Less guns, better shooting, more fun.


Carl Levitian
August 27, 2008, 05:28 PM
I don't know if we are the only ones to have had this experiance. Both of us are in the mid 60's, have shot as a couple since we met at a pistol range in 1970. Married in 1971. Over our life together, the better half and I accumulated a good number of guns.


I have not hunted in over 20 years, don't carry a gun most of the time, as Maryland is not a ccw state. As an older couple in retiredment, we deceided to have a downsizing to simplify our life. I called the kids together, as well as a couple of other family members and gave away most of my guns. The wife and I kept only the old ones we had when we met, plus one new one each. In truth, most of the acummulation was mine. The better half still shoots the same K22 her father gave her for High School graduation.

The upshot of this is that we're having more fun shooting now than in years, and we're shooting better. In spite of old eyes and slightly blurred sight picture, our marksmenship is better with only shooting a favorite old gun week in, week out. And we feel liberated, no more worrying about the guns getting stolen when we're gone. TRhe few left fit in some very out of the way places when we are out.

Anyone else cut back on thier firearm collection, and find you shot better?

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August 27, 2008, 05:33 PM
You're a good man for giving away your guns in a thoughtful manner. I have only a few guns because I'm relatively new to gun ownership. My guns feel like broken-in shoes that fit well. I don't think much about how my guns feel. I guess that's a good thing.

August 27, 2008, 05:43 PM
I have a decent amount of guns, probably not that many compared to some here. I always take the same pistol that I keep in the nigh stand and others when I go shooting. I enjoy shooting different guns each time I go. I always make sure though to stay proficient with the one gun that I may have to use one day.
Variety is the spice of life.

August 27, 2008, 05:58 PM
Over on Pistol Training. com they have a comment about the SIMP factor. It is Simon's Inverse Multiple Gun Paradox (I think). Basically it states that the more guns you bring to the range the worse you shoot. I carry an M&P 9 and compete in IDPA and Tactical matches with a Pro model of that same gun. That certainly simplifies my life and I do shoot better. BUT, I like to compete in bowling pins shoots too and the 9 just isn't going to hack it there at my club. No pins closer to the back of the table or any other handicap considerations. In pins I shoot a Sig X-5, 40 S&W and there is a .22 match in which I use a S&W M-41. I do practice with all four guns and two are almost identical. I think the SIMP factor is at play but I don't know how much of a consideration it really is. Is my life simpler with few guns? You got that right!

Larry Ashcraft
August 27, 2008, 06:12 PM
Excellent! We have started giving a few guns to the kids now, rather than having them have to fight over them later.

My dad collected guns all his life, mostly Winchesters. He always had the intentions of giving them to his three boys eventually. He never got around to it, and he passed away unexpectedly in January at age 80. My brothers and I were left with the sad task of deciding where the guns would go.

We only kept the ones with family history, and divided them up amongst ourselves after a long meeting. The rest will be sold, as they are part of mom's estate.

One gun that I got was my dad's pre-64 Model 70 in 300 Win Mag (rechambered 30-06), "Grandpa's Elk Medicine". I always wanted a model 70, so I kept it for a couple of weeks, and then presented it to my son. I probably won't be hunting elk any more, and I hope he can kill a big bull in his grandpa's memory.

August 27, 2008, 06:13 PM
"Fear the man that only has one gun- and knows how to use it".

August 27, 2008, 07:23 PM
"Fear the man that only has one gun - for he will cover you with the muzzle while he clears a jam"

August 27, 2008, 07:32 PM
"cover you with the muzzle while he clears a jam"

Not if his one and only is a revolver.

Old Grump
August 27, 2008, 07:48 PM
Or a double barrel anything

August 27, 2008, 08:24 PM
In Starting to think along those same lines. But My only Daughter is in canada so I Just use them as Barter trading fodder. Any one want to put a new furnance in for me for a coupla Old friends!!!

August 27, 2008, 10:08 PM
This has become a family philosophy on my end as well. I don't have money to own any "real" collector's pieces, so hoarding banged up mil-surps is kind of pointless (yes they are neat...but it ties up funds).

Less guns...more bullets...more range time!!

August 27, 2008, 10:24 PM
I just traded away my sig 229 so I could focus on my HK USP45F. I got a good shotgun and plenty of 45 ammo out of it. But my thinking was along your thoughts. If I had more funds I might buy more. I need to get a rifle and a carbine to have a more well rounded selection. I think you can get too narrow a selection, but simple is good. If I were to get a 9mm I would likely get a USP 9 and I might get more USP 45s in the future once I get the long gun needs met.

August 27, 2008, 10:33 PM
I hear what you are saying.

After years of buying I have started to try and sell a gun everytime I buy another. With the addition of my boys guns the safe was getting too darned full! :D

The "extra" gun money is being spent on ammo.

I have also tried to limit the different kinds of guns that I have. Most of the time I am shooting my AR-15, Ruger 10/22, and 1911 pistol when I go to the range. This has helped me become more familiar with one platform. I am also spending a lot less time cleaning.

August 27, 2008, 10:38 PM
It is not just the guns like you say, for me a big part of it was so I could just buy one pistol caliber. When you have to buy all the different accessories the costs add up quick.

August 27, 2008, 10:48 PM
I own 42 guns, and everyone is used for a different purpose. One can never own too many firearms. The way I have settled arguments as to who gets what upon my death is to give each nephew/niece who wants a specific firearm a letter with the serial number of the gun that they want with my signature. That way I can still use the gun, it prevents me from selling the gun, and they know what they will get.

August 28, 2008, 07:25 AM
I am trying to get down to one of each:

rimfire, centerfire, pistol, shotgun.

I'm almost there, that would total 6, right? :rolleyes:

D Boone
August 28, 2008, 08:28 AM
I think about this a lot as I feel I get caught up in the owning, collecting, but have a hard time enjoying what I have. I seriously don't know what I would get rid of though. To make it worse, politics always make me fear that I will not be able to own any "politically incorrect" rifles again if I were to get rid of them. I should probably just sell all but a few along with all my other possessions, and meditate every day for 6 hours to gain the peace I need!

August 28, 2008, 09:06 AM
You have to prioritize.

Most of us accumulate guns as we go along. But there comes a point when you have to divide the collection up into Shooters, Collectors, Gifts, and Trade Fodder.

And if you're smart, half the Shooters will go into the Trade Fodder category.

Because you can only shoot one gun at a time...you may as well trade three or four mid-quality pieces for one gun that you really enjoy shooting.

Carl Levitian
August 28, 2008, 09:29 AM
Boone, I got to a point where I couldn't enjoy the guns anymore. Too many and they got to be a PITA, beleive it or not. One day I had this epithany as I was standing there looking at the two guns safes full of stuff I hardley ever used anymore. I thought to myself "what the heck do I need all this for?"

That weekend I had the kids and grandkids over. They took the one I had told them would be thiers, and the Mrs. and myself just kept a few for our oun enjoyment. The ones nobody wanted, I sold on consignment at the local gun shop. Since them, I'm enjoying shooting again like I had not enjoyed in many years. Sometimes you really can have too much. Not just guns, stuff in general. We also did a downsize of our life. I didn't need duplicate power tools and motorcycles, nor do I need 5 fishing poles and two tackle boxes. The wife figured she didn't need but one simple set of chna and a few pots. Let alone Lord knows how many pairs of shoes. Man we got rid of alot of stuff. Goodwill, Salvation army, AmVets, they loved us.

We cranked everything back to when we were married in 1971, and we're happy as hell. Life is simple again.

There's an old saying; "When you own too many possesions, the possesions end up owning you."

August 28, 2008, 09:49 AM
I agree with everything you've said intellectually... but for some reason, I just can't bring myself to sell one unless I really need the money.

I have guns I shoot so infrequently I need to reference the manual when its time to clean them because I can't remember how they take-down... now in my mind, that's kind of pathetic. Too many 'manual of arms', too many calibers in my safe, and I know some day I'll significantly thin the herd and feel better for it. Until then, I end out shooting the same ones 90% of the time, and then once in a while taking one of the others out for the novelty.

Phil DeGraves
August 28, 2008, 09:51 AM
Well, there are guns you shoot and then there are "retirement guns."

August 28, 2008, 10:03 AM
well i guess im still young. though i like the story all i think about is buying another gun

August 28, 2008, 10:55 AM
I havent hit that point yet (dwindling down the collection) but have them categoriezed as carry guns, house guns and the rest. I guess the main problem for me lies in that I just cant seem to pass up a good working rem 870 that is under $200. I dont just buy any one I see, it has to have character. There is just something about 870's that I cant shake. May have to do with the fact that my first "real gun" was given to me by a good mentor (an old police department 870).

August 28, 2008, 11:15 AM
I've gotten rid of several guns over the last few months for the same reason. I don't shoot them but once every year or two...why keep them? I'd rather have the range time and ammo for the guns I enjoy.

August 28, 2008, 11:24 AM
As I'm reading the replies, I can't help but wonder how much of the downsizing is age related.

I fall into that catagory myself, where I don't want to accumulate too much baggage any more.

The kids are gone, retirement is imminent, and moves are possible.

I'm at the point where less is more.

August 28, 2008, 11:35 AM
I'm still very young (24) so I definately don't have enough guns to want to get rid of any, but I do appreciate the logic - even though I plan on owning more guns, I want each of them for a very specific purpose and to be unique, useful, and quality. Right now I've got a 1911 in 45ACP (nightstand gun), HK P2000 in 40S&W (CCW piece), SIG PRO SP2022 9mm (car gun), and S&W 22a in .22LR for plinking, and for long guns it's a 20" accurized AR15, Benelli Nova 12ga, and 2 .22lrs (one bolt / irons, one scope / semi). What I want to add are a good 6" .357 revolver (maybe a GP100), an AK47, an AR15 16" lightweight carbine, a good .308 bolt precision rifle (Rem 700 or Savage 10fp?), a deep-concealment handgun (Kel-Tec FP9 maybe?)... maybe a Marlin 336A in .30-30, maybe a side-by-side coach gun in 12GA...

The trend is, no duplicates, no two guns that do or are the exact same thing... I like variety, but don't want a huge accumulation of the same thing. I like having my bases covered, although in truth, I do enjoy shooting some of the same guns more than others... I spend alot of time with my AR15 and 1911, partly because of idealism and practicality (respectively, if you get what I mean), although I do try to stay sharp with all of them.

But if I ever look into the safe and see a gun I don't like shooting or see a real need for, it'll be time for it to go.

August 28, 2008, 12:33 PM
After reading the foregoing posts, I've concluded that I'm doing it wrong.

At this point, I have more firearms than I've ever owned before, have bought two so far this year, and I'm watching for the opportunity to buy one or two more that I've wanted to have for a long time.

My problem is that I've sold only four firearms in my life, and have regretted (sometimes bitterly) selling all of them.

Simplification is a desirable objective, but appears to be unobtainable.

August 28, 2008, 12:51 PM
Where I am, if I sell a hand gun that is not on the "safe gun list" then I cannot buy another one unless I get lucky and find someone else in the state that is selling. Pre lock S&W in California will sell for a at least 150 more in California than in the rest of the us because the supply is limited to what is currently in the state. Kinda like MG on the federal level, no new supply prices keep going up and up and up.

August 28, 2008, 01:52 PM
I guess I'm on the other side of the curve....over the last year and a half I've bought over 30 gun, semi-auto pistols, revolvers, pump .22's, carbines, military....God I love them all. I just can't pass up a good deal, at least that's what I tell the wife. About half are pieces for specific collector categories. I really like old winchester pump .22's and have a half dozen, I'm trying to get one of each model. I also like old military revolvers and have picked up a few at really good prices.

For me its kind of an investment. Allot of what I've acquired have been bought for half their value and I know I can get my money back out or more than I spent.

The most important thing though is that I really enjoy shooting them all and fully intend on collecting many more. The ammo aspect is not an issue for me because I reload everything I shoot.


August 28, 2008, 05:45 PM
What else, besides gold, or collectible cars increase in value as guns do? You can collect beer steins and walk into a antique show and no one will bother you, now take an old gun, say a 1911 Colt .45, or a 38/40 Peacemaker, or a nice M1 Garand and you get mobbed at a gun show, no matter how poor the economy is at the moment. I have never lost money on a gun, ever. I tend to always move up in quality either by selling or trading.

August 28, 2008, 07:36 PM
I still enjoy more guns and better shooting.

In a few more years I'll start giving some away to make sure they have a good home when I'm no longer here, but I hope to have quite a few more years.

August 28, 2008, 07:48 PM
I have debated this matter in my weak mind for many years. Should I have a few firearms or many? Time won the debate and well, I have a few vaults now. :banghead: Fact is though, of those firearms that I shoot, I shoot all of them well enough for defense or for hunting. I do have several rifles and pistols that I bought for collecting and to give to my daughter.

Your question makes sense, but in the end, I ponder the fact of the Green Berets who could use, and instruct on any firearms that they located anywhere. In the end, I personally cannot answer with any degree of reliability, but can chime in about how cool it is that you have given those firearms to your family. That was a tremendously selfless act! Bravo!


August 28, 2008, 08:01 PM
Uncle Carl??? Is that you?

August 29, 2008, 01:00 AM
There really is a point where "enough is enough". Also one where "less is more".

August 29, 2008, 01:11 PM
A few years ago I made a move to consolidate calibers. I sold off all of my .40 and .380 pistols, and any long gun that wasn't in .22, .223, .308 or 45-70.

This cleared out a lot of the extraneous ammo storage, and it neatened up the safe.

Recently I've come to a similar conclusion in regard to the actual guns. I realized I had 3 bolt .308s and 5 semi .308s. I had something like 8 .223 ARs, with barrel lengths ranging from 10.5-20". All of these guns had different sighting systems and ballistic drop tables. It was a hassle keeping track of all of the variations and the information associated with such.

I've sold some of them, and in the end I'll be down to two .223s, the FAL and one bolt .308. Between the gun sales and the optics sitting on top of them, I've made enough to buy a few more suppressors and lots of ammo.

I'll still have a bunch of .22s, but I like shooting all of those still so I'll keep them until I don't like shooting them.

October 7, 2010, 11:40 AM
I thought about posting a new thread on downsizing, but I found this older one and thought I'd revive it.

Like many have described here already, I've come to a point where the gun cabinet is too cluttered and maintaining a collection of guns has become too onerous. It's not age either--I'm not even 40 yet.

Most of my accumulation is from WW2 milsurps. While I dearly loved finding and learning about all these old rifles, once they were purchased they mostly just stood in the gun cabinet, inviting dust and oxidation. So, I've starting weeding them out, and selling them has been somewhat liberating. I think I've baffled my wife, too, since her first response to all this was to ask what I'd be buying with the proceeds of my mass firearms liquidation. Since I'm only interested in buying a couple of small items, and will put the rest in the bank, she didn't have much to say.

I have to add that all this is just the culmination of a growing change of attitude on my part regarding my collection. Not too long ago, I always had something in mind for my next purchase, and I could never get enough. When I ran out of room in the gun cabinet, I bought another. When they both filled, I squeezed everything together to make more room. I think, though, that I finally satisfied my "wants" and came to realize that they weren't so important after all. I just ended up with a bunch of stuff I hardly ever used. I think I've learned what guns I truly enjoy, and having just those is nice. Lately, whenever I go into a gun shop, I rarely find anything new that I want. So, when I sell off the excess, I may really have found contentment with what I already have (and less!).

Sorry for the lengthy commentary. Anyone else have a similar experience?

October 7, 2010, 11:54 AM
well i guess im still young. though i like the story all i think about is buying another gun

I am in this same boat.

October 7, 2010, 01:27 PM
At one time about 5 years ago, mid twenties, I had about 30 rifles. Lost my job and had to sell nearly all of them, did not like it. Now I barely remember what they were.
I have since changed my mentality towards "stuff". If I have it for one year and I don't use it then it gets sold, traded or given away (tools don't count). I grew up in a environment where if you had to much crap then you built another shed. If I have to much crap I get rid of it. Right now I am down to 5 firearms, 4 calibers, and will only buy one more. I don't have any problems with people owning as much stuff as they want.
However, if you have to much stuff then it becomes an obsession, guns, cars, beanie babies, doesn't matter. If you say that you CAN'T get rid of them that might be a sign of an addiction.

I hope one day to pass my "stuff" down to family or friends. There won't be a lot of it, but it will be nice.

October 7, 2010, 03:21 PM

I have less guns now, than I did when I was five years of age. Life is Life, with tornadoes, fire, floods and so forth, and while I miss the guns, I miss the people attached to the guns more.

Still I was raised right, learning to "run what I brung" and so much more I have shared around here.

Fun? Well sure, but I also "rebel" against so much of the garbage often posted on fora.

i.e. Coyotes.

Since moving to a rural area, I have felled numerous coyotes with a bone stock, H&R Topper 098 YOUTH single shot 20 ga shotgun.
When the beans were still up ( since cut), I used mindset, skill sets, with the "tool set" I had. It was the only "large caliber", or "centerfire rifle" I had.

Yeah, this fifty-five year old feller, can still get prone, crawl and "sniper sneak" as he was mentored some fifty years ago.
Mentor: It does NOT what matter gun or load one has, one has to have field craft/woods craft skills in which to acquire the target, and make effective hits.
Applicable to bow hunters and other "non-modern" weapon users too.

Property duty in general, included groundhawgs, raccoons, skunks and chipmunks.
I used this shotgun, along with a 1928 Colt Detective Special.
Oh for funzies I used a CCW pc as well...

Re: Minimalist.
Yes I have and still get called this. The reality is, I come up with mentors and elders that shared so much.
WE did not have all we have today in regard to guns and ammo. Many folks only had one, maybe two guns, in which to protect the home/farm/ranch, and put meat on the table. Guns, were chosen for what type of game. If deer were prevalent ( and not all areas had deer back in the day) a rifle was chosen. If not, a shotgun, for small game, birds and waterfowl.

Re: Set Ups & Lessons.
(called stages and training today).
WE had set ups based on real life situations, and how to deal with them. Recall there was no 911 back in the day, so folks had to be self sufficient.

It did NOT matter what gun a person, or family had, We did set ups and lessons, and folks "Run What They Brung".
Set ups such as an inmate(s) getting loose from a Chain Gang working on the roads, ( whatever) to escaped convicts from a prison, to, all sorts of things, that HAD actually happened, and WE reviewed these situations and prepared folks for such things.
Yes, we did "what ifs" as well.

It is said, all we NEED as far as guns and ammo were made by 1935, unless one needs a .44 mag, which came out in 1955.

The nice thing about only one, or two, or three guns is, one becomes "one with the gun" and is very effective in using it.
So yeah, there is not only some "fun", also some well deserved "confidence" in "less is more".

Note: the nice things about a youth single shot 20 bore, include, being easy to tote, not having to pick up hulls, and if you do drop a shell/hull, that yellow makes it a bit easier to pick up with older eyes...

Oh, since the beans have been cut, I have been loaned a "varmint" rifle.
I am not so sure it was so I could shoot at longer distances, to keep me from crawling around on the ground, or to blow my reputation shooting a "rifle" of this configuration.

Re: Camo.
I never have and will continue to not own, nor use Camo.

Fun is taking a running 'yote at 31 steps, with a youth single shot twenty bore, or Chipmunks with a Colt DS...*evil grin*

Zero Turn mowers are the bees knees for Chipmunks. Oh yeah, folks think you are actually mowing the property, where in fact you are taking care of pests. Getting the property mowed is just a bonus...*hehehe*

October 7, 2010, 03:26 PM
Just found this, so "bookmarking" with a post.

I've got a thing or six to say about this,
but want to read full thread first,
and don't have time today.

I'll be back over the weekend.

Very interesting thread.
Thanks, Carl.


October 7, 2010, 06:56 PM
...Sometimes you really can have too much. Not just guns, stuff in general. We also did a downsize of our life. I didn't need duplicate power tools and motorcycles, nor do I need 5 fishing poles and two tackle boxes...

Being recently retired, I fully understand what you are saying. I've got a bunch of stuff but so far I'm not ready to down size all that much. I'm cleaning a few things out but mostly just enjoying the things I have. When I'm gone, my wife can do what she wants with my possessions, I'm not attached to them, I just enjoy using them. I'm down to 3 motorcycles, a man can only cut back so far! LOL.
Thanx, Russ

October 7, 2010, 07:11 PM
I'm a believer that every gun responsible gun owner should have their 3 bases covered; other than that, any other accumulation of guns are probably going to be for fun, recreational purposes or impulse buys. I commend those that have enough money to buy all those guns and shoot as often, but those are my deciding factors when purchasing another gun; practicality and cost.

Sauer Grapes
October 7, 2010, 09:52 PM
I've been trying to thin out what I have, but it's hasn't been working very well.
Compared to a lot of you, my collection would be considered small. I don't hunt anymore, so I have a lot of shotguns and a few rifles sitting around that haven't been shot in 20+ yrs.
Some I bought when I was old enough to buy a gun and some are from my father and grandfather. I'm having a tough time coming to grips with selling them. I don't have anybody to give them to, hence the dilema of just selling them.
The pistol count has gotten to the point where I'm going to sell all my tuperware guns and buy one really nice 1911 and maybe a nice Browning HP and that's it. {I'll keep my 2 smiths' and my colt. :)}
At some point i'm going to have to do something. One of these days I'm going to have a BLOWOUT SALE! :eek:

October 9, 2010, 11:03 AM
I hit this stage a little earlier. It happened when I was running low on ammo and decided to stock up for all my guns. WHOA! Turns out I couldn't afford it.

October 9, 2010, 12:31 PM
At one time I had 46 pistols and some 20 long guns. Was reloading for 22 different calibers. Then again, I was down to 1 revolver. Kept a 6 inch S&W Model 19. Now Im down to a few core calibers. 308, 9mm, 5.45x39, 22lr, 12 ga and 44 Special. Im going to get a couple more 44 Specials as thats what I shoot for fun. I have two 5.45x39 as the ammo is cheap and the guns are reasonable. I find I dont miss having a bunch of guns. Cant afford a whole lot anymore, anyways. Just my .02.

October 9, 2010, 12:45 PM
Good for you for exercising judgement and for ensuring that your shooting trickles down.

One of the reasons I don't have a lot of guns, is that I like to think I pick the best gun and caliber for a given purpose, and tend to stick with it. I don't need all the in-betweens. Maybe when I'm rich I'll change my mind, but for right now, I do everything with .45, 12 ga, 7.62x39, .22. I have a .270 and a .30 carbine, but I inherited them, I'm not sure I would have bought them otherwise. I am building ARs in .5.56, .243, and .308. I'll probably inherit an -06, and a 16 ga eventually. Maybe if I get serious about elk, I'll get something with 'magnum' in the title.

I do think there is something to be said for keeping it simple. I'll tell anyone to get as many guns as they want for whatever reason they want to, but I think it's a good idea to really know and practice with your core weapons, learn their manual of arms, get to the point you don't have to think about them. I am nowhere near the proficiency level I want to be at with my core 5-6 guns.

October 9, 2010, 12:57 PM
I am a 60 year old gun collector. I have amassed an entire room of firearms because I can and I want to. I keep on saying I'll stop buying but there is always just one more. I havn't shot anything for over a year. Most of the guns I never have or will. This year to date I have only bought 23. lat few years have been double that. I will let my son liquadate them when i am gone.

Rusty Shackleford
October 9, 2010, 02:52 PM
rogertc, make sure your son knows to liquidate them through the high road forums...

In all seriousness, don't let him get ripped off. You might want to write down what each one is worth. You spent a lot of time and effort procuring your collection. You wouldn't want him selling some of your more expensive pieces for $50.

October 9, 2010, 03:18 PM
Not all guns do increase in value or even price for that matter. Of course that statement is preaching to the choir. I have a matched set of 125th anniversary Colt SAA 45s that never even had the hammer pulled back and in 1980 were worth around $3500 . I kept them thinking that they might be worth a lot more in time. Well.. they won't even get $3500 today and if I had sold them and bought gold I would have $15,000 worth. I actually lost a lot of value on that set. In 1980 $3500 would have bought a lot more anything than it would today.

I bought a 5906 Smith for $300 ( going rate these days ) that sold for around $700 in the 80s

Carefully selecting and unloading baggage is not a bad thing at all.

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