Problem linking blend files - 2.63

I’m trying to import a pistol I made into another blend file. I can append the pistol, and it retains its materials. However, if I link the pistol, it loses all material assignments. The materials are still there, but I need to add, and re-assign all of them.

Is there a way I can link, and still keep my materials the way I had them in the original blend file?

Thank you

When you append/link the pistol, do you append/link the mesh or the object? An object should not loose its materials.