Fall 2023 Premier Firearms & Militaria Auction
November 3rd, 4th, 5th, & 6th, 2023
This auction will feature an outstanding collection of items spanning multiple categories including Modern, Military, Sporting, & Antique firearms & militaria! Below is just a small grouping of select highlights from the massive offering to be featured in this upcoming sale!
U.S. 1901 SPRINGFIELD MARKED “LT TOWNSEND WHELEN” BOLT ACTION CARBINE.
This unique 1903 carbine was assembled from a Model 1901 Springfield receiver. The receiver retains its original S# 11 and the 1901 date. The other markings on the receiver ring have been removed by the milling of very shallow transverse grooves and markings in these grooves are ” LT. / TOWNSEND WHELEN / 30-03 /”. Receiver marked on bottom behind recoil lug “4”. Col. Townsend Whelen was a very famous firearms authority, author, hunter and soldier. Col. Whelen started his military career as an enlisted man. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant of Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Spanish American War. Desiring a military career he obtained help from President Theodore Roosevelt to take the examination in 1902 as a regular Army 2nd Lieutenant and was promoted from there doing duty as both a line and staff officer. He was ordered to duty at Springfield Armory in the Fall of 1929. While there he had a hand in the development of the 22 Hornet cartridge. In the book, “Mr. Rifleman” by Angier and Whelen, Col. Whelen stated, “we took three .22 Springfield’s, fitted them with centerfire bolts and proper sized extractors and made a chambering reamer and rechambered them for Wotkyns cartridge which I called the Hornet.” At a later point in the book, he states regarding a custom 30-06 rifle built by Griffin & Howe, “I had this rifle built about 1930 for my cousin, William B. Whelen of Philadelphia. I was at that time stationed at Springfield Armory. I first sent the breech action complete, in the bright, before it was heat treated, to Griffin & Howe and had them engrave it, and then return it to me. The high-numbered receiver and bolt are of nickel steel. I then had the receiver and bolt heat treated at Springfield Armory, and fitted with a new star-gauged .30-06 barrel.” This seems to establish the fact that a certain amount of private work was completed at Springfield Armory for the officers serving there at their own expense. The possibility exists that this rifle was also assembled at Springfield using surplus parts. Author Bruce Canfield has stated in his book,” ’03 Springfield Service Rifle”, that there are even today a very small number of Model 1901 receivers in existence which would allow the assembly of a custom-made rifle of this type.
Rear sight appears to be modified from an 1898 Krag sight. The rear of the sight is modified to remove side notches. Sight is graduated to 2,000 yards. Banded blade front sight. Blade is mounted on a Krag style post. Sight blade and base are secured by pins. Post marked on right side w/ “10T” which indicates the rifling pitch of the 22 3/16″ barrel. The barrel has a distinctive step in front of the receiver ring. Marked “P” underneath chamber area. Bright bolt with straight down handle. Bolt handle has punch proof underneath. Safety lug is marked underneath “C”. Bolt has single gas hole at forward end. Extractor has gas hole. Safety is unmarked and finished in case colors. Cut off is unmarked and the wing has faint case colors. Smooth narrow trigger. The milled trigger guard marked on left rear of bow with inverted “4” and “flaming bomb”. Floorplate is notably more polished than balance of trigger guard. Walnut stock and handguard. The buttstock is marked with “B” behind trigger guard and tiny initials “GDM” behind sling swivel at toe. The straight grip stock has grasping grooves, small pin type reinforcing bolts and rounded cutoff recess. Forend has a very nicely done walnut filler to close the lightning cut. Smooth trap buttplate with curved toe. Forend has solid Krag type band. Handguard appears to be from Krag rifle and is notably darker than buttstock. Krag type brown leather military sling w/ single brass hook. Sling is marked “Rock Island Arsenal WTG”.
PROVANANCE STATEMENT: From the Estate Collection of Thomas J. Mulligan.