Author Topic: How to buy a used gun  (Read 46602 times)

Offline Heavy G

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How to buy a used gun
« on: October 17, 2010, 08:34:00 AM »
I can't find a thread on this important topic so I thought I'd start one.  

A lot of preppers on a budget need a gun or two and could save a lot of money on a used one.  But there are things to be looking out for with a used gun.  Tell people what to look out for and how much money can be saved.

I'll start.
________________

One thing I like about buying used guns is that you often get a broken-in gun.  This is especially true of handguns.  Let the other guy spend the money to put a 1000 rounds through it to smooth it out and make sure there are no malfunctions.

Opportunities present themselves with used guns.  You might have a friend who go a gun but just doesn't like it.  This is often true of handguns which really need to "fit" your hand.  Sometimes--I hate to say it--guys need the cash.  Divorces seem to trigger numerous used gun sales.  (Do not turn this thread into a discussion of your ex-wife!  :D)

Another advantage about getting guns from guys you know is that you can often test them out.  The disadvantage is that if the gun sucks you are putting a friendship at risk trying to get your money back.  I think that's pretty rare; a real friend wouldn't sell you a sucky gun.  But an aquaintance might.  Then again, you're paying less for a used gun so maybe you're paying for the risk.  

There are lots of really good used gun web sites out there. I like gunbroker.com, which is the "eBay of guns."  There is also AuctionArms and GunsAmerica.  

There are regional ones, too, where you can drive to buy the gun face-to-face and avoid paying a FFL transfer fee.  Here in Washington state there is one for here and Oregon called NorthwestFirearms.com.  Also there's Outdoors Trader for my area.  Regional sites are more like Craigslist for guns--they have less selection and they don't have "eBay" things like a shopping cart and Paypal, but they work fine.  You can contact the guy selling the gun and take it from there.

One thing about guns is that guys are often trying things out and then selling them to get another one.  I got a great bolt-action Savage 110 in .223 with a big scope for $300 from a guy who wanted to get a better rifle.  I just needed a beater bolt gun for long-range coyote work; a knocked around Savage 110 worked just fine.  It's plenty accurate (two inches at 200 yards) for what I need it for.

I like to get used guns from a gun store I trust. I am lucky to have a great, great gun store in my town.  The place is like a barber shop where guys come in just to hang out and BS.  I know the guys who own it and they won't rip me off.  They make money on guns they sell--they should--but I know I can take it back if the thing is mechanically deficient.  You probably can't do that with a stranger.  I got a really great used Glock from those guys.  The extra cool thing about this particular shop is that they have a full gunsmithing facility so they have a test barrel you can shoot into (like the crime lab ones).  I could test the recoil of this little carry gun in .40 before I bought it.  If you have a local gun shop run by cool people, I suggest you spend some time there and get to know the guys.    

Don't forget accessories.  If a guy is selling a gun, he probably will throw in magazines, holster, etc. for next to nothing.  They have no value to him and little things are a pain to sell separately.  I got 3 extra mags for my used Glock thrown in by the gun store.  They didn't stock those particular Glock mags so it would have been a pain to inventory them.  Plus they know me and know that I'll be back for more.  (It's a sickness, really.)  I would add that sometimes a guy will get rid of all the ammo he has for the gun he's selling.  If you're selling your .380 Auto, you don't have much use for a few hundred rounds of that so you might as well throw it in.

Basically, when you buy a used gun, you often get the whole "starter kit" for it: a broken-in gun, mags, holster, ammo.  Everything you need.

Be sure and ask for the original box and manual if the guy has them.  They're not critical for prepper purposes (all manuals are on the internet; be sure and print them out and tuck them away).  But they increase the re-sale value if you want to sell the gun later.  

You can get some deals if you mind a few cosmetic flaws.  A scuffed stock on a home defense shotgun?  I could care less.  I would stay away from scratches that can rust.  If there is already rust on a gun, that's a problem.  Any rust is a problem.  You can treat mild rust with some products but I hate gun rust.  (My $300 .223 had a little but.  I treated it.  But I took this into consideration when I got it.  If that guns rusts out, I won't cry.  It's a beater.)

I think basic guns that don't need to be super accurate are great to buy used.  I would put handguns, carbines, and shotguns in this category--the kind of guns preppers typically need.  If you're a benchrest shooter and a 1/2 inch group at 100 yards is what you want, buying a used gun you can't test would be a bad idea.  But a carry pistol, AR or AK, or home defense shotgun?  No problem if it's not a "tack driver."    

Used guns can stretch your prepping dollars.

Offline joeinwv

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 05:45:24 PM »
I love me some pawn shop - I know you always hear about them, but I bought the proverbial $75 H&R 12ga single. Probably had been fired 10 times or less. Guarantee the original owner bought it, loaded it with 00 and it knocked his teeth loose. I save $75 compared to new. (I added a recoil pad and shoot #4 or less in it)

Offline joeinwv

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2010, 05:50:40 PM »
Oh yeah, +1 Heavy G - nice post

I think the biggies to check are bore / barrel condition, overall tighness / lockup, condition of the crown... a real ghetto trick for when you don't have a light or bore light is to put your thumb nail on one end of the barrel - will reflect enough light to get a fair idea what the barrel looks like.

I love a barrel with unburned powder in it - that is going to drop my offer at least $25

Offline 4bull

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2010, 11:06:11 PM »
the old flee markets in small towns are offen the un offical pawn shops, or gun guy.
cafes are the heart of a small town lissen there. and bill board i alwase check even out of state. cash is king.
truck stops ,bill bopards usualy its a call and they show up with it.

Offline bj

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 09:00:49 AM »
I love me some pawn shop - I know you always hear about them, but I bought the proverbial $75 H&R 12ga single. Probably had been fired 10 times or less. Guarantee the original owner bought it, loaded it with 00 and it knocked his teeth loose. I save $75 compared to new. (I added a recoil pad and shoot #4 or less in it)

I have a local gun shop/outdoors store within an hour from me.  They have 1,000's of used guns and 1000's of new guns.  

I have purchased nearly 20 "proverbial $75 H&R 12GA single" shotguns over the past few years.  I will bring them home, spend a few hours cleaning (I actually enjoy cleaning my firearms) and try them out.  After I try a few rounds, I will clean them again and put them into the locker.  I have purchase new and used after I carefully inspect them.  I suggest you bring your bore light.    In my experience, I have near seen a "used" gun go down in value (unless you dont take care of your firearms), I thing they make an excellent investment.


I have save hundreds of dollars doing this!  Good post! +1

Offline TANK

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 09:19:32 AM »
I have even bought those sucky guns, called the manufacturer, sent them in for repair, and ended up with a almost new gun.

As an example I just bought a used Ruger Mini-14, every time I fired it the trigger group would fall out, Ruger repaired it sent it back (NO CHARGE UNDER WARRANTY) for all intent and purposes I ended up with a new gun for about half of the price of a new one.

Another good way to buy used guns, find police dept. trade ins, these guns have not been fired much,but do have alot of holster wear. Not a big deal, if that bothers you have it refinished. You end up with an almost new gun for a large savings if it needs some work internally send it back to the manufacturer.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 10:33:47 AM »

Another good way to buy used guns, find police dept. trade ins, these guns have not been fired much,
Not true. Most depts shoot their pistols, shotguns, and rifles regularly.

Offline soupbone

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2011, 06:45:33 AM »
Another reason to look at used handguns is that a gun that ideally fits your needs (and hands) may no longer be in production. A 4" Police Positive or Cobra (Colt), 6" Military and Police or Combat Magnum (S&W) come to mind. For that matter, a 3" skinny barrel Chief's Special makes an excellent "Super Kit Gun". None of the above are currently available new.

Don't be afraid to look at guns that were not commercially successful - the S&W M-61 Escort comes to mind. Universally panned for crappy ergonomics, a lousy trigger pull and a 5 shot magazine, it had the best sights of any vest pocket pistol I've seen, and was the only one to go <bang> every time the trigger was pulled.

Here's a hint: look at the screw heads. If they're buggered all to hell, its a good sign that someone who didn't know what they were doing was trying to access the innards. IF IT CHECKS OK OTHERWISE, you might get the seller to knock off a few bucks on the price because you don't know what they might have done to it.

Another thing: Once you decide on a certain kind of gun - say a S&W Military & Police, go online and read up on it. Read the Owner's manual and other sources so that you can tell if something is broken or missing, and get an idea how it is supposed to work. If you cock a hammer on a Smith, for example, you should hear a <click, pause, click> as the bolt drops into the cylinder notch and the hammer engages the sear. If you don't there are problems - avoid the gun.

Good luck and good hunting,

soupbone

Offline BeachPete

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2011, 11:49:06 AM »
I'd add patience to the list of how to buy a used gun. 

Once I decided I needed a new 9mm I started looking about every week at the local Pawn Shops, BudsGunShop.com and other places.  After about two months I walked in on a Sig p226 Tac (threaded barrel) that was like new without even a scratch on the original mags.  After a day or two of haggling I got it for under $600.


Offline Shorty

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2011, 01:48:46 PM »
I may be the biggest twit on the planet, but what does AR mean? I THINK that it comes from the military, I know that M-16 means model 16.

HELP

Offline Heavy G

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2011, 06:59:31 PM »
"Armalite Rifle."  The AR was first put out by a company called Armalite.

(This is the difference between TSP and other forums: no one jumps on you for asking a question.)

So back to the topic of how to buy a used gun ...   :D

Offline thezoo

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2011, 09:50:09 PM »
bought a used romanian training 22 for 60 dollars, took it home and scraped about 7 pounds of cosmoline off of it ( slight exageration) stripped the finish off restained and polyurethaned it  and had a friend offer me 150 for it, my wife and I like buying "ugly ducklings" and making them look great, ( kinda a hobby) this gun has rear fold down sights calibrated for 25yd 75yd and 100yd, shoots great next project is to polish the barrel and have it reblued( used diy bluing kits look great till you take them huning in the rain, then they rust in seconds, either those kits suck or I dont know how to use them right) also I tinker with them under the expectation that i am ruining the resale value ( if you restore antique guns you ruin their value, for some reason) thats why we buy the ones not likely to be valuable antiques.  On an interesting note we went to a local junk shop we found a knife that i thought looked cool we brought it home, thats when I noticed a hole on the handguard ( brand new knife) guess whar it fits the barrel like a bayonet perfectly, just needs something to support it to make it a tight fit (dont know a thing about bayonettes bout how they fit but it was a cool irony none the less) ;D

Offline hd45hunt

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2011, 12:38:34 AM »
Network, network, network.   I can't tell you how many guns my cousin has bought or told me about just after they are sold.  He's in the right place, right time alot. (sometimes I think he works in a barber shop, not a garage)   I just picked up a S&W model 19-4, 357 mag, circa late 70's, barely fired for $300.   ;D 

Not true. Most depts shoot their pistols, shotguns, and rifles regularly.

Spot on ncjeeper, you really have to do your research.  We have fluctuated from monthly quals, to every other month and now back to every month, depending on annual budget constraints.  Some dept's are once or twice a year.  It pays to check it out either way.

Great Thread

Offline Shorty

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2011, 06:33:34 AM »
"Armalite Rifle."  The AR was first put out by a company called Armalite.

(This is the difference between TSP and other forums: no one jumps on you for asking a question.)

So back to the topic of how to buy a used gun ...   :D

Thank you Heavy G

Offline d0j0w0

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2011, 11:59:28 AM »
I've bought a lot of used guns at local gun shows (Ohio).  I've had good luck overall.  And have saved a lot of money.  But there are asshats out their with the intention of dumping there problem junk on someone. (May they all smoke turds in hell!!!)  Know the value of the guns you intend to by and know a good cheap gunsmith!  Buyer beware.

Offline pokeshell

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2012, 08:01:56 PM »
Not true. Most depts shoot their pistols, shotguns, and rifles regularly.

Around here the LEO qualify and shoot the issued guns. They put a "normal amount" through their carry gun (they can choose what they carry). Many will sell "used" guns at a markup for extra cash. I know I can get Glocks for less than the pawn shop pays new. Glock gives a hell of a deal to LEO. But, you need to get to know them pretty well before they will sell to you, pretty much looking to sell to collectors.

So, this must very drastically from place to place.

Offline Happy Prepper

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2012, 09:20:55 PM »
Gray Man...Personal Security

No one I personally know needs to be saying "I sold that Ruger to..." and refer to me. Unless they're close friends* they don't need to know what I'm buying as well when it comes to personal firearms purchases.

I do nothing illegal. I've no desire to do anything illegal. No one needs to know what I have. People run off at the mouth and others listen. Bob might be a good guy but his sister is shacked up with a POS looking to score some money. 


Department firearms are often shot out.

d3nni5

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2012, 11:54:08 AM »
OK guys, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post.    This thread fits into the first question/topic I have....well, sorta......

I'd like to TRADE one gun for another, but I am (forgive the pun) "gun shy".   What do you do to record a private transaction, trade or buy, to cover your butt?   How do you know that the gun you are getting hasn't been used in a crime, or acquired illegally?   And reverse that, you get rid of a gun that in turn is used illegally. 

I actually was going to start a thread on the specifics of what I had and wanted in trade, but I don't think that is as important as getting this answered first.

I sounds like most folks replying here have a network of like-minded gun owners, where I do not.   I would have to deal with strangers at first.  Which brings up another issue of safety and anonymity.   WHERE do you do your transactions?  Would I be better off taking my gun down to the local pawn shop first and see what they'd do?   Advertise in a local paper or tack up my number on a bulletin board?

Thanks for the input!

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2012, 03:00:06 PM »
OK guys, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post.    This thread fits into the first question/topic I have....well, sorta......

I'd like to TRADE one gun for another, but I am (forgive the pun) "gun shy".   What do you do to record a private transaction, trade or buy, to cover your butt?   How do you know that the gun you are getting hasn't been used in a crime, or acquired illegally?   And reverse that, you get rid of a gun that in turn is used illegally. 

I actually was going to start a thread on the specifics of what I had and wanted in trade, but I don't think that is as important as getting this answered first.

I sounds like most folks replying here have a network of like-minded gun owners, where I do not.   I would have to deal with strangers at first.  Which brings up another issue of safety and anonymity.   WHERE do you do your transactions?  Would I be better off taking my gun down to the local pawn shop first and see what they'd do?   Advertise in a local paper or tack up my number on a bulletin board?

Thanks for the input!

what are the rules in your state for recording a private transaction? Are there any? I know in my state we have to file a transfer form whether we give it away or sell it. We also have to see their permit and make sure it is of a 'class' to allow ownership of what we are transferring. (Example-class B holders can not own anything capable of accepting a magazine greater than 10 rounds) Though we are not required to make sure the LTC is still valid we do have an online system that we can file with when we do the transfer. I would presume that if someone had a fake or invalid LTC the system would kick the transaction back but that would make too much sense.

In NH you are required to personally know the person you are selling to but no license is required for ownership. I would maybe write a bill of sale or at least record the important info and keep it in my safe.

Offline pokeshell

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2012, 06:23:34 PM »
OK guys, I'm new to the forum and this is my first post.    This thread fits into the first question/topic I have....well, sorta......

I'd like to TRADE one gun for another, but I am (forgive the pun) "gun shy".   What do you do to record a private transaction, trade or buy, to cover your butt?   How do you know that the gun you are getting hasn't been used in a crime, or acquired illegally?   And reverse that, you get rid of a gun that in turn is used illegally. 

I actually was going to start a thread on the specifics of what I had and wanted in trade, but I don't think that is as important as getting this answered first.

I sounds like most folks replying here have a network of like-minded gun owners, where I do not.   I would have to deal with strangers at first.  Which brings up another issue of safety and anonymity.   WHERE do you do your transactions?  Would I be better off taking my gun down to the local pawn shop first and see what they'd do?   Advertise in a local paper or tack up my number on a bulletin board?

Thanks for the input!

I'd start with the local shooting range and check the bulletin board. Then, you can even test the gun on site.Plus, you can use the pracitice. :D

Offline flippydidit

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2012, 10:04:05 PM »
I'll weigh in here a with some of my experiences, since this is something I do quite regularly.  Just like any other industry or hobby, starting out can be awkward or even frightening to some.  With any trade or sale, you absolutely need to know the laws that apply to you locally.  You also need to understand that there are asshats out there looking to screw people over.  Usually, if you've done your homework on the laws, and have a functional knowledge of gun values and how asshats work, you can avoid the great majority of bad deals.  So stop worrying.

Regardless of what anyone says, if the "new" gun is not being sold at a STORE (brick and mortar), the gun is USED.  If my friend comes to me and said, "Hey I just got this gun today.  It's brand new!", he's actually holding a used gun.  That's the nature of resale.  You should know this when setting your price for a gun purchase.  A modern used gun sells for less than new ones (not talking collector yet).  Now, you can add in any collector value after setting that used number.  "Collector" value is a very subjective thing, though some firearms may be more likely to hold it (e.g., owned by historical figure/with paperwork and photos).

I'll start with gun shows.  Each one is different, and every person who has attended will probably have a different opinion.  There is however a disturbing trend in modern gun shows.  That is that they run a circuit and seem to pick up a noticeable percentage of clowns that are looking to unload crap on the buyer.  A regular brick and mortar store is most likely going to continue for years at their location.  However, with a gun show, you might not see that vendor again for a year, or ever.  The reputation of a brick and mortar store is of huge importance to that store (or should be).  Where as with gun shows......50/50?  That isn't to say you can't get good deals at gun shows.

Here is my philosophy on gun shows.  First, I make a point to get there early.  I check out every booth and make mental notes on what items at what booths spark my interest.  I also have a pretty good idea about prices.

After "trolling" the gun show, I prioritize my interests.  This is also subjective.  What is important to my decision making?  A great deal that might not come along again?  The desire to purchase a specific item (e.g., I've come to this show specifically looking for a stock for my AR)?  This is where you decide what, if any, deals there are for your interests.  Believe it or not, I've left many gun shows without making a purchase.  That's ok!  There just weren't any deals.

Here's a tip.  I generally don't stop at booths with a lot of signs and high end graphics.  I also don't usually stop at any vendor booth that maintains a brick and mortar store and is a gun show vendor.  I'm coming to the show for deals.  I've paid admission, so I'm looking for deals.  I'm not paying admission to buy a "gun store" gun, at "gun store" prices.  That's why I gravitate to the "one-table" guys.  The ones who use the show as a "garage sale".  These guys usually don't have much inventory, but they also probably don't deal with OVERHEAD like the bigger outfits.  They usually don't try to pass retail markup onto their guns.

The parking lot sale.  Some people consider this a "gray area".  Most people don't realize that there are laws in many areas that prohibit firearm sales in "public view".  Again, check your laws.  Firearms sold in private settings are not just safer (legally), they're more desirable.  The "face to face" sale is the type I use the most.  No interference with background checks, waiting periods, shipping, fees or paperwork (read- "shall not be infringed").  In some cases, I'm willing to add more $$ to the purchase just because I don't have all the associated crap that I would if buying from a store or online.  Another reason I use flea markets, yard sales and swap meets.

In Florida, (the "Gunshine State"), our infringing laws are very minimal.  I'm required to check the ID or Concealed Firearm License of the person I'm selling to.  As long as they are a State resident, and of age (18 for rifles/shotguns, 21 for handguns), and I don't suspect them of being a criminal or mentally unstable, I can sell to them.  If I want to go another couple of steps, I'll draw up a Bill of Sale for both parties to cover our respective behinds.  One step beyond that, I would look up the serial number on our State database for stolen firearms.  I think most courts would consider that adequate "due diligence".

Another rarely used market are estate sales/auctions.  Many times I've purchased a "beat up" old gun for $20-100.  After some care and clean up, I've got a gem.  This isn't for everyone though.  If you don't know what you're looking for you could end up with a $75 dollar gun that needs $200 in parts to be reliable and safe.  Buyer beware.

Hope this helps!

d3nni5

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2012, 08:22:40 PM »
Thanks for the replies so far.   It does help to hear others experience.   All my gun deals have been private, but among friends.   Even as friends we did a bill of sale, but I knew these guys well and did not worry they were trying to do something illegal.  All these sales were in AZ, but I now live in WV.   

This time it is a little different, because I have something none of those guys want back again.  Not to mention they live across the country :).   

It's not that I regret having this one (a pre-ban Cobray M11) but it is something I doubt I will ever really use.  I'd rather try to turn it over for a nice .22lr with a scope. I suppose it could make a good barter item in really troubled times, but doesn't help me today as I make my prepping choices.

Here in WV our law on this, from what I can tell, is pretty straight forward albeit vague.   I can't just set up a display on the sidewalk and shout "GUN FOR SALE or TRADE".  I can't sell/trade to anyone that I know is prohibited from owning a firearm.  I don't have to do a background check in a private sale.  Is it poor reasoning to assume that if someone brings another firearm to trade they able to possess it?  At least that was my thinking, but the law is worded oddly to me.

Here is a link....

http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=61&art=7&section=10#07

I dunno, maybe I'm over-thinking things.   I just want to do it right.

When I was in AZ, I went out regularly to the desert and a local range in PHX.  Since my move back to WV 9 years ago, I've only gone out to a buddies farm couple of times.   Now, I'm looking to get back into it again.   I think I will take a drive down to a local gun shop that has a range, introduce myself and see how things play out.   


Offline Hootie

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2012, 05:59:21 PM »
sorry for the newbie question.
Looking for our first hand gun. My wife likes the feel of a Glock 23 gen4, that is what I am looking for. I am new to gun world, but $650 seems a bit high, when assuming I should also buy 1000 rounds to brake it in and for training.

so here are my questions are:
  • whats the likelihood of finding a used Glock 23 Gen4? (love the idea so saving money, and buying a broken in gun)
  • is this too new to find used? [li/]
    • where should i start looking (Hunting stores, gun stores, online)

    P.S. Yes, I realize my wife is awesome for being ok with guns. And even going with me to see what types of guns she likes... that is why I married her  ;)

Offline flippydidit

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2012, 10:26:58 PM »
Hootie,

$650 is definitely too high for a Gen 4 Glock 23.....unless you're one of those people that loves that "new gun smell".  I'm teasing.  It's probably a decent price for a new one.  That being said, here's a used gun price:

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/411545935

Personally I'm a Springfield XD guy, but you should get whatever works for you or your wife.  I will add that if this gun is for your wife, then SHE needs to buy it.  If it is for you, then YOU need to buy it.  If you go to the store and tell them YOU are buying it for HER, that is a "straw purchase" and is illegal.  The gun store can refuse to sell it and report you to law enforcement.

Hope this helps!

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2012, 05:35:32 AM »
Hootie,

I think price really varies with where you live. Here in MA we have such screwed up laws regarding new guns and used guns and 'preban instate' guns that you can get wildly crazy prices on used guns just because you can't buy it if it's new. Then again, I often see new gun prices on guns we can buy in MA are good here but crazy high in other states. Might be easier to help you if we knew what state you are in.

Offline microdevil45

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #25 on: November 05, 2012, 06:16:23 AM »
I'll weigh in here a with some of my experiences, since this is something I do quite regularly.  Just like any other industry or hobby, starting out can be awkward or even frightening to some.  With any trade or sale, you absolutely need to know the laws that apply to you locally.  You also need to understand that there are asshats out there looking to screw people over.  Usually, if you've done your homework on the laws, and have a functional knowledge of gun values and how asshats work, you can avoid the great majority of bad deals.  So stop worrying.

Regardless of what anyone says, if the "new" gun is not being sold at a STORE (brick and mortar), the gun is USED.  If my friend comes to me and said, "Hey I just got this gun today.  It's brand new!", he's actually holding a used gun.  That's the nature of resale.  You should know this when setting your price for a gun purchase.  A modern used gun sells for less than new ones (not talking collector yet).  Now, you can add in any collector value after setting that used number.  "Collector" value is a very subjective thing, though some firearms may be more likely to hold it (e.g., owned by historical figure/with paperwork and photos).

I'll start with gun shows.  Each one is different, and every person who has attended will probably have a different opinion.  There is however a disturbing trend in modern gun shows.  That is that they run a circuit and seem to pick up a noticeable percentage of clowns that are looking to unload crap on the buyer.  A regular brick and mortar store is most likely going to continue for years at their location.  However, with a gun show, you might not see that vendor again for a year, or ever.  The reputation of a brick and mortar store is of huge importance to that store (or should be).  Where as with gun shows......50/50?  That isn't to say you can't get good deals at gun shows.

Here is my philosophy on gun shows.  First, I make a point to get there early.  I check out every booth and make mental notes on what items at what booths spark my interest.  I also have a pretty good idea about prices.

After "trolling" the gun show, I prioritize my interests.  This is also subjective.  What is important to my decision making?  A great deal that might not come along again?  The desire to purchase a specific item (e.g., I've come to this show specifically looking for a stock for my AR)?  This is where you decide what, if any, deals there are for your interests.  Believe it or not, I've left many gun shows without making a purchase.  That's ok!  There just weren't any deals.

Here's a tip.  I generally don't stop at booths with a lot of signs and high end graphics.  I also don't usually stop at any vendor booth that maintains a brick and mortar store and is a gun show vendor.  I'm coming to the show for deals.  I've paid admission, so I'm looking for deals.  I'm not paying admission to buy a "gun store" gun, at "gun store" prices.  That's why I gravitate to the "one-table" guys.  The ones who use the show as a "garage sale".  These guys usually don't have much inventory, but they also probably don't deal with OVERHEAD like the bigger outfits.  They usually don't try to pass retail markup onto their guns.

The parking lot sale.  Some people consider this a "gray area".  Most people don't realize that there are laws in many areas that prohibit firearm sales in "public view".  Again, check your laws.  Firearms sold in private settings are not just safer (legally), they're more desirable.  The "face to face" sale is the type I use the most.  No interference with background checks, waiting periods, shipping, fees or paperwork (read- "shall not be infringed").  In some cases, I'm willing to add more $$ to the purchase just because I don't have all the associated crap that I would if buying from a store or online.  Another reason I use flea markets, yard sales and swap meets.

In Florida, (the "Gunshine State"), our infringing laws are very minimal.  I'm required to check the ID or Concealed Firearm License of the person I'm selling to.  As long as they are a State resident, and of age (18 for rifles/shotguns, 21 for handguns), and I don't suspect them of being a criminal or mentally unstable, I can sell to them.  If I want to go another couple of steps, I'll draw up a Bill of Sale for both parties to cover our respective behinds.  One step beyond that, I would look up the serial number on our State database for stolen firearms.  I think most courts would consider that adequate "due diligence".

Another rarely used market are estate sales/auctions.  Many times I've purchased a "beat up" old gun for $20-100.  After some care and clean up, I've got a gem.  This isn't for everyone though.  If you don't know what you're looking for you could end up with a $75 dollar gun that needs $200 in parts to be reliable and safe.  Buyer beware.

Hope this helps!

First, I'm glad you mentioned checking the numbers.  In today's world with smart phones you can check a number while you are talking to the person.  Definitely a good cya practice.  Second, I'm glad you mentioned the state laws are nice here in Florida.   ;D

Offline Hootie

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2012, 09:02:34 PM »
Hootie,
Might be easier to help you if we knew what state you are in.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

d3nni5

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2012, 05:24:49 PM »
First, I'm glad you mentioned checking the numbers.  In today's world with smart phones you can check a number while you are talking to the person.  Definitely a good cya practice.  Second, I'm glad you mentioned the state laws are nice here in Florida.   ;D

microdevil45.....is there a particular app you use (droid or iphone)?  Or do you just have a favorite website?   Any info here would be appreciated.

thanks!

d3nni5

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2013, 12:52:18 PM »


Hey, a follow up here folks,

I did finally make that trade.  Although I went into the local gun shop with the intention of dealing them, I ended up making a private trade with one of the folks who work there....he teaches the CCW classes there as well.    All in all I was happy with the trade, and a simple bill of sale and drivers liscense swap was all we did to seal the deal.

Offline rikkrack

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Re: How to buy a used gun
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2013, 01:20:03 PM »
 :popcorn:

Keeping an eye on updates as this was a great thread. We have several purchases (mostly used) that were unfortunately lost in a boating accident and are looking to um... add more replace them. So using your tips and advice.  Just wanted to see any more helpful tips.

+1 Flippy and G great advice and tips