Handguns and Ammunition Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

My question pertains to buying a used shooter to shoot, not a collector's item or wall hanger.

Also, I'm assuming the gun is priced at market value not so cheap you'd buy it even if it's got some problems.

When I'm at a gun show or gun shop I'm always afraid the thing has been abused or not oiled as needed. I'd feel like a jerk if I completely dissembled the gun and I'm not sure what I'd look for anyway. Arranging a shooting session is usually inconvenient. So, I've bought very few used guns.

What do you do to inspect semi autos and revolvers before you lay down the cash?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,430 Posts
The finish on a gun can be an indicator of care by its previous owner. If is it rusty or deeply scratched pass. However, it is is only missing finish caused by holster wear, that is not a problem. Then I look down the hole. If the barrel is is bad condition, I will generally pass but you can swap out an auto with little problem. Then work the action. If it is broke. Pass. If it is gritty, probably just needs cleaning. Generally, folks don't like you to take their stuff apart. I have been stopped by punks at the gun shops most of whom are not too knowledgeable. I don't collect and hang on the wall. Even a revolver barrel can be replaced if you have the tools and skill. All depends on the bargain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
I look at the exterior, the barrel, how tight the barrel to slide lockup is with the magazine removed, check out the safeties to make sure they work, work the action, check the trigger pull if I can and take off the slide to look at more internals if I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
The above suggestions on evaluating finish wear are good.

First, ALWAYS ask permission to inspect a piece.

These are my thoughts on revolvers:

I want to cycle the action through each chamber to make sure it 'comes up' okay. Wiggle the cylinder for end shake and wobble. Check the crane when pressing the cylinder to make sure it doesn't spring. Each detent on the cylinder should hold firmly in both directions.

The trigger should operate smoothly. The hammer should cycle freely when the trigger is held back.

Check the bore and each chamber for pits. Carry a rod and patch in your gunshow bag, and a bore light. If its filthy and the vendor doesn't want you to wipe out the bore for inspection, lay it down. Deep pits can be dangerous, but light frosting may not affect shootability at all. "sock-drawer" guns may have some light pitting near the muzzle from lint. They usually shoot fine but may need to be recrowned.

There's really no substitute for just handling a lot of guns, especially if a friend has some examples that illustrate defects. Anyone who has traded a lot has usually learned to spot problems the hard way: by getting stuck. I recently learned a new one; check to make sure the recoil shield is staked in tight.


Hope this helps a little. I'll try to think on this some more and see if I can add anything.


Regards,

Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,617 Posts
Just to add, I recently came across this page which says some of what I meant a lot clearer:

http://www.snubnose.info/docs/checkout.htm

It also helps to have a crib sheet along with you giving the major milestones in evolution of models you might be interested in. Pinned/unpinned, 3,4,or 5-screw, heat treated cylinders and so forth. Trying to remember these when you're foaming at the mouth at a show doesn't work. Ask me how I know this. There are neat little booklets of Colt, Winchester and (I think) Browning serial numbers with production years. I haven't seen one for S&W.

BTW, Don't assume that a New-In-Box revolver doesn't need to be checked. The bores may be pristine, but the lockwork can still be hosed.


Regards,

Pat
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top