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  #1  
Old 06-14-2009, 02:05 PM
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Default Engraving a Revolver

I've long wanted an engraved revolver but have some questions. One of the things I struggle with is figuring out what I want in terms of the engraving. I have zero artistic or creative ability it seems so I just draw a blank when it comes to this question. I know I want a stainless or nickeled gun and I know I don't want the full coverage that I see on some guns. Beyond that I can tell which designs look good to me when I see them but can't create anything from scratch.

The other thing is I shoot everything I own and would likely shoot the engraved revolver as well. What effect does shooting and possibly carrying an engraved revolver have on the engraving? I'm not concerned with re-sale value and such.

Is it usually less expensive to purchase and already engraved gun or have a gun engraved? I have a M66 snubby that may be a candidate or a 4" M19 nickel but I don't think nickel can be engraved?

This picture is from the S&W site. I wonder if that flat ring treatment around the cylinder would help hide the eventual turn ring that will show up from shooting the gun? Or maybe it would have the opposite affect and accentuate the turn ring?

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Old 06-14-2009, 05:01 PM
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I think the cylinder ring enhances the look and would likely help conceal the line.

THAT particular gun has perfect engraving in my opinion. I definitely don't favor the full engraving, but the amount illustrated here seems a perfect amount. ...AND the polished versus matte effect is awesome.
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Old 06-14-2009, 06:13 PM
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Wow, that looks gorgeous! I agree that some pistols are over engraved so the trick is getting a nice look without going too far, like the one pictured.

I wish I could answer your questions but I really don't know.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:49 PM
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Homework is good. Buy Meeks' book on gun engraving (Brownell's), read it and study it. The books on Colt and Winchester engraving are also good. Look at every engraved gun you can, the actual gun or a good photo of it.The engraving association--FEGA has a website. Learn to distinguish good work from bad. Whatever the style, scrolls should be gracefully rounded and leaves, etc., should look like they grew there. Straight lines should be straight, and any animals should look right. Eventually you will become knowledgeable enough to answer your own questions as to style, coverage, and so forth.

I have had guns engraved ranging from a simple name on the backstrap to 100% coverage with gold inlay. I like them all. I would have no problem using and shooting a 1/3-2/3 engraved gun and accepting wear and dings on it. At the high end they have become more of a work of art than anything else.

Just an opinion, FWIW.
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Old 06-14-2009, 07:50 PM
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Default I am in the same quandry

I have been in this dilemma for a long time now, and feel your pain. MOst have seen my "Skeeter" project gun I have been working on for 20 some years so I wont repost it, but it is very special to me and I believe it needs a bit of finery.

Here's some thoughts
Carrying and using one you have engraved will not affect the value as it would if it was factory.

Anything can be engrave even nickel, but you will incur the expense of having the nickel removed prior to engraving.

Get with someone who is a master of the art and through conversation they can usually help you come up with a theme.

Lastly, it is an expensive and time consuming process so make sure the gun you choose os worthy whether sentimental or whatever.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:07 PM
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The only way to go is factory engraving. Unless you never plan to sell, do NOT include your name or other specific identifying information. That is only interesting IF you are really famous, and then it only enhances value after you are dead, but only IF you were really famous!

Just go with a tastful scroll and get at least 2/3 coverage. Do NOT use rare metals for inlay if you plan to shoot it. In my opinion, it is fine to shoot a factory engraved gun. After all, you go to the trouble to have it built - you might as well enjoy it. Certainly General Patton carried and used his engraved Model P without regard for what effect it might have on its value later.
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:40 PM
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I had a perfect set of original S&W medallion mother-of-pearl handles for a .32 Safety Hammerless. Not a chip in them. I looked for two years until I found a mechanically perfect 1st Model made in 1883. The finish was very worn. I got the revolver for nothing. It wasn't very valuable due to its very rough finish with flaking nickel. I sent it to Michael Gouse ( www.mtart.com ) after speaking with him over the phone. He stripped the little bit of nickel remaining and then hand cut 75% coverage American Scroll. I asked him to blue the gun in an old world style blue and to fire blue the screws. He charged $350 for all of this work.

Here is the finished S&W:



I was so happy with Gouse's engraving that I sent him my S&W Model 624. I already had my dad do an action job on the .44 Special and I had Bear Hug Grips make a set of birdseye maple stocks in the Skeeter Skelton style for me 20+ years ago. I asked Gouse to make my 624 into a Skeeter Tribute gun and include his cattle brand on the backstrap along with the 75% coverage American Scroll. This one cost $500.







I sent my stainless Walther PPK and my Colt 1902 Pocket Hammerless to Gouse at the same time a few years later. He engraved both with my favorite style, 75% coverage American Scroll. They were $300 each. The Walther had been carried for 20 years. I still carry it occasionally. The Colt was in horrible condition when I got it (again a free gun) with no finish. I had it re-blued locally many years ago. I figured it would look great engraved by Gouse. I think they both turned out fantastically.

I even had a Camillus Robo Heat knife engraved by Gouse to match the PPK.



The Colt .32 when I got it:



The Colt after I had it re-blued:



Then after Gouse engraved it:



My latest Gouse engraved firearm is my Marlin 1894 .44 lever action. The barrel has been shortened by my dad to 16" and he added a saddle ring for me. My best friend made a John Wayne style large loop lever by blueprinting his dad's Winchester John Wayne commemorative's loop and then creating a Marlin version. I refinished the stock and forearm to a satin oil finish and removed the white spacer in the buttplate. Gouse engraved the gun for $600, which included some scroll on the barrel band, forearm cap, and about 2" forward on the top of the barrel from the receiver.







If you already have a gun that you'd like to have engraved, do what many here have suggested and browse the web for engraving sites and photos. Do a google image search on "engraved gun, firearm, pistol, revolver, rifle, etc." See what you like. I liked Gouse's various styles. He does anything. I am partial to American Scroll. I considered German Acorns and Oak Leaves for my Walther, but then I figured it was an American Made stainless gun anyway so I went with the American Scroll. I have found Gouse's prices to be very reasonable.

I had my guns engraved for me. I shoot them all. I don't care about value, although I doubt I caused any of them to lose value. The breaktop S&W and the Colt automatic had very little value to start with. I customize my guns for me, not for what value they will bring in the future. If anyone is concerned about buying a safe queen they never shoot and only fondle with white gloves and they only want it as an investment, they a factory engraved gun is the way to go. But if you want your own shooter, just do it.

Enjoy!

-Steve
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:51 PM
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Wayne,
Over the years I have commissioned a half dozen or so handguns for engraving projects.

Some were to commemorate events in our families lives, one for my son for a special achievement and another for our son in laws promotion in his LE career.

Or a memorable hunting trip...You get the idea.

I also like gold wire inlays for initials or in our case sometimes a cattle brand, ect...

Best of luck with your deal,

Su Amigo
Dave

And Steve, Man those are extra nice!!! Gee Whiz !!!
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Last edited by keith44spl; 06-17-2009 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:06 PM
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mm6mm6,

Thanks for sharing those great engraved guns.

Kudos to Gouse and congratulations on a real fine collection and some great decisions.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:10 PM
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I'm planning on getting my brother a Smith & Wesson revolver when he leaves the Air Force. I've always been a fan of engraving on them and hope to get a simple engraving for him.
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:52 PM
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if you don't mind me asking, how much was it to get your Colt/624/Marlin done up like that?
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:11 PM
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The Colt was $300. The Marlin was $650. The S&W 624 was $500. The S&W breaktop was $350 but that included stripping the original flaking nickel and then re-blueing the gun. The Walther PPK was $300.

Gouse does all the work, by hand, himself. I think he does fine work and I think his prices are a steal!

www.mtart.com has much more info and pricing and photos.
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Old 06-24-2009, 04:27 PM
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Factory class A engr.Cost me $995.00 + tax, 6/23/1979.

Dick
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624, 650, colt, commemorative, engraved, hammerless, m19, m60, m66, model 19, model 60, model 624, ppk, scroll, skeeter, skelton, snubby, walther, winchester

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