Collecting Firearms

Many gun owners accumulate – not collect – guns. Here’s a guide to get started with an investment-grade firearm collection, for yourself or your customer.

by Paul Mazan

Lately, I’ve had several friends ask me about firearms collecting and what I thought might be a good place to start. Well, I don’t own a functioning crystal ball but after a lot more years in the game (more than I would like to admit) I’ll tell you what I think.

As a gunsmith, numerous guns will pass through your shop and the desire to own and collect them is almost unavoidable. The answer to the question of where to start is dependent on what your goals and interests are. If you are interested in a type of firearm, like single-action revolvers, lever action rifles, or 1911 pistols, that is where you will want to put your money. An interest in a particular kind of firearm will encourage learning more about it, which leads to better recognizing rare and valuable examples. On the other hand, if you are looking at it strictly as an investment, your choices might be governed by what you think will evaluate the fastest and the most. For example, Winchester and Colt firearms have been the target of collectors for so long that their prices are high. Although they will surely continue to increase in value, I do not expect them to outpace the rate of inflation by very much, if at all. The reason is simple: supply and demand. Every major gun show I attend has more Winchesters and Colts for sale than the dealers can hope to sell. The prices are out of the reach of most beginning collectors and the serious money folks already have most of the models they are interested in and are looking for examples in better condition than those they have or for rare variants.

Over the years I have found …

Read more in the April 2022 issue.

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