Monthly Archives: February 2014

Buying that first gun

It can be a daunting process buying that first antique gun.  My advice is to go to lots of gun shows, and view and handle lots of guns, and meet lots of dealers, before buying.  I would always advise a beginner to buy from a reputable dealer rather than buying in a general antique shop or from a classified advert.  There are just too many ways to be stiffed.  You may pay more from a reputable dealer in the area you have chosen to collect it, you have much more chance of getting something pukka for your money.  As a baby collector you are quite vulnerable to shysters so don’t make it too easy for them.

I have written more in the article Buying a gun, available from the menu under “Antique Firearms”




What is an antique firearm


Cased Tranter 80 bore revolver

I have posted an article about the conditions that an old gun must satisfy to be considered an antique in the UK.

The law doesn’t define it but there is guidance that does.  Ultimately it is up to a court to decide whether or not, taking all the facts of the case into consideration, whether a particular gun is antique.

However if a collector sticks to the Home Office guidance then he or she will never be prosecuted.

Some police licensing departments have accepted guns as antique that are not covered by the guidance.  But’s that an advanced topic for another time!


This is a site for collectors of antique and vintage firearms, those who are interested in old guns and those who might be interested in collecting if they knew more about it.  15 years ago, I bought my first my first gun, an antique percussion revolver.  It was an impulse buy while browsing through an antique shop.  “Does it need a licence”, I enquired?  No is doesn’t, I was assured.  It is an antique.  And there’s the thing.  if you live in Britain you might think that “guns are banned”.  Not a bit of it.  From the 1968 Firearms Act:

Nothing in this Act relating to firearms shall apply to an antique firearm which is sold, transferred, purchased, acquired or possessed as a curiosity or ornament

Over the years I acquired quite legally many guns under the authority of that “antique exemption”.  But what is an antique and what does kept as a “curio or ornament” mean?  The second part is the easiest to answer.  “Curio or ornament” means the gun is kept as a decorative item and not for its original purpose.  If the gun is owned with the intention of being fired, even occasionally, then the full rigours of certificate control apply.  What’s an antique?  Well that’s something I hope to cover on this blog.

I am hoping that this site can be a repository of advice about old guns.  How to spot a fake?  How to spot a refinished gun?  The legal aspects of collecting and what you need to do should you want to shoot any of your old guns.  I’ll be putting up pages illustrated with my own collection but I am hoping I can persuade other collectors to share photographs of their collectables.

My own collection centres on pistols from 1850 to 1920, but I have some that date before that and some vintage pistols that date from the 1940s.  Most are antiques but some require a firearms certificate to authorize their possession.

That’s probably enough of an introduction to start with.  If you have any questions, please ask.