Exclusive: Regrets!

Most gun owners have a story or two of regret, usually the result of ridding themselves of a beloved firearm. Call it “seller’s remorse” or whatever, why anyone would sell a beloved firearm, I don’t know. But I think “beloved” at times gets redefined or at least reprioritized as we go through life. A variety of factors can contribute to this: Sometimes finances get tight and something’s gotta go to help pay a bill. Sometimes we are wooed by other firearms and something’s gotta go to pay for the cost of the new gun. Sometimes it is just sheer foolishness. One of my stories of regret is the day I got rid of my Smith & Wesson K-22 Masterpiece. I’d like to think it was out of necessity but it was probably just foolish.

How I Got It

3 I’ve always enjoyed firearms and shooting but didn’t really get into it until after graduating from college, when, not surprisingly, I could actually afford to purchase firearms and ammunition. I had already inherited from my grandfather a beautiful Remington .308 semi-auto hunting rifle. Unfortunately, I could never get out to hunt to actually use it. And I wanted a handgun. And a friend wanted my Remington. And he was willing to part with his K-22 in order to get it. So, we traded, straight up. He got a fantastic rifle. I got the K-22, in excellent condition, in the original box, with the original manual and owner documents, and even with the original wax wrapping paper. I was thrilled to get the K-22 but someday I’ll write the article about how I wished I had never parted with that Remington rifle.

The K-22 provided years of faithful service, firing .22 bullets down many a range with incredible accuracy. Credit the six-inch barrel, super-smooth trigger action, and easy-to-see iron sights that never needed adjusting. I plinked away in single action, easily hitting empty shotgun shells, one after the other, at over 10 yards. I fired in double action, putting all six rounds into a paper plate at over 30 yards. I cut smiley faces into paper targets, shot through the same quarter-sized hole, round after round, and shattered clay pigeons placed against plywood at the outdoor range. After firing 60 or 70 rounds I would wipe the gun down and do it all again. Afterwards, cleaning the K-22 always resulted in a beautiful, shiny metal handgun with wood target stocks that was perfect in every detail and a true classic.

How I Let it Go

2Soon, I became interested in concealed carry and my home state of Michigan became a “shall issue” state. Even though six rounds of .22 in a full-sized steel revolver with a six-inch barrel is better than nothing for a carry gun, I wasn’t about to carry the K-22. I wanted something smaller with a bit more punch and settled on another classic: A Smith & Wesson 642 — an aluminum-alloy framed .38 Special built on the smallish J-frame. It weighed only 15 ounces, sported a 1.875-inch barrel and carried five rounds of +P. Perfect.

Except I didn’t have the money to purchase it. What I did have was an old 7mm Mauser rifle and the beloved K-22 Masterpiece. I visited my local gun dealer who offered me hardly anything for both of them. Convinced that the S&W 642 would easily win the practicality test, I handed over the Mauser, the K-22, and chipped in some additional cash. The 642 came home with me.

The Aftermath

1Not many range sessions have gone by where I haven’t wanted that K-22. And not just for myself. I’ve had the privilege of introducing several young people to firearms and shooting and every time wished I had the K-22 to start them off. Yes, other firearms can fill that first-gun role, but not as well, especially not for younger shooters who struggle to keep a heavy stainless steel S&W 686 revolver aimed at a target or, unless they’re a bit older and stronger, to rack the slide on a Glock.

The 642 was a nice gun, of course, and fairly accurate for a snubbie. But, being so light in weight, it quickly became tedious to shoot for more than, say, 25 or 30 rounds. Sure would be nice to have that smooth, old six-shooter .22 back… Ironically and regrettably, the 642 is no longer with me, either. I foolishly traded it in for another gun. But that’s another story.

What firearms do you regret letting go?

— Mark Kakkuri

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22 thoughts on “Exclusive: Regrets!

  1. Scott Morris

    My regret is a six-inch S&W model 19. Someone had done a nice trigger job and had even jeweled the trigger and polished the trigger face. It was easy to shoot and very accurate. But I wanted something with a shorter barrel. I have never found a revolver as nice for even close to what I paid for it, or even for what I got when I sold it.

  2. Don Haines

    Where do I start. In no particular order: Ruger 44 Magnum Carbine, Luger 9mm, S&W M29,S&W 59, Walther PPK (original pre-war German), Erma 380 Luger look-a-like, M-1 Carbine, Ithaca 12 ga.pump, Winchester 1200, Winchester 22 pump.

    I usually get a bit sick when I see what it would cost to replace them in today’s market.

    Of course the same applies to my cars: 1963 Split Window Sting Ray,1966 Sting Ray, 1972 Corvette, Abarth 750 Zagato, Jag MII Sedan and a few others that I just liked.

  3. Victor Dobras

    40 years ago I traded a pristine S&W Model 27 5″ barrel .357 Magnum for a .44 Magnum Marlin lever action. I never fell in love with that Marlin. Boy, do I wish I had the Model 27 back.

    1. Roger Eckstine

      Funny how one man’s regret is another man’s wish. How much you want for the 44 Marlin?

  4. JAL

    I must say I miss 2 in particular. The one was my first duty gun a SW Mdl 28 Highway Patrolman. Very heavy on a walking beat but what a gun. The other was a nickel SW Mdl 49 bodyguard. I still have it’s blued brother which rode on my ankle for many years and occasionally takes a trip with me in my pocket. I feel your loss.

  5. Zermoid

    Top of the list would probably be a T/C Hawken 50 cal Flintlock given to me by a friend. We had some legal problems and needed a lawyer, or possibly lose our kids, the guns were our only way to pay for his services so they had to go. Sadly….

  6. Steve

    Not exactly a gun I “let go” as nI never actually owned it, but…
    When I was 18, I had a chance to buy a pristine Weatherby in 7mm Mag. I waived off because I’d recently bought another gun and was sure I’d get nothing but grief from Mom. The next day, no doubt thinking more clearly, I decided to buy it. But it was too late. Someone else had already bought it.

  7. Doug

    I had a Colt Scout Buntline .22 that I’d bought new in the 60’s and hadn’t shot in a few years . Bumped into a guy at a gun show in the 80’s looking at one in much worse condition and I said ” mines a lot nicer than that one “. His reply was ” what do you want for it ? ”
    All of a sudden I was selling it but hey , no big deal there’s lot’s of other guns around .
    Wish I still had it and my wife has never let me forget that I sold her favorite gun ! Wish she’d have mentioned that to me before I’d sold it ! Since then she’s informed me which one’s she really likes . As a matter of fact she’s got a few of her own now.

  8. STB

    Mine were, separately, selling a .357 Dan Wesson pistol pack; then a couple of years later acquiring a .22 version of the same, and later trading it

  9. Candy

    My Benelli Montefeltro. Being a “smaller” woman, I had found a youth model that was in very good condition & I got a good price on it. Had to pay bills though.
    I actually miss almost all guns I have gotten rid of.

  10. Eunice Betts

    Back in the late eighties, when Walmart was selling handguns, I bought my first revolver (had only owned a .410 shotgun before). The purchase was a S&W Model 19 with 4″ barrel. I still have a sinking feeling today when I see one. I was young and dumb and got into a financial bind and pawned it with the intention of getting it out. Regretfully, I never did. Ugh! I miss that baby!

  11. Ed Carol

    I had a WWII .45 auto made by Singer Sewing Machine Co. I loaned it to my Dad so he could shoot a .45 once in awhile with instructions that he give it back to me when he was done with it and that he would never have it repaired in any way. A couple of years later we went shooting and he brought out the gun. I almost died! The parkerizing had been removed and the gun blued with huge target sights mounded on it. The original grips were gone, replaced by some white plastic ones! The trigger had been replaced with an aluminum one. Dad was very proud! I never told him.

  12. Earl Minot

    Mine was a long time ago. It would have been 1985 or 1986. I had just broken into the industry. Myself and a partner had a small gunsmith shop. My partner was the gunsmith, I sold our services, picked up and delivered to gun shops within an hour or so drive. I learned a little gunsmithing out of necessity. I was young and acquiring an enormous amount of knowledge about the industry, and having a grand old time doing it!

    One day, one of our customers had a pair of custom built Marlin Ballards on the wall. One was a 38-55 target rifle with a perch belly stock. It was nice, but the .22 really caught my eye. It had a dark walnut stock with fine line checkering. The fore end was wide. The heavy barrel had scope blocks already mounted.

    What REALLY attracted me was the metal work on this rifle. From the outside, it was nothing fancy. But when you really looked at it, it was amazing. The Ballard action was a centerfire action, and it was chambered in .22 LR. The bore had been drilled off center at the breach so that the original firing pin position could be used. The bore was perfectly centered at the muzzle. It shot like a house afire. With Eley ammo, it held one ragged hole on many occasions (or on those occasions when I did my part).

    When I got it home, I started researching the name on it. A.W. Peterson in Colorado. It seems that Axel Peterson had opened his Denver gun shop in 1886. He had apprenticed under the great barrel maker Harry Pope. And here I was, owning an Axel Peterson rifle. I remember taking the fore end off once, and finding a neatly folded paper shim under it. I put it back together exactly as I found it. The guy that put it there knew more than I did.

    I don’t remember what I paid for it (or what I sold it for). I was young, and had a young family to care for. I did what I needed to do. We’ve all been there at some time.

    I’ve seen similar Peterson rifles sell for some hefty price tags at the auction houses. I haven’t seen that one though. Sure would like to have that one back.

  13. Roger Eckstine

    Mark, I also let a K22 pass. It was perfect. The machining was so sharp and precise I asked the dealer how come its quality put other guns to shame. He said it was made during the Depression and there was no rush to finish it as no one would have the money to buy it. You can imagine the bluing.

  14. Dennis Lantz

    The guns I wish I still had are the ones that were stolen. Younger and single, out of carelessness I did not have a gun safe, and lost several. I got one back and still have it, which is another story, but the crime is that still w/out a safe, I lost several more to a drug-involved kid. Now you know, so you can do better.

  15. Mike Stephens

    Traded my Ruger Blackhawk in .41 Magnum for a Gibson guitar I really wanted at the time. Loved that gun, miss it every day…

  16. Ken Cochran

    I have 2 major regrets. My dad gave me a 22 bolt action rifle, I don’t remember what brand, when I was 12. I didn’t use it very much and after I got married I sold it to help pay for a pair of stereo speakers. My dad was rightly quite upset.

    The second was a M1 carbine from the NRA, which I purchased for 10 or 15 dollars. I never got to shoot it. Christmas came along and I had no money to buy my 2 sons Christmas presents so i sold it for 35 dollars. Not a bad profit back then but boy I would love to have it now. I have since inherited a Universal Arms version which i probably won’t get to shoot very much. It’s certainly not the same rifle, but if looks count it will do.

  17. Chet

    I sold a Astar 9mm Kutz to a collector that I bought for $20.00 from a surplus store in West Virginia in 1968. Had all the correct military markings and in 90% condition. Kind of wish I still had it but I used the cash to buy a 45Cal Sig that I just couldn’t leave the gun show without.

  18. Mike K

    An unfired, presentation grade (in the wooden box with the wooden holster/stock) Krieghoff Luger. All matching numbered magazines, etc. When I see what it is worth now I cry. A long time!

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