Armed thieves broke into a farmhouse hotel and threatened the owner and his family with a weapon.
Two men made off with cash and two antique shotguns from Sampsons Farm Hotel at Preston, near Newton Abbot, early on Sunday.
Police said the family, a couple and their 12-year-old daughter, were left traumatised after being tied up by the intruders.
Officers have urged local people not to be alarmed by the rare incident.
The men are thought to have fled across fields before getting in a vehicle.
Det Insp Nick Wilden said: "While this is a very serious incident it is also important to stress this type of offence is extremely rare in Devon.
"We are keen to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles or people in the area before the incident."
The first suspect is described as between 25 to 30-years-old, about 6ft tall, and wearing dark clothing.
The second suspect is described as about 5ft 7in tall, of slimmer build and also wore dark clothing.