My S&W reference book is "The Standard Catalog of S&W" by Supica/Nahas, 2006. They list a mod. 36 in Exc. condition as $375. The serial number appears to be in early 1988 as they specifically list prefixes AYE-AYM as Jan. 1988 and then have a gap to BBF in July 1988. The BCA prefix probably was for a special run for the NRA at about that time-frame.
Coach, I'll bet those NEW S&Ws have something his gun doesn't have - a "Hillary Hole" in the side!
I've found the values listed in the latest editon of the SCSW to be quite outdated. Spend some time watching non-internal lock S&Ws sell on GunsAmerica and GunBroker and you'll agree. Older guns without locks and MIM parts in like-new condition bring as much as new ones and in some cases, more.
I'm not really seeing that. Around here, for example, new 629s go for $800. If somebody puts up a high-cond. 29 for $700 locally, it lays there for a while, the guy comes back in a couple days with gruff comments about how it's "not a yard sale" and please "no lowballs"...then a couple days later, gruffly states it's going "back in the safe."
National auctions may be different...but national auctions raise the sale price of about everything beyond all reason. Anybody who buys off those, imo, is an idiot.
Big difference between guns being listed and guns being sold. As a wholesale only dealer, my main business is Internet firearms sales. I see a lot of guns, and some here, at unrealistic prices.
Look again and see what guns are SELLING for. limited run guns must be minty with box to be collectible. Fired and carried limited model guns with no box bring about the same money as a run of the mill model.
As one who still repairs firearms, the Smith with the "Brady Hole" are as good as, if not better, than older models. Avoid the IL guns if you choose, but know they are as good as any Smiths ever made.
Just because some yo yo wrote on the Net that IL guns are junk means nothing in the real world. It likely means that guy is an IDIOT. LOL
Well, I've actually SEEN some of those non-IL, pre-MIM Smiths SELL for almost as much as new ones. Shucks, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been the high bidder on a few and remember, for one person to be the high bidder, there had to have been at least one other person who wanted it almost but not quite as badly.
If the gun is out of production and was popular, its value can get especially crazy. Pinned barrels and recessed chambers don't do much for me but I was interested in a NIB, unfired, never-even-cleaned 6" Model 66 no-dash with all the good stuff - P&R, target hammer, target trigger, red ramp front sight, white outline rear sight, beautifully-figured checkered Goncalo Alves target stocks with the correct date code stamped on their inner surfaces and its original box, complete with all its papers and an unopened tool kit. You'll no doubt think I was nuts, but the auction ended long after I knew I would be asleep, so I set my maximum proxy bid for that gun at $650 and turned in. The next morning, I found that my bid was over $100 lower than three other bidders thought that gun that probably sold for under $400 new was worth! Can you imagine what it might have brought had the auction not ended when most of the country was asleep?
And while I don't own an IL gun to have any first-hand knowledge of their quality, I do troll the S&W Forum and read some of the horror stories about new guns that have to be returned for multiple repairs right away. In one case, the hammer wouldn't fall when the trigger was pulled! Sure, those guns are a small percentage of the total production, but when guns get out with multiple defects or won't even fire, things aren't good.
Aside from the ugly appearance of the IL, I think that most of the dislike toward IL guns is due to the fact that something gun owners don't want is being forced upon them. Those are my two objections to them, anyway. And it has been stated by people who seem to be authorities on the subject of metallurgy that MIM parts are every bit as good as forged ones and in some ways, maybe even better. But I figure that as long as I have the ability to choose between a like-new piece with forged parts and no lock for the same money as one with MIM parts and a lock, I'd rather have the older one. After all, if I ever want one of the newer ones, availability is not an issue. That won't always be the case with the older ones; there are only so many safe queens in existence and with each passing year, their numbers shrink through use, abuse or sale.
Finally, I am also thinking of our son, who will own most of my collection one day. Years down the road, which one will be worth more?
I bought a Model 41 in 1990, when it was a $500 gun. It would sell for more than that now, used. Now, is that because of the Hillary Hole? If you want the real reason - go price a new one.
That same gun also had to go back to the factory, because the slide wouldn't lock back on the last shot consistently, with any magazine. Smith has always had the affliction of using their customers as a Quality Control "filter." I still have that gun, and it's a fabulous piece. The product returns are inexcusable on their part, but the point is - this didn't start with Metal Injection Molded parts or later dash numbers. The old guns have had their trips back to the factory.
I like my old Smiths, but all the stuff about the new lock and MIM part guns is in the minds of people who are drinking the Kool Aid. If some crusty old fart wants to think his safe queen is worth a king's ransom because the new ones have a higher dash number, let him. The number one factor influencing used gun prices is the cost of new ones. Check your old Gun Lists, and you'll see used prices track pretty steadily along in relation to the curve set by new ones, regardless what the used one sold for when new. I suspect our resident "gun writer" is drinking the stuff being put out by the internet Kool Aid stand.
The new guns are always "inferior," in the minds of someone cleaning out their safe to buy something else. I think these people are eventually going to find that the crap they're putting out is going to be self-defeating, because the surest way to keep the price of old guns going up, is to keep the price of _new_ guns going up. They think tearing down the perceived value of new guns makes whatever is in their safe worth more, but in reality, the 50+% of people who are buying a gun to _shoot_ are not going to pay $700 for something of unknown round count and been screwed with by god knows who, when $800 gets them something with no-questions-asked factory backing and a full life cycle left in it.
Buzz, remember that resale value of used items is also driven by the public's perception of the current production versions - whether that perception is accurate is irrelevant. Take 1960s muscle cars. They're inferior in so many ways to new cars but look at what no longer being available new has done to their values. The same is true of guns like an S&W Model 29 or 629 Classic DX - you can't buy a new one for any money. Let's see: a like-new, no-longer-made, accuracy-certified Classic DX with its extra grips and front sights as well as factory target for $100 less than a new and possibly less accurate Classic without the goodies but with a hole in the side. That's a no-brainer for a lot of buyers, as it was for me.
I have no doubt that new S&Ws function as well and will last as long as the older ones. But it's my money and I prefer to invest it in the older ones. This olde phart likes six-shooters more than seven-shooters and doesn't want a hole in his guns with a flag sticking out above it. I seem to have a lot of company.
Finally, buying used guns is nearly risk-free if you 1)get a three-day inspection period, 2)have the gun shipped to a gunsmith who performs the inspection and 3)pay for the gun with a credit card so you can dispute the charge if the seller declines to accept a return.
Last summer, I bought an expensive rifle that was sold on consignment for the owner as new and unfired. It was new and unfired but it was altered. Within hours of my calling the dealer that handled the sale about the modifications, I received an apology and the choice of several hundred dollars for the "damages" or returning the gun at their expense for a full refund.
Oh and by the way, I don't know if I'm the "gun writer" to whom you referred, but I've never cared for Kool-Aid.
You started off saying perception can matter, which is true enough in all kinds of items, but then you got mixed up and switched subjects...nobody was really talking about "discontinued" items, which are a different ballgame. It's a purely hypothetical example, of course, but if they were still making that 1960-type muscle car, identical in all respects except that the new ones had an airbag (in a concession to PC liberalism), you really think that airbag would make people pay a premium for the old ones? Forget it. They sure would sell for more than they did in 1960, of course, but that would be due to Uncle Sam's printing press, not the airbag.
When the price of the (still-in-production) new gun has gone up, the prices of the same-model used item have always gone up, too...and this was already true before the H-hole came out. Some people with personal axes to grind are trying to identify the new features as the cause of a trend that was already there to begin with, and I'm just calling BS on it, that's all.
Agreed, Buzz. But I have been told by large gun dealers that they are experiencing an increased demand for pre-lock S&Ws and the prices I'm seeing those guns bring bears that out. I know I would rather pay an equal amount or even a little more for a pre-lock gun that is in great condition over a newer one just because I dislike the appearance of the lock and that the number of nice ones left to buy is declining. I can buy a lock gun anytime, anywhere and shop for price while I'm doing it.
And what really is the difference? Mainly the lock, if you discount the guys who maintain that the pre-lock and pre-MIM guns are "better." A gun being brand new doesn't do much for me because the first round I send down the barrel lowers its collector value and I have too many unfired older S&Ws as it is, so I might as well by like-new ones I can enjoy shooting for a little less and not have a lock to boot.
I'm not an MIM-hater, either. I forget who the gentleman who wrote it is, but on the S&W Forum there is a piece about MIM parts and how they are in many ways better than the older forged ones because they all are exactly identical. Because of the hand-fitting they required, guns with forged parts could have great actions, good actions or rough actions - MIM guns all have good actions, so quality is supposed to be more uniform with them. I only have one MIM gun, a 6.5" 629-5 Classic PowerPort. I also have a 6.5" 629-4 Classic and aside from the minor differences in the appearance of the parts, I can't tell any difference in the feel of the actions of the two guns.
But the fact remains that guns without locks and forged hammers, triggers and cylinder releases are in truth "discontinued" as no more are available and S&W has no more forged parts on hand. I have a mint-condition 6" 686 no-dash that was never returned for the "M" recall, part of which is replacing the hammer on some guns. The recall improves the gun's functionality with very heavy loads, so it isn't a concern for me. The former owner didn't return it for the update because the gun's originality would be compromised and I've dragged my feet sending it back for the same reason.
In closing, I think it's great that some buyers aren't turned off by the locks. They will keep S&W in business and that's important. It's like high-rib and low-rib, unsingle and top single and autoloader and pump in trap guns - each has its fans.
I guess I didn't realize Smith had already started MIM during the 629-5 change level...the change to -6 was 11 years ago, so that means MIM has been used at least, probably, 12 years. Is that right? I do think the -5 is about the best gun they ever made.
I've even seen this theory go the other way...somebody was telling me they thought Smith wasn't selling enough revolvers because of all the used ones out there, so they put the lock on to instantly increase the value of older ones, thereby making newer ones more price-attractive for people who are buying to shoot (not collect).
Buzz, according to the 3rd Edition (the latest one) of the hardcover book, Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, production of the 629-5 started in 1997 and included changes in the frame design to eliminate the cylinder stop stud (went to a longer but thinner version of the stud), eliminated the serrated tangs, changed to an MIM hammer with frame-mounted floating firing pin and MIM trigger along with "changes to the internal lockwork," whatever that means. The 629-6 is a -5 gun with an internal lock and debuted in 2001.
The 686-5 and 686-6 mirrored the 629 changes and years.
Here's why I would pay a premium price for some out-of-production S&Ws. While browsing through the SCSW for the above info, I noticed that the 629 Classic DX was only made for 11 years, production started with the -3 in 1991 and in 1992 only, a 5" barrel was available on the DX. Now you know why I gladly paid the same amount for my mint-condition 5" DX as a new standard Classic with the internal lock costs.
Last year, I paid $650 for a 686-3 with an unfluted cylinder that was supposed to have had six rounds fired in it and would have passed for unfired. Nuts, some would say. I could have bought a brand new 686-6 for that. But consider this: there have only been 7,540 686s made to date with unfluted cylinders and just THREE with my gun's SKU according to S&W's production records. Even if I would purchase a new 686-6 and never fire it, it's obvious which one would always be worth more.
As I said before, if I ever want an S&W with an IL, finding new and used ones will be easy.
Ed, you're obviously an earnest guy, but you're assuming purchasers of the future are going to care about this arcana as much as you...and I just don't buy it.
You might swing by and help out the guy selling the $1100 M57 on the other thread, though. (I have a feeling he's been trolling the wacko national auction sites, and you guys might be birds of a feather).
Well, that's possible but what was popular when it was made and no longer is made usually is more desireable than what is still being made. At least that puts the odds in my favor. Or my son's - I probably won't be around to find out.
I haven't looked at his ad yet but if that's not a really unusual piece, he's j-u-s-t a little high...