My Account | Cart  | Log In
  Blue Book on FaceBook   Blue Book on Twitter   Blue Book on YouTube   Blue Book on InstaGram
Products ▼ FFL Solutions Company ▼ Information & Services ▼ Subscriptions ▼

S.P. Fjestad's Lethal Blogging
  S.P. Fjestad is the author of the Blue Book of Gun Values, and has been following the firearms marketplace for nearly 30 years. Fjestad is also the publisher for several other firearms-related titles and he also serves as an editor for many of them. He attends several trade shows each year including the SHOT show, NASGW show, and the Tulsa Arms Show. He also serves on the NRA publication committee and writes “What’s It Worth” in Field & Stream, and “I Have This Old Gun” in the American Rifleman magazines.

In “Lethal Blogging,” Fjestad will report on several firearm-related subjects including news from trade shows, auction results, and other interesting subjects that arise in the gun industry. Check back regularly for information that many people outside of the gun industry might never hear about!
Blue Book's TOP 10 SHOT SHOW 2016   
Snake Venom Epidemic Paralyzes Colt Collectors PART I   
Snake Venom Epidemic Paralyzes Colt Collectors PART II   
Snake Venom Epidemic Paralyzes Colt Collectors PART III   
June Commentary by Robert "Doc" Adelman   

Cashing in on the Firearm's Jackpot - Part 1

Easily the most frequently asked question I have had over the decades is “How do you come up with the values in the Blue Book of Gun Values?”

The answer to this seemingly easy question has actually become more complicated and complex over the years. I thought it might be helpful to explain our proprietary and painstaking criteria used to accurately value new and used firearms. To accurately determine every gun’s value, its overall desirability factor must first be established. That’s a lot easier said than done – more on this subject shortly.

Getting the Right Price on a New or Currently Manufactured Gun

Currently manufactured or new guns are fairly easy to figure out – pretty much a lesson in Economics 101. Anything that’s currently manufactured is a commodity, and all commodities respond to two primary factors – supply and demand. In the firearms industry, this equates into firearms manufacturers producing guns in various configurations (the supply) and firearms consumers choosing which gun(s) they want to buy (the demand). In most cases, the demand dictates the supply, and most manufacturers in today’s economic environment try to make sure they produce enough guns to satisfy the demand factor without over-producing. Occasionally, however, demand exceeds supply, and a good example of this was during 2008-2009, when demand for AR-15 style and AK-47 design rifles/carbines substantially exceeded the supply. When this type of situation happens in the firearms marketplace, the price the consumer is willing to pay may actually be elevated to well above the gun’s MSR, and value is all but forgotten about.

Getting the Right Values on Older, Discontinued Firearms

Once a specific make/model of a firearm has been discontinued, it is no longer a commodity (unless reissued at a later date), and may become collectible if the potential buyers exceed the existing fixed supply. Don’t forget that each discontinued model must be evaluated by its overall desirability, determined by based on eight key factors mentioned shortly. A good example of this recently was when Winchester discontinued its famous Model 94 during 2006. There was an immediate demand tsunami, and as a result, some desperate consumers paid a large premium over the gun’s last MSR to get one. What’s important to remember is that most of the common 94s were certainly not rare, but rather, a variation of the Model 94 in like new condition with little production (i.e., a Model 94 Big Bore in .356 Win. or .375 Win. cal.) stands the best chance for long term value appreciation. Now six years after the Model 94s’ discontinuance, most of the standard models in common calibers and features are back down to the same values as 2005. Unfortunately, the consumers who overpaid for these common variations while the marketplace was boiling might not live long enough to get their money back.

Moral to this story as an analogy for a buyer? When the buffalo herd gets frenzied, starts stampeding uncontrollably, and ends up in a deadly plunge while running over the cliff, drop out before the stampede picks up momentum, pick a nice shady spot under a tree to rest until the dust settles – then rejoin the thinned out herd later. As a seller, take advantage of this stampede, and bag as many buffalo as possible before they fall to their deaths. Better you profiting from selling the hides than Mother Nature recycling them over time.

As mentioned previously, overall desirability is the biggest single factor when determining any gun’s accurate value.

The Eight Key Factors For Determining Every Gun’s “Desirability Mix”

Every gun’s value is directly determined by how desirable it is. Based on over four decades of experience in both the new and used firearms marketplace, I have determined there are eight main factors that contribute to each gun’s unique “desirability mix.” Each one needs to be carefully evaluated before an accurate value can be determined.

Think of this desirability mix as a slot machine with eight tumblers, each representing one of the key factors listed below. The first two tumblers in gold on the left are numbered 0-20 and represent major trademark recognition and original condition, the two most important factors in ascertaining overall desirability. The next four blue tumblers are numbered 1-10 and represent special order features, historical recognition/factory documentation, rarity, and eye appeal. The last two tumblers are in green and are numbered 0-5 representing price, and fear/greed.

When the handle is pulled, the tumblers start spinning, and after each one stops indicating the individual score, the total score will determine every gun’s overall desirability factor.

Using this scoring system, very few guns will ever get a total of over 80 points out of 90, since factors seven and eight will typically have no influence on these big ticket purchases. Those extremely high point total guns are out there, and when they come up for sale, large seven digit jackpots are usually the result. An extremely low score indicates the gun’s value might be the sum of its worn out parts, and has little or no collector or shooting value.

These eight critical individual factors for desirability with scoring criteria include:

The above barrel addresses represent the world’s most iconic and well-known firearms manufacturers over the past two centuries. Major trademark recognition is the most important factor when considering the overall desirability of any firearm.

1. Major trademark/manufacturer recognition, significance, and importance. Having a common Winchester, Colt, Holland & Holland, Mauser, etc. in average condition will always be more desirable than having a similar common Iver Johnson, Stevens, or J.C. Higgins for most collectors, dealers, shooters, and investors. A score of 19-20 represents a trademark/manufacturer like Colt or Winchester, and 0 represents a Falls Arms Co., Rempt & Son, or the thousands of other brand names no one has heard of (or cares about).

How To Cash in on the Firearms Jackpot continues in Part 2!
You must be logged in and have a blog handle to post comments. Click on Log In to login or click on My Account to create a blog handle. Both links are available at the top right of every page.

Our Value Guides Other Products Subscriptions Information Services
Current Value Guides
Deluxe Value Guides
Previous Value Guides
Special Offers
Black Powder
Colt Engraving
Access My Subscription
Purchase/Renew Subscription
Lookup My Model
Removed Manufacturer List
Firearm Grading
Press Releases
Privacy Policy
Affiliate Program
Appraisals & Evaluations

Blue Book's Top Ten
S.P. Fjestad's Lethal Blogging
The Armed Librarian by Charles Priore
Remembering R.L. Wilson
Find this page helpful? Please click the g+1 button to let Google know!
  ©2017 Blue Book Publications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.