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Old 01-10-2005, 02:05 AM

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(advice) buying Used at a GunShow

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advice and suggestions welcomed.
I'm making plans to attend a "Gun Show" and do not
intend to buy any guns... as I already have a couple
waiting to be taken to the range for (my) first rounds...

I also got one of those Fiber-Optic thingies for my AA-flashlight
( http://www.NiteIze.com/fibe.html ) about $8 at my local
ACE-hardware store.

So, what are YOUR one/two/three most important things to look for
when examining a Used-Gun to know if it is:
(5)Great, (4)Good, (3)OK, (2)needs-xx or (1)walk-away...
My primary interest is with (.22LR) Semi-Auto but revolver items
and Center-Fire examination-points are all welcome...

thanks in advance...
-- toyfj40
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:26 AM
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Uncle Howie
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Search around the Internet, and you should find the info you're looking for on buying used guns.

I'll admit to buying a few used .22s without the benefit of any "formal education" on the subject. I've never had a problem, but I do give them a pretty good inspection using my limited knowledge.

One nice things about .22s is that it takes a LOT to "wear them out" if they've been properly taken care of. There are a lot of .22s out there in poor condition due to abuse/neglect, but that type of condition should usually be pretty obvious. Centerfires (in my mind) get a little more complex due to the possibility of lots of heavy handloads, "barrel burner" cartidges, etc.

I had a good article on this subject bookmarked, but did a cut/paste into Word, then edited it to my liking, and printed it. Sorry, don't remember where I found it originally.

Here is a series of articles by Glenn Barnes. DISCLAIMER: I've not read these, just skimmed part of them, so I don't know if they're any good. They just exemplify the type of info you can find floating around out there...
Survival tips for buying used guns, part I
Survival tips for buying used guns, Part II
Survival tips for buying used guns, Part III

Books are also available, such as this one by John Traister, How to Buy & Sell Used Guns. Once again, I'm not familiar with this work, it's just something I found on the spur of the moment.

Happy searching (for more info, as well as guns!), and good luck!

Last edited by Uncle Howie; 01-10-2005 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 01-10-2005, 07:59 PM
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Gun Show Purchasing

I do this a lot and my suggestion to you is to immediately purchase the latest edition of S. J. Fjestad's Blue Book of Gun Values. It has an excellent section (with pictures) in the front of the book explaining the definition of 100%, 98%, 95%.....etc. In addition the pricing included gives you a bargaining point. One other thing that I do is ask the seller if he will guarantee the functionality of the gun. If he won't I walk because there is usually something wrong with it. Learned that the hard way on a J.C. Higgins Model 80.

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Old 01-11-2005, 01:15 AM

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thanks for the prompt replies.
the 3-part article is just what I needed as a 'starter'.
Traister's book is about 20yrs old, but cheap... it's on my list.
Fjestad's book seems to be annual (Apr), so the 26th ed.
is due out soon, I'll probably wait for it.
Thanks -- toyfj40
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Old 01-11-2005, 09:48 AM

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I have always just limited my purchases to the bigger dealers that have been around for a while.That way if I miss something, I usually have a month to take it back.Has worked out well for me.
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Old 01-14-2005, 01:10 PM

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I take a varied approach that starts with knowing what interests me, and knowing as much about that item as possible. Including what they sell for new in the stores, or going rates from gunbroker for similar items. That at least is a basis for comparison. Look for worn or broken parts. If there is an empty space or hole on the gun that looks like it should have something there, that is an indication of missing parts. Look for peening at the chamber mouth, particularly on rimfires. My interest is in mossbergs, i generally know what they sell for, what condition and what parts are commonly missing and will need to be replaced. I also know which parts are hard or easy to replace. I would certainly take one missing sight parts if, the deal was good enough. I would not consider one that was missing the bolt as they are hard to come by. Part of this is a learning process.

An important note however, The gun carried by General Custer and Audy Murphy, and any other super famous hero at whichever historical battle, is not likely to be found at your local gunshow and should be treated with great suspicion. There are huxters out there. Once you have a good feel for what you want and what you are willing to pay, you will find that the best deals are not at the tables but the ones walking around.
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