Antique gun collectors come in all ages, genders and types. The men and women who collect antique firearms are often history buffs, and many are interested in historic re-enactment. Surprisingly, many collectors are not hunters, nor do the ever even shoot the guns, but enjoy collecting them for the joy they get from owning and displaying them.
Types of Collectible Guns
There are many different types of collectible guns. Antique gun collectors enjoy collecting some of the following:
- Western firearms
- Military firearms
- Modern collectible guns
- Black powder rifles
Not only do collectors collect by type of firearm, they collect by brand. Some of the more collectible brands of antique guns are:
Associations and Websites for Antique Gun Collectors
A great way to meet other collectors is to get involved with an antique gun club, or association, or become a member of an online community. Not only are there numerous antique guns to collect but a plethora of historic firearms memorabilia as well.
- Antique and Collectible Firearms and Militaria Headquarters is a huge site for collectors. It lists everything from shows all over the country to information about markings, current values and manufacturing dates. There is an area to buy and sell, and an affiliated site called Arms Collectors that includes a forum where a new collector can get information, and experienced collectors can socialize.
- The Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association supports competitions and shows that highlight the techniques that the men of the West used, being able to accurately shoot from a moving horse. Mounted Shooting is similar to barrel racing. There are balloons in between the barrels. The rider shoots black powder blank cartridges from .45 caliber pistols at the balloons and then is scored on accuracy and time. It is an exciting and amazing event to watch for all ages. The guns used are the single action revolvers, like those used in the old West.
- The National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association is dedicated to preserving the history and the use of muzzle loaders. They sponsor competitions, hunting, gun making and safety, historical re-enactments, camping and other programs.
- Civil War Guns is a site that covers various firearms used during the Civil War. There are numerous links and articles on the site, with enough information to keep you busy for a long time.
- The Colt Collectors Association is for collectors of antique Colt firearms. It currently boasts over 2,400 members from all over the world. Members keep up with what is happening in the world of Colt with a magazine which comes out on a quarterly basis.
- The Smith and Wesson Collectors Association founded in 1964, is the oldest specialized collectors association in the United States. The association states that its main purpose is in preserving Smith and Wesson history.
- The Winchester Collector's Website is full of information about the history, value, and types of Winchester guns.
Where to Begin Collecting
Antique firearms are so popular that there are numerous websites specializing in the sale of them. Even antique reproductions of guns are highly collectible and sought after. As with any antique or vintage collectible, do the research so that you know what you are getting. Visit local shops that specialize in antique guns and talk to the owner. Check out the gun shows and talk to the experienced collectors. Get as much information as you can and build friendships with the other collectors so that you have a few mentors on your antique collecting journey.Here are a few suggestions from experienced antique gun collectors:
- Choose one type of gun to collect at first and then branch out into what ever interests you.
- Gather a large collection of reference materials so that you can learn more about your antique guns.
- Seek the advice of an experienced collector before attempting to clean an antique weapon.
- Collect what you love.
- Antique guns and firearms tend to keep their value over a long period of time. If you must sell, consult a current price guide and a couple of collectors before setting a price.
Remember that firearms can be dangerous whether they are antique or not. Be sure and use all the gun safety rules when handling your antique gun.