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Used Rifles: The Best Bargain of All

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October 04, 2011

Used Rifles: The Best Bargain of All

By David E. Petzal

Frequently, I’m approached by people who ask what the best bargain in rifles is, and my response is always the same:

“Get away from me or I’ll hit you with this stick! [I carry a stick for just such occasions.]”

Once we have the correct social order established, I explain that the best bargain is not a particular brand of rifle, but a used rifle, and particularly at this point in history. As we continue our descent from the First World to the Third, people are having to part with some very good guns.

Periodically, I scout the Internet for high-grade left-hand rifles, and last week I hit paydirt. Kittery Trading Post, in Kittery, ME, listed a used Anschutz Model 1416 .22 left-hand bolt-action which they described as 95 percent, and which was selling for a very good price, with scope.

“Holy Fried Clam,” I said, and drove up to Kittery. The rifle turned out to be mint except for a shallow, 1-inch scratch on the comb. That was the missing 5 percent. The scope was silly and worthless, so I asked if they could take it off and deduct what it cost. Sure, said the Kittery folks.

I bought it, and the thing shoots sensational, even for an Anschutz. I got what is essentially a new gun at a whopping saving, and my heart goes out to whoever had to sell it.

Remember: The true bargains are not the cheap guns that are selling cheaper because they’re used, but the really good ones that no longer cost big money.

Next Post: Michelle Bachman—Truly Nuts or Simply Confused?

Comments (76)

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've never bought a used gun, always scared i'd get a lemon. Plus I haven't found a dealer I truly trust yet. All mine have been new purchases and only on one occasion have I ever had to send a new gun back to the manufacturer, they made good on it and I was pleased with their service.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I agree fully, the best rifles & other weapons I have are mostly (gently) used.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunter55 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have purchased many used guns from local gun stores. If you look for worn blueing, scratches, powder residue, etc. you can get a pretty good idea of how used the gun really is.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jimfish wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

agreed, slightly used riles are a better bargain

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

DEP: How about a quick checklist to run down for what you look for at the store that would help reduce the chances of picking up a "lemon?"

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jmcc3006 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have bought several used guns and have never had a problem. The good people at William's gun sight make sure of that.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MJC wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I love browsing Kittery Trading Post, and now I know that I could run into DEP there! I'll be on the lookout for a grumpy codger with a big stick.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mjenkins1 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Mr Petzal,
Where online do you typically search for gun deals? I had never heard of Kittery Trading post, however I am on Gunbroker every single day. Any other sites you think are good for used guns would be appreciated.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from guyandarifle wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I think I burned a lot of my karma on a Wby MK-V Stainless Fibermark in .340. (which they discontinued some time ago and, as far as I know, haven't brought back) The thing was still in the factory box with everything still sleeved in plastic. The price was such I'd have bought it just to flip if I didn't actually want it for myself, which I did. Shortly after purchasing the rifle I won (that's right...won in a drawing) a Zeiss scope that now sit's atop that .340.

I keep my eyes open but I don't think I'll ever beat that deal without the use of chloroform and duct tape.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Many ways to pick up fine used arms, my least favorite death next divorce. The former someone usually wants it to go to a good home, the latter someone does not want it use to pay a lawyer. Others are, someone buys a heavy kicker and wants to swap out or they have what they want and start reducing inventory for the perfect battery of arms. Some owners get older with no one to hand them down to and they end up the used shelf, fine weapons just pre-owned. Then there is find a buddy and start whining, this may work if there is pity ? I act like I can't use it or already have one and they tell me,"couldn't you use it ? but I'll make you an offer you can't refuse". Yes I have bought some broken ones but I am usually into them so right, the parts or gunsmith don't cut into the savings. As always BUYER BEWARE ! BUY GUNS, gold just sits there

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Widows and divorcee's are the best source for used guns.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

There have been several articles published in F&S and others on how to buy used rifles. A search of the archives will probably reveal them. Every rifle that I have except the Weatherby Mark V Lightweight Sporter my wife gave me for our 30th anniversary was purchased used. I have "recycled" several rifles down the trail that did not shoot well, but by and large, most can shoot well with a good cleaning and proper ammunition. Bargains in big magnums or Weatherby calibers can be had because folks buy them, get the snot kicked out of them, and trade for a mousegun. Weatherby rifles are seldom "shot out" due to the high cost of ammunition for most nimrods. Example: Weatherby Mark V 7mm Wby mag, discoloration of bluing on the barrel in a few spots, straight comb synthetic stock beat to hell from riding in an ATV gun rack, bottom metal trashed. $475 out the door. Weatherby stock in good condition from eBay $75, like new bottom metal from ebay $40, $2 worth of Oxpho bluing and it looks 90%. Total cost less than $600. It shot just as well as-is for $475, I just like the looks of it better now. A new one is over $1,300 and will be just as scratched up after one good elk hunt!

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have bought a couple used rifles and they have turned out to be steals. Always worth checking the used market first, the new guns aren't going anywhere and you can get one anytime if the season is coming down to the wire.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have purchased a few used guns, as well, and I have always had my gunsmith(my friend who is a gunsmith)give them a fuction/look over and fire them. ONCE this is done I normally give the price they ask...unless the cost is really off the blue book price. So far, no lemons in the gun safe!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Best deal I ever got was a Beretta 391 Sporting for $500 because it wouldn't cycle reliably. $80 for a new recoil spring and carrier plate and I have been busting clays and doves with it for the last 10 years. MSRP on it new was $1200.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

My dad bought me a Mod 12 in 1965 from a pawn shop. I shoot it today. My late dad shot his dads Mod 12 that my grand father bought used in the 1920's. I shooot it today. I bought a used Ithaca from a buddy for $50. I bought a 22-250 for woodchucks from a neighbor. I would hesitate to buy a new gun, there are so many used guns in the market. Keep your ears open and have cash on hand.

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from hutter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I like to trade guns, usually for a better one or for a couple or more.It's fun to try to get the best deal and if you can't just walk away. Sometimes the dealer won't let you leave sometimes you leave without it. I'm just a gun shop away from the next deal of a lifetime.I have traded hundreds if not thousands of guns in my lifetime.And my dad is worse than I am! Remember if you got what you wanted then it was a great deal.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Since most of my favorite models of guns are now discontinued, they can only be bought on the used gun market. I have picked up some nice safe queens at gun shows at very reasonable prices.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've put together a good collection of rifles and shotguns by picking up good used guns, some gently used some beat to hell. The ones on the rough end had good bores and were repairable. Those were the real bargain. Widows, estate sales, pawn shops, individuals who have fallen on hard times, web auctions, online gun sales have all been sources of used firearms. Like WAM I've run across a lemon or two and they get sent on their merry way.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TM wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Dave, I agree with CL3. A "How to buy a used rifle" blog post would be great. Apart from the obvious (looking for glaring defects and making sure it was well cared for at its previous home) any tips?

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from Baileymade wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

My family and I have bought quite a few guns over the years and I can only think of two that were new when bought. We've done everything from the pawn shop to retailers such as Cabelas and have had great luck finding good guns at great prices. Let someone else pay the new gun markup!

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from ejunk wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

half of my firearms were purchased used. I've had very good luck (though I have an older mossberg 500 that simply will not cycle 3" waterfowl loads) in that regard, and as WA Mtnhunter pointed out, F&S's guides to buying used guns have been invaluable to me when shopping for pre-owned firearms.

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

if F&S has previously done a piece on How To Buy Used Firearms, it'd be great to see it re-posted or updated. A search on the site for "used firearms guide" turns up 450 results... including presidential discussions?! yeesh. anyone know where the article is? I am in the market for a "new" deer rifle for the woods.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

To All: When buying a used gun, you need to differentiate between signs of use and abuse or neglect. All rifles acquire dings and small blemishes if they're used, but what you're looking for is rust, or pitting from rust, anywhere on the gun, cracks in the stock if its wood, obvious signs of meddling by an amateur gunsmith, and a bore that's dirty, copper-streaked, or pitted. If any of this stuff is present, forget about buying, no matter how good the price is.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Gun show prices around here are way too high the last few years, so I seldom go there. To "ejunk": a used Mossberg is seldom a bargain...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

My experience is used rifles/shotguns in stores this way are priced very high even for tired metal. I keep my eyes and ears open for private sales. Price is more in line with knowledge of item purchased.

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from acohoon wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal I must say your article has driven me to register just so I can comment on this article. I have always wanted a Marlin guide gun in 45/70 (in no small part thanks to your articles). I spent Sunday afternoon at various local gun stores looking for a new one. I decided they were all more than I wanted to spend. I looked online and found a used 1895GS that was described as "showing wear" with ghost ring sights already installed. I drove to the store and bought it for half what a new one costs yesterday. Their description of "showing wear" was remidied with a good cleaning. I cant wait to shoot it this weekend!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Thanks for the insight and the stories...once I'm in the market for a good deer rifle, I know where to start looking.

Hint: It won't be Wal-Mart

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

i might be weird in this but id rather pay a little more for a new virginal gun than buy something used where another mans scratches and dings mar my precious..so that i can break it in the right way, then when its used some years every little scratch and blemish is my doing and everyone has a story behind it :P
now if there only where women worth having like that anymore.........................
but i fear "sex in the city" has undone that possibility for our entire generation....
But atleast one can buy new guns, bikes, cars rods and reels to compensate for sloppy seconds :(
and women wonder why we love fishing and hunting so much ;)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Once in a while I find something Used that can't be passed. Like $100 for a 95% Mdl 660 Remington in 350 Rem mag and a 3 screw Ruger 22 cal single six for $100. They were owned by a bank that received a collection of guns from an estate. But mostly I buy new and sell when a gun falls out of favor. Right now thinking about selling my Rem 700 classic in 350 Rem mag. I like the 300 weatherby much better.
BTW if anyone is looking at vintage shotguns the FIRST thing is look very closely at the bore just behind the choke. Many fine old guns have a walnut there caused when some fool shoots steel shot in it. An old friend once showed me a fine Parker double that looked great at first glance but a close look revealed a slight bulge in one barrel. It took a close look to detect but it was there.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The last time I went to a gun show (about 1995 or so) There was a fellow there with 3 or 4 brand new with tags etc. Winchester model 70's (pre 64) he had them priced at around $700 each. Wish I had bought them all to this day, oh well. Then there was that Browning gold medalist LNIB the guy wanted $150 for. Alas, back in 1973 I was a poor Army Sgt at Ft. Beginning, Ga. and that was a lot of money to me back then. That gun would be worth a couple thousand today.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

my shotgun i got used but my .22 was brand new! almost every sporting thing i got used... ammo fishing polles,dogs ect..

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

A near-mint 1416 for $970 is not bad. Once in a while you can get real lucky at estate sales in the Phoenix area. It is so dry that even neglected guns are not bothered by rust.

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from MaxPower wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Good stuff as always Mr. Petzal, right now is a great time to find huge bargains on high quality rifles. I wonder how many people have googled Kittery Trading Post because of this post.

I've read past posts from you about shopping for a used rifle and they're good stuff too. I'm still hunting for a used Weatherby Sub-Moa Stainless in .243, no Kittery doesn't have one.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2lb.test wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Best place to find a deal on used guns or do some horsetrading is at a gun show. I'm fortunate enough to live 45 mins. from an exposition center that has one every couple of months. Buyer beware though, you should have a bore light and some prior knowledge on the type of firearm you're looking for.

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from jdwood wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Kittery Trading Post is a fantastic place, used to take trips to Maine when I was younger just to go browse through the Fishing Tackle, but they have a ton of stuff.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

It needs mentioned that I would rather buy a good used rifle than a cheap new one. A cheap gun is always a cheap gun.

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from lostcajun61 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Right on DEP!I have a modest collection of firearms,mostly used,that I've collected over the years.I usually dealt with a pawn shop in Stillwater,OK where there was always a revolving supply of guns(thanks John).I don't think I ever came home with a "lemon".I did,however,trade many guns back for another, many of which I had back. Guns are an investment and quality used guns are an even better investment. Remember, as soon as a gun leaves the store, it's a used gun so why pay a new price for the same gun!

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I swung by Gander Mountain on my way home just because of this article. I am looking for a new woods rifle for deer season. The guns there weren't much cheaper than a new rifle unfortunately. They seemed in good shape, but I learned you may not find what you are looking for either.

got to keep searching I guess.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Next Post:
Michelle Bachman = Sarah Palin, redux.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

"used" is often the only way to cheaply acquire a British double gun or double rifle. steer clear of the Boss's, Purdeys, Holland & Hollands and Westley-Richards, of course, as they remain expensive even when used. But "no name" makers were the OEM of the British gun trade, they often made locks and barrels for the big name shops. As always, inspect thoroughly, take all the precautions and do your research, and bring someone with more knowledge than you. That is true when buying single barrel guns, even more so with double barreled guns.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Heck let me chime in. I too looked at and bought the Marlin 1895GBL guide gun in 45.70 Govt based on DEP recommendation. And It is perfect if you deer hunt in swamp and heavy brush. Have a red dot on it for snap shooting. Happy with it. But I digress. Got a used Super Redhawk a few years ago at a gander mtn. There was a better one with a scope, that was cheaper; but the rifling looked used. The one I got was pristine. Like it was never fired. Added my own Nikon Encore and grips. Shoots great. My point is: Some economic zones are better than others for used guns. Near a large city, the buys seem lots over priced toys (and sometimes worn toys) that someone didn't know what they wanted (lots of 9MM and .40 auto, in a a few years I expect a lot of AR and M4 look alike's to start popping up). Travel a few miles to a small town in a urban or rural setting and get great deals when the local farmer wants to upgrade, or fell on hard times. It also helps to check in regularly with a small town guns shop. There new prices are awful, but used can be great (they can't afford to keep big inventory).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

One more thing: I have looked at and would don;t think I would everr buy a semi-auto pistol used. Never (so far) had any use for a semi-rifle (including the ARs). There is too much potential for wear and too much potential for abuse if not properly lubed, that you can;t see unless you really know what to look for. Or someone bought it as a toyy and shot the crap out of it. Although if a nice used browning buckmark showed up, I might be tempted. Anybody else seen that in autos. Worn auto pistols seem to need a lot of parts/work or shoot not so good. Anyone else notice that these new composite metal frames tend to have screws vibrate out and have to be reset at every cleaning. I elect we will see at lot of those start popping up used, soon.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Sorry for last post. Spell checker is a worse speller then I am. But you get the idea.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Drinking Buddy

Something tells me that Spell Checker won't help much! LOL!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I buy all my firearms used if I can. As Dr. Petzal will attest, sometimes with Lefty rifles, estate sales are the only way some guys ever part with theirs.

Drinkin'Dan: don't sweat the used auto-pistols. Most people won't shoot one enough to even break it in. If it's a high quality pistol to begin with (Ruger, Sig,S&W, H&K, Glock, Beretta, Springfield etc) you could shoot it for a long time without wearing anything out. Most of those brands have been trying to gain or trying to keep (Beretta) a military contract for the whole D.O.D., so they beat them up pretty bad in the testing programs and do stupid things a gun-owner would never do (shoot til it's red hot, drop it in ice water, rinse and repeat). Those guns just keep running, dirty or clean case after case of ammo, this is the "Golden Age" of firearms, right now.
Most modern pistols are so overbuilt and over-tested that you won't ever wear anything out but the springs, or maybe the feed lips on the magazine.
Just my two-cents
AKX

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I once bought a 1959 Win. M/71 Deluxe rifle that was 95% from an old gentleman who had traveled extensively hunting. The 5% was a scratch on the barrel. He showed me a photo in an album (lot bigger than our family Bible) of this man in his prime seated atop a HUGE alaska brown bear that had decided to chomp the barrel for it's last act as a living creature.
New guns don't have character or history like this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I prefer new. I don't buy much at all now. After a bad deal in the '80s, I won't buy a used rifle unless it can be dismantled first. Probably just me being dumb, but the previous owner had taken the rifle out in bad weather a lot, and only wiped it down. I removed the stock to find a rusty, pitted underside.

Somebody also got some very good deals from me, too. During the dot-com bust, I sold a couple of H&Ks that are irreplaceable by any means. But feeding the family was more important. I still cry at nights over that SL-7.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

WA Mtnhunter

"a used Mossberg is seldom a bargain..."

True,but once in a while it happens.
Example-my son-in law owed me about $85.00 because he was short on cash,and his truck badly needed brakes,and a few front end parts-as my daughter and grandchildren ride in it-I coughed up the $$ and helped with the repairs. ( besides that-he's a decent guy,hunts,fishes,and shoots,plus did two tours in Iraq)
He was working with a guy who owned multiple rental homes,they were cleaning one out after the basement had flooded,found a Mossberg 590,rusty,looking really rough,the owner (of the Mossberg) didn't want it,gave it to him,I got it for the little bit he owed me.
A few hours,some steel wool,a good barrel cleaning,about $15.00 worth of blueing,and blueing/rust remover,an inspection by a gunsmith,and it looks great,shoots great.
Not really sure what the point of the silly looking heat shield is though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from white bison wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Hello All: Since I used to do a lot of restoring of used
guns...I'll put in my 2 cents worth:
The main point is that most used guns haven't been used that much...look at the wear...what it is, I would say most guys don't shoot their guns all that much...sighting in, a few shiots during hunting season if any at all & then lay up their guns for the winter. So...after working on bringing up a Lot of used guns like new..I would say its worth taking a chance on one. About 99.9% certain you'd get a good one. I would just look the gun's exterior over for hard useage, and look down the bore for obvious pitting. In our part of the Country, a lot of rifles get wear signs from scabbards on horseback...but that is also only cosmetic. The guns are fine. Bargains are there. Estate auctions are good. Gun Shows, I have found to be overpriced, although some bargains can be found at times. I found a very nice 1916 A.H. Philadelphia Fox Double at an Estate auction & paid only $350 for it. Another time I found a very clean Winchester M70 in .270 Weatherby Mag for $600 at a local gun show, nearly new. Used guns don't scare me at all...in fact they attract me for the bargain prices. You just have to take a good look at them, and don't be turned away by mere cosmetic flaws. They can be refinished like new.
Best Regards, Tom from Cody

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from nelsol wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

To Mjenkins1, don't know if anyone answered your question with regard to auction sites other than Gunbroker. Another fairly reliable site is AuctionArms.com. I've been using them for several years, both buying and selling. Like anything else in this world in which we live, there are honorable people and some who are not, but AuctionArms.com does a decent job.

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from RipperIII wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

What about light rust on the exterior?
How do you remedy that, or is it even worth the effort?

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from Camdog wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I am, like DP, blessed to be left handed. Blessed because were I right handed I would be Bankrupt by now picking up 'deals'.

Something that has worked for me is to look for used LH custom rifles. I have picked up some outstanding rifles that I would have otherwise been unable or unwilling to acquire due to cost.

I have purchased these at a fraction of their current reproduction cost. Never had a problem with any of them. Most have features that I enjoy immensely, but would have never paid the freight to get.

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

"What about light rust on the exterior?"

If it's just light surface rust,very fine steel wool and a light coat of gun oil should do the trick.
If it's deeper,there are quite a few rust remover products,blueing/ rust removers etc. It's not that hard to re-blue a gun,just takes some time,attention to detail,and follow the directions carefully for whatever product you are using.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SL wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

For the guy who wants to have lots of guns, I guess buying used could find you a good deal here and there. For the guy who wants maybe a rifle and shotgun or two to hunt with I see little reason to buy used. Most of the used guns I see on sale at shows or shops around where I live are not much less than a new one would cost, so why would I pay $75-100 less for a used gun when I could get a spanking new one WITH a warranty for little more? It seems even many private sellers want top dollars for their old gun. Yes, you might be able to haggle them down some on the price, but they will be looking at you as if you slept with their wives. They think their old guns are so precious and they will be mighty offended that anyone wouldn't buy them at the price they were asking for them. No one ever got rich buying or selling used guns. I prefer not to deal with some of the shananigans involved.

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from Ferber wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Dave...10 or 15 years ago I bought, new, the same model left-hand Anchutz (I think it's the same--a smallbore match rifle, right?)and shot a box of 50 rounds the next day. My dad was an accomplished smallbore shooter--he had a Pope-barrelled Ballard and a Model 52. The Ballard is in the NRA museum. I realized right away, looking at the empty .22 box aside me and lousy groups downrange that I wasn't a smallbore shooter and would really have to practice, a lot, to hope to be any good--not to mention accepting the laying-on-belly-discomfort--so I cleaned the rifle and put it away with the other guns I haven't shot in years.

My wife. Sally, had a thing about shoes. We all have a thing about guns. I try to sell some on occasion but for every one I grudgenly leave someplace on consignment--I buy another or two somewhere else. By the way, I've bought several through GunBroker.com with no complaints (except for the fact I don't need them). Guns--and also cars--are often good (and cost-effective as you said)to buy used. Two more things: 1. I've never won the lottery and 2. No one's ever called me to ask if I would please remove from a stranger's house the guns of a departed husband.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The only gun I ever bought that was a "Lemon" was a Llama IXC, a high cap 45 ACP. It shoots good when it feeds, which isn't often. And being that it isn't a true 1911 not many parts interchange, so it is a nice single shot 1911 with a big (and useless) magazine.

BTW, it was also one of the few guns I ever bought New!

Majority of my limited collection were bought used.

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from white bison wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Ripper III: Light rust. Rub it off with 4 ought steel wool (0000) grade. Then use Brownells "T-4 Creme" cold bluing applied over entire area with a 0000 steel wool pad. Rub gently with a good glob. If you rub hard,it will turn too blue color. But gently will give a beautiful blue black color. Wipe off with a paper towel
after it turns color, before it dries. Then wipe off with a paper towel with generous oil. Every couple of days wipe again with a oil wet paper towel, sometimes takes a few days for the bluing to set, and the oil helps it set. Alternately if the rust is too much for a little rubbing with steel wool...then you need to take it to a fine wire wheel on a bench grinder rig, wire off all the bluing & then apply the T-$ creme bluing as described. its actually pretty easy to do.
Best Regards, Tom

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dasmith wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I usually buy used. Make sure you deal with a good dealer, some have 30 day waranties and a certified gunsmith. Only really got stuck once, on a old .22 revolver from an out of state dealer. So thats not bad for 34 years of buying guns. You can get some real good deals on some that have been shot only a couple of times. There are real bargains out there to be found!

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from hansaskatoon wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have had very good luck purchasing quality used guns via the Internet. Both Gunsamerica.com and Gunbroker.com offer reliable vendors and a vast selection. On Gunsamerica, vendors are rated with a 0-100% customer satisfaction score, which weeds out the deadbeats. One vendor on Gunsamerica, Robertson Trading Post out of TN, has sold over 4,000 guns on the site and still maintains a 100% rating. My most recent purchase on Gunbroker was a 1953 Russian (Tula) SKS in excellent condition for $300; very satisfied.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

To Steve Ferber. Nope, this is a sporter, not a target rifle. I don't shoot well enough any more for an Anschutz target rifle.

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from wp wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've had great luck at estate sales. Often you can get very good deals if you agree to buy an entire collection because it is easier for the seller than a bunch of individual sales. I have heard the online sites are a good source as well, but I like to be able to handle and examine any firearm I am thinking of buying before any money is exchanged.

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from dick mcplenty wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal where do you usually stumble across used left handed ULA's or NULA's? Do you have any you'd like to sell?

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I always make it a point to check out the used gun rack any time there is one and have come up with a few gems over the years. The best was a Ruger 77 International in .243 that I picked up at a big pawn shop in Waco back in the mid-80s for all of about $175. Absolutely mint condition and I doubt if it had been shot a dozen times. I still have that gun and it's still in great shape. Last time I checked the going rate was about $700-plus for the same model, used. Got a really nice O-U at the same place for a song that is also as pretty as the day I bought it and a beautiful shooter. Both times I had gone in without money or cash in hand. Luckily, I knew the owner and made him swear a blood oath that he wouldn't sell either one until I ran to the bank and back (no debit cards or ATMs in those days). One man's pain is another man's gain, I guess.
As for the Bachman question, I would say the answer is yes...

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from jaredrobbins wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I was just at kittery trading post, I live in Maine, and bought a used browning bps for a great deal. It was almost new looking except for a ding in the butt and when i took the barrel off it looked like it had never been fired.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The real trick is to identify a used rifle that is a good value. Since you can't, generally, take one home and shoot it before you buy it, you take an awful risk that you do not need to incur with a new rifle.

Sometimes the risk isn't obvious. In the early 1980s I traded for a used rifle that looked pristine. A Winch Model 94 .30-30 with no rust, no pitting, no blueing wear, no dings or scratches, the bbl looked good visually. Clean. No dings on the crown.

It didn't shoot worth shinola. At 50 yards it wouldn't group 16 MOA from a bench. There was something seriously flawed either about the bbl or the breach seal (although I did not find any evidence of blowback). That rifle was basically just a lump of metal worthless even as a tire jack. I am sure that with repair it might be made good, but then of course you're basically out the cost of a new gun and alot of time.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The real trick is to identify a used rifle that is a good value. Since you can't, generally, take one home and shoot it before you buy it, you take an awful risk that you do not need to incur with a new rifle.

Sometimes the risk isn't obvious. In the early 1980s I traded for a used rifle that looked pristine. A Winch Model 94 .30-30 with no rust, no pitting, no blueing wear, no dings or scratches, the bbl looked good visually. Clean. No dings on the crown.

It didn't shoot worth shinola. At 50 yards it wouldn't group 16 MOA from a bench. There was something seriously flawed either about the bbl or the breach seal (although I did not find any evidence of blowback). That rifle was basically just a lump of metal worthless even as a tire jack. I am sure that with repair it might be made good, but then of course you're basically out the cost of a new gun and alot of time.

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from hardwoodjdc wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

You are speaking the truth, jmcc3006!!! The folks at Williams Gun Sight are dead honest and if they don't realize something is wrong and you end up with a problem, they fix it right now, or issue a refund. You can't beat them for service and selection. I probably buy about 4 to 6 used guns a year from them. Just pains me when I have to drive by without stopping.

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from Urbane_Redneck wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Correction: The "Old World" (Europe) was/is the first world, North and South America are the "New World". We were once the "Jewel of the New World". Sliding headfirst into third is correct.

U_R

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from RandyMI wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The most troublesome gun I've ever owned is also the only one I ever bought new, from the factory no less! American-made, legacy maker.... Go figure!

RandyMI

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from sanukj wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Bought a used Browning 308 BLR at KTP.com Kittery Trading Post years ago for deering hunting in Maine. Was a good price and shoots well. I fell on it and broke the stock during hunting season and had it repaired within a week. It pays to buy a well know brand when you need fast service. I have bought other guns used at low prices and done well. Also got rifles given to me by family members too old to hunt. New is nice but I have always felt I spent too much for the amount of use I get from the new rifles. I plan to go to the guns auctions seized from drug raid and warden raids on poucher when they have them in Maine. Maine is very pro guns and hunting, thank God. There is several auctions and gun shows just before rifle deer season. I have come across rifles and shotguns at private yard sales but never bought any yet.

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

From my own looking around, buying "used" from the big-box sporting stores is the same as buying new, they just had their resident "gunsmith" look at, maybe even clean the gun. Not worth the time, may as well but new if you're gonna buy there.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've learned to stay away from the pawn shops.

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from Hector Von Duffy wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

@ Moose1980 don't be afraid of used guns. Polymer pistols aside you are talking a mostly steel machine. Cycle the action, peer down that barrel (unloaded of course) look for tight fit and finish. If it is a quality brand and was a quality firearm when it was new its going to be good to go.

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from Hector Von Duffy wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

In the last month I have added 2 1898 Krags and a 1959 870 to my collection. I paid $300 for the minty 870. Why anyone would want an new 870 Express over the superb fit and finish of a vintage 870 I will never understand. 3" chambers being way over rated imho of course.

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from Hector Von Duffy wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

I hadn't read everyone's comments before I posted my other two comments. For those of you who can't find a used gun for good prices you are not trying to hard. I picked up a 460 mag for 800 this summer, have 3-4 Blackhawks that I got for sub $450. I have 2 smith 629 classics that I paid $600 each for, 2 years ago, that shoot as good as the one I bought new for $900. The trick is not to buy them from dealers. For every guy who wants a "whatever" magnum there is a guy who has one he shot once three years ago and he will unload it cheap. You just gotta find that guy. Could you get a lemon? Sure. So? Sell it off, rebarrel it, project gun it. But if you have a working knowledge of guns your chance of getting a lemon is very reduced. Try Gunbroker, Gunsamerica, Auction Arms and the reputable hunting and shooting forums out there. If you like old classics get a 03 FFL, its only $30 for 3 years, money well spent in my book. Here in the Californiatastic Socialist State we have a fantastic forum with a very active private party gun sale/trade section. I keep an eye on it all the time and pounce when I see a bargain, and there are always bargains. If I get bored with a gun I sell it or trade it and get something else to play with.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

There have been several articles published in F&S and others on how to buy used rifles. A search of the archives will probably reveal them. Every rifle that I have except the Weatherby Mark V Lightweight Sporter my wife gave me for our 30th anniversary was purchased used. I have "recycled" several rifles down the trail that did not shoot well, but by and large, most can shoot well with a good cleaning and proper ammunition. Bargains in big magnums or Weatherby calibers can be had because folks buy them, get the snot kicked out of them, and trade for a mousegun. Weatherby rifles are seldom "shot out" due to the high cost of ammunition for most nimrods. Example: Weatherby Mark V 7mm Wby mag, discoloration of bluing on the barrel in a few spots, straight comb synthetic stock beat to hell from riding in an ATV gun rack, bottom metal trashed. $475 out the door. Weatherby stock in good condition from eBay $75, like new bottom metal from ebay $40, $2 worth of Oxpho bluing and it looks 90%. Total cost less than $600. It shot just as well as-is for $475, I just like the looks of it better now. A new one is over $1,300 and will be just as scratched up after one good elk hunt!

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

DEP: How about a quick checklist to run down for what you look for at the store that would help reduce the chances of picking up a "lemon?"

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

To All: When buying a used gun, you need to differentiate between signs of use and abuse or neglect. All rifles acquire dings and small blemishes if they're used, but what you're looking for is rust, or pitting from rust, anywhere on the gun, cracks in the stock if its wood, obvious signs of meddling by an amateur gunsmith, and a bore that's dirty, copper-streaked, or pitted. If any of this stuff is present, forget about buying, no matter how good the price is.

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from acohoon wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal I must say your article has driven me to register just so I can comment on this article. I have always wanted a Marlin guide gun in 45/70 (in no small part thanks to your articles). I spent Sunday afternoon at various local gun stores looking for a new one. I decided they were all more than I wanted to spend. I looked online and found a used 1895GS that was described as "showing wear" with ghost ring sights already installed. I drove to the store and bought it for half what a new one costs yesterday. Their description of "showing wear" was remidied with a good cleaning. I cant wait to shoot it this weekend!

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from guyandarifle wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I think I burned a lot of my karma on a Wby MK-V Stainless Fibermark in .340. (which they discontinued some time ago and, as far as I know, haven't brought back) The thing was still in the factory box with everything still sleeved in plastic. The price was such I'd have bought it just to flip if I didn't actually want it for myself, which I did. Shortly after purchasing the rifle I won (that's right...won in a drawing) a Zeiss scope that now sit's atop that .340.

I keep my eyes open but I don't think I'll ever beat that deal without the use of chloroform and duct tape.

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from white bison wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Hello All: Since I used to do a lot of restoring of used
guns...I'll put in my 2 cents worth:
The main point is that most used guns haven't been used that much...look at the wear...what it is, I would say most guys don't shoot their guns all that much...sighting in, a few shiots during hunting season if any at all & then lay up their guns for the winter. So...after working on bringing up a Lot of used guns like new..I would say its worth taking a chance on one. About 99.9% certain you'd get a good one. I would just look the gun's exterior over for hard useage, and look down the bore for obvious pitting. In our part of the Country, a lot of rifles get wear signs from scabbards on horseback...but that is also only cosmetic. The guns are fine. Bargains are there. Estate auctions are good. Gun Shows, I have found to be overpriced, although some bargains can be found at times. I found a very nice 1916 A.H. Philadelphia Fox Double at an Estate auction & paid only $350 for it. Another time I found a very clean Winchester M70 in .270 Weatherby Mag for $600 at a local gun show, nearly new. Used guns don't scare me at all...in fact they attract me for the bargain prices. You just have to take a good look at them, and don't be turned away by mere cosmetic flaws. They can be refinished like new.
Best Regards, Tom from Cody

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I agree fully, the best rifles & other weapons I have are mostly (gently) used.

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from Hunter55 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have purchased many used guns from local gun stores. If you look for worn blueing, scratches, powder residue, etc. you can get a pretty good idea of how used the gun really is.

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from jimfish wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

agreed, slightly used riles are a better bargain

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from jmcc3006 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have bought several used guns and have never had a problem. The good people at William's gun sight make sure of that.

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from MJC wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I love browsing Kittery Trading Post, and now I know that I could run into DEP there! I'll be on the lookout for a grumpy codger with a big stick.

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from Mjenkins1 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Mr Petzal,
Where online do you typically search for gun deals? I had never heard of Kittery Trading post, however I am on Gunbroker every single day. Any other sites you think are good for used guns would be appreciated.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Many ways to pick up fine used arms, my least favorite death next divorce. The former someone usually wants it to go to a good home, the latter someone does not want it use to pay a lawyer. Others are, someone buys a heavy kicker and wants to swap out or they have what they want and start reducing inventory for the perfect battery of arms. Some owners get older with no one to hand them down to and they end up the used shelf, fine weapons just pre-owned. Then there is find a buddy and start whining, this may work if there is pity ? I act like I can't use it or already have one and they tell me,"couldn't you use it ? but I'll make you an offer you can't refuse". Yes I have bought some broken ones but I am usually into them so right, the parts or gunsmith don't cut into the savings. As always BUYER BEWARE ! BUY GUNS, gold just sits there

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Widows and divorcee's are the best source for used guns.

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from labrador12 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

My dad bought me a Mod 12 in 1965 from a pawn shop. I shoot it today. My late dad shot his dads Mod 12 that my grand father bought used in the 1920's. I shooot it today. I bought a used Ithaca from a buddy for $50. I bought a 22-250 for woodchucks from a neighbor. I would hesitate to buy a new gun, there are so many used guns in the market. Keep your ears open and have cash on hand.

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from hutter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I like to trade guns, usually for a better one or for a couple or more.It's fun to try to get the best deal and if you can't just walk away. Sometimes the dealer won't let you leave sometimes you leave without it. I'm just a gun shop away from the next deal of a lifetime.I have traded hundreds if not thousands of guns in my lifetime.And my dad is worse than I am! Remember if you got what you wanted then it was a great deal.

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from TM wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Dave, I agree with CL3. A "How to buy a used rifle" blog post would be great. Apart from the obvious (looking for glaring defects and making sure it was well cared for at its previous home) any tips?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Gun show prices around here are way too high the last few years, so I seldom go there. To "ejunk": a used Mossberg is seldom a bargain...

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from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I buy all my firearms used if I can. As Dr. Petzal will attest, sometimes with Lefty rifles, estate sales are the only way some guys ever part with theirs.

Drinkin'Dan: don't sweat the used auto-pistols. Most people won't shoot one enough to even break it in. If it's a high quality pistol to begin with (Ruger, Sig,S&W, H&K, Glock, Beretta, Springfield etc) you could shoot it for a long time without wearing anything out. Most of those brands have been trying to gain or trying to keep (Beretta) a military contract for the whole D.O.D., so they beat them up pretty bad in the testing programs and do stupid things a gun-owner would never do (shoot til it's red hot, drop it in ice water, rinse and repeat). Those guns just keep running, dirty or clean case after case of ammo, this is the "Golden Age" of firearms, right now.
Most modern pistols are so overbuilt and over-tested that you won't ever wear anything out but the springs, or maybe the feed lips on the magazine.
Just my two-cents
AKX

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I prefer new. I don't buy much at all now. After a bad deal in the '80s, I won't buy a used rifle unless it can be dismantled first. Probably just me being dumb, but the previous owner had taken the rifle out in bad weather a lot, and only wiped it down. I removed the stock to find a rusty, pitted underside.

Somebody also got some very good deals from me, too. During the dot-com bust, I sold a couple of H&Ks that are irreplaceable by any means. But feeding the family was more important. I still cry at nights over that SL-7.

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from Camdog wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I am, like DP, blessed to be left handed. Blessed because were I right handed I would be Bankrupt by now picking up 'deals'.

Something that has worked for me is to look for used LH custom rifles. I have picked up some outstanding rifles that I would have otherwise been unable or unwilling to acquire due to cost.

I have purchased these at a fraction of their current reproduction cost. Never had a problem with any of them. Most have features that I enjoy immensely, but would have never paid the freight to get.

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from SL wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

For the guy who wants to have lots of guns, I guess buying used could find you a good deal here and there. For the guy who wants maybe a rifle and shotgun or two to hunt with I see little reason to buy used. Most of the used guns I see on sale at shows or shops around where I live are not much less than a new one would cost, so why would I pay $75-100 less for a used gun when I could get a spanking new one WITH a warranty for little more? It seems even many private sellers want top dollars for their old gun. Yes, you might be able to haggle them down some on the price, but they will be looking at you as if you slept with their wives. They think their old guns are so precious and they will be mighty offended that anyone wouldn't buy them at the price they were asking for them. No one ever got rich buying or selling used guns. I prefer not to deal with some of the shananigans involved.

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've never bought a used gun, always scared i'd get a lemon. Plus I haven't found a dealer I truly trust yet. All mine have been new purchases and only on one occasion have I ever had to send a new gun back to the manufacturer, they made good on it and I was pleased with their service.

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from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have bought a couple used rifles and they have turned out to be steals. Always worth checking the used market first, the new guns aren't going anywhere and you can get one anytime if the season is coming down to the wire.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have purchased a few used guns, as well, and I have always had my gunsmith(my friend who is a gunsmith)give them a fuction/look over and fire them. ONCE this is done I normally give the price they ask...unless the cost is really off the blue book price. So far, no lemons in the gun safe!

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from Brian Jackson wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Best deal I ever got was a Beretta 391 Sporting for $500 because it wouldn't cycle reliably. $80 for a new recoil spring and carrier plate and I have been busting clays and doves with it for the last 10 years. MSRP on it new was $1200.

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from 99explorer wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Since most of my favorite models of guns are now discontinued, they can only be bought on the used gun market. I have picked up some nice safe queens at gun shows at very reasonable prices.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've put together a good collection of rifles and shotguns by picking up good used guns, some gently used some beat to hell. The ones on the rough end had good bores and were repairable. Those were the real bargain. Widows, estate sales, pawn shops, individuals who have fallen on hard times, web auctions, online gun sales have all been sources of used firearms. Like WAM I've run across a lemon or two and they get sent on their merry way.

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from Baileymade wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

My family and I have bought quite a few guns over the years and I can only think of two that were new when bought. We've done everything from the pawn shop to retailers such as Cabelas and have had great luck finding good guns at great prices. Let someone else pay the new gun markup!

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from ejunk wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

half of my firearms were purchased used. I've had very good luck (though I have an older mossberg 500 that simply will not cycle 3" waterfowl loads) in that regard, and as WA Mtnhunter pointed out, F&S's guides to buying used guns have been invaluable to me when shopping for pre-owned firearms.

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

if F&S has previously done a piece on How To Buy Used Firearms, it'd be great to see it re-posted or updated. A search on the site for "used firearms guide" turns up 450 results... including presidential discussions?! yeesh. anyone know where the article is? I am in the market for a "new" deer rifle for the woods.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

My experience is used rifles/shotguns in stores this way are priced very high even for tired metal. I keep my eyes and ears open for private sales. Price is more in line with knowledge of item purchased.

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from Steward wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Thanks for the insight and the stories...once I'm in the market for a good deer rifle, I know where to start looking.

Hint: It won't be Wal-Mart

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Once in a while I find something Used that can't be passed. Like $100 for a 95% Mdl 660 Remington in 350 Rem mag and a 3 screw Ruger 22 cal single six for $100. They were owned by a bank that received a collection of guns from an estate. But mostly I buy new and sell when a gun falls out of favor. Right now thinking about selling my Rem 700 classic in 350 Rem mag. I like the 300 weatherby much better.
BTW if anyone is looking at vintage shotguns the FIRST thing is look very closely at the bore just behind the choke. Many fine old guns have a walnut there caused when some fool shoots steel shot in it. An old friend once showed me a fine Parker double that looked great at first glance but a close look revealed a slight bulge in one barrel. It took a close look to detect but it was there.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The last time I went to a gun show (about 1995 or so) There was a fellow there with 3 or 4 brand new with tags etc. Winchester model 70's (pre 64) he had them priced at around $700 each. Wish I had bought them all to this day, oh well. Then there was that Browning gold medalist LNIB the guy wanted $150 for. Alas, back in 1973 I was a poor Army Sgt at Ft. Beginning, Ga. and that was a lot of money to me back then. That gun would be worth a couple thousand today.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

my shotgun i got used but my .22 was brand new! almost every sporting thing i got used... ammo fishing polles,dogs ect..

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from MaxPower wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Good stuff as always Mr. Petzal, right now is a great time to find huge bargains on high quality rifles. I wonder how many people have googled Kittery Trading Post because of this post.

I've read past posts from you about shopping for a used rifle and they're good stuff too. I'm still hunting for a used Weatherby Sub-Moa Stainless in .243, no Kittery doesn't have one.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

It needs mentioned that I would rather buy a good used rifle than a cheap new one. A cheap gun is always a cheap gun.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

"used" is often the only way to cheaply acquire a British double gun or double rifle. steer clear of the Boss's, Purdeys, Holland & Hollands and Westley-Richards, of course, as they remain expensive even when used. But "no name" makers were the OEM of the British gun trade, they often made locks and barrels for the big name shops. As always, inspect thoroughly, take all the precautions and do your research, and bring someone with more knowledge than you. That is true when buying single barrel guns, even more so with double barreled guns.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Heck let me chime in. I too looked at and bought the Marlin 1895GBL guide gun in 45.70 Govt based on DEP recommendation. And It is perfect if you deer hunt in swamp and heavy brush. Have a red dot on it for snap shooting. Happy with it. But I digress. Got a used Super Redhawk a few years ago at a gander mtn. There was a better one with a scope, that was cheaper; but the rifling looked used. The one I got was pristine. Like it was never fired. Added my own Nikon Encore and grips. Shoots great. My point is: Some economic zones are better than others for used guns. Near a large city, the buys seem lots over priced toys (and sometimes worn toys) that someone didn't know what they wanted (lots of 9MM and .40 auto, in a a few years I expect a lot of AR and M4 look alike's to start popping up). Travel a few miles to a small town in a urban or rural setting and get great deals when the local farmer wants to upgrade, or fell on hard times. It also helps to check in regularly with a small town guns shop. There new prices are awful, but used can be great (they can't afford to keep big inventory).

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Drinking Buddy

Something tells me that Spell Checker won't help much! LOL!

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

"What about light rust on the exterior?"

If it's just light surface rust,very fine steel wool and a light coat of gun oil should do the trick.
If it's deeper,there are quite a few rust remover products,blueing/ rust removers etc. It's not that hard to re-blue a gun,just takes some time,attention to detail,and follow the directions carefully for whatever product you are using.

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from white bison wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Ripper III: Light rust. Rub it off with 4 ought steel wool (0000) grade. Then use Brownells "T-4 Creme" cold bluing applied over entire area with a 0000 steel wool pad. Rub gently with a good glob. If you rub hard,it will turn too blue color. But gently will give a beautiful blue black color. Wipe off with a paper towel
after it turns color, before it dries. Then wipe off with a paper towel with generous oil. Every couple of days wipe again with a oil wet paper towel, sometimes takes a few days for the bluing to set, and the oil helps it set. Alternately if the rust is too much for a little rubbing with steel wool...then you need to take it to a fine wire wheel on a bench grinder rig, wire off all the bluing & then apply the T-$ creme bluing as described. its actually pretty easy to do.
Best Regards, Tom

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from white bison wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Ripper III: Light rust. Rub it off with 4 ought steel wool (0000) grade. Then use Brownells "T-4 Creme" cold bluing applied over entire area with a 0000 steel wool pad. Rub gently with a good glob. If you rub hard,it will turn too blue color. But gently will give a beautiful blue black color. Wipe off with a paper towel
after it turns color, before it dries. Then wipe off with a paper towel with generous oil. Every couple of days wipe again with a oil wet paper towel, sometimes takes a few days for the bluing to set, and the oil helps it set. Alternately if the rust is too much for a little rubbing with steel wool...then you need to take it to a fine wire wheel on a bench grinder rig, wire off all the bluing & then apply the T-$ creme bluing as described. its actually pretty easy to do.
Best Regards, Tom

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from jaredrobbins wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I was just at kittery trading post, I live in Maine, and bought a used browning bps for a great deal. It was almost new looking except for a ding in the butt and when i took the barrel off it looked like it had never been fired.

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from ingebrigtsen wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

i might be weird in this but id rather pay a little more for a new virginal gun than buy something used where another mans scratches and dings mar my precious..so that i can break it in the right way, then when its used some years every little scratch and blemish is my doing and everyone has a story behind it :P
now if there only where women worth having like that anymore.........................
but i fear "sex in the city" has undone that possibility for our entire generation....
But atleast one can buy new guns, bikes, cars rods and reels to compensate for sloppy seconds :(
and women wonder why we love fishing and hunting so much ;)

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from Proverbs wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

A near-mint 1416 for $970 is not bad. Once in a while you can get real lucky at estate sales in the Phoenix area. It is so dry that even neglected guns are not bothered by rust.

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from 2lb.test wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Best place to find a deal on used guns or do some horsetrading is at a gun show. I'm fortunate enough to live 45 mins. from an exposition center that has one every couple of months. Buyer beware though, you should have a bore light and some prior knowledge on the type of firearm you're looking for.

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from jdwood wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Kittery Trading Post is a fantastic place, used to take trips to Maine when I was younger just to go browse through the Fishing Tackle, but they have a ton of stuff.

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from lostcajun61 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Right on DEP!I have a modest collection of firearms,mostly used,that I've collected over the years.I usually dealt with a pawn shop in Stillwater,OK where there was always a revolving supply of guns(thanks John).I don't think I ever came home with a "lemon".I did,however,trade many guns back for another, many of which I had back. Guns are an investment and quality used guns are an even better investment. Remember, as soon as a gun leaves the store, it's a used gun so why pay a new price for the same gun!

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from CL3 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I swung by Gander Mountain on my way home just because of this article. I am looking for a new woods rifle for deer season. The guns there weren't much cheaper than a new rifle unfortunately. They seemed in good shape, but I learned you may not find what you are looking for either.

got to keep searching I guess.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Next Post:
Michelle Bachman = Sarah Palin, redux.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

One more thing: I have looked at and would don;t think I would everr buy a semi-auto pistol used. Never (so far) had any use for a semi-rifle (including the ARs). There is too much potential for wear and too much potential for abuse if not properly lubed, that you can;t see unless you really know what to look for. Or someone bought it as a toyy and shot the crap out of it. Although if a nice used browning buckmark showed up, I might be tempted. Anybody else seen that in autos. Worn auto pistols seem to need a lot of parts/work or shoot not so good. Anyone else notice that these new composite metal frames tend to have screws vibrate out and have to be reset at every cleaning. I elect we will see at lot of those start popping up used, soon.

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from RangerDansDrink... wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Sorry for last post. Spell checker is a worse speller then I am. But you get the idea.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I once bought a 1959 Win. M/71 Deluxe rifle that was 95% from an old gentleman who had traveled extensively hunting. The 5% was a scratch on the barrel. He showed me a photo in an album (lot bigger than our family Bible) of this man in his prime seated atop a HUGE alaska brown bear that had decided to chomp the barrel for it's last act as a living creature.
New guns don't have character or history like this.

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from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

WA Mtnhunter

"a used Mossberg is seldom a bargain..."

True,but once in a while it happens.
Example-my son-in law owed me about $85.00 because he was short on cash,and his truck badly needed brakes,and a few front end parts-as my daughter and grandchildren ride in it-I coughed up the $$ and helped with the repairs. ( besides that-he's a decent guy,hunts,fishes,and shoots,plus did two tours in Iraq)
He was working with a guy who owned multiple rental homes,they were cleaning one out after the basement had flooded,found a Mossberg 590,rusty,looking really rough,the owner (of the Mossberg) didn't want it,gave it to him,I got it for the little bit he owed me.
A few hours,some steel wool,a good barrel cleaning,about $15.00 worth of blueing,and blueing/rust remover,an inspection by a gunsmith,and it looks great,shoots great.
Not really sure what the point of the silly looking heat shield is though.

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from nelsol wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

To Mjenkins1, don't know if anyone answered your question with regard to auction sites other than Gunbroker. Another fairly reliable site is AuctionArms.com. I've been using them for several years, both buying and selling. Like anything else in this world in which we live, there are honorable people and some who are not, but AuctionArms.com does a decent job.

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from RipperIII wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

What about light rust on the exterior?
How do you remedy that, or is it even worth the effort?

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from Ferber wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Dave...10 or 15 years ago I bought, new, the same model left-hand Anchutz (I think it's the same--a smallbore match rifle, right?)and shot a box of 50 rounds the next day. My dad was an accomplished smallbore shooter--he had a Pope-barrelled Ballard and a Model 52. The Ballard is in the NRA museum. I realized right away, looking at the empty .22 box aside me and lousy groups downrange that I wasn't a smallbore shooter and would really have to practice, a lot, to hope to be any good--not to mention accepting the laying-on-belly-discomfort--so I cleaned the rifle and put it away with the other guns I haven't shot in years.

My wife. Sally, had a thing about shoes. We all have a thing about guns. I try to sell some on occasion but for every one I grudgenly leave someplace on consignment--I buy another or two somewhere else. By the way, I've bought several through GunBroker.com with no complaints (except for the fact I don't need them). Guns--and also cars--are often good (and cost-effective as you said)to buy used. Two more things: 1. I've never won the lottery and 2. No one's ever called me to ask if I would please remove from a stranger's house the guns of a departed husband.

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from Zermoid wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The only gun I ever bought that was a "Lemon" was a Llama IXC, a high cap 45 ACP. It shoots good when it feeds, which isn't often. And being that it isn't a true 1911 not many parts interchange, so it is a nice single shot 1911 with a big (and useless) magazine.

BTW, it was also one of the few guns I ever bought New!

Majority of my limited collection were bought used.

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from dasmith wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I usually buy used. Make sure you deal with a good dealer, some have 30 day waranties and a certified gunsmith. Only really got stuck once, on a old .22 revolver from an out of state dealer. So thats not bad for 34 years of buying guns. You can get some real good deals on some that have been shot only a couple of times. There are real bargains out there to be found!

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from hansaskatoon wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I have had very good luck purchasing quality used guns via the Internet. Both Gunsamerica.com and Gunbroker.com offer reliable vendors and a vast selection. On Gunsamerica, vendors are rated with a 0-100% customer satisfaction score, which weeds out the deadbeats. One vendor on Gunsamerica, Robertson Trading Post out of TN, has sold over 4,000 guns on the site and still maintains a 100% rating. My most recent purchase on Gunbroker was a 1953 Russian (Tula) SKS in excellent condition for $300; very satisfied.

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

To Steve Ferber. Nope, this is a sporter, not a target rifle. I don't shoot well enough any more for an Anschutz target rifle.

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from wp wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've had great luck at estate sales. Often you can get very good deals if you agree to buy an entire collection because it is easier for the seller than a bunch of individual sales. I have heard the online sites are a good source as well, but I like to be able to handle and examine any firearm I am thinking of buying before any money is exchanged.

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from dick mcplenty wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal where do you usually stumble across used left handed ULA's or NULA's? Do you have any you'd like to sell?

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I always make it a point to check out the used gun rack any time there is one and have come up with a few gems over the years. The best was a Ruger 77 International in .243 that I picked up at a big pawn shop in Waco back in the mid-80s for all of about $175. Absolutely mint condition and I doubt if it had been shot a dozen times. I still have that gun and it's still in great shape. Last time I checked the going rate was about $700-plus for the same model, used. Got a really nice O-U at the same place for a song that is also as pretty as the day I bought it and a beautiful shooter. Both times I had gone in without money or cash in hand. Luckily, I knew the owner and made him swear a blood oath that he wouldn't sell either one until I ran to the bank and back (no debit cards or ATMs in those days). One man's pain is another man's gain, I guess.
As for the Bachman question, I would say the answer is yes...

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The real trick is to identify a used rifle that is a good value. Since you can't, generally, take one home and shoot it before you buy it, you take an awful risk that you do not need to incur with a new rifle.

Sometimes the risk isn't obvious. In the early 1980s I traded for a used rifle that looked pristine. A Winch Model 94 .30-30 with no rust, no pitting, no blueing wear, no dings or scratches, the bbl looked good visually. Clean. No dings on the crown.

It didn't shoot worth shinola. At 50 yards it wouldn't group 16 MOA from a bench. There was something seriously flawed either about the bbl or the breach seal (although I did not find any evidence of blowback). That rifle was basically just a lump of metal worthless even as a tire jack. I am sure that with repair it might be made good, but then of course you're basically out the cost of a new gun and alot of time.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The real trick is to identify a used rifle that is a good value. Since you can't, generally, take one home and shoot it before you buy it, you take an awful risk that you do not need to incur with a new rifle.

Sometimes the risk isn't obvious. In the early 1980s I traded for a used rifle that looked pristine. A Winch Model 94 .30-30 with no rust, no pitting, no blueing wear, no dings or scratches, the bbl looked good visually. Clean. No dings on the crown.

It didn't shoot worth shinola. At 50 yards it wouldn't group 16 MOA from a bench. There was something seriously flawed either about the bbl or the breach seal (although I did not find any evidence of blowback). That rifle was basically just a lump of metal worthless even as a tire jack. I am sure that with repair it might be made good, but then of course you're basically out the cost of a new gun and alot of time.

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from hardwoodjdc wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

You are speaking the truth, jmcc3006!!! The folks at Williams Gun Sight are dead honest and if they don't realize something is wrong and you end up with a problem, they fix it right now, or issue a refund. You can't beat them for service and selection. I probably buy about 4 to 6 used guns a year from them. Just pains me when I have to drive by without stopping.

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from Urbane_Redneck wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Correction: The "Old World" (Europe) was/is the first world, North and South America are the "New World". We were once the "Jewel of the New World". Sliding headfirst into third is correct.

U_R

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from RandyMI wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

The most troublesome gun I've ever owned is also the only one I ever bought new, from the factory no less! American-made, legacy maker.... Go figure!

RandyMI

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from sanukj wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

Bought a used Browning 308 BLR at KTP.com Kittery Trading Post years ago for deering hunting in Maine. Was a good price and shoots well. I fell on it and broke the stock during hunting season and had it repaired within a week. It pays to buy a well know brand when you need fast service. I have bought other guns used at low prices and done well. Also got rifles given to me by family members too old to hunt. New is nice but I have always felt I spent too much for the amount of use I get from the new rifles. I plan to go to the guns auctions seized from drug raid and warden raids on poucher when they have them in Maine. Maine is very pro guns and hunting, thank God. There is several auctions and gun shows just before rifle deer season. I have come across rifles and shotguns at private yard sales but never bought any yet.

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from micko77 wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

From my own looking around, buying "used" from the big-box sporting stores is the same as buying new, they just had their resident "gunsmith" look at, maybe even clean the gun. Not worth the time, may as well but new if you're gonna buy there.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 27 weeks ago

I've learned to stay away from the pawn shops.

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from Hector Von Duffy wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

@ Moose1980 don't be afraid of used guns. Polymer pistols aside you are talking a mostly steel machine. Cycle the action, peer down that barrel (unloaded of course) look for tight fit and finish. If it is a quality brand and was a quality firearm when it was new its going to be good to go.

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from Hector Von Duffy wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

In the last month I have added 2 1898 Krags and a 1959 870 to my collection. I paid $300 for the minty 870. Why anyone would want an new 870 Express over the superb fit and finish of a vintage 870 I will never understand. 3" chambers being way over rated imho of course.

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from Hector Von Duffy wrote 2 years 26 weeks ago

I hadn't read everyone's comments before I posted my other two comments. For those of you who can't find a used gun for good prices you are not trying to hard. I picked up a 460 mag for 800 this summer, have 3-4 Blackhawks that I got for sub $450. I have 2 smith 629 classics that I paid $600 each for, 2 years ago, that shoot as good as the one I bought new for $900. The trick is not to buy them from dealers. For every guy who wants a "whatever" magnum there is a guy who has one he shot once three years ago and he will unload it cheap. You just gotta find that guy. Could you get a lemon? Sure. So? Sell it off, rebarrel it, project gun it. But if you have a working knowledge of guns your chance of getting a lemon is very reduced. Try Gunbroker, Gunsamerica, Auction Arms and the reputable hunting and shooting forums out there. If you like old classics get a 03 FFL, its only $30 for 3 years, money well spent in my book. Here in the Californiatastic Socialist State we have a fantastic forum with a very active private party gun sale/trade section. I keep an eye on it all the time and pounce when I see a bargain, and there are always bargains. If I get bored with a gun I sell it or trade it and get something else to play with.

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