To restore, or not to restore? That’s the foundational question to ask yourself when considering what could become a journey to revitalize, or perhaps even resurrect, your classic firearm. A big part of what we do is help our customers understand all the ins and outs of firearm restoration. It may surprise you how much restoration work we decline. That’s because helping our customers arrive at the decision that’s right for them is what’s most important to us.
Here are some of the questions we cover when discussing the pros and cons of firearm restoration:
Is the firearm rare or unique? If so, is it in the correct configuration, or have pieces and parts been incorrectly replaced or altered over the years? If yes, then it’s best to restore it back to its original configuration. Otherwise, leave it as it is.
Does it have specific, historical importance? If so, can you prove it with documentation? Probably best to leave it alone then. Again, if it has parts that have been incorrectly replaced or altered, it may be best to restore it back to its original configuration.
In what condition is the firearm? If it’s in very good condition, leave it. If it’s not even functioning, or it’s missing important parts, then we might decline the restoration because it’ll be too expensive to restore it.
Investment vs. Sentiment
Would the cost of restoration outpace the value of the restored firearm? If so, it’s up to you whether you want to restore it or not. If it has a lot of personal value, then you might choose to restore it even if you can’t recoup your investment.
Do you want to be able to pass down your firearm to future generations? Then it’s probably a good idea to restore it. Restoration improves functioning and condition, effectively resetting the clock on the life of your firearm.
We hope these questions help! We’re here to assist, whether we receive the restoration work or not. So feel free to ask us what we think about your firearm.
Shown: a fully-restored Winchester Model 1894 Takedown, originally built in 1901.
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This installment of Restoration Resources appears in our Shoot History e-magazine. If you'd like to see more stories like these while learning about classic firearms preservation, head over to Shoot History. Be sure to hit the subscribe button while you're there.