Here is a question that I hear a lot: Is it more cost efficient to refurbish a firearm than it is to go ahead and buy a brand new one?
Well, quite honestly it all depends on the firearm as some of you might have guessed. Much has changed in the past 50 years when it has come to firearms design and the actual build process. 70 years ago, a military rifle such as the M1 Garand first started life as a block of steel. After it machining into a receiver, manufacturers screwed a barrel into it. Next, they addressed head spacing, installation of the gas system and the operating rod.
While today there are arms built this way, such as the M14/M1A and reproduction guns, the focus in today’s market is on modular weapons. Which is why polymer framed handguns, AR-15s/AR-10s, modular hunting rifles, and shotguns are exploding in popularity. It can take a couple of hours to assemble an AR-15 using a few tools from a parts kit with a lower and upper receiver. In contrast, it takes a full day to do the same with an AK-47/AK-74 type rifle.
Let’s take a look at refurbishing a modern arm. For a private gun owner who shoots a lot, or the police department seeking to save a buck, it makes sense. A Glock™ service pistol, such as the G19 or old G17 can easily exceed 50,000 rounds with the original frame and slide. But the barrel, recoil spring, extractor springs, etc. will need to be replaced likely more than once. These replacements can range from $100-150 in parts depending on where you source them.
On the flip side, a new Gen 4 G19/G17 will run over $550.
With a 1911, a High Power or an older pistol, a rebuild can set you back $200-300. Why the increased cost? You will most likely need the skills of a gunsmith unless you have experience building 1911s or High-Power handguns.
Rebuilds of modern modular firearms are a fraction of the cost of a new gun. Not so with an arm that was built using the older, more artisan way of manufacturing.
Hunting Rifles can be expensive to rebuild, especially if they are a pre-WWII specimen. Anything built on a Mauser 98 Action is going to require a gunsmith most likely.
To rebuild an AR-15, it may only take a couple of hours. Field strip the rifle. Replace the bolt carrier group, yank out the old gas tube, and throw in a nitrided one for longevity, screw in a new barrel and the upper is done. If you must fool with the trigger, a drop-in trigger job will take you but 15 minutes. Replacing the buffer tube spring can be done in seconds. Total cost? The rebuild can be done for under $250 if you source your parts right. A new AR-15 will cost at least twice that.
Cerakote finishes can add years to your firearm and can also protect it from the elements as an outer treatment/protective layer.