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Commemorative okay?

Was wondering if any of you had ever actually fired a commemorative gun? Might they be dangerous, unreliable, inaccurate and short-lived? Would a pistol range allow you to shoot one? I've searched the Internet several ways and was unable to find any info. One guy on a forum said he was going to shoot one, but no result was posted. Maybe he can't write anymore?

I know about the resultant loss of value, don't need any words about that. In a last ditch situation could one of these pricey guns actually save your life? Could they fire a magazine full if you needed 'em to? I am kinda looking for a real world answer from somebody who actually tried it.

David Mehaffey

Via e-mail

Well, I can tell you the ones I've shot did fine. I don't have any safe queens, and everything I own gets fired if I can find ammo for it. I've had a couple of Colt 1911 commemoratives, a single action one, a Winchester Model 94 and a pair of Ruger Super Single Sixes (Colorado commemoratives?), and they all worked just fine. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot any of them. They are offered as real firearms so the quality needs to be there.

The biggest thing about the factory made "commemoratives " is they usually make too many of them to have any real value much beyond a standard model of the same gun, even though the initial selling price might be inflated a bit. The moral of the story is, if you like what you see, buy it, shoot it and enjoy it because you'll almost always NOT end up with a collector gun "sure to increase in value. " I'd venture to say if you check out a neighborhood gun shop chances are good you'll see various commemoratives gathering dust, with prices above a standard model. Once prices are lowered, they usually sell. But even then, it's a crapshoot. After all, you have to find someone who really likes the phony "engraving" you often find, cheap "genuine gold" (or chrome!) plating, shiny spray stock finishes and other do-dads that um ... uh ... sometimes remind me of a pimp-mobile.

Having said that, genuine, limited runs or editions, with high quality engraving, ivory or custom grips and obvious high quality often do, indeed, offer increased value. Shop and/or use a value guide like the Blue Book of Gun Values and you'll see both ends of the spectrum. RH

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Author:Mehaffey, David
Publication:American Handgunner
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2010
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