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Gun Values: Learn How Much Your Guns Are Worth

Resources and tips for finding firearm values using trusted references or getting free online gun values

By Corey Graff, Online Editor

Sample Excerpt from Modern Gun Values Book

No matter how you look at it, guns are a serious purchase. They’re not something you can buy at the five-and-dime store, so the first step in making a purchasing decision is figuring out gun values. The same is true if you’re selling a firearm. The key is research, and whether you’re a serious gun collector or occasional gun buyer there are many resources available to learn gun values.

 

Save 10% Off Select Gun Value Products!
Use Promo Code: SAVELP

Final discounts will be displayed within the cart for qualifying items. Discount not valid on pre-orders, value packs,
subscriptions, and 3rd party products. 1 use per customer. Other exclusions apply.

 

What is a Gun Worth? Factors Influencing Gun Values

You should be aware of a firearm Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) as a starting point but the ultimate factors affecting military gun prices versus antique gun values, for instance, are as varied as the types of guns that are out there on the market.

Firearm prices fluctuate based on demand, availability and condition. Political winds of change, such as the proposed “Assault Weapons” ban, results in astronomical spikes in demand spurred by panic-buying, which creates shortages of AR-15 rifles and semi-auto handguns (as well as ammunition for these guns). Vintage guns or collectible firearms are particularly difficult to value. While their supply is more or less fixed, less obvious trends and niche interests in gun collecting can influence what people are willing to pay.

“Believe it or not, there was a day when Webley commercial revolvers could be had for well under $100, even adjusted for inflation,” writes gun collecting expert Phillip Peterson in the Gun Digest Book of Modern Gun Values, 16th Edition. “Then one day Webleys caught on for some reason and values doubled and tripled, seemingly overnight.”

Gun condition is key to gun values. For collectible guns — let’s define them as firearms purchased for rarity or as long-term investments — the difference in price between an “excellent” grade firearm and one in “very good” condition can be substantial. Learn all you can about a gun’s history and specific idiosyncrasies so you know what parts tend to show wear or break. If you’re looking for a used gun, one you intend to shoot often, you might not care about blemishes as much as gun barrel condition and throat/chamber wear. These clues, which are unique to each type of gun, can tell you how much “life” it has left.

Again, a good gun value book will provide these insights so you’ll know what to look for.

 

Gun Values Online or Gun Value Book?

Serious gun buyers browse online auction sites like gunbroker.com or gunsinternational.com. And they also use gun value books. Both are essential parts of the gun buyer’s strategy.

Online gun prices give you the advantage of being able to quickly narrow down a gun’s range of new and used prices by model using the search function. You can type in “Spring Model 1903,” for example, and browse pages and pages of Springfields for sale. There is a downside. While online listings with abundant photos help, you still have to take the seller’s word for the condition of the gun. And they may or may not be using an industry standard condition.

2013 Standard Catalog of Firearms, 23rd Edition, you can march into the process armed with the expert’s recommendation on gun values. That’ll give you the upper hand in negotiations, plus equip you with the right questions to ask the seller. Same if you’re selling a gun. By being able to cite the value of the firearm from an industry reference like the Blue Book of Gun Values, or The Official Gun Digest Book of Guns & Prices, you’ll be able to stand firm on your price and get what the gun is really worth.

The other issue with trying to ascertain gun values online free is understanding all the variants of gun models out there. Someone might be selling a "Garand M1A" but was the gun made by Springfield, Beretta or Winchester? To add to the many pitfalls in gun pricing for this firearm, there are at least 32 variants of this military gun (Expert tip: If you’re interested in military gun values, check out the Standard Catalog of Military Firearms, 6th Edition). A gun values book like the 2013 Standard Catalog of Firearms— which features over 7,500 images of guns to aid you in gun identification — can help you understand what gun variant you’re looking at so you can zero in on an accurate value.

 

Determining Your Approach on Gun Values: Now Go Get ‘Em!

Determining gun value isn’t difficult if you use the Internet to narrow down your search and a collection of good gun value books to pinpoint a reasonable asking price. Going into the buying or selling transaction knowing the value of the firearm will make the transaction more pleasant and increase the likelihood of finding a great deal on your next new or used gun.

 

Save 10% Off Select Gun Value Products!
Use Promo Code: SAVELP

Final discounts will be displayed within the cart for qualifying items. Discount not valid on pre-orders, value packs,
subscriptions, and 3rd party products. 1 use per customer. Other exclusions apply.

 

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Corey Graff is the Online Editor for GunDigest.com. His personal interest in firearms includes handguns for hunting and self-defense as well as guns from the World War II era.