Can You Safely Shoot Commemorative Guns?
Russ Chastain 04.17.18
Many years ago, I watched commercials on television. I don’t do much of that anymore, but this was back in the dark ages before DVRs (or even VCRs). Back then, I seem to recall quite a few ads for commemorative guns on TV. I also recall my father grumbling about any sort of gun that was priced so high and that wouldn’t even fire!
These and similar ads in the backs of hunting and shooting magazines touted “guns” that differ from the ones we’re going to talk about here. They’re shaped like guns and they look like guns, but they were designed for display only and were never intended to be fired. In fact, they cannot be fired without altering them, and you should never, ever do so.
On the other hand, many actual firearms have been prettied up and sold at inflated prices under the “commemorative” label over the years. Winchester in particular has probably sold millions of them over the decades. Other reputable firearms manufacturers have also offered them from time to time. Can these guns be safely and accurately fired?
In the video below, Paul Harrell discusses these guns and then fires a few of his own.
It should be noted that some commemoratives are worth a good bit of money, while others are not… and unless it’s in NIB (new in box) condition, a commemorative will usually not be worth much more than a plain version of the same model. So be aware that firing a commemorative firearm may significantly reduce its resale value.
That said, I once owned a Winchester Model 94 commemorative that was rusty when I got it, and I never hesitated to fire that rifle. So if you’ve got a quality, designed-to-fire commemorative firearm that’s been allowed to rust or otherwise become marred, feel free to shoot it to your heart’s content; you’re unlikely to hurt your wallet when it’s time to sell.
Here’s the video. Enjoy.