Upgrading/replacing firearms over time

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Batty67, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. Batty67

    Batty67 Member

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    The ongoing thread, "What would your family do with your collection after you die?" made me wonder how common it is for folks in general to upgrade the overall quality/expense of their firearms as they get older, and presumably have more expendable income and overall "tastes." My first gun was a stock Beretta 96 (in 40S&W) that I got in 1992 when I was a VA ANG officer, in case I ever got deployed long-term. I shot it quite a bit until getting married, in fact, 24 years ago TODAY (6/22/97) and having kids. Then, very rarely until my "rebirth" into shooting in 2011.

    I bought a lot of firearms from 2011 to 2015, and they were all middle-of-the road in terms of quality and features. In 2021, most have been sold and upgraded (e.g., Sig Nightmare Carry in 45 to a Dan Wesson Guardian in 45 ACP). That's the trend, with time: I've pretty much upgraded and replaced most of my firearms. Those I keep get upgraded sights, triggers, grips, recoil springs, mag release, etc. And I get very good (but not super high-end) optics.

    So I'd describe my firearm collection as "upper middle class." I suspect this is pretty normal progression. But, do some folks stick with basic firearms their entire lives? Do folks keep all firearms no matter what, including their most entry-level, earliest guns? Is it common for well-off, established owners to buy "basic" guns to go next to their super high-end ones? Please share your story, and you can keep it general and vague as to actual numbers and specifics (I did).
     
  2. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    I started shooting later in life so I had a decent firearm budget from the beginning (I am FAR from well off though). I bought a few cheap guns early but quickly found out I could not live with medium quality so I bought a Glock. I never upgraded from that Glock, just bought more of them. I look at my guns as if they are work trucks with diesel engines. I tried a luxury car and will never go that route with anything ever again.

    So basically I have two cheap guns and several Glocks and one Ruger SBH 44 magnum as a fun gun, which is my most expensive splurge at $761. I have zero desire for a high end gun.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
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  3. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    I don't upgrade or replace a gun once purchased, I just add to the collection. If, by "upgrade", you mean buying add-on stuff like rails, scopes, fancy grips, etc., I do replace the grips on my revolvers, partly to get ones with a size suitable for my hand, but also to keep the originals in good condition and prevent wear. As for add-on stuff for handguns, they tend to stay stock in configuration. My rifles and shotguns get what I want for them when I buy them (scopes, recoil pads, bipod), but that's it and I save my money for the next gun.
     
  4. Skeptic13

    Skeptic13 Member

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    Most of the guns that I own have been bought in the last 12 years. I do a lot of research on the guns I purchase because they either have a specific use or they are a certain gun type I am looking for. I very seldom buy at the top of the price range but always buy well priced guns with good reputations for quality and performance. So I don't ever plan to buy the next level of any of these guns but I do plan to add to my collection and expand it over time.
     
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  5. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    Since I started shooting my own guns @1990-91, I've bought many guns, but sold only one. That was a Ruger 10-22. I sorta regret that, but not so much, because they're still around.

    As far as improving quality, only on my AR-15s. I've put better quality BCGs in a few. I've changed forends and buttstocKS on some, but that wasn't quality so much as personal preference. On one AR15 and AR-10 I replaced the forend for quadrail so I could stick kitchen sinks on them.:D
     
  6. jar

    jar Member

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    I've been accumulating guns since Ike was President so most of what I own would generally be called obsolete by what I see around today. But what I carry is almost always at least a half century old and most often over a century old.

    I do own a few, very few guns that were made this century but even there most would be considered basic entry level I imagine. I do own some polymer frame guns but I don't think any of them are striker fired. I like striker fired guns as well as hammer fired but all my striker fired guns are pretty old. My newest striker fired handgun was also made the year Ike won the election over Adlai Stevenson. The one I am carrying today was most likely made in 1919.

    But that is relevant to your question. It has been upgraded, the original barrel was worn down to the point it was mostly a smooth bore so a new barrel was added fairly recently and of course the firing pin and recoil springs have been changed several times.

    Almost all of my handguns have been upgraded, wear parts replaced, often new grips or grip panels, so reblued, one of the newer plastic ones has a new frame jess for fun.
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    38 years ago when I married my wife I promised to keep her. I've kept that promise. I make no promise when I buy a gun. There are a handful with family history and some with sentimental value that will be passed down to the next generation. But everything else is for sale at the right price.

    I'm 63, bought my 1st gun at 16 with money I earned cutting grass during summers @ $3 per yard. During my 20's, 30's and 40's I was a prolific gun buyer/seller/trader. I've lost count, but have owned several hundred guns over the years. Never more than about 50 at any given time. Never had any high end guns, but there aren't many mid to lower priced guns I haven't owned at one time or another. Probably at least 75%-80% of the guns I've ever owned were bought used. Over 50% in my safe right now were used. I've not spent nearly as much out of pocket as you'd think.

    Things have changed, but back then it was pretty easy and simple to sell/trade/swap guns. I discovered that if I bought used guns and watched the price I paid I could easily sell or trade it later if I didn't like it and recover most, if not all of my money. And it wasn't unusual to make a small profit occasionally. Especially if I kept it a few years. I literally bought many guns that I felt I probably wouldn't like simply to try them. Knowing I could easily get my money back if I didn't. I discovered that I was wrong several times and actually became quite fond of some of those. Glock for example.

    I'm not sure my strategy would work today. I'm hesitant to sell or buy FTF anymore. I'd rather pay more, and get less when selling and go through a FFL to let them assume the liability of a gun getting in the wrong hands.

    Once I got into my 50's I'd already tried just about everything and had made up my mind what worked best for me. I started selling off those that didn't get used and used the money to upgrade to better optics, adding high end aftermarket stocks, and in some cases better firearms. I also gave my kids several guns. I didn't see any point in them having to wait till I die to enjoy them.

    During the height of the Pandemic when gun shops couldn't get guns I sold 10 guns for $6000 to a local gun store. I had about $2500 in them and made a nice profit, and he had some guns on his shelves.
     
  8. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee Moderator Staff Member

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    Historically, I've always had what I would call mid-grade guns. Nothing high-dollar, but reliable guns from reputable manufacturers. Like many, I grew up around guns. I always had several on hand, but I wasn't all that interested in them beyond basic function until, oh, somewhere around 10-12 years ago. Since then, I've gotten to where all of my firearm needs are met, and I've begun improving the ones I have. Better stocks, triggers, sights, etc.
     
  9. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    I've never "worn a gun out" to need to replace it.
    (Bought a few that were "stove up and spent" when I bought them, but, that's different.)

    I may be lucky in never having bought what I felt was a "basic" level arm and wanted/needed the "upgrade" version.
    Now, most of the "upgrade" items are typically finish and embellishments, not any distinct performance changes.

    Ok, to me, the difference between a $600 1911 and a $2000 1911 is only price. All too typically, the latter does not go "bang" 3x better than the former. May be more embellished, might have a fancier finish.

    It's not like the firearms I bought were like trucks with features omitted, like a/c or power windows or the like.

    Typically, when I've bought another of a thing, it's a "different one" rather than any better or worse.
     
  10. George P

    George P member

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    I am in the process of upgrading, selling off guns I no longer shoot, and replacing others with different brands of equal quality (SIG 365 for Glock, for example). I am contemplating completely changing out my 12 and 20 ga shotguns for 1-2 28s and reduce my handguns down to 9mm and 38, eliminating .22, .25, .32 and .45 altogether. Not in a rush, but there is no reason to saddle everyone after I am gone with hundreds of guns to dispose of.
     
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  11. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Many folks “upgrade” over time.

    Many folks also do not “replace” the lower grade items with higher grade but rather just add and add and add…..

    I don’t really see that as upgrading. Just marginally increasing the average.
     
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  12. Zeabed

    Zeabed Member

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    Even though I bought my first gun in 1979 and have owned many since then, the oldest one among those which I currently have is 21 yrs. old or maybe less. I buy them based on reputation for effectiveness, reliability and for ergonomic features that would assist my effectiveness in using and, when appropriate, carry them, although a few of them are home defense guns which I do not carry. The most expensive one that I have is a HK P7M8, at $1,000 in 2001 when they were still being manufactured. I wouldn't buy one at today's asking prices for used ones. The rest are also "obsolete" models that have served me well. I do not intend to upgrade, both because I don't feel the need and because I'm just too old to get into new guns.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  13. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I find upgrading to improve guns to be about as much fun as shooting them.
     
  14. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I had to wipe the slate clean in '07-'08 due to financial hardships. Prior to that, I had lower mid-level guns: Ruger P90 and 10-22, Tanfoglio Witness .45, couple vintage Taurii, H&R 929, etc.

    Now, in Collection V2.0, I definitely started gravitating to quality over quantity, vintage S&W and Colt revolvers, German Sigs, US Milsurps, Luger, P7......

    My problem now is I'm starting to have a large quantity of quality firearms- and Im running out of room!

    I know, First World Problems....... :D
     
  15. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have a "collection" of vintage guns (mostly US mil) that resides in a safe. A few "old" guns (my Remington model 11 and nylon 66 come to mind) that I just keep for the gee-whizz factor. Also some very high end modern guns and long range type rifles. As far as what I actually "use" for things like hunting and SD, those guns aren't very impressive. Mostly Glocks and a 1911 or 2 and hunting rifles and shotguns that anyone can purchase today somewhere like Academy. I am especially fond of my Ruger American 6.5 CM and Mossberg 930- neither are "pleasing to the eye", but they both do an excellent job at what they are designed for- putting meat in the freezer. No need to "upgrade" if everything I have is more than sufficient for what I use them for.
     
  16. 23349

    23349 Member

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    I buy what ever strikes my fancy. I have some brand new, but mostly used. I'm not getting anything expensive just to set in my safe. There are a lot of people that want perfect weapons and never shoot them. I think that it's great. We will never get into a bidding war at an auction. Collecting for me is the hunt for something I want but don't need. My children will get to have them when I polish, and clean them no more.
     
  17. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Perfect. :thumbup:
     
  18. Gridley

    Gridley Member

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    I still have the first two firearms I bought - a Browning Buckmark and a Marlin Model 30. These days the Browning gets a lot less range time than my Ruger Mk IV, so in a sense I have 'upgraded.' The Marlin doesn't get much range time either, but I've never seriously considered selling it.

    I've sold a few firearms that didn't work for me, and in most cases then bought something that worked better. Mostly however I've either made wise decisions or gotten lucky - take your pick. :)
     
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  19. DeathByCactus

    DeathByCactus Member

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    I've maybe downgraded my 'high end quality' over the years. IE, spending more than $1k on a firearm (or overall accessories). I have a few outstanding exceptions, my suppressor equipped LMT 5.56 SBR & Wilson Combat Beretta 92G Brigadier, but those are range/larp/bedroom safe guns. I also didn't technically upgrade those over time, rather I purchased them with the intent of having the accessories become the overall final form. I had all the accessories before the LMT even arrived.

    My carry guns are a Sig P938 and a Glock 26, both stock and do different things. I don't see myself buying any "high quality" handguns in the future, near or far. These guns are quality enough and really I don't see a practical benefit in spending more than $800 on a firearm when training/range days dictate more than fancy accessories do.

    I've thought about upgrading my Sig to a Hellcat RDP, but that's more just for something even smaller for my p938 (not by much but). Technology changes, so practicality can be improved. Also, the gun stays under $850 or so. I'd sell my P938.
     
  20. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    I've been upgrading guns and scopes......well, always. I never stop looking for better versions of guns I've owned for a time and looking for guns I've always wanted to own. As I became more prosperous I could actually consider buying better rifles. Sold guns I thought I would like, but didn't like them once they were in my hands. I'll be 75 in August, but still get a kick out of searching for and finding fine guns. I've bought 8-10 guns in the past couple of years, sold just as many, and helped numerous friends find particular firearms. It's a great hobby.
     
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  21. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Indeed fun to collect.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
  22. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I've lately been able to indulge my tastes in higher-end (well, higher than an 870 or 1100) Trap guns lately. Otherwise; they are tools that I have either picked for a specific purpose, or deals I happened upon. (My Cobray .45/.410 derringer as an example; bought it for $20 from a friend who needed money.) I also have a small collection of milsurps, used to be bigger, but life intervened, and they were my only available assets at the time. :(
    Some are guns I've wanted forever, like my Ljutic, some fit a specific need (My 16 ga. SxS as a pheasant gun, my Ithaca 37 as HD shotgun, etc.), some were u-fix-it projects, but all are enjoyed. Some not as frequently as I'd like at the range, but still enjoyed.
     
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  23. CoalCrackerAl

    CoalCrackerAl Member

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    I traded 4 Hi-point pistols. Towards my CZ 457. I wasn't shooting them and got more than i paid for them.
     
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  24. blackd24

    blackd24 Member

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    I’ve sold off a bunch recently to make the guns I want to keep better. For example, upgrading sights, triggers, adding a few extra magazines, better scopes on my rifles.
    I have a nice deer rifle, 10/22, full size and compact 9mm, AR, 12 gauge, 357 revolver and a 410 I inherited. I have pretty much everything covered. The only wants I really have are more revolvers in different calibers. I’m set on what I like to shoot and I’ll use any money I have to buy reloading supplies and equipment to make reloading easier.
     
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  25. slugford

    slugford Member

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    Up till now I've been keeping every gun I've bought minus gifts for the children. Now I am looking at selling off my 9mm's because I have no practical need for that caliber anymore. Between the 22lr, 5.56, 30-06, 12ga, 45 acp and 44 mag, a very versatile lineup that will serve any purpose I need. The 9mm would just be for cheap paper punching and honestly the 22lr's do the job there just fine. The 44 mag is my latest addition and what's pushed the 9mm out.
     
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