Buying firearms over the Internet. Your experience.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Furncliff, Sep 20, 2008.

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  1. PRM

    PRM Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    Internet sales can go bad - Lesson Learned

    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.
  2. LubeckTech

    LubeckTech Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Parkersburg, WV
    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.
  3. Tomahawk674

    Tomahawk674 Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    St. Joseph, MO
    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:
  4. herohog

    herohog Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Shreveport, VA
    They probably HAD it but sold it "out the back door."
  5. hemiram

    hemiram Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Toledo, Ohio
    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.
  6. Rolando

    Rolando Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    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.
  7. Rustynuts

    Rustynuts Member

    Mar 29, 2007
    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!
  8. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    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.
  9. anythingshiny

    anythingshiny Member

    May 20, 2008
    raleigh nc
    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.
  10. 2TransAms

    2TransAms Member

    Feb 26, 2006
    Illinois,by St. Louis MO
    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:
  11. jakemccoy

    jakemccoy Member

    May 26, 2007
    Northern California
    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.
  12. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

    Aug 29, 2005
    Easton, PA
    I've bought from Auction Arms and Gunbroker, with no problems at all.
  13. zoom6zoom

    zoom6zoom Member

    Apr 24, 2006
    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.
  14. MarkDido

    MarkDido Member

    Apr 5, 2003
    I've bought 2 milsurp guns from AIM surplus.

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

    Good custome service.
  15. yhtomit

    yhtomit Member

    May 27, 2006
    E. Tennessee
    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.

  16. RP88

    RP88 Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    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.
  17. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    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!


  18. wyocarp

    wyocarp Member

    Jan 18, 2006
    Laramie, Wyoming
    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.
  19. NonConformist

    NonConformist member

    Sep 11, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    Ive never had an issue and have been 100% happy each time!
  20. torpid

    torpid Member

    Aug 12, 2004
    CA coast
    All good. :)
  21. RonE

    RonE Member

    Aug 19, 2007
    Rockport, Texas
    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.
  22. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    In the Wild Horse Desert of Texas
    I've never bought a firearm on-line. Only muzzle-loaders and cap-and-ball pistols.

    Always had a good experience.
  23. stevelyn

    stevelyn Member

    Mar 9, 2003
    Fairbanksan in Aleutian Hell
    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.
  24. U.S.SFC_RET

    U.S.SFC_RET Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    The Old Dominion State
    Most of the guns I purchase is now off of the internet. Some here on THR. 100% positive.
  25. rfurtkamp

    rfurtkamp Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    SE Idaho
    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.
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