Has the internet made the Blue Book of Gun Values obsolete?


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uneasy_rider
September 6, 2007, 07:52 PM
With auction sites making it pretty easy to tell how much specific guns are selling for, is the Blue Book now obsolete?? I was surprised how much difference there is between some of the prices in the book and what things are actually selling for.

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xjchief
September 6, 2007, 07:58 PM
Good question but does Kelly Blue Book really reflect the current value of automobiles? No it does not. The only people who used those values are car dealers and insurance adjusters.

MrPeter
September 6, 2007, 08:22 PM
I use kelley all the time.

I don't think the blue book is obsolete. It gives me a good resource to quickly let me know if I am paying too much for something or if it's a steal. Gunbroker.com has way too many overpriced auctions to confused a newbie on gunvalues like myself.

glockman19
September 6, 2007, 08:28 PM
NO I don't think it's obsolete.
It gives me a good resource to quickly let me know if I am paying too much for something or if it's a steal
I agree.

elrod
September 6, 2007, 08:29 PM
The true "value" of any commodity is measured only by how badly people want it, or how scarce it is. IMHO, the Blue Books (guns, cars, pool cues, whatever) provide a reasonable standard of value. The preface to The Blue Book says

....gun prices may vary significantly (especially auction prices) depending on such factors as the locality of the sale, the number of sales we were able to consider, and economic conditions.

I find Blue Book especially handy away from my computer.:)

XavierBreath
September 6, 2007, 08:31 PM
The Blue Book is pretty much obsolete in my opinion. The listings are at least two years old at publication, and they cannot keep up with hot items on the collector gun market. Checking prices on auctions over time has taken it's place to verify fair market value. Knowing what you will pay has always taken the place of the Blue Book, and watching the same gun on auction for several months gives one a good feel for it's value. The Blue Book is still applicable if one is prone to impulsive gun show buys, and they do not want to invest the time into research. It does, however, give the illusion that fair market prices are too high. The Blue Book is often just simply behind the market by a couple of years.

I also keep a price journal. My journal is by far my best resource. Rather than repeat myself, here's a quote from my blog:
Know the value of guns in your area that grab your interest. Like any used gun shopper, a successful pawn shopper must learn to independently appraise a gun's worth to himself. This means more than simply finding it among Blue Book listings. Most guns are not unique, and prices can vary widely according to which region of the country the gun is in. Blue Books give a national average. I keep a journal of interesting guns I have found in my area, as well as their location, prices and condition. I include used guns I have purchased and also those I left behind at pawn shops, gun shows, and private sales. A well kept gun journal can become a very good supplement to the Blue Book, and it can even prevent you from making purchases you may later regret. Often simply writing a find down in the journal instead of buying prevents "gottahaveit" fever. My journal has seldom steered me wrong.
Pawn Shopping Secrets (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2006/05/pawn-shopping-secrets.html)

The Blue Book is still a good tool to convince a seller to sell for less than a gun's market value. It can get you within $50-100 of the usual price, but it cannot list the little things that make a big difference. Many people consider the Blue Book to be the law of the marketplace. That perception can definitely cost a seller.

JohnBT
September 6, 2007, 09:20 PM
Lots of good info in the Blue Book on the relative prices of similar models. Even if the prices aren't right for your area or are just plain out of date, you can still see a Model xxxAB something-or-other is, or was, worth twice what a Model xxxAC was. A good deal is often lost if you have to run home and fire up the old pc. Be patient, carry cash and keep a Blue Book in the car.

I suppose if you have a wireless connection you can surf the web for up to the minute prices, but the Blue Book travels well for me.

John

eliphalet
September 6, 2007, 09:26 PM
I find the Blue book helpful, far more correct prices or close than wrong. To know real value in your area you have to shop. The auction sites can give good info if you search the sold lists.

Nothing is worth more than you can sell it for.

22-rimfire
September 6, 2007, 09:47 PM
I find the Blue Book of Gun Values a great resource. It is one of many resources I have at my disposal. My best resource are my instincts.

XavierBreath says:The Blue Book is still applicable if one is prone to impulsive gun show buys, and they do not want to invest the time into research. It does, however, give the illusion that fair market prices are too high.

I like impulsive purchases at gunshows. I do invest my time into research on firearms I'm interested in. But, many times I find a gun that comes out of left field that I normally would not purchase at gunshows or shops. I have learned that you need to make a decision or move on when it comes to guns. Sometimes you win and sometimes you loose. Life is like that. But, hopefully you have purchased a fine firearm in the process and if you paid $25 too much, so be it.

I'll give you an real example. I found a NIB Smith Model 19 with target trigger, stocks, etc with all paperwork at a local gun shop. Gun was priced at Blue Book price for the model but not the extra features. I personally didn't know percisely what Model 19's are selling for, but my instincts told me that I may be getting a very good price on this one. At worst I would be paying a FAIR price. I didn't consult my Blue Book prior to making the deal. If I really feel like it, I can sell the box for more than $50, but I won't. So, I made a decision based on instinct and some trust of the dealer in about 5 minutes. Done deal. Used pre-lock Smiths sell very well and easily in my area.

Where does this all go from here. I like the Blue Book as a valuable reference. I do check the prices as my first price check to see if something is priced in the ball park. Then I ask myself how much I want this gun? I make a decision whether or not I know the average value or range of prices on GunBroker and Auction Arms sales. Sometimes I walk and sometimes I don't. It's my money.

The Blue Book is a poor tool to convince a dealer to sell a gun at a certain price if the dealer knows his stuff. But it is a great tool for buying from private parties. None better!

ArmedBear
September 6, 2007, 11:10 PM
For a used current-production gun, like say a used S&W 686, sure, the numbers might mean something.

But for a discontinued gun? What's a recent Winchester 94 "worth", for example? Some of the low-end versions are near-junk quality, for a Winchester. But they're worth whatever people are willing to pay, today.

As a used gun? Some recent low-end 94s are "skip it" items as guns. But as a "collectible", they can go for a lot more than they're worth as a hunting rifle. Maybe in a few years, that will all level out, and the good ones (by year or model) will go for a lot more than the recent low-end versions. But right now, the prices are kinda silly for some of them.

Now, consider other rare variants of guns. I recently bought a Marlin 39M Octagon. Now the 39M is a much-loved variant of a gun that has a veritable cult following. However, most examples have round barrels. There are some commemorative versions with octagon barrels, but AFAIK Marlin only made about 2000 like mine, not commemoratives, with Microgroove rifling.

A decent 39M with the regular barrel runs around $300, if you can find one for sale, which is hit or miss. $300 is high enough for an old .22. The only Octagon I could find reference to sold recently for $500 on the auction sites. I paid $400.

Did I get a collectible rifle for $100 under market, or did I pay $100 too much for a used rifle with a neat-o feature that adds nothing to it in actual utility?

What IS the market? Very few of these exact rifles exist, and fewer change hands. What will the next one go for? $200? $600? Who knows? The Blue Book doesn't know, either.:)

Mark8252
September 6, 2007, 11:35 PM
I have found the bluebook price to be of use but not perfect.
Firearms vary in different parts of the country. A shot gun for example is worth more in Illinois where hunting with a rifle is against the law. In the same respect why would you pay top dollar for a shotgun with a slug barrel when you can use a rifle in Colorado.

A firearm is worth what you can find a buyer willing to pay. Many gun show sellers make money on people that do not know any better. I can find most any firearm cheaper at my local dealer.

:):):):)

RCouch
September 6, 2007, 11:35 PM
The Blue Book is like the auto Blue Book and Consumer Reports, etc. It's a tool to use along with what you see and read and your common sense to aid in making a decision.

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