Buying a Best Gun
Buying a best gun
The prices of Best Guns can be intimidating, however if you consider them has a long-term investment, a quality shotgun will always keep its value. You could consider a Best Gun to be “functional art”. If it is well-maintained, just like a fine Swiss watch, a Best Gun may suffer a little “curb drop” once it has been used, but after a few years, it will begin to regain its value and eventually its value will increase.
There are many Fine Gun Aficionados who consider that guns built in earlier periods to be superior in quality to today's modern offerings; these “collectors” prefer to purchase preowned guns in excellent condition. The market for these special guns is always strong and they are, again, solid investments.
Look for Rarity
Famous brand names are always a solid investment. Manufacturers like James Purdey and Son, Holland & Holland, Boss & Co, Fabri and others are the top tier however, there are vintage makers whose guns are of similar, if not superior, quality.
Obviously too, a gun once owned by a King or any famous individual would command a premium over the exact same model owned by the local landowner.
Bear in mind that a gun’s condition, regardless of name on the action, is the final decider as to the gun’s ultimate value.
You can restock or repair a broken stock. You can replace worn parts, and even crisp the engraving and re-harden the action. But if the barrels are worn out, through poor maintenance causing pitting (rust) or dings and dents, this would require that the barrels to be "lapped" (polished internally) and the dents raised. Often the outside of the barrels needs to be polished or even re-blacked. This combination of work often creates thin walls causing the gun to be out of proof and unsafe, which drastically affects the over-all value of the gun.
A new pair of barrels by the original maker could cost in the region of 15,000 Pounds! The expense is not just in making the barrels, but in fitting and jointing them to the action then timing the ejector work before polishing, striking up and blacking.
So when it comes to buying a Pre-Owned Best Gun,
it is buyer beware!! Specialist tools are required to measure a gun’s barrels to determine the nominal boring and wall thickness and a trained eye to view the barrels for rivels, dents and pitting. The barrels need to be "rung" to check that the ribs are not
loose and to see if there are any skeletons between
the ribs. The joint of the barrels to the action needs
to be checked to ensure that the barrels are not “off the face”.
The wood work, stock and forend, needs to be examined for splits, cracks and repairs; the action must be examined for the fit and finish of the locks and the timing of the screws and pins.
If the gun passes all these tests or the faults are minor, then a value can be placed upon it and once purchased, if the gun is properly maintained, it will be a sound investment for years to come.