Firearms left to family members as part of an estate require a lot of paperwork to make a legal transfer. Depending on your state of residence, private sales can also be tricky, or as simple as exchanging the merchandise for cash. Before buying firearms from an estate sale, make sure you are familiar with state statutes regarding such purchases. Firearms made prior to 1898, however, can be purchased freely and shipped by mail to any state and anybody without any paperwork.
Whether your goal is to keep the firearms for yourself or sell them, there are a few gems out there to keep an eye out for:
Ruger Redhawk .357 Stainless
There’s good reason few people have fired a Redhawk .357 Magnum. According to Gun Broker, Ruger only made them for two years in the mid-1980s. Redhawks are heavy for a pistol, which could be the reason for low sales and Ruger ceasing production. Regardless, collectors still love the walnut stocks, adjustable sights and barrel lengths.
There were only 5,000 of these revolvers produced, so you’ve struck gold if you find one. A brand new one that has never been fired can fetch $1,500 or more at auction.
Forbes Model 24 Rifle
Melvin Forbes, of Granville, West Virginia, had a vision as a young gunsmith to create an ultra lightweight rifle that was also deadly accurate, durable and reliable. He began the journey in the early 1980s by stripping factory rifles to shed excess weight. Forbes ultimately teamed with Titan Machine Products in Maine and began production from scratch.
A custom-built .30-06 Model 20 can be worth upwards of $3,500. There will be no shortage of potential buyers, regardless of caliber and action length. Those lucky enough to find a Model 24 and happen to like hunting may want to consider keeping it for themselves.
Whether stalking deer on one of West Virginia’s 38 managed public hunting areas or taking down buffaloes at a private preserve, there are two requirements to make it a true Appalachian adventure: pass a state-mandated hunter education course and use a Forbes Model 24B Rifle.
Ball Repeating Carbine
Originally manufactured in Vermont, the Ball Repeating Carbine was supposed to be utilized by Union soldiers during the Civil War. But by the time the first shipment of 1,000 arrived in 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis had already been captured and the war was over. Production stopped thereafter, making the Ball Carbines an extremely rare collectible.
Most Ball Carbines were chambered for .56-.50 Spencer, while a few post-war models were chambered for .44 Henry cartridges. Civil War memorabilia is both easy to sell and will command a premium price. Collectors Firearms has only one for sale at $5,500.
AR-15s are not only the most popular semi-automatic rifle in America, this collectible firearm is also one of the most versatile. The Colt Magpul and Bushmaster M4A3 are two popular models that could easily turn up at estate sales.
There are several states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York with so-called “assault weapons bans.” These laws make the possession or sale of semi-automatic rifles illegal. You’ll likely have to turn them over to authorities in said states. But residents of Arizona, Texas and other gun-friendly states can easily command a four-figure price for any AR-15.