Just wondering why we all seek, and buy if we can, beautiful, fine, highly crafted guns, and then keep them only for fondling, and putting back in the safe. I have been guilty of this, but as I get older, I can see the alternate philosophy of actually using and carrying these guns. I now have some great handguns, that are pristine, or were when I started using them. Not being a big shotgunner, I do not have a Bernadelli Hemingway for upland hunting, but if I did, I'd certainly carry it in the field. I have a couple engraved pistols, and some rare guns, and ALL of my handguns get shot and carried, as do all of my rifles (although all of those are working guns, and not rare or adorned). When one might pay $3K-$4K for a custom 1911, why worry about using one, or any other high grade gun, like a Black Widow Luger, old Colt SAA, or S&W Registered Magnum, etc? They don't have to be "Barbecue Only" guns, do they? Sure, we'll feel bad if we drop them on concrete or stone, but should we feel bad if we add a little holster wear to a gun that was meant to be carried, or a prized custom gun that we intend to hand down? I think my descendents might even enjoy the fact that I actually USED a particular gun, because I chose it AND used it, and it meant something personal to ME. A gun that rests in a safe all its life has no soul. Anyone else starting to fee there is something WRONG with being a curator of fine guns that will just get sold, and leaning towards really using them? After all, we only have one human life.
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April 19, 2012, 10:37 PM
I have a few grail safe queens, if they are ones that I'd like to shoot I find another one in used condition.
Top of my list to find right now are a LNIB S&W 66 No dash with stainless rear and a 95%+ in box 1930s Colt 1911-A1 (I get just as much joy out of some pristine guns as do with favored shooters.. just knowing that I'm a curator for that item)
ooh, dont forget the pre-27s!
I look at most of my collection as a retirement egg in another basket- Guns with family history and my half dozen or so personal favorites will be passed out among family. Some certainly have honest wear- (I too think descendants will appreciate that)
April 19, 2012, 11:05 PM
Guns have been good investments, best of those are milsurps that are imported in limited supply, for example the Hakim rifle I bought for 80 bucks 20 years ago. :D Heck, they don't have to be limited. My two Norinco SKSs, a Paratrooper and a standard rifle, set me back 115 bucks and 75 bucks respectively. I see Norincos in the 400 dollar range now days.
My handguns are all shooters, but I don't really have anything THAT expensive. I really prefer revolvers and shun 1911s. I don't own any Meteba or Korth or Pfeifer-Zeliska or such, just Ruger, Taurus, Smith and Wesson, NAA, Pietta, Rossi. They are all good shooters and have held up well, but they're not really investments, though they've all gone up in value except maybe the Piettas and not so much my little M85 Taurus that I bought new 15 years ago and is worth about what I gave for it then. But, I bought that for carry, not investment.
I do have one Ruger Blackhawk that I've put some money in, ain't worth the investment except maybe for the grips, which I gave 70 bucks for, that are Sanbar stags. Last ones I saw available were 300 bucks and now I can't find any. I don't think Sanbar is being imported anymore. I spent 250 bucks on engraving on that gun, though, and it has been personalized with my initials on it, so obviously, it's not something I intend to sell. AND, it is a working gun, an outdoor carry. It's a very accurate, great shooter.
Heck, though, if I had a Korth, I'd shoot the snot out of it if I liked it. I wouldn't carry it concealed, hate to have the cops take an expensive gun like that away during in investigation after a shooting. I do have multiple carries which are all solid, accurate, but affordable guns.
April 19, 2012, 11:07 PM
Speaking of shotguns, I would NEVER take a nice wood/blue expensive shotgun into the salt marsh or on the bay for ducks. I have a camo Mossy 500 for that which I've been using HARD for 20 years, now. I'd hunt dove with it, though, pretty sterile environment.
April 19, 2012, 11:40 PM
My grail guns are all shooters too, a newer Hi-Power and a S&W Model 10, neither are so rare you can't shoot them but they are fine shooting irons......
I also own a pair of Ishapore 2A in 7.62/308 those have quadrupled in value since I bought them.
April 19, 2012, 11:47 PM
I'd hate to drop ANY of my guns on concrete.
I bought a few JUST to 'use' them hard. Or to use them in harsh conditions.
Some are just 'Sunday only' bbq type pieces. But I certainly shoot them all.
April 19, 2012, 11:53 PM
I have nothing against nice guns, but if I don't carry it, or at least shoot it somewhat regularly, I sell it.
Life is too short, and money is not that plentiful. I recently sold one pricey 1911 that was a safe queen. Bought an SC 1911 E-series to put in my holster and put the remainder in the bank.
April 20, 2012, 09:09 AM
Great Question on the deep end!
I am in agreeance, you see these unfired guns with all the everything up for sale, and in the end, what is gained? "The dollar went farther, then" only goes so far, 'cuz it was harder to earn too.
Same with the "soul of the gun"... like the owner of that #1 serialed colt "missing link", an in-betweener model, probably one of a kind, but all it was was a boxed treasure, stashed away, for as long as he could remember, and he had it for some time, then found out it was worth so much, so he kept it in a safe... finally he realized that there was no point to keep this family heirloom for ...what? to pass down and they keep it hidden... well, he decided it was worth more to just get money, and let the world see his gun....
Ohh wait, probably everyone read that already lol,
April 20, 2012, 10:07 AM
Anyone else starting to fee there is something WRONG with being a curator of fine guns that will just get sold
Not me, some guns are more like art than tools, and deserve to be treated a little different.
I think my descendents might even enjoy the fact that I actually USED a particular gun
It's a nice thought, but the more likely scenario is your heirs take it to the antiques roadshow in 2050. The guy gives them a big speech about how rare and valuable the gun is, if only it didn't have that big scratch across the engraving on the slide, or the big stain on the French Gray finish. They won't be talking so good about grandpa then.
Now I'm talking about truly special guns, not an overpriced modern 1911 for $3-4k, that is always just a shooting gun with nothing special about it. But a Renaissance Grade Hipower in mint condition is a joy to behold, a fine example of the engravers art. And it has value, the better the condition the higher the value.
April 20, 2012, 11:05 AM
The Holy Grail, my 1938 Colt Woodsman, is on my hip whenever I'm out in the woods (and for the record, I live in the woods.) I have a few guns that are too old and creaky to shoot much -- but I do shoot them now and then.
April 21, 2012, 02:25 AM
I have some that are on my list, but I plan to shoot them all. I've sold some highly collectible guns that were too fragile to shoot. I would rather buy a 90% example and shoot it, than buy a mint in box model that sits in a safe.
April 21, 2012, 11:44 AM
I have a couple S&W Registered Magnums. One has been refinished at the factory back in the 50's and one is well worn orignal. They have both been shot by me. Buying a pristine RM is not in my budget, so, I would not have to make a decision on shooting one in high 95%'s original condition.
If I came across one, at a great price that was like new, I would not shoot it. It would shoot just like every other N frame .357 Magnum I own, but, it would cost too much, value wise, every time I pulled the trigger. I would either sell it at a profit, or wrap it and store it allowing its value to grow.
I am first and foremost a shooter, an accumulator/collector second, but, I have to be realistic about adding wear and depreciation to a true collector gun.
April 21, 2012, 12:45 PM
Like some other amassers and collectors, I appreciate the work which went into the older revolvers. For S&W's the "pinned and recessed" era seems to hold a bit more of my attention. I have several revolvers from 1982, and forward; and they're great pieces of work. It's difficult to achieve the same repeatability without modern machinery and computers.
I compared my pre-Model 27 made in 1953, to my Model 27-2, made in 1969, and there are subtle differences in the two, even just sixteen years apart. Blueing is slightly different; the stocks don't really evenly exchange between the two, showing that hand fitting was indeed, part of the manufacturing process.
I love my Pythons, and neither are safe queens. My 1978 doesn't get as much trigger time as my recently rebuilt 1973 model, but that's true for all my guns, since the time at the range, or on my hip, gets spread out among more guns. And there are only so many hours in the day and week.
I do understand how some folks treat their guns as museum pieces, but that's their choice. Mine all have to have ammo run through them, because that's why Messrs. Colt, Smith, Wesson, Browning, and Rugewr designed and built them. I fall somewhere between the utilitarian and the collector.
April 21, 2012, 01:06 PM
My father used to collect firearms for retirement envestment. As well as antiques he collected Colt and Winchester commemoratives. These loose value if you just look a them hard. I vowed that I would never own a gun that I wouldn't shoot. Some of his have become shooters because they haven't encreased in value beyound the same standard production model. Example Colt Goldcup NRA 100 year anniversary 1971. It books at $100.00 less than a std production. Same gun just limited run with different engraving.
I've become partial to consecutive sn guns and engraved guns. I shoot all of them.
April 21, 2012, 03:47 PM
I see nothing wrong with having a few safe queens around. My problem is that I can't afford to own the safe queens and the guns I like to shoot at the same time.
So the shooters get the nod. If I ever become rich and famous (or at least just rich), I will probably go crazy and buy all sorts pretty guns just to be able pull them out and stare at them once in a while.
But for now, considering my limited budget, all my firearms are shooters.
April 21, 2012, 08:15 PM
I don't have any safe queens nor do I want any. I respect everyone's point of view, but I don't want to own anything I can't use as it was Intended to be used.
April 21, 2012, 08:23 PM
My "holy grail" is a Black Army Colt 1911. Yes, I'd shoot it. I'd probably carry it too, at least once in awhile.
April 21, 2012, 08:33 PM
No one knows where it is or if it still even exists. The C-96 Broomhandle Mauser that has engraved on the side, "Hold me in honor. The kaiser...."
April 21, 2012, 08:46 PM
Well I got my first gun a 22 single shot rifle when I was 10 years old so that would 55 years ago. Since then I've owned from none for 2 years to 1 or 2 at a time until about 10 years ago. Now I actually own more guns at one time than any time in my life. None are safe queens as if I don't shoot them within 6 months they are pretty much sold. At the moment I carry a RIA 1911 CS or a Taurus PT 111 pro. My wife owns a Taurus PT911 or carries my PT 111 pro so it is kind of a family gun. Aside from that I keep a Stoeger Coach length 20 ga in the house for SD. Now for my pure fun guns I have an ASM 4.5" barrel, Uberti 5.5" and Cimarron 1873 model SAA as well as a Rossi 92 all of which are 45 Colt. I also have a 12 ga Liberty (now re-branded as a CZ) 24" barrel SxS, double hammer/ trigger setup. Last is my favorite target gun a Taurus PT 92 which I also have a Ciener 22 LR conversion for. I have recently sold a Springfield loaded and Armscor MAPP1 MS 9mm.
April 21, 2012, 10:49 PM
April 21, 2012, 11:52 PM
I've got several guns that no one has ever shot but me, but I shoot every one I own.
April 22, 2012, 08:28 AM
Guns are property. Do with them what you will. I understand buying a gun,watch, car,or real estate as an investment. However, my Holy Grail was a Colt Python. I found a NIB 1963 blued 6" Snake a few years ago and coughed up the money. I shoot the heck out of it. Major :D factor every time at the range.
April 22, 2012, 09:56 AM
I understand (I think) The rationale for collecting and not shooting something like an unfired S&W 27 from a value standpoint.
As far as taking a gun into field I always thought guns were made to be used and designed to remain in good condition when used correctly.
Some of the men in my Dad's generation carried some beautiful examples of weaponry on bird hunts. These shotguns got wet, and dirty. When the hunting ended the guns were promptly cleaned, inspected, oiled as needed and put away. They were in most cases handed down to the next generation.
I guess my point is, when used for designed purposes and properly maintained the guns were usable and retained their value
April 22, 2012, 11:21 AM
Just wondering why we all seek, and buy if we can, beautiful, fine, highly crafted guns, and then keep them only for fondling, and putting back in the safe.
I would guess it's pride of ownership but I wouldn't know. To buy classic handguns because they don't make'm anymore makes sense but why feel guilty if you don't carry them? shoot them fondle and brag about them but unless they're some majic wand in your hand carry a cheap plastic one.
April 22, 2012, 07:00 PM
I have some firearms I don't fire because of their historical value - in all cases they are scarce or unique military weapons that would be difficult or impossible to replace at any price, simply because so few of them exist.
I can't really get into the fancy commercial guns though, commemoratives and such. Just don't see the point. They're pretty, but they have no historical significance. It is nice that there exist pristine examples of older, once-common commercial guns - one of the LGS's here recently had a gorgeous 1929 Colt Super .38 that I admired from a safe distance because of the $6000 price tag - but I can't afford to play in that league.
April 22, 2012, 10:55 PM
For me a grail gun is one that I really desire to shoot and or carry, i.e. My S&W 13 3".
I would really like these, Grail status, that I do not own.
1, A good Remrand or US Signal & Switch 1911A1
2, A nice Colt SAA in the US Cavalry issue only with a Colt 1851 Navy brass back strap and one piece walnut grip. Can be a clone
3, A S&W 10-5 or -7 with a 3" mid weight barrel and round butt grip frame
4, a S&W 581 cut to 3" and round butted.
5 A S&W 12 with a 3" barrel.
April 22, 2012, 11:16 PM
I understand how rare and collectable guns can be kept as safe queens. However, my thought is what happens to them when you pass on unless you hand them down to someone who appreciates them as much as you do? You buy them, fondle them, clean them, coddle them and put them out of sight in a dark safe. You never get the pleasure of shooting them. You get old, frail, forgetful but you still admire these beautiful guns. You pass on to the gun range in the sky and these gems now move along to someone who will sell them in an estate sale or traded in to a gun dealer for the latest black marvel. Unless your heirs appreciate them as you do, their legacy will mean nothing once you move on. Yeah, maybe if you shoot them they won't be worth as much when your heirs sell them but at least you got to enjoy them for what they were made to do. Be shot. Fragile guns are different.
I knew a guy who bought a brand new 1996 Chevy Impala SS when they came out. He put maybe 500 miles on it and parked it in his garage. He refused to drive it because he didn't want to put any miles on it. He knew it would be worth twice or three times what he paid for it in 20-30 years if he did not drive it. Of course, he had to start it and run it once a month or so to keep the gaskets moist and the fluids moving. He washed it, waxed it and showed it to his buddies. 10 years later it still looked and smelled brand new because it was. Maybe he'll live long enough to sell it and get his triple original cost (less after inflation). Maybe he'll have to sell it when his nursing home takes all his retirement cash and now wants his assets liquidated and maybe his kids will get it and drive it and enjoy it. All I know is he never really did what it was meant to do, be driven. Yes, he got his joy in looking at it and washing and waxing it. However, I see it as having a wife so beautiful that you never wanted to touch her. What fun is that? If you wanted it bad enough to buy it then you should at least get to enjoy it.
I have a good friend who got a Colt Delta Elite from his wife as a wedding gift. 30 years later it is still unfired. He takes it out every now and then to show it off but it goes back into his safe for the next year or two. Never shot. He says it will take away from the value if he shoots it. Well, it may, but he found out a few months ago that he has stage 4 cancer. It's a shame. He's a great guy. Too bad he never got to shoot his Colt. He's going thru treatment and we haven't buried him yet but I can't help but think of him not enjoying his Colt and now what? Who benefitted from his desire to not shoot it? He may have to sell it to pay for his treatments. He'll get top dollar for it because it is unfired. I'm sure his doctors will appreciate it. They'll get the money. Sad, very sad. We don't live long enough to enjoy life's little things. Shoot the darn gun. That's why it was made. That's what makes it happy. That's what will make you happy. Who are you saving it for?
April 23, 2012, 06:39 PM
^^^That is exactly what I meant. Thank you, Larry, for articulating it so well.
April 23, 2012, 09:34 PM
I have some vintage firearms, which are not pristine in any way. I bought them as part of my Holy Grails of guns I wanted, but not to be able to shoot them, nonsence. One of the reasons I did not want to buy near mint condition guns was shooting them would lower their value. I have two 32 WCF Colt Lightning rifles, which I shot a lot in Cowboy Action, along with a first year production Winchester model 87' shotgun. A couple of pistols which aren't used for action shooting but I have gone out and shot them a few times are; a 7" barreled Merwin, Hulbert & Co. 3rd model pocket army, and a 8" barreled Colt 1860 Army, Richards conversion manufactured in 1872. I can take any of these firearms out and shoot them with the proper ammuntion (Black power only) to my enjoyment. Once I'm done shooting, clean the fouling out, and they are no less valuable then before. I won't own a gun, I wouldn't want to shoot. LM
April 30, 2012, 02:07 PM
The only gun I had that I didn't shoot was a Ruger Mini-14. I sold it to a friend for $240 including a Leupold scope so that he and his two boys would have a semi-automatic rifle to take to the range. The rest of my guns get shot regularly including the $5K Wilson Supergrade, CQB, Baer, etc.
I load up all of the magazines for the guns at home, take all of the guns to the range and try to come home with empty magazines. I'm successful about 90% of the time. I find that if you have the magazines loaded when you get to the range you feel an obligation to empty them...
I don't collect guns or have safe queens. Can't even understand that mentality. I have guns to shoot them - not look at them.
April 30, 2012, 02:32 PM
I have 3 pistols on my list and own at least one of each. The 1873 Colt SAA, 1911A1 and the Beretta 92. Long guns I have a Rossi 92 and a mule eared side x side 12 ga shot gun. There are others I would love to own but all of mine are replicas as the real things are out of my price range. Some I would love to own is the S&W Schofield, a 1874 Sharps in 45-70 as well as M1 Garand, M1 Carbine.
April 30, 2012, 03:30 PM
Ive always looked at high end guns like collector cars. To me, what good is that 427 camaro if you never take it out and turn it loose. What good does a trailer queen/safe queen do. Good convo pieces but thats not what they were designed to be. Id much rather "treat em mean and keep em clean".
April 30, 2012, 03:50 PM
My "holy grail", if you would, is a nice high quality SxS double barrel shotgun. A Parker DHE or a Winchester 21-1 or the like. But it woud because I would want to take it out and hunt birds with it. To keep such a firearm as a safe queen would a terrible waste.
April 30, 2012, 03:56 PM
I have to agree as I shot all my guns regularly or get rid of them. No such thing with me as a safe queen.
May 1, 2012, 02:05 AM
You took the words right out of my mouth! I respect the reverance given a fine machine but I need a gun to work as a gun and therefore I must buy and use mine for just what it was made to be.
I have my "pets" in my small collection but they still get shot regularily. I feel that pratice is a need and a requirement to any gun owner,in order to be able to responsiblly respond if the piece is needed.
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