And the barrel assembly was salvageable and is functional. It's just on the bottom tier and he either didn't take care to clean it after the last few firings or he just sent the worst barrel that he had. But after I took the gas assembly apart and gave it a detailed cleaning, I have no doubt that it will still work. The rest of the gun is in better shape, to be fair. Overall, I'm still not terribly unhappy based on the sale price, and the gun's going to be heading out to Desert Ordnance for the E4 upgrade and that's going to put a new barrel on it anyway.
Still, it should not have taken nearly four months to complete this Form three transfer, especially that last month of waiting on the barrel that could have been sent with the gun and then being ducked by the guy until I tracked him down and brought his full-time non-gun-related workplace into it.
Based on something I heard from someone else who knows him slightly, it's sounding more and more like he had a case of seller's remorse and was dithering on the shipping hoping I'd demand my money back and move on. When that didn't work. it looks like he was trying to save a few hundred bucks by skimming the barrel and hoping that I'd just call it a day.
Persistence pays off, though, as does knowing who you are dealing with. Before I even agreed to the purchase, I'd checked him out and knew who he was, what he did, and where he worked and lived. I knew that I could reach out and touch him if I needed to, even though at the time I never anticipated any trouble. In this case, the guy has a professional license for his main source of income, and once I started calling around that office, he couldn't duck me just by not answering my e-mails or phone calls.
And if that failed, I still had a Plan C in the form of a couple of friends down his way who were willing to stop by in person and ask for my stuff.