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Buying Used Guns Online

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Old 03-29-2012, 10:00 PM   #1
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Default Buying Used Guns Online

I'm a gun enthusiast on a budget (I'm probably not alone). What is your opinion of buying guns on-line through sites like without seeing them first? Also, I've found a newer site that sells used guns from pawn brokers called They seem to have some good deals, but has anyone else had experience with them and what was it like? Thanks
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:31 AM   #2
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I have an 03 C&R FFL, and have been buying on gunbroker and auctionarms for several years.

Couple of key points- auctionarms has a 3 day non-firing right of return for any reason. You get your money back, but not shipping fees.

Pay attention to the feedback record of the seller. Read description CAREFULLY. Good sellers have good descriptions, good pics, good feedback from happy customers.

Also- if it looks too good to be true, it usually is not true.

Bear in mind that you will have purchase price, shipping costs, AND a fee to YOUR FFL that receives the gun for you. Be sure to add all of that up when comparing price to your local gun shop.

In my case, I collect older rifles that are not in production, and it is a matter of chance if one shows up at any of my local gun shops, so I prowl the auctions.

Figure out the max that you would be willing to pay, enter a bid for that, and walk away. If the opening bid is $10, with a $5 interval, and you bid $100, both sites use a proxy bid system. It will enter the starting bid ($10) and if out bid, raise the bidding automatically in $5 increments until you are top bidder, or it exceeds your pre-determined limit. That way you do not get into bidding fever.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:39 PM   #3
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I've been browsing through Auction Arms alot the past couple of months. I haven't made any bids yet, but I have a feeling it's bound to happen soon. I like the layout of the auction arms site, but I agree that you need to really pay attention to extra costs. FFL fees, taxes, S&H, and insurance. Be sure to try to account for these BEFORE you make a bid.

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Old 03-30-2012, 09:51 PM   #4
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I'm going to requote part of a post I replied to in another thread. First read it and I'll elaborate.

I'd recommend caution buying through the auction sites, especially if the seller is a pawn shop. Just because a pawn broker has an FFL doesn't make him knowledgeable about weapons, or even ethical. I had one client of mine get badly burned buying an M1 Carbine in just this way. To be specific, he bought what was supposed to be a milspec Carbine from a pawn shop through He had asked me to be the receiving FFL and I agreed. The rifle arrived and while it was shown to be a wooden stock, military rifle in the listing, it arrived with a modern composite stock. The mechanical condition was also to have been excellent. Leave it to say that it wasn't and it was pretty much immediately evident on inspection. The buyer was an older gent and I couldn't have felt worse for him, but there was nothing much I could do for him. Goes to show how true the warning "Caveat Emptor", meaning buyer beware, is.
Now, don't take this as an indictment of internet sales as a whole. It isn't. There are a lot of honest and forthright sellers out there, both FFLs and private sellers. However, PLEASE use good judgment on buying items sight unseen. I hate to see good people taken advantage of. Realize that you take a chance on buying anything without first being able to check it out. I would advise extra caution dealing with pawn brokers. Just because a broker has an FFL doesn't mean that he is knowledgable in firearms and factors concerning overall condition.

Now, conversely, I found an M1 Carbine for myself through an auction being sold by a dealer in Mass. I called him, we chatted and he gave me the answers about the rifle I was looking for, the price was most excellent, and I sprang for it. I couldn't have been more satisfied in the end. Then, there was the collectable .25 Italian semi on Hyatt Gun Shop of Charlotte, NC's site that I found for a local collector here. I called them and asked the questions, got my answers, bought it and my client couldn't have been more pleased. Here's to show you that there are good sellers out there. It helps to be able to call them and ask specific questions, so if there is a phone number attached to a particular gun you are interested in, by all means make personal contact. If not, ask for a contact number. If the seller balks at providing you one, I'd recommend caution.

Have fun, find what you want, just be careful.

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Old 03-30-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
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I've had some pretty good experiences buying thru Gunbroker. Echoing earlier postings, read thru the listing, check feedback history, and you'll get a feeling one way or the other. Not risk-free, but acceptable. Worst situation I had was the padding of a rifle case reeking of cigarette smoke. Didn't really care as I was buying what was in the was a freebee.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:56 AM   #6
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I do not know of anyone who was burned by anything from

I did get upset when a rifle was listed as being in "good" condition from a firm, and received a "poor" condition POS.

Most private sellers on the auction sites seem to be on the up and up.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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I have bought a dozen guns from Gunbroker in the past year. I have had only good experiences. I only buy from sellers with a large volume of sales and excellent feed-back. These guys make their livings on their reputations.

I would recommend that you pay attention to the number of sales and the feedback carefully, the read the description, and all of the sellers instructions very carefully. Also pay attention to the shipping cost and sales tax and factor that in. You will see people shipping at fair cost and outrageous cost. If the sellers terms of the sale stink, pass on the bid.

If you are patient you can get some outstanding buys on the gun auction sites.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the good input. I'm looking for a decent 9mm at the moment and has several available that are interesting and in my budget range. I do like that are all sellers with a store that I can call and talk about the guns I might be interested in bidding on or buying. The couple that I have called (because so many responders said this was an essential step) have seemed helpful and knowledgeable. The couple of sellers I have talked to have assured me that if I have any issues or if the gun fails my expectation, they would gladly accept the return and refund my money or work with me on an exchange. It all seems on the up and up to me, but I still want to be cautious. I even ran into a left-handed bolt action .30-06 and I've been looking for a good rifle for my son as a high school graduation gift. Anyway, I'll move slowly and cautiously, but if it seems like a good deal and the seller seems sincere, I hate to hesitate too long and miss the opportunity. I'll keep looking around and eventually I'll find what I'm looking for at the price I can afford. I think could be one place for me to keep my eyes on along with the other gun sites. Thanks again all!
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