How To Inspect And Buy A Used Gun (safely)

How can you be confident that the used gun you buy and the process you follow is safe and above board?

Buying used guns is like buying a used car. You need to know what to look for to avoid getting someone else’s headache. Guns for sale can be for a host of reasons. Some are;

  1. The owners’s firearms license was revoked
  2. They need money
  3. They want to buy something else with the money
  4. They just don’t use it anymore
  5. It is a lemon
  6. Culling the collection due to age
  7. Moving somewhere and cannot take the guns
  8. Estate sale

These are just a few. So, how does one inspect it?

In person, first make sure it is unloaded. Always, always, always do that.

First, inspect the bore.

Take a light and look down the bore. If it isn’t super clean, clean it. You are looking for the beginning of the rifling just ahead of the chamber. This is called the throat and it should have nice, crisp edges. Further, the bore should look nice and shiny. If when you clean it the patch comes out a little shredded, the bore is pitted and will not perform well.

Second, inspect the action.

Bolt actions rarely mess up. Open the bolt and see how easily it slides back and forth. High end guns will move like they are on ball bearings. Lower end guns will require a tiny bit of effort. When closed, there should be no play on the bolt.

Pumps and semis will have some play which is why they tend to be less accurate.

Break opens, hold onto the barrel(s) at the muzzle and swing the gun like a pendulum. You should hear no clunking sound.

If you are buying online, remember that GTA Guns and Gear Auctions Inc. includes a gunsmith’s inspection report (GUNCHECKTM), bore pictures and for semi-automatics, actual video of the firearm cycling (CYCLECHECKTM.)