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  #1  
Old 06-10-2016, 06:50 PM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Randall Firearms 1911 45 cal and Randall M-14 knives

Some time ago I read a fascinating account about the interaction between the now defunct Randall Firearms Co., and Randall Made Knives. Ever since reading that account, I?ve wanted a Randall Firearms 1911 45 caliber to join my modest collection of Randall knives. Now I have one.

The account of the start-up of the Randall Firearms Company and the interaction with Randall-Made Knives that I read was written by Rick Bowles, or possibly Rhett Stidham I think, possibly on another forum. I cannot find that account now.

Basically, as best I can recall, the post averred that before Randall Firearms began production in 1983, they sent a letter to Bo Randall asking if there was a problem using Randall as a name?even though the firearms company was named after Air Force Brigadier General Russell Randall.
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Supposedly Bo Randall blessed their use of the name and then received two of the first stainless steel 45 pistols from Randall Firearms. He in turn sent two highly engraved RMKs back to them? so those knives are out there somewhere.

Here are some bad pictures of my awesome and collectable Randall 1911 45, all stainless steel.

















I wish I had kept a copy of that on-line post connecting the two Randall companies. But in any case, here is a link to the interesting history of Randall Firearms. I would hope that other RMK collectors who also have a Randall pistol would post pictures. I wouldn?t be surprised if other RMK collectors have also been attracted to these beautiful and historic pistols too? .

http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/histor...ll_history.htm

?Stainless steel semi-auto handguns are now common, even pass?. But this fact of life in the ?90?s would never have come to be had it not been for a small, now defunct company which dared to show the rest of the firearms industry the pathway to the future. Randall Firearms Company of Sun Valley, California, U.S.A., made it all happen with a line of high-quality Model 1911 derivatives.

?Although Randall pistols were manufactured from only June 7, 1983 to May 15, 1985, they ushered-in an entirely new era for handguns, thus carving for themselves a place in the history of firearms around the world. This historic niche, coupled with the fact that Randall pistols are exemplary specimens of their genre, has made every single one of the 9,968 Randall pistols eminently collectible.

?Enhancing the collectability of Randall?s is the fact that, in all, there were 24 different models with 12 variations in three different caliber?s. This means there were never very many of any one style made ? never.

?Among Randall?s many trend-setting innovations were two of the most significant breakthroughs in the 1911 field since John Moses Browning designed that form of semi-auto in the first place. One of these breakthroughs came when Randall made the very first production pistol of its kind in stainless steel. The second was the introduction of a true mirror image of the 1911 in a left-handed configuration. Again, this had never been done before on a production basis?.?

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:01 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2016, 03:03 PM
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Just to update, I changed out the pictures in the original post. These are better. To my eye it makes a beautiful combination.. stainless Randall pistol and knives.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2016, 05:06 PM
Sligo Sligo is offline
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Terrific pistol and historical without a doubt !
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:04 AM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Jack,

If you have a copy of Rhett Stidham's 1991 "Green" catalog of Jack Crider's collection, you might want to open it to page 11.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2016, 10:42 AM
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Bill, I knew there were pictures of two Randall pistols in that catalog but I did not have a copy... and had forgotten the connection to Mr. Jack Crider, so my google efforts were not productive. With your help google rescued me this time. I found an on-line posting of the catalog on Mitchell Harrison's page, link is below.

http://www.randallmadeknife.com/1991...er-collection/

Here is page 11 from that catalog, and a blow-up of the discussion of each item. I would gladly have paid the price for those two sets.







Interesting is that there were not two but three matched sets made* ... each set with the serial numbers of the matching pistol etched onto the knives. One of the pistols in the catalog was 9mm, and the other was 45 cal. I don't know what the pistol in the third matched set in the Randall Museum was. Randall Firearms did make a few pistols in 38 special cal., so maybe that is possible. I think most of the Randall Firearms 9mm were sent to Europe and they are now harder to find. Their stainless magazines are also more difficult to locate.

Except for the matched sets, all other things being equal I'd rather have the 45 cal. pistol. The RF 9mms had the same single stack magazine as did the 45 cal., holding 7 rounds. If they had had the double-stack 9mm magazine holding 14 rounds instead of 7, well... that would be another story. Thanks for the tip.

* The story I read had Mr. Randall forwarding an engraved set of knives to Randall Firearms after receiving the pistols. I would speculate that the matching knives in these two sets, and the one in the museum were made after the fact to match the pistols. I also understood that RF sent two early pistols to RMK, but the 9mms were not made until after about one year of production... so it may be that these pistols were independently acquired with a knife made up to match them.

It also seems to me that during the '70s-80s, RMK generally favored using a Bear Bowie for an official shop presentation knife. So I would wonder if there may be two Bear Bowies floating around California or wherever, with something engraved on them from RMK to RF.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 06-14-2016, 09:37 AM
Rick Bowles Rick Bowles is offline
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Jack,

Nice Randall('s). You're on the right track. Randall Firearms did indeed contact the shop about using the name "Randall". However, they dealt exclusively with Gary. Gary's reply was "of course it okay with me, it's your name too". Once production started Gary bought ten of the stainless auto pistols. The original idea was to put together ten knife and gun sets each featuring the pistol and a Model #1-7". Both would wear ivory and I was to scrimshaw matching scenes on the pistol grips and the knife handle. Gary had a custom case maker that was to craft fitted display cases for the sets. As a thank you Gary made a 12-8" Bear Bowie in stainless and ivorite. This was long before we offered stainless on the 12-8". Gary then sent me the knife to scrimshaw the Randall Firearms logo on the handle. The knife was then sent to the General. Before we could get the knife and gun sets started the gun company folded. Gary was legitimately concerned about offering the pistol without the manufacture's warrantee and the project was scrapped. To the best of my knowledge the Randall pistols are still in the safe and I have not heard of the 12-8" since.
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Old 06-14-2016, 09:59 AM
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Rick, that is just freaking awesome information. What a footnote to history! The appreciation in value of the unused Randall pistols is probably substantial, depending on what models Gary bought. This is what a chat board should be and deliver ... sharing arcane information with people who are searching. It is just a dang shame that the project you described did not reach fruition.

I wonder when and how the two sets offered in the Green Catalog (and the one mentioned as being in the museum) came to be? I would speculate that Jack Crider heard about the scrapped project and had them made up for him personally.... it is another curiosity. I guess I'm not surprised at the use of the Bear Bowie as a presentation knife to General Randall. It was the model selected for (American astronaut) to give to his counterpart Russian cosmonaut. And it seems to have been the model selected for ceremonial gifts on other occasions too.

But I'm not too sure about the lack of stainless-bear-bowie-before-1984 that you mentioned. I think the seven "continents" knives were stainless and were all acquired from RMK in late '60s early '70s. It seems to me that they were very probably part of the group of 12 (or so...at work, no Gaddis book) made in 1968 (or so) from 440 "C" rather than "B." The production of these were mentioned by Gaddis. However, I would suspect that those 12 (?) were the only stainless bears made for years and years, and until those blades were exhausted, no more would have been made.

Do you have any pictures of the General's knife or pictures of the pistols, etc.? I wonder if there is a way to get an inventory of the pistols Mr. Gary Randall bought? Dang... a mother load of interesting and mysterious goings on at RMK. Love it, thanks.

PS: I didn't realize you could scrim "ivorite" (though god knows what material was being called "ivorite" in early 1980s...) ... cool bit of info.

Last edited by Jacknola; 06-14-2016 at 10:40 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2016, 08:51 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacknola View Post
PS: I didn't realize you could scrim "ivorite" (though god knows what material was being called "ivorite" in early 1980s...) ... cool bit of info.
Jack,

Randall's "Ivorite" was Westinghouse paper Micarta.

Best,

Ron
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  #9  
Old 06-15-2016, 10:01 AM
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Thanks Ron.

Apparently RMK has recycled the term "ivorite" to reference different materials at different times. I think "ivorite" was originally a moniker for "Delrin." I've seen several wonderful examples of Rick's work on line recently that mostly were on a parchment colored material that is probably what you describe. It looks great, I didn't know this could be done on Micarta. This picture was posted on another site, but I think it is the material you are referring to.



As a sideline to this discussion, here is a thought about stainless steel 12-8 Bear Bowies. Gaddis wrote that Gary Randall made "about" 15 stainless steel 12-8s from a sample bar of 440C stainless in the late 1960s. I have previously posted that I think those fifteen were the only stainless 12-8s made for quite a long time, which made it likely that the "Continents" knife blades were 440C metallurgy. Here is an example "Continent" knife, "Asia"...note the etched logo:"



Fast-forward...here is a portion of page 20 from the "Green Catalog" of Jack Crider's collection published by Rhett Stidham:



Notice that the catalog entry for these two knives, published in 1991 (?), avers that only 10 stainless Bear Bowies were made and that these are two of them. Well... looking through that Green Catalog we can easily see that there are several errors in dating...which is to be expected. But is the statement about the number of SS 12-8s (10) true?

In addition to the two SS Bears shown above from the Green Catalog, we know that the 7 "Continents" knives were stainless 12-8s. The Bear Bowie given by Scott Carpenter (Astronaut) to Titov (Cosmonaut) was also stainless (Gaddis). Add the stainless 12-8 sent to General Randall and that makes 11 that are accounted for. So the Green Catalog is likely wrong about the number though probably not far off. If Gary Randall's memory of the number of 12-8 blades (15) made from that sample of 440C is correct as related by Gaddis, this leaves "about" 4 stainless 12-8s out there somewhere, unaccounted for.

This seems reasonable. All this means... not much... just a footnote, though it does add a bit of "special" to these early SS 12-8s.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:03 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-15-2016, 07:15 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Engraved Randall

Here is a beauty for you my friend!
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File Type: jpg 13239005_1037165519671810_118902584395467033_n.jpg (228.9 KB, 21 views)
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  #11  
Old 06-15-2016, 08:00 PM
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Dang it Bill, that particular pistol was a one-off, one of a kind. It is kinda famous too. Where did you find a picture of this? I was originally going to get a right-handed Lemay model A-3xx but they were a little pricey and the mags were difficult to locate. This one is pretty special. Thanks.
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  #12  
Old 06-15-2016, 08:51 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Just a pic kicking around in my files. I have no idea where this gun is these days. Wish it was in my safe!
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:58 PM
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Here are the details from the Randall Firearms history, link in first post. The write-up says it was a set... sets were usually composed of a left hand and a right hand model, but in this case the write up is confusing and the "set" may refer to the three common slide variations. It would be interesting to see this/these things.


From the history write-up...

"B321 Set ? This set was based on the left-handed LeMay, and it was the only set to have all three individual slide variations fitted to a single receiver. The receiver and all three slides were identically engraved in a high relief pattern by Byron Burgess. The set was mirror-polished and was fitted with custom ivory grips bearing scrimshanded Randall logo on each side. Scrimshaw work was done by Mark Tate and all custom work by the Hal Jankofsky at the RFMC Custom Shop. The set was delivered in a custom-fitted walnut presentation case. It has the serial number of REK 1."

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-28-2017 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:36 AM
BoBlade BoBlade is offline
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Originally Posted by Jacknola View Post
Apparently RMK has recycled the term "ivorite" to reference different materials at different times. I think "ivorite" was originally a moniker for "Delrin." I've seen several wonderful examples of Rick's work on line recently that mostly were on a parchment colored material that is probably what you describe. It looks great, I didn't know this could be done on Micarta. This picture was posted on another site, but I think it is the material you are referring to.
Jack,

IMO the majority of Rick's scrim has been done on Westinghouse paper Micarta (AKA "Old Yeller"). It starts out as plain white and then yellows as a function of being exposed to light. Hang it on a wall for a decade or so and the contrast between the two sides is readily apparent. It has "grain" like wood which is enhanced as the material yellows. Here are photos of a few that I've owned:



This belt buckle is Rick's first attempt to use color in his scrim. It has a "test pattern" on the back. I bought a knife from a gentleman in Australia and he threw in the belt buckle at no charge!


Best,

Ron
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  #15  
Old 06-16-2016, 10:39 AM
Rick Bowles Rick Bowles is offline
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But I'm not too sure about the lack of stainless-bear-bowie-before-1984 that you mentioned.
Jack,
"This was long before we offered stainless on the 12-8". Of course there were the group of stainless 12-8" Bowies, and perhaps others, but stainless was not offered as an option until much later. I'm sorry but I have no pictures, this was way before I had a computer.

Most of my early work was done on the Westinghouse paper micarta aka "ivorite" or on the polished area of stag adjacent to the hilt. During this time Gary would not accept ivory as a handle material. The "Ol Yeller" was excellent to scratch but it does yellow up considerably over time. Here is a (poor) photo of my serial number #001 after it was completed next to an image of it today.

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