Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Alpo

Would you buy a hundred-year-old gun that was in 95% or better condition?

Recommended Posts

I think everyone would like to have one. That gun that Great Grandpa bought, that he greased up and put in the safety deposit box, and it hadn't been touched for a hundred years.

 

But I would not believe it. "Ain't no way a hundred-year-old gun looks that good. It's either a de-farbed repop, or it's been restored.":o:angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's more than possible.  About ten years ago I bought a S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece in pristine condition.  Now I know it could not possibly compare to Grandpa's 100 year old one, but this thing had been purchased by a gentleman in Ft. Lauderdale who never fired it.  The gun was very lovingly kept in its original box (which I have) until the man passed.  His daughter, in settling the estate, went to a gun shop and sold it to them.  While handling the transaction she dropped it on the edge of a glass display case and put a slight dent on the wooden grip (I think the man at the gun shop is still holding his breath).  This, to me, proves that, yes it is possible to maintain a gun or anything for that matter in the condition it was when it was manufactured.  I know that mine is a poor example, but look at the stuff in many museums or some of the pieces that are sold in some of the top class auctions such as Rock Island.

BTW, I know this sounds heretical but I have not had the heart to fire the gun .........................yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends. If it was an often used gun the likelihood of it being 95% is small. But not everything was used. I'd need to have an expert look at it before I pulled the fiscal trigger.

 

It just occurred to me that fiscal rhymes with pistol. I'll file that away for future use.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve seen a few that I would say are genuine!! 

 

The one that comes to mind is a Winchester 1893 shotgun.  I was given a rusted, ratted out ‘93.  It needed a monster overhaul!!  I contacted a friend who had literally dozens of old Winchester exposed hammer pump shotguns and learned that he had an original, pristine ‘93! 

 

He told me to meet him at a weekend shoot and offered to let me disassemble his gun and draft patterns for the two parts I needed.

 

He pulled out the shotgun and I nearly passed out! It was beautiful!! All of the internals were as if it might have been cycled a very few times. The barrel was mirror finish on the inside. The wood was immaculate. There was no polish marking on the mag tube or the bottom of the barrel and the entire finish bluing was without blemish!!

”Restored?” I asked.  “Uh Uh!” was the reply!

 

On closer examination, there had never been a single screw turned!! My running buddy, a professional gunsmith, agreed that it was all original.

 

For a day, we argued over whether I should even take it down for fear of ruining the value of the gun.  Finally, the owner handed me the shotgun and practically demanded that we pull it apart and make our patterns. It took me two hours to disassemble the gun and make pictures and detailed tracings of those pieces we needed.  I only removed what absolutely had to be removed! It took me just as long to put it back together!!

 

My old ‘93 and another that I acquired later BOTH shoot flawlessly because of his generosity!! I STILL shake my head when I think about it!!

 

And NO!! He still won’t consider selling it!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a look at the NRA Museum's online tour.  Lots of firearms in pristine condition.  The method of storage has an effect particularly those firearms that were stored in lined presentation cases.   A moisture absorbing lining, felt, etc. will leave some pitting on the sides of the firearm, even though it has never been fired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would you buy a hundred-year-old gun that was in 95% or better condition?”

 

Yes, maybe.....maybe even likely, after evaluating it closely.
I have a .44-40, 5 1/2”, blue 1st Generation Colt SAA, 130+ years old.  I don’t think it’s ever been fired.  Screws never turned, bore looks shiny-bright new and the action is new-tight, and heavy.  It looks like it’s been in someone’s sock drawer since it was bought new.  So I’ve bought that one and another gun in such condition.

 

Cat Brules

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I would and have.  I bought this circa 1887 pocket gun at a SASS Match.  The gun had been refinished.  Used it twice in pocket pistol side matches.

 

S&W #4 Model "Pocket Revolver" in .32 S&W

c0TGbN.jpg

 

9iht7n.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a 1891 Marlin lever action in 38-40. It had been re-blued by the factory.  Shiny barrel.  It's currently a safe queen. 

 

BS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep.  Got several in really good shape, including an 1873 made in 1879.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you buying to collect or shoot?

 

I dabble in British shotguns and the ones I have are all pre-1885.  Reading the books on the subject the British don't understand the American preoccupation with matching numbers or original condition.  The British view is the guns were meant to be used and at the end of the shooting season would go back to the maker for a strip & clean and repair or replace anything that needed fixing.

 

Even in the U.S. a proper restoration can add value to a gun.  Take a worn gun with matching numbers in maybe 50% condition.  As is it probably isn't worth much.  Sent it off to Turnbull and after some time and money you get back a gun worth a lot more that looks new.

 

A restoration done by an expert is a lot different than a "restoration" done by some owner who has no experience or skill in restoring a gun.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guy that shoots in DFW area brought out a pristine S&W 32 pocket pistol. Said it was his great aunts and they found it in her nightstand. Still in the box, with all the paperwork, along with a box of original ammo with 45 rounds left. It was pretty till he started shooting it in side matches.

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No because I can't afford it.  If I can afford it, then it's not legit. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I bought a Colt 1903 pocket hammerless .32 ACP from Wolf's in Salt Lake City in 1963.  It was a U. S. issue with a parkerized finish and black plastic (gutta percha?) grips and came with two magazines, still in the original box, and with an instruction manual.  All of it ,including the box, were in perfect condition.  Wolf's had picked up six of them and had three left.  I paid $145.00 for it, a princely sum in those days, and they threw in a nice shoulder holster and a box of ammo.

 

I kept that little gun for close to 20 years and an old man from my church asked if he could see it.  He had carried one like it when he worked in the U.S. embassy in Belgium after the war.  Showed me picture with it in his hand and in a belt holster.  He asked what I'd take for it.  I finally showed him the sales receipt and told him he could have it for what I had in it.  He paid for it over three months and was like a kid on Christmas morning.

 

His daughter-in-law called me after he died and said he had left a note giving it back to me, and said her husband wanted the gun but wouldn't ask me for it.  He wanted to respect his father's wishes.  I gave him the gun and he gave me the old man's Colt .41 third model derringer.  I still have that little gun and have no idea what became of the  1903.

 

I's like to find another pistol like t.  I have a 1903 but it's not in nearly as good shape and has replacement grips.  It's still a 90% gun aside from that, but it just isn't quite the same.

 

In answer to your original question, it would depend on the gun.  If were something I wanted badly enough and if it proved out and the price were right, then hell yes.  I'd go for broke!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Forty Rod SASS 3935

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first double that I used as a SASS gun was purchased at a gun show in Amarillo.  It was in such good shape I thought it was a modern reproduction.

Turned out that it was made by Hunter Arms  (It was a Box Lock made by the same outfit that made L. C. Smiths) for Sears around 1899-1901.

 

Duffield

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had an 1896 S&W Hammerless safety in .32 sw. I bought it for $250.00, kept it for about 10 years, shot it a few times. I even won a couple pocket pistol side matches. I sold it for $450.00.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A hundred year-old gun."  So, depending on the condition, would anyone buy a gun made on or before 1920?  How about a 122 year-old gun? Wouldn't even need all that paperwork! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Howdy,

Yes.

And it shoots great. I loaned it to a pard when his rifle jammed at a match.

It worked fine. I take it out to the range from time to time.

I especialy like young fellas shootin it.

The one thing I dont like is some people have to be weird about trying

to eject shells so they are easy to pick up.

I say  Bang and Clang.

And its beer can accurate at 100 yd.

Best

CR

I bought it cheap. It looked like a disaster. Persistence pays.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a pistol that's 104 yrs old. It's a Colt New Service in .45 Colt. It's nowhere close to 95% but it shoots fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes if it was something I liked and was cheap. That old thing? It's outdated, nobody wants that.................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it was something that I absolutely had to have, you bet!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I already have one, at least pretty close on the condition.  In the early 1960's my dad bought a Colt 1911, and I just inherited it.  It's been fired, because I remember shooting it.  Fast forward to now.  I put the serial number throught the Colt web site and discovered it was made in 1918!  Now i't's definitely a mixmaster and arsenal refinished piece, but it was my dad's and you will have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

100?  No.
50?  Absolutely.

I bought a 1970s era Charles Daly 500 from Deuce Stevens, that is easily 95%.
IMO, it seems the metallurgy and craftsmanship of these is higher than those sold today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have my grandfathers .32 S$W Lemon Squeezer that he bought in 1899, Boston, MA. In mint condition, lettered by S&W.  A safe queen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had one 'til some asshat in Florida stole it.  My Granddad's LC Smith SXS.  And it wasn't a museum piece - he used that gun all his life.  I still & always will mourn its loss.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I got started in cowboy-action my plan was to have a set of tuned modern guns and a set of originals, as old as possible and in as good of condition as I could afford.

Four 1873s, an 1887, four 1897s, three 1892s and a handful of Colt revolvers later, and this is what I learned.  The revolvers were likely shot routinely, and often put away without wiping down.  What I could afford was either rough or refinished.  The longguns were working guns that were obsolete due to ammo innovations or better arms.  If you hunt to feed the family, that 1873 was put in the closet when the 1892 (designed for smokeless powder) was available, that 1892 was replaced by a .30-30, and that .30-30 was replaced by a series of bolt guns.  Original longguns can be found with a far lower round count and less handling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's harder to fake an old gun in pristine shape than an old gun that's been rode hard and put up wet. If the gun is 95% chances are any expert can tell you in a minute what it's worth. Matching serial numbers etc. you'll know what year the gun was made and sometimes who bought it. And unless it was a Turnbull quality restoration you'll know right away if it's been reblued etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure I would if the price was right and I wanted/ needed it. It wouldn't stay that condition though.  I don't own guns I don't shoot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.