I discussed some general
pointers in Part 1 that I
hope helped the beginning Ruger collector.
In this segment I will try to give you some additional
pointers about the guns themselves.
- I really believe that you are better in the long run to spend
more money up front to obtain top condition guns for your
collection than the less expensive junker stuff.
In future trading or selling this will pay off immensely.
Of course, that is not to say that in order to fill a
particular rare open slot in an almost complete collection that
I would not buy a lesser condition very hard to find gun and
then try to upgrade.
2. Originality - I am a purist when it comes to the guns for
my collection. Factory
original is a must - I have found that non-original guns
normally do not enhance your collection. This is where your
study and reading really pays off.
You will know what is original and what is not.
3. Guns, Guns, Guns - Nothing helps you determine the
originality and spot rare variations like looking at and
handling actual guns. The more the better. The
more you examine the more familiar you become with what a
“right” gun is and what it should look like.
3. Examination - Take your time when examining a gun that
will go into your collection.
Look at it very closely, study every feature.
Sometimes this is one of the hardest things to do -
excitement over finding that rare gun takes over and blinds you
to true condition and problems you should have noticed before
you get it home. Everyone
will experience this no matter how hard you try.
Do not dismay; you are paying for your education.
Learn from these mistakes.
4. Checklist - One way that I try to ensure I give the gun a
thorough examination before purchase is to have my mental check
list ready. Examples are:
- Has the gun been refinished?
Look for signs of blue in previous rust pits, sharp edges
buffed away, lettering not sharp, waves from excess buffing,
etc. Look at the
color of the bluing. Scratches,
scuffs, dings - notice them !
- Screw heads buggered - has the gun been messed with?
- Are the grips right? Are the medallions right for the
period of the gun, grip finish correct?
- Is the Barrel length correct? Is the barrel address
correct for the period of manufacture of the gun, front sight
correct, rear sight correct? Is the ejector rod button correct,
ejector rod housing aluminum or steel - which is correct?
- Safety Kit installed in old model guns?
If so, are the original parts with the gun? Old model
guns without the original parts lose a considerable part of
their collector appeal and value.
5. Boxes - The original box and paper work add desirability
and value to any gun, especially a collectible gun.
Always ask if the box is with the gun.
Sometimes the box may be “under the table” or not
visible with the gun. Unless
you ask it may not be furnished with the gun.
Older Ruger boxes often bring a good price, some of the
rare ones a hefty price, so it is added gravy for the seller if
you overlook the box; he will sell it to another collector.
6. Box Configuration - Again, this is where your study and
observation will pay off. Is
the box right for the gun?
Is the instruction manual included and is it correct?
Warranty card right?
Ruger boxes and shipping cartons if applicable are
numbered to the original gun.
Lead pencils and grease pencils were used to number the
older boxes on the ends and sides of the boxes before
computerized end labels on the later “new models.”
7. Buyer Beware - On the rare and especially more expensive
guns always inquire about the existence of a validating
“factory letter.” There are unscrupulous dealers and individuals who will tell
you anything to make a sale.
Again, this is where your study and education can really
pay off, you can spot what is not right about a particular gun.
Be wary but not so cautious that you never take that
chance to get a rare gun. Sometimes
you have to listen to your gut and just jump in or you will miss
a good gun.
8. Unscrupulous Dealers and Individuals - Again, where there
is money to be made there are cheats and crooks--just a way of
life! Look for
dealers and individuals with good reputations.
Keep your ears open regarding others who got “burned or
ripped off.” There
are many good deals to be found but as my wise old grandma used
to say, “Sonny
boy, if it’s looks too good to be true it usually ain’t
Now get out there and get your feet wet.
You may be burned a time or two, but it’s all part of
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