collector firearms

Your Grandpa’s “Assault Weapons”: What will a semi-automatic ban mean to collector firearms?

by Chris Eger,  |  published on January 16, 2013

With both the ‘old’ 1994 Assault Weapon’s Ban (AWB) and the looming specter of a new one for 2013, there are several unlikely firearms out there that are caught up in the flakiness of this type of legislation. Many of these are arms that were perfectly legal when they were designed and sold mail order to your grandfathers.

Today, if these heirlooms are in your gun rack, pending actions by Washington could mean they are now unforeseen targets.

John Browning’s Model 8

In 1900, John Moses Browning invented a long recoil-operated semi-automatic rifle that uses a rotating bolt. Chambered for a number of intermediate caliber rounds such as the .25 Remington, .30 Remington, and .300 Savage, it weighed less than 8-pounds but could take most medium game found in both Europe and the Americas. Sold by FN in Belgium as the Model 1900 and by Remington first as the Model 8 and then as the Model 81, Browning’s autoloader was very popular with almost 200,000 sold from 1906-1950.

Originally sold with a four or five round fixed magazine (depending on the caliber), aftermarket supply houses in the 1920s and 30s sold 15-shot detachable ‘police magazines’ via mail order. This made the Model 8 a favorite with those on both sides of the law. Texas lawman Frank Hamer used at least two in the 1934 ambush of Bonnie and Clyde (who were fans of a Remington 8 as well).

This magazine, and (potentially) merely the mechanical capability to accept it, can lead to this gun being branded as an ‘assault weapon’ regardless of the fact that in most cases these guns are too collectable to shoot with a vintage mail-order 15-shot magazine installed.

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