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I still do all my reloading on a Herter's Model 3 press.
I think that's what we had also. My dad heard from several buddies at LTV, that it was a good press, AND we bought LOT'S of thing's from Herter's. (WORLD'S BEST!!) 馃槀
 

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Well, I was 4 years old when you started reloading! Just had to throw that out there. :D Obviously looking back it looks cheap but at the time, did that seem expensive?
I was 13 but my Dad wasn鈥檛 a gun guy. He had a .22 Savage bolt action, which I neeed to get to my nephew one of these days, and he taught us to shoot but he wasn鈥檛 into hunting or shooting until later in life. Actually I got him into shooting and reloading.


He got worried back in the early 80s about crime in the area and asked my advice on what to get. I hooked him up with a Ruger Security Six and away he went!
 

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I think that's what we had also. My dad heard from several buddies at LTV, that it was a good press, AND we bought LOT'S of thing's from Herter's. (WORLD'S BEST!!) 馃槀
Good old Jacque Herter and his "most powerful" whatevers. My dad was a fanatic for their catalog, buying everything from Herter's pancake mix to fishing lure kits, of which I still have one of the lures. I wished I had bought some of their barreled actions and a .4021 Power Mag handgun when they were around.
 

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Good old Jacque Herter and his "most powerful" whatevers. My dad was a fanatic for their catalog, buying everything from Herter's pancake mix to fishing lure kits, of which I still have one of the lures. I wished I had bought some of their barreled actions and a .4021 Power Mag handgun when they were around.
SO DID MY DAD!! Christmas especially! I've STILL got my "down vest from them" & "one of the BEST Down jacket's I've EVER HAD"! Easily equal's my "new Eddie Bauer jacket"! Several other item's also! Yeah, the "power mag". He'd supposedly taken just about "every animal on the planet with it, right?"
 

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Good old Jacque Herter and his "most powerful" whatevers. My dad was a fanatic for their catalog, buying everything from Herter's pancake mix to fishing lure kits, of which I still have one of the lures. I wished I had bought some of their barreled actions and a .4021 Power Mag handgun when they were around.
The Herter's catalog was required reading, back in the 60s and 70s. New edition every year, thoroughly thumbed through with page corners turned down here and there. I kept mine on a shelf in the bathroom for extended research, probably knew it word for word. World class hyperbole, but a lot of really good stuff not available anywhere else.
 

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Good old Jacque Herter and his "most powerful" whatevers. My dad was a fanatic for their catalog, buying everything from Herter's pancake mix to fishing lure kits, of which I still have one of the lures. I wished I had bought some of their barreled actions and a .4021 Power Mag handgun when they were around.
As a teenage kid in the 60s, I bought a Herters wooden gun rack for the wall in my room. As I recall the catalog stated..."knocked down for easy mailing" or something similar. Actually, it was a lesson on building something from dissimilar parts. (It worked and looked okay, eventually.)

I did like the catalog, but the product was valuable lesson in buyer be careful.

.
 

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Yes. At the time reloading required a significant initial investment in equipment. But if I wanted to shoot without busting the family budget I had to learn how to make it happen.

I clearly remember common rifle ammunition (.30-06, .30-30, etc) selling for about $4 or $5 per 20-round box. Pistol ammo (.38 Special, .357 magnum, 9mm, .45ACP) ranged from about $5 to $8 per 50-round box. To put that in proper perspective, consider the following:

1. My brand new 3-bedroom house with attached garage cost me $17,700 in 1972. Payments were $182 per month (principal, interest, taxes, insurance) and scared the hell out of me because my paychecks were $192 every two weeks and I had two kids to feed. Today you might buy that house for $180,000 or so.

2. Regular gasoline was about 29 cents per gallon. My 1967 Ford had a 24-gallon tank, so if I was bone dry it might take $7 to fill up. Actually, I seldom filled the tank, just put in $5 or so to get to and from work all week long.

3. A new American middle-of-the-road automobile was less than $3000 brand new. Very few of my friends drove new cars, most of us got by with $500 or $600 used cars financed for 2 years with payments under $30 per month. Some of the used cars I drove for years would bring $50K or so at a good auction today.

4. A brand new Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 magnum revolver sold for $149 retail. I could order one through my police department employer for $125, but that was a budget breaker. A new Colt Government Model .45 or Commander was about $130, similarly unaffordable to us working stiffs. I started my working career as a cop with a S&W Model 10 .38 Special, $77 from the police supply company that allowed us to pay for our uniforms and equipment in monthly payments.

My starting salary as a cop was $657 per month. After taxes and retirement fund contributions my take-home pay was $192 every two weeks. No overtime pay was provided. If you caught a time-consuming call at the end of your shift you finished it before you went home. If you were called for a court appearance on your days off (or vacation) you made sure to be there on your own dime and time.

8 years later I was a junior detective, first in juvenile, then in property crimes. On call 24 hours, every other weekend, holidays meant nothing on the schedule. I did receive $240 per year as a clothing allowance because I was required to wear a business suit or sport coat and tie every day. Working property crimes (burglary, theft, auto theft, forgery, fraud, etc) meant that I always carried 50-plus active cases on any given day, so checking my phone messages against my active cases was a constant frustration. As the junior guy in the detective shop I got the rattiest and oldest piece of crap car, frequently in the shop for repairs so I had to use my own car (no reimbursement, of course).

A few years later I signed on with a state agency as an investigator, later supervisory investigator. Covered about 24,000 square miles, nearly half the state. On the road 2-4 days every week, occasionally working out of state for weeks at a time on more serious cases. Paid all my expenses (gasoline, hotels, meals, etc) out of pocket, filed a monthly reimbursement form, the got a check about 6 weeks later (assuming I had all receipts and did not exceed the rules on little things like breakfast, lunch, supper, or lodging expenses). My position was considered as professional level, so no overtime; compensatory time over 48 hours per week. After 5 years or so I had two years of comp time on the books, so I resigned with an effective date over two years later (with earned vacation time, etc during the time off).

Somehow got sucked into a position as a small town police chief, spent nearly 7 years learning all about local politics and ego stroking idiots, while simultaneously serving as a babysitter for a bunch of young folks who wanted to be police officers.

Yeah, another trip down memory lane here.

My mom and dad said they had similar concerns with their house payment in the mid sixties....all of $92 a month...said they thought they would be eating boxed Chef Boy R-Dee spaghetti meals every night.

I think most people look back and think, "my how cheap things were back then" but fail to take into account the average wage at the time.
 

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I'll bet that people wouldn't mind going back to those wages if the prices of goods and services fell accordingly. But then, that's part of how a fiat based currency works. Your money will always be worth less than what it was when you actually earned it. Not exactly an incentive to save.
 

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I'll bet that people wouldn't mind going back to those wages if the prices of goods and services fell accordingly. But then, that's part of how a fiat based currency works. Your money will always be worth less than what it was when you actually earned it. Not exactly an incentive to save.
One doesn't save money, one invests it. My B-in-L saves his money in mayo jars. He has the same amount in the jars he did 20 years ago, with no accounting for inflation or increase in value.
 

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The Herter's catalog was required reading, back in the 60s and 70s. New edition every year, thoroughly thumbed through with page corners turned down here and there. I kept mine on a shelf in the bathroom for extended research, probably knew it word for word. World class hyperbole, but a lot of really good stuff not available anywhere else.

A Herter's catalog given me years ago by my old gun club friend Cres Lawson who was 50 years older than I am. He lived through the golden age of Herter's which was still going strong when I was a kid in the 1960s. These catalogs were a staple of my huntin' and gun nut uncle's garage, but I never thought to ask for an old one. It's true, world class hyperbole like nothing you've ever seen. The hyperbole remains highly entertaining (and you can't ever consume all of it contained within for there's so much hyperbole there) and the catalog is a compendium of unsystematic, yet still relevant reference material as well as tips, both practical and wacky. Within the prodigious hype which touched everything offered there really was some good stuff in there.

The catalogs, as well as Herter authored books, probably could be found on Ebay for little cash outlay. A new generation needs to avail themselves of the acquisition of a Herter's catalogue. Good as a reference. Good for a laugh. If nothing else, the catalog is instructive; you'll never look at advertising hype the same way again.

George Herter



The Price of Things Back When

When my cousin and I were kids and scrounging up ammunition for our hunting exploits at 12-13 years of age (we're five days apart in age) we were buying Federal .22 Long Rifle for under .60 cents per box at a suburban 7-11 a few blocks from his house. 7-ll also ran a special on Alcan Skeet-Max shotgun shells during dove season for $1.98 per box of 25 and we bought 'em up even though we figured they were crummy becauese they were so cheap. Gun Control Act of 1968 had passed a couple years before but, I suppse word didnt' trickle down to 7-11 clerks. Perhaps retailers didn't take it that seriously then or weren't initially forced to get on board with the then new regulations. As late as 1975 when I bought my first handgun, I was able to go in Buddies' Hardware in Burleson, Texas and purchase .38 Special ammunition without being questioned. I was 18 at the time.

Ahhh... liberty. Wasn't it grand?

What $7.00 Would Buy

$7.00 and change seems to be a theme running through my memory of the mid 1970s to early 1980s era. Most 1 lb. cans of powders cost in the seven dollar range. 100 count boxes of good Sierra and Hornady component jacketed rifle bullets did too. Remington and Winchester component jacketed bullets were somewhat cheaper as were some Speer offerings. Bulk packed cast lead handgun bullets cost $7.00 to $8.00 per 500 count carton, depending on caliber. +P .38 Special ammunition could be had for $7.00 and some change. Some calibers or off brand ammunition was considerably cheaper. Never saw any ammunition reach $10.00 per box, not even the .44 Magnum I was buying and boxes then were always 50 rounds and never these silly stunted 25 round count boxes of "primo" ammo.

I remember that for some time the highest priced ammunition I ever bought was Federal 3 1/2-inch Magnum 10 gauge No. 2's purchased at Gibson's Discount Center in Cleburne, Texas for $9.95 per box of 25. I bought four boxes of the stuff which was quite an investment, shot it all away that next weekend at ducks, and scratched down two birds. So went my "100 yard" 10 gauge duck shooting experimental imitation of what I'd read of Elmer Keith accomplishing on the Salmon river with his Ithaca Mag 10 double.

In my early 1970s duck hunting, my cousins and I preferred Remington Express 2 3/4-inch 12 gauge No. 4s (lead shot no less). They were in the neighborhood of $4.50 per box for some years back then. For dove season I liked Winchester Double A 9's available at Alpine Shooting Range in Fort Worth for $3.79 per box, less if one could spring for a case.

Seems like primers could be had for under $6.00 per thousand.

I've got gobs of 500 round cartons of crummy Federal Lightning on hand, purchased in the mid to late 1990s in the run up to the Y2K scare, and put up in .30 caliber ammo cans. I held my nose to buy it at the time for I'd already determined that it was inferior stuff, prone to 150 fps velocity swings and indifferent accuracy in tests. It was readily available though at WalMart for $7.75 a carton which wasn't that great of a bargain, but I didn't intend to do without .22 ammo if it disappeared in the year 2000. Now I keep holding onto the supplies of it through the years of occasional ammo shortages that have come to wash over the shooting world. I still don't really want to shoot it up, continuing to hold onto the .22 ammo in contempt, but have it ... for just in case.

And The Guns

I remember that my parents gave me a Benjamin Model 347 .177 pump air rifle for my birthday in 1968, purchased from John Street's Hardware store in Cleburne, Texas. It was $25.

I bought my own first .22 rifle. It was a new Winchester Model 190 .22 automatic with a Weaver Marksman scope installed. $42 comes to mind, bought from White's Auto in Joshua, Texas. Scope was junk so was discarded.

Bought my first handgun, a Smith & Wesson Model 10 Heavy Barrel at Christmas time 1975. Bought it from a armored truck driver I was in regular contact with through my job at a bank. He wanted a nickel plated Model 10 so sold me his blued revolver for $75 right out there on the armored motor dock. I secreted it in the waist band of my trousers beneath my varigated hues of brown patterned houndstooth "leisure suit" jacket and spirited it out of the bank that afternoon. Only found out later that the list price for a new Model 10 Heavy Barrel was $78.50 in the catalogs so his used one wasn't quite the deal I thought it was and I'd been had. Oh well, when one is 18 how else could he get into handgunning?

Also in late 1975 I was able to purchase a cracker jack of a nice early Smith Corona Model 1903A3 with the scarce six-groove barrel and a high grade, very early production Krag Jorgensen rifle for $215 out the door at Weber's Jewelry & Loan The pair purchased separately, would have been $225, but the proprietor knocked off $10 without me even negotiating. Probably because he felt bad taking advantage of a kid, for those prices weren't much of a deal back then. Took my first two deer late in the 1975 season with that '03A3, shot it in high-power competition for a few years and have both rifles yet.

The 1911 I've had the longest was also purchased from Weber's for $140 in spring of 1978. The first .32-20 Smith & Wesson K-Frame Hand Ejector I owned was purchased from that pawn shop for $75. A .32 ACP chambered Astra Constable I bought there was brand new in the box for $89 and a Savage Stevens Model 311 12 gauge double barreled shotgun was $100.

Found this photo online, obviously taken about the time I was going in there. I used to shop in there often for I worked as a teller at a large downtown Fort Worth bank. The prices paid look like "real deals" now, but were on the high end of what the market would bear. After all, I began my banking career at 18 working as a teller at that bank for $385 per month. Somehow I seemed to have money to burn back then in a way I've never had since.

Had to pay the "Dirty Harry" penalty in order to obtain a real Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum in January 1980. The Model 29 was riding high as the primo popular handgun to have and weren't to be had unless one paid considerably over list price. I felt rather lightheaded and sickly when I left Donn Heath gun shop in Fort Worth having had to spend the monstrous sum of $484 for that one. I think Smith & Wesson's premium N-Frame revolvers in calibers other than .44 Magnum could be had for around $350 at that time. I did purchase a brand new N-Frame Smith & Wesson Model 27 for $379 from Donn Heath's a year or so after purchasing that Model 29.

Bought a used Savage Model 99 .300 Savage with a Weaver K4 scope for $150 and a clean all original and unfooled with Eddystone Model 1917 Enfield for $75, both from Donn Heath's. Oh yeah, that 10 gauge Magnum shotgun with which I accomplished all the "long range" duck slaying was a $60 H&R single shot purchased brand new from Donn Heath's. My huntin' cousin was with me that day, but decided that the equally cheap-o Winchester Model 37A single shot in 12 gauge 3-inch Magnum was the way to go so gave $65 for his shotgun at the same time I bought the 10 gauge. We couldn't wait to fire our new acquisitions so went to Benbrook Lake, onto some Corps of Engineers land to test fire the shotguns at a flock of black chee-chee birds and got caught and run off by Corps of Engineers personnel. I don't think any chee-chees were harmed in this incident. We both still have those shotguns and have big laughs over them and their exploits.

While we're at it, the Colt Single Action Army .38-40 I have around here which dates to 1905 was a Fort Worth Round Up Inn gun show purchase in late 1982 not long after our eldest son was born. It was $320, negotiated down from an asking price of $350. That was a premium price to pay for a first generation Colt Single Action Army in decent condition. I never saw any really nice ones over about $800 at a gun show and I looked at a jillion of 'em. A few years before that I had given all of $60 for a U.S. military issue Colt Model 1901 .38 Long Colt at that same Fort Worth gun show. Those old wheezers had no value back then except to gun cranks who admired old stuff. I remember giving $125 at a Cleburne, Texas gun show for my first Smith & Wesson Model 1917. It must have been a suicide gun from the blotchy stain patterns in the blue finish on its left side, but it was mechanically prefect and taught me much about use of .45 ACP in a revolver. Another Fort Worth gun show find soon added a Model 1917 Colt for $150 which I still have.

My long time owned Underwood M1 Carbine was acquired at closing time from a Fort Worth Convention Center gun show exhibitor who was packing his stuff out on a cart. I saw its barrel sticking out of a pile of cased guns he was rolling down the aisle on a cart and so I inquired about it. He allowed that he'd take $140 for it and I carried it home. That would have been about 1980.

By 1989 I had gathered in the early 1970s Colt SP-1 AR 15 and the early Springfield Armory M1A for $420 and $600 respectively and purchased at different times at the Dallas Convention Center gun show and the Dallas Market Hall gun show. These weren't that hot of deals at the time.



I still have this old flyer around here somewhere in my stuff. Took this photo of it a few years back. It's from the late 1970s and was picked up from a Class 3 exhibitor's table who used to always set up at the Dallas Market Hall gun show. Was never anything more than a wish list for me for those guns were far too expensive for my pocket book. Later, after having various opportunities to experience full auto over the years in quite a few different guns, I came to determine that it isn't all it's cracked up to be, but is an expensive waste of ammunition for the results achieved. Full auto would be best enjoyed courtesy Uncle Sam. Our youngest son was a machinegunner in the United States Marine Corps and received the training, ammunition and the opportunity to properly sample all the machine guns he could have wanted. That's the way to do full auto.

Go back a couple of generations to find the "real deals" of the age. My gun club friend Cres Lawson gave $32.50 for his brand new Colt Woodsman .22 pistol in 1928. He said he used to see racks and racks of Winchester Model 1873 rifle for $3.00 each, in all the calibers and every configuration you could imagine. He gave $13 for a used Winchester Model 1886 .45-90 in about 1937. Had the Knight Bros. gun show in Fort Worth cut off 4-inches of barrel and magazine tube off the 26-inch barrel to make it a handier size as a brush gun for him as he was only 5' 8" tall.

Well, that's a geezer's ruminations about the good ol' days from a fractured memory.
 

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One doesn't save money, one invests it. My B-in-L saves his money in mayo jars. He has the same amount in the jars he did 20 years ago, with no accounting for inflation or increase in value.
Yes, I understand, but since we're talking about the "old days" do you remember when a savings account actually paid interest? And I also understand that putting money, unless it's actual silver or gold, into mayo jars, will actually result in a net loss due to inflation, and I think that's my point.
 

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Yeah, passbook savings acounts paid 5 1/4 percent for some years when I first began a career in banking. 5 year CDs paid 15 1/2 percent too at a time when new car rates were 21 percent. Our first mortgage was pegged at 13 1/2 percent in 1978. Of course it must be remembered that inflation was rampant during those Jimmy Carter years too.
 

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I used to do that when I scuba dove in the lakes around Spokane, WA. If you've never grabbed a wild mallard by the feet, you might want to take a pass. They go from swimming to mad crazy in a wingbeat.
 

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That's funny to contemplate OldVet, you grabbing ducks from below, Jaws OV style.

Of course I've had to finish off a few ducks that weren't down for the count, revived and went mad crazy after I gathered them up or else even after depositing them in the blind with me. It's a flailin'!
 

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I remember buying Federal shot shells for $2.99 and .22s for 50 cents a box at the family-owned grocery store where I worked during high school.
 
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