Question of the Day: Do You Own Any Safe Queens?

I don’t own a single safe queen. OK, I’ve got a 1903 Colt Hammerless. In my defense, I take her to the range on a regular basis. I’d carry the thing if it was drop-safe. Cough Caracal Cough. Otherwise, all my guns are good to go. Don’t get me wrong: I understand the desire to acquire a special piece that spends most of its life just sitting there. Being. A firearm with quintessence (Smith & Wesson 686), perhaps. Or history (one of the lever guns above). Or sheer balls-out bravado (50-cal AR). There are plenty of owners who can’t resist the siren song of the safe queens. You one of ‘em?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

65 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Own Any Safe Queens?

  1. avatarWmc85 says:

    My .223 WSSM is now a safe queen since ammo is nonexistent and brass for it has went extinct.

  2. avatarTrogdor says:

    Unless the gun has been deemed not safe to fire there’s no point in owning a gun that you never ever shoot. Guns that can still be shot have more collectible value than an identical gun that can’t be.

  3. avatarIn Memphis says:

    None here but Im only one year and three guns in to being a gun owner. If I had or ever get a safe queen, it would probably be something like a S&W 500 magnum. It wouldnt see much use due to lack of places to shoot and cost but I have a thing for big revolvers. Never shot one though.

  4. avatarGreg Camp says:

    If I can’t shoot it, I don’t own it. I have recently acquired reloading equipment, so that opens up possibilities that I didn’t have before, but I won’t have something that I’d be afraid of shooting and reducing its value.

    With regard to utility, well, I see a use for everything I own.

  5. avatarJ.K. says:

    Interesting that Fog Horn recently posted about “Crappy Guns,” which technically are safe queens.

    I’m with you on the utility side; I use my guns, for training and recreation, and they are ready to be used for defense. I don’t ever specifically look for a gun just to add it to a collection.

    I do however have a “Crappy Gun” type of safe queen; a .38spl revolver my father took with him to Vietnam, returned with it, was safely stored away by an uncle, and then given to me 5 years ago. Aside from inspecting it once in a while, I leave it wrapped in its oil cloth, sealed in a bag, and put away; I don’t even plan to clean it.

  6. avatarJohn E> says:

    My dad’s colt 1911, chrome plated. He carried it in WWII and Korea. I have fired it, but don’t do so now.

  7. avatarSkyler says:

    I’ve got some rifles that were my dad’s that can shoot and I’ve shot them but I think are pretty more than useful, such as a bolt action 16ga shotgun and a model 94 Winchester. The Winchester is not my cup if tea, but it was made in 1954 and is in almost perfect condition, probably only a few hundred rounds have been shot through it, and it really is gorgeous. But I never enjoyed shooting it. My dad used to keep it hanging on the wall when I was a kid, I’ll never sell it.

  8. avatarJames1000 says:

    I’d like to know the definition of a safe queen. Something that’s not fired weekly? Monthly? I run my handguns every range trip (3-4 times/month). But am finding that leave the AR and plinkster 22s in the safe more often than not.

    • avatarJim R says:

      I’d say a safe queen is something that sees so little range time that you pick it up and can’t remember the last time you took it out.

      Unless you haven’t been shooting because of the ammo shortage.

  9. avatarDJ says:

    I had an RPK that I sold recently. I didn’t feel like lugging a marginally accurate 20 pound rifle to the range.

  10. avatarJim R says:

    I don’t have the spare cash to have something I’m not going to use. I shoot every gun I own (which isn’t hard since I own very few)

  11. avatarBlehtastic says:

    I can’t find ammo right now that’s in my price range, so they all are, but no. Interestingly enough, I’d like a 686 for home defense and 640 for carry, but haven’t found either at non-panic buy prices. 12 shots is approaching pistol capacity and I just don’t trust magazine springs that stay loaded, no matter how much people say it’s fine.

  12. avatarPatrick says:

    An 1860s Gatling, if I had one.
    I guess I’d still shoot it sometimes, but not enough to prevent safe queen status.

  13. avatarHal J. says:

    Almost all my guns are safe queens. I’ve been collecting C&R guns for 30 years now; what’s funny is that I do have a fair amount of ammo for every one of my guns, no matter how obscure the caliber…even including such oddballs as 9mm Nambu revolver and 7.65 French Long. I simply don’t have much interest in shooting them.

    The recent events in Colorado have changed this, though, as I’ve acquired a number of more tacticool guns. They’re calling me…”Take me to the range…take me to the range!”

  14. avatarChuckN says:

    A 1895 Winchester. It’s in fantastic condition and still shoots accurately,
    but it’s in .35 Winchester. Finding ammo is about as easy as finding
    hen’s teeth. I actually have a reloading die, but brass would have to be
    custom made. The last quote I got was from Holland & Holland,
    $20 per case. So, for now, it waits in the safe.

  15. avatarAnmut says:

    I have a Marlin .22 from the 50′s that was my grand fathers. It’s not worth anymore than 90 or so but I keep it oiled in the back of the safe for a few different reasons. Mainly I have a lot better shooting .22′s I can go to the range with – but also in another way that I don’t want anything to happen to it.

  16. avatarKCglen says:

    A old 8 gauge

  17. avatarmike says:

    Thanks to the ammo situation, every gun is a safe queen now.

  18. avatarthatoneguy says:

    This ammo shortage has left everything but my .40 & .45 pistols and a shotgun to go hungry inside my safe.

  19. avatarMilsurp Collector says:

    I have two safe queens. A Marlin 336 centennial with no more than 25 rounds through it since its early manufacture in 1969 and a bolt action 16 gauge shotgun made by J.C. Higgins. Both were my grandpa’s until he gave them to me for my 18th birthday as a right of passage into manhood. The shotgun was his very first firearm which he bought from a family friend at age 16. He biked the three miles home with that gun slung over his back and a bag of shells in the basket without so much as a batted eyelash from anyone. This was in suburban Connecticut in the 50′s. Sometimes I wish I were born 70 years ago.

  20. avatarAharon says:

    My Winchester 94 Trails End Model .357 turned into a safe queen. I took Winnie out shooting just one time. She is too beautiful to take out of my home. Therefore, I have decided (sob) to sell her to a new owner and I hope a good home.

    • avatarShenandoah says:

      Track yourself down a pre-FG Marlin ’94P. Not only handy and compact, but also well-made and beautiful whilst retaining the feel of a “working gun.” I can’t understand why they took such a great gun out of production.

  21. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    Safe queens? Oh yes. Most of what’s in there.

  22. avatardirk diggler says:

    A Rossi .32 cal revolver that my sister in law gave me. It was her fathers and I am keeping it until my nephew turns 21 so I can give it to him in a nice keepsake box

  23. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Closest thing I’ve got to a safe queen is a 1950 Long Branch Enfield I paid $100 for back in the 90s. Maybe once a year I’ll take it out and run 10 rounds through it.

  24. avatarjwm says:

    No safe queens. I shoot every gun I own. All have use and all have a supply of ammo. I love guns too much to lock them away and not use them.

  25. Since I NEVER sell a firearm I have a number of “Safe Queens.”

  26. avatarensitue says:

    I still have a few; My Colt Commander in 30 Luger (1-500, Colt Letter.I bought it new 40 years ago.) has never been fired, but I do have a box of BUUULeets just in case

  27. avatarKahless1984 says:

    Beretta Steel I.

    Wish I had one!!
    If I did I think it would be a safe queen. I would take it out a lot but just to show it off ;-)

  28. avatarOddux says:

    I have a 16 gauge Ithaca Featherweight my grandfather left me that never gets shot because the ammo is too expensive to go shoot when I have a 12 gauge I can feed for 6x cheaper. Can’t bring myself to sell it because it’s all he left me and the first shotgun I shot, he taught me to hunt ducks and shoot clays with that thing.

  29. avatarRalph says:

    Even my C&R guns are shooters. It’s what they were made to do.

  30. avatarSilver says:

    I wish I had the luxury of safe queens. Absolutely no one in my immediate or extended family is a gun person, so no legacy guns, and as a refugee from NJ with my budget, I have enough trouble just building up a respectable collection of practical firearms.

  31. avatarCarry.45 says:

    I detail cars. With a mortgage and a two year old. Nothing superfluous for this guy.

  32. avatarLC Judas says:

    A Glock 32 tan frame I bought back when I was in love as a companion to my Glock 23 (my much beloved first gun). It has the same mods (or loose parts for them around here) as my personal piece but the lady in question and I parted ways (wisely) before I gave it to her. It has never been fired and I won’t sell it so if that’s the criteria for “safe queen” then she’s it.

  33. avatarLTC F says:

    I don’t remember the last time I fired my M44 Mosin, because frankly it hurts. (Though it is my bury in the backyard with a case of Bulgarian surplus ammo if the banners ban everything gun.) I haven’t fired my Arisaka Type 99 in 25 years. I have an EAA Colt 1873 New Model Army that the guys in the battalion I commanded gave me as a farewell gift when I changed command with my name and call sign engraved in the barrel. Everything else I fire pretty regularly.

  34. avatarWade says:

    My great-great-great- grandfather’s first generation Colt .44 SAA, used while he served with the Texas Rangers in the 1870s and 80s pacifying the Texas hill country around San Saba, where I live today.
    A sporterized Argentine Mauser a close family friend gave me.
    And my great-great- grandfather’s Sears catalog single shot 16 gauge.

  35. avatarC says:

    +110 year old Baltimore Arms double gun given to me by my uncle. As far as i know, it’s been in the family since it was new. Damascus barrels, one of which is dented, and short chambers, as well as being designed for BP cartridges. I have not shot it, nor do i intend to.

  36. avatarMark Horning says:

    Once the safe is full enough some of them inevitably become safe queens, only so much time after all…

  37. avatarDukeRL says:

    Well the couple of safe queens at my place are my wife’s through her father. A commemorative 92FS and a early ’40s Mauser 9mm Luger in great shape. I haven’t been too tempted with the 92 since I have one of my own without all the fancy gold stuff. However, that Mauser calls to me… But I will be good.

  38. avatarg says:

    I have a beautiful Colt Model 1887 “Thunder” that I inherited from my father that still has it’s original double action in working order. My dad bought it as a collector’s item, not to mention I think it had to do with his childhood fascination with cowboys despite growing up as a city kid in Oakland, CA in the 1950′s.

    I’ve never fired it, and probably won’t, out of respect for the gun and for fear of damaging it. I’m probably more attached to the cheap 22 rifle my dad bought for me as a kid. Maybe someday, for the right price, I’ll part with it… I’d want someone who’s a collector of those kinds of revolvers to have it. Or maybe a museum. Until then… in the safe it stays.

  39. avatarjanklow says:

    i think there’s definitely a point where, should you acquire enough guns, there’s at least one or two pieces that spend enough time in your safe to qualify as safe queens, especially if they fire something exotic, they’re more sentimental/crappy than really great for shooting, or frankly, if you just have enough redundancy in your collection.

    that said, i don’t think i have bought anything without SOME intention of shooting it. but there’s definitely stuff in there that i don’t ever intend to shoot again.

  40. avatarMartin says:

    I own a 150+ years old rifle. It is safe to shoot, it’s been tested and has the paperwork to prove it, but I take it to the range about once a year.

    However, I take it to the range *because* I don’t want it to be just a safe queen. Oh, and because making .69-sized holes in paper is fun.

  41. avatarxer 21 says:

    if you’re going to buy a safe queen, send me the money so i can not waste and buy something i’ll actually shoot.

  42. avatarTX Gun Gal says:

    Pretty much Bersa .32 Thunder is at risk of becoming a safe queen since ammo is as expensive as any centerfire ammo. At least I can still get sufficient .22 LR for Ruger .22SR, that’s the one most in play right now. And am very accurate with it. I really don’t believe in selling a perfectly good, functioning, guns. IF Stuff hits the fan, weapons become good as gold for bartering

  43. avatarJay Dunn says:

    My only safe queen is my 30 yo Smith 686 but not for the reason you mean. It stays fully loaded and at hand level in its special place just inside the safe door.

  44. avatarRuss Bixby says:

    Nope. The arms I bear work for a living, just as do my bare arms

    I’ve antique tools, antique electrical/electronic test equipment and antique sensibilities, and they all earn their keep.

    Quite well, I might add.

  45. avatarJay says:

    I have a Webley in the original .455. Even if I could find ammunition for it (backordered since last August), I doubt it would see a whole lot of use. Otherwise, my guns are all shooters (when I get a chance to take them out to the range, at least).

  46. avatarMr. Bob says:

    Nope, I shoot my 106 year old Bisley Colt whenever I can. It consistently out shoots everything else I own and the only reason I won’t carry it is that it’s single action. :(

  47. avatarKelly in GA says:

    I think I have all of you beat. One range queen, an old Jennings .22 pistol I got from my grandmother.

    Oh, I get it now. QUEEN. Something to be proud of. Nope. It’s just trash that I must hoard.

  48. avatarEric B. says:

    To me, as an amateur gunsmith and relentless tinkerer, a “safe queen” is less about how much I use a firearm, and more about how willing I’d be to chuck it up in the mill or lathe for some modifications. In this sense, I’ve got a couple firearms that belonged to my grandparents which get fired rather infrequently, and which I’d never modify (repair, yes, but not change from their original condition).

    The closest thing I’ve personally owned would be an absolutely gorgeous GA Precision bolt gun in .338LM. The thing was extremely well-built and shot amazingly well, but eventually became uninteresting to me as I couldn’t bring myself to modify it. It’s been replaced by a box of parts that will become a brand new rifle in a weekend’s worth of shop time.

  49. avatarratgeyser says:

    Nothing worth not shooting. I’m still shooting my .22 target pistol because it’s cheaper to practice with than my 9mm, but if .22 doesn’t come back to stores in the next 2-3 months my stockpile will run out and I’ll have less of a safe queen and more of an ammunition orphan.

  50. Nope, all my guns get rotated one time or another.

    Maybe if I acquire a very exotic firearm that is very valuable then that will become a “safe queen”. Otherwise, I shoot what I own.

  51. avatarBdub says:

    Just a Intratec DC-9 It got before the Assault weapon ban. I just bought it just to piss-off the anti gunners. I’d never sell it. I’ve shot it, but it’s a waste of ammo. The safest place to be when shooting it is directly in front of the barrel.

  52. avatarArdent says:

    My only safe queens are the first I ever owned; a .22lr marlin, and a gift from my grandfather; a turn of the last century shotgun that simply doesn’t need to be shot since I have others. The .22 no longer cycles but I don’t need it repaired and cant bear to part with it. I suppose there are others that aren’t getting much attention. . . in the safe that is seldom opened, but they are all shooters just waiting for their day.

  53. avatarAJR says:

    Unfortunately I have lots of safe queens, some purchased in a fit of silliness – FEG 9mm and 45acp :-).
    Some purchased in an attempt to preserve a piece of Americana – 1939 Savage 99 in 300 Savage, completely restored, I took all kinds of abuse for restoring this old girl.
    I had a brief period of Soviet era handgun madness – Radom TT33, CZ 52, they aren’t nice to shoot at all.
    Then a period of American made .32acp’s – Colt 1903, Savage 1907, Remington 51 and an H&R copy of a Webley – almost impossible to find parts so don’t go to
    the range very often.
    Some NIB rarities – Benelli B76 and SW Model 52-2 with boxes and original tags.

    The rest of the collection, BHP 9mm, Caspian 45acp – 5″ and 4.25″, 38 Super 5″, S&W J series model 60, Colt Challenger, High Standard model 107 enjoy range time once or twice a month depending on time.
    I love them all and can’t bear the thought of parting with any of them.

  54. avatarEdster says:

    I have safe queens, but for different reasons. I have a few never-fired guns that I do plan on using one day. I bought them cheap and kinda keep them on ice…as in hoarding. Plus, I have beaucoup ammo for everything I own. They include a CZ P-06 in .40S&W and a S&W 686 .357 that sits under the bed (loaded).

    I also own a new basic DPMS AR. I’ve fired it a bit, but only to sight it in. I’m kinda like a Swiss guy…saving it for the zombie attacks. Every guy’s guy needs an AR! :)

    Finally, I have a MR Desert Eagle in .50AE. I’ve only fired it a few times, but like it. I bought 200 rounds of ammo at $1.25/round. Now, it’s double that. Hard to want to shoot more than a few rounds at over $2/round. Every round fired is an experience.

    Otherwise, I just shoot my .22s, .380s, and 9s.

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