Morphy Auctions is putting an invaluable cache of firearms up for bidding, including a lever action rifle owned by the Lakota/Sioux Chief Rain-In-The-Face, who reputedly killed Gen. George Armstrong Custer’s brother and Wyatt Earp’s Colt Single Action Army revolver.The auction, slated to take place October 30 through November 3, goes well beyond the guns of the Old West, with a catalog of that spans nearly 350 years. The four-day event will also be one of the biggest auctions of machine guns ever held, with both Allied and Axis offerings from WWII.Chief Rain-In-The-Face’s Rifle
Chief Rain-in-the-Face earned his Hunkpapa name after several fights where the blood and war paint looked like rain on his face. At the Battle of Little Big Horn, Rain-in- the-Face is alleged to have cut the heart out of Thomas Custer, Gen. George Custer’s younger brother who also perished during that battle. The feat was popularized by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face.” He is the alleged owner of this Winchester Model 1873 lever action in .44-40. This rifle is early enough in the production run that its serial number only has three digits: 487.
Earp’s Colt SAA Revolver
Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp was perhaps the most infamous lawman in the Old West. Earp moved from boomtown to boomtown across the West, earning his living as a saloonkeeper, gunslinger, gambler, miner and frontier lawman, alongside his brothers.
He is best remembered for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a 30-second shootout between lawmen and members of a loosely organized group of outlaws that took place on October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. Generally regarded as the most famous shootout in the history of the American Wild West, eight outlaws involved were killed, several lawmen were injured, but Wyatt emerged unscathed.
The hard rubber grips adorned with an eagle found on this .45 caliber Single Action Army revolver owned by the Western icon were first used in 1881, so it’s possible that it saw action at the notorious showdown, though its still debated what firearm Wyatt was carrying at the O.K. Corral.
Jumping forward several decades, the auction will even include an exceptionally rare WWII-era German 88mm Panzerschreck 54 rocket launcher. Translated literally, “panzerschreck” means “tank’s fright.”
And if you were an Allied soldier roaming the rolling countryside in one of the earliest armed vehicles, it certainly was. The shaped-charge warhead of the shoulder-launched, fin-stabilized rocket did plenty of damage to rolling stock during WWII.
Boys Anti-Tank Rifle
From the other side of the conflict comes the Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) Boys Anti-Tank Rifle, proven effective against light armored vehicles. The Boys Anti-Tank Rifle was commonly referred to as the “elephant gun” because of the 0.55-inch bore of the bolt-action rifle. The Boys was effective in the first portion of the second Great War, but that success faded as heavier armored vehicles replaced light tanks and tankettes utilized by the German Army.
Colt Automatic Machine Gun / Benet Merci
One of the more rare machine guns featured is the WWI-vintage Colt Automatic Machine Gun, Model of 1909—better known as the Benet Merci. This unreliable piece of battlefield machinery was nicknamed the “Daylight Gun” because it was so complicated that the operators needed light to put it back together when it ultimately broke down, something it did with great regularity, though evidence points to poor training and user error as the cause for most of these hiccups.
Chauchat Model 1915 Machine Gun
Also present is the worst machine gun ever manufactured: the Chauchat Model 1915. The flimsy half-moon magazines performed very poorly, failing to feed under the best of circumstances. The ever-present mud also defeated the Chauchat, as it wasn’t equipped with a cover for the ejection port.
1928 Commercial Browning
Most of the machine guns in the sale can trace their lineage back to the World Wars, even if they weren’t originally from there, such as this water-cooled Colt Model 1928 Commercial Browning, which was assembled from surplus Argentine parts by Charles Erb, a well respected builder of automatic arms from reclaimed parts. This sort of engineering became necessary after the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act passed 1986, banning the sale of machine guns built after its adoption.
Group Industries HR 4332 Uzi
If you like your automatic weapons to be handheld, check out the Group Industries HR 4332 Uzi with CSS Model 200 suppressor, which is also on the block. The iconic Israeli open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns were among the first weapons to use a telescoping bolt design that allows the magazine to be housed in the pistol grip, creating a shorter weapon.This example includes a suppressor and a tan sling.
Cobray Ingram M10 in .45 ACP
If MAC-10s are more your speed, check out the new-in-box Cobray Ingram M10 in .45 ACP. Like the Uzi, the M10 is a compact, blowback operated machine pistol with a telescoping bolt, chambered in either .45 ACP or 9mm. This specimen is complete with the original box and includes a magazine, cleaning rod, and magazine loader as well as front strap.
ArmaLite AR-18 Rifle
Those looking for a unicorn will delight in this absolutely mint, new in the box, ArmaLite AR-18, complete with two original magazines, Armalite 2.75x27mm scope, web sling and original operating and maintenance manual. The AR-18 was intended to be a refined development of the M16 and incorporates a side folding stock, adjustable rear flip-up peep sight, ambidextrous selector and ejection port cover which closes when the bolt is in the forward position.
The AR-18 used a short-stroke gas piston located above the barrel. Use of a piston made the rifle more resistant to carbon fouling than the direct gas impingement system of the AR-10 and AR-15, as it doesn’t vent gas and carbon directly into the receiver.
The recoil springs are housed within the receiver instead of the AR-15’s buffer tube and spring located in the buttstock, allowing the stock on the AR-18 to fold.
American Arms 180 Submachine Gun
For the collector that has everything, there’s the unfired Gold M-2 Limited edition American Arms 180 Machine Gun, complete with Laser-Lok sight, suppressor, and factory-supplied wooden display case. (Of course.) For the uninitiated, the American 180 is a submachine gun developed in the 1960s that fires .22 LR cartridges from a pan magazine at a rate of about 1,200 rounds per minute.
Barret M107 .50
Some of the more modern offerings include a .50 caliber Barrett M107 semi-auto rifle, complete with AWC Turbodyne suppressor. Of course, suppressed is a relative term, as quieting a .50 BMG is nearly impossible. Despite its designation as an anti-materiel rifle, the “light 50” was used by some armed forces as an anti-personnel rifle.
There are even some notable airguns going up for auction, like the .22 caliber Crosman pump-action model with walnut stocks and black enamel finish, patented in 1924 (middle). Much older is the H.M Quackenbush lever-action, patented in 1822 (bottom). There’s even a Hamilton skeletal air rifle that is, unfortunately, not in working order (top).
If you’re not familiar, Clarence Hamilton started building air rifles in Plymouth, Michigan in the late 1870s. When he presented the air gun to a faltering windmill manufacturer in search of new products, one of the board members exclaimed “Boy, that’s a Daisy.” The rest is history.