How to Buy a Used Gun (Or Any Gun, Really)

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posted on October 16, 2018
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Any time you are buying a gun, you'll have a number of questions to ask yourself before making your choice. However, if the gun you're buying is used, you'll want to take additional care with your decision. In this article, we'll cover the questions you'll want to answer before buying any gun, new or used, as well as the information you'll want to seek out before buying a used gun. 

Before buying any gun, new or used:

1. How do you plan to use the gun? Is it multi-purpose, or specific? What are the best caliber, weight and sights for such use?
2. Is ammunition readily available for this gun? How much will ammunition cost for the amount of shooting you plan to do? Can this ammunition be easily reloaded?
3. How much do you want to spend for this gun?
4. Have you studied manufacturers' catalogs, looked at the various makes and models available, as well as their accessory and special feature options?
5. Is the gun simple to operate and clean?
6. Does the gun fit you, or can it be easily modified to do so?
7. Have you read the warranty or guarantee?
8. Is the gun produced by a known manufacturer? Are parts and service available and likely to be in the future? Buying a quality brand name will generally insure the availability of future repairs and a return on your investment.
9. Does the gun have a good track record for dependability?
10. Are you purchasing from a reputable dealer, or from a private seller?
11. Can the sights be easily adjusted? If your shooting interests change, will it be easy or difficult to change the sighting options (e.g., will it be possible to add a scope)?
12. If you decide to trade or sell your gun, what is its marketability? Could you get most of your money out of it?
13. Have you taken your time in making your choice? The chances are quite good that you'll keep this gun for life!

Before buying a used gun:

1. Is it possible to locate the previous owner? If you can, find out why the gun was traded or sold.
2. A poor outward appearance on a gun generally indicates abuse or excessive wear.
3. Make certain a reblue or refinish job has not disguised the actual past use of the rifle.
4. Check the bore for bulges or excessive wear.
5. Check the screw slots to determine if they have been abused during disassembly by an inexperienced person.
6. Check the trigger for a consistent, safe pull and smooth function.
7. Check the safety, if there is a manual safety, to determine if it functions properly.
8. Note that guns in an original, unaltered condition tend to be of more value.
9. Check the wood, if any, for type, quality and hairline cracks. 
10. Shoot the gun, if possible, before buying.
11. Remember, "you get what you pay for." Beware of any deals that are too good to be true, because they usually are!

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