How legit are places like gunbroker.com

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by pj777, Feb 3, 2014.

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  1. pj777

    pj777 Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    Here's my situation. My brother-in-law wants a specific Sig 1911 for his birthday, but no local places have it (my sister assigned this task to me). I can special order one but its more expensive than buying one normally.

    I was curious, so I looked on gunbroker.com to see what they had, and I found a few deals that were exactly what he wanted. They were cheaper than store prices and shipping was free on some. I know FFL transfer fees would come into play with this method.

    If there're any people who've used websites like these, my question is how legit are they? Am I safe to say that if I buy the pistol I want from a positively reviewed member that I won't get screwed on it somehow?

    I'm kinda skeptical about making a big purchase like that without seeing the product first OR seeing the seller face-to-face, so now I'm curious on what other's experience on these websites have been.
  2. DBH45

    DBH45 Member

    Jan 22, 2014
    SO CA
    Gun Broker

    I recently made a purchase on GB and I might add my first. The transaction could not have been any smoother. So I would say if the price is right and the seller has positive feed back, go for it.

  3. spm

    spm Member

    Mar 26, 2011
    Mid Missouri
    I don't have any experience with online sites other than Gunbroker, but GB is legit. I have purchased three guns and sold one through GB. Just do your due diligence with the seller. Check their feedback. I made it a point to avoid anyone with even one negative feedback and have not had a problem. Many sellers will have a return policy, if you're not satisfied with the gun. Shop them, first. At some point, it ends up being a leap of faith, but if you are careful and go slowly, you increase your chances of a good experience. Again, do your diligence; check the feedback.

    Good luck,
  4. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Plano, Texas
    GunBroker is every bit as "legit' as is Ebay...........both have their share of scammers, liars and frauds.

    Check the sellers feedback as a seller. Check what items he has sold previously. Just like Ebay, some scammers will sell dozens of cheap items at a loss or to friends just to build up positive feedback.

    If the price is too good to be true.........pass.
  5. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

    Dec 16, 2013
    Communist state of nj
    Buying from Gunbroker for years,never an issue.....Don
  6. grimjaw

    grimjaw Member

    May 9, 2005
    My experience with the site itself is good. As others have mentioned, just like with ebay, the individual sellers and buyers are where the questions come in.
  7. powder

    powder member

    Aug 6, 2012
    I bought my SIG 1911 from a GB Distributor, shoot me a PM for reference.
  8. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    Bought several off GB and never had an issue...Same for Bud's.
  9. Frosty Dave

    Frosty Dave Member

    May 12, 2013
    I've also made a few purchases via GB over the years and have been very happy with the experience.

    You have the right idea, check the seller's feedback, terms, shipping and if everything looks good, then you're probably fine. True, you can't handle the merchandise but a good seller will provide the most accurate description and the best photos possible. It's in the legitimate business's interest to make a sale that you're happy with.

    I don't automatically reject a seller for negative feedback, but I will look at the comments with negative ratings to see why, and how the seller treated the buyer's complaint.
  10. Agsalaska

    Agsalaska Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Good. Look for positive ratings on sellers.

    On a side note, I have found Gunbroker to be much more expensive on used guns, especially the kind of stuff I am in too(levers, old revolvers,etc) and much cheaper on new guns. If I was looking for, say, a mid eighties JM stamped Marlin 444, I would try to find it local. If I wanted a M&P compact with an external safety, I would go to Gunbroker every time.
  11. ArmedLiberal

    ArmedLiberal Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    Have bought 5 or 6 guns from Gun Broker and also Gun Auction over several years. Never a problem. But you need to be just a little wary. I have bid on maybe a dozen or so others I lost out on cause I wasn't willing to pay as much as others were.

    I have avoided those sellers who are first time users or have only listed two or three times. Always review the feedback.

    Also avoid auctions with skimpy descriptions or only one or two out of focus pictures. Ask questions if you need to. If you ask a question do you get a prompt and satisfactory response? Evasive answers always a red flag. If you want an example of ideal gun descriptions search for Lock Stock and Barrel on GunAuction.com for some examples.

    Most of those listing on these auction sites make some or most of their living off of their good reputations/feedback and will be careful to satisfy their customers. The feedback system really works.

    I have never had a problem sending off funds and waiting for shipment.

    Check with your local FFLs and know what their fees are so you can know what your final all inclusive price will be.


    Of course it's also wise to have a good understanding of the market value of the gun you're considering. Fantastic bargains do exist but are generally very rare.

    I've had only good experiences with online firearms auctions and also I have been moderately wary and paid attention to the details. I've also spent some enjoyable hours browsing for guns I don't have the money to buy, like it's the worlds biggest gun catalog.
  12. Lakeshore

    Lakeshore Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    I've done a half dozen purchases on GB last couple of years and so far have dodged the bullet (pun intended) of any problems whatsoever.

    For firearms the one thing I ALWAYS do is call or email the seller to ensure that the pictured gun is actually the one being auctioned. So far I've only caught one who fessed up to using a stock photo -of a completely different model gun! - and he immediately went back and amended his GB description.
  13. artpotts

    artpotts Member

    Jul 28, 2013
    Ask your LGS about transfer fees, etc. Here in WA we also pay sales tax on the purchase price when he does the transfer. Small shops are also more willing to order one in from their distributor without charging extra.
  14. Tinpig

    Tinpig Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    SE Massachusetts
    I used the advanced search option on Gunbroker to find a Remington M1917 that was for sale only 30 miles away from me. After I won the GB auction the seller and I did a legal FTF transfer. Best of all worlds for both of us...cash transaction, no shipping, no FFL involved, and a chance to inspect the rifle before paying.

    I took the usual precautions for a FTF (talked to the seller on the phone, verified his address, had my oldest son along riding shotgun, and met the guy in daylight in a very public parking lot.) It was a beautiful rifle, he was great and we had coffee and talked guns after.


  15. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    Hopewell Big Woods
    Verified Members & FFL holders should be extra safe .
  16. Nite Ryder

    Nite Ryder Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    Buying from GunBroker is safer than selling on GunBroker. When you are selling, if someone decides they don't want the firearm after they have won the bid, there isn't much you can do about it. But GunBroker still charges you for the sale even if the buyer won't pay. There is no one at GunBroker who will help you, no human to talk to. Anytime you are dealing with the public there is a chance someone will be dishonest and cheat you. You accept that chance you are taking or pay the higher price elsewhere. I've bought many guns from the GunBroker auction, and I've been lucky, everyone went smoothly.
  17. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Member

    Nov 3, 2011
    I've done several transactions off gunbroker. I make sure the seller has enough positive reviews, for selling, that's it's a reliable deal.

    But just because a seller has a number of positive reviews doesn't make him reliable. He might have positive reviews as a buyer, but never sold anything.

    I remember one case where a guy was selling a gun. He had positive feedback as a buyer. "Fast payment", etc. But this was his first transaction as a seller, and he ripped off the winning bidder.
  18. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

    Mar 19, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I am a gunbrokeraholic. Never a bad transaction out of dozens.
  19. CatManDo

    CatManDo Member

    Mar 25, 2012
    SE KS
    Can you actually buy a gun for someone else? I know it aught to be legal, but with all the "straw purchase" regulations I'm nervous about buying a handgun for my wife for conceal carry.
    With that said, here's a site that searches for the gun you are looking for and lists the sources starting with the least expensive. BTW, nothing wrong with GB.
    I've used it and it's great.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  20. JoeMal

    JoeMal Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    I've bought several items on Gunbroker. And honestly, as much as people dog it, I've gotten some great deals.

    Buy with confidence
  21. silicosys4

    silicosys4 Member

    Jun 29, 2012
    You can find some very nice firearms from online gun auctions. However, like others have said, you have to be careful, and realize over all one thing.

    If everything goes south, you are on your own. The auction site themselves will do next to nothing to help you if you are scammed somehow.

    If you pay by credit card, this helps somewhat in that you can issue chargebacks if you are unsatisfied. You can also refuse to transfer the gun, and pay to have it shipped back. If you pay by card and the gun is significantly damaged or not as described and you have it shipped back, you should be able to regain your funds.

    A US postal money order is no more secure or theft proof than any other form of payment, but many sellers insist on that form of payment, as its easy to cash in any post office.

    I have had numerous online auction gun purchases. I have been happy with the majority of them, and have a few preferred sellers that I know are honest and descriptive. Definitely look for good feedback, and a lot of it.

    I have had to send a few guns back, and received refunds without having to pursue them. I have only been outright burned once by a seller that sold me a gun via gunbroker, accidentally sold the gun on another auction, required me to wait indefinitely until he got another back in stock, then charged me a restocking fee of over $200 when i issued a chargeback. Dont use a debit card, use a credit card....the cc company WILL get their money back.
  22. RPRNY

    RPRNY Member

    Mar 8, 2012
    Front Range, CO
    Excellent observations with which I would largely concur. However, if one takes time, up to a couple of months, on the older firearm, one can find it on GB. Also, I have had some real steals by just checking the last thirty minutes of auctions under a caliber or maker that interests me.
  23. Agsalaska

    Agsalaska Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Yep. But you have to be patient and understand that it is a 1 in 100 occurrence. The same thing happens on ebay. You just have to be there ready when it does.

    I was watching a no reserve auction not long ago that went for about 70% of what three or for other had gone in a very short period of time. It does happen.
  24. slumlord44

    slumlord44 Member

    Aug 23, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Good advice here. Check feedback and return policy. Buy from an established seller. I have been buying mostly C&R guns for many years with only a few minor glitches.
  25. barnbwt

    barnbwt member

    Aug 14, 2011
    Best advice is to look for weird stuff while:

    -Engaging the seller after sale, and not just giving them your money blindly
    -Checking the info they give you against their contact info
    -Knowing what you are buying; price, condition, features, legality*
    -Having the wherewithal to recognize "shady" behavior
    -Not being a blowhard who flips out on the seller/buyer for any reason. Getting pissed accomplishes nothing but getting them dead set on screwing you over, whether it's a scam or innocent misunderstanding

    *I.E. don't be those idiots buying illegal machineguns in the form of barely-demilled old-style PPSH kits :banghead:. If it weren't for a bunch of them popping up simultaneously, I might not think they were a sting operation. I'd also put various pistol shoulder stocks in this camp as well, since many sellers will pawn them off on people expecting them to know SBR laws (as they should, being the liable party, but still)

    "Also, I have had some real steals by just checking the last thirty minutes of auctions under a caliber or maker that interests me."
    Oh, so you're that jerk. I swear, I can bid on the longest-listed, most obscure nonsense imaginable, and some piker will dive in at the last minute, I assume because he thinks I know something he doesn't. Yes, it's that I actually want the item and he doesn't :D.

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