Checking out a revolver at a gunshow...


March 28, 2010, 03:11 PM
So I went to a gunshow yesterday. Amongst all the high priced guns I found what I thought was one good maybe great deal. It was a Smith 581 4 inch for $365. It was used, but from outward conditions looked in good shape. i wasn't looking for a 581 but for that price how could I not pick it up? The gun had a zip-tie over the hammer and cylinder release(as some guns do at shows). I asked the dealer if I could handle the gun, he obliged. This would be my first revolver, so I wanted to check out the lockup, cylinders and barrel. I read and loosely memorized the revolver checkout sticky on this site. When I asked the dealer if he'd remove the zip-tie he said "no". He said he didn't want any added turn lines to the gun. I told the dealer I was interested in buying the gun and it was well used anyway, so what's the difference? I just wanted to check the timing and lockup to make sure the gun wasn't abused. He simply said, "It wasn't abused." I handed the gun back and said, "Thanks, anyway." My buddy with me, wanted to argue with the guy, but I just said, "Hey, its his gun, he can try to sell it anyway he wants."

Was I unreasonable? I realize I may have missed out on a deal, but the dealer was a jerk. I work in retail, so 1) I know how to treat customers, and 2) $365 is still a lot of money for me.

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March 28, 2010, 03:13 PM
I would not buy a gun without being able to check it out

March 28, 2010, 03:20 PM
Without knowing the gunshows dealer table rules?

Maybe he didn't want to get kicked out of the show early.

Some show promoters are getting very strict about un-tied guns for any reason.
There have been some deaths & wounding at a lot of gunshows in the last few years.

If that was the reason, he could have told you so.
On the otherhand, not all people behind the tables are the dealers that paid for the tables.
They may just be hired or volunteer help with no actual knowledge of the rules the dealer agreed to.

On the other, otherhand, if they cut the ties and let everyone who said they "were going to buy it if it passed inspection" fool with the guns?
They would run out of ties early the first day of the show!

And the guns that didn't get bought by the "seriously going to buy it guys" really would have more turn marks on them.


March 28, 2010, 03:43 PM
^ What Guillermo said...........

March 28, 2010, 04:05 PM
Gun shows.:barf:

I wouldn't buy any gun from anyone anywhere if they wouldn't let me check it out. That's one reason I have never purchased a gun over the interweb.

March 28, 2010, 04:24 PM
No point in arguing with the guy. Just walk. I'd bet ten dollars to a doughnut that that revolver had a problem.

I've had dealers tell me not to do the light drag on the cylinder with a finger thing and every d**n time the revolver had a carry up problem.

I've picked up too many lemons to not do the full check out.

If the dealer does the act like a jerk bit, you can bet he'll act like a bigger jerk if there's any return issues.

Remeber the stroy about arguing with a pig an just walk.

March 28, 2010, 04:53 PM
I think the story is about wrestling with a pig. Both get muddy and the pig likes it

Taurus 617 CCW
March 28, 2010, 05:26 PM
I normally go to gun shows to fondle guns and learn things. I generally don't purchase guns there because of that very reason. I can understand that most shows want the guns zip tied for safety purposes but I won't buy a gun unless I can check it out or they have a return policy with a storefront.

March 28, 2010, 11:58 PM
I don't go to gunshows to buy guns anymore. Reloading components and ammo, yes. Gun parts and grips and holsters, yes. Knives, yes. Laser sights, yes. Too many rules and too many jerks for my taste with respect to the guns. And, too many worn-out guns selling for brand-new prices.

March 29, 2010, 12:13 AM
I'd have done the same thing, maybe I'll bring a fistful of my own zip ties to give the dealer after I've looked at it. It just sounds like he was kinda shady. I don't do business with people that don't give me the time of day.

March 29, 2010, 12:25 AM
If I buy at a show it`s new , other wise just cruisin for reloadin supplies ,holsters ,brass some manuals & other gun related items.

The last revolver I bought new at my local GS & it had turnlines , it had been there awhile , so I paid wholesale +tax.

I rarely buy at shows though!

March 29, 2010, 12:26 AM
I sell at a lot of gun shows (well, let's just say I set up at a lot...) and I don't have a problem letting someone look at a gun, including removing the tie. The cost of ties is a cost of dong business, and if a dealer can't afford to replace a couple of ties at a show, he shouldn't be there. Recently I was at a show and was looking at a Smith on set-up day (so no public in attendance) and noted the "Do Not Handle" sign on the table. I asked permission to look at the gun, and the guy sitting behind the table just looked at me and said "It's a Smith." I said I know, I want to look it over and he said "Don't handle it." Well I knew then there was somethuing really wrong with it and walked away. You did the right thing.

captain awesome
March 29, 2010, 02:25 AM
sounds similar to my last experience at a gun show. almost no good buys. anything that looked like a good price, they all the sudden didn't want you handling for one reason or another. Probably a lemon he new couldn't sell if any smart person examined it. He will sell it to someone naive most likely, and they probably wont even know it has a problem till it becomes unusable and or worse. You made the right choice, other deals will come along more pleasant.

March 29, 2010, 03:15 AM
The gun buying experience is a big part of the reason why I do or do not buy a gun. I'd never buy a gun from someone I didn't have confidence in or feel comfortable with. If someone doesn't want to show me the time of day I won't show them my business. Buying revolvers is just more personal to me than buying a movie ticket or a box of cracker jacks. I take the same consideration with buying a revolver as I do a car or a bike (I fancy high end bikes).

Thats why I like my local gun shop--everyone is friendly and there's no sales pressure. I can spend a half hour checking out a gun if I want. To answer your question: no way would I buy a gun from a show if I couldn't handle it, check timing, endshake, etc.

Brian Williams
March 29, 2010, 05:53 AM
$365 for a decent 581, I would have laid $300 on the table and said I am really interested, I am going to want to pull the trigger. That will not put a major drag line on it.

Old Fuff
March 29, 2010, 09:53 AM
On a Smith & Wesson:

You can swing out the cylinder, hold the latch thumbpiece backwards, and both thumb-cock and double-action the lockwork without leaving a cylinder ring of any kind. This is not a perfect test because it tells you nothing about the cylinder rotation, or hand vs. ratchet tooth fit. However if the action feels too light to be true it probably is. :uhoh:

I have bought some guns sight unseen, but only from 100% reliable and trustworthy sellers. Haven't been stuck yet, and gotten some excellent guns that I wouldn't have otherwise.

First thing you do with a revolver at a gun show is check all of the screw heads for burrs. If you find any and you can't check the action and trigger pull hand it back. In fact, hand it back anyway. :scrutiny:

March 29, 2010, 11:04 AM
The dealer was a jerk.

Let him stay in the poorhouse with his poor attitude.

There are plenty of other revolvers out there, and a fair number of dealers who aren't jerks.

March 29, 2010, 11:18 AM
I wouldn't buy a new gun without being able to check it out, muchless a used piece. You can bet that thing was loose as a goose and the "dealer" thought you knew what you were doing. Well handled.

March 29, 2010, 11:51 AM
in general I have pretty good shopping experiences at gun shows.

this guy was an rump ratchet

March 29, 2010, 12:05 PM
Nobody in their right mind is going to buy that gun without pulling the trigger on it and going through all the functions of the gun. In my mind I would expect the gun had some issues, or the dealer had some of his own issues. Either way, you did the right thing.

March 29, 2010, 12:17 PM
In respect of the possible rules for dealers, why would you want to buy a gun that you can't verify that works? If the guy would agree to give you 30 days to try it out and if you have problems refund some or all of your money then you could bite. But under the circumstances, you're not out anything other than the time you spent talking to the guy.

Arkansas Paul
March 29, 2010, 12:24 PM
I'm sure there is some merit to the fact that the dealers have to abide by certain rules. That being said, there's no way I'm buying a revolver without working the action and making sure it locks up tight.

March 29, 2010, 01:00 PM
I would not pay my money for any gun, used or new, with being allowed a thorough inspection and basic function check (even new autoloaders, I either ask permission to field strip or ask the dealer to do it while I observe and inspect each disassembled component). Wouldn't buy a car, used or new, without at least a minimal test drive and opening up all the doors, trunk and hood, so why should I buy a gun without checking it out? Especially since most used guns are sold "as is" with no warranty implied, and no prospect of getting your money back on a lemon.

You were right to walk away. There are plenty of opportunities to find what you want these days, so why take a risk? Just wait until you find what you want, and a dealer who understands your desire to go with your own first hand inspection and not just their verbal assurance.

March 29, 2010, 10:52 PM
I was in a gun store once, scouting out different types of semi-autos that would be easy to manipulate for my mom. I pushed the slide release button down to move the slide forward and the gun store employee asked me not to release the slide with the button because it will wear down the slide catch. I decided not to explain my reasons for doing so with him and handed the gun back and left the store. That's how I release the slide in training and that's how I'm going to do it in SD/HD (if such a situation arises), so that's one of the things I check for when looking to buy a gun for someone that needs easy functionality.

Seems kind of tacky if he has to tell everyone that same thing. I don't know if he just thought I was a nooby and thought he would exert some gun-snobbery on me or what... Either way, if I'm not treated as a valued customer, I'll go to somewhere that I am.

March 30, 2010, 08:53 AM
gunnutery, releasing a slide on an unloaded gun by tripping the slide stop and letting the slide go forward IS a sign of a noob. (if that is what you are saying, I'm not sure.) It doesn't matter who trained you. It is rude to do that to someone else's gun. It is not because of wear on the slide stop. I can see both sides of this issue (zip tied guns at shows). Working tables at shows for years I saw unbelievably ignorant people abusing our stock. People would just walk up and snatch a gun off of the table and start playing with it without asking if they could handle it. Dropping guns on the floor. Scratching up new guns with the rings they wore. If they would simply ask we had no problem letting them handle it. (watching them closely) Many shows now are requiring all guns remain tied up (for safety reasons supposedly) but as a prospective customer I would be very hesitant to purchase a gun that I was not allowed to properly examine. Maybe we should require everyone who enters the gun show to pass a basic IQ test.

March 30, 2010, 10:09 PM
I look over every item before I purchase it. Dealers at the shows I've been to will remove the ties for inspection if you're serious about a purchase. If you don't have ID and a CCW/purchase permit for a gun, chances are they won't cut the tie for you.

Being polite goes a long way. That goes for everyone.

March 31, 2010, 03:32 PM
It is rude to do that to someone else's gun. It is not because of wear on the slide stop.

If it really isn't an issue of wear and tear then why is it rude? They put the "button" there for a reason don't they? Am I the only person that advances the slide in this way? And for the record I treat other people's guns with respect.

Due to your prompting I suppose I will ask permission before doing any function testing when I look at guns at stores.

March 31, 2010, 07:36 PM
I don't buy any gun unless I can work the action first. That hard lesson was learned 'while back after I bought a zip tied NIB gun at a show only to discover later that the trigger mechanism was defective. Fortunately I was able to swap it for a good one but that was a teachable moment.

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