Buying firearms over the Internet. Your experience.


September 20, 2008, 05:13 PM
Not knowing any better, I have purchased from online auctions on two occasions. First for a Marlin 1894c . It took me a little while to realize what I had been sent was way better than what I expected to get, and I let the seller know I was pleased. The second time was for a Marlin 60. This was advertised as a charity auction, for a family that had two of four members shot to death during a home invasion. I have no way of knowing if it was a fact, I just took it on faith and I didn't mind paying too much for it. I'm satisfied with the rifle.

I would buy over the net again, but I've moved and FFL transfer fees here are steep ($40).

What has your online gun buying experience been?

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Harry Paget Flashman
September 20, 2008, 05:21 PM
100% positive so far. I have been lucky.

September 20, 2008, 05:28 PM
I have had universally positive experiences buying online with Gunbroker. I cannot speak for Guns America or any other site because I have not used them, nor have I used classifieds for guns. Everything that I bought on the auction site was accurately described and shipped promptly. I use the same FFL all the time and since I am an NRA member and only use him he charges me $10 for the transfer. Sellers have always stuck to $25 shipping, except when I bought a 90% Model 1911 mfrg in 1918 and the seller added about $15 for additional insurance;

My purchases online in 2008:

Sig Sauer .556
Marlin 1893 30-30
Marlin 1889 .32 WCF
Winch 1897 12 Ga
Colt 1911 .45ACP
Winch Mod 70 LH 7MMRemMagnum
Randall Trout and Bird Knife
Blackhawk Automatic Tanto

On close inspection, when I broke down the Mod 1897 I needed to replace a broken screw on the breech block assembly. I could not see it until I field stripped the gun and neither could the seller. I figured that was just part of the deal of buying a used firearm. I would not have seen it if I was buying the piece in a gun shop.

Smokey Joe
September 20, 2008, 05:40 PM
Bo't a firearm thru Gunbroker; transaction went smoothly, FFL handled it for a reasonable fee, no problems @ all.

Would do it again if the situation arose.

It is in the seller's interest to "do right" by the customer if they ever want to sell on GB again--this would be true of any similar sales medium.

September 20, 2008, 05:40 PM
I was very pleased with the experience. I've seen transfer fees from $15 to $35 locally. Some FFLs will charge more for handguns vs. long guns.

Gunbroker has a locator for FFLs and it shows transfer fees. You may be able to find something less than $40.

September 20, 2008, 05:43 PM
I've been very happy with deals done with THR and TFL. I've been a little less happy with GunBroker deals, with several instances where I bought a gun that was in the condition described but which I wouldn't have bought if I'd seen it in person (if that makes sense).

September 20, 2008, 05:43 PM
Love buying from the internet. Living here is pretty expensive, so any type of savings are welcome. I have a good FFL guy and have nothing but good things to say about the stuff I've received from the internet.

Vern Humphrey
September 20, 2008, 05:45 PM
Very positive. I've bought:

A Colt New Service in .45
A Colt Detective Special
A Colt Woodsman (made in 1938)
A Colt Officers Model Target .22
A Ruger Blackhawk in .45
A Stevens Favorite (antique)
An M1922 Springfield
A Colt Service Ace .22 Conversion Kit

September 20, 2008, 05:59 PM
I've bought one on gunbroker, had a bit of trouble with the seller, but everything finally worked out.
I've bought from AIM, very good experience.
I tried to buy from Impact Guns, many trials, and tribulations. I would not consider dealing with them again.

September 20, 2008, 06:13 PM
I've had good luck with Buds

September 20, 2008, 06:15 PM
I've had 2 great experiences. Got a better price than anyone locally could give me, and I got to order exactly what I wanted!

September 20, 2008, 06:54 PM
Nothing but positive experiences on gunbroker. Not to embarass myself, but to be honest: I once won a revolver that, through the loss of a job, I could not pay for. I received a negative feedback from the seller--rightly so--and could not buy firearms on Gunbroker again. I apologized to the seller, and paid for his auction fees. After 6 months, Gunbroker allowed me to buy on their site again, with the caveat that I keep a credit card on file.

Losing the ability to purchase firearms on Gunbroker actually was a bit of a hardship. I don't buy a whole lot of guns, but I do buy regularly, and I get better prices (even with shipping) on Gunbroker than I do here in southern California.

I point out my transgressions only to show what can happen during potential purchases. I would have purchased the revolver a month later, but the seller had already found another (reliable) buyer by then.

Well! I feel better.
(closes confessional door).

September 20, 2008, 07:21 PM
Only purchased one, an 1871 Swiss Vetterli, I saw pictures and it was in reality better than the picture and description. The bore is one of the cleanest, shiniest bores I have seen and this a 135 year old rifle.

September 20, 2008, 07:32 PM
Positive for me so far also...... :)

September 20, 2008, 07:33 PM
Bud's and Davidson's Gallery of Guns have both delivered for me; no complaints.

B. Adams
September 20, 2008, 07:50 PM
I've bought 4 shotguns, 7 rifles, and 2 handguns from various sources online. Some were great deals, others were OK, but they were all in advertised condition.

I still have most of them, but a few I wasn't happy with in the long run, or got something better, so I traded for nicer guns from local shops. Because of the deals I got online, I was able to get decent value from what I was trading.

I've sold one handgun online, on Gunbroker, and that was a positive experience as well.

There are several FFL's in my area who will do transfers for $10, so I guess I'm fortunate.

September 20, 2008, 07:50 PM
Good so far.

September 20, 2008, 07:55 PM
I've used GunsAmerica once and it worked out well. I would do it again.

September 20, 2008, 08:13 PM
i have purchased two hand guns on line.

a s/w mp9c from buds, very smooth transaction.
a s/w 629 from a private party on sw forum also very smooth deal.

my ffl does transfers at his liquor store,
i know it sounds strange but it work very well

September 20, 2008, 08:28 PM
With new guns, I buy locally. By the time you pay shipping and a transfer fee you might as well find a dealer that will negotiate and have someone to complain too. Also I tend to but most everything from the same dealer so they know my name/face and will usually make me a deal.

With used stuff, I have had good luck buying from individuals on THR, I always get a name, address, phone number, and double check them in the white pages so I know I can track them down. I have bought two here, and am in the process of trading another. I have bought a LOT of accesories. All were fair deals, some were steals.

September 20, 2008, 08:31 PM
I have bought from CDNN and Bud's and have been happy with both purchases.

September 20, 2008, 08:32 PM
I've had some good and some bad experiences. I trust gunbroker over the other sites as it seems to have less outright fraud. I limit my purchases to firearms I'm familiar with and can trust. A ruger handgun or Mosin Nagant rifle for example. But for something like a Colt revolver, I really need to do a hands-on inspection to make sure it hasn't been abused or gone out of time.

September 20, 2008, 08:39 PM
I bought a rare gun (AMT AutoMag III in 9mm WinMag 9x29) from a guy I contacted on a forum like this one. The gun looked great on the outside but the springs and interior were rusted. It is a stainless steel gun so only the springs were affected. The sear etc. were fine. Don't ask me why only the springs rusted! It looked like it got wet and wasn't properly cleaned and dried afterwords. I contacted the seller and he offered to take it back or pay for repairs. I got a spring kit pretty cheap an replaced them all and all was good. Because he offered to make it right an it didn't cost much for me to fix and as the gun was as rare as it was, I didn't even make him pay for the spring kit as my way of saying thanks for being a stand-up guy.

Call it +1 for a good experience. :)

September 20, 2008, 08:46 PM
Every purchase, out of probably three hundred firearm-related, of which half were firearms, I've been satisfied with. Twice I've bought rifles I was slightly disappointed with compared to what I'd hoped I'd be getting, but it was my own fault for not reading the descriptions thoroughly. Even the nightmare Cue thread down in the trader feedback section turned out okay, just got the necessary paperwork to rescue my gun, and while late, it is what it is supposed to be.

September 20, 2008, 08:48 PM
I've bought and sold guns on the internet, and is the place for me. I've sold a handgun and a rifle, and I got a great deal on a Hi-Point that looked like it had been dragged behind a truck, but still functioned perfectly. I like to buy used at a considerable "fix-er-upper" discount and deal with the minor nuisances. Gun Broker is great for that sort of thing.

September 20, 2008, 08:57 PM
I have bought and sold a number of firearms on the internet and most have been good. Ninety-Nine (99%) of these transactions have been black powder and did not require an FFL. My one bad transaction was off of Guns America. A guy advertised an antique single action S&W as mint. It had been engraved, had engraved ivory grips, and was silver plated. Came with a fitted case and an original box of 1880s ammo and an ivory tipped cleaning rod. When I received the gun, the action was binding and I immediately sent sent it to a reputable gunsmith who deals in antique firearms. The threaded sleeve that is pressed into the cylinder was broken. I contacted seller and the jerk accused me of breaking the gun. The gunsmith was able to fit another cylinder to the gun - but this meant it would also have to be engraved and plated. I was able to contact the engraver and get this done. He also told me the gun was not functional when he did the original engraving - the seller I bought it from had wanted it for a show piece and knew it was broken. Five Hundred dollars ($500) later I have the gun I thought I was originally buying. Guns America would not do anything about the transaction. I even pointed out that the guy had taken the gun off their web site and had not listed it as sold through them - so he essentially ripped them off for their commission.

Lesson Learned: On high dollar guns have them sent to a reputable party for inspection. Once you get the go-ahead, complete the transaction. Might cost you an additional fifty dollars ($50) for the inspection, but if the seller is not willing to do that - you have a big red flag.

The bottom line in my case, I was out an additional five hundred dollars ($500). The seller lives 4 states away and it would cost me more in hotel bills, lawyer and court fees to pursue it. Feedback is good - but caution is better.

September 20, 2008, 08:58 PM
Overall I've had good experiences (around 15) and like an earlier respondent I have bought a couple of revolvers that I may not have bought if I'd seen them in person but in both cases the problems were fixable and the price was right. Just this afternoon I bought a HK USP in decent shape for $430 shipped on a GunBroker auction and a couple weeks ago a Springfield Stainless Champion which had been bobtailed and it's backstrap had fishscale checkering both done by Springfield for $835. This too was a GunBroker auction but the seller lived about 5 miles from me and the gun was unfired with beautiful Esmeralda cocabolo grips.

September 20, 2008, 10:40 PM
Mostly really good experiences from websites and Gunbroker, except 2 that went like this from Gunbroker:

I bid, I win, I call the guy: Hi my name is XYZ and I wont item Z that you had posted. Seller: hmm sorry I don't actually have that item. my bad.

That happened twice. Why the heck do some people post an auction of something they don't have... :banghead:

September 20, 2008, 11:26 PM
They probably HAD it but sold it "out the back door."

September 20, 2008, 11:48 PM
I've bought a half dozen handguuns, new and used, from Gunbroker and from Auction Arms. All were exactly as described, and everything went as smoothly as could be expected.

September 21, 2008, 12:17 AM
Bought a very good condition flatlatch S&W model 36 (.38 snubbie) for a great price. The photon on Gunbroker was kinda blurry and it wasn't getting a lot of bids. When I got the gun, after a $10 transfer from a local shooters board, It was in A+ condition and came with Tyler T-grips.
The only drawback was that it came with a newer plastic box and I was expecting the original collectible box. It was still a great deal overall. I think I posted pics of it recently.
Win some lose some. Overall I think it probably averages out if you bid on Gunbroker.

September 21, 2008, 09:16 AM
Overall positive, but you still take your chances with stuff you can't handle first. I've had two NEW guns come in defective or blemished bad enough to send back. And one used gun turned out to be a FTF pig that I promptly sold also. The actual transactions have been smooth with the guns delivered on time, etc. Only hassle is a lot of sellers ONLY take money orders, etc, no credit cards. Kind of a hassle/risk sending money orders out!

September 21, 2008, 09:44 AM
I have purchased maybe 60-70 guns in the past 7 years from GunBroker, AuctionArms and GunsAmerica. About 10 or so were sent to me directly on my C&R license, others went through local dealers who charged $15-$25 for the transfer service.

Only 2 guns were less than advertised. One had some pitting under the stock that the dealer likely didn't know about and I kept it. The other arrived in a state that made it unserviceable and the dealer sent a replacement. Never had any problems regarding shipping or payment although I have heard of it happening.

September 21, 2008, 09:50 AM
I typically like to smell and fondle whatever it is that I am buying, so I tend to stay away from the net..but I did make a fairly big buy recently. Bought an HK CT off the HKPRO forum. The guy had plenty of posts, good feedback and such so I felt pretty comfortable. We exchanged all contact info, home/cell/shoe size etc. We both wanted lots of communication so that wasn't an issue..the only hickup was at my local level. One shop employee said they take personal FFL transfers..but when I called with the actual transfer, I was told they don't do them. ( insert panic here )

As it's one of my normal haunts, I begged, explained the situation and offered my kidneys as collateral.

All in all it was a decent transaction.

September 21, 2008, 10:36 AM
I've bought and sold plenty,and never had a problem as long as we get our FFL's squared away.

Check feedback too. It doesn't tell you everything,but I've refused sales to people who show a lot of "I'll buy it" posts,but have no feedback...:scrutiny:

September 21, 2008, 05:31 PM
I learned the hard way on my first used gun Internet purchase. I didn't ask enough questions. I ended up returning the gun and buying from the same seller after 21+ questions. The second go around was incredible - 870P in excellent condition with extra pricey features. The bottom line is that I now ask 21+ questions or walk away.

Average Joe
September 21, 2008, 07:53 PM
I've bought from Auction Arms and Gunbroker, with no problems at all.

September 21, 2008, 08:17 PM
Many times, and the only problem I ever had was with a dealer, not an individual (gun was not the actual one pictured, and they neglected to mention the missing rear sight).

I only do business with sellers who have a good number of posts so I can research their reputation. I've passed up what looked to be smoking deals from sellers with just a few posts. Don't be afraid to ask questions or request additional pictures.

September 21, 2008, 08:32 PM
I've bought 2 milsurp guns from AIM surplus.

The quality was better then I expected, and they were delivered fast.

Good custome service.

September 21, 2008, 08:41 PM
I've bought one (Witness Elite Match) a few months ago from a shop in Illinois (where a fellow THR poster works -- he saw that I was considering one), and the transaction was very smooth, I'm pleased with the gun ... only, because of moving and various unexpecteds I haven't yet had a chance to y'know, actually *fire* it ;) Perhaps this week! It's now been driven through 15 U.S. states at least, and it's high time something were driven by it.


September 21, 2008, 08:45 PM
differs from site to site, but everything - from my rifles, to mags, etc. - have been good.

Only gripe is that most people will not sell ammo to me because I'm under 21, even though I ask only for rifle ammo of course. A lame policy, but understandable.

September 21, 2008, 09:21 PM
I have bought 2 - a very good experience with each. Each was exactly as advertised.

I bought a Cz-52 from a Empire Arms several years ago for $125. It was in very good shape, all serial numbers matching, etc. The slide cracked after a year or so, but that wasn't their fault.

I bought "hand picked" Schmidt Rubin K-31 with all matching numbers and a walnut stock for $129.95 - and I lucked out. It had the little tag with the info about the first guy it was issued to under the plate on the butt. That is a very, very nice rifle with a historical flourish for well under $150!


September 21, 2008, 09:58 PM
I've bought a lot of guns over the internet and haven't had any problems. I do like buying them from dealers rather then people but have done both. I buy very few used guns.

September 21, 2008, 10:05 PM
Ive never had an issue and have been 100% happy each time!

September 21, 2008, 10:07 PM
All good. :)

September 21, 2008, 11:41 PM
I have bought guns from individuals advertising in this and other forums and have been very pleased with my purchased. I've had shipping problems and seller ID problems but everything worked out very well. I hav bought from dealers with thier own sites like "Dan's Ammo" and been very pleased with the product and service there too. I have not delt with any of the Auction sites.

September 22, 2008, 12:06 AM
I've never bought a firearm on-line. Only muzzle-loaders and cap-and-ball pistols.

Always had a good experience.

September 22, 2008, 05:48 AM
I purchased through Gunbroker recently with only a minor issue of shipping.

But that was really due to the waffen BATFEces changing the format on FFLs and someone not catching it.

I'll definitely purchase through them again.

One of my co-workers had positive results purchasing from Bud's.

September 22, 2008, 06:07 AM
Most of the guns I purchase is now off of the internet. Some here on THR. 100% positive.

September 22, 2008, 06:47 AM
I was the go to guy for a regular purchaser at the shop who went to us because I could generally find him anything he wanted (and what he wanted was often strange, but ATF approved his F4s and he had a limitless pocketbook from a trust fund or something) within a very short period of time.

You haven't lived until you're buying M60s and 20mm anti-tank guns over the Internet. ;0

Honestly it's not a lot different than any other mail order type arrangement, generally the huge ticket items go through a dealer regardless and it's not hard to research sellers any more.

September 22, 2008, 06:53 AM
All good thus far. I've bought (and sold) on,, and a number of different forums (fora?), including THR. The only real problem for me is the rising "transfer fee" that local FFLs charge. Starting to get to the point where what appears to be a deal isn't when you factor in all the transaction costs.

September 22, 2008, 07:05 AM
The only one I ever actually bought over the 'net was a Nagant Revolver I just got from SOG. I got exactly what I expected, about as fast as I could have expected it to go. No FFL fees, since I have a C&R.

The other C&R guns I've got, I found on the 'net, but actually called the orders in on the phone.

Flintlock Tom
September 22, 2008, 05:34 PM
I've purchased a dozen or so from Gunbroker, AuctionArms, and J&G Sales. 100% good experiences.
Frankly, I'm surprised there aren't more stories of people getting ripped off. It looks like 99%+ of the time things work out well.

September 22, 2008, 05:40 PM
I refuse to pay the $50.00 that most people charge here to receive/transfer firearms...Recently found an individual fairly close who charges $25.00...May
try it one day...:mad:

September 22, 2008, 06:40 PM
100% positive on about a dozen purchases so far.

September 22, 2008, 06:45 PM
So far, so good. From Bud's, R & R Arms, and GB I've had successful transactions. On note: check the return/cancellation policy before you hit the "Buy" button. I got nicked for a 10% 'restocking fee' from Bud's when I canceled an order on the same day I placed it. They really need to call it an 'order cancellation fee.'

The Freeholder
September 22, 2008, 11:05 PM
Done it three, twice here with another THR member. No problems.

September 22, 2008, 11:32 PM
so far so good

September 23, 2008, 01:28 AM
Bought 3 via the net, all good !

September 23, 2008, 11:18 AM
I've bought 1 gun online from a THR member and everything went very smoothly. I check the feedback of anyone I make purchases from.

September 23, 2008, 02:25 PM
I've only purchased ammo and a receiver online. It seemed to go smoothly though I can't say i'm satisfied with the product I ordered. It was a ORF galil receiver and parts kit which I had assembled by a gun smith.

September 23, 2008, 08:11 PM
Have traded with members here and on TFL (most members belong to both). Bought outright from Wild West Guns.......super transaction. Kudos to WA and his staff!;)

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