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Bryan Hendricks, who writes’s Arkansas Sportsman column is fielding questions about the escapees. Guns he once owned and now, for whatever reason, doesn’t. In this case, a 1940 vintage Browning humpback.

The most remarkable gun I ever had was a Grade III Browning Auto-5 Light 12. I found it at Gene Sears gun shop in El Reno, Okla., in 1999. It had a solid gold FN (Fabrique Nationale) inlay at the back of the hump, and it was hand engraved with a 26-inch, improved cylinder barrel. It was in the box and had never been assembled.

That’s one I just might give up a body part for.

Most of us have had t0 let a firearm (or four) go for one reason or another. The need for food, clothing, and shelter can be demanding that way. Is there one gun you’ve let go of that you’d really like to have back?

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  1. I’ve been fortunate in that the ones I have let go, so far, I haven’t really been that fond of.

    One or two that I somewhat regretted purchasing in the first place, but that’s a different matter.

  2. Oh, yeah. Who doesn’t? Mine was an M1911A1 I picked up for a hundred bucks from someone who was hard up for cash. I carried it for several years as an off-duty weapon but one fine day my department issued an edict that we couldn’t carry anything larger than our issued .38 Specials because some lawsuits in California had been lost because the officers involved had seen “Dirty Harry” and blown bad guys away with .44 Magnums, which the liberal CA courts said was a no-no. A guy had been after me to swap the 1911 for a Model 39 S & W he had and since I couldn’t carry the .45, I went ahead and did it. It wasn’t until some years later that I learned what that WWII-vintage Remington Rand .45 was worth and I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

  3. The number of guns I’ve bought and sold is easy to keep track of. 2 and 1. It was a mosin, and it was a lot of fun. I miss it.

  4. My first machine gun. A Steyr AUG with the 9mm conversion kit.
    Still kick myself for letting that one go. I did make money on it, but…

  5. Tanfoglio Witness Elite Match in 9mm. I gave it to a friend as a gift for teaching me about real estate flipping. He ended up fucking me around for a few months about paying me $300 he owed me, so I told him to suck it. That gun could shoot a group into the diameter of a quarter and has a 10mm conversion kit; I’d venture to guess it’d be like a thinner, more accurate new Sig 10mm. That gun kicked prodigious amounts of ass.

  6. I bought a Winchester Model 94, saddle ring carbine at local gun shop for dirt cheap in 1998. It started me on a love affair with lever action rifles, and is the only gun I regret letting go of….and has made me especially cautious about getting rid of anything else.

  7. Robar NP3 finished P7M8 and a nickel Springfield 1911 customized by EGW.

    Dumb, dumb, dumb sales on my part.

  8. 8mm Nambu, with the real checkering and leather holster, and S & W Model 58, among others, but those are the two I most regret.

  9. Regret them all. All for $$$ reasons from time to time. Got rid of a pristine fixed-stock Franchi SPAS 12 and AK Clone approximately a year ago in order to afford the purchase a particular computer.

    Sold a Beretta 92F Model that had better bluing and finish on it than any other weapon I’ve ever seen (including a certain breed of Colt snake revolver people keep peeing themselves over on this blog).

    I gave-back an FEG in 9 x 18 pistol sold earlier to me, and I did the same with a nice Russian SKS (different seller) all because I knew the sellers were under similar $$$ duress.

    I lost a Ruger P94 in 9mm to a pawn shop. I had pawned it enough times, over long enough time to have paid for the darn thing a few times over, but could not recover it the final time.

    All great guns, but GOD decides what gets to stay in the safe, and HIS timing is ALWAYS PERFECT.

    • . . . which, irreconcilably broke your heart.


      If it didn’t break your heart, thank GOD you were sufficiently distracted.

      ; )

  10. Nickel Pythons and Diamondbacks that I foolishly traded away in the early 1980’s for other useless crap that I just had to have at the time—boy, do I now regret letting those beauties get away–along with my 3 original one-owner ’63; ’64; and ’67 Corvettes !!! DMD

    • iAmmo and Arms Unlimited.

      I just picked one up in my birth year (but then, I’m young yet). All look pretty good.

  11. Very first gun I ever own… a sig 220. She was a beauty. Shot very well. Never had any problems.
    Needed the money to finish college.

  12. A Sig 226 navy with the anchor carved in it and a serial number that was originally destined for the US Navy (in the early 90s). So sad I traded that pistol away.

  13. Only ever sold 1 gun; My first handgun. A Colt 1991a1; Sold to my brother when I made the switch to shooting 9mm.

    I got it back after he lost the fight withColon cancer last fall.

  14. A very early 6″ Python, practically NIB. It was too nice to shoot and Pythons were still readily available pretty much everywhere. I got 5 or 6 guns out of that deal, but it still stings a bit.

  15. Just one, a Browning Hi-Power that was stamped ‘Hi-Powr’ so I thought it was a knockoff, but 16V here pointed me to a link that indicated it was actually worth about a thousand bucks.

    *Butter* smooth and slick cycling gun, drop-dead beautiful metalwork and finish, but the fact it was stamped ‘Hi-Powr’ and not ‘Hi-Power’ left me a bit uneasy it was a knockoff. Bought it and sold it for about 300, so I didn’t lose any money, but I let it go at a 700 dollar discount…

    • There was a Ruger 70’s vintage stainless Ranch Rifle with an original ‘sterile’ folder that had the last 3 digits of its serial number ‘223’…

  16. I’ve given two guns away. A Savage 30.06 and a Stevens SXS 12 ga. Gave em to my dad.

    I’ll get them back someday, hopefully not too soon.

  17. A 1937 dated Z-24 in excellent shape for $200. Saw it on two separate occasions months apart. On the third visit to the shop, it was gone.

    My early Freedom Group Marlin model 1894 in .44 magnum. Sold it four years ago and have only recently begun to regret it.

    I still kick myself for not buying multiple cases of surplus 8mm Mauser six years ago.

  18. An SKS and A Makarov that I bought in the mid-nineties along with a case of ammo each.
    Paid about $200 for the whole kit. Now you can’t find any single piece of that for less than $300!

  19. The one I let get away was a ruger SP-101 chambered in 9mm instead of 357 Magnum.
    I didn’t realize how rare the 9mm versions were, and they didn’t even require moon clips!

  20. A Colt Python I bought used at a local gun shop. Had the original box and owner’s manual. Paid $1500 5 years ago. I’ll never touch another one for that price.

  21. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your glass half empty or half full philosophy) I don’t have enough guns to consider selling any of them…

  22. None. Still have the Remington Model 11 my Dad bought the year I was born and a Model 94 Winchester my Uncle bought in 1953.

  23. My Gen 2 Glock 17. I gave it to my nephew when he turned 21. It wasn’t my favorite pistol, but I figure I should own at least one Glock. I really hate finger grooves, though. If the 17M ever reappears in a functional form, it’ll do.

  24. Had a beautiful Hi-Power T series I let go of a few years back that was mint like. That was a dumb one.

  25. My German made porcelain Glock 7. I lost it at the airport around the holidays some time ago.

  26. There are two I wish I had kept. An original Russian Tula 1950 SKS all numbers matching non arsenal refurb. If an SKS could be beautiful that one was with the early type receiver. The other was a Norinco SKS model M thumb hole stock and factory AK47 magazine compatible. Ugly but a good shooter. There was a Tula SVT-40 for sale at a local gun shop about 7 years ago with two mags ok bore for $750. Wish I jumped on it.

  27. A beautiful NIB factory hard-chrome Hi-Power complete with gold trigger, “B” walnut grips, and original Browning vinyl pouch that I stupidly sold for $500 in the 1980’s–wish I could get a mulligan on all those stupid deals–but then we all wish that we had bought Apple stock at the IPO !!!! DMD

  28. An HK P7, excellent condition, and I’ve never seen one again for the price I originally paid. Dang it.

  29. A Sig 556 side folder I paid $650 for! How did I get such a good deal? I bought it from a border patrol agent selling it on consignment at Red Indoor range in Austin. Only good deal I have ever seen there.

  30. This was more of a wish I had bought it. since I have only gotten rid of 1 gun (a USP45 Stainless slide Cop gun traded for a ’94 German made P226 Threaded Barrel) and I don’t regret it.

    But my wish I had bought was a pre-75 Ithaca 37 Deer Slayer Police with rifle sights for $400.

  31. I passed up both of these in 2008, both full autos-

    A howco Fn FNC for 5k, flat.
    And a Colt sp1 conversion for 5999.

    Had the money, but was hesitant to part with it during the recession. I thought no one else would find them, as they were listed on a somewhat obscure site. Someone did.

  32. I regret letting go of an SP101 I acquired in a trade. I just wasn’t into wheelguns at the time, and it was worth about the same as another gun I wanted more. Well, that gun I got has come and gone, but I still miss the revolver.

  33. HK91 with retractable airborne stock 1985. I bought it at the famous B&B Guns in North Hollywood. This shop reminded me of a small warehouse and you had to take a number to get to talk with an employee. I sold it for more than I paid for it in 1991.

  34. The first pistol I ever bought was possibly the best. It was 1968, I got a Browning Challenger (one), made in Belgium to exactly John Brownings early specifications. It came with both the 4″ and 6.5″ barrels, I got 3 additional mags with it and it had a very rare left handed one piece grip. This pistol had the best trigger of any pistol I have ever (before or since) used. The bluing was shiny and dense everywhere, and the grip was also beautifully finished. The trigger was gold plated too. Sure wish I still had it

  35. The first firearm I ever owned, a Ruger Mk. II SS target model, I sold just a year or so after I bought it, and that decision has given me infrequent pangs of regret, typically when I go to clean the S&W 617 that eventually replaced it. With the Mk. IV now available, that 617 may find itself back in the gun shop. Other than that, I don’t have any real regrets or attachments to past purchases that I’ve ended up selling off.

  36. A lot. I wish I had kept at least one of my single action .357’s instead of trading them all for 41s and 44s. I wish I had kept more than one J-Frame, since I like to keep a Rifle, Pistol and a Shotgun in all of my soft cases. All the rifles are ARs, all the shotguns 500’s but the pistols are all varied. I would have liked the uniformity. At lest one of my 338WMs, but I just never shot them. Same for my model 70 7mag, but I just never shot it after my 280AI was finished. I have this thing that I sell any firearm if it hasn’t been shot in a couple of years, and since I have a lot of guns, that still happens sometimes, even though I shoot just about very day.

  37. Not one I regret selling, but there is one I regret passing over. A modified Remington model 81 in .300 savage. It was a police issue modified for a detachable magazine.

  38. Probably the 590A1 I ditched for cash for some bill or another. I tend to do that a lot. It wasn’t anything I can’t get again, just don’t want to pony up the money for it.

    Maybe regret selling the RTF2 G19 I had. I just couldn’t carry it without wearing an extra shirt because those things will rub you raw. Luckily, I’ll probably get willed another someday.

  39. i was glad to get fifty for the davis, and good riddance. the buyer’s nickname was buckethead.

    i washed on the security six. given to me when a friend passed, lost after loaning it to a kokoreeree war vet who managed to have it taken away by the local finest. eh, la.

    bought his and hers ruger mkll’s, one stainless, one blue, both gov’t bull barrelled. she’s got the blue one in atlanta. even though it was a gift it bugs me ‘cuz she doesn’t shoot it. hopefully her kids will…

  40. Who doesn’t have at least one they let go.

    Commerative 1894-1994 Winchester, bought at Wally World in 94′.

    Ruger Police Service Six.

    BUT, as the story goes, I recently acquired, as the pic showed, a mint 1954 Belgian FN Browning Auto 5 12g. H grade standard weight, not the light Humpback. So what goes around comes around I suppose.

  41. The one I wish I had back is a FN FNP-9. Two-toned, with five mags (three 16 round and two 10 round,) it was one of the last of the FNPs made when they introduced the FNX. I’m consoling myself with my “runner-up,” a SIG P250 in 9mm.

  42. I wish I would’ve kept my first and third handguns: S&W model 60 and S&W model 686. Still have my 1992 Glock 17 though. It’ll probably outlast me.

  43. Smith and Wesson Model 38 snub with a blued frame and stainless steel cylinder. I’ve been told that the gun was a limited production made for a state police agency – maybe Illinois or Indiana. I bought it because it looked cool and carried it as a backup and off duty piece for a year or two. I wasn’t real happy with the pistol because it had an aluminum frame and I was afraid to shoot hot loads from it. Smith came out with the stainless steel hammerless 640 in .357 a couple of years later. I sold the Model 38 to a deputy who wanted a light .38 special for his wife in order to partially finance the 640. I still have the 640 but I regret selling the Model 38 because of its unique (to me) appearance.

  44. I didn’t quite let it go myself, but I wasn’t vocal enough at the right time. My dad had a Model 12 shottie, 12 gauge that he’d had since the 1950s. When I asked him about it a few years before he died, he told me he’d traded it. Which he had, for a POS Winnie semi-auto. He never used it. I’ve used it a few times, and whenever I see it in the safe I just growl to myself.

  45. Hand guns:
    Smith&Wesson Model 59
    Ruger Super Redhawk 44 mag

    .308 Battle Rifles:
    HK Model 91
    Springfield M1A 18″ barrel

    Bolt action:
    Savage FP 110. 300 WinMag

    12 gauge shot guns:
    Franchi LAW 12
    Benelli M1 Super 90

    Warsaw Pact rifles:
    Hungarian AKMS
    Bulgarian Arsenal SLR 95
    Russian SKS
    Yugoslav Model 59/66


  46. My first gun, a Remington Nylon 66 in Mohawk Brown that my dad bought for me, brand new, for my 12th birthday in 1960.

    I shot it in competition and I think I might have slept with it (unloaded, natch), as only a 12 year old kid would do. The Nylon 66 doesn’t have a reputation for accuracy, but I could shoot the nuts off a gnat at 50 yards with that little popgun.

    That rifle practically paid for itself in squirrel tails that first summer. Then something terrible happened to me — I discovered girls, and my trusty little rifle was put away.

    Bad choice. Real bad. Thinking about those girls and the ones that came after, there’s not one that I’d like to have back today. But more than half a century later, I sure do miss that rifle.

  47. I don’t regret anything I’ve sold, but I no longer sell any guns. No it’s just an add to the existing collection for my children someday.

  48. The Mossberg 151 with a Mannlicher stock I had when I was a kid, got it when I was around 14. Replaced it much later in life with a much nicer Ruger 10/22 Stainless with full length Mannlicher black/grey laminated stock, but the extremely fond memories remain.

  49. Just an “Oh, Damn, Dummy”. I didn’t ask. So my Dad gave it to my niece. What, you say? The Model 70 Featherweight 30.06 he purchased in 1957.

  50. The short answer is, no. I don’t regret anything that I have sold.

    Back around 2005 my dad passed, and left me with a bunch of oddball guns. I surveyed my ammo cache, and was dismayed by the number of different calibers: There was .22LR, 25 ACP, 32 ACP, 7.62X25 Tokarev, 9mm, .38 S&W, .38 Spl, .357 Mag, .45ACP, 22 Magnum, .22 Hornet, .30 Carbine, 32-20 WCF, 7.62X39, 7.65 Argentine, .308 Win,.410, 20ga, 16ga, 12ga! I may have missed a few, because the dang ammo shelf looked like the freaking ammo isle at Bass Pro! The situation was out of control, and I decided that I had to simplify my inventory if I was going to have any sort of coherent collection.

    I got rid of every firearm except those chambered in .22 LR, .38 SPL/.357 Mag, 9mm, .30 carbine, .308, .410 and 12ga. Things you can find in BFE if you have to. The .25 autos (worthless things!) went first, then the CZ-52 and my dad’s weird Marlin .22 Mag. I had owned the 1891 Argentine Mauser since I was in 6th grade, but it was just a wall hanger, so it went too. All the wall hangers went except for my grandpa’s Remington 510X and his Essex double, because I have fond memories attached to those guns (and they’re useful in their own right). I resolved that I would not add another caliber to the collection unless it filled a particular niche (or replaced a less useful caliber).

    Fast forward to today, and I have added three cartridges to the list: .338 Lapua Mag (it’s the shiz nitz), .223 because Steyr Aug, and .380 ACP in the form of a Sig P230 because I’m skinny and I print easily. I also removed a caliber when the M1 Carbine’s role (centerfire rifle trainer) was taken over by my 9mm Sig MPX carbine.

    I’m a bit of a minimalist. I like for things to be useful and have a purpose. I use firearms for training, self defense
    and hunting. If it doesn’t have a place in that scheme then I don’t want it, (but show me a reasonably priced Sig P210 Super Target and all bets are off. 🙂


  51. I had a 1911 built for me by a local gunsmith. Caspian slide and frame, kart barrel, Heine sights, etc. I traded it for a couple of other guns. That is the one that haunts me.

  52. None that I have sold, but there is one I really regret not buying approximately 25 years ago. It was a Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington marked, “Property of the Kentucky State Reformatory”.

  53. I passed on a Colt 1911A1 JSB inspected for $400 cause back in 1988 I thought they were all GHD inspected…what a stupid kid I was!

    In 1989 I sold an HK41 for $900 cause it was not a 91…still a dumb kid.

    Then I passed on a 1941 Johnson Rifle for $900 because all the numbers did not match…what the hell was I thinking? Found out years later the numbers NEVER match! Idiot

    I’ve learned my lessons…always buy never sell

  54. A rather long list I’m afraid. Mostly because of temp money crunch. Stupid stupid me. Bottom line, I regret all of them!

  55. My M1 Carbine with matching numbers in beautiful shape, got it for $50, 23 years ago. Sold it for a 100.00 a few years later and was so proud of myself for doubling my money. 20 years later, still occasionally kick my own ass for selling it.

  56. a 1955 Remington 940 (next year it was a 942) semi auto 30.06. Was my dads deer gun, I used it a few years then hard times hit (nasty divorce) Ex-wife sold it while we were separated, at a garage sale. She had no idea what it was worth…somebody got a great deal!

  57. I got rid of my jam o matic baby eagle .45. Now that I am a bit older and wiser I think I could have fixed it. It felt great and was actually fairly concealable. I never carried due to the feeding issies. Oh well, maybe I’ll look into a CZ97 to replace it. It would add to my Czechnology collection.

  58. My 8″ Colt Anaconda I bought new for $400 in ’92. I needed college money, but had no idea how much I would miss that gun or how collectible it would eventually be. Told myself when I got a job and settled, I’d buy another one. Ha….

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