A Garden Gun Cultivates a Newfound Fascination

Sara Tipton - Anschuetz shotgun

Visiting Wyoming is always a pleasure. I get to see my husband, visit my future home town (as soon as our house sells) and meet some friendly folks. During my last visit, I discussed Wyoming hunting with my husband’s friend and co-worker Eric. At some point in the proceedings he brought out a dusty and well-loved Anschutz rifle that shoots 9mm ammunition. That’s it. That’s all the info he gave me. I had to know more. But first . . .

Sara Tipton - Anschuetz bolt

I asked Eric’s permission to take her apart and shine her up a bit. Wyoming women must know a thing or two about guns because he agreed quickly. The Anschutz’s bolt comes out like the Mosin-Nagant’s: safety check, slide it back, pull the trigger, done.

Sara Tipton - barrel of the Anschuetz shotgun

I removed the barrel from the stock as well as the trigger. The gun was really dirty, but the older design with fewer parts and simple screws holding it together made it appear ruggedly reliable. I stopped when the owner showed me the gun’s strange-looking 9mm round. Hang on; it’s a shotgun!

9mm

The round in question is a 9mm Glatt round, also known as the Flobert 9mm. (Fiocchi still sells them.) Internet research revealed that the shell doesn’t have a wad; the shot spreads very fast very quickly, but stays relatively tight (thanks to the small bore). Still, it’s not what you’d call an ideal hunting round, even compared to a .410 shot shell. (Slugs are available.)

On the positive side, the Flobert is a relatively quiet round, which may account for the nickname given these firearms: “garden guns.” They were (are?) used for small pest control (e.g., rats, rabbits) in built-up areas.

I’d never seen a single-shot, bolt-action rimfire shotgun before and I wanted to shoot it…bad. Maybe next time.

Eric’s gun isn’t worth a lot of money. Listings on ArmsList and Gun Auction peg an Anschutz like this in excellent condition at around three-and-a-half bills. Eric’s gun is rough and, more importantly, holds sentimental value for its owner. As a family heirloom passed down, it’s priceless. To someone else, not so much.

I get the feeling that this close encounter with a garden gun might be the start of a new fascination with older, interesting firearms. That’s how it starts, right? You come across something that piques your curiosity and the next thing you know you have a safe full of curios and relics. Anyway advice for a budding collector?

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