The Anderson Guncraft replica Model 1874 Gatling gun, serial number 011, was originally built in April 1987 and sold to a Dr. Hal Fillinger (now deceased). This particular gun was marked in a manner similar to the original with stamps provided by Dr. Fillinger.
This gun first came to our attention in February 1998 by an individual who saw our display at an Ohio Gun Collectors Association show. He had purchased the gun in 1990 from a dealer who guaranteed the gun as a "restored original".
The story told to this individual was that this gun was damaged in the fire at Bannerman's Castle in 1969. It and the other eleven "fire survivors" were then restored. This story, of course, is a total bald-faced lie. In addition, our manufacturer's info, serial number, caliber, and model info, which is mandated by federal law, was removed by persons unknown.
After seeing our replica guns, he had my dad inspect serial number 011 in detail to determine its status. It was determined, by complete disassembly, to be 100% of Anderson Guncraft manufacture and showed absolutely no signs of being in a fire. This individual was able to get his money back, and the dealer apparently consigned the gun to the Rock Island Auction Company and the gun was presumably sold to someone else.
In digging through some files I stumbled across a page my dad had removed from a Rock Island Auction Company catalog. On the reverse he wrote the date, 12/5/99. A scan of the catalog page can be seen at the bottom of this page.
In December 2017 I stumbled across an expired listing (from 2016) on Heritage Auctions site that listed a Model 1874 "musket length" Gatling gun, serial number 011, on a carriage as a "restored original".
Here is the original listing description:
Serial Number 11
U.S. Colt Model 1874 Gatling Gun in 45-70.
Serial number 11, .45-70 caliber, having 10 barrels and as with keeping of the Model 1874's, does not have a barrel shroud. The gun barrels are 32-inches long They have the muzzle end hex shaped to facilitate a spanner [wrench]. All marked with the serial number and from 1 thru 10. As in all Model 1874 models, there is no assembly numbers, only the serial number 11 on most parts. Note: Beginning with the 1875 models there are both serial numbers and assembly numbers. This gun is marked on top of breech end MODEL 1874 and the inspector initials HN. It is also marked MODEL 1874 on the right side of the breech housing. The frame is marked No 011 on the right top near middle of the gun. All bolts are properly marked with the assembly [serial number 11] and match the barrel numbers: 1 thru 10. This particular gun is fitted with a "Horizontal Oscillator" which allows the gun to fire side to side without effort of the gunner. This device is US marked and is from the WATERVLIET ARSENAL. Note: The gun is using a "Bruce Feed". This device fits where a 40 round magazine would normally be inserted and is fed 1-20 round box of ammunition at a time, enabling the gun to fire in excess of 1000 rounds per minute. Amazing for a gun built in 1874! This particular Bruce Feed is also US marked but was made at the Springfield Arsenal. According to the Colt Gatling Gun records, this was one of 29 Gatlings shipped to the United States Army on April 22, 1874. Note: Fewer than 1300 Gatling Guns were manufactured by Colt. Gun comes with letter from noted Gatling Gun Expert, Crockett Keller confirming configuration.
Crockett Keller Collection.
Condition: Fine as configured. Serial number 011 was restored to almost new condition approximately 20 years ago. Reportedly 3 barrels were replaced. It appears the Axel is original where as the tang and wheels are replacements. The hardware/furniture on the gun carriage appears to be original Gatling Gun carriage parts, with the wood being replaced. The wheels are complete reproductions. According to consignor and Gatling gun expert, Mr. Keller, "the gun is in shootable condition and shoots very well, both fast and accurately. If kept well oiled when firing, naming is minimal". Mr. Keller also states, "This gun has been fired with modern ammunition and has performed well. It is my opinion that only "cowboy" loads be fired from their gun. I have seen burst barrels on a couple of Gatling Guns and it is not a pretty sight. Original or reloaded cartridges loaded with black powder substitute is my recommendation. Ten-X out of California is a good source of this ammunition".
I looked up Crockett Keller and found he owns/owned a business in Texas. Finding an email address for him I sent an email on December 27, 2017 only to have it come back as undeliverable. Here is the email I sent:
My name is Barry Anderson, owner/operator of Anderson Guncraft. My shop builds full scale functional replica Gatling guns. I ran across an expired Heritage Auctions listing (LOT #40090) that listed a Model 1874 Gatling serial number 011 as an original gun. According to published Gatling gun serial number information the original Model 1874 Gatling with serial number 11 was a short "Camel gun" not a long barreled gun such as yours.
As you know, current federal law requires that a firearms manufacturer mark the guns they make with certain identifying information. On our replica Gatlings we machine a flat surface on the bottom of the breech casing ahead of where the oscillator mounts. No original Colt built Gatling has this flat surface. This particular gun, serial number 011, was built by my dad, John Anderson, and delivered to the original buyer in April 1987. The original buyer's name was Hal Fillinger and he provided original steel stamps to mark the gun in an original manner.
Sometime between April 1987 and February 1998, persons unknown removed our manufacturer's info from the bottom of the gun in violation of federal law. In February 1998 the gun came to our attention by an owner who thought (and was told) the gun was a restored original. In the course of that episode, my dad inspected the gun by disassembling it and conclusively determined that it is one of our replicas. I retain the letters sent back and forth in our files that detail a previous attempt to pass the gun off as a restored original. The story given being that the gun was one of twelve guns that survived the fire at Bannerman's castle in 1969 and was restored along with the others.
I am disturbed that someone is still using our craftsmanship to cheat others. I strongly recommend that you look at the bottom of the bronze breech casing and determine if there is a machined flat present. If there is, the gun is not an original Colt built gun. This is not the only way to tell one of our guns but it is the easiest. If you would like to have copies of the letters and etcetera, I would be happy to provide copies to you.
This particular gun will also have screw thread pitches that are the same as the Unified Thread series that did not exist prior to about 1910. For example, the thread pitch for the six screws that fasten the breech casing to the frame on an original Colt manufactured Gatling is 3/8-18 while we use the standard 3/8-16NC thread pitch.
The way the Colt built Model 1874 Gatling was finished from the factory was that all of the steel parts were left "in the white" or "bright", that is, with no surface finish such as blueing or browning applied. If one looks carefully at the frame of the gun close to the muzzles of the barrels one can see that the paint is flaking off. This gun is finished exactly the way my dad finished his replica guns, polished bronze, blued barrels, screws, and Bruce feed parts, and the frame painted black.
As noted above in my email, in published Gatling gun serial number info, the original serial number 11 is a Model 1874 "Camel" Gatling gun with 18 inch barrels, of which 56 were built in 1874 (serial numbers 1 to 56, inclusive). Only 8 "musket length" Model 1874 guns were built in 1874 (serial numbers 57 to 63, inclusive, and number 105).
I have a sheet of paper listing the locations on the gun where the original stamps were used.
The inspector's initials "HN" are for Henry Nettleton. Mr. Nettleton inspected Lee and Hotchkiss rifles, Colt, Remington, and Smith and Wesson .45 caliber revolvers, and Colt Gatling guns between the years 1876 and 1880. How would his initials have showed up on an 1874 Gatling when he started inspecting Gatlings in 1876? For more info see this link.
The gun features an oscillator that is marked "Watervliet Arsenal". It is my opinion, from studying photos of original oscillators, that this is pure fantasy. Also the "lock plug handle" on the back of the gun is not the proper pattern for the early guns (1874-1879) but is actually the pattern used on the guns made in the 1890s. At the time this gun was manufactured (1987) my father did not have access to an original early style handle to copy, so he used the later style handle on all of his replicas. See the photo below of the proper early style lock plug handle.
In studying photos of original Model 1874, 1875, 1876, and 1877 Gatling guns, it seems that the model date stamp on the right breech casing rail was started on the Model 1876 and was not present on the Model 1874. I have photos of original 1874 Camel gun, serial number 40, and there is no "Model 1874" stamped on the right breech casing rail. Similarly I have photos of a couple of other original Model 1874 Camel guns (serial numbers unknown) and they also do not have the model year stamp. The model year stamp is specifically mentioned in the 1877 inspection manual (dated 1878) as to its placement (for the Model 1876 and 1877 guns). It is not mentioned in the 1875 manual, although the model date stamp does show up on at least two original Model 1875 guns that I know of.
Double digit serial numbers on original Gatling guns were double digits. Original Camel gun serial number 40 is marked 40 not 040. The zero preceding the serial number is something Anderson Guncraft does to mark its guns.
Photos (below) of Anderson Guncraft's replica Model 1874 "musket length" Gatling gun, serial number 011 on a carriage from the auction listing. The last photo is of an original Camel gun showing the proper lock plug handle for the 1874-1879 Gatlings.
I'm providing this information in the interest of setting the record straight and to help prevent the ignorant, dishonest, and unscrupulous from using our craftmanship for the purposes of fraud.
The "Infamous" Serial Number 011