All this involves a little work, but it proves invaluable over the years. If you dispose of the gun while you’re still breathing, the next owner may appreciate it.
Thanks to R. Peterson for this one.
There are two ways you can keep a gun log. The first is the bare-bones method in which you include only the vital statistics. I have a hunch that very few people do this, even though it’s a lifesaver in the case of fire, theft, loss, or Acts of God.
The elements are:
Make, model name and number, caliber/gauge
How much you paid or, if a trade, what you swapped for it. (In the interest of marital harmony, you may want to encode this part.)
And, if it goes down the road:
To whom you sold it
How much you got for it (again, encode).
If you’re really smart, you take a picture of each gun and include that in the log.
Or you can do something much grander. The best gun log I’ve ever seen was kept by the late Finn Aagaard. Finn got an old-fashioned scrapbook and in it recorded not only the information above, but also every other bit of data for each firearm, complete with snapshots of hunts, targets, trophy animals, and, in some cases, before-and-after shots of significant alterations.
Among this info was:
Handloads and ammo that worked and didn’t work.
Number of shots fired for the lifetime of the barrel.
Alterations made to said firearm: trigger jobs, scopes mounted and dismounted, iron sights added, re-bedding, re-finishing. You’d be surprised how this stuff adds up.
Thumbnail histories of every hunt it went on.
Why it was purchased. You may get a giggle out of this years later.
How the rifle was currently sighted in and for which load.