Saturday Night Specials
To begin with, the title is meant to be a "double take" on a pair of pistols I got at a gun show this past weekend and it's meaning will become obvious in a moment.
My wife and I went to a gun show this weekend and I wound up buying an interesting pair of pistols while there. I was looking at a table of used guns while my wife was buying herself a new CC purse when an older man (70's I'd say, if not older) stopped by and asked if the vender was buying used guns. The dealer said yes and the older man brought out two boxes that had obviously been around for a long time. The dealer looked at the boxes and without opening them said "Sorry, but no thanks".
I looked at the boxes and immediately understood why the dealer reacted the way he did. In the boxes were two, RG14 .22 caliber revolvers. For those that may not know this particular gun, it is possibly the gun that most often comes to mind when you hear the phrase, "Saturday Night Special"! It was also the gun used by John Hinckley to shoot President Reagan, James Brady and several others in 1981. In fact, I don't believe they have even been made since the mid 80's.
The older man stood there for a minute or two and was looking at his watch when I asked - just trying to make a little conversation - how much he wanted for the guns. He said $75 for the pair and asked if I would like to take a look at them. With nothing else to do for a few more minutes, I said sure and he handed me the two boxes. They were the original factory boxes and when I opened them I was surprised to see the guns were wrapped in the original plastic. I took them out and was even more surprised to see they were still covered in the original oil/grease from the factory. I asked him how long he'd had them and if there were any problems. He said his sisters husband had bought them for himself and his wife probably 25-30 years ago as self-defense guns. They had then been put in closets and never been fired. The husband had died a few months earlier and his wife was moving in with relatives and didn't want the guns anymore. I took them out of the boxes, checked them over and was actually surprised at the condition they were still in... like new!
Before we go further, I know these aren't the best of guns by a LONG shot. The trigger pull is terrible - I'd guess 15+ lbs in DA mode and not much better in SA - while the sights are about what you'd see on a 2" 'J' frame which means minimal and in fact they remind me a lot of my wife's .38 LADYSMITH in apperance and size. To load and unload, you remove the cylinder rod, just like on a BP, SA '56 Colt navy, pivot the cylinder out, then use the rod to push out the empty cases. Not exactly high tech even 100 years ago!
Still, they were in new condition, still in the original boxes, had consecutive serial numbers and the man said he'd take $50 for the pair if I had the cash. For $50 I could use them as paperweights or bookends, so I said he had a deal. I got them home, cleaned 'em up, checked them over and fired a dozen rounds through each. SURPRISE, they actually worked and at 15', I was hitting empty cola cans with their sub 2" barrels. The recoil was almost nothing and aside from the HEAVY triggers, they shot well and the actions were smooth.
Now, I have to decide what to do with the guns. I got them on impulse because I felt a bit sorry for the old man at the gun show, but now I have two functioning revolvers on my hands that I really didn't need. They are the perfect size to stick in a pocket or backpack as a "survival" pistol, and I wouldn't need to worry about dings or scratches at the price I paid. If they were a larger caliber, I'd even consider using them as car guns, but a .22 is too small for my liking (my current CG is a 9mm).
Anyway, I know they're at the bottem end of the food chain when it comes to handguns, but surprisingly, aside for their heavy triggers ~ at least an accidental dischage is almost impossible ~ they are decent little revolvers and the price was right! So, on Saturday night, I wound up with not only two classic SNS's, but got a "special" deal in the bargain. I suppose if all else fails, I could turn them into starter guns or shoot blanks in them and use them as training aids... decisions, decisions. :hand5:
I think that's WAY COOL! Two guns you can plink with or do whatever you want with for only FIFTY BUCKS?! Geez, how come I never get that lucky?!
You have a gun safe, right? You're not some nomadic gypsy trying to keep his traveling weight down, right? Why are you wondering what to do with these guns? Just stick 'em in storage if you don't want to use them, but I see no reason to try to off-load 'em!
I would have picked them up too just to have something else to add to the collection. You can say you have the type of gun used in an assassination attempt.
Could you post a pic of them
That's part of what I was thinking of as "their charm," too! :tongue:
Originally Posted by myusername
What's the actual manufacturer's name?
Many good (but poor) folks in society who live in some of the very worst and most dangerous neighborhoods still need some sort of effective personal protection.
They probably need a gun the most but, are forced (by income considerations) to buy an inexpensive AKA "cheap" firearm.
Hopefully it will work when they need to save themselves. :yup:
So there is a real and valid need for inexpensive handguns in this country.
I have one, it only shoots about half the time (weak mainspring I think) and its SA pull is around 1-2 lbs. It makes a great snake-shot gun but is no target gun. I would not think about it for defense or anything, just a beater gun or one to teach people how to use a gun.
Hey, I'm pretty sure I know the gun show you went to, we were thinking about driving over there ourselves this past weekend. My mother's side of the family is from that part of the country, in fact I was born there :smile: If you've lived there a good while, let me know I'll tell you about some businesses that no longer exist.
I remember those little pistols. When my Louisiana grandmother was alive and lived alone in the country. Someone bought one, loaded it and brought it to her house for her. It set on top of a chest-of-drawers in her BR for years, in the original cardboard box. I think the brand was RG and the box was bluish? I remember having to remove the cylinder pin and it was always a concern of potentially losing it. I think it was black with white fake pearl grips ????
The days of my grandmother were much safer then, though not quite safe. The little pistol she had, unrefined as it was, did it's job at adding a certain amount of comfort level to her. Her shooting experience and knowledge were very low, in a pinch I think she would have fired a shot (with closed eyes) at an intruder. What would happen after that no one will ever know. Thankfully!
Pretty cool pickup. I'd like to have one just to add to my collection of Reagan memorabilia. They aren't ever going to be considered great revolvers, but they do have a place in our history and they're a kind of neat gun.
Those are definitely keepers for now. It should give you some incentive to learn more about the gun and will have historical value to many if you eventually want to sell them. Somebody will take them for more than what you paid. Perhaps your serial numbers are even close to the one on the gun used by Hinkley.
Put them up and let them set .... until you blunder across that elderly person on fixed income , or single mom, or ..... that really needs a means of defense and cannot afford one without tapping the food/rent/ect.. budget. Then give them the gift of self reliance by taking the time to teach some basic gun safety/marksmanship and then telling them to just keep the pistol they learned on .
I thought I might give one to my mother-in-law. She owns the house next door (:aargh4:), she's in her mid 70's and has a double barreled shotgun for a home defense gun that she's owned for over 40 years. However, she's getting too old to safely handle it now and has been asking me about pistols. I've suggested a few, but she doesn't like auto's and doesn't want anything too "big".
One of these may fit the bill and will keep both her and my wife off my back (:rant:) about finding something she can shoot. The price is right... free for her and priceless for me if it keeps my mother-in-law and my wife happy!
As for the guns themselves, I'll take them out and give both a more thorough check before I decide on giving one to my m-i-l. I may work on the trigger a bit and fire another box of ammo to make sure there aren't any problems with them operationally. So far, they seem to be decent little pistols and while not my idea of a carry gun, they are small, easy to conceal and a .22 in hand is better than the .45 in a closet if you needed to use it for self-defense. I did a bit of research and the guns are made by a company in Germany called Rohm and were imported by FIE out of Miami until the feds banned foreign made "Saturday Night Specials" in the late 60's.
BTW, this show was in Longview for anyone that may have been in the area. Lots of rifles and a LOT of pistols, some camp followers (T-shirts, accessories, a few jewelry and knife vendors, etc) nothing for archery fans. Prices were reasonable and there was a wide sellection. There will be a show in Tyler next weekend if you're in NE. Texas or close by.
FWIW, I own several dozen handguns already and hadn't really planned on buying another one at the show. I went mainly to check on parts and accessories (got a laser for one of my CZ's from Lasermax for a good price and the wife got a new carry purse with pistol compartment), but the deal was too good to pass up. Sometime you just have to go with the moment and that's why I bought the pistols.
That is too cool. I have something similar but not a historically significant model in any way I am aware of. I would definitely keep at least one of them if not both. What ever you do, just don't try to impress Jodi Foster! :wink:
I have one of that same model. I bought it in the mid 1980s. My mother now uses it with blanks to scare off birds that crap on my parents cars.
I had a RG in the box I got when my grandfather died. Took it down to local dealer and he told me the best thing to do was destroy it. Then another customer showed me a scar from a RG that blew apart on the second round. Dealer took a hammer hit the cylinder and it broke into 4 pieces then asked me if I wanted the 25 I would maybe get for it. I choose to consider it a cheep lesson.
I would be really pissed if he did that to mine. No matter the quality or his opinion of it he shouldn't have just destroyed something that didn't belong to him.
Originally Posted by jimbo2
If I had some matching guns like those I would find a way to make a display of some sort. It would be a neat item to have in your office or study. You could plug the barrel or cylinder somehow so they couldn't be used.