3 Reasons Why Every Hunter Should Own an Antique Rifle

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Guest post by Michael Decker

Antique firearms are in high demand these days, particularly antique rifles. As a hunter, and a person who is interested in rifles, the primary reasons are probably quite obvious to you. Collecting antique guns is like collecting anything else; it’s done for interest a lot of the time, but there are other factors that come into play.

Deluxe Winchester 1894 rifleDeluxe Winchester 1894 rifle

A deluxe Winchester Model 1894 is a great investment in an antique rifle.

The rules and regulations surrounding what it means to be an “antique” firearm differ from country to country. In the United States, it must have been produced before 1899. This is unlike the United Kingdom, for example, which does not uphold any rules about specific production years.

My interest in antique rifle collecting started after I saw one appear on an episode of Antiques Roadshow. It was the most beautiful specimen, and apart from its physical value, it sold for the sort of money I’d pay to put my kids through university. For this reason, among others, I believe every hunter should consider buying an antique gun.

  1. Historical Interest

    There’s a lot to learn about history by collecting antique rifles. If you are a person inclined to seek knowledge about their hobbies, then looking into the past and uncovering the history of where your modern rifle came from could be of great interest to you. For example, the Springfield Model 1896 Krag service rifle shown below was produced during the Spanish-American War, which leads to all kids of interesting questions. Did it see combat? How did this model of rifle perform? How does its design work? Is it still fun to shoot? Answering these questions may give the hunter a deeper appreciation of his hobby and the men who enjoyed it before them.

    Spanish-American War Krag Service Rifle

    Did this antique Krag service rifle see combat?

  2. Prestige

    Like I said, collecting antique rifles is like collecting anything else. There is a particular honor, a kind of prestige around owning an antique, and a rifle is no different. Even if you are not overly interested in the historical value, there is still a significant advantage to owning an antique rifle. The craftsmanship of antique rifles differs significantly to the products that we are familiar with today. There is a lot to learn, and plenty to appreciate when you pay attention to such craftsmanship. Nowadays, antique rifles are highly collectible; investors, professional collectors, hunters, and shooters alike all seek them out.

    While some are collected with the intention of firing them, many are only ever intended to be used as an ornament or in a display. It is a fantastic addition for any hunter to consider adding to their house.

    Peabody-Martini rifle What Cheer

    Knowing the proud history behind schuetzen matches and early target shooting would give any owner of this Peabody-Martini rifle  a pride of ownership and even a bit of “cheer.”

  3. Monetary Value

    Antique rifles have become very scarce, so if you do come across one at a bargain, you know it will be a sound investment. Due to this scarcity, the average price for an antique rifle has risen considerably over recent years.

    Three main factors will determine the value of an antique rifle. The condition and the rarity are perhaps the two most important, but the third is also a huge contributor: provenance. If you can assert (and most importantly, prove) a special or desirable origin of the item, you can be sure that the value will skyrocket at auction.

    1859 Berdan Sharpshooters Rifle

    This Sharps Model 1859 rifle is documented to the “Berdan’s Sharpshooters” unit of the Civil War, which increases its value tremendously.

    The trick is to look for a gun from a well-known maker, and ideally, you want to find one that is in “very good” condition. The concept of what qualifies as “very good” condition will vary depending on the model, the age, etc. Generally speaking, you’re looking for 80-90% of its original finish.Then, regarding your investment, all there is to it is to keep in in its box, make sure its condition doesn’t deteriorate, don’t fire it, and wait.


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