This 2,320 page reference book is a must have for the serious collector. Although the guns that you, our members, are mostly collecting are not all represented in this book, it lists values of most guns from the world’s gun makers in great detail and by condition of the gun.
It lists the guns of over 30 German gun makers, eight of them with only a short description of the maker and their guns, but with some listings of values of guns by the following other makers:
On the first 102 pages you will find helpful information for the collector and the user of the Blue Book as well as interesting articles by well know writers.
Blue Book Publications also publishes the “Blue Book of Airguns” for air rifle collectors and listings of the German air rifle makers.
For more information about these books call: 800-877-4867
For those of you who have questions about a specific gun or want a gun appraised, get in touch with John Allen at Blue Book Publications, 8009 34th. Ave.South, Suite 175, Minneapolis, MN 55425, Tel.952-854-5229
When buying a German gun one should use the same good common sense as when buying any make gun. Here are a few thoughts about the subject:
One of the questions asked all the time is what a gun is worth and whether it is a good investment. Rarely can we give a definite answer and suggest that you ask yourself whether you really like the gun and would really like to own it. Nobody can take away your pleasure in owning it, even if you paid more for the gun than you intended. If, on the other hand you bought a gun because of its low price alone, you might be bothered by its shortcomings as long as you own it.
The following contact information of is given without any recommendations.
http://www.gunsamerica.com a listing service
http://www.gunsinternational.com a listing service
http://www.gunbroker.com an auction format
http://www.auctionarms.com an auction format
http://www.doublegunshop.com in their ‘Classified’ section
http://forums.nitroexpress.com in their ‘Classified’ section
http://www.accuratereloading.com in their ‘Classified’ section
The above listings are given to assist you and give you options but do not imply that we recommend these over others. Any sale or advice is strictly between you and the service provider without any liability on our part.
What to look for when buying a used gun
If you are looking for a gun by a certain maker or for a certain type of gun and find it, inspect it carefully. If on the other hand your mind is wide open, follow your first impression and don’t get carried away by the thought that a gun must be worth much more than the asking price. The danger is particularly great when you go to an auction. One of my grandfather’s Dreilaufflinte (three barrel shotgun) was for sale at an auction. Since this gun was missing in the collection of my grandfather’s guns, I was really tempted. But it was in terrible condition, and this would have just bothered me without end. I passed it up. If you see a gun you would really like to own, look very critically what might be wrong with it. You may still want the gun but won’t have unpleasant surprises and unexpected expenses later. Consider also, whether you want to shoot the gun or just collect it.
Here is a list of things to look for:
Look for abuse on the outside that is not the same as wear from hard use. Sweaty hands will eat away the bluing on the barrels and the finish on the action. Checkering will wear and become very smooth. The wood will get surface scratches and minor dents. But these things can be restored professionally to be like new.
The next thing I would look over in a rifle is the bore. Worn out and pitted rifle bores and chambers can’t be restored. If in doubt, ask for permission to fire a few shots to see what kind of a group you will get. The same goes for shotgun bores with deep pitting, bulges and severe dents. A good barrel maker can do a lot but is limited by the wall thickness that must be retained. Also look into the shotgun bores from the muzzle. If you don’t see any choke constriction, the barrels may have been cut off. If the chokes are very tight, you may want to have them measured and opened up for modern shells.
I would now remove the fore-end, hold the gun by the grip and shake it up and down and sideways. If you pay close attention, you will feel the slightest looseness. And don’t be surprised if you feel it only sideways. With the barrel lumps between the side-by-side barrels, the pressure of the shot wants to force the right barrel to the left and the left barrel to the right. An experienced gunsmith will confirm that looseness of the action starts this way on most guns. This, by the way, will happen on the very best guns eventually, but actions can be tightened up. Just allow for this expense in your
Next I would study the proof marks, remembering the article and proof mark directory you will find in Chapter. After letting the hammers down, I would remove the fore-end and take off the barrels to take a look at the firing pin holes in the action. Erosion around these holes could indicate
that reloads or overloads were used. Inspect the firing pins to see that they have the proper protrusion and are not damaged in any way. New firing pins can most certainly be made, but it must be said at this point that most firing pins on the German breech loading guns are fragile and the gun should not be dry fired without having firing pin protectors (snap caps) in the chambers. They are available for just about any caliber and having a set in every gun will allow you to store the gun with the hammers down.
Now it is time to look at the stock and the fore-end, the most vulnerable parts since they are made from wood that is softer than steel and subject to the weather. Check them for chips, cracks and looseness. If very loose, the stock may have cracked on the inside. Find a good stock maker to do the repairs. With skill and modern materials like epoxies and fiberglass, the repairs will be stronger than the original stock and will not show. Stock refinishing will be covered in another article.
The barrels of the gun you are inspecting may have scope bases, but the scope is no longer with it. These bases are usually for German claw mount rings that are covered in another article. Some German Drillings have the bad habit of miss firing, especially the rifle barrel. This can be caused by a gummed up mechanism; a good strip cleaning might remedy this. At other times the V-spring is weak or cracked and must be replaced, but firing pins for the rifle barrel often hit the primer in a steep angle and lack enough force. This can aggravate even a good gunsmith. Cartridges with softer primers might solve the problem.
Horn butt plates and grip caps can be repaired, recoil pads can be installed, stocks can be bent and all these jobs run into some money but a new stock is really a high-ticket item. When the whole fore-end is missing, you are in for a high expense and long wait if you can even find a gunsmith
willing to tackle making a replacement. I always wondered why so many fore-ends got lost until a German gun retailer told me that they removed all fore-ends before the American troops took away all the guns at the end of Word War II.
The smart buyer knows what he is getting into, what he can live with or what it might cost to fix what he can’t live with, and accept that some horse-trading part of the experience!