Gun collections can be a fun way to explore different types and aspects of firearms. The interwebs are full of images of people’s firearms collections lined up at their feet (why they insist on keeping their feet in the picture is beyond me), and they range from a random assortment to a more focused aspect of firearms. One type of gun collection is called “cloning,” in which a collector sets out to recreate a historical firearm as it would’ve been assembled in the given time era, which is typically seen with guns from any military conflict. Today, we bring you a more unique style of firearm cloning, in the form of Doug B’s clones of assassination guns.
ASSASSIN GUN CLONES
The topic of collecting and assembling guns based on an assassination may sound morbid or in bad taste, but Doug is interested in preserving a less-explored aspect of firearms, and he can have a safe, hands on experience with a clone of a gun that shaped our history. Doug explains:
My fascination with firearms stems from a fascination with history. I am familiar with modern guns, and own a few AR’s and Glocks and such, but my passion is older firearms. I enjoy collecting these guns because they’re pieces of history, and it’s possible that they were present at these great world changing moments that I’ve read so much about. I started this “Assassin” collection with the Oswald rifle. Oswald was a nut and murdered a few men, I don’t want to glorify any of his actions, but his rifle changed the course of world history. I’ll never hold the real one that sits in the national archives, but I have built a replica that helps me to appreciate the magnitude of that moment. It is the same for the other guns as well. I’ll never be able to go back in time and watch these horrible world changing moments in person, but I can learn from them by collecting these analogues.
LEE HARVEY OSWALD’S CARCANO M38
November 22, 1963 – 12:30PM – Dallas, TX
I’ll start with the Lee Harvey Oswald clone. This rifle is a Carcano Model 38 chambered in 6.5 Carcano. I purchased this off of gunbroker. It was already the correct caliber, and was even made in the same year as Oswald’s gun. Two things were missing in order for it to be an accurate clone.
First, the scope. The scope was manufactured by Ordnance Optics in the late 1950’s. These scopes were made in Japan, and purchased by an affiliate of the Martin B. Retting gun store in California. They bought an absurd amount of these scopes, and sold off large batches of them to other sporting goods stores around the country. Klein’s Sporting Goods in Michigan purchased a lot of these scopes (with mounts) and offered them as additions to their surplus rifles that they had for sale. Oswald ordered a Carcano and paid extra to have the scope mounted. In addition to this,he attached a US Air Force M13 shoulder sling to the rifle. In order to replicate his gun, I ordered one of the scopes directly from Martin B. Retting’s in California. The clerk told me they bought so many of those scopes in that one batch from the early 60s that they still have them available for sale.
Next, I found a replica of the Oswald sling on Ebay. I paid a gunsmith to mount the scope for me and voila, a clone of the gun that killed Kennedy. The only difference between my rifle and the one Oswald used is the serial number. Hickok45 also did a video on my exact rifle if you’re interested in checking that out.
Embedded below is the video from Hickock45 in which he fires Doug’s clone of Lee Harvey Oswald’s rifle. Hickock runs the Carcano through his target-laden course and goes through some of the design features. He also covers the proper pronunciation of the name “Carcano,” (at least a few times throughout the video).
ASSASSINATION OF GANDHI WITH A BERETTA 1934
January 30, 1948 – 5:17PM – New Delhi, INDIA
Next, my Beretta 1934 in .380 acp. This is the pistol that killed Mohatma Ghandi. As far as I have been able to determine, the pistol was not modified in any way prior to the assassination, so any 1934 looks pretty much like the one that killed Ghandi. However, from pictures I’ve seen mine looks to be a lot better taken care of, for what that’s worth.
The video below is from the NRA National Firearms Museum YouTube channel and covers some of the history and value of the Beretta model 1934.
JAMES EARL RAY’S REMINGTON 760
April 3, 1968 – 6:01PM – Memphis, TN
Lastly, my Remington 760 Gamemaster. James Earl Ray used this rifle to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr. Initially he purchased one in .243 Winchester, but later traded it in for one in .30-06. He attached a Redfield 2x-7x scope to it, and fired one shot from across the street, leaving the rifle and fleeing the scene. My rifle does not currently have that scope, but I am bidding on one on ebay at the moment so that should change soon.
Jeff and Danny from the Taofledermaus Youtube channel took a brief look at a Remington 760 pump action rifle and did a bit of shooting at the end. These days it may be more common to see a Remington 7600 which replaced the 760 in 1981.
Personally, I applaud Doug’s clones of guns used in assassinations, and his willingness to share them with TFB. Building historically accurate firearms from world-altering events can help us gain a new perspective compared to only seeing them in black and white. Doug was fortunate to acquire well-maintained samples of each model he’s collected thus far.
What do you think about Doug’s assassination gun clones? Is it an aspect of firearms you’d rather see left alone, or do you appreciate Doug’s preservation of historical firearms from events that changed the world? Do you know of any other collectors cloning assassination guns?