‘Dillinger’ gun bought in Waverly 20 years ago

dil1WAVERLY, MN – A vintage LC Smith shotgun was bought in Waverly at an auction more than 20 years ago.

The buyer, a Minneapolis man, is looking for the Waverly seller in hopes of finding more information about the gun.

The gun sparked something of a mystery because it has an inscription on it that reads “You can’t live forever, but you’d be a damn fool not to try,” which is a famous quote attributed to John Dillinger, a bank robber who used St. Paul as a hideout in the early 1930s.

The manufacturer has confirmed that the gun has a legitimate serial number, and is a 10-gauge F grade hammer gun made that was shipped with 32-inch barrels.  It was completed July 19, 1900.

Barghusen admits, himself, that it’s unlikely the gun is directly associated with Dillinger.  “Chances are slim,” he said. But still . . . there is a chance.

When he bought the gun at the auction so many years ago, he spent less than $100 on it, and the small Dillinger inscription, which he didn’t find until later, wasn’t mentioned.

The gun actually spent the past two decades hanging on a wall, until Barghusen’s good friend, Kim Johnson, 63, of Minneapolis urged him to start asking questions, tracking the gun’s history.

Both men are interested in talking with the seller of the gun, or anyone who knows anything about it. Those who have tips should call the newspaper at (320) 282-6558 or e-mail news@heraldjournal.com.

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One comment

  1. City Copper says:

    Actually, gangsters in that era also used to drill holes in their guns so they could make makeshift slings in order to pull out guns from their trenchcoats . . .hence these guns were called “Whippets” because they would whip them out from under their coats. True story.