View Full Version : C & R Pistol Collecting

July 12, 2010, 09:46 AM
A friend of mine, who loves old long guns , asked me what C & R pistols would be great as collectibles, & are still reasonably priced ? I had no idea & am asking here.

July 12, 2010, 11:59 AM
CZ 82 is C&R eligible, a fine handgun too.

July 12, 2010, 12:02 PM
Tokarevs, as well. Nagant revolvers are getting scarce, but a fella can still find a sub-$100 deal if he keeps his eyes peeled.

In the $~200-$300 range, I see that fair to good Colt New Army/Navies are kind of under appreciated.

July 12, 2010, 04:26 PM
A few favorites...

I frame Smith & Wesson revolvers, particularly pre-1950 models with a leaf mainspring rather than a coil mainspring. The I frame is the predecessor of the modern-day J frame; they can be found chambered in .32 Long (6-shot), .38 S&W (5-shot), and .22LR (6-shot), roughly in order to increasing rarity
Colt Police Positive revolvers. FWIW the Colt cartridge names sound strange but are the same thing as more common S&W cartridges; Colt did not want to put their archrival's name on their guns :rolleyes:
Savage .32ACP & .380ACP pistols (Models 1907, 1915, & 1917); the 1907 is particularly nifty because it was designed to work around John Browning's patent on grip panels attached by screws (no joke, he actually patented the concept), and the entire pistol is designed without the use of a single screw! :cool:
FN Models 1910 and 1922 .32ACP (common, inexpensive) and .380ACP (uncommon, more expensive) automatics. The FN 1922 is a descendant of the 1910 with a longer barrel, greater ammo capacity, decent sights, and a detachable nosecap that allows it to be taken apart without a special barrel bushing tool; it's also a lot more common due to abundant WWII bringbacks, but it's not necessarily a lot more expensive
Mauser HSc and its more homely predecessors (Models 1910, 1914, & 1938); all are actually quite mechanically similar, but the HSc was radically restyled to compete with the Walther PP-series
Beretta M1934 (.380ACP) & M1935 (same thing in .32ACP)

This should get you started. :D

FWIW when looking at older European automatics, 7.65mm Browning = 7.65 = .32ACP, 9mm Short = 9mm Kurz = 9mm Corto = 9mm Browning = .380ACP. Different countries, different terminology. ;)

Big Shrek
July 12, 2010, 10:04 PM
Anything made by High Standard before the Texas Buyout.

Those East Hamden pistols are unbelievably precise...

July 13, 2010, 05:19 AM
Are you talking just pistols or are you talking about revolvers too?

A great placve to start a C&R pistol collection is with CZ 52, Tokerev, CZ 82, systema Colt, Astra 400, and Star BM. If you want to get into revolvers too, Nagants are still real cheap. Oncr you get a FFL the best thing you can do is buy a box of envlopes, a book of stamps, a Shotgun News, then make 20 copies and then mail them to every FFL in SGN. You'll get flyers describing special pricing info and the latest inventory items.

July 13, 2010, 05:38 AM
Thanks a lot. Keep the info coming on handguns, only. The only thing I knew to tell him was anything made by " Colt."

July 14, 2010, 05:23 AM
Pistols= revolvers or semi's are what he wants to start collecting. He really seems to like much older firearms, such as the antique, Cowboy revolver types, too. I have referred him to black powder forum as well.

July 14, 2010, 06:17 AM
Actually Estebon, revolvers and pistols are two different types of handguns. just like shotguns and rifles are two different types of long guns.

A pistol is a handgun whose chamber is integral to the barrel. Sub types of pistols are single shot top breaks, muzzle loaders, derringers, and semiautomatics and pepperboxes.

A revolver is a handgun with a rotating chamber. Some subtypes of revolvers are blackpowder, cartridge, top break, and pepperboxes.

Many people often use the words pistol, handgun, and revolver interchangeably, but they really have a much different meaning much as a clip vs a magazine. There are revolvers that use clips and pistols that use magazines but no revolvers that use magazines and very few pistols that use clips.

I've seen some swiss 7.5 mm revolvers for sale lately too, but at $800 they seem overpriced.

July 14, 2010, 09:34 AM
Now that the can is open, unleash the worms!!!

Historically, a firearm operated by one hand was called a pistol. The redefinition of "pistol" as a subset of handguns, specifically semiautomatic handguns seems to be a 20th century American phenomenon.

In the 19th century, as revolvers became commonplace, the two terms diverged in order to differentiate revolvers from single shot muzzleloaders.

Personally, I think that it's just easier to say "revolver" than "revolving chamber pistol", just as it's easier to say "pistol" than "semiautomatic pistol".

Anyway, I guess that the technical usage of the word depends upon which continent you hail from. My understanding is that the King's (Queen's?) English considers anything fired from one hand to be a pistol, regardless of its action.

FWIW, I tend to follow the American definition of the word...but it's not a settled matter.

James K
July 14, 2010, 10:32 AM
Off that old argument and back to collectibles.

The great Colt DA revolvers made from pre-WWI to pre-WWII. They are C&R, are beautifully made, and are still reasonably priced. They can often be found in near 100% condition, having sat, unfired, in desk and bureau drawers.

The vast miscellany of small pistols of the c. 1880-1920 era that are often scorned as "suicide specials". But there is a tremendous variety and they are just now coming to the interest of collectors; beaten up rusty junkers will never be any more than that, but many are in very nice condition and will increase in value. And some are very well made; the big F&W pistols are high priced, but the small ones, using the same mechanism, are often found in good shape for around $250. Same with guns like the H&A Safety Police, which had another take on the "hammer the hammer" safety, the small Colt revolvers, and S&W topbreaks, in good condition.


Magnum Wheel Man
July 14, 2010, 11:35 AM
I started collecting old top break & solid frame revolvers manufactured from the late 1800's & early 1900's this was the era of the black powder cartridge gun, & the switch to the 1st smokeless cartridges... these are normally pretty reasonably priced, good quality guns can still be shot albeit I load light loads of Trailboss & lead round balls for weaker or rarer guns if shooting them... even the S&W's in this era can often be purchased pretty reasonably ( most of which I'm talking about are 32 & 38 S&W ) there are alot of these guns that are Rim Fires, which I don't normally collect, except for a few examples, because they generally aren't shootable... excetions being the 22 Rim Fire which I shoot Colibri & Super Colibri ammo in those...

the Safety Police guns were mentioned, & I find them to be almost as shootable as the S&W's... BTW... there was a pleathora of gun inovations both in design & metal advances... I have a couple old Iver Johnsons, that have trigger safetys very similar to the glock trigger safety, & these are on pre 1900 guns...

BTW... in tha era, it was easier to produce a nice nickel gun than a nice polished blued gun, so the blued guns are more rare... & real MOP grips were not uncommon...

this is one of my nicer old Hopkins & Allen guns...


July 14, 2010, 02:12 PM
Well, I never knew there was a pistol/revolver,, etc debate. Just for ME , a pistol is pretty much like " hardcase " mentions. If I can fire it with one had, it's a pistol, which may be a revolver, semi, or whatever. I will just keep referrring to it that way.
I have always liked the Colt revolvers , too. A lot of American History is associated with that name. I have had a couple of the top break actions, like Iver Johnson, & " Lemon Squeezer." I guess the uniqueness of some of the " Saturday Night Specials " could be added to the list as well. I have always frowned upon those. I played hookie in high school & a friend & I went target shooting. I had an H & R 999 back then & he had an Italian .25 " Something." It blew up in my hand ! Lucky I wasn't injured badly !
Thanks for the suggestions & add more if you can.

July 14, 2010, 04:35 PM
I thought the Pistol/revolver thing went away in the 1960s. At that time, there was much pontification about it being ignorant to call a revolver a pistol because of the barrel/chamber thing.
Somebody finally noticed that Samuel Colt had called his invention a "Revolving Pistol" and the argument achieve the status of " Pneumologism" -a word or construct designed primarly to underscore the intellectual superiorty of a blowhard (no digs to present company intended)

July 15, 2010, 05:43 AM
Very nice pistol, Magnum. I'll talk to him this weekend & give him some ideas of what to collect. I recently saw a few of the above mentioned ones for sale. One old H & R topbreak, which should be cheap enough !
Knowing him,,, he wants to collect as an investment, rather than a hobby. He is like a politician. " He has money, but always wants more & more ! "

July 15, 2010, 09:29 AM
H&Rs in the 1890-1910 vintage seem to be horribly underappreciated right now. I've picked up a few "The American" models for well under a hundred bucks. They made a gazillion of them, to be sure, but if your friend is thinking in investment terms, it wouldn't surprise me to see a $70 gun become a $150 to $200 gun in the not to distant future. And that's not too bad a return.

^^$40 in the local classifieds late last year^^

a word or construct designed primarly to underscore the intellectual superiorty of a blowhard (no digs to present company intended)

You're channeling my wife! She calls me a blowhard all the time. I think I like you :D

Magnum Wheel Man
July 15, 2010, 10:05 AM
also the Iver Johnsons & some / most of these have almost a cult following...

I particularly like Hopkins & Allens over the H&R's & Ivers because of some of the options they offered that were not available on the other brands... on non top break models, most guns of this era had open loading ports... & while it looks like the cartridges could just fall out, the way the gun indexes, the cartridge never lines up perfectly with the open port which would allow the brass to slide out partially & lock up the revolver... but it could happen if shooting in an upward angle...

this is an example of the open loading port on a gun I'm sure was unfired, when I bought it... it was / is chambered in 30 rim fire, which became obsolite long long ago... I had some rifled chamber insered made for the cylinder, so I can shoot 22 rimfire safely in the gun.... ( I use Super Colibri ammo which uses only priming compound & no gun powder ) out of the short cylinder length barrels & through the 30 caliber barrel, where the bullet doesn't contact, I get about 500 + fps out of this lil spur trigger


2 of the options I like on Hopkins & Allen guns are the folding hammer & one of the 1st loading gates... finding guns in good condition with a couple of options makes them good investments...

( most of this ammo was corrosive, so finding guns with good finish & or good bores are pretty challenging ) BTW... the blued & pearl gun I pictured earlier is also in almost unfired condition with a good bore as well...

I bought this gun for $80.00 less than a year ago, it's in almost unfired condition, 38 S&W with the bore good with no pits, it has both the folding hammer & a loading gate... I think I got a great deal on it, & honestly feel it's worth more in the $175.00 range... but I wouldn't sell it for even $200.00 today :)


July 15, 2010, 10:07 AM
looks like someone hit that poor thing with the 40 grit

Magnum Wheel Man
July 15, 2010, 10:28 AM
BTW... the S&W is still probably the most collectable, though you'll likely pay more for them in the 1st place...

this is a S&W in 38 S&W, top break & a "lemon squeezer" the picture hides alot of its faults, but it's over all a pretty nice gun... I don't particularly like shooting this model... it's longer in the grip frame area, which I find I don't prefer... the "squeezer" function is very light & IMO, doesn't change the shooting charictoristic... just don't like that extra length between the back of the cylinder & the front of the grip...

my preferences here don't seem to hurt the collectability though ;)


BTW... the 38's seem more a bit more rare & carry a higher value than the 32's with all the guns of this era...

& the 22 rim fires are harder to find in good shape & can carry a higher price... probably for at least these 3 reasons

they got shot more, & guns in this era were often of marginal quality in the 1st place, it was not uncommon to "wear them out"

the smaller bore & chambers were harder to clean, & the 22's often belonged to younger shooters... the black powder 22 rim fire cartridges that alot of these were made for, was corrosive, so lots of them look pretty abused

there is no chamber difference between high velocity 22 lr & the old black powder cartridges, so alot of guns that were design for realitively low pressure black powder 22 cartridges got subjected to modern 22 cartridges & the actions, the hinges & or latches on top breaks, or even the cylinders have been destroyed...

I had to look for quite a while before I found a "good deal" on a top break 22... this is my US Revolver ( made by Iver Johnson ) that is in really good shape, bore is perfect... it still cost me more than most of the other guns in this part of my collection...


dogtown tom
July 15, 2010, 11:12 AM
The first gun I bought with my C&R was a Colt Woodsman .22 pistol.
All of the Woodsman (inc. Huntsman, Targetsman, Challenger, etc) are C&R regardless of the actual year of manufacture.
There are enough variations among the three series to make collecting fun....and they are fine shooting little .22's.

I've also bought a couple of Remington Model 51 .380 pistols. Until this year it was the only semiauto ever made by Remington.

July 15, 2010, 11:51 AM
An IJ Owlhead is a a true piece of Americana. This one has a huge bc gap and gets about 500 fps with factory 38 S&W. The steriopticon picture is of the Russo=Japanese war picked up at the St Louis Worlds fair by my grandfather.

July 15, 2010, 12:24 PM
Well, if we're showing off C&R barbeque guns I've got a couple;

Browning 1910/22 in .380. It's all factory.

S&W model 10 in .38 Gold accents were added (not by me) the rest was factory. Odd part of this pistol is it has a 2 digit serial number. Being a bench jeweler I guess I could remove the gold plating easily enough but just opt not to.

July 15, 2010, 01:01 PM
Browning 1910/22 in .380. It's all factory.
FWIW the Browning 1910/22 is an alternate name for the FN Model 1922 I mentioned earlier. The 1910 was one of John Browning's earlier designs and IIRC was the first mass-produced automatic with the recoil spring around the barrel rather than around a separate guide rod. That's why the pistol's lines are so slender.

This pistol and the Remington Model 51 (re: dogtown tom's post) are fun to show off to Glock fanboys who believe that striker-fired pistols are a recent innovation. ;)

Actually, speaking of which, another nifty C&R pistol is the J.P. Sauer & Sohn (usually referred to simply as "Sauer") 38H. It's a DA/SA concealed-hammer automatic with a nifty and unique feature- it has a grip-mounted lever that resembles the decocking lever on modern SIG Sauer pistols, except that in addition to decocking, it will also cock the pistol. :cool: IIRC it's also one of the first pistols with a tactile loaded chamber indicator.

July 15, 2010, 01:11 PM
I want one of them 1910s or the 1955 variation. If bobs gunshop is any good, there are plenty of spare parts and magazines.

July 15, 2010, 02:47 PM
The "loaded chamber indicator" seems to be a German trait in semi automatic pistols. Lugers come staight into mind as well as many others.
The FN 1922 pictured above is nice however I do prefer shooting it in 7.65 rather than .380. The 32 Cal is much more comfortable. One of these days I will find a 1903 Colt that's afordable. Just another fine example of Brownings parallel ruler design. I would like a FN1910 C&R in good condition but there aren't to many to be found at a reasonable price.

I think the part that's not mentioned about collecting C&R firearms is the hunt itself. Finding and learning about a piece of history that we can proudly show off, both on the range and off. Yeah, that glock at the range may be impressive, but when I bring out the artillery Luger out of it's case all eyes are on it.
The icing on the cake is finding it at an affordable price. Going to estate auctions, cruising GB, and checking out-of-the-way pawn shops for that new piece. That's the fun.:D

A Luftwaffe rig complete - FN 1922 7.65, great shooter, got my son into C&R with it.

James K
July 15, 2010, 03:04 PM
Just to be a wisea$$. Carguychris, you might not want to use the Remington 51 as an example of a striker fired pistol because it is a hammer gun.

And, Drachenstein, the Model 1922 is not a "parallel ruler" locked breech design, it is straight blowback.

The Model 1922 is just the Model 1910 altered for a longer barrel and longer magazine, which were features wanted by FN's military and police customers. Same basic gun.


Magnum Wheel Man
July 15, 2010, 03:34 PM
BTW... the pocket autos can be a nice item to collect as well, typically don't cost too much... I have a few, but being a revolver guy, I just can't get into them as much...

a Colt & an Italian 25 auto in this pic...


BTW #2... I have nearly one of every model of CZ semi auto up to the CZ 75... er ... well actually the 85 ( father in law was both a collector & Czech...:D alot of these were used by several countrys during the world wars, & can be quite collectable

a couple...




July 15, 2010, 03:48 PM
:oAnother fine example of checking your post prior to posting, especially after cutting and pasting. I stand in error. Should have read;

The "loaded chamber indicator" seems to be a German trait in semi automatic pistols. Lugers come staight into mind as well as many others.
The FN 1922 pictured above is nice however I do prefer shooting it in 7.65 rather than .380.The 32 Cal is much more comfortable. One of these days I will find a 1903 Colt that's afordable. Just another fine example of Brownings parallel ruler design. I would like a FN1910 C&R in good condition but there aren't to many to be found at a reasonable price.

You are right FN 1922 or Browning 1910/22 is blowback operated :o no argument there. In so far as the nomanclature it's been called FN 1910/22, Browning 1910/22, FN 1922, Browning 1922, but it's proper military designation is the M1922.

July 16, 2010, 07:34 AM
Just to be a wisea$$. Carguychris, you might not want to use the Remington 51 as an example of a striker fired pistol because it is a hammer gun.
Well nuts. After a brief online search, I found a cutaway drawing, and it does indeed have a concealed hammer. :o

I guess this is what I get for listening to a gun store clerk. I assumed the guy was right because he's actually extremely knowledgeable about older small-caliber automatics.

Since I'm usually the one being the wisea$$ I guess I had it coming. ;)

July 16, 2010, 07:38 AM

What model is the CZ in the bottom picture? I don't recognize it. It's actually uglier than a Mauser 1910, which is really quite remarkable. ;)

Magnum Wheel Man
July 16, 2010, 08:03 AM
I'm not very good with remembering model numbers from any of the manufacturers... but believe that one to be a model 38...

here are a couple more...


& everyone has to have a '52


... & actually the thing I like about collecting the pistols the most...

... they are smaller & take up less space... I have a traditional 8 gun locker that is stuffed with milsurp rifles all pre AR, ( all have wood stocks ) some are Czech, most are American got a few oddities like the Swiss straight pull bolt... most of these are bolt action, but the newest 3 American rifles are all semi autos of course... anyway, I have about 12 or 13 crammed into a traditional 8 gun locker... many many more C&R & antique handguns fit into the same size locker space, that I have devoted to handguns

TX Hunter
July 16, 2010, 10:03 AM
I bought a Polish Tokerev 7.62x25 Pistol from Southern Ohio Gun.
The pistol they sent me, was in great shape, the barrel looks new.
It came with a good leather holster, extra magazine, and a cleaning rod.
I bought that gun, and 170 rounds of ammunition delivered to my door for $237.
It can out shoot alot of the newer more expensive pistols I have fired.
I also recently found out, that you can buy a 9MM barrel, Magazine and Spacer for about 50 bucks. It would be like having two pistols in one.
I recomend your friend look at one of these pistols. They shoot precisely to point of aim, are very simple to operate, and rugged.

James K
July 16, 2010, 01:30 PM
The bottom picture is indeed a Model 38, sometimes called the "Czech P.38."

The Germans called it the P.39(t), to avoid confusion with their own P.38 (t = Tschechoslowakei, the German spelling of Czechoslovakia). The used some, but did not have them made, mainly because .380 (9mm Kurz) was not in the Wehrmacht supply system.

It is a blowback, in .380 caliber, and is double action only. Takedpwn for cleaning is by pushing the button on the left side forward and lifing the slide and barrel upward. The slide then can be pulled off the barrel.