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Unread 06-22-2010, 02:12 PM   #1
sporadicgenius
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Default Snail Drum Questions

I've never seriously considered getting a snail drum for my 1917 artillery luger, but while on a visit to my daughter, I ducked into a pawn shop and found one in the case. What is a reasonable price to pay? Are they faked? What should I look for? Are there variations and what are the distinguishing characteristics? The winding mechanism looks different from what I've seen before. Any/all advice appreciated.

Larry
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Unread 06-22-2010, 03:33 PM   #2
George Anderson
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First I ask where did you see it..what state? There are a bunch of very good repros in the NJ and eastern PA area. Photos of the subject magazine would be quite helpful.
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Unread 06-22-2010, 04:01 PM   #3
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It's in southern Ohio...I'll see if I can get photos without stiffening his asking price. I don't post much on this board but Jerry has restored my artillery holster...

What do the repros sell for? Thanks. Larry
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Unread 06-22-2010, 04:55 PM   #4
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Hi Larry, I should know better than to offer an opinion sight unseen, but here goes. There are two types of drums. Type 1 have a telescopic winding lever (see photo). As far as I know, these have not yet been reproduced and sell for about $2,000.00 in decent shape. Type 2 have a folding lever and fetch about $1,500.00 (again very approximately). These are being reproduced with very lifelike signs of aging, and sell for about half that. I hope this helps. Regards, Norm
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Unread 06-22-2010, 06:52 PM   #5
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Norm, thanks. My dad was an antique dealer and I keep my eyes open for interesting stuff at flea markets, pawn shops and junk shops. I know it's unfair to be asking for a value sight-unseen, and I appreciate the guidance since I've always considered buying a snail mag out of my league. I have only seen Type 2's before and the winding mechanism on this one looked odd. I appear to have found a Type 1 with the asking price being that of a repro (or less). I'm going back to the shop tomorrow and see how much he'll deal. If I get it, I'll post pictures when I get home from vacation. Thanks again, Larry
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Unread 06-23-2010, 09:40 PM   #6
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I went back to the pawn shop this morning and really looked the magazine over. It was a type 1 however the catch that engages with the slot (part of the winding mechanism) was missing. Serial number was in the 8000 range. Since I fret when even the mag on a Luger is non-matching, it's fair to say I don't have a high tolerance for "issues". Otherwise, it looked to be in pretty good shape. Springs seemed to function okay and patina, etc all looked pretty much as it should be. I couldn't identify the maker's mark, and I didn't have any books with me to check it out. I offered $500 as it was but was still a couple hundred below what he was holding out for. Since he's had it for quite a while and I'll be back in the area in a couple weeks, I decided to think about it and let him consider how badly he'd like to make a cash deal. I realize it's a foolish question, but is there a source for any of the minor parts?

Larry
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Unread 06-23-2010, 09:57 PM   #7
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is there a source for any of the minor parts?
Larry, Bluntly..NO. It's possible that they could be made but nothing can be found off the shelf! Prepare yourself for a major project if you need any parts for a type 1 snail drum.

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Unread 06-23-2010, 10:12 PM   #8
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Jerry, Thanks--I needed that.

Over the years I've bought a number of guns that needed "just one little part" and then spent years of frustration looking for them. I've been thinking of how to describe the missing part and it's the button or pin that goes through part of the winding mechanism and engages the keyhole slot in the plate behind it. I have a gunsmith/machinist who could fashion one, but the mag would not be original (and to be honest, I don't have the passion to pursue the project). It wouldn't be long before I was trying to sell it.

Thanks again,

Larry
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Unread 06-23-2010, 10:25 PM   #9
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Larry, There are also a number of other problems that can pop up with these depending on what you want to do with them. First thing I want to know is will it fit into a Luger pistol? Often they have been dropped and if bent slightly they will not insert into a gun. Then will it shoot? I use my drums to shoot and like them to work. I don't want to spend that kind of money and have it just for display. You were correct to look it over carefully for missing parts..There are some that can and do go AWOL. There is a short list of parts on drums, stocks etc. that just can't be found. Unless you are younger than I am!

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Unread 06-24-2010, 10:19 AM   #10
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Jerry -

I know you are right about the impossibility of finding parts for these.

I wonder in a case like this whether it might be feasible to get a qualified machinist to make the missing part?

Or is that just "wishful thinking"?
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Unread 06-24-2010, 02:45 PM   #11
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For a Type 1 that could be had for $500 or thereabout, I would be real tempted to buy it and have the missing part made, particularly if it was an AEG magazine. But if, as Jerry points out, it doesn't fit in a Luger or is otherwise inoperable, then it isn't a good buy.
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Unread 08-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #12
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Does anyone have any pictures of teh repro magazines? I wonder why they are prevalent in NJ / PA ? Thanks.
Joe
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Unread 08-29-2010, 03:45 PM   #13
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They are prevalent in the NJ/PA area because a dealer there had twenty of them he was selling. He contacted me and sent photos and I told him they were fake and sent him photos showing the differences. I spent two or more days exchanging photos with this fellow. Several days later he proceeded to gunbroker.com where he posted them as original and disparaged any comments contradicting his assesment as being from "so called experts".

I have never claimed to be an expert at anything other than my wife's mood swings and I'm still learning there.
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Unread 08-29-2010, 04:56 PM   #14
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The Polish copies that are available in Europe (I guess they are also the source of the mags in the US) stand out because of their artificially aged appearance. Usually they have small spots of relatively fresh rust dotted all over the mag housing.
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Unread 08-29-2010, 07:11 PM   #15
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Vlim is correct ..any drum that has rust spots splashed over it is immediately suspect. There are several other telltale signs.
The serial numbers front and back should be lines. Just that lines. No fancy double lines or carnival type numbering. You can spot a fake immediately by seeing fancy numbering.
The second is on the drum where the tabs have been folded over and spot welded. These spot welds on an original are hard to see. On a fake they are quite pronounced.

I would dearly love to get my hands on a fake drum to see if one will shoot. If they are shootable they would be worth $400-500 just for that. If the clowns who are making these would market them properly at an acceptable price without trying to commit fraud it would be a service to mankind. As they are fraudulant criminals wishing to make money from those who do not know better I spit into their rice bowl at every opportunity.
Anytime you encounter an Artillery drum..consider it suspect untill it proves itself.

The last time I was on Gunbroker there were several fakes being offered there as George says..These people are scum of the lowest kind and represent fake drums as real dispite being told otherwise by people who KNOW. They got stuck with them and will try to foist them off again so be careful.

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Unread 08-31-2010, 05:48 PM   #16
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Thanks Detective Jerry! How much should one expect to pay for a 'very' nice correct drum? I just need a fine artillary with accessories to cap my collection and hope the begin toward the end of this year or sooner.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 08:39 PM   #17
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Eric -

www.fgsfirearms.com has two of the second model drums for $1,650.00 and $1,950.00 respectively.

www.simpsonltd.com has about 14 drums now. They do have a first model for $1,995.00 and a second model for $1,295.00.

So this can help give you an idea of what dealers are getting for them.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 10:58 PM   #18
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Consider that if you want a 'very' nice correct drum (i.e. fully functional, no rust or dents, high level of original finish) be prepared to spend at least $500 more than the prices quoted. Drum magazines are just like Lugers, the better the condition the higher the cost. And if you want to go for the scarcer AEG produced model there is an additional premium.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 11:13 PM   #19
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Thank You All, I would like to do some early Christmas shopping!!

Last edited by cirelaw; 09-01-2010 at 08:18 AM.
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