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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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  #1  
Old 01-18-2021, 05:13 PM
Ripple75 Ripple75 is offline
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Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun? Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun? Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun? Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun? Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun?  
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Default Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun?

Hi,
I am looking at a 1957 pre-Model 29.
It is about 90%, with a healthy turn ring and average handling marks for a gun that has been used a fair amount.
Still a very pretty gun, just looks used - definitely not abused. The grips are proper and in very fine shape.

So ... I know of a shop that does the best bluing in the country (albeit a 6 month waiting list).

If I were to have it blued, would it make the price go up or down? Let's say the gun cost $2,000 and the bluing is $500. Would I end up with a gun that is worth less than the $2,000 I paid for it?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:27 PM
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It will be worth half
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:30 PM
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It will be worth half
That is what I was thinking. Similar to sanding down and refinishing a fine clock.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:49 PM
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A 90% pre model 29 needs to be enjoyed just the way it is, in my opinion!
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:53 PM
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No way would I ever refinish one in 90% condition, not even if the refinish job was free.
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Old 01-18-2021, 05:57 PM
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Unlike the math they teach in schools here $2000 + $500 = $1500.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:00 PM
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The answer ultimately depends on the market for that particular gun and how the (next) buyer feels about having a reblued gun. Personally I would not want a gun that's been reblued if original examples are readily available; others may feel differently. You should do whatever makes you happy and not worry about it.
This is just may opinion. Others may differ.
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:01 PM
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It has. earned the spots with soft bluing, the line around its cylinder.

It is like a good looking older woman. The real beauty is still there, just different. Give the the choice between young and shiny cute and mature and softly beautiful and I will chose the later
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:44 PM
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It has. earned the spots with soft bluing, the line around its cylinder.

It is like a good looking older woman. The real beauty is still there, just different. Give the the choice between young and shiny cute and mature and softly beautiful and I will chose the later
Well said!
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Old 01-18-2021, 06:47 PM
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Buy it for what it is and when you find a nicer one,replace it with that one.
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Old 01-19-2021, 04:10 PM
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My favorite thing about a gun in 90% condition is that you can use it, and shoot it, and with only moderate care, its condition and value will not change. So get this fine pre-model 29, and enjoy it.

Assuming you get a reasonable deal on it, and keep it in original condition, it will appreciate modestly over time. Then if you later find a much prettier 44, you can sell this one to pay for the next one. Or better yet, keep this one, so that you can keep shooting it, and avoid putting wear on the pretty one.

If what you really want is a shooter model 29 with a perfect finish, I recommend looking for a newer model.
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:09 PM
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The answer ultimately depends on the market for that particular gun and how the (next) buyer feels about having a reblued gun. Personally I would not want a gun that's been reblued if original examples are readily available; others may feel differently. You should do whatever makes you happy and not worry about it.
This is just may opinion. Others may differ.
I agree, plus one thing not mentioned is re-bluing can often cover a multitude of sins. And it often does.
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Old 01-20-2021, 07:57 AM
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I would not refinish such a piece. Doing so would remove its history as well as its value. I would shoot it, but not beat it to death with heavy loads.
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:56 AM
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No refinish, please!

Hereís a gun that would have an increase in value with a refinish.



Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun?-689ac23c-eb60-4bd2-a196-5db4c03de677-jpg
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:37 PM
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Unlike the math they teach in schools here $2000 + $500 = $1500.
Maybe $1200 honestly.

A modern reblue by anyone severely constricts the interested buyer pool to basically just people who want to shoot it.

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I agree, plus one thing not mentioned is re-bluing can often cover a multitude of sins. And it often does.
Except the mortal sin of re-bluing!
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:41 PM
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Would I end up with a gun that is worth less than the $2,000 I paid for it?
Yes, you would.
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:53 PM
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Default re-blue

Worth considerably less plus the cost of the re-blue, unless you buy one like this which was lettered to Victor H Wesson & re-blued by S&W in 1952.
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Old 01-20-2021, 02:05 PM
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Thanks for your responses. I was quite sure that it would decrease the value by about 1/3, but I wasn't sure if there might also be a market for people who see a Concours restoration as a plus, much like they do with Corvettes and other classic cars.

Thanks for all of your input. I have learned to NEVER re-blue!
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Old 01-20-2021, 02:12 PM
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Many of us think a gun looks BETTER with some "miles" on it. If 90% with nice grips (stocks), would definitely agree with the others - keep it as is. And btw, would love to see a couple pics of it!
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Old 01-20-2021, 02:23 PM
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Thanks for your responses. I was quite sure that it would decrease the value by about 1/3, but I wasn't sure if there might also be a market for people who see a Concours restoration as a plus, much like they do with Corvettes and other classic cars.

Thanks for all of your input. I have learned to NEVER re-blue!
Never say never. An old Corvette (say a mid-year 60's one) that's in 90% condition would be valued more than a restored Corvette, apples to apples.

Same with an older run of the mill Smith. At 90% a restore will lower the value, but at 50% ( finish wear, rust, or freckling)a good re-finish could add value.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:03 PM
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Common sense.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:40 PM
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Never say never. An old Corvette (say a mid-year 60's one) that's in 90% condition would be valued more than a restored Corvette, apples to apples.

Same with an older run of the mill Smith. At 90% a restore will lower the value, but at 50% ( finish wear, rust, or freckling)a good re-finish could add value.
The problem is that the cost involved in a truly good re-finish that could add value is roughly 3x what the gun will be worth after the refinish, on top of many months of wait time.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:47 PM
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. . . an older run of the mill Smith. At 90% a restore will lower the value, but at 50% ( finish wear, rust, or freckling)a good re-finish could add value.
Here is the problem. A 44 Magnum is not a run of the mill Smith in any condition!

Demand for a non-Model numbered N frame 44 is very strong amongst collectors and SHOULD NOT be refinished period! A refinished early 44 Magnum would at best be worth half of what a 90% original would be. A 50% pre-Model 44 Magnum would still be worth more than a refinished gun as well after one has to pay for the refinish.

Re-bluing a sought after S&W model eliminates all the collector interest and value so now you are mostly attracting the uneducated and the bargain hunters. Most people with big money would not care much about what it is, but rather why is it no longer original?? If you want a pristine 44 Mag, go buy a new one and sell that one to someone who would appreciate it just as it is.

Lastly, who would refinish the gun? Are you talking about a premium gun restoration company? If so, $500 would probably be the down-payment. If you are talking about a local hot blue specialist, good luck on getting someone who knows what they are doing. The result could well be heavy buffing, smearing or obliterating the stampings, or ending up with a blued gun and a plum brown cylinder as is often the case.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:55 PM
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No refinish, please!

Hereís a gun that would have an increase in value with a refinish.



Does re-bluing de-value a 1950's gun?-689ac23c-eb60-4bd2-a196-5db4c03de677-jpg
Even if you make the gun worth more, there's a good chance the combined cost of the refinish (include shipping and prep work) will still be a net loosing preposition.

I'd only get a gun refinished if it's something I wanted to do. A good refinish isn't going to be cheap and a cheap refinish probably isn't going to be a good refinish.
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Old 01-20-2021, 04:05 PM
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Personally, I prefer a gun with patina. Not rust..or abuse..but good ole Pat!
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Old 01-20-2021, 04:13 PM
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Have you ever seen a re blued gun in a museum? Just wondering.
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:17 PM
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Here is the problem. A 44 Magnum is not a run of the mill Smith in any condition!

Demand for a non-Model numbered N frame 44 is very strong amongst collectors and SHOULD NOT be refinished period! A refinished early 44 Magnum would at best be worth half of what a 90% original would be. *** A 50% pre-Model 44 Magnum would still be worth more than a refinished gun as well after one has to pay for the refinish.***

Re-bluing a sought after S&W model eliminates all the collector interest and value so now you are mostly attracting the uneducated and the bargain hunters. Most people with big money would not care much about what it is, but rather why is it no longer original?? If you want a pristine 44 Mag, go buy a new one and sell that one to someone who would appreciate it just as it is.

Lastly, who would refinish the gun? Are you talking about a premium gun restoration company? If so, $500 would probably be the down-payment. If you are talking about a local hot blue specialist, good luck on getting someone who knows what they are doing. The result could well be heavy buffing, smearing or obliterating the stampings, or ending up with a blued gun and a plum brown cylinder as is often the case.
Not wanting an argument here, but I disagree. No collector wants a 50% rust pitted gun in their collection, some people just don't like shooting ugly guns.

Fords in Florida have done good work for me at $500-$600.

here's a 27-2 they did for me.
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:39 PM
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Not wanting an argument here, but I disagree. No collector wants a 50% rust pitted gun in their collection, some people just don't like shooting ugly guns.

Fords in Florida have done good work for me at $500-$600.

here's a pre-27 they did for me.
I would disagree.

I am a fairly serious collector and I wouldn't own a Ford's refinished gun if you gave it to me. I would however very much enjoy (and do enjoy) my less than 50% rust pitted or just totally finish-free guns. Immensely.

There are more to these guns then merely looking good and shooting good. When one is re-finished (particularly with poor buffing), it just wrecks the fun of owning an original gun that someone used and shot to hell, and it looks it.

Ford's refinishes are fine for a colt, with that sort of melty buffed edge look that came with so many of those royal blue guns, but it looks all sorts of wrong on a S&W.
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:06 PM
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I realize this one isn't a S&W but I love it with all it's cosmetic flaws. It is probably the roughest gun I own, it is one of my favorites the stories it could tell...
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:56 PM
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I'm late to the discussion but I'll chime in and agree with the majority that it shouldn't be refinished and that if you do you'll lose the cost of the refinish and probably more. I have had a couple guns re-blued and have not been happy with the results. I have a 6.5 4 screw pre-29 that has been used and shows it but probably is in 90+% condition. No way would I have it refinished.

The exception on refinished guns, in my opinion, are those refinished by the factory. Those refinishes, at least until sometime in the '80s were done by the same folks with the same equipment using the same processes as when the gun originally was manufactured. I see little or no deduction in value for an old factory refinish. Here are two; a 48 refinished by the factory in 1969 and a pre-27 redone in 1982. . .and the pre-29 with wear.

Another exception may be guns that have already been refinished at some time in their history and could be brought back closer to their former glory and/or which need a more utilitarian finish. I have a commercial 1917 poorly nickeled that I've toyed with having the nickel removed and re-blued. Also have a shooter 25-5 that someone had done in hard chrome and that's hard to beat for something to carry, shoot and not worry about.

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Old 01-20-2021, 11:35 PM
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An older gun that has been well refinished may be beautiful , but it lacks character.

A close friend had a Colt 357 he carried when he was a SAC captain. The gun was beat up by the time he left the service ,he told me , so he opted for a re-blue. That revolver had been carried on covert missions up and over the North Pole , but by the time I saw it all that history had been washed away ; it was just another gun.

I sure wish I could have seen it all dinged up from time in the cockpit during those long flights over the USSR...

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Old 01-20-2021, 11:44 PM
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FWIW - if you care about re-sale value, buy the highest condition you can afford and make sure you don't diminish that condition.

So, if you buy truly ANIB examples, you may not be shooting them, but a 95% gun you can shoot some and still retain value.

If you want to shoot a lot, get good mechanical condition and have at it.

Once you get 40 or 50 guns or more, you can shoot them all a little and never worry about condition degradation.

Just my .02
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by reddog81 View Post
Even if you make the gun worth more, there's a good chance the combined cost of the refinish (include shipping and prep work) will still be a net loosing preposition.

I'd only get a gun refinished if it's something I wanted to do. A good refinish isn't going to be cheap and a cheap refinish probably isn't going to be a good refinish.
On my $400 beater Sistema, a refinish in blue would be expensive indeed. But that is besides the point, given the OPís original question. The question was would a refinish increase value, and my example provided a valid reference point. A 90% revolver? Heck no.

Fortunately, some Sistemas were subjected to a rebuild program that included a parked refinish, and I like parkerized finishes. So Iím headed down that road.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:23 AM
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Rust and its aftermath is usually ugly, but simple bluing wear naturally accumulated through use can be beautiful. I wouldn't refinish this gun in a million years. It looks even more interesting than in these photos. But tastes vary, of course.


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Old 01-21-2021, 03:59 AM
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Rust and its aftermath is usually ugly, but simple bluing wear naturally accumulated through use can be beautiful. I wouldn't refinish this gun in a million years. It looks even more interesting than in these photos. But tastes vary, of course.


Here is my 29-2 wouldn't change a thing...
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Old 01-21-2021, 04:12 AM
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Buy it for what it is and when you find a nicer one,replace it with that one.
What do you mean replace it???

Have you got no heart?

Just have both. Show them to your friends and say:

This is what they look like when they left the factory. And this! Is what they look like if you actually enjoy them.
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Old 01-21-2021, 05:53 AM
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Thanks for your responses. I was quite sure that it would decrease the value by about 1/3, but I wasn't sure if there might also be a market for people who see a Concours restoration as a plus, much like they do with Corvettes and other classic cars.

Now imagine that same 'Vette NIB so to speak.
Only a few miles, perfectly stored like a sock drawer gun with all the original paper work and tools?
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:27 AM
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If you have no intentions of selling it,or keeping it for an investment,by all means have it re blued,if they do as good a job as you say they do.Why keep it as original if your not satisfied with it?
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:28 AM
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I believe a reasonable rule of thumb might be when you have a mechanically sound gun that has major finish issues such that it is no longer a collectible and if you can purchase it at a price that reflects that, then the case can be made to refinish the gun as a "working" gun.We all know that daily carry of a piece can be hard on the finish so restoring a worn gun as a carry piece can save a better piece from unnecessary deterioration. Doug Turnbull makes a good living out of resurrecting guns.

Last edited by IrishFritz; 01-21-2021 at 08:35 AM. Reason: added thought
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Old 01-21-2021, 08:30 AM
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A re-blue is not undetectable. If a refinished example was lying next to your 90% gun on an exhibit table I'd look disdainfully at the refinished one while admiring your 90% original finish.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:09 AM
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A couple of years ago I purchased this beautiful nickel 6" bbl. 29-2 (ca. 1980) at a local gun show for what I thought was a very fair price. After I got home, I was disappointed to find out (after removing the stocks) that the revolver had been re-nickeled by S&W (frame stamped "R N 1/89"). However, it was an excellent factory re-nickel job, so I don't think it affects the value very much. In your case however, a non-factory re-blue of your much rarer '57 (4-screw ?) .44 Magnum may significantly affect its value. I would leave it alone, shoot it, and admire it. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:28 AM
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I'll join in with the chorus of "don't refinish it."

A gun will only ever have its original finish once. Once it's gone, it's gone forever.

There's an attitude among some that "it's your gun and you should do with it as you please." That's true in the legal sense of the word ... but having a gun refinished also means that you deny everyone else down the line the pleasure of enjoying that gun with its original finish.

About a month ago the owner of a local gun shop (with whom I am good friends) showed me a mint nickel Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket. It took me about 10 seconds to ascertain that the gun had been refinished. Ford's had done the replating job and they did a excellent job of it, but I've handled enough guns to know when I'm looking at a forgery.

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Old 01-21-2021, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Ripple75 View Post
Thanks for your responses. I was quite sure that it would decrease the value by about 1/3, but I wasn't sure if there might also be a market for people who see a Concours restoration as a plus, much like they do with Corvettes and other classic cars.

Thanks for all of your input. I have learned to NEVER re-blue!
In the condition itís in now, I wouldnít touch it. However, if I had to have it done, Iíd send it right back to the factory for the restoration, and document the work.

I sent my father in laws off duty, Ď65 Chief, back to S&W for a re-blue. It was a mess, came back, as it was in 1965. Nice work.
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Old 01-21-2021, 09:51 AM
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Don't even bother contacting the factory. They won't work on it because it is "obsolete."
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurusu View Post
What do you mean replace it???

Have you got no heart?

Just have both. Show them to your friends and say:

This is what they look like when they left the factory. And this! Is what they look like if you actually enjoy them.
This is really the correct answer.

If you want one that is shiny and nice to look at, just take the money you would put into a really good reblue, plus some more, buy a high condition example to look at next to this "shooter". You will come out ahead in the end financially and be more pleased with not only owning two great guns, but also in that you will have you high condition gun to look at.

The other thing I want to just reinforce is that if you send the gun off to get reblued, and whoever does the job slips up with the buffing wheel, the gun will be permanently screwed up as surely as if it had been deeply pitted by rust. Outside of some very expensive places you aren't guaranteed to get a good finish back, and even then no one actually reproduces the factory finish.

If you send it off for a $400-$500 reblue, you are probably going to get back a gun that now has new issues, not with the blue on it, but with the buffing. There are many here who say they were happy with their refinish, there is an equal amount who are very unhappy with their refinish.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:20 PM
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Well used, well cared for, well loved. Just leave yours as is.



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Old 01-21-2021, 07:04 PM
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If it was really abused and beat up,,a 'project gun' as I call them where you can't hurt them because there's no original finish left or they've already been reblued,,,then I say go for it.
Those are the types of guns I use for my projects.

But it's hard to improve upon a 90% original factory finish. I don't care who's doing the work.

If it really bothers you, save the refinishing cost as it'll be money just thrown away. You'll have a re-blued gun and everyone will point that out to you as soon as they look at it.
If you go to sell it after a refinish, your ad will state 'reblued' and instantly the price will have to reflect that at a well reduced amt.

Take that $$, sell the 90%'r and buy a better condition gun.
Yes it'll cost more, but that's the game.
If you want better condition, pay for better condition.
Then don't handle it or shoot it cause you'll end up with what you sold off to get it.

There aren't many if any real revolver (DA) restoration folks around anymore. At least not that advertise and do the work full time.
The DA revolver frame and bbl assembly is just too complicated a piece of architecture to polish correctly and make any money at.
Correctly polished in restoration means factory look, not custom look. Those are two different ways of doing polishing in the firearms world.

Turnbull won't touch them, he never did even back in the late 80's and early 90's when I did work for him and later worked in his shop.
They took too long to do and even then didn't have that factory look.
S/A revolvers are a different animal. About 4 hrs gets one done, sometimes less depending on how bad it is too start.
That's using a belt grinder mostly, something you can't do on a DA frame and bbl. Features are too complex.
Easy way out of that is too simply refuse to take them in.

Slab sided Semiauto pistols are a couple hr job in most cases with the right belts at your disposal.

Dave Chicoine was one of the few who could repolish a S&W DA to factory look at one time. There were others but most were part time 'smiths that did it for the love of the trade and the classic guns.
Not for the money so much as their prices were usually quite fair when compared to big name Restoration shops. They usually got back logged quickly and stopped taking in work after a time.

There's so much more to it that just a shiny polish and re-blue.
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Old 01-21-2021, 07:31 PM
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A re-blue is not undetectable.
So true. In fact , it all too often jumps out at you.
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Old 01-22-2021, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Ripple75 View Post
Hi,
I am looking at a 1957 pre-Model 29.
It is about 90%, with a healthy turn ring and average handling marks for a gun that has been used a fair amount.
Still a very pretty gun, just looks used - definitely not abused. The grips are proper and in very fine shape.

So ... I know of a shop that does the best bluing in the country (albeit a 6 month waiting list).

If I were to have it blued, would it make the price go up or down? Let's say the gun cost $2,000 and the bluing is $500. Would I end up with a gun that is worth less than the $2,000 I paid for it?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
A refinished Model 29 is to a 90% original finish 29 as Howard Johnson clam strips are to whole belly fried clams at Park Lunch.
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