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Should you "Document your Weapons for your Family?"

We hear stories all the time about people having firearms and weapons stolen, and so it goes without saying that we should Document all of our weapons for insurance purposes. This is fairly strait forward. Record the make, model, caliber, and serial numbers of each weapon. Take a photo of each weapon separately and keep a hard photo along with a hard list or paper list of all your weapons and serial numbers stored separately away from your firearms. I would also keep a digital list stored on your phone, computer or “The Cloud” wherever that place is. This will help significantly should you experience theft, fire, or some natural disaster. It will also help, should you experience a sudden surprise divorce or separation where you may have to not see your beloved firearms until all the paperwork is settled. It may also help you recover a firearm that has been misplaced or has found its way to a pawn shop. A friend of mine had a daughter who unfortunately got into the meth scene and pawned a couple of his firearms. By the time he found out about it and figured out what had happened, she had lost the pawn tickets but with his documentation, and threats to file a police report on both his daughter and the pawn shop, the pawn shop reluctantly agreed to return the items if he paid them their money back plus the interest.

But documenting your weapons for theft fire and other losses is not what I am actually talking about when I say you should “Document your Weapons for your Family”.


What I am talking about is picking up each and every one of your weapons or other items that really mean something to you and putting pen to paper and telling their story.

We all get old, or at least we hope we do. But even if we don’t, we tend to forget the little details as we get older. These little details are what really make stories worth listening to, and I am sure your children or grandchildren will appreciate the small fine details of the stories of your firearms as they are part of your life and your story after you’re gone.

I have several firearms that I obtained from my father. I know their stories very well. But unfortunately my daughter does not. It's something she is just not interested in or ever will be. But I plan on leaving my collection to her and in her care so that eventually it will be given to my three grandsons. They are all very outgoing and already interested in the outdoors. But with them being 10, 5 and the youngest 2, I will more than likely not have the same memory that I have now, and I may even be long gone, but if I write it down now and put it in the safe with the guns they will be able to have a better understanding of how I came to acquire the gun and it may mean more to them


A funny story I will write to my family about a gun they will inherit is the story of the 12 Gauge Long Tom with the 36-inch barrel (single shot). It only takes 2- and 5/8-inch roll crimp. My father received this shotgun from his best friend, probably through trade and it was a heck of a duck and goose gun. With a 36 inch barrel you could reach up there with an old 2 and 5/8 inch lead shot #2. My father and mother along with my father’s friend were hunting out of a boat, when my mother apparently stood up to shoot a duck flying directly overhead (never stand up in a duck boat to shoot). She shot, tipped over backwards with the recoil and as she was falling out of the boat, my father grabbed the shotgun! And saved it from going overboard but did not stop my mother from going overboard. Needless to say, my mother wasn’t too happy about the choice he made.


I will also tell the story of the French 8mm Lebel my father brought back from North Africa upon returning during the middle of World War II. He had found the rifle alongside a dead French Lieutenant who didn’t need it anymore. Back then all you had to do was get permission from your commanding officer and you could bring war trophies home.  It was and still is in wonderful condition. Not a rifle you want to hunt with, but a great collector piece.

I have many of these stories to write, like the story behind my first .22 Long Rifle and why it looks like it got run over by a tractor (because it did). Or the deer rifle with the huge gouge on the action from the rock that suddenly rolled down from high above me and struck me in the back. The rifle most likely saved my life.

I have an old shotgun that my brother purchased before he went to Vietnam. He passed away from that war, but I have always kept that shotgun. It is an old Sear and Roebuck (actually a JC Higgins) 12 Guage Bolt action slug gun. I used it a few times when I was a kid to hunt birds and probably haven’t shot it in 30 years. But it's a piece of my older brother who I will never see again so I will pass it on down.

I guess as we get old some of us add more sentimental value to items than what they may deserve, but that’s what we do as humans. And let’s face it, giving your son or daughter a “hand me down firearm” without a backstory makes the firearm just another firearm to that person. On the other hand adding the backstory to the firearm gives that firearm some attachment to you and your history and in some ways gives your son or daughter a little piece of you to keep with them after you’re gone.

In your story you might want to include where you got it and or who got it from. What did you pay for it, what it was used for, what particular animals you took with it, and above all why did it mean so much to you that you decided to give it down to them. Your children and grandchildren will really appreciate the stories.

I would even be willing to take the thought further and be willing to document the stories of other items I may be leaving my children or grandchildren. It may be a ring, watch, old photograph, it may even be a car or truck. If it means enough to you, to leave it for them, you should consider leaving a short note for them so they know and remember why you left it.


Should your children or grandchildren decide not to keep your firearms or other gifts they could always sell them. Having separate stories attached to each item may not increase their value but it will positively not decrease their value so why not write.

Happy hunting



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