Rare Arms On Display At Gun Show

Some of the world's most outstanding examples of old and new weapons have been assembled for the first major gun show to be held here in the past six years.

More than 5,000 pieces, valued in excess of $3 million are being displayed in the Stardust Motor Hotel in Mission Valley. The display is a 200th Anniversary event and will continue through tomorrow.

"To many people, a gun is a just a violent weapon of destruction, but to the collector it is a thing of engineering excellence and true craftsman like beauty," said retired Marine Frank Rousseau of San Diego, who put the show together.


Rousseau was a match weapon armorer with the Marine Corps for 15 years, making weapons which were used by some of the service's finest shooters.

Such men were three local Marine shooters whose Olympic medal triumphs form an impressive display in the show.

The centerpiece is the first Olympic gold medal ever won by a Marine, which went to the late CWO Morris Fischer in the 1920 Olympiad at Antwerp, Belgium.

Fischer retired from the Marines and lived in La Jolla for many years before moving to Hawaii in 1967, where he died a few months later.


Next to Fischer's medal is a gold medal won by Lt. Col. W. W. McMillan and the pistol he used in the 1960 Rome Olympics to amass the world record rapid-fire score of 591 points of a possible 600.

McMillan, whose home is in Carlsbad, is ordnance officer for the Third Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam.

Completing the exhibit is a silver medal won by Capt. James E. Hill of Oceanside in the 1960 Olympics for his rifle shooting. The rifle he used is also on display.

"I am sure we are safe in saying that the display represents a level of success in international shooting that cannot be matched by any other service," Hill said.


Nearby is a .45-caliber revolver used by Billy the Kid, the shorter-nosed gun of Will Rogers and a German wheel lock formerly owned by Rudolph Valentino. Also shown is the fantastically ornate Colt that was decorated in silver by Tiffany's, one of only four such guns in existence.

For the collecting connoisseur there are two iron-frame Henry rifles — and they have consecutive serial numbers.

In cold blue steel and warm, richly-grained wood, the guns rest in red velvet-lined cases. Their beauty belies the savage paths of history guns helped to carve.

Prices of $500 are common, $2,000 is not unusual and $10,000 might not be enough for some items.