Antique and Collectable Firearms and Militaria Headquarters OldGuns.net FineOldGuns.com

 

 
Antique and Collectable Firearms and
Militaria Headquarters
(OldGuns.net)
Frequently Asked Questions

(FAQ)

Return to Collectors Headquarters.

Here are some questions that have been asked numerous times.
You may find answers to the question you were about to ask, or to questions you were afraid to ask.


About OldGuns.net

Buying stuff

Want Lists, Questions (other than about orders)

Firearms History (When was my gun made? What about this maker?)

Shotguns

Military Arms

Other Firearms and Ammunition

Full Automatic (Machine Guns) & Short Barrel Shotguns & Rifles

Values and Prices


Is A Firearm That I Saw Listed At OldGuns.net In Good Firing Condition?
All of the guns and ammunition at OldGuns.net are sold as collector items only and must be checked by a competent gunsmith prior to use. Unless otherwise stated in the description we are not aware of any problem with the guns in our catalogs. However, we are not gunsmiths and due to liability issues we do not claim to have the expertise to tell if any gun is safe for anyone else to risk firing. Further, since we have no control over the ammunition used, proper cleaning prior to use, and the like, we disclaim any and all responsibility for any problems associated with firing any gun purchased from us.

If you have concerns about the condition of anything you see at OldGuns.net remember that all items are sold with a three day inspection period which should allow enough time for you and your gunsmith to determine if it is safe to shoot. If dissatisfied for any reason, return the item in the same condition as received for full refund (less shipping).


I Would Like To Place An Order What Type Of Payment Do you Accept?

We accept payment by Personal Check, Cashiers Check, Money Order, Master Card, Visa and PayPal
  • Allow seven to ten business days for all types of check and/or money orders other than U.S.  Postal Money Orders to clear.
  • U.S. Postal Money orders, credit card payments and PayPal ship immediately.
  • Advertised prices are discounted for cash.  Credit card orders add 3% to the total cost of merchandise and shipping.
  • You can call with credit card information, include it on your order form and mail it, or send by our secure order from, whichever way you like best.
  • PayPal is treated just like a credit card payment add 3% to the total cost of merchandise and shipping.  If you do not have a PayPal account, we have more information on our Ordering Information page and a link where you can sign up for an account and get a $5.00 credit.
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The OldGuns.net Return Policy:

All items are sold with three day inspection period. If you are dissatisfied for any reason, return the item in same condition as received for full refund (less shipping). Guns and ammunition are sold as collector items only and must be checked by a competent gunsmith prior to use.

Most customers tell us that the items that they have ordered from OldGuns.net are better than they expected from our descriptions.  We get very  few returns and lots of repeat customers. We try to make our descriptions as accurate and detailed as possible, and have photos on most items, so that helps a lot. For what it is worth, we have sold items to some of the leading authorities (and authors) in the US martial arms field over the years and they were all quite happy (The late Bill Brophy and Robert M. Reilly; the still active Scott Duff, Bruce Canfield, Nick Ferris, Scott Meadows, Billy Pyle).

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Are The Listed Prices At OldGuns.net Firm?

In general our prices are firm, when we think they need to be adjusted we do so.  At OldGuns.net we do not mark everything up so we can cut the listed prices, like some dealers.  If you would like to make offers, that's OK, we will politely listen, and usually politely decline.

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OldGuns.net Paper Catalog Information:

All of the items that we have for sale are listed in our online catalog pages.  We have links to our catalogs at left side and at the bottom of our main page at:

http://Oldguns.net

We have discontinued paper catalogs due to cost and time lag involved.

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Do You Ship Firearms Outside Of The United States?
Due to the complexity of rules and regulations governing this type of transaction, we are not able to invest the time or money to thoroughly research import export laws. We do not wish to risk our licenses by violating some obscure regulation, so as a matter of policy we do not ship firearms outside of the U.S.A.
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Items On Hold
We mark items in our catalogs "**HOLD**" when we receive a commitment to purchase. Items are placed on hold to allow time for the proper paperwork and payment to be arrive, for the order to be shipped, for funds to clear if payment is made by check and for the purchaser to examine their order and confirm that are happy with it (inspection period is usually 3 days). If you see an item marked **HOLD** that you are interested in, let us know and we will notify you if it becomes available again.
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Want Lists:

Sorry, we do not work want lists, but just post things when we get them, and everyone gets an equal shot at the good stuff that way.

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Why Haven't You Answered My Question?
Because of the large amount of questions that we receive at OldGuns.net we are unable to answer all of them.  We usually try answer questions that we think may be interesting or useful to to our visitors.

We often ignore questions that are:

  • Submitted with partial serial numbers (167XXX).
  • Submitted in all caps or lower case.
  • Questions that do not provide us with enough information to give a useful answer.
  • Questions about sporting shotguns.  We sometimes list sporting shotguns for sale in our catalogs but we do not have a lot of interest in collecting them and are by no means experts in this field. There are several dealers listed on our links page that specialize in shotguns who would be able to give you a better answer to your question.
  • Questions that we have already answered. Before you submit a question try using the OldGuns.net questions and answers search engine to see if there is a similar question that we have already answered.
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Why Haven't You Posted My Want?
We do not post wants that are:
  • Items for sale, our wanted list is for visitors to post items that they are trying acquire only.
  • Not firearm or militaria related.
  • Submitted in all caps or lower case.
  • Postings for class 3 items like machine guns, silencers and short barreled shotguns.
  • Postings that that may tend to give firearms and militaria collecting a negative image.
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Old Shotguns Questions:

We do not have a lot of information on these a huge number were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and sold through various retail outlets. This type of firearm falls into the category of "old guns" that no one seems to be interested in as shooters, but collectors do not want them either. Generally these were basic inexpensive simple guns which sold at modest prices and still have little interest or value on market today. On the retail market they usually sell in the $25-125 range depending on condition and general appearance for use as a "wall hanger" over a fireplace. Where there is any family history, we encourage people to keep these old guns for sentimental value. Please be warned that most of these are not considered safe to shoot.

A good place to find answers to firearms questions is a new site called ArmsCollectors.com try posing your question on the Old Shotguns forum there.

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Sporting Shotgun Questions:

We sometimes list sporting shotguns for sale in our catalogs but we do not have a lot of interest in collecting them and are by no means experts in this field. There are several dealers listed on our links page that specialize in shotguns who would be able to give you a better answer than we can.

A good place to find answers to firearms questions is a new site called ArmsCollectors.com try posing your question on the Old Shotguns forum there.

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When Was My U.S. Military Firearm Made?

Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our U.S. Military Manufacture Dates information.
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What Is The History Of My Military Firearm And/Or Who Was It Issued To?
Documented history has been found on only a small percentage of U.S. Military arms, we know of no source of information or documentation for arms issued by countries other than the USA  Even with U.S. firearms documentation is likely only a mention of being issued, damaged, stolen, or transferred on a specific date by a specific unit.  Previous and subsequent events are usually unknown, and only rarely do records link the serial number with a specific person.  It is pretty neat when you can find something.  We once found two .45-70 trapdoor rifles used in the Spanish American War by soldiers in the same Company of Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  The rifles were found about five years apart, one in Utah and the other in Missouri, and were reunited nearly 100 years after last being used together.  Another Span-Am era trapdoor was documented to a Kansas Volunteer who served in the Philippines, and was not a very good soldier and got court martialed, but also saw some action.  U.S. match rifles and service rifles sold prior to WW2 through the DCM program (forerunner of the CMP program) have fairly complete records and they even identify the purchaser and date of sale.
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Where Can I Find Ammunition For My Old Gun?
We recommend the "Old Western Scrounger", they are an excellent source for hard to find or obsolete ammunition, with an on line catalog.
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When Was My Browning Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture.
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When Was My Colt Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture.
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When Was My Marlin Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our Marlin Manufacture Dates information.
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When Was My Remington Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our Remington Manufacture Dates information.
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When Was My Ruger Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture at Ruger's Website.
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When Was My Winchester Made?
Please click here to check your year of manufacture with our check our Winchester Manufacture Dates information.
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Flobert Rifles:
During the period from the 1890s through about 1920 "Boy's rifles" were very popular items for youngsters.  (Why could you give 10 year olds guns then and they wouldn't shoot anyone, while now guns are banned from anyone under 18 but kids are killing lots of folks?)  Anyway, Belgium was a major source of inexpensive guns, and many thousands were imported, often sold by big mail order companies like Sears, Montgomery Wards, etc.  The most common action used was a "Flobert" design, this is similar to what Americans often call a "rolling block" action. Most Floberts were .22 rimfire (sometimes short, or long, or long rifle).  Sometimes other caliber's are seen, .25 or .32 rimfire, or even 9mm rimfire, but ammo is basically not available for any of these.  Even in excellent condition there is little collector interest in Flobert rifles.  If your gun has some family history, it is probably a nice souvenir, if not, it is good decoration, but not something that is very valuable.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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Harrington and Richardson (H&R) Firearms:

There is not a lot of information available about individual models of firearms that Harrington and Richardson manufactured. Harrington and Richardson manufactured reliable utilitarian low cost firearms from 1874  when they were founded, until 1986 when they ceased production, the H&R trademark was also utilized by a new company (H&R 1871, Inc.).  H&R firearms were solid and durable, but plain and cheap.  Even in nice condition, there is about zero collector interest in old H&R firearms.  Values are well under $100, and usually under $50.00.  If there is any sentimental value we recommend that they be kept as a family heirloom from the days when people owned and used guns safely and responsibly without the need for draconian government supervision to make it "safe for our kids".   The exceptions to this rule are the H&R M1 Garands and H&R U.S. Model 1873 rifles.  H&R made the M1 in the 1950's and these are highly collectible.  They also made a replica Model 1873 rifle, which is collectible.

A good place to find answers to firearms questions is a new site called ArmsCollectors.com try posing your question on the H&R / Iver Johnson forum there.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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Italian Copies Of Antique Arms:
Italian gunmakers are turning  out some very good copies of Civil War and other antique firearms. Bill Edwards excellent book "Civil War Guns" describes some of their efforts, including a problem when an early batch of copies all had bent trigger guards, just like the original they had copied!  Navy Arms was one of the first companies to import copies form Italy, now there are many other importers including Centennial Arms, Dixie Gun Works, Lyman, CVA, EMF, Armsport, Cimarron, Euroarms, Federal Ordnance, Mitchell, Richland Arms, Stone Mountain, Taylor's, Traditions, and others.  We have observed that it is sometimes difficult for new collectors and individuals who are not familiar with firearms to tell the difference between a real antique and some of the Italian copies, especially if the copy is several years old and has some ware on it.  One way to tell an Italian copy form an original is that they just about all have Italian proof markings like a star over PN or something similar.  Italian copies will also usually have the manufactures name like Uberti, Pedersoli or ArmiSanMarco and "Italy" stamped on them.  Value for these firearms varies with the maker and condition.  A  carefully used Uberti might be in the $150-$200 range.  A  "no-name" copy or kit gun poorly assembled, poorly cared for and lacking a quality blue finish is worth about whatever you can get for it, usually less than $100.  These are nice decorators, maybe fun shooters, but  not a good investment for a collection.  We strongly recommend research into any firearm before purchase, a $25 book (like Flayderman's) can provide the information needed to avoid making costly mistakes.
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Iver Johnson Firearms Questions:

There is not a lot of information available about individual models of firearms that Iver Johnson manufactured. Iver Johnson started out in 1871 as Johnson Bye & Co., in 1883 the name of the company was changed to Iver Johnson & Co. and in 1891 the name was changed again to Iver Johnson's Arms & Cycle Works.  Iver Johnson produced firearms under various names and owners form 1871 until 1993. In 1993 when operations ceased, Iver Johnson was owned by American Military Arms Corp. (AMAC). Iver Johnson gained a reputation over the years for producing low cost, sturdy, reliable firearms.  Unfortunately there is little or no collector interest in these firearms, values for most are in the $75.00 or less range.

A good place to find answers to firearms questions is a new site called ArmsCollectors.com try posing your question on the H&R / Iver Johnson forum there.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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Spanish S&W Copies:

There is not a lot of information available about the Spanish S&W copies.  It is reported that the logos for these revolvers were designed to be very close in appearance to the S&W logo in order to fool unobservant potential buyers. We have read in a major gunsmithing text book that the metals used in most of these revolvers is of very low quality making them dangerous to fire.  Values for the Spanish S&W copies is very low, probably in the $50 range if you can find anyone willing to buy one.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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Suicide / Saturday Night Specials:

A "suicide special" or "Saturday night special"  is a cheap, usually poorly made inexpensive firearm that is considered to be so inaccurate that the only good use for it is to commit suicide.  We get a lot questions about this type of firearm.  Beginning in the late 19th century, a huge number of these were sold through various retail outlets. This type of firearm usually falls into the category of "old guns" that no one seems to be interested in as shooters, but collectors do not want them either. Generally these were basic inexpensive simple guns which sold at modest prices and still have little interest or value on market today. On the retail market they usually sell in the $25-125 range depending on condition and general appearance for use as a "wall hanger" over a fireplace. Where there is any family history, we encourage people to keep these old guns for sentimental value.

A good place to find answers to firearms questions is a new site called ArmsCollectors.com try posing your question on the Suicide / Saturday Night Specials forum there.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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U.S. Revolvers:

THESE REVOLVERS WERE NOT U.S. MILITARY ISSUE. Arms made under the U.S. Revolver Co. name were cheaper versions of the  Iver Johnson line. U.S. Revolver Co. paralleled the solid frame Iver Johnson Model 1900 and the Hinged Frame Safety Automatic models, but did not have the safety hammer feature, they also  had some consequent minor changes in the lockwork and a lesser quality of finish. U.S. Revolvers were offered in  .22, .32 and .38 calibres, and were sold at the same time as the main Iver Johnson line until the 1940s. The pistols were marked 'U.S. Revolver Co.' on the barrel, and had 'US' molded into the grips.  U.S. Revolver Co.  values fall in the $50.00 dollar range.

A good place to find answers to firearms questions is a new site called ArmsCollectors.com try posing your question on the H&R / Iver Johnson forum there.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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Cheap West German Import Firearms Including: RG, Arimus Frontier Six-shooters, Burgo, Regent, Sontheim Brenz, PIC:
These firearms are usually of questionable quality, the smaller handguns were sold in the USA prior to the passage of the 1968 Gun Control Act.  The passage of the 1968 gun Control act, with its restrictions on pistol dimensions, severely curtailed the importation of the smaller handguns. Values for most of these firearms (including the lager western style revolvers) fall in the $25.00 to $50.00 dollar range.

*Note - We would strongly advise that any old firearm should be checked by a competent gunsmith both for safety and to verify the caliber before an attempts is made to fire it.

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Machine Guns and Shotguns/Rifles with Short Barrels:
We are not lawyers and the following summarizes our understanding of the basic Federal laws on this subject.   We believe this information to be accurate and correct, but strongly suggest you check with the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) office listed in you phone book blue pages under U.S. government.  They are the ones who will decide if it is okay for you to have these items, or come after you if it is not okay.  If the BATF says it is okay to keep the item, make sure you write down the date, time, name, title, and phone number of the BATF person who tells you that.  If at all possible, get them to put it in writing, in case some other BATF person later claims it is NOT okay for you to have the item.

Instead of relying on our information, it would be a better idea to consult an attorney who specializes in federal firearms laws.  Not your local divorce and accident specialist- this is a highly complex field and you cannot afford to pay for the time they will need to become smart enough in this area to protect your butt!

    Note that additional state or local restrictions may apply, especially in states run by idiots, like California.

DEFINITIONS:

MACHINE GUN-  Anything that will keep shooting if you hold the trigger back, including guns that have both semi-automatic and full automatic selectors.  This includes just the receivers from such a gun, and guns that were welded shut ("Dewats") and did not require registration until 1968.
SAWED OFF ("short barreled") SHOTGUN-  any shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches long (measured from the face of the closed breech to the muzzle), or with overall length of less than 26 inches.  This includes "hunting shotguns" which have been cut down and also smoothbore guns like the Marble's Game-Getter and H&R Handy Gun, which were originally made with short barrels.
SAWED OFF ("short barreled") RIFLE- Any rifle with a barrel length of less than 16 inches, with an overall length of less than 26 inches..
REGISTRATION:
The National Firearms Act passed in 1934 basically outlawed machine guns and sawed off shotguns/rifles.

People who had them were required to register them with the Treasury Department.  The Gun Control Act of 1968 had a whole bunch of requirements concerning gun sales, and also included an “Amnesty Period” for people who had not previously registered their machine gun or sawed off shotgun/rifle to do so without any penalty.  That Amnesty Period expired in 1968, and there has never been another, and it is highly unlikely that there will ever be another.

When machine guns (or short barreled rifles or shotguns) were registered in 1934 or 1968 the owners were given papers to prove that the guns were registered, and copies were kept on file with the BATF in Washington.  Theoretically, if you lost your papers, they could provide a replacement copy.  However, people familiar with the situation report that the BATF files are a disaster and they are very often unable to tell if your gun is registered or not.  (Therefore you should assume that if you do not have papers,  the odds of having BATF find copies for you are not very good.  Thus, the BATF will decide it is NOT registered, (unless you can prove that it is.)

IF IT IS NOT REGISTERED:
Possession of an unregistered machine gun or sawed off rifle/shotgun is a federal felony with big hard time sentences and hefty fines (something like 10 years and/or $10,000 fine).  BATF prosecutes a lot of these cases, even if the owner is not using the gun in holdups or anything..
 

Anyone who has an unregistered machine gun or sawed off shotgun/rifle has several options, none very appealing.  We recommend option (a).

a. Contact your closest BATF office (blue pages, US Govt., Treasury Dept., BATF) and tell them that you found/inherited or were given this item, or whatever the case is, and want to (1) know if it is legal to keep and (2) if not, turn it in for destruction.  If they confirm it is illegal then you can make arrangements for it to be turned over.  You will not be compensated, but you won’t be prosecuted.

b.   The most stupid action in the world would be to attempt to sell an illegal machine gun or sawed off shotgun/rifle.  It just would not be worth it.  Reportedly BATF actively looks for people doing this, and get lots of convictions.  Your legal fees would be horrendous, and chances of escaping jail are not good.  People (other than BATF agents) wanting to buy illegal guns are probably nasty violent criminals anyway.  You must be crazy to even think of doing business with them.

c.  The next most stupid action in the world would be to keep an illegal machine gun and hope no one finds out about it.  The plumber, baby sitter, ex-spouse, kid's friends, etc. might notice your contraband and tell someone else about it.  Eventually your friendly BATF agents would contact you.  The Branch Davidians at Waco and Randy Weaver's family at Ruby Ridge ended up dead as a result of reports of illegal firearms possession and subsequent BATF attacks.

d. Check with a military museum.  You might be able to donate it to the museum and preserve some important history.

e. The part of a machine gun that is taxed is the receiver.  Depending on the gun, the rest of the parts (stock, trigger group, barrel, bolt, gas piston assembly) may be of value to someone with legal owned similar weapon.  Strip them off, and turn in the receiver.
 


IF IT IS REGISTERED:
Properly registered machine guns are very desirable collector items and values usually start at several thousand dollars.  All sales of registered machine guns require prior approval by BATF and payment of a $200 transfer tax.  There are a number of dealers who specialize in machine guns and they can help with transfer paperwork, and find a buyer for you.  They will charge a fee for their services, but it is worth it to avoid making any mistakes in this complicated area.  The same dealers also know how to sell legally registered shots barreled gun with the proper paperwork.  These apparently have a smaller transfer tax, but values are a lot less than a machine gun.

For a detailed explanation of machine gun regulations and National FIrearms Act (NFA) issues, please click here to see the excellent and thoroughly researched paper by James O. Bardwell.

We hope this information is helpful.  This is intended as a very basic general introduction, based on our limited understanding of the subject.  The information above is not a substitute for competent legal advice or official interpretations by government authorities who enforce the applicable laws.

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Did I Get A Good Deal For An Item That I Purchased?
Fair market value is what a willing buyer will pay a willing seller with neither being under pressure to buy or sell. Value depends on the exact model,  markings, variation, condition, and how badly the buyer wants that particular item.

If you want to know if you are getting a good deal, we suggest you invest in one of the numerous gun price guides on the market BEFORE making your purchase or, shop around and see what other people are selling comparable items for. You might try checking our catalogs for similar items we think our prices are pretty fair, so it you pay more, you may have been snookered. If you get it for less you got a good deal.

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