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by Gregg Richter a.k.a. Gregg Richter Last updated: 2009-11-08 21:40:29
I had been lusting after a Freedom Arms Model 83 in .500 Wyoming Express ever since I talked to JD Jones about it on the 2006 HHI Antelope Hunt. It was merely conversation about that gun vs. the S&W 500, which I already owned. But the seed had been planted…
Just a few months ago, although in retrospect it now seems like a millennium because of the saga that transpired, I got a call from a friend that is also a gun nut; especially when it comes to big bore single action revolvers. “Gregg, you need to check out the Model 83 .500 on gunbroker.com . It’s almost exactly the gun you’ve been wanting, and it’s going for a song!”
I looked it up and sure enough, gxxxx.com auction # http://www.gxxxx.com/auction/ViewItem xxx was a Freedom Arms Model 83 Premier Grade, 4 ¾” barrel, in .500 Wyoming Express. It was listed as unfired, and had the custom rounded grip butt, Black Micarta grips, the action hone job with 3 pound trigger, and trigger over travel screw. Add all the goodies up and the retail on this sweet piece was about $2500. And the gunbroker ad said ”free shipping” to boot. Even more amazing is the bidding started at $1200, but it had a ”buy now” price of $1600! The ad was only about 5 hours old. I didn’t hesitate; I arranged to pay the “buy now” price and the gun was taken off auction. It was to be mine, or so I thought. I put the money order in the mail, overnight to the seller.
I contacted the seller, from North Carolina, and he volunteered me the serial number so I could check it out with Freedom Arms to see if it indeed DID have all the options on it as the ad had claimed. No matter if it didn’t though, I thought, as the gun was still a great buy even if was the “plain Jane” Premier Grade. The girl at Freedom Arms took down the serial number, saying they would check it out.
About a half an hour later the phone rang. The caller ID told me it was from Wyoming. I picked up the phone and said “Hello!”
It was Mr. Bob Baker, President of Freedom Arms. He said, “Hello Gregg, I apologize to you, but I am about to ruin your day.” I said, “OH?” Bob said quietly, “I’m really sorry, but that gun, Serial # I 1182, was stolen over a year ago.”
I listened to Bob’s words carefully. To say I was stunned would be accurate, but even more, I was disappointed. That price on that gun had seemed too good to be true, and well, it was.
Bob went on to explain that there were two identical guns, ordered as a pair by a father for him and his son. They were in separate boxes, but the boxes were taped together, and both had been stolen off of a UPS truck. Their serial numbers were sequential, and the other stolen gun, apparently still floating around out there somewhere, has the serial number I 1181 (I as in Indigo, 1181).
I got off the phone and immediately called the United States Postal Service. Luckily I had overnighted the money order to the seller from our local post office, and I live in a small enough rural area that they knew who I was. I told them the story, and they contacted the post office in North Carolina. The item was out on delivery for that day, and by the time they contacted the postal carrier, he had already delivered it to a mailbox. Well, they sent the carrier back out and he was able to get it back. They then sent it back to my post office for me to pick up. A big heartfelt thank you to our USPS and in particular the post office in Conifer, Colorado and in North Carolina.
When the ill-fated Model 83 arrived at my local gun dealer, they contacted the local police, who came right over. They interviewed me and then took the gun for evidence. A few days later a BATF agent from North Carolina called me and interrogated me. The investigation is ongoing.
Bob Baker told me the gun will probably eventually end up back at Freedom Arms. I told him I would like first chance to buy it at that time. That gun has quite a history.
Handgunning Mule Deer and Pronghorn Antelope
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