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View Full Version : Thinking of restoring a pre-64 Winchester 94; how does this affect value?


pmg
12-03-2013, 12:25 PM
Hi guys,

My dad has a pre-64 Winchester 94 in .30-30; besides its manufacturing date it's not particularly noteworthy, not rare in any respect but it is complete. The bluing has been worn off the receiver walls partially and there's some bluing worn on on the barrel, barrel band, etc...it's showing its age, in other words.

I was thinking about the possibility of restoring it as a gift for him, but I was wondering how that would affect value. I wouldn't dare try it myself, but how do I choose a gunsmith or service to do it for me while not throwing the value of the rifle down the toilet? How does one avoid the pitfalls of getting a firearm restored? Does anyone have experience with doing such a thing?

Full Clip
12-03-2013, 12:28 PM
"Restoration," even by a competent gunsmith, will only REDUCE any value.

OldShooter32
12-03-2013, 12:37 PM
^^this x10

NapalmCheese
12-03-2013, 1:09 PM
"Restoration," even by a competent gunsmith, will only REDUCE any value.

I disagree.
Restoration done well puts your gun in a different market. My general thoughts are, if the gun is something special (Billy the Kid owned it, Teddy Roosevelt shot something with it, etc.) then restoration is a terrible idea, leave it alone. If, however, it's just a good, old gun that is going to continue to see some amount of use then restoration (competent restoration) is fine.

You need to find out if you dad would actually like to see it restored, or if he likes to use it in it's current state, allowing the wear to remind him of the good times he's had with that gun.

I don't mind my worn guns looking like worn guns. If I have a worn gun that is not functioning however, I'd get it fixed and working like new.

http://www.artsgunshop.com

This guy is well known for his Browning A5 restorations, but I know he works on other guns as well. You might want to give him a call, he's great to talk to and very informative.

pmg
12-03-2013, 1:09 PM
FullClip and OldShooter32,

Thanks for chiming in. I was worried that restoration of any would negatively affect value, but if I could play devil's advocate, why would someone with services like Turnbull Manufacturing (http://www.turnbullmfg.com/) be in business, and charging up to thousands of dollars for single firearm restoration? What am I missing here?

pmg
12-03-2013, 1:12 PM
I disagree.
Restoration done well puts your gun in a different market. My general thoughts are, if the gun is something special (Billy the Kid owned it, Teddy Roosevelt shot something with it, etc.) then restoration is a terrible idea, leave it alone.

Absolutely, and if it had any pedigree like that I would leave it be.

If, however, it's just a good, old gun that is going to continue to see some amount of use then restoration (competent restoration) is fine.

That's kind of how I was leaning, though warily.

allowing the wear to remind him of the good times he's had with that gun.

Excellent point. In this situation however, the wear was there when he bought it originally and has no sentimental value. I will of course check with him before shipping it out though, I wouldn't do one of those "behind the back" tricks in case he wouldn't want it to happen.



http://www.artsgunshop.com

This guy is well known for his Browning A5 restorations, but I know he works on other guns as well. You might want to give him a call, he's great to talk to and very informative.

Will definitely check this guy out, thanks!

deckhandmike
12-03-2013, 4:25 PM
You only have to worry about value if you plan on selling it. Do what you want with your guns as long as you are not ruining some rare artifact. Better question is if it's worth putting lipstick on a pig.

MrElectric03
12-03-2013, 4:47 PM
I wouldn't personally. I have a 1941 model with some issues(small chips in the stock and light etching of someone's name in the side of the receiver) but it shoots perfect and functions flawlessly. I prefer to leave them alone, makes the really well cared for ones in original condition that much more special.

smittty
12-03-2013, 5:37 PM
I've seen some old restored 94's and model 12 shotguns and they looked great. Given the choice of restored or not, I'd choose the one that's been restored.

Remus
12-03-2013, 7:59 PM
If your father or his father hunted with it I would not restore it - pure sentimental value alone.

Insofar as collector's value - the top prices paid are for as factory finished products. Certainly restoring a rifle will improve its value if it had been trashed but it will not command the price of even a well used but original rifle (as I interpret your fathers).

Watch the antique roadshow sometime, many would be collectors purchase an old table strip and refinish it to find that they lost hundreds of dollars of value despite the old finish being in poor condition.

Capybara
12-03-2013, 8:05 PM
Does your Dad's '94 look like my 1951? Or worse? Any "restoration" on any collector gun decreases value, period. Collectors buy patina and unmolested examples always are worth a LOT more than anything restored, unless said gun was buried in a swamp and was basically pile of junk.

http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/capybara84/DSCN0797_zpsc9900b05.jpg
http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/capybara84/DSCN0798_zps1726e8b7.jpg
http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/capybara84/DSCN0789_zps57714017.jpg

FWIW, I had my choice of dozens of 1894's I looked at and I specifically bought this one because of the way it looked. Nothing looks as good as honest wear on a working gun.

M1NM
12-03-2013, 8:17 PM
I'd love to have a pre 64 with patina - not one that looks like a well cared for post 64 gun. My Ruger No1s that I collect are different I only buy 99% or better seems patina really drops the value of these.

killshot44
12-03-2013, 10:01 PM
I doubt that a professional restoration would decrease this particular rifle given how many were made.
Winchester even produced so many "commemorative" editions that many won't be true collectibles in our lifetime.

bsg
12-04-2013, 12:25 AM
the best way to avoid the pitfalls of getting a firearm restored is to not have it restored. i would not make any permanent alterations to the finish of the gun.

Wrangler John
12-04-2013, 2:31 AM
A '94 Winchester as you describe isn't going to be any great collector's prize. It's just too common, too much a tool to be a great historical treasure. This is an example where a restoration can be done that adds value and pride of ownership, if the individual wants to spend the money on doing it correctly. Here is one place that does it correctly, for a price:

http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=20181&catid=19872

The complete restoration, metal and wood runs $3,500. Or it can be done cafeteria style by several styles of bluing, case hardening, etc. Refinishing or replacing the stock, etc. http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=20180&catid=19872

I have restored several older rifles, including a Remington 141 in .35 Remington, and a Marlin .44-40 1894 Saddle Ring Carbine from ca 1900, both brought considerably more restored than in original condition. While my work was done by the long gone Micro Sight Co. this is what a fully restored Winchester 1894 would look like:

http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=23438

I just wish my father were still alive, I'd spend the cash to honor him in a heartbeat.

LynnJr
12-04-2013, 4:05 AM
PMG
You asked about Turnbull Restorations and to be perfectly honest here he restores guns for people wanting a perfect looking example of what they can't find in a price range they can afford..
That means they have an old shotgun worth $2500 that is in pretty sad shape but in out of the box shape it would be worth $30,000.They spend $8000 getting it to look like new knowing it will never fetch them $30,000.

My father had an old Iver Johnson 16 gauge single shotgun worth not much money when he was a kid.I had the gun completely restored for twice the price of two newer and way better guns for his birthday several years ago.The guy doing the work had me carry the gun around his front yard so he could see how it was carried and used some steel wool too lighten the bluing so it would show normal wear.

The gun today is still not worth much but my dad was ecstatic to get it restored and we took it out on a pheasant hunt just like old times when I was 12 years old.It was worth doing even if a better gun would have cost alot less money.

The guy who did the gun was an old german guy in san francisco working out of his basement and was 93 years old at that time.It took what seemed like forever and I was constantly worried about him falling ill and not getting that gun back.Still well worth the money and time spent.
LynnJr

LittleOldLady
12-04-2013, 5:50 AM
I would definitely leave it alone, I had my Dad's 30.30 stolen, during the Estate headache. I wanted that rifle so badly as is because it reminded me so much of him.
I wanted it with all the nicks and bruises and wear which reminded me of all the good times we had with it.

I am saddened by my Dads passing and the loss of the 30.30.

I think all the wear on the bluing and stock shows age and use. Kind of like war wounds and wrinkles on a person, it gives character that a pristine firearm does not have yet.

You might consider this if you Dad passes it to you you might want all the nicks and dings to remind you of him.

Sutcliffe
12-04-2013, 7:08 AM
Restoring a firearm in good working order without major flaw or damage is going to negatively affect value. Restoring an abused, parts missing or damaged gun can certainly enhance value. I've seen this with old Colt revolvers.

Full Clip
12-04-2013, 7:25 AM
Repairing and "restoring" are two totally different things. A functioning gun is always worth more than a non-functional one.
Absolutely, the "value" is only an issue if selling or insuring any item.
Good luck on your decision.

klewan
12-04-2013, 7:36 AM
I know the bolt action rifles were changed in '64, did Winchester change the lever actions as well?

Mr Blu
12-04-2013, 7:55 AM
Does your Dad's '94 look like my 1951? Or worse? Any "restoration" on any collector gun decreases value, period. Collectors buy patina and unmolested examples always are worth a LOT more than anything restored, unless said gun was buried in a swamp and was basically pile of junk.

http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/capybara84/DSCN0797_zpsc9900b05.jpg
http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/capybara84/DSCN0798_zps1726e8b7.jpg
http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w489/capybara84/DSCN0789_zps57714017.jpg

FWIW, I had my choice of dozens of 1894's I looked at and I specifically bought this one because of the way it looked. Nothing looks as good as honest wear on a working gun.

That actually looks really good!!!:D

Unless it didn't function in some way, I would take it anywhere near a smiths bench. Some guns just look good that way.

LittleOldLady
12-04-2013, 8:23 AM
That actually looks really good!!!:D

Unless it didn't function in some way, I would take it anywhere near a smiths bench. Some guns just look good that way.

Wot I am saying, It looks really handsome!
I do see some crud in the picture which could be carefully soft brass brushed off perhaps....

stonefly-2
12-04-2013, 11:45 AM
if your dads gun has say 60% original finish now and you have it reblued it will then have 0% original finish. factor what the restoration costs are and what a 94 winchester with zero % original finish is worth to calculate the answer to your question.
now if it was a smith and wesson registered magnum with suicide splotches that would be another thing.

TRAP55
12-04-2013, 1:25 PM
I know the bolt action rifles were changed in '64, did Winchester change the lever actions as well?
They changed everything to "cheaper".
Restoring, refinishing, etc., "any pre 64 Winchester" is going to cut the value in half,...at the very best. Even if it's One of the 2,600,000 Pre-64 Model 1894's made.
One exception is a Turnbull restoration.
The only time I would say "go for it", is when it's a family heirloom that will be passed down. Because then, it will never be for sale, and the "collector" monetary value is moot.
I have an 1874 Sharps that belonged to Teddy Roosevelt. I re-barreled it with a Shilen match barrel turned to the original specs. The original barrel is packed in grease, and the rifle can be returned to original config.
The purists give me grief telling me "You ruined the value!" My answer:
I don't own safe queens, it can be put back original at any time, my son already has his name on it, and what made you think it would be for sale anyway,...ever?:)

LittleOldLady
12-04-2013, 2:40 PM
They changed everything to "cheaper".
Restoring, refinishing, etc., "any pre 64 Winchester" is going to cut the value in half,...at the very best. Even if it's One of the 2,600,000 Pre-64 Model 1894's made.
One exception is a Turnbull restoration.
The only time I would say "go for it", is when it's a family heirloom that will be passed down. Because then, it will never be for sale, and the "collector" monetary value is moot.
I have an 1874 Sharps that belonged to Teddy Roosevelt. I re-barreled it with a Shilen match barrel turned to the original specs. The original barrel is packed in grease, and the rifle can be returned to original config.
The purists give me grief telling me "You ruined the value!" My answer:
I don't own safe queens, it can be put back original at any time, my son already has his name on it, and what made you think it would be for sale anyway,...ever?:)

Nice acquisition, I am jealous!

Virus55
12-05-2013, 4:28 PM
Can we see some photos of it?

TRAP55
12-05-2013, 5:16 PM
pmg, post some pics! Have I dated the rifle for you here yet?
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=410211