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For those of you who haven’t seen the Jack Nicholson movie Hoffa, James Riddle “Jimmy” Hoffa was the Teamsters’ boss who was so politically connected that Richard Nixon pardoned the union man for jury tampering, bribery and fraud. Hoffa was so mobbed-up the cosa nostra eventually took him out. And this is his gun. Mind you, the 1922 Winchester 1892 was a gift. The papers from Jimmy’s son that accompany the sale reveal that Hoffa crony and “organizer” Thomas J. Burke gave the rifle to his boss. Tommy claimed to have “won it in a contest.” Yes well . . .

In his book “Out of the Jungle,” Thaddeus Russel had this to say about Mr. Burke [click here to read the relevant passage on Google books]:

Perhaps the most notorious Teamster organizer, however, was Tom Burke, a street tough recruited from Chicago by Brennan. Burke took pride in his ability to handle a pistol and often posed for official union photographs with his right hand inside the pocket of his overcoat. He was also known as the most efficient organizer on staff. Several owners of Detroit trucking firms signed contracts with the union after only a few seconds of Burke holding a gun to their head.

Did Burke use the Winchester as a lever action sniper rifle (go figure) to take out one or more of Hoffa’s enemies, and then present the gun to Hoffa as a gruesome souvenir? I wouldn’t bet against it.

And if you like that sort of thing, the ’92’s going cheap at the moment. As of this writing, the top bid at (where you can see all the pics and papers) for Hoff’s Winchester is $955. For comparison’s sake, a box fresh Winchester 1892 Short runs a grand.

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  1. Great story about Hoffa. On trial for something, a crazy young man barged into the courtroom with a handgun intending to shoot Hoffa. As everyone else in the courtroom scattered at the unexpected intrusion, Hoffa got up and ran right up to the kid and beat him senseless. When asked why he did that, Hoffa replied with a street smart saying of his: "charge a gun, run from a knife". Just something to tuck away in the back of your head.


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