View Full Version : Help me identify this 1911......

06-26-2008, 7:45 PM
I have up a 1911 frame that is marked:


With a serial #:

Anyone know much about this CA company?

I posted this a m1911.org and there was some info but not much more. I'm hoping somoene here knows more since we're in CA!

06-26-2008, 8:18 PM
I remember once reading about them so I found it: (More than you want to know :) )
"A. R. Sales Co., National Ordnance, Inc. and Federal Ordnance, Inc.

A. R. Sales was owned by Elia Karnes. Bob Penny, a business partner of Eliaís husband, Jack Karnes, may have also been involved with A. R. Sales. Jack Karnes, his wife Elia, and their children ran the company.
Ford Motor Company was formed on June 16, 1903 by Henry Ford and eleven other business associates. In 1925, Ford Motor Company bought Lincoln Motor Company, a manufacturer of luxury automobiles. For the 1972 model year, Lincoln introduced the Mark IV two-door luxury sport coupe. The Mark IV was longer, wider and slightly lighter than its very popular predecessor; the Lee Iacocca designed Lincoln Mark III. The 1972 Mark IV was Fordís answer to General Motors Corporationís Cadillac Eldorado and was a major success for Ford Motor Company. Lincoln Mark IV automobile production ended with the 1976 model year. Mr. Maunz was impressed with the plush style of the 1972 Lincoln Mark IV. Thus, he suggested to A. R. Sales that its semi-automatic M14 receiver be named Mark IV.

It appears that A. R. Sales started on the semi-automatic M14 type rifle project in October, 1971. There were two production lots, one in 1974 and the other in 1976. The first production lot of Mark IV receivers was cast at Rimer Casting Company using Karl Maunzís receiver master die. The second production batch of Mark IV receivers was cast at Gray-Syracuse, Inc. and machined by Valley Ordnance Co. The first lot of receiver serial numbers ended somewhere between 1 and 225. The receiver serial numbers for the second lot were started at a number below 225 and ended at number 450. Twenty-five serial numbers were skipped between the first lot and the second lot. Mr. Maunzís receiver master die was also used to produce receiver castings for National Ordnance semi-automatic M14 type rifles (see below). A. R. Sales Mark IV receivers are of decent quality. 2 A. R. Sales was sold off some time after the second production run of Mark IV rifles in 1976.

At the same time, in the early 1970s, when A. R. Sales was developing its Mark IV receiver, John Arnold was pursuing the same goal of manufacturing and marketing his own semi-automatic M14 type receiver. Mr. Arnold owned National Ordnance, Inc., a firearm manufacturing company, and Federal Ordnance, a firearm parts and ammunition supplier. Mr. Wyant Lamont, Jr., managed the day-to-day operations of National Ordnance. The two sister businesses were located adjacent to one another on Alpaca Street at Potrero Avenue in South El Monte, CA, about one-quarter mile from A. R. Sales. From 1965 to 1970, National Ordnance produced 22,500 newly manufactured M1903A3 receivers and assembled them into complete rifles using USGI surplus parts. National Ordnance also manufactured 2000 M1 Garand welded and investment cast receivers and an unknown number of M1 Carbine investment cast receivers in the 1960s.

A very small number of National Ordnance stamped semi-automatic M14 type rifles were produced. The receivers were investment cast by Rimer Casting Co but machined by another Ohio business. National Ordnance appears to have gone out of business about 1974 or shortly thereafter with the death of Mr. Arnold. As part of the liquidation of the companyís assets, assembled M14 type rifles and parts kits were sold off. The author is not aware of any collaboration that existed between A. R. Sales and National Ordnance on M14 receiver development.

Bob Brenner restarted Federal Ordnance by no later than 1982. Jack Karnes went to work for Bob Brenner when Federal Ordnance was revived. In early 1982, Federal Ordnance had plans to produce M1 Garand Rifles using newly manufactured receivers. By 1987, Federal Ordnance was located at 1443 Potrero Avenue South El Monte, CA 91733. It sold military surplus firearms. Federal Ordnance also sold lightweight alloy M1911 style pistol frames marketed under its name and a trade name as well as selling a Springfield Armory, Inc. high-end M1911 style pistol. Reportedly, the lightweight alloy M1911 style pistol frames were originally marketed by A. R. Sales in the early 1970s.
No further mention of the 1911's in the article. It was a long article but in summary, the rest was about:

The company began importing Chinese made rifles, changed the name to Century Arms and moved to Canada. They went out of business in 1993.

06-26-2008, 8:50 PM
Thanks for the info. I started to wonder WTF? as the article started talking about some Ford-Lincoln-Mercury car stuff but I'm guessing between 1960 and 1980 there was a plethra of mfgr's/ dealers and gunsmiths making their own versions of common firearms. As one company died, another rose in it's pet semetary place. :43:

06-26-2008, 8:55 PM
Hey Kruzer, thanks for the memories. I used to frequent Fed Ord in the late 80s and early 90s. I enjoyed hefting their varoius military rifles, average size show room area but great stuff in the warehouse and back rooms.:D

06-28-2008, 8:19 AM
Hey Kruzer, thanks for the memories. I used to frequent Fed Ord in the late 80s and early 90s. I enjoyed hefting their varoius military rifles, average size show room area but great stuff in the warehouse and back rooms.:D

Wow, you must be OLD! :rofl2:

06-28-2008, 2:46 PM
I bought my EAA Witness and Daewoo DR200 from Federal Ordinance at their big "closing down" auction on potrero ave in S. El Monte.
It must have been around 1996 or so.

The back room was awesome compared to the front shop.

06-29-2008, 1:40 PM
These 1911 patterns are listed in the Blue book of gun values. I've never seen any of these guns in person though. Anyone remember a company named Vega making 1911's out of Santa Ana IIRC? I think the 1st stainless 1911 pattern as well.

06-29-2008, 1:54 PM
Anyone remember a company named Vega making 1911's out of Santa Ana IIRC? I think the 1st stainless 1911 pattern as well.

Vega, That's the brand I was looking for. I actually worked on one of those stainless 1911 pistols. The quality was lacking. One of the guys I worked with heard I worked at a gunshop so he approached me to see if I can help him get his gun running 100%/ Well the plunger tube was loose and can snapped off. The feed ramp wasn't even smooth enough to feed ball ammo. The extractor did not have any tension at all, it would fail to extract chambered ammo 50% of the time. He didn't want to spend the $50 quoted to get it running with ball ammo. I ended up doing most of the work for $20 since he relied on the pistol as his only home defense gun. Sheeesh... the least I could do to help a fellow Airman.

07-06-2008, 5:31 AM
Wow, you must be OLD! :rofl2:

and handsome!:cool: