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Old 01-05-2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Are guns really that good of an investment?

I've heard many times that it is a good investment and you cannot go wrong by purchasing a firearm and that you will always get your money back or more. Well, that may be true if you are a gun collector and good at it but for simple guys like me it is not. I seldom purchase a used gun and almost always buy them new, usually when a gun mfg comes out with something new and cool which means I pay top dollar. This normally is a result of reading an artical in one of the gun mags and I get the itch.

Never have any of the guns I bought have increased in value to where if I sold it or traded it in that I made out or come out on top. I always loose money on the deal, you know, buy high and sell low. Good thing I don't run my business like that.

One time though I did make some bucks, well sort of. Just before the elections in 08 I bought an AR in a 308 cal. Right after that you could not buy an AR or ammo anywhere. About 6 months later I sold it for about $150 more then I paid for it.

Anyway, buying guns is a good investment in that you want it and that they are still available and you can always off one within a day or two if you are in a pinch for some cash.
There's no getting around that we got to have them and as many as we can afford.

Not to change the subject but I have a few NIB guns that I've never fired. Some over a few years old. I've not fired them for any reason other than I just haven't yet. Do some of you purposely not fire them to keep the value up? I personally cannot see why a gun would loose value because it has been fired a few times.

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Old 01-05-2011, 05:26 PM
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I don't know...I'm sure there are collectors here who can answer that for you. As for me, I buy guns so I can enjoy them, not for their collectible value. I don't buy old guns, I don't buy rare or very expensive guns (although to me, $1000 + isn't cheap, and I have some 1911s that were around that amount or more.) I don't even like to buy used guns...I have on occasion, but I prefer new...just a quirk of mine. I do have guns I haven't fired yet, simply because I haven't gotten around to it...but I do plan to do so.

So for me, it's no investment...if it is, then I am following the government model.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:33 PM
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Im a shooter and accumilator so Im no expert on collecting, but I will make a observation, in the 1880's a twenty dollar gold coin would buy a Colt SAA, both are still about the same value.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:47 PM
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If do your research and you buy wisely you will not loose money on a gun, you may even make a few dollars. As for real investment grade guns, those are way out of my league.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:04 PM
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I have bought a few hundred guns over the years and sold a couple hundred of them during that time.

There was only one gun I lost money on and that was a bolt action Mossberg shotgun. The rest I did quite well on the sales.

Bought one S&W model 36 for right at $175 NIB. Sold it five yrs later for $375. Better return for the money than any market I could have invested in.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:09 PM
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Short term (say 10years or less) they are like anything else you buy at retail. Over the long term they seem to have kept up pretty well with inflation. 1973 Gun Digest prices:
S&W Model 29---$194
Colt Woodsman---$120
Ruger Mark 1---$69
Colt Diamondback---$140
Colt Mk IV, Series 70 45ACP---$135
Dan Wesson Model 15---$105
Colt SAA---$195
Ruger Blackhawk---$99.50

This was MSP-you could probably actually buy them for less.

I believe any of them would now be worth many times that cost, as used guns
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:09 PM
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As a lifelong collector and occasional dealer , I can say definately , , , maybe!

If ya know the market , know what yer buying vs what will sell , what is worth what and where , yes , quality firearms are a good investment.

A smart , and yet honest gun shop owner can make a small fortune , or at least a comfortable living dealing in nothing but used guns.

And the 'net and sites like Gunbroker.com have helped more than hurt the smart dealer.

Some key points.

Modern firearms are hi-volume commodities , not collectables.

Every old gun is not a valuable classic collectors item.

The "Blue Book" is a guide , not a gospel!

Guns advertised , manufactured , marketed and sold as 'commeratives' and 'collectors items' are mostly worthless. Because practically every one of the limited run of 500/1000/5000 will be kept in it's original box and tucked away.

The true collectables were once common everyday made to be used working guns. Quality made them desirable and attrition made them scarce.

You will NOT make any money if/when you MUST sell or want money NOW. The market (collectors with cash) must want what you have. Walk into a shop and try to sell that Chief Crazy Horse commerative Winchester 94. Go ahead , I dare ya. You won't get half of what ya paid unless ya find an even bigger rube.

Now a plain-jane Winchester Model 95 takedown with shotgun buttplate and half round-half octagon barrel in .33 Winchester , which NOBODY wanted back in 1914 , or 1954 , or even 1984 , is worth it's weight in GOLD today.

I saw several of those tacky WWI commerative Colt 1911s get built into customs and get the heck shot out of them because they were going for less than a standard Gov't Model.

Nobody wanted many of the S&W models thru the years , and so they got cancelled. There were so many of some models , that dealers almost had to give them away. Same with any gunmaker.
But today , those unpopular models that had low or limited production runs because they DIDN'T sell , are worth money today.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:12 PM
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Buying a new gun is a loser from the word go. Unless you have a time machine to take you back maybe 50 or more years. You've got to guess correctly and then hold for 50 years. Not easy.

If you invest in anything, gold, silver, stocks, land, you've got to be know all about your subject. With guns its no different. Its easy to get skinned buying a used gun, but its where the better opportunities lie. If you want to increase your knowledge, buy Supica and Nahas (3rd ed) and then read it end to end a few dozen times. Then read the posts here in the older revolvers section.

I have friends who don't base their purchases on knowing about the rarity of a gun, they go on condition only. They won't buy a gun with even a speck on it. Either way, you won't make any money buying and selling (like a day trader). You've got to buy wisely and then hold. Some people do buy a gun, up the price and make $50 at a gun show. Besides being close to the edge of illegality, I don't know what it accomplishes. I do sell guns out of my collection, but usually because my collecting interests change or because I've bought a better example.

Making money is pretty difficult. The income tax folks will tell you that you need to declare your winnings on your tax forms (and pay tax).
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:23 PM
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I’m not a professional gun collector but do collect as a hobby. I’ve never bought a gun in anticipation that it would appreciate in value. What I buy are mostly older guns that appeal to me. I do shoot most of the ones that I own but there are a few that I don’t fire, not because they are rare or valuable but because they are probably unsafe.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:25 PM
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At the least, they keep up with inflation. If you buy quality guns and maintain them I don't think you will lose. Sometimes you hit a home run.

In 1968 I bought a "K38" from a frat bro for $85. Later I noticed it was an N-frame. Turns out it is a 1951 vintage 38/44 Outdoorsman. Now talk about a good investment; but back then a 38/44 would not have cost more used than the K38, cause .357s were the rage. Buy what you like and sometimes you make out. One key is how long you hold onto the items.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
1973 Gun Digest prices:
S&W Model 29---$194
That $194 in 1973 is equal to $956.03 in today's dollars, so there's not much real change.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadin View Post
That $194 in 1973 is equal to $956.03 in today's dollars, so there's not much real change.
It would be a major change for me.

Had I put $194 in the bank in 1973, it would have been spent before 1974 hit. Putting the money into a gun purchase would have assured I would have the gun. So I would have $900 in 2011 where my $194 would been long gone.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:44 PM
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Guns are a great "investment." If you pay $1000 for a $600 gun today, 5 years from now you'll have a $1000 gun. Whereas the cash will have been gone 4 years 11 months and three weeks ago. Faster if you're married. Joe
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:27 PM
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They're a great investment in my happiness.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:39 PM
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I was fortunate in that I had a interest in M1 carbines 20 to 25 years ago and acquired a pretty good collection at reasonable prices. Turns out they have been a good investment . . . much better than investing the same money in the stock market .

The thing is, though, I've enjoyed my collection even if it didn't generate a return.

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Old 01-05-2011, 10:45 PM
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The first two Styer AUGs I bought cost $450.00 apiece when they were first comming in country. They are sitting in one of the safes now. I wonder if I could sell them for more than I paid for them. I wonder if all of the prelocks I bought in the 70s are worth more now. Naaah! So I guess I just keep them.

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Old 01-05-2011, 11:23 PM
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Just don't buy "Commemoratives".
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:48 AM
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1973 Gun Digest prices:
S&W Model 29---$194

That $194 in 1973 is equal to $956.03 in today's dollars, so there's not much real change.

Except that around that time, unless you had an "in" with someone and were able to buy via LEO credentials, you couldn't touch a model 29 for that after the first "Dirty Harry" movie hit the theaters.

I recall trying to find one around 1975-76 and ones that had been drug behind a truck on a logging chain were being sold for $500 + . . . . LOTS of money in those days, still lots of money to some of us.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:24 AM
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"Are guns really that good of an investment?"

I've had my wife thinking they are for years now. God bless her.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:14 PM
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The key to acquiring guns as an investment is to buy them right. If you buy a model 58 right now for $900 you may or may not make any money. If you buy it at $400, you have nowhere to go but up. I never buy a gun at market price. If I can't buy it cheap, I don't buy. This requires patience, persistence, and research, but it pays in the long run. I quit buying guns to fill an immediate need years ago. My accumulation is more of a hobby now. Best deals I've made are usually online. I let 5-600 go before I pull the trigger on one. I hit pawnshops once or twice a month, and find something of interest maybe once every three or four years.

Better yet, don't consider firearms as an investment, consider them as an inflation hedge that you can play with.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:20 PM
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I'm sure there are investments that have paid off at a higher rate of return, but there are other advantages to consider.
The rifles, shotguns and handguns in my safe were bought because I wanted them. A lot of them were used, some are quite old, but even so I intended to use them. I have gotten a great deal of pleasure from shooting them, hunting with them and carrying them. That's worth something to me. A stock or a bond is just something on a piece of paper that you get reports on. Sure, it may go way up in value and make you rich, but that's the only pleasure it will give. It's value can also plummet.
In this uncertain economy a lot of people have lost almost everything in regards to their investments. If the economy tanks even further, firearms might come in pretty handy, not just for their monetary value but for their usefulness. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 the stock market took a dive, but a whole lot of people bought guns for the first time. In a catastrophic environment guns are highly sought after.
A poster mentioned new guns being a bad investment. I have a few I bought new that did pretty good. I bought the first new S&W M696 and M296 in their first months of availability in my city. Paid about $400 apiece for them. Could I have made more money on another investment? Maybe. But they have given me a great deal of enjoyment, and the M696 was there on one of those "Dark Nights" that everybody who carries a gun hopes never happens. I didn't fire a shot, but it sent out a clear message that I don't think a 401K could have communicated.
There may be better investments, but I think for me there are none that are safer.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:36 PM
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I wonder. I've done ok on some high quality pieces, but with "normal" guns the value seems to stay constant with inflation adjustment. A week's wages then, a week's wages now.

A while back I took a test list of guns my future widow might be stuck with to Scheel's, and asked them to ball-park what they would offer her. All were decent, but not spectacular pieces. Eventually the salesman came back to me, and somewhat appologetically said that even he didn't agree with the low buying prices offered. A quick glance confirmed that, and I thanked him for his time. At least he had the decency to be embarassed.

Similarly I ran a table at a recent gun show, medium sized city. Talk about a comatose market!

I'm starting to think that just being able to enjoy what I have over the years is the major gain here, and any monetary gains are going to be slender and transient. "Investment" just doesn't seem to be the right word. Maybe I believed it once, but not so much anymore. Maybe if the economy recovers and people spend like there's no tomorrow again.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:46 PM
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I have done quite well on some of them and not so well on others. I expect that had I kept a tally of the aquisition costs and expenses over the years I have probably broken even. They have, however, given me a lifetime of enjoyment. Factoring in the good times and enjoyable companionship that I have had with them they have been a wonderful investment.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smith357 View Post
If do your research and you buy wisely you will not loose money on a gun, you may even make a few dollars. As for real investment grade guns, those are way out of my league.
Well said. Good, reputable, high-quality firearms, if not abused, will rarely lose any value, and generally (over time) will appreciate at least a little bit. Most of the "investment" in guns is to facilitate the sport (and love) of shooting and owning fine firearms; it's not a financial strategy. True "investment grade" guns are VERY expensive, fairly rare, have a limited number of people who are willing and able to purchase them or tie up their money with them, and are only useful for looking and storing- not shooting!
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:19 PM
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I call them "investments" because wifey doesn't know any better and I hope she dont read this because as far as investing is concerned here is a fact that will put it all in perspective for ya'...
If you bought a Parker A-1 Special back in 1903 it would have cost around $1000.00 which of course was a hell of alot of money back in those days. Now fast forward to today and that same gun if it was sold would fetch around $200,000.00...take that same $1000 and invest it in Coca-cola in 1903 then fast forward to today and you would easily be a multi-billionaire. So no, guns are definately not a good investment and the fact is they never were as I understand the definition. All this "wisdom" coming from a guy who has a gun collection that exceeds $200K!! I should have taken that money and gotten myself a brain transplant, I could have been somebody!!!!

Last edited by msinc; 01-06-2011 at 09:21 PM.
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