We all have them, whether they are family heirlooms or picked up at a yard sale, guns that need to be retired and hung on the wall.
I still have the first gun ever given to me, an old .30-.30 Winchester model 94. My friend Paul George gave it to me while I was still a little brat tagging along on deer hunts with him and my dad. I love that old gun, and I've carried it hunting more times than I can remember, but there comes a time when you need to hang up your old heirloom guns and move on to something new.
Some of the most beautiful antique firearms are damascus barrel shotguns. If you have a damascus barrel shotgun around your home, please don't go out and shoot it. Sure, there are folks who will tell you they can handle light, smokeless loads, but come on, do you really want to chance it? These beauties deserve a place on your wall.
Oftentimes with older firearms, it is difficult to determine exactly what type of ammo they take. Sure, that old pistol you found in your grandpa's closet is a .22 caliber, but is it made for smokeless powder? It's better not to chance it and keep it for looking rather than shooting.
As with any metal, rust is a constant enemy of firearms. Rust and repeated rounds fired over the years, cause the barrel to become worn and pitted. This can cause weakness in the metal. Any firearm that shows significant pitting or rusting should be on your wall and not in your hunting blind.
Aside from something being wrong with your antique gun, some are just too awesome to use in the field. Whether it fires or not, some guns don't belong banging around in your truck. Some are just too cool not to be wallhangers.
Let's face it, no matter how cool that old gun of yours is, there's no denying modern firearms are more accurate. Modern technology and manufacturing techniques allow manufacturers to mass produce highly consistent firearms. While that old gun is cool to look at, you'd be better off on your hunt shooting something that hits reliably every time.
Don't worry, even if it is time to put your old gun out to pasture, think of the bright side, buying a new gun!