 'the sloughs are running'. One Sunday afternoon, I heard the sloughs were running and not much was happening so I radioed a fellow deputy that liked to shoot rolling gars with big handguns. He was getting off duty so I picked him up at the Court House and we started up Meridian Rd in my patrol car.
Just south of the sloughs is a sweeping, down-hill curve in the tree lined road that invites a deputy to put his foot in the four barrel carburetor and let the carbon flow out the back on the straight away approaching the slough bridges. The breather lid was turned upside down so the noise of a the 440 Magnum Dodge was distinctive and considerable. BAAAA WOOOOO!!!

The railings of the slough bridges had a dozen or so people on either side shooting gars or fishing and the sudden appearance of a serious-sounding patrol car spooked some. Several even ran when the patrol car came around the curve. Butch and I laughed about the guilty consciences and even recognized one we knew had reason to be nervous.

We stopped between the bridges and turned up the radio. I dug ammo out of the trunk and we started shooting gars. He had a 4" M29, I was shooting a 4" M58.

It didn't take long for a good citizen to ask if shooting fish was illegal? "I hope not!" was our reply.
He asked how deep the water was? "Maybe six feet", as an alligator come up and grabbed a dead gar.

"I dropped my gun, can you help me get it back?"

Butch lived closer than me so we cut through the woods to his house and got the big magnet on a rope. We got back and the guy was standing guard at his section of the rail and we latched on to his BRAND NEW 6" Nickle M-29. I carried a S&W screwdriver in my handcuff case so took his gun apart on the hood of the patrol car and gave him a rag and oil to clean the parts while I shot Gars.

Old memories die hard---
When I was 14, I made my first 'machine gun', but it was all or nothing and emptied the tube magazine on every pull of the trigger. Me and a buddy were standing on the Wakulla River bridge. He with a long handled net me and my sawed off, altered to severely illegal 'rifle'. We were near the middle of the bridge shooting Mullet in the crystal clear water. Mullet don't have a swim bladder so swim constantly in fresh and salt water. They have to be hit to catch in the net and they swim fast in tight schools. Brrrrrrrrrp! would usually get one or two. We had a five gallon bucket nearly full when way down US-98, with mirage coming off the black-top between tall pine trees were flashing blue lights and the hollow BOOOO WOOOO of a double-pumper, four barrel carb drinking gas like flushing a toilet.

We saved the net. It wasn't illegal. We just leaned on the rail acting cool.

I'll bet that highway patrolman was going a hundred when he passed by with that four barrel carb still howling.
We didn't have a magnet. Lost the gun and five bucks worth of fish.

Karma?
 

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Not a lost gun story but kinda bookends Jacks account of a MG.

My 7th grade industrial arts teacher told about his Mossberg? semi-auto .22 would go full auto if dirty.
One morning on the way to school he seen some geese sitting on a dam.
Parked his car on the road, walked up the draw and crawled the dam bank. The geese were still there so took careful aim and the rifle about emptied the magazine.
After recovering the riddled goose he walked back to his car where a game warden was waiting for him.
As I recall the conversation went like,
Jerry do you have a migratory bird stamp?
No sir.
Give me that goose.
Yes sir.
Is that a shotgun?
No sir.
Well you better fix it and quit hunting geese with it.
Yes sir.

Times have changed. That was the same teacher that allowed me to bring my dad's broken stock JC Higgens shotgun to school for a wood working project.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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In thought this was going to be about the lost guns from Carbondale.

RJ
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I still check the auction sites and gun shops for that rifle and keep the sawed side of the stock blank in the top of my tool box should it ever been found. (grain matching)

Most of the handguns were recovered in drug deals in L.A. (but not returned) . None of the long guns were ever found but for a time I was talking with a young Mexican kid that said he was with this brother when they were hidden somewhere near Moab, UT. He vanished after two meetings.

The best evidence was screwed up by the SO. They recovered two 'dropped guns' just outside the shop and sealed them in plastic bags. After totally rusting to pieces, they ask me to ID them as ours. One was not ours and was LOADED!!! It belonged to the perps!

That was a sick feeling unlocking the shop and feeling cold air pouring in from a broken skylight, the pistol case empty and all the rifles gone including a full custom .280 that was to be shot that day for the first time. A year's work, gone. Money owed on the job, gone. Money given as deposit....owed. It gutted me. That was 32 years ago.
 
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