Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Collecting Guns

A New Feature--Sharing Our Collection

Bill and I are collectors. Lots of people collect things like stamps, coins, Beanie Babies (or are those too passe to list). We collect guns, a hobby that makes us somehow suspect in some peoples' eyes. Look at eBay. They sell almost everything, but no guns--not even collectible antique firearms. This is just part of the world the gun banners have made for us.

Oh well, it is the world we live in although we at the Ten Ring are doing everything we can to change it.

Bill and I enjoy collecting guns and everything that goes with it: buying, shooting, researching, cleaning, and seeing how the firearms work. We don't have the largest collection in the world and we don't have the best guns in our collection. We can't afford association guns (those that are made valuable by being connected with a famous person or event). There are certain firearms that are completely out of our price range such as a Borchardt, the Luger's immediate ancestor (some sell for as much as a new car). Some antiques are also out of our league.

We also do not collect machine guns. The Hughes Amendment to the 1986 Firearms Owners Protection Act banned civilian sales of all fully automatic guns made after 1986. Subsequently, prices for fully automatic and transferable guns (meaning registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) skyrocketed. If you have the money, these weapons are a great investment unless Bill and I can get the Hughes Amendment repealed (fat chance of that).

But, we collect what we can. We have several quality criteria. Serial numbers must match when applicable, the gun must have its original finish (no reblueing, etc.). The gun must have no missing parts. Finally, we insist on shooting the guns.

Many collectors won't shoot their guns. And, we confess if we stumbled on an expensive firearm that would decrease in value if shot, it would remain in the gun safe. With that one caveat, we shoot all of our guns. We just think that guns were made to be shot and we guess you could say we are shooters first and collectors second.

Denise has a Curio and Relics license from the US Government which allows her to receive and ship firearms that are over fifty years old and/or listed in an ATF publication. She also once worked in a museum as an objects conservator. Her specialty was guns and has cleaned and preserved more guns that she can count. We never "restore" our guns, but they receive much tender loving care.

We will be sharing parts of our collection with you every now and again. Each post will include what it is like to shoot the gun, a range report if you will. These posts will be done occasionally and they will include some historical and technical information and pictures (we are not professional photographers, though). We hope you enjoy these posts. We posted one that was not planned as part of this series, but it will give you the idea. We will post another one sometime later today--or early tomorrow.

We have a little bit of everything. For you black rifle aficionados, we have those. For the handgun enthusiast, we have those. For the shotgunner, we have those as well.

If you are with a gun-banning group and making a list of everything we own, you won't see all of them here so list away. If you are a burglar making a shopping list, our guns are securely locked away in the World Headquarters of the Ten Ring, deep within an abandoned mine, surrounded by razor wire, machine gun nests, and we almost have the moat completed.


Scott M. Head said...

Excellent, can't wait! I do this from time to time on my own blog, am actually in the midst of writing a small SKS feature.

This should be fun!

Anonymous said...

But remember, you live in New Hampshire and New Hampshire law does not even mention Machine Guns. Just satisify Federal Law and you're good to go.

Seth from Massachusetts

Denise was Here said...

Hi Seth,
You are right on New Hampshire law. Federal law states the local law enforcement official still must sign off on a machine gun tax application. We wouldn't mind acquiring a fully automatic weapon if for no other reason than the investment potential. However, the bank account vetoes the purchase. Around $3,000.00 for a Mac 10, yikes.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there something about doing legal conversions on semi-automatic rifles? I thought (and please do not rely on MY memory!) that one could get some sort of exemption or absolution from the ATF and convert AR-15s, M1s, etc.?

If this is the case, a WWII issue M1 carbine could be converted to an M2 machine gun with little trouble. And it would cost well under $1,000...

Jay G

Denise was Here said...

Hi Jay G,
I am not a lawyer so take the following with that in mind. You can buy a conversion kit for an M1 Carbine and make it full auto. Similarly you can buy parts kits for certain AR-15s that will make them full auto.

However, you are required to register those parts with the same paperwork, tax stamp, cost, and approvals as you would a purpose-built macine gun. In effect the auto sear or "lighting link" is a machine gun and your gun is simply its container.

This is fine for the shooter (although I would be a bit non-plussed to pay a $200.00 tax on a $10.00 part). For the collector though, converting an M1 Carbine is not the same as owning an M2 Carbine. The serial numbers and other markings on each are different as are certain other features.

If one wants to go through the process to be able to shoot full-auto, then legal parts kits are the way to go. Jay G. is right that you can do this on the cheap.

Denise was Here said...

Addendum to the Above Comment:
One thing I did not mention, auto sears and other parts are registered and I believe have to be made before 1986. This drives the price up and if you find a registered, completely legal part you will be looking at a fairly large expense. I don't know how large since I have never bought one or really searched for them.

I do know you have to be careful with parts since having an unregistered auto sear in your posession can cost you $250,000 and 10 years in prison. Remember we are talking out a small piece of machined metal.

Anonymous said...

Hello all: I have several guns, one is a 30-30 Winchester made for the machinist union (IAM)fly the union, you had to be a union member, have a union credit card and purchase it 4 months in advance, you had a choice of 30-30 or 30-06. Only 2,000 total were made. This was made before Winchester sold the company. It was made to much closer tolerances than your normal 30-30 and is engraved with the Space Shuttle and several other things the union makes, it is a beautiful rifle. I had not originally planned to use it, but then realized that it was made to be used and enjoyed, I will never sell it, it belonged to my father and will go to my son when I pass, I will keep all the paperwork, original box, IAM ad etc. with it. But i agree with the above posts, shoot the gun, handle it with the care it deserves, such as prompt cleaning and safety, both for the gun and our fellow shooters. So all, HAPPY SHOOTING! And keep supporting our entitlements, if we do not stand united we may lose those hard fought and valuable entitlements. (You will notice I said entitlement and not rights, we are ENTITLED to own our guns). I hope to see many of you at the range and please do not forget to support the protection of our entitlement to responsibly own and enjoy our guns. I am lucky to live in Virginia, it is an open carry state and we have a great amount of support to keep it that way. But even so, we must actively defend our entitlement to own and enjoy our guns. Regards, Allen