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A 100 years or more?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Tired_and_hungry, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Tired_and_hungry

    Tired_and_hungry Well-Known Member

    I read a comic and in it, a german gunsmith from the 1870s remarks to his customer that the revolver made for him will last for "a hundred years or more" provided that the piece is kept oiled and dry.

    Thus, what must one do with regard to maintenance to ensure that a good quality autoloader or revolver bought in the here and now can last for a century? Please assume that 500 rounds are fired per year.
  2. highpower

    highpower Well-Known Member

    Clean and oil it.

    Edited to add a couple of oldies:

    US 1903 Springfield dated 1906

    1897 Winchester dated 1918

    M96 Swedish dated 1917

    US Model 1917 Mfg by Winchester dated 1918

    US 1903 Springfield dated 1918

    While some of these aren't quite a century old, I have no doubt that under my care they will achieve the benchmark.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  3. thanatopsis

    thanatopsis Member

    It's nice to see another fan of Adam black. For modern firearms or classics it is all the same interns of care. Now it's just easier to clean since we don't use corrosive primers or powder much.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk 2
  4. hentown

    hentown Well-Known Member

    Just take a quick look at the slide and see if the word, "Glock" appears. If so, then you're good to go, and you can forget about all that cleaning and lubing. :evil:
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    I tend to collect and use tools that are somewhat uncommon in modern construction and many of them are well over 100 years old. A bit of oil, and a fair bit of care in storage (really just avoiding moisture) will mean a steel tool will exist in usable condition far beyond its technological obsolescence.

    Wood can be a bit trickier. Too much heat and/or heat/cold and moist/dry cycling can be hard on wooden items, but a bit of linseed oil every once in a while will go a long way to preserving stocks, grips, and such.

    The real question we haven't answered yet is about polymer (and other man-made material) frames, stocks, and other parts. All plastics and composites are different and will be susceptible to different aging factors at different rates. Will a VP70 still be safe to fire in 2070? I really don't know. In 2170? My gut says no, but it's really hard to say.

    By comparison, I once saw a display of a carbine owned by one of the eventual governors of the Massachusetts Bay Colony who'd brought it over with him on the Mayflower in 1620. The lock was made by P.Beretta in Italy. (I was told by a curator that it was believed the lock was built for a different (previous, older) gun and had been recycled for use on John Alden's piece which would make it considerably older still -- but I can't find documentation on that now.) It still seems reasonably servicable (though no one's going to try it). http://www.nramuseum.org/the-museum...ayflower-gun/mayflower-wheellock-carbine.aspx

    Compare that a Glock 17 you buy today would have to still be surviving in 2406 (at the very minimum) to match that!
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  6. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Well-Known Member

    As stated above, just keep it cleaned and oiled.
  7. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    I don't have any handguns that are that old but I've got an old Remington 6 boys rifle that still shoots darn good. And near as I can tell given the dates of introduction and shift to the Improved 6 it's at likely somewhere around 100 years old. Another Remington Model 12 pump action rimfire rifle also shoots quarter size groups at 50 yards. And from an etched code under the pump handle I'm guessing that it's around 85 years old.

    So yeah, 500 rounds a year isn't a big deal. Keep the gun in good mechanical condition, store it in a low corrosion "metal friendly" environment and keep it lightly oiled and I don't see why it can't last 100 years and more with 500 or more rounds a year down the bore.
  8. 56hawk

    56hawk Well-Known Member

    I'm still shooting an 1883 Reichsrevolver. I don't think anyone even bothered to oil it in the last 100 years. When I got it I took it completely apart, cleaned a little rust out of it, oiled it up, and I've been shooting it at least once a month since. You would have to abuse a gun pretty bad for it to not last 100 years.
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Heck, 100 years ain't notning!
    With todays modern metals & finishes, there is no reason in the world a revolver couldn't last for hundreds of years with proper care.

    This gun was made in 1955 = 57 years old.

    This gun was made in 1944 = 68 years old.

    This gun was made in 1943 = 69 years old.

    These two guns were made in 1936 & 1927 = 76 & 85 years old.

    Last edited: Dec 14, 2012
  10. jeepnik

    jeepnik Well-Known Member

    If it's steel and wood, the same advice. Clean, oil and keep dry. If it's a plastic gun, well since they haven't been around 100 years we just don't know. But likely the same advice will work.

    But remember, if you fire 500 rounds a year for 100 years that 50,000. No matter what the gun, some parts wear is likely. But, change the few that wear out, and you're good to go.
  11. Win73

    Win73 Well-Known Member

    This gun was made in 1891 = 121 years old. And it is still fully functional.




  12. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    I've got a S&W Model 1, second issue that was made in 1868. No clue how many rounds it's fired, but it still works just fine. I have a few other pre-1900 guns, and quite a few pre-WWI and depression era. Except for laminated steel barrel Bayard SxS shotgun, all of mine are shooters.

    It'll be interesting to see what they do. Long chain polymers are stabile, but not to the degree that steel is. I'm sure a Glock will outlive me, but usable after a century or two? I dunno..........
  13. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    I recently shot my great-grandfather's Colt New Pocket revolver in .32 S&W. It was made in 1907 or thereabouts. Mechanically still very sound, despite having been treated and stored in VERY rough conditions before it came into my hands.
  14. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    There are plastic items built in the 1930's, about 80 years ago, that are still functional. Newer plastics are even better. They do require care and I suspect plastics left in bright sunlight will degrade quickly. But so would wood. Plastics will hold up better in very humid environments better than steel.

    The plastic and other man made materials may require different types of maintenence to survive long into the future. But I believe they have the potential to have a useful life at least as long as wood and steel parts.
  15. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member


    95 years, 2 wars and it is not in that bad shape. Sure if it was kept in a box it would look a bit better but this gun was used.


    April 1935 vintage 38/44 that was taken care of over its life. I would have liked to have the original grips but aged ivory works well. Other than a few scratches from nearly 80 years of use, does it look in bad shape?

    Also keep in mind that for the bulk of the history of gun owners, wonder lubes were not available. These were probably lubed with sperm oil or car oil or even 3 in 1 oil for most of their lives.

    The lesson I learned collecting was that a bit of care, a bit of oil and no abuse the guns will last a really long time even if you shoot them.
  16. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Well-Known Member

    My Savage 1907 .32 still runs fine as does my Remington Model 8 made in 1908 in 35 Remington.Clean it and oil it,store properly.
  17. oldbear

    oldbear Well-Known Member

    highpower, that is a GREAT looking M-1897 you have there. Is it an original “trench gun” configuration?
  18. Dnaltrop

    Dnaltrop Well-Known Member


    Need a better photo, but 1870 or so, and I still put the odd .22 short through this one. (hands down, my oldest gun by about 40 years or so)
  19. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    DNA, that is so sweet...

    I've got a Remington 12c pump .22 that I did a bit more research into the birth date just yesterday. Up to now I thought that it was a 1930's birth date. I learned from posts found on the Remington Society forums that it was born in 1912. Making it an honest 100 years old.

    It came to me with an old all metal Tasco scope mounted on the dovetail for the rear sight. The last time I shot it this centenarion managed to put 10 rounds into a spot about 1.5 inches across at 50 yards and done from a rested position just to check things out. Not bad for an ol' geezer I'd say.... and the rifle did OK too.... :D

    Just to get this focused back onto handguns I'd like to add that there is a fella in my Cowboy Action shooting group that does not use any replica guns. He's managed to buy and use authentic guns that were all made before the turn of the 20th Century. He only shoot black powder loads through them as well. And they all look and perform well without any issues.
  20. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    This is the handgun forum, guys. What's with all the long guns?

    I am not specifically into really old guns, but I have a couple of pistols that are at or near the century mark.




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