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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This topic has become quite controversial lately. Last week, I went into a gun shop in a small town not far away. I have known the owner since 2nd grade - we attended country school & HS together.

He asked me what I have noticed in price trends as he thought the old lever-actions were really going out of sight. Even ones with obvious defects like D&T and rebluing. I agreed and think it isn't limited to the old levers. Look at Colt Diamondbacks for example - you have a really nice 22 for sale, you just might get 1000 for it! He then asked if I had any Marlins for sale & of course, I did not. We talked about what guns are not bringing good prices and there are not many. Stuff like Lorcins, Rossis, Hi-points & such.

So what is the cause of the current price hikes ? Supply and demand? Inflation? I'm not sure.

In 1968, a Colt SAA cost around 125 - full retail. I weaseled Dad into signing with me for a new 68 Plymouth Roadrunner. To the tune of 3200. Then gas went up - to 35 cents a gallon.


So is gun pricing simply following everything else? What costs close to what it did in the 60s? The prices farmers get for stuff like wheat and beans? I know the new car market is pretty amazing. When I was dealing for a new pickup recently, I was seeing 35,000 as the lower end of the market. $45,000 was the mid-range and 55,000 for a crew cab dually diesel with every option seemed to cap it. Insane! Several of us have bought homes for less!

Back to the gun price issue, I think it might have something to do with the quality of what is currently available. When you shoot a Colt DA revolver made in the 50s or 60s, how does it feel? Very smooth! Assembled and tuned by genuine craftsmen. What about a contemporary Colt DA revolver? ...Well, it ain't quite apples & apples. That and there is a finite supply of the older guns. You want a nice Marlin 39A, you better have long arms & deep pockets. It sure seems like examples from the 60s are bringing over 400.

Are the non-purists who will pay for the lesser quality pieces driving up the prices of the better examples? I think to a small extent they are affecting the market, but this is all only a theory.... Economics can sure get complicated! :? SW
 

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Prices do seem to be up, although some good deals are still out there, depending upon what you're looking for. Around here, gun show prices have always been high as a cat's back, unless you find an individual walking around with something you want. Likely he's been offerred $100 by so many dealers for a rifle he knows is worth much more that he's ready to listen to any real, reasonable offer!

I think the internet auctions have played a role. They bring more potential buyers into play, many of whom may have no sensible idea of what a reasonable price should be, and just as with a live auction I have seen many examples of buyers' frenzy, where everything just seemed to spiral way out of control.
 

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I agree with internet auctions being partly responsible for current pricing. Also, money seems not be worth as much as it used to be.

Better pricing can be found off the consignment rack at the gunshop. I too, rarely see affordable rifles at gunshows lately, and it's actually been a few years since I bought a gun at a show. The few used 39-A's I've seen at shows have been priced well into, or above what a new one brings.

The other side of the coin is people willing to pay these inflated prices- I ain't one of 'em, but there must be lots around, as prices continue to rise..

Fortunately, there are still quite a few .22 rifles around that are priced with-in reason- there's still a lot out there if you look away from the old Winchester and Marlin levers and pumps...Lot's of quality "Lesser name" bolts and semi's out there yet that are with-in reach...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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I'm sure it varies from one area to the next, but consignments around here tend to be a bit pricey. As for gunshows -- well, if it's on a table it's liable to be too high for me! Most of the dealers just seem to go nuts, and typically anything collectible is going to be priced anywhere from 50% to 300% above reality. A truly reasonable offer usually illicits an insulting comeback.

39A's -- now their prices are truly astounding! Still, I did luck up lately with an online find, a 1948 vintage in decent shape at $229. Yeah, it had been (professionally) drilled/tapped for a scope, it was missing a forend cap screw, and it needed a major cleaning, but I was after a shooter and felt good about the deal, considering some of the prices I've seen.
 

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Look at the age group talking on this Forum. 50-60's, well established, kids gone, home likely paid for and realize this is the largest group of buyers currently in the US. I am 40 and I still have one child at home, so my buying is limited. This generation of 50-60 year olds were raised hunting and fishing, but were limited on funds available to buy guns in the old days. Therefore, they are acting on old impulses to buy now. There are less old guns and automobiles than there were and the demand is rising. Current trends will run out (maybe?) in anothe decade as the generation below me moves into the power buying niche. They were raised on video games and likely will not want old guns or auto's. I have bought several guns recently as they were something I wanted when I was 10-12 years of age and couldn't afford then. FWIW, moodyholler
 

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All excellent answers fellas! I agree with all of them, but I think the internet has the most to do with inflated pricing. Mainly the internet auctions. These auctions are really quite new, although the internet is not.
The people Moodyholler mentioned, (the baby boomers!) with more fluid cash to spend, are buying a lot, but they're not alone. The prices I see on internet auctions are astounding! In many cases well beyond the bluebook price, or any reasonable price! Part of this is just the auction frenzy, but that's not all. Just look at all the gun forums around! There's more info out here at these forums, than what was ever available! Used to be I read, investigated, asked collectors, and finally came to some small scrap of info about a particular gun. Now everyone has access to lots of people with knowledge, so folks aren't so hesitant to make that purchase. With more people collecting old guns, and more info available, the number of good guns seems to be just drying up! Those that do hit the market get top dollar+, and the clunkers get more than they ever should have!
Will it top out anytime soon? My guess would be no, since it's done this through a pretty deprssed economy, I'd guess as the economy picks up, it will only get worse! Maybe as all of us older guys die off, and the collectionms get broken up, there may be more guns to go around, but I'm not sure that will really happen. The children of us baby boomers will then be old enough to appreciate these guns, and most of them may end up staying in the family. Those collectors who are interested, and in their 30's and 40's, will by then have all the kids out, and the cycle will begin all over again.
The new stuff on the market is crude and ugly by any standards. Even the guns that are supposed to be repros of these old guns, are really nothing close in workmanship, unless you buy the high end repros. When these guns get 100 years old, they'll not be any better, and the rest of our guns will be 200 years old, and people will still be wanting the 200 year old guns even more.
One trend that seems to amaze me, is the value of refinished guns. Not poorly refinished guns, but professionally refinished guns. These guns were always looked down on if the job was bad, but not really appreciated if the job was good. Now I see professionally refinished guns garnering original prices! Seems the new age collectors are not nearly as picky as us older farts were! I was showing my recently refinished Hepburn to a close friend, and his friend. The other guy asked if I had rebuilt it to sell, and I said no. He then made me a very handsome offer, that was more than double my investment. I'm still not selling, but I thought he was nuts to even want to pay that much.
I don't see a lot of bargains at large shows, but I still see bargains at smaller shows. A number of the older guys (even older than me!) are starting to sell out their collections. Some are saavy, and know the prices, but others have had their guns for so many years, they are willing to sell reasonably, because they know they're still getting way more than they paid for those old guns.
I think what keeps most of us seeking more for our collections, is the chance we might find that one sleeper deal, before the next guy gets it! If I didn't think it would happen, I'd stop going to gun shows at all!
Good hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think this is why we get so many "What's it worth?" questions here and on the MFCA site - people want the top dollar and then some. This is the main reason I do not answer price questions. I figure the seller can do their own research on the auction sites & price guides.

There are still bargains out there, but you need to have done some serious research to snap up that high-dollar sleeper. Like kaintuck and his Sav/Stevens. Sure, they don't go for much now, but how long will that last? Remember when Colt SAAs regularly sold for 250 bucks? And a lot less than that for ones in 41 long? I sure do. Look where they are today.

It's not just guns, either - look at Corvettes or the big motorcycles. Heck, they are nearly priced out of the average guy's reach. I dunno... I think all this pretty well shoots holes in the bad economy argument. I also see that watching traffic while I run trains (slowly) uphill along a highway. There sure don't seem to be any fewer motor homes out there so far.

How anyone can afford to drive one of those 250 miles a day at 4 mpg and 2.35 gas is beyond me!

I dunno... maybe I'm just too cheep!! :? SW
 

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That's a whole other story! Big old gas guzzling muscle cars! Who the heck could afford to drive one of them, let alone buy one at todays prices?
Oh wait a second....wife wants to take the big block Camaro for a spin, so I gotta go to the bank for a loan! :shock: :wink:
 

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Moody-

I'm just nudging into your boomer demographic- but can't say I've got the disposable income you mention :( We've got 2 grandkids living with us, and assorted daughters that decide to hang their hats for a while....

I'm driving an old beater of a Dodge van that I picked up for 500 bucks, and we are still going from pay-day to pay-day. I want to get into re-loading, but am doing it a bit here and there....

Gas is 97.9 cents per litre here- almost 4 bucks a gallon. It costs me 50 bucks to fill up to head for the gravel pit, and my van is a 4 banger with a 13-14 gallon tank :shock:

I won't likely see any disposable income for quite some time- most of my gun buys are in the 100-150 dollar range.

Sorry to rant like this, but I think it explains part of my love affair with old .22 rifles....

My habits could be worse- gambling, booze, and loose women for example- I'm better off keeping things toned down....

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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one more comment......

Well, i agree why $$ are high~#1.would be the internet access for sales, as it covers the areas were REAL money is being made (both coast lines) and the millionares~yes there ARE more now!. #2. the "i want it NOW" snydrom..we live in a "drive thru window world". no matter what the costs to themselves..i see many who just will get something NOW. when is the last time you saw wnyone with a "art" hobby? carving, painting, building model airplanes etc.ANYTHING that takes T I M E ???
nope, we live in a fast world and people in general want it now...i NEED to make a call....zziiip~out come the cell phone....i need to get some to eat.....drive thru window in 60sec or less! etc etc
i bet it burns peoples butts that they can't 'have' kids in 3 days...THAT still takes 9 months!!!!!! ahahahahahaha..... :roll:

and the trends? well, up~ try and find and buy a savage 99lever! used to pass them by as 'funky' gun....not anymore! :shock:
 

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Kaituck, make a drive to Roanoke. Someone has cut loose a collection of them and there are numerous examples at the last couple of shows in the 400- 750 range. There is one here in a shop, Crescent butt, octaagon barrel, original sights, nice blue, no extra holes for 750 in 30-30. There is also a 2 barrel set around (or was) in 410, and 303 Savage for 1300.00. DOC I am sorry to have offended you. Most of the older people in our club are buying 1000-2000 rifles at least every other month. Just going by experiences here.
 

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moodyholler said:
Kaituck, make a drive to Roanoke. Someone has cut loose a collection of them and there are numerous examples at the last couple of shows in the 400- 750 range. There is one here in a shop, Crescent butt, octaagon barrel, original sights, nice blue, no extra holes for 750 in 30-30. There is also a 2 barrel set around (or was) in 410, and 303 Savage for 1300.00. DOC I am sorry to have offended you. Most of the older people in our club are buying 1000-2000 rifles at least every other month. Just going by experiences here.
LOL- No offense taken! Now to round up some disposable income- hmmm...

Regards,

Doc Sharptail
 

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"Most of the older people in our club are buying 1000-2000 rifles at least every other month. "
Holy cow, and I thought I had a gun buying concern! Can't wait to tell my wife! She'll be so relieved to know I'm not as bad as I could be! :D
 

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I'm kind of like Doc. Disposable income is a rare commidity here and when some does show up, it usually get's disposed of on something we need.

I'm a retired disabled vet, and it seems like every time we get a kid out of the house, another comes back (usually broke) with reinforcements (kids) :shock: . I figured out a couple of years back that it would be a long dry spell on any new gun acquisitions for me, so I just continue to study the ones that interest me and figure one of these days, those darn kids will forget where I live and I'll be able to go find some of those old Marlins in 44-40 that I want. :wink:
 

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MM93, one of my freinds just bought a CPA and a New Ballard Union Hill in the same month. Heck, I'm relieved also because I couldn't keep up, I just thought it was me!!! I am lucky to have a line of part time work that has been paying well for the last couple of years and definitely has helped the old gun cabinet. As soon as I got my Master Electricians license I began to do some odd work. I also install appliances on the side and do some carpentry work. Two years ago I was promoted from Maintenace to Manufacturing Technician and recently to Design Engineer. I am making better than I ever have, but my son starts to drive next month and has his eye on some college in Washington State. I'm buying all I can while I can. I was fortunate to have a rather large collection of trapdoors and old military rifles (japs, enfileds, swedes, swiss, and american) that I liquidated at the right time and turned most of that into oldguns. At one point I had 2 M-1 CARBINES, 2 Garands, two Krags, 11 Enfields, 11 trapdoors, 7 Japs, 2 swedes, 1 Swiss, and an 03a3 made up with all NOS parts. moodyholler
 

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Re: one more comment......

kaintuck

I make a few wood chips now and then, create a little saw dust, take a picture or two, hit a golf ball once in a while and shoot a target when the mood strikes me. Never came close to paying $1000.00 for a rifle yet. I do have a couple I wouldn't sell for a $1000.00 though.

Kids always leave a "Bread Crumb trail" and can always find their way back.

DG

when is the last time you saw wnyone with a "art" hobby? carving, painting, building model airplanes etc.ANYTHING that takes T I M E ???
and the trends? well, up~ try and find and buy a savage 99lever! used to pass them by as 'funky' gun....not anymore! :shock:[/quote]
 

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Well in our case the kids are all long gone, the house is close to paid off, and the mortgage is so old the taxes are higher than the mortgage payment! :shock: I drive a 21 yr. old truck, and a 34 yr old car, and the wife is the lucky one; her car is only 7 yrs old! Company provides my work vehicle.
In other words, we live pretty modest, and consequently have a bit more disposable income than we did when we were younger. I supplement my gun purchases by selling old guns and parts, but can't let some of them go once they're home!
As slim as things can get, I think we're pretty lucky to make ends meet, and put food on the table. Can't complain about not being able to buy a certain gun, when there are friends who haven't worked in nearly a year! I thank God for whatever we have!
 

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As for me, I bought a lot of guns when I was on active duty. The money was good and the benefits were outstanding. Now that I am retired, the money is stretched a bit more, especially with 2 daughters and a grandson! I sold a bunch of Marlins, many of which I regret selling. Looking at prices now, boy howdy, I shoulda kept what I had! Oh well, what can you do, eh? I work at a small electronics assembly outfit owned by one of my classmates. My pension alone is more than any employee makes there! My pension outdid Walmart when I was working 40 hours per week there! If it wasn't for my pension, I wouldn't be able to shoot, let alone buy new guns. I have managed to acquire a few, though, just to keep on top of things. I can relate to 44-40 Willy in his situation!
 

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Roundsworth, ENC(SW) retired here. USS Lexington, USS Frank Cable & USS Tortuga amongst a bunch of overseas and shore duty.

Yep, if it weren't for the pension, it'd really be tight here. I do a little mechanic work on the side on the older vehicles that aren't too computer controlled. Usually if it's not in the computer or sensors I can sort it out. If not, I don't charge for not fixing it.

As for doing the arts thing, my other hobby is desk top flight simulators. So, I do add on stuff for Flight Sim aircraft, airfields, etc. when I don't have anything else to do. Mainly new "paintjobs" although I have done a couple of complete aircraft. Most of it gets uploaded to FS websites as freeware.

Willy
 
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