To restore or not to restore????
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To restore or not to restore????

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Old 02-28-2012, 10:46 PM   #1
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Default To restore or not to restore????

I've always been confused by this so give me some insight. Since I've gotten into this gun hobby I've been told that condition is king as far as value goes.. That being said I've heard of people refinishing guns and completely killing their value. So when is patina a good thing and when is it worth putting the money down to restore????
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:05 AM   #2
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Generally speaking it is unwise to do anything to alter the appearance of an antique or a gun you believe to be an antique without the consult of an expert. Even then a complete restoration is far different than simply refinishing the metal. Not sure what you have but if you think they have some value it might be worth having them appraised both before and after any planned restoration so that you know all the facts upfront.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:06 AM   #3
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That makes sense... So as far as an antique goes. when do things start getting collectible. I know cars start being classics at 25 years. What's the rule of thumb for guns?
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:25 AM   #4
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There is no real rule as to when or what makes a collector gun. Age, quantity produced, quality of gun produced all play a role. The biggest thing is the whim of the collectors. Is it a desirable gun? Look at the a WWll m-1 rifle. They made millions and they are not that old but are collectable. The only rule is that there is no rule. No one can predict what gun made today will be the hot collectable of tomorrow. The only thing I would say is that it must be a gun of high quality to start with. A JC Higgins or Noble shotgun is not a collector gun. Neither is an Iver Johnson revolver.
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by esb32 View Post
That makes sense... So as far as an antique goes. when do things start getting collectible. I know cars start being classics at 25 years. What's the rule of thumb for guns?
the batfe kinda made it easy for us. anything that was made 50 years ago or longer is generally a curio or relic. they have an actual list. some guns are collectable due to popularity and rarity. some old guns arent worth much if anything. it just depends.

right now due to the obama factor the economy is soft on collectables. difficult to sell hard to find at a good price unless someone is desperate.

a good example of recent rares is the colt python. only been out of production a decade but the demand is high so prices are higher for great condition used ones than they were new. while they arent hard to find in the least the demand for them makes them valuable. the main reason there is a demand is simply that the python is the finest mass production revolver ever made.

the mosin nagant is an old collectable but they arent worth much because there are so damn many of them.

the m1 carbine is a pricey collector item mainly because the people that have them arent selling. there are literally millions of them in american gun owner's hands. because people are not trading them or selling them the price is very high.

then there is the 1911. still in production by everyone under the sun but the old ww2 version of which millions were produced and dumped on the US civilian market after ww2 for next to nothing now command huge prices. reason being that millions of the millions dumped by the us govt were bubba'd to death. only a relative few survived today in unmolested form in good condition.

so while there IS an official list it doesnt mean much. individual gun types and individual examples have to be taken on a case by case basis for value and worth.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:01 PM   #6
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IMO (which isn't worth much), to refinish any firearm is a current owner's decision.

If someone wants to have a Hi-Point painted pink, their choice.

If I feel that a firearm should not be refinished, I will make a suggestion to the owner. I have that now with a 1917 Savage .32ACP. It belonged to a the guy's father. I am putting a lot of elbow grease in it to keep it original and get rid of the rust. Is it worth the hours? No, but the results look better than painting pink.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:44 PM   #7
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To me, a gun needs the ability to withstand the elements, so if the finish is lacking then it gets attended to.

Like with the stock of my US Model of 1917, Eddystone.
It isn't worth much to me if I can't use it in the rain or whatnot without causing damage.
...nuff said.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
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If the question is rather to restore or not restore, I'd point you to someone who's considered the best in the business in firearm restorations, Doug Turnbull. It's been said and proven at auction that a Turnbull restored firearm is worth more than it's unrestored counter part.

There are two camps when it comes to restoration: The purist camp which believes leaving the firearm completely as is and the restorer camp (which I belong to) which believes that "done correctly" a firearm deserves to be brought back to it's former glory.
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