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Once more I have read a couple of statements on this forum regarding collectors, a breed of gunnies I'm trying to understand.

First of all a statement recently made by a correspondent to the effect "I'm opposed to restorations." And another statement that "all my guns are in shooting condition, but I don't shoot mine."

I can't comprehend anyone objecting to a beautifully restored Colt Single Action Army, with new case hardening colors and deep blue. Replacing all burred screw heads, and new, maybe stag, grips. Even if not restored to like new condition, at least make it presentable in appearance.

And not shooting a prized six shooter? These things were made to shoot. My home is no museum, and nobody is going to file through my house to look at a Colt under glass.

Historical value, you say? What history? Only what you can imagine, and my imagination works just as well for a handsome restoration as a worn paper weight.

Not trying to change anybody's mind, you understand. Just trying to uderstand a mindset.

Bob Wright
 

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Personally, I love to see before and after restorations on guns that are all beat up, rusted or no finish left. I dont understand why anyone would do it to a 85% or better gun. But thats just me.
 

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To each his own, depends on the gun. As an example I wouldn't have a 1st gen SSA restored, not only detracting from a monetary standpoint, but the condition of the gun IS the history of the piece. As far as shooting a collectable, if it doesn't hurt the value, you are likely to see me on the range with it.
 

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Bob, I agree...I have a friend who left his pristine Pre-War Playboy Bunny untouched all these years...When asked if he has any stories to tell, he simply gets the deer in the head light look...

I hope my girls enjoy the history I have left behind...WITHOUT legal entanglement...LOL...:rolleyes:
 

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Our beloved RHMC or Robert and maybe Bob to his close friends has done some amazing restoration work. The pallette he used were worn out, often irrepairable, pitted, rusted and horrid specimens of their original glory. These were candidates for his projects and he did outstanding work on them. They are his to do as he chose and his heirs will marvel over them just as we have when he shares them.

I've seen some magnificent refinished firearms that were professionally refinished from rust buckets. The internals cleaned and sometimes lightly polished to retain function and retard further damage. The owners don't sell them but shoot them and enjoy them for what they are, firearms.

I've seen badly refinished firearms done without regard to detail and horribly buffed to obliterate most markings. Most of these you'll see for sale on one of the public auction sites for 2 or 3 times their value. I don't know if they sell or who the buyers would be but they are out there.

I've seen decent refinished firearms that were done in such a manner as to preserve as much integrity of the metal as possible, lightly buffed, mechanically sound and sold for 50-70% under what an original finish would fetch. These usually end up in the hands of folks without deep pockets but desire the brand name and a good functioning gun.

I've seen safes full of firearms, NIB, where the owner hasn't seen a certain model in years but it's in there somewhere. His widow is asking someone to sell them so she can make ends meet.

I see guys that love a certain firearm and buy them for their intended purpose. They shoot them, clean them and lovingly put them back in their respective bin, niche, box or gun rug. They would probably be able to sell every one for more than they bought them for in a few years but they've enjoyed every one of them at the range, on the hunt or carried concealed and never regretted a moment with them.

So, where do most Colt owners fit? Probably the buy to use, care for and pass on group and a well done refinished Colt doesn't make them cringe like they touched poison ivy. The firearm is a tool to most and an investment to a few. That's what makes us all different and the world an interesting place. My opinion and certainly not to be misconstrued as anything but.
 

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It is like a classic muscle car. Does one restore it, take it shows on a trailer and then sit in a lawn chair and take compliments? Or does one drive it to the local 60s hang out and take challenges from your lawn chair? Purely a matter of perspective on the purpose of having such a car. The owner gets to decide. Me, I ran my 69 Road Runner and beat up a lot of GTOs. THAT was fun!
 

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I'm of the 'make 'em run and run 'em like there's no tomorrow' ethic. That's not to say that I don't own a decently well restored relic, but more to say that I don't have any real museum pieces. Suits me fine. The only stipulation is that they must go 'bang' on the first try.
The real high end hyper-fine and astronomically expensive ones are nice, for sure. Just not for me. I certainly hope there will always be guys dealing in such things forever.
 

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While not a Colt, I've only had one firearm refinished. It was a 1885 Win. that a terminal ill friend gave me. It already had a bad refinish and a butchered barrel. I had John Gallagher replace the barrel with original script address, polish, rust blue the metal, and refinish the wood. Wanting my friend to see it before he pasted, the receiver was rust blued instead of a trip to Turnbull to be color case hardened. The refinishing turned it into a very presentable rifle. And what a shooter it is. My friend got to shoot it before he died.

Other than that, I normally have no interest in refinished firearms.
 

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I have all kinds. NIB's that will stay that way, to pure junk and everything in between. Original finish, re-finish, no finish and a few that are in pieces. Some I shoot, some I don't and some will never see a cartridge. I'm not picky, if I like it and can afford it, I'll buy it. Believe me, I've bought guns that most of you would be embarrassed to be in the same zip-code with. ;)
 

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NIB guns are nice, but like a fine wine they are not born to be worshipped.

I had dinner one night sponsored by TWGGA - The Texas Wine and Grape Growers Assn - whom I incorporated and served on its Board a while back. By chance one diner at my table was the former Speaker of the Texas House of Representative - The Honorable Gibson D. "Gib" Lewis. You couldn't have asked for a more memorable, entertaining Texas legend for a table mate. As we got plastered on some several bottles of fine Texas wines, Gib regaled us with some tales of his many years of political life. I most remember his tale of meeting Fidel Castro in Cuba. Some Texan had a son in Cuban prison and asked Gib to seek his release, Gib jumped a plane to Cuba and got a meeting with Castro - and the release of the boy. Gib presented Castro with a nice bottle of Texas wine, to which Castro thanked him and said it would be placed on a shelf of honor. To which Gib said something like "Hell no, Mr. President. We're gonna drink it!" And they did.

Enjoy your fine firearms however you please. But they were made for one purpose and one purpose alone - to shoot. Keep in mind that when you pass on and pass that beloved Colt to your heirs, that one of them is likely to not treasure that NIB Colt and play with it only to put it up unoiled and doomed to rust.
 

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I don't agree with the hard line attitude of "never ever" do a restoration, but I still fall into line, like a well trained dog, to keep from ruining the collector value of some of my own guns, because that's the way most potential buyers are programmed to think. I do wish gun collectors were more like the classic car folks and not turn up their noses at restored firearms. That said, I do think there is a big difference between a "refinished" gun and a "restored" gun. At one end of the spectrum is the over polished bubba gun abomination, and at the other end are guns carefully restored by someone like Turnbull or Chicoine that can create a work of art from a rust bucket. There are some guns I would restore and some I would not. Something like a Colt SAA with a proven history, such as being at Custer's last stand, or belonging to Wild Bill Hickock, I would not touch, but a beat up run of the mill gun that laid in John Doe's sock drawer and rusted for 50 years, should not be looked down upon if carefully restored to original.
I shiver when I see some of the old classic cars, that could have easily been restored to original, turned into "street rods" and feel the same way about modifying old guns, unless they were too far gone to go any other route. Each gun should be evaluated by its owner to determine whether it falls into the hard line "do not touch" category or deserves a restoration to fit his needs and wants. Especially with later guns. It seems silly to me to say a run of the mill six inch blue 70-80% Python is reduced to half value because it was restored to new condition, when there are thousands of them available. I would apply that logic to a rare Colt Border Patrol 38 spl., but not to a model that's plentiful and available at any gun show or gun shop. To me, the difference would be in where it would end up in the bubba "refinish" to carefully "restored' spectrum.
 

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Every firearm in my safe is made to be shot. Some like my numbers matching 1916 DWM Luger will be shot on special occasions only such as the day I retire or first grandchild is born. Others will be shot at my whim but everything I own is to be shot.

I tend to stay away from anything that needs work so the idea of a restoration hasn't crossed my mind.
 

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Is not everyone entitled to their own interests of what they like and how they collect? We should all be here for the same common interest whether we are a shooter or collector, or both. I just can't see trying to analyze someone else's interests because they aren't your interests. I remember the Beanie Baby craze, and while I thought the people buying them were crazy I never expressed my opinion to them as such, as they probably thought I was crazy for owning a gun.

I know shooters that don't collect, and collectors that don't shoot. I happen to like both, but because I shoot doesn't mean that everything I have has to be shot. We each have our own interests, and there should be room for everyone.
 

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I have to thank MtnSpur for alerting me with his kind comments in #6 above. I'm what might be called a 'conservative' restorer & refinisher. Not much of a refinisher at all considering a piece has to be in a bad way, distressed by bubba or ravages of time & neglect. If it's a still functional old survivor I respect what others are calling its history and all it will get is cleaned, oil & adjusting if needed.

Typical cases ----

S&W Triple Lock, before/after, gunshow $135 1982 --


1917/1909 from misc. parts to finished --

My latest & maybe my last, I'm 90 in couple weeks.
 

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I have to thank MtnSpur for alerting me with his kind comments in #6 above. I'm what might be called a 'conservative' restorer & refinisher. Not much of a refinisher at all considering a piece has to be in a bad way, distressed by bubba or ravages of time & neglect. If it's a still functional old survivor I respect what others are calling its history and all it will get is cleaned, oil & adjusting if needed.....................My latest & maybe my last, I'm 90 in couple weeks.
Excellent examples....Taking sad looking old war horses that most collectors would ignore, and turning them into something anyone would be happy to shoot, show off, or just fondle on a cold winter night.:) Here's hoping they're not the last and you rescue at least enough to fill another vault....By the way, if those dish medallion N frame grips from the triple lock are just laying around in your way, stick them in a mailer and send them my way so you will have more bench space to work on your next project.....:D
 

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i look at them just like restoring a classic car, to me it makes no difference, a beautifully restored gun or a 70 roadrunner, and yes i had the roadrunner. As long as the work is top notch, I have even seen some restoration on older women that looked good:rolleyes:
 
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