Please tell me how I need to exam a used pistol.


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efeng9622
March 29, 2007, 11:03 AM
I like to learn some simply and reality methods to exam a used pistol when I am going to buy it, I searched this thread here because I believe the thread should had this kind of posts but I couldn’t find . I found some methods on a gun book but they are a little bit complicated and I don't think the seller will let you do it on his gun even it doesn't hurt the gun.

Thanks!

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NeveraVictimAgain
March 29, 2007, 11:48 AM
This sounds like a good idea. What do are experienced, gun savvy members suggest when looking at a used pistol?

THANKS! :)

efeng9622
March 29, 2007, 11:58 AM
any advice will be appreciated.

Thanks!

Claude Clay
March 29, 2007, 12:17 PM
semi-autos only?

well anyways ,
bring snapcaps ( the red ones w/ the brass spring primer base are about the best )
new pencil with eraser
bore light
brass bore brush w/ patches & rem oil
dental mirror
trigger pull gauge
feeler gauge set (like what you use to set spark plugs with)
assorted Quality screw drivers/hex's/torx's
--these items are in my range bag anyways

now you have what with to examine it
need to know type of gun for how to do it

usp9
March 29, 2007, 02:33 PM
This is a good place to start. Most of what's here generally applies to alot of autos. http://www.coolgunsite.com/funcheck/function.htm

Examine the general condition...is it beat up, scratched, nicked, etc. Does it have smooth areas worn in the finsh...this indicates it was carried. Looking used is OK...looking abused is bad...use your judgement.

Check the barrel for wear and pitting. The muzzle crown should be undamaged. Dirt can be cleaned.

Does the breech face look smooth, unpitted or scared? Is the ramp smooth with no gouges, chips or cracks?

Are all the parts there?

Do the parts that are spring loaded still have a spring attached and operate smoothly?

That's a start.

deltacharlie
March 29, 2007, 03:13 PM
thanks usp9, pretty good link.

efeng9622
March 29, 2007, 03:41 PM
I want to make sure why I need to have a pencil and how I can use it.? Someone told me “drop it down to the bore ( Do I need to put eraser-end first? ) , pull the trigger , if the pencil is launched out of the barrel. that mean you have a healthy firing pin strike.If it isn't either the firing pin is broken or the firing pin spring is worn out."
Is that correct?

Thanks!

poppy
March 29, 2007, 04:00 PM
Here is my approach that has worked well for me over the last several years.

Look for ANIB, that is that everything is there in its original configuration, including factory mags, manual, cleaning tools (if supplied originally), factory case, lock, etc. It doesn't take much examination to assure yourself of a good purchase if the original mags show little wear and the pistol finish is first rate.

I have successfully bought Rugers, Berettas, Kahrs, and Glocks using this method with no regrets. There are always individuals at gun shows who are trying to unload little-used pistols for various reasons. Almost everytime that I have bought a pistol with only one mag and no box, I have been sorry.

The only exceptions that I have made to the above is for an HK P7 which was a police trade in, meaning it had holster wear, so was not ANIB, but it was factory refurbished and had all of the goodies that comes with a new pistol. The same would apply to Sig CPO pistols.

The other exception I make is for milsurp or other imports that I want, like Walther P1, for example.

The other thing that I try to stick with is only buy brands or models that hold or increase their value and are easy to resell.

Good luck, let us know what you buy.

Black Majik
March 29, 2007, 04:58 PM
Few quick things to look at.

* Abnormal wear on the outside. Holster wear is acceptable, but how about dings, nicks or dents. It usually shows how well the owner took care of the gun or whether he abused it or not.

* Use snapcap and drop the slide. Does the hammer follow? Does the manual safety work? Does the trigger actually drop the hammer/striker?

* Look at frame rails. any abnormal wear? Signs of cracks. How does the slide rails look?

* Barrel look like it's in good condition? How's the bore, nice and shiny with lots of rifling?

* How's the recoil spring tension. Does it feel loosey goosey or does it feel like it still have a lot of life left. Some guns are sprung tighter than others, get to know the platform and whether or not they're sprung tighter or lighter than other platforms.

* Any modified work? Does it look like Bubba gunsmithing job or was the gunsmith well known?

* Pencil test. Drop a pencil in the barrel eraser end first. Make sure gun is unloaded before hand (heck it should be unloaded prior to inspection :D ). Drop the hammer with pencil in the barrel. How far did it go?

* How do the magazines look? Have they been dropped repeatedly? Usually shows signs that the gun was used hard with dropped mags either from duty or gaming instead of a range gun.

redneckrepairs
March 29, 2007, 05:03 PM
The last post was a good one for the most part . I will just say that if you have to ask you may well need to take a better skilled friend with you , or only buy new . Just like there is no secret to buying a great used pistol , there is no shortcut . Judgment in this case comes with experience .

efeng9622
March 29, 2007, 05:20 PM
Question about pencil test

"Pencil test. Drop a pencil in the barrel eraser end first. Make sure gun is unloaded before hand (heck it should be unloaded prior to inspection ). Drop the hammer with pencil in the barrel. How far did it go?"

How do you want me to drop the hammer? drop it manually ( pull it a little bit back and release it to let it drop )or pull trigger to drop it ( dry fire) ? Is this test for examing firing pin string?

Thanks!

XavierBreath
March 29, 2007, 10:02 PM
Dry fire the pistol, muzzle up. The pencil should clear the muzzle by at least a foot or two. I, personally prefer a "Bic stick" ink pen for this, as there is no metal to scrape the rifling, and less reason to refuse the test to a buyer. A weak ejection of the pen indicates a sticky firing pin, or a weak mainspring. Folks often install mainsprings of less poundage to get a better trigger on a DA auto, and even on SA autos. If the pen ejects weakly, regardless of the reason, the gun will be prone to misfires.

I wrote a piece on how to check a used 1911 here (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2005/10/checking-used-1911-with-purchase-in.html).

Jim March started a thread on how to check a revolver here (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57816).

Both pieces have some very good info that transcends the specifics of the type of gun, with other info that is specific to that type.

Geronimo45
March 30, 2007, 01:26 PM
So the pencil clears the muzzle? Good info.

Careful on your choice of pen, though. On the first shot, my pen came out the muzzle fine. Wouldn't move on shots two and three... punched a hole through the back of the thing.

Pencil won't fit a .32. Doesn't matter to me, though. Having great fun shooting pencils out my 1911.

Redlg155
March 30, 2007, 03:50 PM
Just beware of the word "Custom".

If it is indeed custom work, then the seller should tell you where the work was performed, or in the case of some customizers, you should see a mark or stamp of the company performing the work.

The second word of the day to avoid...Trigger Job. The same rules apply as above.

TimboKhan
March 30, 2007, 03:53 PM
Examine the general condition...is it beat up, scratched, nicked, etc. Does it have smooth areas worn in the finsh...this indicates it was carried. Looking used is OK...looking abused is bad...use your judgement

As this poster and others have mentioned, wear is acceptable. Don't turn down what might be an otherwise good pistol just because the finish is bad. That can be like turning down a Dodge Viper with 100 miles on it simply because the paint is faded. Honestly, even a scratch here or there doesn't necessarily bother me because I understand that accidents can and do happen. My 870 got a nice gigantic scratch on the stock the first time I took her hunting, and hasn't gotten one since. That one scratch doesn't make it an abused gun! Look, guns aren't fine crystal and if it appears to be a one time mistake, it's probably not going to negatively effect the gun.

Also, if you don't know how to take the thing apart, ask whoever is selling it to strip it down for you. If they say no or don't let you do it, I say move on. Here, I look for obvious things like cracks and wear. I also think you can inspect the barrel much easier when it's out of the gun. Again, there are some things that might come up at this stage that I might let slide depending on the gun, namely if it is dirty or not. Dirty does not always translate to bad, although it always translates to a much closer inspection than a clean gun would get. A couple of my key things to look at here are the barrel crown and the sights. A banged up barrel crown indicates sloppy handling and can influence accuracy and if the sights have been banged around or are adjusted way left or right (if they are adjustable to begin with, that is) it indicates poor handling or a possible accuracy issue.

Finally, I always ask permission to drop the slide. It doesn't bother me if someone works the action, but some guys are particular about it. what I am doing is simply a function check. Make sure slide locks back. Make sure slide release works. Make sure safety works. Make sure the gun will fire in DA (if it is a DA gun). If you do have a pencil or pen, now is the time to try that out. By the way, It actually is pretty fun to launch pencils into the air!!!

Finally, KNOW THE VALUE OF THE GUN!!!!!!! I happen to have a good working knowledge of gun values, and so even if I just happen across something that I wasn't necessarily looking for, I generally know to within a few dollars what the market value of that gun is and what I will pay for that gun. Remember that a gun is only worth as much as someone will pay for it!

Even more important, don't get so impatient that you buy the first gun you see as opposed to shopping around a little bit. Once in awhile the first deal you see will be the best one, but 8 times out of 10, you can always find a better deal if your just patient. This of course depends on the particular model your looking for, but I have found this to be generally true.

efeng9622
April 2, 2007, 03:09 PM
I bought a Ruger 89 ( decocker) on Saturday afternoon. I used all exams which I learned from here. I found I like this gun after I shot it.
Thanks for all of you!

Doggy Daddy
April 2, 2007, 06:33 PM
efang622

I bought a Ruger 89 ( decocker) on Saturday afternoon. I used all exams which I learned from here. I found I like this gun after I shot it.
Thanks for all of you!

I just luv a happy ending. :D

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