Displaying Guns


DS Gun
August 22, 2008, 12:06 PM
I recently bought two engraved revolvers that were bought with the intention of display only. One is blued and the other is stainless steel. I am curious what the best way is for display. I was thinking about the glass display boxes where the gun is on velvet and is pushed into foam - like this http://www.customdisplays.com/images/3xcolage.gif

Is this a safe way for me to display the guns? I did some searching on the forum and read some threads about rust and moisture. I am in Central Florida where it is humid, but the display cases would be inside my house in AC. I really would like to display them, especially since they are so pretty. :D I am just a bit discouraged now after reading a couple of threads on rust. I didn't think there would be any problems since they would be behind glass.

Thanks for any help on proper ways to display guns! (Oh, and I was hoping whatever way I use, the container would be lockable).

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The Bushmaster
August 22, 2008, 12:17 PM
Yes...IN YOUR SAFE!! And only brought out for special and trusted friends...

DS Gun
August 22, 2008, 12:25 PM
Thanks, not that it changes much, but I should have added that they will be displayed in an area where only my wife and I would see them. They will not be seen by anyone entering my home for maintenance, delivery, etc. They would only be something I could see daily to admire. I don't have ammo for these particular guns in the home.

August 22, 2008, 12:30 PM
Due to what our society has become, you really should lock them in a safe. It's a shame that people can't display items like engraved firearms in their own homes, but the potential trouble is not worth it.

August 22, 2008, 12:39 PM
put a dehumidifier in your safe... in florida not to mention you should keep a dehumidifier with your ammo as well

August 22, 2008, 01:40 PM
Along these same lines...
in states/localities that require locking devices / safes for storage of all firearms, would it be legal (prudency aside) to have a muzzleloader displayed as decoration (say, over a mantle)?

August 22, 2008, 01:52 PM
What about UNINVITED guests? A burglary could relieve of your valuable collectibles. A quick in and out will be defeated by a safe.

What make of pistols? Only Colts SAAs should be engraved but that is just my opinion.

Buy a safe and keep them there until you want to display them.


DS Gun
August 22, 2008, 02:05 PM
They are Ruger Vaqueros and look great to me. :)

August 22, 2008, 02:47 PM
Use silica gel packs and learn how the maker advises recharging them. Some can be reheated in the oven to remove the accumulated water. Check gun accessory distributors or a good camera shop.

Use a sealed case to prevent excess moisture from getting in. Your local commericial glass supplier may be able to get vandal resistant glass that doesn't have wire in it. It's used in detention grade facilities - it's not thin or cheap.

The real problem displaying guns isn't delivery guys as much as a "friend" of a friend, someone you don't know a buddy drags over to your house. Most gun thefts seem to occur in the next six weeks because of this sort of casing, according to the Justice Department.

Display them as best you can, just be really selfish and show them to noone. The real thieves are the middle class looking guys with, say, embroidered "Boeing" shirts they picked up from DAV.

August 22, 2008, 02:57 PM
I'm with the keep them in a safe. You will be better off and there will be alot less chance of theft.


August 22, 2008, 03:04 PM
In my personal opinion, if your wife and yourself are the only people that are going to have access to the room, just display them.

Am I supposed to keep my art in my vault instead of on display just because I have to be scared of someone stealing it?

Its insured, I purchased it because I love it and want to be able to see it.

If the biggest concern everyone was voicing was safety opposed to theft, then I would probably listen harder.

You purchased them to display and enjoy, so do it as long as the guns arent causing problems from a safety standpoint

Just my 2cents

The Bushmaster
August 22, 2008, 03:12 PM
Big Bang...My home is my castle. I will display what I want and I definately do not believe in locks on any of my guns...EVER!!...And I do have my T/C .50 cal Hawken over my mantle.

But in DS Gun's case I still would lock them in a safe...All my firearms are in the safe except two house guns and the T/C...My CCW weapon spends a lot of time out of the safe too.

August 22, 2008, 03:28 PM
Are you handy building things out of wood and glass or are you going to purchase a ready-made display case?

If it were me, I'd purchase extra thick safety glass and build the display case to a custom size to best display the dual pistols. That way, you could design vent holes thru the foam and pour silica granules into the holes for moisture absorbtion. Please don't forget safety, though, and install a hasp/padlock on the case.

I know that you secondarily asked about safety and everyone seems to be jumping on that and not even giving a second's worth of thought to the main question of D-I-S-P-L-A-Y.

Find some surface that the display case can be bolted to so someone will actually have to work at getting your pistols. This will keep them safe from the casual idiot who happens to walk into the room with the pistols.

DS Gun
August 22, 2008, 04:06 PM
Thanks all. Everyone has given me a lot to think about. Although I understand everyone's point of view, I will be displaying them in some way. I definitely want them to be safe from being stolen, taken down by kids, etc. As Creade mentioned, to me these are the same as displaying art, the only difference is this "art" can be very dangerous if put in the wrong hands. That is why I want them to be in a locked case that my child couldn't get into. If someone breaks in for a quick grab there are many things he/she would probably also grab that mean much more to me than these revolvers.

I also decided for them to be displayed in an area where no one will see them but my wife and I because I very much understand about friends seeing them and telling their friends etc. We believe that my parent's elderly neighbors were killed years ago, in their home/execution style, because it was known they had rifles and those were one of the items stolen from their home.

MinnMooney, I was hoping to buy something, mainly because I am not very good with making things like this myself. As you and Tirod mentioned, I think the silica packs would be very good. I didn't think about that. I will also think about how I can bolt the case to the wall so that it will be harder to remove. My big question was how I can display them without hurting the guns - rust or any other possible problems.


August 22, 2008, 04:14 PM
Hi DS Gun,

Take a look at these:


August 23, 2008, 01:22 AM
Let's see a photo of those beauties.

August 23, 2008, 02:06 AM
I'm all for displaying them.........when you're home. As long as the cases can be lifted right off their hooks and placed in the safe quickly, why not? I wouldn't leave 'em up if you're not home, or even when you go to bed.

Kind of Blued
August 23, 2008, 02:26 AM
I can't properly address your situation without pictures of these revolvers. :)

August 23, 2008, 02:33 AM
Oh, AFA your original question - IMO, they should be hung in a case on some pegs or hooks, so air can circulate around them. I don't think a form-fitting recessed case lined with felt/velvet/whatever would be a good idea. Sounds like a moisture trap.

DS Gun
August 23, 2008, 01:01 PM
Here are some photos of them.

August 23, 2008, 01:28 PM
I was hoping for more info about the HOW to display the guns...is there some type of velvet, foam, etc in the case that would be really good or bad etc.

These are YOUR guns and if you choose to put 'em out on display I say good on you. Life's too short to always be worried about what MIGHT happen.

I knew about silica gel I just never knew there was such a handy, cheap way to use it. Maybe in the display case behind the velvet/foam (whatever) you could put one of these. Thanks for the information!

August 23, 2008, 01:50 PM
Have you considered displaying the blued model against a white background and the (polished/nickel?) model against a black background? Just a thought

August 23, 2008, 01:53 PM
I would maybe display a pic of those beauties,but having them in a glass display in these days is just asking for theft.Too bad,but the old days are gone forever.They are beautiful and I envy you in such a collection.

August 23, 2008, 02:56 PM
I still say display 'em if you want but if you've got nice guns like these maybe you have enough other items to justify an alarm system for your house. Plus make sure your insurance covers them.

August 23, 2008, 03:34 PM
Perhaps investigate the anti-theft hangers used to hanging art. Put something like lexan over the guns instead of glass to give it some shatter resistance...might be reasonably secure. If you have an alarm system check into wiring it into the display.

August 23, 2008, 04:00 PM
I kepp a couple of engraved pistols hanging in my study. They are in a box similar to what you showed, do not let them rest directly on foam, make sure they are on a pure cotton velvet. I keep a couple of small silica packs in the bottom of the boxes, and just rechage them once a year. I also have several Martini Henry rifles hanging on my walls.

And here is a bunch of Browning designed pistols I aldo keep displayed in the study.


Yes, I have insurance, yes I have an alarm, with a seperate back up alarm in the study. No, I really don't care what anyone else thinks about the idea. I enjoy them, thats all that matters to me.

DS Gun
August 23, 2008, 04:52 PM
GrizzlyGraves, I have thought about the black and white backgrounds. That would be cool. My ultimate goal would be to have them in the same case. I haven't figured out which background color would work best for the two together.

Browningguy, thanks for letting me know about your displays. That makes me feel better. I am glad I asked on here and knew I would get great advice from everyone.

August 23, 2008, 05:48 PM
I have an old Iver Johnson on display. The box I got from some crafts type store. It as labled as a "Pen Collector's Box". I just pulled out the carboard thing that was to hold the pens, and lined the box with cotton batting and then a black, synthetic fabric. I re-shaped some brass picture hooks to hold the gun, and attached them to the back. The hooks are angled down slightly, so the gun is actually held about 1/2-1" away from the back and the glass front for air flow and to keep any possible moisture from resting on it. Cost me maybe $10 or so, was easy, and looks pretty good too. The gun is worth next to nothing, and the cylinder and break-open latch is sloppy enough I'm inclined to think firing it would be a bad idea, so I wanted to do somethingwith it, since in was my grandfather's.

Here's a couple pics to get the idea:
Here it is actually hanging on the wall with a vintage box of it's ammo, and a couple rounds I have for it

This shows the backing and hooks better. This is with it sitting on a table, so the gun isnt held away from the back at the moment like I said, but as soon as the box is raised past 45deg or so, it is held away from the back.So the setup is fine if the box is sitting/hung vertical, but if you wanted it laying horizontal, you'd need to modify the hooks or something to keep it off the backing (if thats a concern for you, which it may not be depending on the humdity where you are)


August 23, 2008, 06:31 PM
I say display one on your hip and the other one on your wifes hip.:neener:

August 23, 2008, 06:39 PM
take your time and look around you can get some very good display boxes but they will cost you.

DS Gun
August 24, 2008, 12:05 AM
That is nice Jrfoxx, I like that idea too.

wilson, LOL :)

August 24, 2008, 12:39 AM
You paid your money you take your chances. Totally your decision.

August 24, 2008, 12:53 AM
I enjoy looking at my firearms. I've got full replacement cost insurance, so if they do get stolen, I get to have fun finding and buying NIB replacements.


August 24, 2008, 06:48 AM
Very nice revolvers, my taste doesn't run that high, but very nice.
Lexan case is the way to go, very tough. If somebody wants them bad enough, they will take the wall the're bolted too. But make it hard for them to just walk in and walk out with them.

August 24, 2008, 08:34 AM
they are very pretty. insure them for theft, and display them. just coat them occaisionally with a rust preventitive and display them in the boxes you were talking about. besides, having to coat them occasionally, will give you a chance to handle them!

August 24, 2008, 11:41 AM
They are yours, you should do whatever you want with them. I like the display idea. I've been looking for a display case to hang on a wall for an old Ruger Blackhawk. Never found exactly what I was looking for though but had the same questions as you.

Steve N
August 24, 2008, 12:16 PM
Contact a local art museum, etc, and see if you can talk with a curator. They may be able to point you to a company that would make a secure, proper display case that contains the correct features needed. There are special cases designed to hold/display art objects that are worth one heck of a lot of money, and that are very delicate and sensitive to heat, moisture, light, etc. I just saw the "Vatican Treasures" show at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Every display case had its own combination thermometer/hydrometer to show temperature & humidity. I wouldn't doubt that there were also packets of desicants in there too.

A good secure case may cost as much as the guns, but if you value the guns, they are worth the cost of the case to keep in prime condition.

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