REA Express & older RST4

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fredrx

Single-Sixer
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I'd been looking for a decent, large serial-numbered (1/8" rollmark) RST-4 and came across this one. It's in better condition than what the online pics showed -- looks as if it's been stored in the box for 45 years.

Anyway, what's up with the REA Express label on the cardboard shipper? Is this how distributors sent guns to customers back in the day when someone could order from a catalog or magazine?

IMG_0694.jpg
 

street

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Back when Ruger started selling their Reg Eagle, 1949 to 1951. The people that sent a check from an ad out of the American Rifleman Magazine, received there gun boxed in a Salt Cod wooden box, and shipped by Railway Express Agency "Collect". The Railway Express Agency was the company that you went to to ship anything that wasn't "Carload" quantity. They were "THE" FedX, UPS and everyone else that ships today combined .Somewhere in 1961 to 1963 the Railroads were starting to do away with their Passenger Trains so The Railway Express Agency started to ship everything by Tractor Trailer. This is the time that they changed their name from Railway Express Agency to REA Express. Which is what your label in your picture is.

After a little history, I will now answer your question. Yes, that is how you would receive a gun that was shipped to you before the GCA of 1968. After the *amn law was passed guns could only be shipped to FFL Dealers only. Dealers also received guns by REA Express up until sometime in the 70s when REA Express went out of business.
 

fredrx

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Thanks for the prompt reply. I thought that was the case but wasn't sure about when the direct ship thing stopped.
 

chet15

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Somewhere out there is a nice pic of a Railway Express shipped .44 flattop (from Klein's). WMG...you still have the file photo on that one?
I'd be curious to know when Railway Express no longer had to have stuff packed in a salt cod box to ship. Would give everybody an idea on how many salt cod red eagles there really were. I'm not convinced they were used clear up to 10000.
Chet15
 

street

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chet15":34hra1gb said:
Somewhere out there is a nice pic of a Railway Express shipped .44 flattop (from Klein's). WMG...you still have the file photo on that one?
I'd be curious to know when Railway Express no longer had to have stuff packed in a salt cod box to ship. Would give everybody an idea on how many salt cod red eagles there really were. I'm not convinced they were used clear up to 10000.
Chet15

Chad, I didn't know that Railway Express required this. I just thought that Ruger used this Wooden Box to protect their guns. Do you know for sure this was a Railway Express requirement. If so let us know.
 

chet15

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I'd always heard that a wooden box was a requirement to ship guns via Railway Express at the time.
We do know that not all early autos were shipped railway express...meaning Ruger probably packaged those guns in cardboard sleeves joined in the middle of the top with a wide piece of fiber tape.
With cardboard being cheaper than building wood boxes (JD says the salt cod boxes cost Ruger 21 cents apiece) I'd have to agree that the wooden shipping containers must have been a requirement by railway express at the time.
Chad
 

chet15

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radicalrod":3un8mmnx said:
Hey GDog, man that is nice....

Hey Chad, I think you had that one in your hands last week......see ya RR.

Yes, that's the one...I just haven't had time to learn all the photobucket stuff yet.
See some fine Rugers on the rest of your trip?
Chet15
 

flatgate

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Star Valley, WY
I have to laugh. Here's a pic of a brand spankin' new Flattop and we're all "gaa-gaa" over the cardboard.

:D

Boy, are we Collectors wigged out or what?

flatgate
 

street

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chet15":1n8ttuh2 said:
I'd always heard that a wooden box was a requirement to ship guns via Railway Express at the time.
We do know that not all early autos were shipped railway express...meaning Ruger probably packaged those guns in cardboard sleeves joined in the middle of the top with a wide piece of fiber tape.
With cardboard being cheaper than building wood boxes (JD says the salt cod boxes cost Ruger 21 cents apiece) I'd have to agree that the wooden shipping containers must have been a requirement by railway express at the time.
Chad

Chad I did some research and found, "Official Express Classification 36", Ratings, Rules And Regulations. Dated March 1, 1956. See pictures below.

In it it states:
Firearms:
In boxes crates, trussed or taken apart and packed in sole leather cases are 1st class.
When securely wrapped in corrugated paper will be 2 times 1st class.

It also states under "Definitions". that Boxes means a wooden box, or a fibreboard box.

So it looks as if it was sometime before 1956 that you had to ship a gun by Railway Express, in a wooden box only .


375211444.jpg


375211452.jpg


375211447.jpg
 

chet15

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street":13m6nshw said:
Chad I did some research and found, "Official Express Classification 36", Ratings, Rules And Regulations. Dated March 1, 1956. See pictures below.

In it it states:
Firearms:
In boxes crates, trussed or taken apart and packed in sole leather cases are 1st class.
When securely wrapped in corrugated paper will be 2 times 1st class.

It also states under "Definitions". that Boxes means a wooden box, or a fibreboard box.

So it looks as if it was sometime before 1956 that you had to ship a gun by Railway Express, in a wooden box only .

So that's why WBR shipped the early guns in a salt cod box. It was because the company was liable for the shipping charges to the customer (note that shipping is not requested from the buyer on the original order forms or in the original catalogs), so by not shipping in cardboard he was able to save the company 50% of the shipping charges. Not sure what it would have cost to ship a salt cod boxed gun via Railway Express, but I bet the 21 cents for the pine box outweighed the doubled shipping costs if it were shipped in a cardboard sleeve. This would have also made Ruger as competitive as possible with the other makers.
Come to think of it, Ruger must have wanted to cut out the middle man (Jobbers and Distributors) right off the get go...more profit for the company...and the reason guns were sent to individual buyers initially. But with the overwhelming number of orders he received he must have finally figured that the costs were also reduced by selling in bulk (let the distributor pay the freight).
It was all about pennies and I think after his first experience with Ruger Corp, WBR forced himself to be a lot more frugal.
So Street, you collect railroad memorabilia also?? Or just pick up anything you can with Railway Express on it?
Chet15
 

street

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chet15":2oibio3v said:
street":2oibio3v said:
Chad I did some research and found, "Official Express Classification 36", Ratings, Rules And Regulations. Dated March 1, 1956. See pictures below.

In it it states:
Firearms:
In boxes crates, trussed or taken apart and packed in sole leather cases are 1st class.
When securely wrapped in corrugated paper will be 2 times 1st class.

It also states under "Definitions". that Boxes means a wooden box, or a fibreboard box.

So it looks as if it was sometime before 1956 that you had to ship a gun by Railway Express, in a wooden box only .

So that's why WBR shipped the early guns in a salt cod box. It was because the company was liable for the shipping charges to the customer (note that shipping is not requested from the buyer on the original order forms or in the original catalogs), so by not shipping in cardboard he was able to save the company 50% of the shipping charges. Not sure what it would have cost to ship a salt cod boxed gun via Railway Express, but I bet the 21 cents for the pine box outweighed the doubled shipping costs if it were shipped in a cardboard sleeve. This would have also made Ruger as competitive as possible with the other makers.
Come to think of it, Ruger must have wanted to cut out the middle man (Jobbers and Distributors) right off the get go...more profit for the company...and the reason guns were sent to individual buyers initially. But with the overwhelming number of orders he received he must have finally figured that the costs were also reduced by selling in bulk (let the distributor pay the freight).
It was all about pennies and I think after his first experience with Ruger Corp, WBR forced himself to be a lot more frugal.
So Street, you collect railroad memorabilia also?? Or just pick up anything you can with Railway Express on it?
Chet15

Chad, I think the 2 times first class is for corrugated paper. Not sure what that is but I don't think it is cardboard but some kind of Paper. As for corrugated fibreboard box or fibreboard box. I did a google search and it comes up with what I call Cardboard. The pictures look just like a cardboard box.

As for Ruger being liable for the shipping charges to the customer using the Salt Cod Boxes, all the boxes I have seen always had a "White Railway Express Waybill" on it. Railway Express used two types of waybills. One was white, which all Salt Cod Boxes that I saw had on them, which means that the shipping charges were to be collected by the destination Agent from the consignee, or the person that the gun was shipped to. So Ruger was not responsible for the shipping charges. The customer was. The other was an orange waybill which the charges were prepaid by the shipper. You stated, (note that shipping is not requested from the buyer on the original order forms or in the original catalogs). This was not requested because it was to be shipped Railway Express Collect, not that Ruger was going to pay the shipping. Knowing Bill you was not going to get a penny out of him for shipping.

Now if Ruger had to replace the bolt from the early Red Eagles, and shipped the gun back, using the Salt Cod Box, then they might ship the gun prepaid, using the orange label.

Do a search on corrugated fibreboard box, and see what you come up with.

Yes I collect N & W and VGN Ry and Railway Express memorabilia. When I was going to High School, my Dad was the Agent at Salem, VA for the N & W Ry. This also made him the Agent for The Railway Express Agency. Early in the morning before I went to school I would help him unload the express from the Passenger Trains. Then after school I would help him too. So in later years I started collecting all three memorabilias. Sad no more passenger trains, no more N & W or Virginian Ry., and no more Railway Express Agency.
 

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