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Good Idea To Photograph Firearms?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by BruiseLee, Oct 3, 2004.

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  1. BruiseLee

    BruiseLee Member

    Mar 31, 2003
    I was thinking of taking a picture of all my firearms for insurance purposes. I am thinking just in case they were ever stolen it might help to have a picture of each gun I own, with the serial number of each gun written down of the back of the photograph.

    Is this a good or bad idea? I am a bit paranoid about the photo finishing people seeing pictures of my guns. Who knows what they will think - I live in California, and most people here will scream gun nut, terrorist, gang member, whatever. Oh course, if a shady character is working at the one hour photo, he may decide to take a special interest in my collection.

    I guess I should just invest in a digital camera.

    But, if your guns are all basically stock, not customized, is there a good reason to even bother taking pictures of your collection? What I mean is, doesn't one Glock 17 look pretty much like another? Well, thinking about it, maybe not. I know my friend's early production version had a smoother grip. And I know my early production S&W M66 has the countersunk cylinder you don't see in later models.

    How many of you have a photographic record of each of your firearms? Has anyone actually had a picture of their gun help in the recovery of their weapon after it was stolen?

  2. George S.

    George S. Member

    Jan 11, 2004
    Western WA
    Some people will take pics of jewelry, family heirlooms and other items for insurance purposes. Having proof of what an item looked like if stolen and then recovered would be a great help. Would be easier to deal with insurance claims for personal items lost in a fire if you have pics.

    I would think that firearms would be no different for claiming a loss due to theft or some sort of disaster. A digital image would be the best way to keep information but whatever media you store the pics on would have to be secure and protected. A CD would be the best as you can easily copy picture files to one and the files can be viewed with just about any PC.

    You might also want to create a document using MS Word or other word processor that has a description of your items and save that to the same CD.

    A bank safety deposit box would be a good place to keep something like this. One thing you will have to do is to update the information you store. Sell or buy a gun (or any valuable item) and you have to update everything.
  3. Shootcraps

    Shootcraps Member

    Jan 18, 2004
    You should also check with your insurance company. There may be a limit to the coverage they give to firearms and you'll need to purchase a rider for more coverage.
  4. biere

    biere Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    eastern tn
    I bought a polaroid camera at a garage sale and you can still get film for it.

    Take photos on your bed spread with your carpet or wall paper showing on an edge or something. This pretty well proves the stuff was at least in the house or apartment at one time.

    I keep the info and photos in a little fire rated office safe just in case.

    I originally did it when I had an insurance rider on the stuff, my company did not need the info to pay out but I prefered to be able to show the specific guns and have all the info written down.

    Speaking of writing info down, there was a thread on here long ago with a link to a great form for info about the gun. I have not seen it recently so I don't know where to direct you to it.

    There are also old threads about folks who were met by police when they went to pic up their developed film. I recall some being asked questions but nothing major. That is my reason for going with a cheap polaroid.

    You can also take photos of your car or motorcycle or anything expensive but portable that might be stolen.

    I got rid of my insurance rider when they started saying they wanted to have the info in house. There are threads about a theft ring that used insurance info for picking out who to rob.

    One thing I found out about insuring guns is that they often won't cover scopes and accessories unless you tell them about it and pay them to insure it as well.

    During the ban they would not cover the cost of 15 round glock 10mm mags either. Well they might have, I decided they were being a pain about things and gave up on it rather easily.

    In my case they did not lower the insurance cost if I had a safe or not.

    If you want a digital camera have at it. I like the polaroid because it is cheap these days to buy them used and I don't take a lot of photos. But when I do, I don't need anyone to develop it nor do I need a computer to play with it either.

    And since polaroids don't really last forever I tend to update things and keep old copies around as backup and what not.

    Run some searches on insurance and maybe gun info data sheet or something like that.
  5. NavajoNPaleFace

    NavajoNPaleFace Member

    Nov 7, 2003
    Too Dang Hot, Arizona
    I certainly take photos of every gun I purchase.

    About seven years ago I was burglarized and several guns were taken.

    At that time I was not taking photos and I was asked to provide the insurance company proof I, in fact, did have them at one time.

    Well, I found some receipts but I never found them all.

    I had to go to 'war' with my insurance company to recoup on the ones I couldn't prove. It was then that photos suffice for proof of ownership....at least with my insurance company (Farmers).

    In addiiton to making a photo journal I maintain the photos on disk in the safe deposit box along with the receipts.
  6. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

    Feb 1, 2003
    Yes it's a good idea to photograph your collectibles and firearms.

    Somewhere I've seen Firearm Record keeping software that allows you to record purchases, sales, accessories, options, and photos of your collection. Simply put it on a disc and store in a safety deposit box or safe.
  7. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    A digital camera could fix this whole problem. Or a poloroid for that matter.
  8. deej

    deej Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    (Occupied) California Republic
    How about a video camera?
  9. Jonathan

    Jonathan Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    If you use a film developing drop-off service that sends out the film rather than doing it in-house, the odds are very good that no one will ever see your film.

    Even the places that offer the one-hour services (like WalMart) will usually have a send-out that has something like a 3 or 5 day timeframe.

    When the developing company receives your film, they splice it together with hundreds of other rolls and process it as a huge long strip. Everything is automated except for the quality control, and even if someone did see your pictures, they wouldn't know where they came from.

    Anything sensitive or personal should always be sent away: the one hour developers will see your pictures if they do it in-house.
  10. aerod1

    aerod1 Member

    Feb 26, 2003
    Garland, TX
    Be careful about who sees the pictures. You may want to keep pictures for your personal use.
    Some insurance companies frown on insuring gun collections. Some are very anti 2nd Amendment.
    The most important thing is to have a good gun safe and good home security systems in place.

  11. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    My thoughts:

    Get a digital camera, one capable of doing taking pictures very close up.

    Take pictures of your guns, including serial numbers.

    Store the pics in an encrypted directory.

    Scan copies of your receipts, if you have a scanner, and store those images in the same place.

    Back up your data, and whatever keys, etc. that you need to access the data. Keep a copy off site.
  12. borderguy

    borderguy Member

    Dec 17, 2003
    NW WA
    I use an 8mm camcorder and narrarate what I am videotaping, pointing out features that may add value to the weapon. The video is kept in a fire resistant safe.
  13. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    Very important point: keep the photographs, and a list of serial numbers, etc., OFF-SITE!!! I know one guy locally who had pictures of all his guns, and a list of serial numbers, who kept them in his gunsafe, with his guns. When the whole safe was stolen - guess who had egg on his face when trying to deal with the insurance company?


    In the same way, don't keep the photographs on your computer hard drive - computers can be stolen too...
  14. Taipei Personality

    Taipei Personality Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    North Carolina
    I believe you're thinking of NM Gun Collector Software. I picked up a copy for $19.95 from AIM Surplus. It allows you to attach digital photos, create custom headers, etc. It exports to a standard Access .mdb file for safekeeping.
  15. El Rojo

    El Rojo Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    The People's Republik of **********
    I made a database myself using Microsoft Access. You can take down all the info you want on it and attach photographs. E-mail me if you want me to send you a copy. I think it is a good idea to take inventory of your stuff. As far as paranoia goes, if someone wants it, they can get it. Whether that is info or your stuff. Don't advertise and don't make it easier on them, but don't be paranoid and live in a shell either. Moderation is the key. Just my 2 cents.
  16. Wiley

    Wiley Member

    Sep 1, 2003
    Marietta, GA
    Unless the safe is SPECIFICALLY rated for media (tape, disk, etc.) it will not protect the video, floppy, etc. Check with the manufacturer before relying on it.

    Store one copy off site, one copy on.
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    IIRC, at one time Prudential would refuse to pay any home insurance claim if the insured owned a gun of any kind. It didn't matter if guns were part of the claim or played any role in the situation. They said that owning guns showed irresponsibility and criminal tendencies or some such nonsense. I think the head of the company was a director of Handgun Control.

    Needless to say they did not inform prospective customers of this policy, but there was something buried in the fine print that let them get out of paying.

  18. USMCsilver

    USMCsilver Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Middle of SC
    I have photos of all my guns. I have large pictures showing the whole firearm and then a close-up of the serial number.

    I also have a spreadsheet of make, model, caliber, serial number, price, accessories added, and an accessory price.

    All of this is kept on my PC and a copy is on a Sony Memory Stick in my small, hidden, fire proof safe.

    It is a good idea to have proof of everything of value that you possess.
  19. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    I have hundreds of megabytes' worth of photographs of firearms, computers, peripherals, furniture, stuff in the garage, my car, et cetera. Insurance companies are notorious for acting as though they believe all the people who send them checks are shameless liars.
  20. mattz357

    mattz357 Member

    Feb 27, 2004
    Peoria, IL
    I have tons of pictures of all of my guns at different angles to show conditon and serial numbers on some. I also have a MS Excel file with make, model, finish, serial number, caliber and value (including accessories and modifications). Then I have a MS Word file itemizing each accessory and modification and the current value of the gun itself. I have presented copies of everything to my State Farm agent and have $6000 of specific coverage. I also maintain a copy of all of my files off site with my parents.
  21. DWS1117

    DWS1117 Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Spring, TX
    I have recently taken tons of photos of all my firearms. Took pics from all different angles, markings, and any dings or blemishes.

    I also do this with most everything in my house. Computers, furniture, cars, people. Ok maybe not people.
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