guns as an investment

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  • Last Post 01 February 2019
loophole posted this 26 January 2019

In my younger days I spent a lot of time buying and selling firearms.  A friend and I would even rent a table at the gunshow  and spend weekends talking and swapping guns. I usually lost money because I often paid too much for one of my eclectic interests, and had to sell cheap because I lost interest in the gun and needed the money for some new gun project.  I was too poor to afford many real antiques or collector's items. I accumulated a lot of modern production single shots and lever guns. 

I learned that even very expensive hunting and sporting rifles such as Griffen & Howe Springfieds  were not a very good investment a few years ago  and very few of us were able to recover the investment in rebarreld and accurized hunting and varmint rifles.  I think the current Black Rifle and plastic gun fad will fade. So I submit for your consideration the investment future of  my current interest--vintage Marlins and Winchester of the type many of us use for cast bullets. 

I recently decided I wanted a 25-35 lever gun.  Japanese Winchesters are with modern safeties and metric screws sell for far too much money, in my opinion. and new Marlins have more redundant safeties and quality control problem.  As I reported on an earlier post I bought a 100 year old Mod 94 I very shootable condition for about the same money as the new Japanese Winchester costs.  

Confidence in the value of dollars or stocks with the current pack of vultures running this country is deluded, and I have not found anything I consider to be a safe investment.  I never was interested in antiques as an investment, but years ago one of my clients was a nationally known antique  dealer.  I studied his catalogue and saw many pictures of beautiful antique firearms.  All too pricey for my modest means.  I asked him about his interest in guns and learned that he wouldn't know how to load a gun, but he knew all about vintage gunmakers and values of all types if antique firearms, just as he knew everything there is to know about fine art and furniture. 

The other day in talking to antique gun dealers I remembered that there apparently is a market for guns which has no interest in shooting, the 2nd Amendment  or any of the things we associate with firearms.  I was struck with a blinding flash of the obvious--vintage firearms may be a very good investment at least in part because there is a demand for them among people who have money and whose interest is completely detached from the popularity of shooting.

You boys who have been looking for a way to persuade your wife to let you buy more guns owe me a big thanks for this idea.

Steve k 

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corerftech posted this 26 January 2019

Old men have money, time and patience. I’m one, or at least approaching that era of life. There are guns that make money initially. Black rifles do just that. As time has passed I have noticed who buys what and what appreciates. Look at what old men shoot and rebuild. They aren’t black rifles, or savage 10/12 or rem 700 or sporters from WW2.

I’m a businessman professionally and also inside several hobbies. There is no lack of firearm investments avail, many are antique and if you have paid attention to the market for the last 15 years it is moving ahead far faster than inflation. A 100 bucks per year is easily attained by sundry firearms. And those you don’t expect are the fastest in adding value.

I’ll offer one—— 43 Mauser Avail 5 years ago all matching with minty bore for $300. Now $1000. And they sell, well. Who’d have thought poor bore Imperial rifles that need BP and obsolete brass would sell like they do. A Carcano—- its worthless—- Literally unless ready for the NRA museum case, it’s just not desirable. Do old me shoot them, I don’t know of any who do. Dunno why.... My observations only, not a law or patent facts. Just my observations.

I’ve made many mistakes by not holding long enough as I wanted a “keeper” and I could find with a single investment piece. Likely the keeper is not growing and the piece sold has doubled. I sell almost nothing- everything is growing at $100/ year or better. It’s my retirement fund.

More shooters are aging and maturing and part of that process is a change in desires. Old guys rule, they are deliberate and usually calculating. They have worked for irreplaceable funds and desire things that take work to operate and require prowess to be used well, and things of substance.Not simply finer things, works of excellence.

Watch what old men buy in firearms. Not collectors, they buy Henry’s and Volcanics and unfired Lugers—— watch shooters and only buy items that required manual mastery of a process. If it’s CNC made, shoot it and don’t invest in it.

My 2 cents and experience.

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John Carlson posted this 26 January 2019

My guns might be a good investment, unless my wife sells them for what I told her I paid for them!

Holding public office should be viewed as an obligation to serve, not an opportunity to rule.

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RicinYakima posted this 26 January 2019

 "I was struck with a blinding flash of the obvious--vintage firearms may be a very good investment at least in part because there is a demand for them among people who have money and whose interest is completely detached from the popularity of shooting."

The best investment I ever made was new real military Chinese SKS's for $69 and sold them for $350 ten years later. It is always about selling for an investment. If you can shoot it, it is not an investment. Condition, rarity, marketing, condition, rarity, marketing. Nothing else matters if you are here to make money.

My most fun gun to shoot is a Savaged Model 23 in 32/20 I paid $250 for 20 years ago. Today I can sell it for $250 deflated $'s. And I don't care, as it is the practical gun for me to have at may age and stage of life.

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 26 January 2019

I have always purchased guns because I liked them and if they were collectible, well that is a bonus. In the mid 80s I did buy two Winchester 94s that had limited production, one a .32 Win Special and the other .38-55. Time went by and I never took them out of the box and it got to the point that I figured I would just leave them in the safe. I had purchased them for about $280 a piece. Well over 30 years later they are worth about $1200 to $1400. Just by luck they turned into a good investment. 

But when I think about the many firearms I have purchased over the past 40+ years, none of them are worth less than what I paid for them. Of course most of the recent purchases would sell for about what I paid for them, but not less.

Most of you that are frequent participants of this forum know that just a few months ago I purchased a Winchester Model 94 sporter in .25-35. I bought it because I liked it and still do. However I am pretty sure a year or two from now I would be able to sell it new for more than I paid for it. It will not be new when that time arrives and I don't plan to sell anyway. For me it made better sense than buying a vintage model. But this was my thinking and I don't look down upon Steves thinking and what makes sense for him. 

Most of us are shooters more than collectors and that's why there are so many models and makes. Yes I have many collectible firearms, ie. my large Iver Johnson handgun collection, early S&Ws and Colts. However the IJs were bought not as an investment but because I just like them. Now I have several factory prototypes and one-of-a-kinds, but again not bought as an investment, same goes for the Smiths & Colts. 

Investments and collectibles don't always cross-over, but many times they do. Do I buy those collectible Smiths & Colts anymore, no way, too much money and all mine were purchased before they were valued like gold. I still buy some older Smiths & Colts, but they are always just shooters.

So I say, buy what you like to shoot and have fun. Just be careful if you want to collect, they are many more models made today that will increase in value very slowly. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Wineman posted this 26 January 2019

David,

That one worked out. The $280 in 1987 dollars is now $612 according to Morgan Stanley. You doubled your money for sure. Of course if you had put that $280 into the stock market you would have done about the same. From 1987 to 2018 the DJIA is up 425%

Dave

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loophole posted this 26 January 2019

David, I certainly understand your buying a Japanese Winchester.  As stated above I own a number of them, and they are among the bestlmade and accurate rifles I own.  I'm sure the value will increase, but in large measure that will result from Winchester's artificially limiting supply (low production or short production run) as they have done with all the other Japanese leverguns and single shots in the past.  Or stated differently, if for some reason they make more of them for a long time,  the increase in value will not be any more than most other good modern rifles.   The value of antique guns or other fine antiques cannot be controlled by how many are made, so that seems to me to be a factor which protects the value of the investment.  I  certainly agree that it is best to buy a gun because I like it and consider appreciation in value as an added bonus.  But if I have some savings which I am afraid to hold in fiat currency, I may buy a gun simply as a safe place to park the funds in times of uncertainty.

I enjoy thinking of reasons to buy more guns.

Steve k

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 26 January 2019

Steve,

Any reason to buy a new gun is a good reason. I like the way you think.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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joeb33050 posted this 26 January 2019

From a few years back,

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joeb33050 posted this 26 January 2019

Ruger Standard models sold for $37.50 for years. Today at Buds, $306. 

S&W K22/32/38 sold for $81 for years. Today, ~$1000

 

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loophole posted this 26 January 2019

I think this is a very interesting discussion. You all have reminded me that the price of a great many firearms has increased tremendously over the past 20 years.  Just to pick at random a few things I have been interested in, I remember when we first got a bunch of Swede  6.5 mm Mausers that were selling for about $40, Mod 19 smiths at almost givaway prices when the police converted to autos, and after deer season every year every pawn shop sold nice 30-30's for less than $100.  On the other hand I also remember that Belgium Browning shot guns went down in value when bird hunting became less popular and the guns were not so much in vogue with clay bird shooters.

The trick about investing in guns, I quess, is to know the market  and think like an investor, mo a shooter?

Steve k 

 

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Dukem posted this 27 January 2019

I buy them, and play with them, and BS about them with my friends. Spend all kinds of money on brass, dies, moulds, etc. When I go 10 toes up I will not give a darn about what happens to all that stuff. Throw it in a dumpster, I won't know. And always remember, "It's only money, pigs won't even eat  it."

Duke

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 28 January 2019

I buy them, and play with them, and BS about them with my friends. Spend all kinds of money on brass, dies, moulds, etc. When I go 10 toes up I will not give a darn about what happens to all that stuff. Throw it in a dumpster, I won't know. And always remember, "It's only money, pigs won't even eat  it."

Duke

Hey Duke,

I know where a dumpster is. Send it to me and I will take care of throwing it in. Wink, nod!

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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M3 Mitch posted this 28 January 2019

It's hard to figure out what guns will appreciate.  Consider the now out of print Python - good grief, why didn't I have enough sense to buy a case of those back in the 80's? 

For whatever reason, Winchesters and Colts tend to trade for higher prices than Marlins and Smith and Wessons, even though the latter brands, broad brush, are better engineered gats.  Go figure. I have no idea why.

Some of the guns in my safe are worth more than I paid for them, but since I don't want to sell them, I'm not making any claim of "investment" status.  I am glad to have had them, and to have bought back when the price was lower than now. 

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beagle6 posted this 28 January 2019

Before investing in guns, you may want to factor in what the politicians will allow us to keep. Look at what happened in England and Australia. I really don't like the look of things.

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 28 January 2019

Take a close look at the rate of increased value of Class 3 items.

I know a fellow who's retirement is based on his collection.

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BudHyett posted this 29 January 2019

Investment depends on getting all variations of a model. This also depends on having a collection for which others will bid or trade. I knew a gunsmith in Pomona, California who had every factory variation of the original square-bolt Marlin 1895. In a climate controlled room, the shop walls were lined with these rifles; from .33 WCF to .45-90, in rifles and carbines, pistol grip and straight stock, octagon and round barrel. His comment was there were not enough Marlin collectors for him to sell his collection. As we talked, I realized you may have a great value on the walls, but converting value to cash can in itself become a lifetime project. 

My collection is not a collection in the normal sense, but more of a theme of collecting what I like to shoot, cast or jacketed, or to experiment . I am a sucker for single-shot rifles and double-action .45 Colt revolvers. The collection has this theme and only two truly collectible revolvers. 

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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RicinYakima posted this 29 January 2019

I hear you Bud! Other than twenty 1903 Springfields, everything is a shooter!

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loophole posted this 30 January 2019

I share with Beagle a growing concern about lyin' theavin' politicians and  more and more restrictive gun laws, but given the present political climate the black rifles are the focus of their ignorance.  Speaking strictly from the standpoint of an investor I see no future in AR15's or any military rifle made in the 20th century or later.  I'm looking for single shot and lever actions. 

Among the rifles I foolishly sold was a Stevens 044-1/2 English model in 22SS.  Used cases cost  over a dollar apiece 25 years ago, nobody was making new ones, and I needed the money for another rifle.  What do you boys think about a Stevens 44 either in 38-55 or 32-40? 

Steve k

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 30 January 2019

The only comment I have in regard to Beagle's post is, "when they pry my cold dead hands".

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 30 January 2019

stevens 44 in 32-40 ... hey, i shot a lot through one when i wuz a kid ....  #80 and all ....  a great one to shoot, as long as you keep the loads down a whole lot ....  it is a smooth beefy toggle action ... leverage keeps it closed when fired ... heh ...

there was a 44 making it's rounds around the so. minnesota gun shows a couple years ago ....  half the time it was presented as a " mysterious " 44 1/2 ....  i think it was usually in the $600-$800 range .. still not a bad buy .

some of those were quite pretty ...

ken

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joeb33050 posted this 30 January 2019

Among the rifles I foolishly sold was a Stevens 044-1/2 English model in 22SS.  Used cases cost  over a dollar apiece 25 years ago, nobody was making new ones, and I needed the money for another rifle.  What do you boys think about a Stevens 44 either in 38-55 or 32-40? 

Steve k

I saw one blow up at WNYSS; went home and sold all my "weak" SS rifles. Ballard, Stevens 44, Win lo wall, all trouble with a double charge. Stevens 44 is a good 22rf action.

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beagle6 posted this 30 January 2019

David

It's not about prying things out of your dead hands, How are you going to sell something that's outlawed. We already have a big problem with this here in New York with the so called Safe Act.

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RicinYakima posted this 30 January 2019

 David, Same here in WA. Now that any self-loading rifle is an "assault rifle" and magazines over 10 rounds are banned, what do I do with all my M1 Carbine 30 rounders and 10/22 Ruger magazines? Ric

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 30 January 2019

For me, I don't sell my guns and don't buy for an investment. In fact I have never sold a gun I bought for me, but did trade two for other guns. So personally this is not an issue for me as I plan to pass all my guns to my children and grandchildren. But I do understand the predicament law changes might cause for others. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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beagle6 posted this 30 January 2019

David

To show how bad this SAFE ACT is, I can't even pass my guns to my grandson without running them thru a dealer first. Our county sheriff has publicly said he won't enforce this law ( bless his heart) but the state police will.

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RicinYakima posted this 31 January 2019

In WA I can not loan my 50 year old son a rifle to take to the range without an FBI background check. Nor can he give it back to me without one!

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 31 January 2019

 Ric & Harrold,

I am sorry to hear about all your woes, but you are always welcome here in Texas. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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loophole posted this 31 January 2019

Gentlemen:

Those of you who live in fascist states like WA and NY have my deep sympathy, but NC is attracting mobs of refugees from those places and others who can't live in the utopias which their regulations and taxes have created, but come here and immediately start telling us how much better "they did things in New Jersey".  I'm afraid even Texans are in danger of those refugees and their rabid hatred of guns.

I got curious about Stevens single shots and remembered a book by Frank DeHaas who was an expert on such things.   It seems that Stevens made a mod 44 chambered in rimfire calibres and a few weak old black powder centerfires.  They later made a 44-1/2 and an O44-1/2 which were a different design, much stronger and loaded mostly in centerfires, including some of the later hotter 38/55 and 32/20 smokeless  rounds intended for Winchester '85's and '94's.  I now am confident that a 44-1/2 in 38-55 will safely handle my Ned Roberts level loads.

Steve k

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BudHyett posted this 01 February 2019

The Washington law comprises fourteen pages and is so written to be self-contradictory. Many county sheriffs are refusing to enforce this law until there is an understanding of the practical application of the contents. This law will be likely to be overturned, but that can be a decade and many dollars away. The only time two people can share a rifle is at a range for instruction, and that is hazily written. 

In the meantime, if you transgress the law in any form, which with such a poorly written law is easy to do, you now have a firearms violation on your record that will haunt you in the purchase of any future firearms. (And few of us are rich enough to contribute to the Governor's presidential bid to get a pardon.) I recall in Atlas Shrugged how the bureaucrat forgave the first breaking of a law, not out of good faith, but to have a control in all future dealings with that person. 

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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RicinYakima posted this 01 February 2019

Oh, that's the new one that begins July 1, 2019. The one with the background check has been enforced since November 2014. Gun shows are dead in eastern WA, the one scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled in Walla Walla. Unless you are an FFL dealer nobody will buy from you because they think they are being set up in a "sting". Oh, and C&R's don't count, you are just like anyone on the street. The 2014 law suit went to the state Supreme Court and failed seven to zero, the state can do what they want.

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