Aug 15

The Unoriginal Rolling Block

In this video, Dave warns buyers when dealing with dealers and individuals who are misrepresenting a firearm’s condition during the sales pitch.

Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep updated… new videos are uploaded on Mondays and Fridays!

Jul 01

Welcome Video

Welcome video and overview of the MyGunValues website from The Gun Guys.

 

In this video, Dave reviews gives an overview of the MyGunValues website. Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep updated… new videos are uploaded on Mondays and Fridays!

May 15

Review of Taurus Thunderbolt Rifle (video)

In this video, Dave reviews the Taurus Thunderbolt rifle. Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep updated… new videos are uploaded on Mondays and Fridays!

May 15

Check out the MyGunValues.com YouTube channel!

Did you know that MyGunValues.com has a YouTube channel where we frequently post interesting and education videos about firearms valuation, hand loading, gun reviews, and many other topics?

You can find our channel at https://youtube.com/mygunvalues – we usually release new videos on Mondays and Fridays, so be sure to subscribe so that you can be notified when they are released!

Jan 29

Antique Firearms and Their Pricing

How many of us have gone to a gun show and seen a table full of antique Winchester Lever-Action rifles or a case full Colt revolvers and not one of them has any remaining finish. What’s more is that if you attend the same shows regularly the same guns are there show after show year after year with little change. The same can be said of the racks in gun stores but to a lesser degree.

Take the Winchester model 94 carbines in 30-30 as an example. If they were made prior to World War II most dealers think they are worth at least $800 no matter how hammered they are. What’s worse is when the rifle is not even complete or functional and it carries a price tag of $550. Winchester 1886 rifles with no finish cut down barrels with no rifling and enough rust to supply your iron intake for a lifetime carrying a price tag of $2500. The point here is that almost no one that understands rifles will spend that kind of money on these clunkers. The real problem is that pricing is based on the completeness of the firearm as well as the condition. If the rifle is not complete and it is in fair condition it is not worth fair condition price.

The second part of this is that as tastes change these older firearms become less and less desirable. Today’s younger shooters want synthetic stocked, AR type rifles and polymer semi-auto handguns not blued steel and walnut rifles from a bygone era that are in terrible condition. Note I am not talking about complete rifles in higher condition grades. There will always be a collector market for antiques in good condition but as the shooters that grew up watching the Saturday afternoon westerns grow older the market for the older lever actions shrinks.

As time goes by these older revolvers and lever-actions have actually begun to drop in price and as more time goes by you will start seeing more of lower condition grades begin to drop. If you are looking for one of these older guns always remember early serial numbers, rare models, higher condition grades and original complete specimens are and will continue to be the guns that collectors will desire.

I know a realtor in Wyoming that turned some of these older examples into door handles on his business rather than trying to resell wall hangers. He also has a group of old military rifles that he is planning on turning into a chandelier. On some of these older guns that are not safe to shoot it is better to use them for decoration than to keep trying to resell them at collector prices.

If the dealers continue to want high prices for lesser quality junk then let them keep gathering dust. Eventually they will get the idea of the guns will be sold at auction for a more realistic price.

David – Mygunvalues.com

Jan 29

Collecting Store Brands

When I was about 12 years old I was given part of my grandfather’s stamp and coin collections. I was fascinated by all the different stamps and coins. This led me to learn everything I could about the items I had received. That in turn led me to try to add to the collections. Part of the obsession I had for these things, in my early life, was to try and remain close to my grandfather. He was my hero when I was little and I lost him at a very young age. (But I will see him again someday. Just a little food for thought for those of you who have not accepted Jesus Christ as your savior) I still have those collections locked away in a safe and they will go on to my daughter and her family. I have not looked at them in years because as I got older my interest changed to collecting things that use gunpowder and lead and that interest has only increased as I have gotten older.

Collecting guns today can be a frightfully expensive proposition (Just as coins and stamps can also). If your interest lies in Colt Single Actions from prior to 1900 you better have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth or have been very successful in your chosen field. Top grade examples of some of those early Colts can fetch $100,000 or more and even rare low grade examples are into the mid 5 figure range. Most of us who are not named Kennedy or Rockefeller have to settle for collecting lower grade examples or guns that most people are not interested in. There are many fields that can be interesting without selling the family home as long as you are not looking to make a huge profit if you ever sell that collection. Early Ruger, Mossberg, Hopkins & Allen and Marlin are considerably more affordable than their brethren with Colt, Winchester and Holland & Holland stamped on them. Who knows, in twenty years early Mossberg may be going for what early Winchester is today.

Today we are going to look at collecting store brands and how that can be a fascinating area of study. Since most American collectors of firearms are concerned with factory original condition I will address my comments with that in mind.

Store brands are defined for purposes of this article as those sold by large retailers such as Sears and Montgomery Ward with their name on them but they were actually built by someone else. A fact that not everyone knows is the large retailers did not build anything themselves. They contracted out to the lowest bidder to build a certain item to their specifications. In the case of firearms they mostly sold 22 rimfires and shotguns with a few centerfire rifles thrown into the mix. A certain model might have been built by Stevens one year but the next year High Standard was the low bidder so they furnished that model. To make matters more confusing the factory model might have a 24 inch barrel and be chambered in 12, 20 and 410 gauge but the retailer only wanted it in 20 gauge and with a 26 inch barrel. Because these orders were often for thousands of units manufacturers were often more than willing to oblige. The problem today is determining if that shotgun barrel is original or if that rifle originally came with a ventilated rubber buttpad. Most of the retailers that originally these firearms have either gone out of business (Montgomery Ward) or quit selling firearms long ago (Sears, J.C. Penny) I have assembled a partial set of reference catalogs over the years to try and sort out what is what but it has been extremely difficult and time consuming. (I would love to have a set of Microfiche from an old gunsmith that shows all of the original configurations and if you have or know of such a set please contact me if you are willing to loan or sell them). The bottom line is determining factory originality is very difficult with most models. Shotguns are the worst because most shotgun barrels can be easily removed and exchanged. An example would be some of the Sears models based on the Stevens model 58. A quick check of the parts list for this model at Numerich Gun Parts shows four different gauges and about 12 different barrels. Many are marked Stevens rather than Sears so knowing what configuration they were originally sold as by Sears is almost impossible unless you have the catalogs for that year.

Another issue is models that are not listed in any of the known lists. I was shown a Sears 12 gauge pump the other day with a 583.16 model number. It has a ventilated barrel extender/choke on it to make it a legal 18”barrel that is labeled JC Higgins. Is it original to the shotgun? Was it added later? Was it an accessory available for purchase at the time it was new? Since it is the only one of this model I have ever seen I am not exactly sure. Also, it looks like a Winchester model 12 action but Winchester firearms begin with a 273 model number prefix so nobody who has examined it is quite sure what it is. The only gun I have ever seen that closely resembles it is an Ithaca 37 that my stepfather brought home from Vietnam that has that same ventilated barrel extension on it. The point to this little tale being that I have no idea if the gun is original as sold by Sears or not.

Even with the difficulty in determining originality store brands can still be a rewarding and fascinating area to collect. Maybe you are interested in 22 rifles or 410 shotguns. Maybe you only want to collect high grade examples. Whatever motivates you and interests you is what you should look for. High grade examples are a worthy pursuit if you like the hunt as much as the find. These models were often built to a price point and lacked any special or high grade features. They were bought by people without a lot of money as tools and they were used as tools. As such, they were used quite heavily and high grade examples are rare. It is difficult for most Americans to imagine but before WWII there were a lot of people in this country that didn’t eat if they missed a shot at a rabbit or if a raccoon got in and killed the chickens. Extra money was non-existent and only essentials were purchased. The gun and ammunition were some of those essentials. At any rate, high grade store brands can be surprisingly difficult to locate.

Another area that can be interesting is the minor store brands. These can include many different names. Maybe a hardware store would have its name put on the gun; in the case of Sears they added JC Higgins and Ranger besides the Sears names. Montgomery Ward had the Hercules name and in my collection resides an Olympic 12 gauge shotgun the belonged to my wife’s grandfather. Hopkins & Allen and Merwin & Hulbert both put out their products with quite a number of private label names on them.

The sky is the limit when looking for store brands. Personally I prefer centerfire cartridge rifles as they are some of the hardest to acquire. Without any actual facts to back up this statement and just based on my own observations I would estimate that over 90% of store branded firearms are either shotguns or 22 rimfire rifles. With that being the case centerfires are very rarely seen.

Have fun looking and feel free to send us info on any store brands you might own. I have given one example here that is not listed in any known reference but I’m sure there are many more out there.

MyGunValues Original Content
David – MyGunValues

Jan 29

Trust but Verify

I recently attended an auction with one of the most unusual collections of firearms I have ever seen where this statement “Trust but Verify” held true. For those of you that either don’t remember or are not old enough to have been alive when Ronald Reagan first spoke these words a little background is in order.

Beginning in 1984 the Reagan Administration began negotiating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF with the Soviet Union. The saying is actually translated from a Russian proverb but Reagan really liked it and used it over the next four years as the treaty was negotiated. It meant that we needed to be able to confirm the Soviets were adhering to the treaty once it was signed. See video.

Back to the auction, it consisted of 114 lots of parts, air rifles, Winchester pump action 22’s and Schuetzen type target rifles. There were also a fair number of antique and unusual handguns. I will give the listing and how they went in an upcoming article but that is not the point for today.

Most auctioneers are not firearms experts and it can really show when the guns fall outside the normal Winchesters and Remingtons. While this auction was not live on the internet it was advertised on the internet and they had taken several phone bids on various lots. This is where the people had to go by the auction listing because they could not examine the guns in person.

The first inkling I had that this could be ugly was during the auction preview. The sale bill read as follows. Winchester 1894 22. s/n xxxxxx. This firearm is subject to processing. For me this stood out as Winchester never made an 1894 in a .22 caliber. They did produce the 94/22 but it came years later. When examining the rifle several things became apparent. One look at the bore told you it was not a 22. I didn’t measure it but by looking at the diameter it was either a 30-30 or a 32 special. The caliber stamp had been obscured because someone had replaced the rear sight and put it over the caliber stamp. The sight was either glued or soldered because several people tried to adjust it and couldn’t. Lastly it was a saddle ring carbine with the ring still on it which will generally boost the price. The sale bill or the photos could have determined none of this.

The next one came 15 items into the sale when a Stevens 22 rifle from approx. 1870 came up. It wore nickel plating on the receiver and blue everywhere else. We considered it a fine condition specimen but it was nothing special. The auctioneer starts by asking $1000 to which the whole room laughed. He then stated “The secretary looked these up this weekend and this one should be valued between $500 and $1500 which brought even more chuckles and several comments of “no way”. He then did something I have never seen. HE asked the assembled crowd how many thought those prices were too high. When the whole room raised their hands he dropped back to $100 for an opening bid and ended up getting $200 which was perhaps a little low given the condition but closer than $500.

The one that took the cake was one that flew under my radar during the preview because I wasn’t interested in the lot. It read “Pair of Smith & Wesson Commemorative 45 caliber Schofield Model 3 Revolver set with case, serial number xxxxxxx. This firearm is subject to processing.” During the preview I noticed several guys trying to open the action but none could. Most assumed they were latched down or poor quality from what I heard. You don’t want to get too carried away when you don’t own the gun. When these hit the block the reason became apparent. The auctioneer announced they were non-firing replicas (decorations). The whole room retreated and he couldn’t get an opening bid. He then announced he had one phone bid for $700 and one for “substantially more”. If you saw that listing and looked at the photos you would be believe they were actual working guns and be willing to bid a lot more. I will never know but I’ll bet $50 they get them back because they were misrepresented.

There were other anomalies there such as a matchlock rifle that was a probable reproduction and two Galand pistols that didn’t function properly but it just went to reinforce that old adage of “Trust but Verify”

David – Mygunvalues.com

Nov 04

Hunting Access and Etiquette

One of the more common laments I hear from hunters that were not born with a silver spoon in their mouths is that it is hard to find a place to hunt. Another is their children are just not interested and would rather play on the computer. As the numbers of hunters continue to decline (According to license sales in most states) we need to take along hard look at what we can do to increase our numbers and that means getting more children interested.

Landowners and outfitters can help the situation out immensely by letting in a few kids (Properly supervised by adults) without charging them. This will give them a chance to experience hunting without mom and dad having to shell out lots of money that they probably don’t have.

As Christians we are taught to give something back. The generally accepted number is 10% and while I am not going to get into a sermon that is open to discussion as the only place it is listed is the Old Testament. In the New Testament Jesus simply says to be a cheerful giver. To that end and using the Old Testament guideline if you are able to have 10 hunters on your land in a season consider letting one of them be a kid that you let in for nothing. If you are fortunate to be an outfitter with spots for 30 possibly let in three. If you can only let in five maybe let 1 in every other year (I am talking about deer and elk hunting here if birds and the season is 60 days long maybe let kids in 6 of those days) The point is that if we can get more kids interested in hunting we will have a bright future. If not, the anti’s will be more than happy to keep telling our kids why hunting is evil.

I want to share the following story to illustrate my point. When I am not hunting, shooting, reloading or working I have another hobby. Antique tractors and hit and miss engines. When, on rare occasions, I get the chance to combine the two it is hog heaven for Dave.

About a year ago I got a chance to attend an auction where there were over 40 firearms up for sale as well as 5 hit and miss engines and over 50 antique tractors. I was able to pick up a Ruger #1 375 H&H and a Stover hit and miss engine very reasonably so it was a good day. Toward the end of the day they got around to the tractors, most of which had been sitting outside for decades and were in poor shape at best. The one I was really gunning for was a late teens Hart-Parr. The problem was the engine was stuck and getting it loaded was going to be nothing short of a nightmare in the field full of mud it was located in. I was 100 miles from home without a winch. While I was standing there considering my options the decision got taken out of my hands.

A father and his son were looking at it and the kid, who was probably all of 8, could hardly contain his excitement. All he could talk about was restoring it and if dad thought they would be able to win it. Fortunately none one else was in ear shot so nobody else new how much both dad and son wanted it. I made up my mind right there that I was not going to bid but I wanted to see how it went for the father and son. By the time the auction moved up to that tractor dad was able to get him to calm down. This was one of the last tractors sold so most people had blown their wad and interest in this one was pretty low. When the hammer fell at only $350 I was shocked as many of the parts would sell for that all by themselves. Once they won this kid did a celebration dance that would have gone viral on You-Tube in a heartbeat had anyone been recording it. For the next several years that father and his son will be able to enjoy working together on the project at least partially because I decided not to bid.

Companies, landowners and the like need to get every dollar they can out of the land today to try and eke out a profit but if it comes at the expense of the future then there will be nothing for the future generations. I want to end this part by giving congratulations to the State of Washington. I know I do this very rarely but in this case it was well deserved.

This year one of the large timber companies decided they were going to charge money for access to their land for hunters. One of the reasons they get a tax break is so that people can have access except when the timber is actually being harvested. Since trees take at least 50 years to reach maturity the land is not doing much the rest of the time. To the credit of those in State Government they pointed out that the company gets millions of dollars in tax breaks every year in part to allow recreational access to their lands. If they are going to start charging then the tax break would be removed and the land reclassified as recreational. While the vote is still out it appears as if the fee will not be charged and people will be able to hunt without the fee being charged.

Part of the reason people have issues getting access is what irresponsible hunters have done in the past. The rule of if you pack it in pack it out applies here. Don’t leave your trash lying all over the place and if you have to dig a hole to use a latrine do it. Don’t leave little white flags all over the landscape.

If a farmer has given you access and you have a successful day offer him or her part of a back strap or a front quarter. It has been my experience that they will usually not accept either because they already have enough or because they don’t care for game meat but you still need to make the offer if they accept be prepared to follow through. Most farmers and landowners I know are handshake type people and if your word isn’t any good they will generally not have anything to do with you.

If access means you have to open three gates then make sure you close every one behind you both on the way in and on the way out. Nothing will get access denied like the memory of having to chase down 20 cows or horses if you are the farmer. My friends and I once irritated a farmer by leaving a gate in the position we found it. When we came up to the gate it was open so we left it that way. When we came back he was up there shutting it and gave us a good chewing out for leaving it open. We tried to tell him that was how we found it but it took a couple years for the memory of that one to fade enough for us to get back in.

I guess the best way to be sure is to respect the other guy’s property. If you wouldn’t want it on yours why would he want it on his? Find out what is expected up front and that will prevent future misunderstandings. I once had an offer to hunt deer on an island where they are literally overrunning the place. There are no predators and most of the lots are too small to allow hunting or the Peta types that own most of the land won’t allow hunting. This lady was tired of losing roses, vegetables and fruit trees to the herds of blacktail. The problem it the island is only accessible by ferry so it will take a good 1 to 3 hours to get back off with your deer. This means that it is imperative you gut it and do some work in the field to keep the meat from spoiling. She insisted that I take the whole thing away. It is hard enough to pack a deer out of the woods without having to pack out all of the guts once they have been separated. In the end it just wasn’t worth it to me so I declined the invitation. If I had agreed I would have done it just to keep the access. I still have the invitation under those terms but the older I get the less likely it becomes I will say yes.

The point to all this is, if we will observe some basic rules of etiquette and treat the other guy how we wish to be treated then everybody will be able to hunt in the years to come. If we continue down the path where hunting increasingly becomes a sport for the wealthy then the sport we all love is doomed to a slow death by indifference and the whims of politicians.

 

 

 

Nov 04

Antique Muzzleloading Firearms

When trying to incorporate antique muzzleloading firearms in to this site there were several considerations. First we only wanted to do cartridge firearms. Then approx halfway through development it was decided that was not going to be acceptable. There are many customers that collect antique arms and modern arms and we wanted to be able to take care of all of their needs. Since they use different types of ammunition we had to determine how to best list the cartridge or caliber. The lack of standardization was another problem not to mention the number of backyard gunsmiths that have altered such firearms since they were manufactured. Barrel lengths, calibers and other features varied as much as the terrain from of the U.S. from one side to the other.

In the end it was necessary to maintain some sense of standardization so it is important to know how to use the site when searching for antique firearms. It is very important to first determine the maker and the caliber. These are the two things that have likely not been altered since the gun was new. The problem is many antique guns are not marked with a makers name or may be marked with initials. An example would be Blunt & Syms which is often abbreviated B & S. (Yes I know what that sounds like but keep in mind we are talking the 1840’s)

We’ll take each choice one at a time. The first of type of firearm should be self explanatory. The action type is generally self-explanatory also but single shot muzzleloading firearms are listed as single-shot as the action type. Next the manufacturer should be chosen if known. If not choosing the caliber will narrow down the list of choices. Caliber can also be a variable so if your caliber is not listed it may simply be that all of the reference material for this maker is incomplete. Simply choose the caliber closest to yours. There is usually not a great deal of value difference from one caliber to the next and when there is those choices will be there. All muzzleloaders are listed as the diameter in inches and followed by the abbreviation Cal for caliber. As an example it you measure the bore at 3/8” and 3/8 as a decimal translates to .375 it is a reasonable assumption that the firearm is 38 caliber. After that it becomes difficult. All the antique muzzleloaders use open sights and wood as a grip or stock material with very rare exceptions. This can make identification difficult. Barrel lengths are always a variable for two reasons. The first is the makers themselves. Machining metal was not nearly as easy or done as quickly as it is today. One barrel cut off a ¼’ longer or shorter than needed was not to be wasted. The other thing is these firearms had to be cleaned from the muzzle which resulted in wear at the crown which would result in a drop off in accuracy so the barrel would be cut off and recrowned. Finish is also a tough one because so few of these weapons have any original finish remaining. The general rule of thumb is iron was generally blued and brass was either brass or may have been silver plated at one time. Looking in protected areas around the trigger guard or grips may reveal a slight trace of silver if it was ever there.

The last thing that can throw you is guns that are marked with the names of sellers that were not the actual maker. As an example we’ll use is Sears. They don’t build anything but rather things are built to their specs by other manufacturers that then attach the Sears name. A firearms example is the name A.W. Spies. They are believed to have been a retailer in the 1840’s and 1850’s and many guns so marked exist today. On our site if you look for A.W. Spies you will be redirected to look under Allen Firearms or Ethan Allen since they built many of the firearms for this seller. The problem comes with the example a friend of mine inherited from his father. The single shot A.W. Spies single shot pistols are mostly underhammer designs but this one is an above hammer and marked London and finished in silver on the frame. This gun was probably not made by Ethan Allen but as of now we have been unable to identify the actual maker. The point being there are some examples that we do not have. In these cases we recommend you take advantage of the custom appraisal part of this site and we will get you all the information we can locate.

Keep in mind we are constantly adding guns and updating prices, usually on a daily basis so check back from time to time. Also if you are a member and get a value on a particular firearm we will send you an email stating the value has been updated when a pricing change occurs.

Nov 04

What exactly is Gun Violence?

Gun violence is a term we hear from the news media and gun ban crowd all the time. The news media will put up a picture of a gun when leading into a news story about a murder and then we find out it was a knifing. The gun ban lobby just put up a story about how the states with the most lax gun laws have the most gun violence but after some study I think there idea of violence needs some adjusting.

Webster’s dictionary defines violence as: The use of physical force so as to injure or abuse. With that pretty broad definition I want to look at what the Brady crowd calls gun violence and see if it stacks up.

The one that immediately jumps out is their counting of suicides in gun violence numbers. If you stick a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger you are ending your own life. To use an argument of the left you are not hurting anybody but yourself. (Smoking pot, prostitution and other so called victimless crimes are ok but if you want to off yourself with a gun then it is their business) I know you are hurting the loved ones you leave behind and probably the people that have to clean up after you but at least you are only taking yourself out. We have the ones that seek to kill as many as possible before taking themselves out and having the police do it for them. Then there are the ones that kill their whole family before taking their own life. Driving the car into a pond with the kids strapped in. I could go on but you get the idea. Suicide might be violence in the strictest sense of the word but it is not against other people and that is what I think defines true violence.

Another tactic is to put the gun that is used in a crime back to the state where the gun was first sold rather than where the crime occurred. This is part of the way they get New Mexico and Arizona on to the list. By taking crimes that occur in Mexico and counting them in the statistics for Arizona you can skew the numbers. Let’s forget for the moment that our Federal Government was allowing guns to be sold to criminals and then lost track of the guns. I will be the first to admit that the murders, kidnapping and such is definitely violence but I have a hard time counting murders committed in Mexico with U.S. crime statistics. By that reasoning arms that have fallen into the ISIS in Iraq should be counted because we supplied to the Iraqi military and they lost them to the rebels.

Another favorite trick that they like to use is the percentage game. If you count suicide and then look at it as violence within a percentage of the population then it is easy to say a low populace state has more gun violence than one with a higher population. This is how they get Alaska on the list (A state with a fairly high suicide rate but get to exclude states like Illinois which contains the current murder capital of the country, Chicago. In 2012, the last year I could find stats for Alaska had 29 murders for a murder rate of 4 per 100,000 while Illinois had 509 for a rate of 5.6 per 100,000. It gets even more skewed if you add shootings but omit suicide.

In my home state of Washington they left is running an initiative to outlaw private transfers of guns. The tactics being used in the ads claim criminals can go on the internet or to a gun show and buy a gun no questions asked. Since most criminals get their guns on the street or steal them, this law will do little to nothing to lower the crime rate. (The Newtown shooting that got this whole thing going was committed by a man that killed his mother and then stole her guns. Which means this law does nothing but restrict law abiding people.) What’s worse is that the left’s definition of a transfer includes a “loan”. The way this can be interpreted is that if you are at a shooting range and shoot your buddies gun then you just committed a felony. Once again it is not about reducing crime but it is about controlling people and their actions.

Another lie from the left is to bring on people from Colorado claim their officer involved shooting have declined since they enacted their same scheme last year. The problem is this year isn’t over and officer involved shootings are another number to easily misrepresent the total number of gun crimes. Unfortunately if you argue the facts with a liberal the only things you will do is confuse them of tick them off. They do everything by leading with their heart and common sense and logic can’t enter in to it. Generally they won’t even listen so I rarely waste my breath anymore. I just figure with the way we are spending, money when the crash happens they’ll be the first ones looted and burned out and wonder why the government isn’t there to protect them.

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