A question I am frequently asked is should I have my grandfathers old shotgun  restored? Guess what, there are no pat answers on restoration of old guns. Several basic answers are:

Do not throw good money after bad. Unless the gun has sentimental value, find out what it will cost to restore the gun, then can you recover your original investment and restoration costs.

  • Side-by-Side shotguns are unique and qualified gunsmiths that specialize in SXS shotguns should only do the restoration. I have seen to many quality shotguns ruined by good gunsmiths that do not have the tools required for SXS restoration. One example was a matched set of English best quality SXS that one barrel wall was filed to thin rendering the gun unsafe to shoot.

Now to the more complex question should a gun be restored? Most of the information is my opinion and after buying and selling numerous SXS, I do not claim to be an expert but have seen the impact of restoring and not restoring guns.

The grade of the gun is a major issue in this debate as the higher grade or rarer gun the rule is different than the field grade gun. The field gun often shows the many hours of use in the field. Most of these field grade restored guns will have some added value and the shooters may want a nicer looking gun. The collector is not interested in buying a lower grade used gun that needs to be restored, or the same gun that is restored, unless they can get a real bargain. The collectors have many guns to pick from and they are really looking for the “as new” and the higher grades and smaller bores. For the collector/buyer all original is important and they will usually deduct 50% for an expensive restored gun of any grade or bore and this may be the same amount they would pay for the gun not restored.

With the high grade or rarer shotgun the rules are changed. In theUnited States, the original condition is far more important than in England or Germany. The owners in those countries often had the barrels and wood redone every four or five years to protect the metal and wood. In the U S it is “horrors how could they restore this SXS and ruin the value”, then if it is not redone the statement is “well do to the condition I can only give you 50% of the value”. This takes you back to my first statement do not throw good money after bad.

In order to put this in perspective I recently purchased from different parties two GHE Parker 16 gauges. The one Parker was 98% “as new” and all original, the second was 98% and completely restored. The restored parker brought about 65% of the original Parker. If I found a nice DHE 16 gauge that was well used and had it restored, will I be able to get more than 65% of the “as new” gun?  For this example I will use $10,000 for the original and $6500 for the restored. The cost to reblue the barrels, refinish the wood and redo the case coloring could easily be in excess of $1,000.00. If the wood needs to be replaced the cost would more than double. From this example you can see how easy it would be to have more into the gun than you can recover in the near term.

I have not had problems selling reasonably priced nicely restored guns! Is the serious collector buying these guns? NO! However, if you are selling to the discriminating hunter that wants a fine piece of American history the restored gun does not bother him as long as the price is right.

If you are restoring your grandfather’s gun who was a very special and this gun was passed down from him to your father, now to you and you want to give the gun to your child and the gun really need to be restored, I would not hesitate to have it redone. The value in this gun is not dollars but sentimental value.

I hope this article helps but as I said in the beginning “there are no pat answers” to this question as each gun has to be valued on its own merits.  For more information please call me. I do not charge for this service as this is MY HOBBY. My goal is to help people ascertain the value. I tell clients I was helped by many collectors and this is how I try to repay them for the time they spent with helping me learn about SXS.

By in Parker Shotgun Information, Side bySide Shotguns for Sale, Vintage

Leave a Reply