Chopping a classic: can it ever be justified

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by pairof44sp, Dec 27, 2020.

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  1. pairof44sp

    pairof44sp Member

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    There's a fellow on this forum, or maybe it's elsewhere but I coulda sworn it was here, who posted his project 1917s. They were beaters he'd picked up for around 400 each and turned into custom lo pro snubs.

    I thought they were the eel's hips.

    Now I just found out that there are old 44 specials out there too. and now I can dream that one day a decrepit Triple Lock will come along that I can have my way with.... with no guilty feelings.

    Poll: can chopping up a beat up classic ever be justified? How beat up would it need to be for you?
     
  2. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Its yours. Do what you want.
     
  3. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    Purists have their thoughts yet it is your toy to do as you please. Have fun. :thumbup:
     
  4. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    The key is in the definition of beat up. There is a point where I think modification is not destruction . To each his own on where that point is. I was at the entrance to a Gun show that I and a friend was putting on when an elderly lady came in with a box of handguns. Her husband had passed so she brought them to the show to sell. There were 8 or 10 guns as I recall, and I checked to make sure none were loaded. All guns were in the collector class type. This was 20 years ago, and a few of them would have normally sold for well over $1,000 . Her deceased husband must have really liked them as they were all gold plated. Now to me that was a case that could bring a collector to tears. I let her in for free and let her put them on a table. I told her she should take offers from several people and sell them to the highest offer. Then I made an announcement to the dealers to come up and take a look. I don't know what she received for them as I was busy with other matters. I and my friend were both FFL dealers but we promised the set up dealers we would not buy guns coming in. I do have to agree with those that say whoever owns the gun has every right to do as they please with it. I do however like the concept of leaving history be as it lays.
     
  5. P5 Guy

    P5 Guy Member

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    Modify to your heart's content. The fewer in original condition just makes mine more valuable.
     
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  6. Tallball

    Tallball Member

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    If the finish is messed up enough it will never be a "collector" piece. It will have value only as a "shooter". I should know, I have a lot of handguns like that. (That's why I could afford them.)

    When it gets to the point that it really needs refinishing, it kind of doesn't matter what you do to it after that, IMHO.

    If the original finish was still in nice shape, it would kind of make me cringe if someone chopped the barrel and so forth... even though it would be not my gun and none of my business.
     
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  7. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd member

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    I'm a firm believer of quashing the nearly Socialist attitude that *the throng's* point of view holds any sway over what I do to a; firearm, motorcycle, car or whatever that I fully own.

    I am NOT, merely a *caretaker* for a future individual. Don't give a tinker's damn what someone down the road thinks about my changes and - if the value is an issue - the modification is not.

    Todd.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
  8. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Original Model T?

    “Original” model T bucket coupe chopped and made in 1950’s California?

    I’d go with the coupe.
     
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  9. Sneakshot92

    Sneakshot92 Member

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    It definitely depends.. I had a 30-40 Krag rifle that was beat to hell and back, pitted externals and the barrel had a bend in it about 6" back form the muzzle, but the bore was still good. Had the barrel shortened, replaced the front post and rear sight assemblies with custom modified Skinner sights and spend a week making a replacement stock out of a nice piece of hickory I had laying around.
    Picked it up in a package deal with a lightly sporterized 1916 Enfield for $400 still have the Enfield, Sold the Krag for $450.
     
  10. hemiram

    hemiram Member

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    A friend of mine found a pretty nasty old S&W 19 with a 6" barrel that had a messed up crown. He had a gunsmith chop the barrel to 3", and sent it to be electroless nickeled. A mutual friend went totally ballistic about his "Butchering" that 19, but I don't see he did anything wrong. There are plenty of 19's out there, and nothing he did really detracts from the value of that gun compared to what it looked like when he bought it from some gun store in the Akron, Oh area. I like it enough that if/when he wants to sell it, I get first crack at it. If it needs refinishing, I think it's just fine to do some mods, too.
     
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  11. film495

    film495 Member

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    if the gunsmith doesn't refuse, then you are all good IMHO
     
  12. Obturation

    Obturation Member

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    I'd hesitate to chop a pristine example, anything else it doesn't matter. Maybe you'll preserve something your whole life to have it thrown in a trash bin when you die or chopped by some future hipster to make a prop for his super hero costume. Who knows, got to live for today and enjoy what we have.
     
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  13. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    This Triple Lock left the factory in 1907. It does not have a drop of original blue left on it, and the grips are so worn most of the checkering is gone. It is rare to find a Triple Lock for less than $1000 these days, usually twice that. Because of its condition I got it for the ridiculously low price of $650. Sad as it looks on the outside, inside it is mechanically perfect, and is as accurate as the day it left the factory.

    Rest assured, I will keep it exactly as you see it here and I will not be cutting it down.

    pnu8oWpvj.jpg
     
  14. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

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    Now that right there is funny !
     
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  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Sneakshot92
    I thought about chopping down my Krag to carbine length but the whole gun was so well preserved with bright chrome plating and spar varnish on the wood stock that I decided to restore it as close as I could get it to it's original condition. Turned out pretty good for a winter time activity that kind of ran into spring time!
    2tg6G8L.jpg
     
  16. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    ——
    Like I told another poster about hunting with 7.62Russian, go ahead and modify your worn out, rusty, beat up Mosin with a good barrel, proper hunting sights, a decent trigger- guilt free. You aren’t destroying a relic, you’re giving an old war horse a new life in the civilian world. Unless it’s a mint example bring back confirmed to have been Lavrentyi Berias personal infantry rifle, it’s just one of a million more imports not fit for the 100 yard line.
     
  17. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    How many Broomhandle Mausers were destroyed to make, “Star Wars”? How much are the props “worth” versus the original Broomhandles? Which would you rather have for a $2k tab?

    Just some thing to think about.
     
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  18. whughett

    whughett Member

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    I agree on it’s mine I’ll do as I please but I also know that sooner or later it WILL change hands and resell value will be important to some one.
    The gun shops/shows are full of “home gun smith” repairs and modifications, I acquired an otherwise very nice 1894 Remington S/S with two factory barrels at a very reasonable price because some one had very very short arms and the gun had a chopped stock with an 11” pull.
     
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  19. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Be sure to research your particular rifle before you permanently modify it. I can't tell you the number of collectable Mosins that were ruined by people who might not have had they known. I know three personally who were not happy with themselves after I told them what their Mosins would have been worth before they ruined them, and what they were worth after. Yes, as far as 1942 Ishevsk Mosins go, I somewhat agree with you GeoDude Florida. But not the 'just one more of a million imports not fit for the 100 yard line' part of it. That and Beria probably didn't have a firearm, even a pistol. He had the NKVD do his killing, often with M1895 Nagant revolvers.
    There are Mosins that are approaching the $1000 mark, (the M1907 carbine passed that long ago), some of the Finn models are up there, and they aren't even Simo Hayaa's sniper rifle. Even your pedestrian 1942 Ishevsk goes for between $200-$400 these days. For that one can buy a modern Rifle like a Savage Axis or Thompson Center Compass, scoped, and have a way better deer rifle. Add in the mount and scope on the Mosin over that, and there is no reason to chop up an old war horse for a deer rifle.
    Ultimately, it is the owner's choice. I only ask they make an informed choice, not from the "they made millions" viewpoint.
     
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  20. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    Do whatever you want to your sixgun, I think there are more than enough runs of exclusives and factory barrel lengths that you can find pretty much whatever you want out there however. Want a short barrel SA? Well put down the hacksaw off the Colt and get yourself a Cimmaron. But then again a Ruger superblackhawk is a dime a dozen and cutting down a 7.5 is cheaper than buying a 5.5 or 4.75
     
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  21. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Speaking of ugly old 1917s...
    [​IMG]
    Aside from the grips, some of the internals that were rusty have been replaced. My gunsmith refaced the cylinder to correct for damage to the ejector and the timing hand has been cut to get it back in time. But I like the look of it and it shoots fine as far as I can see. Which isn’t as far as used to be. It’s got no “collectors value” but it will drop a rabid coyote quick.
     
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  22. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    ——
    To be fair, what op asked was “can it ever be justified?” My answer is, yeah, it’s justified if you are giving an unsafe, inaccurate, incomplete and otherwise unfit firearm a new life. In my post to the Mosin fella I also made it clear to work with a professional gunsmith who knows how to do that kind of work. I didn’t ever say, “Yippee Kay-yay, Bubba! Hold m’beer and hand over the hacksaw!”
     
  23. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    For me it's mostly an economic decision. Can I fix up a beater for less than I can find a nicer example? It's usually a wash, at best, so I don't really worry beyond that. There are collector "purists" who have labeled a Best Grade Bowen Old Model Blackhawk "butchered" because it's no longer as Ruger made it. Silly to me but it makes sense to them. No bother, I don't do it for them anyway.

    But then there are some guns I just can't bring myself to modify. This is one example. I originally bought it to convert to a .44Spl and completely refinish. Decided it was just too nice for that. So I dressed it up with a case colored hammer, nitre blued trigger and fancy walnut grips.

    IMG_0095b.jpg
     
  24. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    A certain Colt employee did exactly as you describe, nearly 100 year ago. Check out the Fitz Special revolvers. I say go for it

     
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  25. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    I've seen a variety of DIY firearms done over the years. Some mods are well implemented and match my conservative tastes. I've seen enough that have been taken to the buffer to be polished up too. There isn't a sharp line anywhere and everything has been softened/rounded over with a wavy unevenness. I attempt to keep mine looking nice though there are owners that having a well worn firearm shows the love of use. To me the joy comes from use and if the mod brings that enjoyment, that has value too.

    Post pics if you decide to make the changes.
     
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