The hornet's nest I love to poke!

Greg M

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Okay, so a heated debate took place at the shop today about rebluing guns, with a non-customer mind you. Here's the 2 sided argument.

"Rebluing a gun destroys the value."
"No it doesn't. What makes you think that?"
"Because it's not the original finish"
"It's exactly the same as the original finish"
"But it's not the original finish".
"Okay, so if I have a 1953 Corvette that has rusted out fenders and faded paint, I sand it down to bare metal, prime it and paint it the exact same color and type of paint that GM used in 1953, did I destroy the value, or did I 'restore' the car?"
"Well, that's different"
"How?"
"Because the car was neglected"
"So was this gun"
"But it's not original if you reblue it"
"Neither is the Corvette"
"It's not the same"
"So, if I buy a run down 4000 square foot plantation house, gut it and rebuild it, did I hurt the value, or help it?"
"well, you helped it, but that's different"

This was when I threw my hands in the air and returned to my work. Hopefully, you laughed. Now, all of you hard cores can tell me how I'm destroying history's artifacts.
 

KPH

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The trouble is most people thinks it does, so there for it does. Got a friend who had one reblued one day decided he didn't want it it any longer and it was a real good blue job. Nobody wanted it it because it had been reblued.
 

Wildcat

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It depends on the gun. If it's a regular run of the mill gun that someone takes hunting and shooting all the time then by all means go for it.

But if it's a history artifact then leave it alone. On certain guns you CAN lower the value by re-bluing or ever re-finishing the stock.

There is a difference between old houses and old guns. If protected and taken care of old guns will last forever. A house on the other hand will rotten and decay in just a few years.
 

WestTn Huntin man

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A well kept original will always have more value on the open market.If something has not been well maintained Refurbishing may be the best way to preserve the item.Personally I hate rust.I know it is eating away and slowly destroying the metal.If it's rusting and it's mine I'm going to do something about it.
 

gtk

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Greg M said:
"Okay, so if I have a 1953 Corvette that has rusted out fenders and faded paint, I sand it down to bare metal, prime it and paint it the exact same color and type of paint that GM used in 1953, did I destroy the value, or did I 'restore' the car?"
you increased the value of the car, as it sits in its "current condition". Butttttt. if that same car was all original AND in good shape, it would be worth a lot more that it would be as restored.

i understand reblueing a gun that is in poor condition, but if I had a collecter, I wouldn't reblue unless it was in terrible shape.
 

Sako

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if something is reblued I will always pass unless I buy it as a beater...

Keep this in mind... if it is a collector gun, Value is gone as it is not original... if t is a newer gun, I would not want it anyway since if it had to be relued someone did not take care of it... rebluing can cover up a significant amount of stuff and this often make people very weary.
 

BigD_625

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IMO, the value depends on the buyer, not the gun. It's worth what you can get for it, or what it's worth to you as the owner (sentimental value and all). There's a trend in cars now that peopled would rather have a clear coated original paint job on a collector car than a restored original color paint job. I can't see why, but that's what people are buying. Collectors would probably rather have the original condition, where others might want the restored look.
 

Navy Mustang

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Yuma, TN
My two cents...

If your intent is having a gun re-blued to restore its collector value you are going to lose on that.

Here is a classic example of what I would not re-blue.

Nickel Steel Model 12 Winchester. Most if not all of them will not have much blueing retained. Therefore it would be a mistake reblueing this gun. There is a reason the blueing did not stay on to begin with.

The problem today with reblueing is that hardly anyone can do this correctly anymore. The finish comes out looking like black paint. I would want to see an example of someone's work before I let them have a go at a reblueing job.
 

Greg M

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So, since it didn't "stay on", ( I guess the rust, which is what bluing is, fell off), it's better to look like junk. Well, not trying to be a smart a__, but since you brought it up, I recently did 2 Model 12s with nickel, and they came out beautifully. The first is a 1922 20 gauge and the second is a 1934 12 gauge.

891932_435484573205734_854093746_o_zpsa05d8d54.jpg


792150_414736198613905_754286500_o_zps358260b5.jpg

both were done for sentimental reasons, not for resale.

I'm just having a really hard time wrapping my head around the argument that guns are the only thing known to man that lose their value when they are restored. Even if you are talking Colt SAA first gens, they were carbona blued and case hardened frames and receivers. Why then, would polishing them and following their processes for finishing make it less valuable than a rusted out piece of crap. I agree that it would never compare to an original that was in mint condition, but realistically, how many 125 year old guns are mint, or even graded "very good" on the NRA grading scale. Seems unrealistic.
 

Navy Mustang

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Looks like good work, hard to find these days. I like the finish on the rifle. I feel most of us that are in the collector market have been burned over the years with someone passing off a gun as original. When in fact the gun had been restored at some point. Not a big deal for me, but collectors are a picky bunch and if your intent is resale someday that rebluing job may hurt you when selling some of these older guns. I personally like some guns to be restored to their original glory, but each gun has its own merits. I've seen the value destroyed on a collectable piece just to make it look like it did when it was new. My general guidance has been restore the shooter grades and leave the collector pieces alone.
 

jaybird62

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Lewisburg, TN
Ditto on refinishing shooter-grade guns and leaving collector-grade guns alone. If we're talking a collectible gun, a proper reblue job will entail not only taking off the remaining blue, but also removing some base metal down to where none of the old rust pitted the metal. That's why a 10% grade low-number Colt SAA is worth five times what a refinished gun is worth.
 

Greg M

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Riverview, FL/ Bluff City, TN
Jaybird, you are absolutely correct in part of your statement. A PROPER reblue job entails filing, sanding and polishing down to bare metal. A true professional would never dream of rebluing a gun that was pitted.
The part where you are wrong, however, is on the Colt example. I have a 1903 Colt SAA in 32 WCF that was rusted and pitted, found by it's former owner in a drawer of a tool box. I purchased it at $350. It was worth about $1200, real dollars. Having the gun carbona blued and the frame, hammer and loading gate color case hardened, along with re-roll stamping the barrel and Colt info (patent, etc) will put this gun's value at around $4000, real dollars. I'll post pics when it's finished. It will be IDENTICAL to how it rolled out of Hartford in 1903.
 

Boone 58

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Food Plot
Never have understood why re bluing destroys a guns value or collectability...............makes no sense......but if the buyer were that dude i guess you would have a hard sell. I do understand someone buying a parker and wanting it to look 100 years old, not off the shelf new if history is what they like. to each his own. :cool:
 
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