Could you mention some 'investment grade' firearms for your Survival Blog readers? In other words, besides investing in silver, what firearms (handguns, carbines, etc) would be potential investments for long range 10-20 years? Thanks! - Chad
JWR Replies: The biggest price gains will probably be in pre-1899 cartridge guns, as mentioned in my Pre-1899 FAQ. In my opinion, the real "comers" in today's market are (in no particular order):
Smith and Wesson top break revolvers. I anticipate that S&Ws will nearly "catch up" to Colt prices in the next 20 years. The .38 caliber S&W top breaks are often available for less than $300 each, and .44s for less than $800. These are available from a number of antique gun dealers including The Pre-1899 Specialist, and Jim Supica (at The Armchair Gun Show).
Whitney lever action rifles. Long ignored by collectors, the Whitney rifles should appreciate tremendously in the next decade.
FN-49 rifles, especially the Argentine .308 model with detachable 20 round magazine
Colt factory 1980s and 1990s vintage black powder revolvers, but only if they are in minty condition and in original factory black or gray boxes.
Mauser military bolt action rifles that were imported in only small numbers. These include M1894 Swedish Mauser carbines, Persian M1898 Mausers, and Brazilian Model 1894 short rifles.
Burgess pump action shotguns. These are operated by a unique sliding iron pistol grip pump lever. The first model Burgess pump action shotguns are all pre-1899 production, since the second model was introduced in 1897, and production of the first model ended later that same year. Burgess was purchased by Winchester in 1899. Serial numbers for all Burgess shotguns begin at #1000. Any Burgess that has no patent date marks later than 1896 can safely be presumed to be pre-1899 manufacture.
Unaltered U.S. Springfield .30-40 Krag rifles and carbines, especially
if pre-1899. (Serial number below 152,670)
FAL and L1A1 rifles. Since the parts kits for these rifles can no longer be imported into the U.S., the price of even post-ban clones is likely to double in the next ten years.
M1895, M1896, M1897 Orange Free State contract Mauser bolt action rifles. (Marked "O.V.S.") Some also have Chilean crests. These are original Boer war contract guns and quite sought after by collectors! All are pre-1899. You can sometimes find these on gun show table in the hands of ignorant owners who don't know the significance of the OVS markings.
Mauser and Mosin Nagant rifles that are stamped "SA" (Suomi Army) inside an oval. Many of these were used in Finland's "Winter War." You can sometimes find these on gun show table in the hands of ignorant owners who don't know the significance of the SA markings.
Early (pre-1899) Marlin lever action rifles. The only models that are certain to be legally antique are the models for which ended production before 1899: the Model 1881, 1888, Model 1889, and 1891.
Pre-1899 Winchester rifles and shotguns of all descriptions if 80%+ original finish--especially if the seller doesn't realize that what he is selling you is pre-1899, or the significance thereof.
Pre-1964 Winchester Model 70s and lever actions if 95%+ original finish.
Galil .223 and .308 semi-auto rifles in military configuration.(Not Hadars.)
Early Detonics Pistols.
If your goal is appreciation, avoid the following varieties, whose values have recently peaked: Johnson semi-auto rifles, Merwin-Hulbert revolvers, Colt single action revolvers (some double action models are still affordable), high grade European double rifles and shotguns, SIG rifles, Uzi semi-autos, HK-91s/93s/94s, and Steyr AUG rifles. Rumor has it that the latter may be produced soon in the U.S. which would cause a crash in the price of pre-ban AUGs.Wait for the depth of the next recession to buy any of the aforementioned guns--when unemployed owners are dumping them in desperation.