In pro-gun states (e.g., Arizona), legislators have assented to their constituents’ desire to see donated or confiscated firearms re-homed, rather than destroyed. Under Montana code 46-5-313 the Treasure State requires police department to sell ballistic assets to federal firearms dealers. The Billings Montana Police Department and Yellowstone County Sheriff’s department are auctioning off a number of guns on Saturday, August 2nd, from 9 a.m. to noon. Here is the link to the Sheriff’s auction site. If you’re not a licensed gun dealer, you’ll need an FFL to bid for you. These pictures give us an idea . . .

of the assets that are being saved by laws such as these. Each picture is one lot of guns. The guns will be auctioned off in lots. Notice the minty looking Springfield 1903 in the center. Original 1903 Springfields in that condition are difficult to find. They are almost never used in crimes.

The lots are of five guns each, with two lots containing  six handguns and another containing four handguns. There are eight lots of handguns and six lots of long guns. The lots appear to have been judiciously mixed to include expensive and inexpensive guns.  A number of the bolt action rifles appear to be missing bolts.

Here is one of the handgun lots:

There are 75 firearms total, 45 handguns and 30 long guns. About 32 of the guns are good quality, with 43 inexpensive models.  7 of the guns are obviously missing parts, from major (the bolt) to minor (the grips).

It’s great to see good guns – and even bad ones – go to good homes. 

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

53 Responses to Billings, Montana PD Gun Auction (Your FFL Need Apply)

  1. Just to name the Hi points, we got a 1903 Springfield, an old school Ruger mk3, a friggin desert eagle, I think thats a browning hipower, dual chrome Jennings and a beretta…..
    and 9 HiPoints.

    • That is indeed a Belgian Browning, if I’m reading the markings correctly (they’re a little blurry in the enlarged picture). It also looks to be in really good shape.

    • A pretty old looking Colt, with a smokeless frame, I’d guess it’s a .45. Used to be nickel plated.

    • It looks like they’ve deliberately interspersed the desirable guns among the crap so people will be forced to buy the junk.

      • The lot with the Mk. III (aka the one without a Hi-Point) looks pretty solid, even if a couple pieces could use some love.

      • I think it’s more “buy some decent guns, and we’ll throw in a Hi-Point for free!”

        As that bear story last week showed, a Hi-Point can get the job done.

  2. “Original 1903 Springfields in that condition are difficult to find. They are almost never used in crimes.”

    Black powder rifles (pic 4) are much more common for convenience store robberies.

    • Are they, really? I guess it makes some sense, since they don’t require background checks. There are 2 black powders. The obvious one in pic 4 and the TC(or other make modern one) in pic 1.

    • Even a brand new 1911 is still a classic. Besides William Ruger was inspired by the Japanese Nambu type 14, which fits the bill.

    • It’s a Mk III, the MK I & II have heel mag releases. I think the “old school” comment had more to do with it not being a 22/45, or one of the polymer frame versions, or maybe the fact that it has the standard taper barrel.

  3. Auctioneer: If you want to buy the Deagle you have to take the Hi Point! No you can’t toss it in the trash on the way out, we will be checking!

  4. Well, I guess I’ll have to apply to get an FFL. I’m sure that our expedient Post Office and the Federal Government will get my approval back to me in time to bid!

  5. I don’t know what I am looking at in the picture, good guns or junk. But I would be curious to know if any of the guns being auctioned have much value. I went to a sheriffs auction of recovered, unclaimed goods once. The place was loaded with junk (no guns). I wondered what could have happened to all the good stuff? Burglars are stupid in general, but they do have expensive tastes occasionally. But there was no good stuff to be auctioned, just junk. Hummmmm. Wonder what happened to it all.

    • I have a (yet to be appraised) WWII Naval katana that came from a found property auction. And a Knights Templar (Masonic) dress sword that’s at least a century old. Didn’t pay over $60 for either of them. I bet, though, on first glance, most people would have dismissed both, since everyone knows a katana shouldn’t be stainless, and who wants an unsharpened ceremonial sword with rust on it?

  6. Anybody have an idea what the nickel plated top-break revolver is below the deagle?
    The trigger appears to have a glock type safety.

  7. These sell offs are nothing new. Go check out govdeals.com, in the firearms and live ammo section. Changes all the time, right now a .38 webley mk4 and a bunch of hi-points are listed. You can also buy knives and such, by the pound, all confiscated by TSA.

  8. There is one more picture of four handguns at the site. A nice looking Colt revolver on a rug, (Police Positive?) a Ruger MKI in parts with custom, wood grips, a Hi-Point, and a Smith & Wesson Top Break New Model Navy Number 3 , or New Frontier, I think, missing grips. Looks like a very nice lot. It is the last picture shown at Gun Watch. Got lost in translation, I guess.

    http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2014/07/mtbillings-gun-auction-to-save-assets.html

  9. I’m not there, but if I were, I’d be in for the lot with the High-Power. Not only does that appear to be a very clean example of a Belgian Browning, but you’d get the Arminius revolver as a curiosity. None of the lots look like total losses to me. Even that sporterized Carcano is a historic curiosity, if nothing else.

    Maybe I’m a little more optimistic than most. I like to do my own work whenever possible, be it guns, cars, computers, etc. I have an old J.C. Higgins .22 that I built, mostly in high school, as a barn find, mismatched parts, pitted bolt, off the shelf cold blue and all. When I started looking at it, (literally) blew the spiders out of it, I found a bright and shiny bore with strong rifling. I use it to compare .22 ammo, since I can lock the bolt closed. I used it as a platform for my final report in high school physics. I’d probably get as much for it in a “buyback” as if I sold it at a show, but at least a buyer at a show would take it out and enjoy it, maybe tinker with it, who would appreciate the Sears branded Weaver scope mounted on it. I’d take a fraction of the buyback price from the right buyer, honestly, if I were to let it go. That’s not happening any time soon.

  10. You all ought to quit complaining about the Hi Power in each of the lots. Most guns don’t come with free metal silhouette targets.

  11. Hi-points may be ugly but the one I acquired (part of someone paying off a debt) is accurate and has been completely reliable with over 3000 rounds through it. Go figure.

    • I’m one of the people who (mostly) don’t criticize them. I’ve only ever heard good things. They’re ugly, they feel like holding a brick, but everyone who actually owns one says they get the job done better than some of the high dollar competitors. To paraphrase something I said on TTAK, in the kitchen I have Wusthof, and I have GFS. The GFS knives take the same edge as the Wusthofs, seem to hold it longer, and get the job done for a fraction of the price. The Wusthofs have a better balance and feel, but is that really worth the additional cost? To some, definitely. To everyone else, who are we to judge? I’d rather have a Hi-Point than a pointed stick.

    • I don’t know why people get on their high horses about Hi Points.

      Are they cheap? Yes.
      Are they ugly, with a slide that is brutishly heavy? Sure.

      After someone got done hitting Arisaka rifles with the fugly stick, they went to work on Hi Point semi-autos.

      But… Do they work? Yup. Every one I’ve seen goes “bang” every time you pull the trigger on factory ammo. They’re a simple, straightforward, blow-back action, which means that they’re simple. Simplicity breeds reliability. And that’s why I won’t look down my nose at them.

      Unlike the “ring of fire” cheap handguns, Hi Points are reliable, safe guns that work for people who can’t afford better. Just because someone doesn’t have $500+ to spend on a gun doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to own a gun, nor should they priced out of the means to defend themselves and their home.

        • I am sure that they can have problems, especially if you use other than ball ammunition. But I have seen custom colt .45s that could not cycle a magazine without jamming.

          The Hi-Points do have a lifetime warranty. I am not fond of them, I do not like their balance or controls. But they mostly seem to work, and I have found their 9mm carbine to be quite reliable. Their short little carbines just seem to scream “Cheap and effective home protection!”

        • Yup. When fed factory FMJ ammo, they go “bang” every time. All six (four pistols, 2 9×19’s 2 .45 ACP’s) and 2 .45 ACP carbines went “bang” every time for both me and their owners. They had anywhere from two magazines to hundreds of rounds through them. All six were happy campers – they thought they got a good firearm for their money.

          The reason I got to see them is people took them apart, then couldn’t get them back together correctly, and the people with the carbines had trouble breaking them down to clean them. Simple enough to resolve.

          Are they a high quality gun? No. But for the money, they’re far better than many other new gun alternatives, and certainly better than anything from the “ring of fire” frauds, or the German crap revolver outfits.

          I’d say that they’re on par with a Charter Arms revolver, in terms of reliability and function, but at a lower price.

          I’ll stand by my opinion: Not everyone can afford some Austrian/German/Swiss piece of injection-molded Cheez-whiz that has pretty women on their shooting team. The people who can’t afford Austrian/German/Swiss brand-name, “perfect” cheez-whiz still have a right to own a gun, IMO, and that market is better served by Hi Point than the alternatives.

        • To Dyspeptic:

          But, for a while, everyone could afford a great Smith & Wesson model 10 in .38 special, as the police turn in market was flooded. I bought and sold dozens of them for about $100 each. Let us not forget the surplus Makarovs, for only a little more, or the surplus Star model A Supers in 9mm largo for $100 and a bit. The CZ52s were another deal. There were a lot of really good guns, cheap, only 15-20 years ago.

          Sorry about the “good old days”. If we could get rid of some of the NFA BS and the import restrictions that have been put on Russia and China, we could have another decade of “good old days”.

          Of course, you had to know enough to be confident in what you got, which is where the Hi-Point warranty comes in.

        • Dean – yes, I remember those days so very well. At that time, I thought “Eh, I’ve got other, more pressing things to buy with my money. There’s so many S&W .38’s that I can always get them cheap…

          Wrong, wrong, wrong.

          Today, I kick myself that I didn’t buy a pickup truck load of those LEO S&W Model 10/M&P turn-ins when they were getting all hot and bothered with new cheez-whiz semi-autos. With a quick polishing job, a hot blue job, a thorough cleaning and some checking of the timing, they’d be a great gun to sell today at $250 to $350 for people who want a reliable, basic bedside gun that goes “bang” with a reliable round. For older women, I think a quality .38 Special revolver is just the ticket for a bedside gun.

        • Dyspeptic:

          I think you have not kept up with the current prices on Smith Revolvers… Those old model 10s with plenty of holster wear go for $250-$300 as is. I bought as many as I thought prudent, and still wish I had bought more. Of course, hindsight is 100%. I almost bought into Quarter Phone… Don’t ask, nobody else has heard of it either.

          I tend to forget the decisions where I did not buy the loser… and remember the ones where I did not buy the winner!

  12. So many Hipoints, so little time. Surprise, surprise.

    No SCCY’s in there? Somewhat shocked.

    I suppose one of them old revolvers might make for an ideal tackle box gun.

  13. The PD appears to know their guns, or they had some help in distributing the wheat and the chaff pretty evenly.

    In the rifles, I see the 1903, what appears to be a Win52 without a bolt, a sporterized Mauser 98, a 1917 Enfield or Remington Model 30 that’s been modified. The double gun appears to be old enough it might be a damascus barrel gun. There are enough Colts and S&W’s in the handgun lots to be of some interest.

    I might give them a call and wander on up that way. There’s some stuff in there that could become good turn-around projects.

    • If you do get involved, there’s a buyer in northern Michigan who’ll give you slightly above market value for that Arminius. Not right now, I won’t have expendable funds until October or so. But I have a soft spot for the unusual and uncommon, and as much as I’d love the Browning, that Weihrauch wheelgun speaks to me.

      • I have had a couple of Arminius guns over the years. I would not call them junk. They are inexpensive but serviceable guns. I have never had one of their target models, as that revolver obviously is. I have a soft spot for the unusual as well.

        • I’ve attended the November gun show in Birch Run, Michigan every year for the last couple decades, with the exception of when I was in South Carolina. There used to be a dealer, I forget his name, but he always had “gunsmith specials” and antique AOWs for great prices. Hasn’t been there for years, I hope the absence is voluntary, but he almost always had some sort of non-firing German curiosity for under $100, as is. Never bought one, usually blew my entire budget by the time I got there, but I distinctly remember the one year I hadn’t spent a dime, figured I’d find a project at his table, and he wasn’t there. I think I bought a bunch of 10mm reloads instead.

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