Despite the rising prices of Winchesters, collectors can still add these gems to their collection. It's just a matter of knowing where to look for bargains that are nearly sure to gain value.
I was very young when I first started collecting, or at least being interested in Winchesters. My father gave me my first Winchester for my sixth birthday. It was a model 62, with a small bullet forend. Today, it is my most prized possession. It is still in like-new condition, and every time I pick it up, I cannot help but have a tear come to my eye.
When I arrived in Denver, Colorado, just out of college, I loved Winchesters, and I knew a lot about them, and I wanted to buy them, but I could not afford to buy the really good ones. However, I decided not to let that get me down. Because I was quite young at the time, and I loved to hunt, I would go into the mountains on the weekends and use my model 62 .22-caliber rifle. This gave me an idea: I decided to buy the inexpensive .22-caliber Winchesters, e.g., everything from the early ones, circa 1900, to the ones being produced in the '50s early '60s. I had great fun.
I would like to mention to any new collectors, or all collectors for that matter who have become disheartened because of the price of the really good and valuable Winchesters that they consider buying those same .22-caliber rifles that I started buying several decades ago. I noticed at a recent gun show that many of them can be purchased, in excellent overall condition for under $500 each. Some of the really rare ones were priced under $1000! That is amazing! There are lots of them around, and they are something that you could use and enjoy on a continual basis. Example: A friend of mine recently told me of a gentleman that had a model 55, .22 single shot rifle, with the box, in minty overall condition. I was unbelievably excited, not only because I did not have one, but because they are extremely rare. When I saw the gun, I was absolutely thrilled. It was everything I wanted in that particular model! I paid $175 for it.
The same gentleman also had a like-new model 77 .22 long rifle semi-automatic Winchester. Although I have one, I bought it, not because I needed it, but because of its condition. Opportunities like this still exist in the real world, and I would like to encourage all my readers to go out of their way to find such treasures.
On another note: There are also some other Winchesters that I would like to encourage everyone to look at from a collector’s point of view, for example Winchester model 101 shotguns. They are incredibly beautiful, well made and exciting, as are Winchester lever action .22s such as the 9422s, and their family of 9410s. Winchester model 101 shotguns are among the very best over and unders ever made for the working person. I have a 28 gauge and a 410, and they are among my most favorite shotguns to shoot. Additionally, even though I have been around Winchesters all of my life, I have started to collect the 9422s and the 9410s. They are absolutely beautiful, there are lots of them around, and I can tell everyone reading this that it is my opinion that they are an excellent investment. They are being accumulated, and they will only increase in value.
As far as the 101 Winchesters are concerned, I believe the same thing about them, especially the small gauges. I would not be surprised to see them double in value over the next several years. I bought mine when they were $400-$600 each. I wish I had bought a truckload.
Because the last edition of this book was written almost 9 years ago, I am going to include some of the new rifles that Fabrique Nationale started making after Winchester shut down its operation in New Haven Connecticut.
FN, Fabrique Nationale, is known for making some extremely beautiful and nice firearms. In late 2007, FN started making guns for Winchester. I have seen some of these guns, and some of them are absolutely beautiful. If you are looking for something more contemporary and useful, these might be the right thing for you to start collecting. Because they are so well made, and their value really has not jumped, I think they are excellent investments, and their value/price will only continue to rise over the next few years. Take a look at them, and I think you will agree with me that the workmanship demonstrated in these weapons is beautiful and extraordinary. All these weapons are still available at reasonable prices, and I would encourage everyone reading this to do themselves a favor and look at these guns.
The following is not a recommendation, but only is a statement about myself. My reader should understand that when it comes to firearms that I am an expert, and what I say in this (article) is only my personal opinion, and are not my recommendations for any other party. One of the things that is most striking, when I look at price guides, and in particular the second edition of this (Standard Catalog of Winchesters), and prices as they are today, I can tell you that the differences are absolutely astounding. Prices, and oftentimes values of these Winchesters that we love are continuing to go up, up, and even up some more.
I challenge all of my readers to look at what I have observed, and verify, for themselves, what has happened to the prices being asked for Winchesters. It is absolutely amazing! One of the ways I look at it is I ask myself what my money will bring in the bank—today under 3 percent a year—and I look at what the prices on Winchesters have done over the last few years, and I know, for myself personally, where my money is best invested.
This post is excerpted from the Standard Catalog of Winchester Firearms 3rd Edition.