The condition of a firearm is the primary key to its value. Even a very desirable item can be worthless if the condition is poor. For the most part, everyone thinks their guns are top notch when in reality, the slightest issue, scratch, crack or rust can take a gun from 90% condition to less that 40%. One of the purposes of the GunGrade is to provide resources and education on these sensitive issues so that gun owners can become informed and avoid losing money on a sale or investment as well as becoming the cheat when selling a gun for more than it’s worth. Keep in mind, we are not discussing “value” but rather “grade” or condition which is the first step in determining value.
In an attempt to get everyone on the same page, GunGrade has developed a grading system that incorporates several things:
- First, we have looked at the industry standards in several key areas including good information found online that has been utilized for many years.
- OldGuns.net puts some superb information through posts and forums on antique firarms and they have also posted the NRA Condition guidelines here.
- The Blue Book of Gun Values Online also has a good pictorial condition guide and lists including their own picture grading system here.
- Another good resource on this issue is here: http://www.vgca.net/education/ConditionStandards.pdf
- Second, with all these things in consideration, one has to realize that grading a firearm is not a strict science as each person will determine differently how bad “pitting” or “rust” may be or even finish condition. But through it all, the “range” of condition is pretty clear with all the systems available and the “art” of grading should be evaluated by those who have been in the collecting business for some time as they understand the nuances of the trade.
- Finally, grading a gun takes a little research because some antique machines are expected to have 30% finish or a little pitting, but for the most part, if the gun looks new, you are on your way to a good grade. If the gun looks like it came through the woods, out of the toolbox of the truck, has ANY rust or funky stuff in the barrel, chamber or internals, you are at least already at 65% on average from the gate.
So, in grading your guns, we will help you, guide you and get you on your way to understanding how to sell and buy firearms and know how to grade a trade without getting taken advantage of. Stay tuned as we make our grading system live.