Gun Broker and other internet auctions safe?


November 21, 2010, 05:44 PM
So what your experience of Gun Broker and other auction site? Are they safe? Have you got burned? Are there alot of lemons being passed around behind the veil of computer images? I'm interested in buying and selling, but I cant shake the dealings of shady sellers passing off something its not for an inflated price. What auction site is the safest? thanks alot for any help you can throw my way :).

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November 21, 2010, 05:53 PM
Good question, afraid if you were taken would feel to foolish to reply. It sure would help many of us though that are leary to buy a weapon from a similar format as Ebay or do they have any built in security measures?

November 21, 2010, 05:55 PM
Have never had an issue with Gunbroker. Just be sure to read customer reviews/ratings of any seller. Email or call them in person as soon as you secure a sale, and use an FFL you trust to do the transfers.
Also, since you're in oregon, check out ( or PNW Forum ( for classifieds. If you find a seller near you, I prefer classifieds, because you can barter/trade as desired, you don't have to worry about bidding, and you can make the transfers in person. I've always been more comfortable with that scenario.
But to answer your question, Gunbroker is usually safe, as long as you do your homework on the sellers. Can't say about other such websites, since Gunbroker is the only one i've used. Hope that helps! :)

November 21, 2010, 05:59 PM
I've bought and sold a few,,it's a gut check no doubt,,feedback is not always indicative of your outcome,,look for sellers who offer a three day inspection, or will provide extra pics if prompted,,ask to speak with someone knowledgeable about the firearm in question,,and above all, good luck and happy bidding!

November 21, 2010, 06:04 PM
Buyer beware, as with all online auctions. Gunbroker or whatever auction site is not the seller, so if there is an issue, its between you and them. I would say most are honest, but a bit over optimistic in terms of condition. Their idea of 98% gun is certainly not my idea of the same condition. I also see shill bidding too, here and there, but as long as you place limits on what you are willing to spend and be patient, it doesn't matter.

Its hard to judge quality without good pics, so know that if you are bidding on something that has crappy pics, you just got yourself into a gamble. It might be as described, it might not. Also, if you want to sell something and get top dollar for it, take good pics. That means in focus and covering all the details. Close ups. I'll bid more on something that I can see clearly, and lower my bids for something that isn't so well documented.

Pay attention to return policies. I've had one person who didn't honor his return policy for a misrepresented gun, so I ended up eating it. That hurts both pocketbook and pride, but I decided there were no other real avenues available for recourse. Above all, make sure there is a return policy. I won't buy from anyone who doesn't have an inspection period. I want to see it to make sure I'm not getting screwed.

You gotta look at the feedback too, it'll tell you a lot about the person selling or buying. All in all, i've bought and sold around thirty guns off of auction sites and have had two really bad experiences with sellers. Not that good of odds, really. Be sure to really inspect guns on the day you get them, and don't let them sit at the dealers beyond the inspection period. And most of all, don't feel bad or be scared about sending things back if they don't meet the description or are misrepresented. You'll be out the shipping, but that's better than a POS that you will be stuck with otherwise.

Generally, the two most popular auction sites are and gunbroker is larger, with more stuff, but there is a lot on auctionarms too. I use both.

There are deals to be had, occasionally, but not that often. Be patient, and don't get the idea you have to have any one gun. That is how you get burned the quickest. There will be another come up for sale eventually, so wait.

That's my .02 cents.

November 21, 2010, 06:05 PM
I have made over 100 transactions on GB and have had nothing but positive results from them. In any trade or exchange of money for goods there is some chance of a problem. If in doubt ask questions or get more detailed pictures before bidding. If the person has 100 or more positive feedback ratings of say, 90% you stand a fairly good chance of no problems. I always check the feedback and beware, you may find a GREAT deal only to find that the shipping cost is more than the item would cost total from a different vendor. I found this with a certain company dealing in used brass sales. I recommend GB highly but YMMV.:)

November 21, 2010, 06:07 PM
Having used Gunbroker a few times, it is as safe as any other site. If you are looking for a firearm or really anything gun related, you need to pay attention to the sellers history and feedback. You also need to be aware of exorbitant shipping costs that may not be evident at first glance.


November 21, 2010, 06:23 PM
Thanks alot guys! :) SO what does Gunbroker charge in commission roughly for a $1,000 sale? Is it crazy to buy from a new seller who has no history? I mean when you think about it that only limits us to dealers who post sale and have a history. The common guy who wants to sell just 1 or 2 guns may have a tough time. I suppose a phone call and familarity would help. Does Gunbroker charge alot to buy and sell?

Erik M
November 21, 2010, 06:35 PM
One of my shooting buddies swears by GB, he never handles a trasaction though. He is friends with an FFL and if he sees something he wants the FFL will buy it for him and all my friend has to to do is pay the FFL for the transfer and the weapon when it arrives.

Personally I only buy FTF. More footwork but I know Im not buying an obvious lemon.

The Lone Haranguer
November 21, 2010, 06:50 PM
There is potential for adverse transactions or even fraud (just as with any monetary transaction), but the odds are low. I myself had 26 perfect transactions. (Unfortunately as a seller :banghead: but that is another topic.)

November 21, 2010, 07:32 PM
make sure you read the seller feedback.
Gun Broker has an insurance program, and they require a seller to have a CC on file with them to help get them paid for services rendered as well as to help track somone trying to scam buyers.
BUT tey have a policy regarding sellers/buyers who've had problem in the past. Has something to do with if that user has ever had their account shut down for things such as not shippin an item, or improper discription or what have you, you won't be covered for a loss. I can't remember it exactly, but they have this policy posted on their site.

November 21, 2010, 08:01 PM
I have made several GB purchases, and I would agree it is safe if you follow the rules. I recently won a bid on a WASR 10/63, and after looking at it closely, I asked the seller if it was a 10 round. I should have asked PRIOR TO BIDDING. The listing did not indicate it was a single stack gun. The seller did have a 3 day inspection period, and I informed him that I would be returning the gun for that reason. He agreed to re-list the item & call the transaction void.

I had one other seller send the wrong gun, and then not inform me when the correct gun would be sent. I complained, and he refunded my money rather than responding to my requests for an ETA. He clearly did not have the item advertised.

Many sellers on GB are non-stocking brokers, meaning they buy wholesale when you order an item and then send it to you when they recieve it. You can identify these sellers as the ones that require that any factory defects go back to the factory. They also frequently show pics from the manfacturers website rather than in-house pics. That's a good indication that not only you are bidding on an unseen item, the seller may be selling an item they have not seen either.

November 21, 2010, 08:34 PM
SO what roughly would GB take from your credit card on a $1,000 sell? Is it a fixed price or some progressive varying formula that becomes a suprise to one after the transaction?

November 21, 2010, 10:32 PM
SO what roughly would GB take from your credit card on a $1,000 sell? Is it a fixed price or some progressive varying formula that becomes a suprise to one after the transaction?
The fees will vary based on the options you pick when you set up the auction. They are listed at - scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for a summary.

I have had nothing but good experiences on GB as both a buyer and seller.

November 22, 2010, 07:47 AM
Never had a problem and I have bought several rifles,pistols,shotguns and scopes through GB.
In fact I just bought a nice Marlin model 25 .22 rifle last week and am currently waiting for it's arrival.
As far as buying from someone who has no transaction history my first purchase was from a guy that had never sold anything before on GB.
The transaction was smooth.
But now that I have purchased over 25 items on GB I truely do look at a persons feedback and all the fine print of their auction.
Look let's face it,before these internet auctions came about a guy could wait a very long time before that special model of firearm he has been looking for a long time would finally surface locally,that is if it did at all.
Now it's just a matter of time because you have a 50 state network of people selling.
Works for me.

November 22, 2010, 02:28 PM
Is it to assume shill bidding is a common tactic? The owner under a different identity or friend bids on their item to bump up the price so the true prospective buyers pay more to the seller? It just seems that tactic would be so easy to do and not be caught in the process:(. So in essense one never really gets a killer deal. Heck I see alot of stuff on there I can get at the local store cheaper.

November 22, 2010, 02:39 PM
I suppose that's a possibilty Springwalk and I am sure somewhere that has happened and if it has happened has backfired on the seller as well.
I have bought several firearms in the last year and a half and got some truely great deals because money is tight for a lot of people and also people are unloading some of their guns to make ends meet.
If they dont have a reserve auction and dont start the bidding too high on a non reserve item some times things just pan out for the buyer and he gets a really sweet deal.

November 22, 2010, 02:46 PM
100+ deals and all but 1 was good. The bad one was a tool that wanted me to ship hi cap ar mags to Ca. and left me negative feedback because I wouldn't violate law (even though my ad said NO SHIPPING to Ca and a host of other places).

I have scored some FANTASTIC deals on rifles and some on reloading supplies.

Buyer beware not buyer give up.

November 22, 2010, 07:27 PM
I've bought and sold about 25 or so guns on GB and Auction Arms, without a single real issue. I've never gotten a gun that wasn't as described, and most were better. The worst thing I can say about some of the guns I've received are that a couple were incredibly dirty. One had so much unburned powder inside it, I could barely cock it.

November 22, 2010, 07:59 PM
hemriam, I'd rather have a filthy gun than one from an over zealous cleaner that scratches the barrel or chamber:(

November 22, 2010, 08:03 PM
I got a great Winchester 94 in 30-30 for my brother-in-law for Christmas, for $225. It's from the mid-70's or so. The rifle is pristine except that the receiver had some corrosion issues and the bluing is off - bro-in-law won't care because he wants an aged "Old West" looking rifle and this fits the bill. The barrel was dirty, and at first i thought it was pitted or abused - but with a good cleaning, it's like a mirror!

Gunbroker is fine, so long as you're careful about what you're bidding on, and you don't get a bad feeling. Just like Ebay, caveat emptor...but realize that there are fair deals to be had.

No internet transaction guarantees it's 100% fair all of the time. Just the way the internet is.

November 22, 2010, 08:12 PM

I think you're under the misperception that GB charges you to BUY from their site. It doesn't cost any kind of commision to buy, just to sell.

I've bought several items through GB and only had one less than excellent outcome and that was mostly by my choice. I bought a pistol which turned out to have some function problems (which I seriously doubt the seller knew about) and chose to try to get it repaired instead of going through the (relatively minor) hassle of returning it. The not-so-great outcome was in no way either GB's nor the seller's fault and I may have chosen differently if I had paid more.

Other than that, I have purchased probably 6-8 firearms through GB and have been pleased. I've paid both reasonable and bargain prices, IMO. I've only once bought a gun through GB that I felt I paid too much for and that was maybe my first purchase and I failed to shop around.

I go there frequently to see if there's anything there that's interesting.

And, BTW, there are other good auction sites, as well, that will yield to a little googleizing.

I now own at least a scant handful of firearms that I have always wanted to own and would have had little opportunity to even know existed without the internet auction sites. How else would a buyer in Texas connect with a seller in Oregon?



November 22, 2010, 08:13 PM
Prior to getting my dealer license, I had over 145 positive feedbacks onGB as both seller and buyer. With my business name on GB, I just hit 70, again all positive. I have impeccable feedback, I take detailed pictures, accurately describe the weapon and take care when packing and shipping. I always send a tracking number via email, along with updates if necessary. I promptly answer all emails and the few times the buyer called on the phone. Now, I do not offer an inspection period and all of my auctions are as-is. I feel the pictures tell the story. I have never been ripped off and only had to send one gun back, around four years ago. The seller refunded my money and we both left positive feedback. There are deals to be had and some very unrealistic seller prices too. Just don't drink any alcohol when surfing the adds. You may end up with a few guns that weren't in your plans!

November 22, 2010, 08:18 PM
airburst, lol. I'm drinking now:D. But I assure you I wont buy. I'm mostly concerned with sending money and getting nothing in return. I know the seller must put a credit card on file but anyone can buy those prepaid Visa cards using a pseudonym.

November 22, 2010, 08:36 PM
airburst, lol. I'm drinking now. But I assure you I wont buy. I'm mostly concerned with sending money and getting nothing in return. I know the seller must put a credit card on file but anyone can buy those prepaid Visa cards using a pseudonym.
I use US Postal money orders. To me, it is the safest, next to using a credit card, when buying. If you get ripped using the credit card, you have recourse with the company and if you send the Postal money order and get ripped, it is mail fraud and you can get the Postal inspector involved. Again, none of that has happened to me since I started on GB back in 03. The feedback is a very good place to start. Red flags for me would be something less than A on a rating. I read the negative comment or comments, then look at the person leaving them. If they have a small feedback number, to me, that shows someone not experienced in buying online. I have only left one F and that was for a buyer that flaked out on a rare pre-ban Norinco AK47. It was a 2,000 dollar sale and after talking to him on the phone, I didn't hear from him for a week and then when he did contact me, it was excuse after excuse. It turned out, he bid on a bunch of high dollar firearms and then did the same thing to all of the sellers. But that was the rare exception. Definitely ask for more pics if the seller has only a few or they are blurry. I can tell by looking at the pictures if the description is accurate or not. Good luck in your search. :)

November 23, 2010, 08:58 AM
I am a buyer and seller on Gunbroker. I have nearly 500 perfect feedbacks. I always look at the feedback before I buy and if i see more than 1 negative I ask myself why. If you know how much something is worth and decide not to pay more than $XX for it then you can easily get a bargain but you have to watch the shipping costs. I usually advertise free shipping to let the buyer know I am not scamming him. If a gun has a blemish, I take a close up of it where others will avoid a picture showing it. Full disclosure gets happy customers. There are a lot of honest sellers on GB so you just have to check out his feedback before deciding to buy from him. If you know your prices you can save a lot of money.

November 23, 2010, 09:01 AM
I have hundreds of transactions on Gunbroker and Auction Arms. As has been noted, the virtual auction sites are no different than any flea market/gun show - it's up to the buyer to make sure that the merchandise is acceptable and the vendor reputable.

I had some quarrel with GB some years back over their unwillingness to deal with dishonest sellers, but my experiences in the last five years or so have been completely above-board and satisfying.

November 23, 2010, 09:46 AM
With Gun-broker or any other on line auction or E-seller I try and follow the following: Only deal with Brick and Mortar stores, check the return policy, and any purchase in excess of $100.00 is by credit card only.

Perhaps Iíve been lucky, as Iíve only had one bad Internet purchase experience. It was simply a seller who refused to commutate about what should have been a reasonable shipping delay.

As for GunBroker Iív only made two SMALL purchases using them and both went very well.

Somewhat off the topic, but watch for the cost of shipping there have been several times E-sellers have attempted to charge as much for shipping as the price of the product.

November 23, 2010, 09:49 AM
Always look at the feed back!
Negatives regarding item condition (especially more than one)-->bad bad bad
Negatives only for slow shipping-->probably not a bad seller.

Also ask questions. If they answer them quickly and reasonably, probably a good seller. If they don't know the answer to your question, and they say as much, that's probably okay. If they make up crap or start in on a hard sell tactic, that's usually not a good sign.

November 23, 2010, 10:47 AM
I've actually sold 1 gun on GB and purchased a magazine. Both transactions were flawless. I definitely did my research before jumping in with both feet, but it's just like any other auction site - ebay or whatever. The same thing can happen to you with guns as it can over a new tv or whatever you buy on ebay.
- Check feedback (most sellers that have multiple transactions are legit -they would have been reported if not)
- Communicate with buyer/seller if you win the auction.
- Don't bid on something you don't really want to buy (good way to get negative feedback) if you back out of a winning bid.
- I did background web research on th FFL that sent the transfer to make sure they were legit. You can google the name and address and it should pull them up.

Overall though I've found that by the time I pay shipping and transfer fee I could have bought it at the local shop for about the same price. So just remember to include that when you're adding up the cost of the item.

Good Luck -

November 23, 2010, 01:10 PM
I have bought a few on GB, no problems. I have also bought some on Auction Arms and Gunsamerica. No problems there either.

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