Granddaddy’s Gun: My Most Prized Possession

Hanging on the wall of our hallway is one of my most prized possessions: a Winchester Model 37 single shot 410 shotgun. The trigger guard rattles from decades of wear and the wooden stock is now showing signs of cracking.

Though the thought of looking up the gun’s value has never once occurred to me, I have no doubt that if I were to look it up, I’d discover what I already know: The gun isn’t worth very much money. Though this may be true, there still isn’t enough gold in the world that would be enough for me to part with this aging firearm.

This entry was posted in Appalachia/The South, Guns. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Granddaddy’s Gun: My Most Prized Possession

  1. Wolffman says:

    Doesn’t matter if it’s worth a lot or nuthin, it’s part of the family…I have my Dad’s Crossman .22 pellet rifle, along with the original sales receipt from 1929, when Dad was 10 years old…hell, the leather gasket finally went in the 80s, cause I didn’t know to oil it, and I could pay $150 for Crossman to fix it, but I’d rather just have it sit in the corner of the room and admire it, hell, I killed enough blue jays with it anyway…

  2. grayman says:

    I have an over under 410 I gave to my youngest daughter got it from my parents, my oldest daughter gets my Hi-power from there they decide which other guns between them as they wish

    • veeshir says:

      Mine is my father’s Savage .410/.22 over/under. That was my favorite gun when I was 7 and still is.
      He got it when he was 14 or so.

      • John Eperjesi says:

        Savage Model 24 was my first gun. I bought it when I was 14 at a drug store in Bordentown NJ. $35 new. I paid $5 per week until it was paid for and when i went to pick it up the druggist asked me if my parents knew about it. I told him, Yes and he wrapped it in brown paper and I walked out the door. No paperwork, no nothing. Times were different then. 1960.

  3. Elmo says:

    My heirloom is a Western Field 12 gauge. Bolt action, box magazine fed. Belonged to my wife’s dad. Blue Book value, next to nothing. But it means a lot to me because it meant a lot to him.

    • Mike Donathan says:

      I’ve got one of those myself. Spent a lot of time following along behind my dad back in the fifties in Western Colorado hunting pheasant. It hasn’t been fired in probably fifty years but has a spot right in front of the safe.

    • nonncom says:

      Same with my Dad’s ol’ Fulton 12 gauge double barrel….only worth a million to me….

  4. Picturerock says:

    Sears .22 single shot. I had more fun with that simple, basic gun than any other.

  5. g2-cdb27520fb49967abcc1c55ca90a2fef says:

    I have my grandfather’s single shot .22 – a Stevens model 12 Marksman. He taught my father to shoot with that rifle, and during the Depression grandpa would carry it to work and back, in case there were any rabbits or squirrels volunteering to be supper.

    Dad would be given the rifle and a few cartridges on Saturday after chores. I asked Dad how he got to be such a good shot, and he replied that hunger had a great deal to do with it! He was expected to bring back a varmint for every cartridge he used, and they’d better be head shots – better pelt that way.

  6. Boilerdoc says:

    I got a spencer from my dad that I feel the same way about.

  7. JD Gill says:

    Great story.

    Lucky you live in a part of the country where you can hang it on the wall and not have to lock it up in a safe with a trigger lock on it.


  8. Wade says:

    Gotta love those hand me downs, mine’s a Winchester model 100 in .308
    Just have to decide who gets it next

  9. John Eperjesi says:

    Model 37’s are recognized as probably the best of the Inexpensive single barrel shotguns of that time period. They worked.. I go to quite a few gun auctions and they always bring over $200. Yours in .410 will be worth considerably more. Lots of parts are still available for it at Numrich or on Ebay.

  10. SgtBob says:

    The author makes an excellent point I had never considered: “…these practices have simply been a way of life — no different than children in the African bush or Amazonian rainforest are taught by their fathers to hunt for small game near their homes.” Gun grabbers would argue vehemently, “It’s not the same thing!” But it is.

    When my wife’s bachelor uncle died, around 2010, we searched for and found his guns, sizes and styles owned by every country family in rural Arkansas then: a 16-gauge double barrel, a .410 single shot; a single shot bolt action .22; and a semi-auto Winchester. Also were my wife’s grandfather’s .32 rimfire Remington rolling block and .32-caliber S&W revolver, last patent # in 1905. Her grandfather was born in 1880 and grew up in West Arkansas at the Choctaw Nation border. Those last two had nothing to do with food, but did mean better protection.

  11. crazyeighter says:

    In my case, it’s Dad’s 20 ga. Model 12 Winchester. Its serial number dates to 1953, so I’m figuring I got it for my first birthday. First firearm my #1 son ever shot.

  12. Grayrider says:

    A friend just sent me a text asking me what I knew about 38 Automatic ammunition. It turns out that a mutual friend of ours, a WWII bomber pilot (who tells a great story about flying under the Brooklyn Bridge), gave his service pistol to his grandson that used 38 Auto ammo. My best guess was that the pistol was a Colt 1903 “Pocket Hammerless” . The ungrateful, dumb@#$, grandson SOLD THE PISTOL! There’s not enough money that would tempt me to sell my Grandfather’s service pistol. Who does that?

  13. Shell says:

    My father had his grandfather’s H&R 12 gauge “rabbit gun” that Grampaw had cut down a few inches at some point. Made between 1890 and 1900 or thereabouts. I made a gunrack in wood shop when I was in 8th grade (1975) for him to keep it on. I took it out for target practice a few times when I was a teenager. It was to go to me when my parents died. Ol’ dad went in 2014, Mama in 2017. To make a long story short my sister shunned me after dad died. She didn’t tell me when Mama died and I have no idea what she did with the shotgun. Probably threw it away.

  14. Heathen says:

    I have a Winchester Model 1897 12 gauge,that my grandfather gave to my father. It’ll stay in the family. My brother has one of Dad’s rifles.

    A cousin has his grandfather’s Colt 32 Auto pistol from when his grandfather was Sheriff and his father’s army issued 1911.

  15. Victor says:

    I have my Grandfathers Winchester model 12 made in 1914, has 2 barrell sets for it 26″ and 28″! Just appraised at $850. Would never sell though, have many pix of him with gun, ducks, and hunting dog from out on Chesapeake bay and Poplar Island. First 12 ga. I ever shot.

  16. richard1j says:

    My dad gave me his Savage .300 and I passed it down to my son. No paperwork, but my dad always knew on which date that he bought it. The serial number.

  17. czechsix says:

    Mine, is/was/might be dad’s old Mossberg 152K .22lr.

    I say is/was/might be because it’s the rifle that I shot for the first time when I was….ah, probably five or so. Kinda foggy on that. Anyway, it was our small pest control rifle and general plinking rifle on the ranch we had in California.

    Time goes on, dad passes on, and I get our old stuff from the ranch. The 152K, a Spanish 16G double barrel, and a Golden State Arms Jungle Carbine .303.

    The 152K was stolen during a house burglary, and those bastards scored quite a bit more. But the one thing I was most pissed about was that 152K. I had the magazine out, stored in a different area, and that was the only thing left from that little rifle. Burglary happened in the mid-80’s. I checked pawns, ads, etc. Never saw it. Years passed. When the whole craigslist thing popped up, then gunbroker, etc., I had searches for local sales of 152K’s, in the hopes that eventually it’d pop up.

    Around 2008 the search came up for a 152K for sale about sixty miles away. Guy was a tabletop FFL, so I gave him a call. I asked him to describe it and text me some pics – turns out it had a Triple K mag, missing iron sights (like the one I had stolen), and the same shitty 4x scope, same stock style, same missing screw on the receiver. No serial…didn’t exist in those days when it was made.

    Already long story shortened – I bought it, and I’m pretty damned sure it’s the same rifle. Tossed the Triple K mag and reunited with the original mag that I kept all those years.

    Now I’m up in Alaska and use it for small game, planning to pass it off to one of the grandkids some time in the future.

  18. JC says:

    I have a Browning Sweet Sixteen circa 1959 that belonged to my father. Several years ago I found OEM parts to replace all the rings and springs. Not that it didn’t function perfectly already (thanks Mr Browning), but I replaced them anyway. The original springs showed some compression compared to the factory new ones. It has a true cylinder barrel and a full choke barrel. I have used the cylinder for quail shooting a few times. That’s what my father used it for, so that was special for me. One day I hit every bird I shot at and I only had to shoot twice at one of them.

  19. anonymous says:

    Sentimental favorites from our childhood – cannot put a price on that for YOU. To the person inheriting it, it can be ‘just an old gun’. That is why it is good to find a special person that deserves it and let them shoot it with you so they gain the history. If they value you, they will associate it with you when you are gone.

  20. Sanders says:

    Mine’s an Ithaca Model 37 my Grandpa let me use when he taught me how to hunt quail and dove. He let my brother use a Remington Model 11. The Ithaca has a serial # that dates it to 1939. Grandpa gave it to me a few months before he died suddenly. After he died, my Grandma said I could go ahead and keep it. (Guess she didn’t know it had already been given to me.) Then, at Christmas, Grandma was giving Grandpa’s gun collection to the grandsons and I was given the Ithaca yet again.

    The Remington had belonged to a great uncle who carried during the Korean War, and brought it home and gave it to my Grandpa. It may have seen service in WWII, as that is when the Army was issuing them – complete with the duck hunting engraving on the side. It still has the bomb proof mark on the barrel that he installed a polychoke on. Since my brother died, the Remington has come to live with me.

    My brother and I both put thousands of rounds through both guns – hunting and shooting clays. The Ithaca is semi-retired now. It has a cracked shell lifter, and I’ve since moved to a semi-auto Beretta for my sporting shotgunning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *