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Guide to Antique Rifles Collecting

After the Second World War, collecting firearms like antique rifles and guns became popular. This is especially true of antique cartridge firearms. Since the 1950s, collecting of antique firearms and similar collectibles gained popularity and continues to become more popular today.

Due to the dwindling supply of antique firearms and guns, this has resulted in a rise in prices for antique firearms, especially rifles. The price will become even higher when you are talking about rare but highly coveted rifles.

The field of antique rifles collecting is something that has been around for decades and shows no stopping soon. If you are an avid collector of antique military firearms and other accessories such as guns and rifles, take time to use the information below to help you determine the value for your antique pieces, whether you are selling or buying.

Most Popular Antique Rifles

If you are an antique collector or have an antique rifle collection that you wish to sell, it is important to go for the popular brands and models. Aside from the high level of demand, they are also priced much higher than other types of antique rifles. To provide you with a glimpse into the history of rifles collecting, you can check out the list of antique rifles below according to the type.

Here are the most popular infantry/combat rifles:

  • Caliber-30 M1 Garand
  • The Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK-47)
  • Mauser 98
  • US M16 Rifle
  • 1835 Enfield Rifle Musket
  • Lee-Enfield
  • StG44
  • FN Fusil Automatique Leger (FAL)
  • Dreyse Model 1841 “Needle Gun”
  • The Henry Rifle

 Here are the most popular lever-action rifles:

  • Browning BLR
  • Marlin 336
  • Marlin 1895/444
  • Ruger 96/44
  • Savage Model 99
  • Winchester Model 73
  • Winchester Model 88
  • Winchester Model 92
  • Winchester Model 94

 Here are the most popular bolt-action rifles:

  • Mauser 98
  • Tikka T3
  • Winchester Model 70
  • Remington Model 700
  • Weatherby Mark V
  • Ruger M77
  • Savage Model 110
  • Sako L61/AV

Types of Rifle Brands

Over the years, there are many known brands and manufacturers of rifles. Some of these brands are more popular than the others. Nonetheless, there are also some models that are rarer than the others. To help you find the ideal antique rifle to add to your collection, here is a list of some of the top rifle brands out there:

  • Remington
  • Sturm Ruger
  • Savage
  • Springfield Armory
  • Sig Sauer
  • Smith & Wesson
  • O.F. Mossberg & Sons
  • Glock
  • Beretta
  • Taurus International

Civil War Rifles

Civil war rifles are among the top collector pieces that are sought after by enthusiasts. If you are a history geek, as much as an antique firearms enthusiast, you will no doubt want to seek after rifles that date back to the Civil War era.

The revolutionary war rifles are characterized by the long barrel and the use of lumber over metal for the material. Hence, it creates a distinctive look that antique collectors seek out. If you can find Civil War rifles that can be fired still, you can get a high appraisal for these rifles. However, even if the rifles are no longer in a functional condition, they are still highly valued and command a huge price in auctions. You can find these antique rifles from the Civil War era showcased on private collections and exhibits, which also indicate its rarity.

When you own Civil War rifles and want to sell them, you need to have the rifles evaluated by experts. There are plenty of replicas made for Civil War rifles (along with guns) that are sold online and is available in the market. Only an expert can verify the authenticity of an antique rifle so you can buy (and sell) with confidence.

How Rare is the Rifle?

As an avid collector of antique rifles, you might be driven by passion to collect and add them to your collection. However, desire combined with passion can be a deadly combination when you are trying to build your antique collection. You can have the tendency to lose your sense of caution. But you should not because there could be plenty of replicas in the market, which are worth only a fraction of what the original rifle would.

In general, rare rifle models are going to be appraised at a higher value than the ones that are manufactured at a high volume. The older the rifle model is, it will also tend to become rarer because it has been a long time since they were manufactured. For this reason, most of the items of the same model have been damaged over time.

If you are new to collecting antique rifles, you need to see an expert to determine just how rare the model is that in your hands.

Appraisal for Antique Rifles

If you own antique rifles, you need to have it appraised by experts. Mearto offers expertise from our professional appraisers who can evaluate your antique rifles for its condition, quality, or any significance. With a document as proof of the item’s value, you stand a higher chance of selling your antique rifles at its estimated market value. 

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Would You Like to Sell Your antique rifle?

Mearto offers two opportunities to sell your antique rifle based on its current fair market value:

Customers with antique rifle expected to sell for $5,000 or more can take advantage of our complimentary Consignment Concierge service. We will contact leading auction houses on your behalf, collect offers and help you negotiate the terms of a consignment agreement. There is no additional fee or commission for this service.

For customers with antique rifle valued between $50 and $5,000, Mearto offers an exclusive Marketplace, which is accessed by a number of art, antiques and collectibles dealers around the world. If there is interest in your item, you will be contacted directly with offers through our platform. In the event of a successful sale, Mearto takes a 7% transaction fee.

To learn more about options for selling your antique rifle through Mearto, please click here.


Lindsey Bourret is the Managing Director at Mearto. In addition to overseeing the daily operations of the business, she also enjoys sharing her extensive knowledge of the fine art and antiques market with our customers through our website, blog, e-newsletter and social media accounts.

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