Incoming tips from rifle press release...
Here is a recent article published by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. (Just updated information, nothing substantial in the news at this point)...
DOZENS OF TIPS IN JENNER RIFLE ALERT
Published on September 16, 2004
By DEREK J. MOORE
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Authorities said about 30 people phoned in Wednesday with tips about a rifle that may have been used to kill two campers on a Jenner beach, but so far none has led to the weapon or a suspect.
Some people reported that they hadn't checked guns stored in closets or other out-of-the-way places in years, and that when they went to look found the weapons missing, Sheriff's Lt. Roger Rude said.
But none was a .45-caliber Marlin rifle, the weapon investigators have connected to the slayings of Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen, a young Ohio couple whose bodies were discovered Aug. 18, two days after they failed to show up for work at an El Dorado County camp.
Since the description of the rifle was released by the Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, speculation has run high as to who might own such a rifle and what use they might have for it.
Theories range from ranchers to commercial fishermen, to gun enthusiasts who dress up like cowboys and participate in target shooting competitions.
But sheriff's officials caution that they aren't necessarily looking at one particular group of people in their search for Cutshall and Allen's killer.
"The individual who is responsible for this may not be the individual who legally bought the weapon," Rude said. "We don't know."
Detectives said ballistic evidence revealed that one of two .45-caliber rifles manufactured by the Marlin Firearms Co. in North Haven, Conn., was likely used to kill Cutshall, 22, and Allen, 26.
The rifles are a lever-action type known as the Model 1894 and the Model 45, which is semiautomatic and more commonly referred to as a "camp carbine."
Bill Bohan, who grows grapes and raises cattle on a 1,000-acre ranch near Jenner, said he lay awake the night the rifle descriptions were released thinking about who might have one of the guns.
"That whole thing just got me shook up," Bohan said of the killings. "My girlfriend keeps her horse in Jenner and has to go down there at night to feed her. It makes me nervous. Someone is still out there."
Sheriff's officials said the Marlin rifle is popular with ranchers. But Bohan, 41, said he's never owned one and doesn't know anyone who does, adding that a .45-caliber rifle is too much gun for hunting pigs or keeping coyotes at bay on his ranch.
"It's a relatively oddball gun," he said.
Others have speculated that commercial fishermen might use a Marlin rifle to shoot sea lions that steal their catch.
But Chuck Wise, president of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, said a Marlin, which can cost as much as $600, is basically too nice a gun to expose to the elements.
"You just don't put anything like that on a boat because it immediately turns to a pile of rust, no matter how good you take care of them," he said.
Roy Torres, a special agent for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said he's never had a case where an animal was shot with a .45-caliber weapon.
"I've never seen a Marlin rifle on a boat," said Torres, whose territory spans Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara. "I have seen shotguns or .22-caliber rifles."
Rude said investigators have ruled out the possibility that the couple, who were found zippered in separate sleeping bags, might have been mistaken for marine animals and shot from the high bluff overlooking Fish Head Beach. He said the fatal shots were fired at close range.
Investigators haven't revealed what kind of ballistic evidence they found at the beach.
Some gun enthusiasts said they were baffled as to why two rifle models are being sought, as the weapons normally use different ammunition -- Automatic Colt Pistol, or ACP, in the case of the semiautomatic, and Long Colt in the case of the lever-action model.
The Long Colt was introduced in 1873 along with the single-action army revolver. Both the gun and cartridge are popular with "cowboy action shooters" as they hearken back to the Old West.
The ACP was originally introduced in the early 1900s for Colt's Model 1911 semiautomatic pistol that was carried by U.S. armed forces for more than 75 years.
Dan Bergmen, a Ukiah resident and member of the gun club there, said the only way the two rifles can share the same cartridge is if they are hand-loaded by someone who makes his or her own ammunition.
"If they're looking at both guns, they're somehow suggesting that they don't know about the bullet that was used in the murders," he said. "Typically, they would be able to narrow it down."
One Bodega Bay man whose Marlin semiautomatic rifle and .45-caliber Model 1911 pistol were tested by detectives said he was asked if he owned a hand-loading device. He doesn't, and the weapons eventually were returned to him after they were cleaned, the man said.
Bergmen said a hand-loaded shell casing would have tell-tale signs. Both rifles eject the casings, but detectives haven't said whether they recovered any at the beach, raising the possibility that the killer took them with him.