Buying used rifles?


Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 09:59 PM
What is everyone's take on purchasing a used rifle? I'd like to because I know there are some great rifles for great prices but how do you know what your getting if you can't get hands on? I'd hate to buy something from a private seller and it turn out to be more useful as a bat than a rifle. Advice?

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Carolina Kalash
January 1, 2012, 10:02 PM
well, if your buying on off the internet, you cant really do this, but if yur gonna buy a gun in person, get a good look at it, cycle the action, if it has a detachable magazine, check for mag wobble, make sure the sights aren't misaligned, stuff like that...

January 1, 2012, 10:03 PM
Live and learn, Most I own come from the used market and once in a while you get a stinker.
Check the obvious, stock, barrel, metal finish, mechanical function. Don't pay to much and you will be fine.

Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 10:08 PM
Chances are it would be an Internet purchase if any, purely because the Internet would afford me opportunities for better prices.

January 1, 2012, 10:24 PM
I've always bought used whenever possible, but only when I can inspect the gun. The only gun I ever purchased online was a new rifle that my local dealer couldn't get.

Other than that 1 instance, I've never found a gun online that I couldn't get locally cheaper.

January 1, 2012, 10:36 PM
I recommend buying form good web forums. Most of the ones that I'm a part of really are communities and people care about their reputations. More often than not, everything will be as described, and if something goes wrong, the person will make it right.

Though, I will say that occasionally you find a bad apple. If you are worried, ask if you can call the seller and talk. It doesn't even have to be negotiation, just enough to get a feel for the guy and make sure he's not trying to rip you off. If he gives you a bad feeling, just call off the sale. It's not worth the second thoughts while the weapon is in transit and the possibility of winding up with nothing, no matter how good the deal is.

As far as personal experience, all of my guns are used. 2 were FTF (from a web WTS post from locals) 1 was used from a shop, and only one was from someone online requiring shipping of the rifle. (I called him and made sure I was comfortable before transferring the money-turned out to be a pretty nice guy.)

Mitchell Gard
January 1, 2012, 10:42 PM
What is FTF and WTS? Not a bad idea to call

fallout mike
January 1, 2012, 10:54 PM
Remember to factor in the shipping charges and ffl transfer on too of your online prices.

Art Eatman
January 1, 2012, 10:55 PM
I had a gunshow table some four times a year for right at 30 years. Lots of used rifles traded in. I meddled around some with most of them and most of them shot just fine.

I guess the key points are no dings in the crown of the muzzle, no rust in the bore, and with a borelight, check the very front edge of the chamber for burning of the leade. Burning there is indicative of many shots fired through the rifle.

Pawn shop rifles can be good deals for somebody who is good at bargaining. Odds are that they only have about half the asking price actually invested in the rifle.

You can check a scope by looking through it wrong-end-to. That will let you see any chips in any internal lens.

fallout mike
January 1, 2012, 10:56 PM
When buying used I would much rather pay a few $ more to buy in person so I can thoroughly inspect it.

January 1, 2012, 10:59 PM
Know what you're buying and it's pretty difficult to have troubles. It's a rifle, not a car. At the worst there's fifty parts, and barring gross damage or defect, very little can or does go wrong.

Verify decent bore, works as it should, good appearance, send money.

January 1, 2012, 11:01 PM
What is FTF and WTS? Not a bad idea to call

FTF is face to face, the buyer and seller meet to exchange goods for cash.

WTS is Want to sell

Most internet sellers offer a three day NON-firing inspection, this is your only real chance to look over, cycle the action and evaluate if the seller accurately represented the gun.

As far as buying used, I have bought probably 20 times MORE used guns than new, its very very rare for me to buy a brand new gun.

I would urge you to be FAIR when evaluating a gun during the inspection period. Be sure to look at the add ( if possible ) while looking the gun over, taking particular note of anything mentioned in the ad.

My final thought is to ask questions BEFORE agreeing to buy the gun, if you want to know the condition of the bore and its not listed, ASK, do NOT assume anything, either ask or accept what you get ( provided the seller fairly/accurately described thegun ).

January 2, 2012, 03:14 AM
I have bought several used guns on-line and benefitted. I agree with the positive statements above and Art Eatman's key points.

I would only add that
a) Pay with a USPS postal money order and send the check by postal mail. You get, theoretically, at least, the full resources of the Postmaster General in investigating and prosecuting Mail Fraud, a federal crime, if you file a complaint against a seller who totally rips you off. Make copies or scan the check and counter receipt along with a printout of what you think you're buying, the item identifier (for ex., Gun Broker item #), the sellers photo/words about it, etc. Then you have some proof of your side of the the transaction.
b) Unless you ARE an FFL, you're going to have to receive the firearm through your local FFL, pay a transfer fee and pass a background check. Ask the folks at the gun shop/FFL to handle the gun, have a look at it, ask "what do you think?", etc. Most of these folks are fine with spending half a minute checking it out and telling you what they think. At some shops, you could pay for a real inspection, with bore light, partial tear-down, etc. (but I never have).
c) I agree with talking with each seller on the phone, but also writing some E-mails. See how responsive (timeliness) and willing they are. Mention their seller rating (most forums and auction sites have some sort of "community" rating system) in a friendly way so they know you have checked it out and are going to give them a rating.

Generally you benefit. I recommend non-FTF buy/sell/trade of used guns. But there is no escaping that there is an element of trust that must be extended and received between buyer and seller. Thank God you live in a society where this is generally working well as a rule rather than the exception. See Francis Fukuyama's book Trust for why/how this works and what happens if it doesn't.

I suppose there are rigorous methods by which you could remove all doubt. But that would cost more that the firearm and/or spook away the honest, good sellers/buyers. I would not buy/sell from/to someone who made me jump through a bunch of hoops...

January 2, 2012, 09:14 AM
I recommend buying form good web forums. Most of the ones that I'm a part of really are communities and people care about their reputations.

Have bought and sold a number of different guns and I'm not in a financial situation to take a bath on a bad deal either, so take into consideration how long a forum member has been around. Look at feed back if possible, etc.

Would be very reluctant to buy from a new member that just posts in the classifieds. See if they've contributed to the forum at all and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Get a physical address and number and even verify them if possible.

With all that being said, there's many great deals out there and sometimes if you're just looking for something that isn't made any longer the internet (used market) is the only way to go. There's lots of people who buy something to shoot for a season or try out or just buy/sell for enjoyment.

Personally I'm more reluctant to buy something new, let someone else take the first loss.

January 2, 2012, 09:23 AM
About 90% of my guns were bought used. I have purchased about 50 or 60 from Internet sites and so far only one was disappointing. This doesn't include the Garand I got from the CMP that proved to be in awful shape.

January 2, 2012, 09:46 AM
I have bought guns from Auction Arms and Gunbroker. Pour over the pictures and read the description. Most good sellers will be glad to answer questions and provide more pictures. All of the guns I have bought over the internet were guns I could not find locally and were in the shape described by the seller. Most buyers and sellers are very careful of their online reputations.

January 2, 2012, 02:27 PM
Almost all of my firearms were used !

January 2, 2012, 03:15 PM
I've only ever bought one rifle as a new from the factory gun. Oddly, it was the 10-22 which was my first rifle. Since then with due diligence, I've never been dissatisfied.

Now that I think about it, I have bought several NIB old guns - figured I'd qualify the above for accuracy's sake.

January 2, 2012, 05:46 PM
I've bought some used rifles off Gun Broker for hard to find stuff... an AK made the year I was born... etc... be sure to use a seller who has a good reputation and all should go well... sellers want to protect their reputation... at least decent ones do.

January 2, 2012, 06:26 PM
Yes, buying used firearms can be worthwhile (I collect military-surplus bolt-action rifles, so most of my collection is used). If you buy used, you can get good firearms at a decent price, but, as always, it depends on several factors and YMMV.

First off... it pays to do your homework. Learn as much about the firearm as you can before you buy. In general, the simpler the design of the gun the easier time you'll have judging whether it's in good enough shape to buy (fewer moving parts means there are fewer things to break.. and fewer things to check on when inspecting). This is easy enough to do in person at a gun shop or gun show, but on-line auctions can be harder.

Buying on-line can be more of a crap shoot, but you can protect yourself by buying from sellers with good feedback scores (look for lots of transactions without problems, or if there are problems, look for trends). Also, look for return policies... if an auction doesn't allow for a return, it may be better to pass on it.

January 2, 2012, 06:29 PM
I live in an area with limited choices in used firearms and so I've purchased quite a few on-line. If I can, I want to buy from a seller with a good reputation from many buyers and most online sources have ways of showing the sellers "satisfaction rating". But you need to be prepared for the occasional problem child. I have one such on my bench right now. It's a Marlin Camp 9 that came to me in like new condition, I certainly would have bought it had I found it at a shop. Problem is it can't shoot groups worth squat. I'll find a solution, and I have the time to do it. My point is there's no sure fire way to get a winner every time when buying on-line. Nor is there one for buying from a shop, it's just easier to return it in that case.

January 2, 2012, 07:03 PM
I have bought more than a hundred guns from online auction sites. I believe that one - that I can remember, and maybe possibly two, weren't as good or better than described. If they are made anywhere post WWII, I truly believe most rifles get sold with far less than 500 rounds fired through them, and if they are sporting/hunting rifles, probably less than 250 rounds. (that's 12 1/2 boxes...)

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 07:04 PM
I've seen a few "deals" that say like new, yet have an asking price almost a thousand dollars cheaper. Are "too good to be true" offers usually too good to be true?

January 2, 2012, 07:05 PM
I am a curio and relic junkie. I have bought some used rifles......mostly face to face at gun shows. Lots of gun shows here.....chris3

January 2, 2012, 07:26 PM
They still make new rifles?

I thought they stopped making them in the 70's and we've just been trading them around for for the last 40 years!

I've only bought used. Hard to find a new Mosin or Makarov.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 07:35 PM
Haha nice tyeo. What do you look for in rifles you buy or trade for? What do others look for in yours?

January 2, 2012, 09:53 PM
I've seen a few "deals" that say like new, yet have an asking price almost a thousand dollars cheaper. Are "too good to be true" offers usually too good to be true?

Generally speaking, if it seems too good, IT IS.

Not sure where you are seeing the ads, but, if on an auction site, the starting bid is often very low in relation to the actual selling price.

Mitchell Gard
January 2, 2012, 10:07 PM
The one I'm referring to was on gunsamerica and was by a seller with 750+ transactions.

January 2, 2012, 10:40 PM
I've bought from all the major auction sites, but I like GB the best. Although, I have good luck at Auction Arms too. I sell almost exclusively either local or through GB. I have not had a real bad experience yet. I have hard some rifles take their sweet time getting here, which is odd as they are mostly a controlled transit commodity :(

I'd do a lot of looking into models I like and then spring for one that has what I want. I always "test" the vendor with an email question. If I get a good answer, the deal will be OK. If I get a one word answer or gibberish, the deals off and I won't place that first bid.

January 7, 2012, 08:09 PM
I always "test" the vendor with an email question. If I get a good answer, the deal will be OK. If I get a one word answer or gibberish, the deals off and I won't place that first bid.

I have been wondering what you mean by "test" since I saw your post last week.

How bout an example??

For what its worth, I always try to give complete accurate answers to any question I get from potential buyers

January 7, 2012, 08:35 PM
I test the vendor by sending an email about a feature of the rifle that is visible in the picture but not obvious. Like maybe the safety lever looks a little bent or something. I ask if it's ok and does it function correctly, etc.

If the answer I get back is complete and to the point, I know I'm dealing with a real human being who is familiar with the rifle, so I feel confident bidding on that item.

If the answer I get back is something like; we don't know, we don't test, it looks OK to us - but we're not experts, etc - I know I'm dealing with a "seller" and not a shooter. I usually don't continue and take that one off the watch list and move on.

Life is too short to deal with idiots and folks who don't care about what they are selling :(

January 7, 2012, 08:42 PM
I dont buy used guns unless it is from a good friend. I know I have unloaded some real lemons on pawn shops etc. someone else got that problem now, I got rid of it.

January 7, 2012, 09:23 PM
The 2 worst guns I have ever bought were a new S&W J-Frame 38 and a new Kimber rifle. Neither were as good as my worst used purchase.

January 7, 2012, 09:49 PM
Most rifles will be in good working order. Poor accuracy is what gets a gun traded or sold the fastest. The price tells you very little. A need of cash or divorce can be a reason for a quick sale . Gun dealers, with ready ca$h, buy firearms at low prices. Best to ask the customer "What do you want for it." Looking the gun over or seeing good photos can tell a trained eye a lot. Buying from a dealer may not get you the lowest price, but may be the safest.

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