P.O. Box 320, South Hero, VT 05486-0320  www.herosarms.com  

E-Mail: sales@herosarms.com   Phone 802-372-4789 Fax 802-372-5900

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Ducks Unlimited Classic Dinner Guns

The Home Page has an alphabetical list of all guns in stock, and notes which guns have been sold


Ducks Unlimited Gun Prices - How to Evaluate Ducks Unlimited Guns

The first step is to look at the Blue Book of gun values, where all of the Dinner Guns are listed by year and model.  In my opinion the Blue Book values listed for guns sold from 1980 on are realistic, perhaps a bit high, but in the range of observed sales.  The values listed for guns sold from 1973 through 1979 strike me as being theoretical and exceptionally high.  There may be "collector" interest in some of these early guns but I am not aware of sales or even offerings in the $4,000 to $5,000 range for early 1970s Remington 870s or 1100s. 

Aside from the Blue Book values, there are three elements which influence the price of most things, including guns.

USE VALUE.  The Use Value of a gun is its basic functional value, determined in part by manufacturing costs, in part by how useful it is.  A pump shotgun tends to be the least expensive, a semi-automatic slightly more expensive and a multi-barrel the most expensive.  A gun which has screw-in chokes tends to be more useful than one which does not because it can be used with more different kinds of shot and for more different purposes.  So, a Ducks Unlimited Remington 870, which is a pump, with fixed chokes will be considerably less valuable than, for instance, a Ducks Unlimited Winchester Model 23 Side by Side with screw in chokes.  You can find the Use Value of a Ducks Unlimited gun by looking in the Blue Book and finding the value of the identical make, model and condition gun which is not a DU edition.  Most DU guns are in 100% condition.

ESTHETIC VALUE. The Esthetic Value of anything is far more subjective than Use Value.  As the Romans used to say, de gustibus non disputandum est - there is no disputing taste. Some people prefer guns with synthetic stocks and stainless steel barrels, others prefer camo.  In general, there are a fair number of people who find highly figured wood attractive and are willing to pay somewhat more than Use Value for something that appeals to them. 

Engraving is another matter.  An elegant full coverage, individually done, hand engraving job by a recognized engraver on a high value gun can add considerably to the price.  Mass production acid, laser, or machine engraving may actually reduce the value of a gun for many purchasers unless they find it uniquely attractive.  Much of the engraving on Ducks Unlimited guns falls in the latter category.  Printing a duck on a 28 Gauge gun (not usually a Gauge used for ducks) probably does not add much value for most people.  An actual solid gold inlay, inserted by hand, is much more valuable than gold plate or a medallion. 

In general, in terms of Esthetic Value, the highly figured wood found on most DU guns will add perhaps 10% to the price obtained from Use Value, sometimes more on less expensive guns.  The engraving may, or may not, add anything.  Beauty, it is said, lies in the eye of the beholder.  Finding a customer who finds the engraving beautiful may take a long time.

COLLECTOR-RARITY VALUE. The Collector-Rarity Value of an object is determined by several factors.

 The first interest of collectors is "condition."  Most DU guns are unfired in their original cases, 100% condition, and their quoted value in the marketplace, or in the Blue Book,  assumes 100% condition.  If they have been shot or have any marks at all all "collector" value disappears, and the gun has only "Use Value."  Some DU guns have been stored in their convoluted foam cases for many years, in humid environments, and have developed surface rust.  Rusted guns are un-sellable, except for parts or as "project" guns, generally for no more than 1/3 of Use Value.

Is this an exceptionally well made article?  Are there lots of them around?  Does the manufacturer's name have cachet?  (A Browning will sell for more than a Miroku although they are identical and Miroku makes Brownings.)  The Ducks Unlimited Dinner Guns (Gun-of-the-year) are anything but rare.  According to the Blue Book (24th Edition, P. 578) the smallest number ever was the first year, 1973, when they sold 500 Remington 1100s.  They went over 1000 guns a year in 1977, over 2000 in 1980, over 3000 in 1982, over 4000 in 1985, and over 5000 1987, thereafter varying from 2500 to 3500 Gun-of-the-years.  1995 was the only exception to this pattern when 1000 Browning Model 12 Reproductions in 28 Gauge were sold, meaning that they would probably go for a bit more than the other Browning Model 12 Grade V Reproductions (although nothing like the price for an original  Winchester Model 12 in 28 Gauge). 

One can see the relationship between rarity and price quite clearly in the Blue Book section on Winchester 94 commemorative rifles.  While there are variations in price due to the subject matter of the commemorative (John Wayne brings a premium), and an issue which had 17 copies made commands $13,500 per gun, issues which had fewer than 300 copies made tend to go for $2750, issues which had 1,500 made go for around $1,400, and many issues which had larger production runs have actually fallen below their original price or sell for about what a regular Model 94 would bring.  The 1986 Ducks Unlimited Model 94 saw 2,800 rifles manufactured and the average price is in the $700 to $995 range, about the same range as other Model 94 Commemoratives with that level of production.  With, on average, 3500 Ducks Unlimited dinner guns made every year there is no premium for rarity.

Ducks Unlimited also has sold smaller quantities of Sponsor Guns, and individual Chapters or States have sometimes ordered very short runs of very high quality guns, which should have, particularly in that State or region, some collector value (A Texas DU gun should bring more in Texas because of local connections than it would in Vermont).  Most Ducks Unlimited Dinner Guns have very little collector value.  Any visible use or wear removes any collector value a DU gun might have as there are so many which have never been used.  DU had a practice, at times, of selling different Dinner Guns with the same serial number through the same chapters year-after-year - so it is not rare for the four guns of the Flyways edition from the early 1980s to have the same serial number.  All that was required was for the same person to be the top bidder in his/her Chapter's Annual Dinner for four years in a row.

The bottom line is that if you look up the same model of gun in the Blue Book, with the same features, in the same condition, a DU dinner gun will sell for just a bit, perhaps 10%, more than the best version of the non-DU gun.  There are undoubtedly exceptions, and there may be some buyers willing to pay a substantial premium for some feature, but if you wish to sell a gun in a reasonable length of time it should not be priced above its market value.

People have often called Hero's Arms and offered to sell Ducks Unlimited guns for fantastic prices.  This seems to arise from two sources.  First, is the fact that they may have paid a fantastic price at a DU auction and think that the gun is worth what they paid for it.  It is not.  There are guns identical to the $895 Browning A500R listed in the recent sales above, for which people are asking $20,000 in one case, $15,000 in another.  No one who does the slightest bit of research will pay such a price.  The second source of fantastic evaluations is friends who look at the gun and say, "A collector will pay $15,000 for that."  My only advice here is that if you have such a friend offer the gun to him for half price, and see if his money follows his mouth.  In many cases the entire purchase price of the gun was taken as a charitable tax deduction (with the tax savings possibly being greater than the actual value of the gun), so whatever the gun brings on later sale in the secondary market can be considered "found money."

Hero's Arms no longer buys or sells DU guns because the sellers think their guns are worth much more than the buyers do.


P.O. Box 320, South Hero, VT 05486-0320  www.herosarms.com  

E-Mail: sales@herosarms.com   Phone 802-372-4789 Fax 802-372-5900

Principal Shotgun Uses

Brands

Shotgun or Shooter Characteristics

Parts & Useful Information

How to Buy

 All Purpose Guns | Collectors | Home Defense/Police | Hunting | Skeet Guns | Sporting Clays | Trap Guns | Home Page

Beretta | Browning | Caesar Guerini | Fabarms | Franchi  | Other | Remington | Rizzini | Ruger | SKB | Winchester | Home Page

Bargains | Big/Tall | Compact Adult/Youth | Gauge And Barrel LengthHA-Number | Right/Left Handed | Semi-Auto & Pump Guns | Side-By-Sides | Used Guns

 Abbreviations | Tips on Selecting a Shotgun | Photographing the Guns |   Ducks Unlimited Guns | Vermont Club Schedules | Chokes-Barrels-Cases | Odds-and-Ends | Order Guns | Home Page

How to Buy Your Gun | Contact Us | Exports | Lay-Aways | Seven-Day Return Privilege | Home Page