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Bottom Dealin Mike, SASS #22273

Merwin Hulbert debacle comes to a satisfactory conclusion

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A lot has been posted here over the last four years about the attempt to build new reproductions of the Merwin Hulbert revolvers.

 

As most of you know, the company, started by Mike Blank, began taking orders and deposits about four years ago. I was skeptical, but Mike Blank met with me at the SHOT Show and showed me the actual parts they'd manufactured so far. He explained two engineering challenges they had left to solve, and he told me he expected to be in full production within six months. I told him that if he could do that, I'd buy a gun, and run an article on it in Guns of the Old West.

 

Two months later a representative called me to say they could have my gun in 8 weeks. I believed them and gave them a very healthy deposit...and that was the end of my happiness with that project.

 

I could kick myself because I avoided similar mistakes with the 1875 Remington venture, and the Colt Lightning venture, but Mike Blank convinced me, and I got took.

 

Now let's skip the next couple of years, and all the phone calls, registered letters and what not, until the day Mike told me he sold the company, there was no money, and I'd never see a refund...by then I wasn't even angry anymore because I had resigned myself to that likely outcome sometime before.

 

Then out of the blue I got an email from the new owner telling me his group was committed to refunding everyone's money. Amazing!

 

I didn't really believe it until some forms came in the mail last month, which I completed.

 

Today, lo and behold, a check came in the mail for the full amount of my deposit...heck, I could buy a new Colt if the urge struck me, though I might check the auction sites for vintage Merwin Hulberts...

 

I'd like to thank Mr. Jay Lassiter of the newly reconstituted Sharps Rifle Company for doing the right thing, even though he had no legal necessity to do so.

 

And, I vow to never put down money again, unless the new gun is in my hand and my 1911 is loaded on my hip. :)

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Truly lucky that you got a refund. I've done a couple of dumb things like that. But, when I got the fill in the form for a "refund" letter all it turned out to be was a database to list creditors and have the debt discharged in bankruptcy. Never, ever, put money on anything until you can hold it in your hot little hands.

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Got my check a little over three weeks ago.

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I'll give the company credit for doing the right thing. But I'll not make this mistake again.

 

If I do get an MH it will be an original, but an original S&W New Model No.3 is actually next on my acquisition wish. I have the DA version, but I want a nice SA example.

 

After that, maybe a Merwin Hulbert.

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:FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm:

 

Great news!!! I was very skeptical about the Merwin Hulbert deal from what I had been reading on the Wire.

 

I got burned bad on a black light laser deal that never got off the ground last year. :angry::angry: :angry: :angry::angry:

 

Mustang

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I'm happy to hear that folks are getting their deposits back but I'm very skeptical of the claim that the "new owners" are doing this as a "moral obligation." I remember when the company was contacting those who had deposits down and asking them to pay their balances since shipment of completed guns was imminent, an absolute fraud. Someone had their anatomy in the wringer and I believe that the Wyoming Attorney General was involved at some point.

 

I can't see that Broadsword bought or acquired anything other than what the Sharps Rifle Company owned when they collapsed and that was basically squat. I can't figure why anyone would purchase some old brand names and then make voluntary restitution to a bunch of fraud victims defrauded by the previous owners. Perhaps all Broadsword had to pay for these companies was the restitution. Obviously, there's more to the story here.

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I can't figure why anyone would purchase some old brand names and then make voluntary restitution to a bunch of fraud victims defrauded by the previous owners

Well, I don't know what it was they bought, but by paying back the subscribers they have freed themselves from any possible lawsuits or claims on future products.

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GG, Welcome back!

 

The "Announcemet" in the link is pretty much a copy of the letter that came with my refund. I'm pretty sure the refunds were more a financial and legal maneuver to free them from any possible pre-existing claims, than a moral obligation. From my experience, there are no moral obligations in business (or politics).

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GG, Welcome back!

 

The "Announcemet" in the link is pretty much a copy of the letter that came with my refund. I'm pretty sure the refunds were more a financial and legal maneuver to free them from any possible pre-existing claims, than a moral obligation. From my experience, there are no moral obligations in business (or politics).

 

True...except politics does play a big role with some business antics :D

 

GG ~ :FlagAm:

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Sounds like they bought the corporation and not just the assets. I would think that was part of the deal looking at what they bought. I also think you guys got lucky and it was not out of the goodness of Broadsword.

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I think it curious that those who said that this was a sure thing and beyond the planning stage are strangely quiet.

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Just a little update for those involved - Those who got refunds, it was not due to Mike Blank, or Kevin Tierney ( the self-titled turn-around specialist Blank went to) .

You owe your refunds to Wyoming native Jay Lesser who worked for each of the previous owners. That man made good on all of it, even tho Blank and Tierny were planning to wipe the slate clean and forget about the people who sent deposits. Read this article:

http://trib.com/business/poor-management-unfilled-orders-lead-to-glenrock-business-s-failure/article_ed53d03c-7138-5c34-9806-a80817f29ff6.html

yhs

prof marvel

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Sounds like a project was doomed from the get go, bad construction, poor management an few workers equals the output the had

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A lot has been posted here over the last four years about the attempt to build new reproductions of the Merwin Hulbert revolvers.

 

As most of you know, the company, started by Mike Blank, began taking orders and deposits about four years ago. I was skeptical, but Mike Blank met with me at the SHOT Show and showed me the actual parts they'd manufactured so far. He explained two engineering challenges they had left to solve, and he told me he expected to be in full production within six months. I told him that if he could do that, I'd buy a gun, and run an article on it in Guns of the Old West.

eec.

etc.

 

 

 

Sounds like there were red flags from the start. While I wasn't involved, I've witnessed duplication of equipment and parts for small and large pieces of complicated equipment. Also, I don't know the specifics of this venture but,

 

Why would there be any significant engineering chalanges when the weapon had already been designed and executed many decades prior and there must have been many good examples in inventory, suitable for reverse engineering with necessary modern updates? Further to that, why would anyone be using engineers lacking firearms design and metallurgical experience?

 

Why would a firearms writer be expected to advance any cash at all for a test revolver? My understanding is that test weapons for the press are delivered, a test is conducted an article written and then, disposition of the weapon usually goes like this:

gifted to the writer,

sent back to the manufacturer or,

if not gifted and the writer wants to keep it, the weapon is discounted to the writer.

The manufacturer gets good press/advertising via a favorable write-up (virtually all of the time).

The writer tucks a free or discounted example in his safe or sends it back to the manufacturer.

 

Anyway, water under the bridge and leassons learned, I guess

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Why would there be any significant engineering chalanges when the weapon had already been designed and executed many decades prior and there must have been many good examples in inventory, suitable for reverse engineering with necessary modern updates? Further to that, why would anyone be using engineers lacking firearms design and metallurgical experience?

 

Just a guess, but maybe they were trying to make the design more amenable to mass production. Products that take an expert craftsman to assemble by hand are labor intensive, and labor is a lot more expensive than it used to be.

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I'm happy to hear that folks are getting their deposits back but I'm very skeptical of the claim that the "new owners" are doing this as a "moral obligation." I remember when the company was contacting those who had deposits down and asking them to pay their balances since shipment of completed guns was imminent, an absolute fraud. Someone had their anatomy in the wringer and I believe that the Wyoming Attorney General was involved at some point.

 

I can't see that Broadsword bought or acquired anything other than what the Sharps Rifle Company owned when they collapsed and that was basically squat. I can't figure why anyone would purchase some old brand names and then make voluntary restitution to a bunch of fraud victims defrauded by the previous owners. Perhaps all Broadsword had to pay for these companies was the restitution. Obviously, there's more to the story here.

 

 

Well, I don't know what it was they bought, but by paying back the subscribers they have freed themselves from any possible lawsuits or claims on future products.

 

 

GG, Welcome back!

 

The "Announcemet" in the link is pretty much a copy of the letter that came with my refund. I'm pretty sure the refunds were more a financial and legal maneuver to free them from any possible pre-existing claims, than a moral obligation. From my experience, there are no moral obligations in business (or politics).

 

 

Sounds like they bought the corporation and not just the assets. I would think that was part of the deal looking at what they bought. I also think you guys got lucky and it was not out of the goodness of Broadsword.

I've read the various threads on this over the years, and not having ANY financial interest in it, I'd just say that the "investers" should just take yes for an answer and call it good.

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Has the 1901 Prototype ever come to fruition?

?????

Win. M1901 variant of M1887 shotgun? :huh:

Colt "New Army" DA rev.? :huh:

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........I could kick myself because I avoided similar mistakes with the ....the Colt Lightning venture,....

Again, ?????

The various repro rifle failures (esp. Taurus T'bolt)? Or a true Colt? ( "THE" Colt ...., not "A" Colt....)

Or a proposed repro of the revolver?

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Being from SouthTexas and spending time alone the Rio Grande I have seen a lot of old Mervin and Hurburts over the years as many were sold and used in Mexico. There were very well made and dependable revolers and a lot were engraved and silver plated and many had Mother of Pearl grips.

 

I may be one of the last men to get shot at from a hombre using a M&H 38. It was during the 1969s on the cane breacks of the water edge on the Texas side when I was slipping aone the muddy banks of the Rio Grande River when I came upon a number of sugglers with back packs on their backs climbing the banks. Once they was Me, One older hombre started to run dropping his backpack and at the same time I saw a puff of smoke come from his belt area and the sound of a bullet hit on a erea to My left. I realized He had fired a shot at Me and was coming up with his arm to fire again. A 45 Colt Auto bullet took the top of his head off and he fell face down with the 38 under his head. After a chase down the river a ways and the sound of swimmers in the water the chase was over and walking back to the start of action I found a very beautiful little Mervin and Hurbert laying on the ground under the mans head covered with blood and brain matter and beautiful Pearl grips. Picking the little gun up and cleaning the blood off I realized it was engraved beautifuly and seemed in stillbe in mint condition and checking the cyclinder I found four live rounds left and one fired case but the hammer when I picked it up was on full cock and was ready to fire again had not its owner was now on his way to hell.

 

I still have that little gun somewhere and will always remember that hot day when things took a dealdly turn. I think the distance that day was futher than realistic when he tried to hit his target. mThe caliber is 38 S&W and I have shot it but it is a close range gun.

 

The second Mervin and Herbert 38 I have in My collection has a special history as well,Very special. Many years ago back about 1961 I worked after school with a very old blackman that was born and raised in Oklahoma Indian Territory and his Name was Willy Grisbs

 

y. I dont know how old He was at the time I knew him but Hehad to be well up in years. Over as period of time as many of the old timers did he started to talk about when he was younger. His story unfolded from when He was a young blackman in Indian territore and that He had fell in with the wrong men and was running with the Rufus Buck Gang one of the worst gang in American history. He said He was in jain and expecting to be hanged when and scared to death when one day a tall black lawman came in the jail and started talking to him. He said after several visits the Lawman who He found out was the famous Baz Reeves Deputy U.S Marshall under the famous hanging Judge Parker from Fort Smith Ark. He told Me mr. Reeves felt He was a young man worth saving and had the judge turn him over to him. He said He changed his life and never lookedback and during the years to follow He became like a son the Mr.Reeves.

Fast farward many years and after Baz Reeves retired Willy helped him in those final; years of his life. Willy told Me one day He had goneto check on Mr.Reeves at his house and Mr.Reeves walked inb the room and handed Willy a towel and said "Willy I want You to have this gun I have carried as a backup gun during My years as a lawman. Willy said He neverwanted to even touch a gun again as long as He lived but He tookit from Mr.Reeves anyway and took it home with him. he said He never as muchas looked at the gun but only kept it in his dresser drawer to remember the man who changed his life.

Willy knew I had an interest in old guns and oneday He told Me he wanted Me to have that gun as He had no want nor need for it. A few days later Willy comes in the door with a very old towelin his hands and hands it to Me and I open it to find a Silver plated well used used Marvin and Herbert 38 wripped up in the towel. Willy words were Iwant You to have Mr.Reeves gun as You like guns but please never sell it and keep it to remember mr.Reeves and I from. I had tears in My eyes as I thanked Willy. I moved away and afte4r some years I never knew what become of My friend Willy Grisby.

 

I have a number of M&H in My collectionbut the two above will always be special to Me.

 

Your Pard,Texas Man

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Why would there be any significant engineering chalanges when the weapon had already been designed and executed many decades prior and there must have been many good examples in inventory, suitable for reverse engineering with necessary modern updates? Further to that, why would anyone be using engineers lacking firearms design and metallurgical experience?

 

 

I bet because he didn't wish to fit parts by hand, or choose to use skilled machinist or gunsmiths, rather make parts with CNC machines and little to no fitting to keep cost down.

Of course there is another explanation: they didn't know what they were doing.

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Well guys, I have to say, I deserve a lot of criticism for what went on, there are a lot of comments above, some accurate, some not, but I'm not longer obligated to keep quiet and take it in the teeth for the benefit of others. No, I don't mean anyone who was a customer. I can tell folks what went on finally, if anyone would like to know, free of agreements, corporate obligations, etc. No fluff, no party line, the straight story, confirmable by the Assistant Attorney General if anyone wanted to check. Actually if someone on here has a mind to I'd invite them to talk to me, and then call any and all sources, which I'd be happy to give over, as I'd like to get the truth on the record. Not for my own sake, but as one fella above referenced a lot of folks put their necks out there and deserve to know and the depositors like the man who started this thread Bottom Dealing Mike deserve to know. I'd also like to put the breadcrumbs out there so if anyone had a mind to they could pick up where it was left off.

 

Or, if no one cares at this point, or would prefer not to know, that's fine too and I certainly understand. Just figured I'd make the offer.

 

Mike

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Well, after reading a bit, I will just say that if I ever have the need for a product offered by A-Square or The Broadsword Group, I will certainly strongly consider them.

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Ok mr blank, I have no horse in the race or dog in the fight but you said if anyone wanted to know ask you, I'm asking. Anybody who has ever been in a divorce or legal trouble knows there always one extra story than the number of storytellers the truth and each sides story. We have hear a couple od sides already between the ones involved here, the papers that were linked to. So let us get your side with the bread crumbs you wish to throw out and I'll try to follow them as a neutral party and bring back what I find out as long as it can be done online I'm not going to chase the story offline.

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Blackey,

 

I'm also neutral on this BUT..... my guess is that SASS Wire guidelines won't permit a "He said/She said" courtroom talking points discussion such as this.

 

I don't know Mike Blank. I've never met Mr. Blank. Nor did I have anything invested in getting one of these pistols.

 

But I would bet a dollar to a donut that once Mike starts to post anything that can be construde negative towards a company or individual in relation to this subject, one of the moderators would close it down and possibly take this topic off the wire real fast.

 

And because this appears to have been settled to help satisfy 'paying customers', the moderators would probably frown up dragging it thru a controversial discussion on this forum. Of course, thats just a guess of mine and I have been wrong many times before.

 

 

Anyhow, I hope he does contact you back as you have requested.

 

 

..........Widder

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Plus 1 Widder

What would be the point of dragging it all thru the mudd again anyway.

It's a very dead horse. Leave it that way?.

 

Coffinmaker

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Interesting how this deceased equine is once again being resurrected. If you will go back and look at the original date of this thread you will notice that it is June 18, 2013. That is well over a year ago. And yet, this subject has once again reared it's ugly, and by now, somewhat decayed head.

 

It's going to be a long winter here on the wire.

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I've replied to Blackey Cole in a message.

 

True this is an old topic, but I came across it the other day when looking and it already had recent posts on it. I don't want to drag up dirty laundry, and no, this has nothing to do with any current issues. As I mentioned, I'm no longer under any obligation to anyone out there to keep quiet. I'm not interested in dragging anyone through the mud or spinning a yarn. I'm just offering to give anyone interested the sources to get the facts of the situation out. I lived with the job of being the designated party to be tied to the whipping post as it was my duty in the circumstances and I believed it served the greater go to do so. For a time, I think it did, but then it became SOP for way too circumstances on way too many occasions. While it was a going concern, I lived with it. Now that I'm out, the circumstances of which I won't discuss as that would cause issues, I am free to clear the air.

 

For those that supported the effort I want them to know with certainty just how close we were, and how close we weren't. It's not a fair assessment, nor is it accurate to say that there was never anything made or that the funds were some how pocketed. It's unfortunate that some of those comments came from people who were there and knew better, but also knew it played well to say things along those line. I think that makes anyone who put in a deposit, or said a kind word feel foolish unnecessarily, and think it should be clarified for that reason if no other.

 

I'm not asking anyone to believe my story, nor to lay blame. I'd just like the truest accounting of the story possible be made available up to the settled matter with the AG of Wyoming which is as far as it need go to give the story relating to the going concern that was Merwin, Hulbert & Co and its depositors a fair accounting. Hence I'd be happy to work with Blackey, or anyone, to have someone else put together an account that is not he said or she said. I was hoping doing it this way it could specifically avoid any controversy possible. Trust me, I know the topic draws heat. The whole operation did from almost the moment of its conception. The first person I told I did it after launching the website asking if anyone would be interested in one on June 1, 2006 said it would be a total flop, no one would want one and I'd never get more than a few inquiries. Then when we had over 1,000 by Jan 1, 2007 and even more by 2008 that those folks weren't serious and would never "pay up" per anyone I went to to help finance the operation. What was the recommendation? You guessed it, take deposits, which I think started the beginning of 2009, maybe late 2008. I'll check on that for anyone interested. I didn't like the idea then. First bit of blame to fall on me goes right here for not simple telling that school of thought to forget it. I knew about the Spencer replica company that hit issues and numerous others that ran into issues on this very same path, I thought I did the right thing by compromising and limiting it to 20% as enough "proof" of the orders being real, but I should have stayed with just a plain NO. Next bit of blame was not making sure that the deposits went into some sort of secured trust account. Instead we had cash on hand to cover a percentage of redemptions, cover any excess from capital coming in or cash flow as needed and the rest was spent on the production work supplemented by more coming from equity investment. Again, full blame for that goes to me there as the head of the company.

 

.....And that is as far as I'm permitting myself to go, I'll let someone else take it from here, and hopefully post their report whenever it's done. Then interested parties can read it as they see fit or not. Beyond that I would prefer not to make a lot of comment on it either was I don't want this to cause anyone an issue, particularly not the board, nor any other party. In the meantime if anyone has any specific questions they can feel free to email me as I agree with the folks here the community at large probably doesn't want, nor need to see this rehashed from one fellas point of view.

 

Thanks

 

Mike

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Mike if you were to do it today would you have went the Kickstarter method instead of the deposits you took then?

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Well, I actually started with a full investment bank, we had a serious money commitment. Unfortunately, when our current Commander & Chief B.O. became the frontrunner in the 2008 elections the capital bailed as backing a gun deal became too much of a risk.

 

If it was today, maybe, but I'm concerned that FINRA is going to have something to say about them pretty soon as basically they are soliciting funds from unaccredited investors in an unregistered offering. If there was some sort of clarity on that, then it would be a thought. I would make it the full amount or nothing. The biggest issue of the project was finding someone who could get the work done. I know one of the interim groups tried it (because clearly I just didn't do it right) and they ended up having to send the cops to get their firearm back, pay restitutions to the man they borrowed it from due to the damage done at the shop, and I believe I was told that fellow was a 2nd or 3rd generation gunsmith with an enviable pedigree. So beyond the money, I'd make sure you had a partner the likes of Hamilton Bowen or Freedom Arms, if you can't do the work yourself. Even if you can this thing has aspects that really are a challenge. Some cuts, by best guess, were made using an engravers/metal chisel.

 

But to get back to the question directly, if FINRA doesn't squash such offerings through the Reg D or other statutes, it will be interesting to see where it goes. Definitely would have to be all or nothing, and heavy numbers. Total deposits repaid I think were just shy of $150,000. I know we blew through way more than that. Heck one vendor on another corporate project took a $114,900 deposit then vanished on us. I don't want to misspeak by I have a feeling the CAD work was about at least 20% could have been as much as 50% of that and the program to work with it cost $12,000 on top of that, plus a few grand more a year for the upgrade. Toss in ITAR at $5k/yr, a place to license, raw materials, equipment, staff, etc. You get the idea. Not sure if Kickstarter or the others have the capacity, but I do know a lot of them don't let you raise money for "weapons".

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