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Introduction to German Hunting Gun Identification By Dietrich Apel It is not as easy to identify a German made gun as identifying a gun made in the USA, and the following articles explain why.Even the most knowledgeable collectors and gun owners are often scratching their heads and sometimes give up and can only give you an educated guess. The famous first impressions should at best encourage you to not jump to conclusions too early.World War II, the occupation of the eastern part of Germany by the Russians and a Communist Government contributed to the loss of most records in that part of the country. By Dietrich Apel The first gunsmith in Germany and other countries was the village or town blacksmith, and to set himself apart from those who mostly shoed horses, he called himself a gunsmith.As ways were found to mine iron ore, refine it and work with it and turn regular iron into steel, and as more and more iron mining took place, the location where the iron ore, waterpower and wood for smelting the iron were available in abundance, gunsmiths were attracted to these locations.Information is very hard to find, and those of you who have tried to research their family history will know of the difficulties.It was the tradition of the period, that gun shops all over the country would order guns from a maker, mostly in Suhl and Zella-Mehlis and vicinity, and ask him to engrave their name and the name of their town on the gun.It can usually be found on the top rib or on the barrels on both sides of the rib in front of the action. You first want to look for a maker’s trade mark or initials.
But it is a slow process that will take years and some information will never be found.Century, more and more gunmakers moved to these gunmaking centers like Suhl and Zella-Mehlis in Germany, Ferlach in Austria and Liege in Belgium.