definition: to restore an item is to duplicate its' original condition as close as possible
definition: to preserve an item is to protect what remains of its' original condition
definition: an item that is original retains the parts and finish it had when first manufactured
Leave it alone? Bring it back to like new condition? Just get it working? Customize it? Polish it? Refinish it? Clean and preserve it? These questions have been asked many times concerning old Sheridan (and other) air rifles. So what is the best course of action? The answer primarily depends on the current condition of the rifle. Also keep in mind that from a collector standpoint it is always best to preserve than to restore.
Now, let's discuss current condition. The following grading system is derived from the NRA system for firearms. It takes into account whether the air rifle is functional or not. Also note that new seals, although replacement parts, do not detract from the grade since functionality enhances value. Restored guns can fall anywhere between new and poor depending on the quality of the work. However, it should be understood that a gun in restored new condition does not have the same value as one in original new condition. For many collectors the restored new gun will probably not even be valued as highly as a fine original gun. Customized guns are usually no longer considered collectable.
new_______100% factory original finish and parts / functions properly
excellent___80% factory original finish / 90% original parts / functions properly
fine_______50% factory original finish / 90% original parts / functions properly
very good__30% factory original finish / 90% original parts / functions properly
good______>30% factory original finish / minor replacement parts / minor cosmetic repairs / functions properly
fair_______>30% factory original finish / major replacement parts / minor parts missing / non-functional
poor______>30% factory original finish / extensive restoration needed / non-functional
restored________refinished to original factory standards
customized_____refinished/rebuilt to personal standards
Because it is often difficult to assign a grade to any given rifle, and it is subjective, the grading system is to be used as a guide. Also, sections of the rifle may fall into different grades. For example, the stock may be excellent while the receiver is fair. In general, a rifle in poor to good condition is a candidate for restoration. Preservation is the best course for one in very good or better condition............Let's take a look at the Super-Grade pictured below, assign it a grade, and determine a course of action.
Now let's look closer and take into account other considerations. Because the Super-Grade is somewhat rare and this rifle appears to be very original under the dirt and oxidation it should be preserved and made completely functional. This will enhance the collectability and value. The process is outlined on page 2 together with photos of the completed rifle.
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