April 02, 2013
34th Edition of Blue Book of Gun Values: No Prices Listed for New AR Models
By Phil Bourjaily
The always-awaited new edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values came out on April 1. The Blue Book, is, of course, the standard price reference for anyone buying or selling guns for one simple reason. “I am more thorough than anyone else,” says Steven P. Fjestad, the man behind the book. That is, in the words of Will Sonnet, no brag, just fact.
This year’s Blue Book runs 2,408 pages long and includes both values for countless guns in every condition from new-in-the-box to 60% as well as 80 pages of illustrations showing how to grade gun condition.
This year marks the 34th edition of the Blue Book, but it has not always been the single-source indispensible bible of all used gun prices. In the beginning, it was geared toward collectibles only, lever action rifles and that kind of thing. Then Fjestad went to SHOT Show, saw all the new guns and thought, “Why not list new and recently discontinued guns, too?” The book grew from there.
Compiling it gets harder with each new edition, he says, “It’s a race. We have to finish it in the same time every year, but the finish line gets farther and farther away.” The book is put out by a surprisingly small staff aided by contributing editors who specialize in certain collectible makes.
This year’s volatile AR-buying frenzy caused Fjestad to take the step of not listing prices for new ARs in the book, since any listing would be a mere snapshot of a continually changing market and would be immediately out of date. Instead, the book lists new prices as n/a and refers shoppers to the website, where the price guide is constantly updated with typical Blue Book thoroughness. On the site, you can find a guide to the latest price as well as prices of that model over the last 30 or 90 days.
Fifteen years ago, the Blue Book listed 23 AR-15 makers. Now there are 150. Fjestad is busy tracking down as much as he can learn about every one. “Some of these makers may not be around in a year or two, but the guns will be and people will want to know what they’re worth,” he says. “Good information never sleeps.”