Taking aim at times past

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2003

It may well be a gun collector's dream- or a local history buff's treasure.

Investment Arms, Inc., a Ft. Collins, Colo., company is offering a limited number of "Lawrence County" rifles. The guns are Winchester model 94 .45-caliber shotguns that have gold and silver plating.

On the plating and on the rifle's American walnut woodwork are carvings depicting Lawrence County history - the courthouse,

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an iron furnace,

fur trappers and a depiction of the Underground Railroad are carved into the gold and silver plating.

A carving of an N&W steam train is on the handle of the rifle. The words "The Buckeye State" and "Beautiful Ohio" are carved into the walnut portion of the rifle as well.

"It's intended to be a wonderful family heirloom because families recognize things of historic significance in Lawrence County," Investment Arms, Inc. representative Mel Hancock said. " This would appeal to families who have lived and worked and raised their families here in Lawrence County. It is meant to be passed on from one generation to the next."

A proof and 10 numbered rifles are on sale in each county. The proof and one of the guns was sold after Hancock visited the Lawrence County Commission meeting yesterday.

Hancock said in a year and a half, those who buy the rifles will have the first opportunity to purchase

the "Lawrence County" Winchester 9410 shotgun and in three years,

a pistol to round out the set.

Hancock said he cannot promise the guns will increase in value, but he said previous purchases lead him to think it's possible.

"One of the men who bought the Jefferson County (W.Va.) rifle later offered it for sale for $7,500," Hancock said. "And a man in Monroe County (W.Va.) bought one of the first rifles we offered there, and later wanted to buy one for his nephew. He bought one off another man for $5,000."

The guns are ordered with a deposit, and are shipped within four weeks, which is the amount of time it takes to make one.

The rifle comes with a hardback carrying case and a certificate of authenticity. The price of the proof rifle is $3,500. The price of the numbered rifles is $3,195.

Those who want a rifle may call Hancock at (304) 253-2056 or at (970) 214-8306.

Investment Arms, Inc., is also offering 200 Ohio Bicentennial rifles for sale.