If you get used to shopping for firearms, then some of the points addressed here will shortly become like second nature to you. However, if you’re just getting into learning about how to assess the relative value and performance of a firearm from a collection of rifles for sale, keep in mind the following points.
Also, whether you are shopping for a new or used firearm, practice safe handling and follow the instructions of the shop owners and staff.
1. Open the action: When investigating a new or used rifle for sale (or any firearm, for that matter) it’s common courtesy to open the action and leave the action open while you are investigating, shouldering and otherwise inspecting the firearm. This is the first thing you should do when a firearm is handed to you.
2. Inspect the barrel: With the action open, some barrels can easily be inspected both inside and out. Break actions, for example, allow you to see down the length of the bore. Additionally, some bolts can easily be removed from the receivers of bolt action rifles by depressing a pin or a detent and pulling the bolt out. This will allow you to inspect the barrel’s condition on the inside as well as the outside. Otherwise, check the outside of the barrel for pitting, scarring, bulging or other damage.
3. Inspect the workings of the action: Ask if you may cycle the action to check for operability of all of the parts, to see how solid it feels and to note the smoothness of the cycling. Oftentimes new guns have a gritty or a stiff feeling action that limbers up with time. This is not necessarily a cause for concern for bolts, lever action rifles, semi-automatic platforms or others.
4. Check for small parts that may be missing: If you are cycling the action, check the ejector, extractors, and lugs to ensure that they are present and working properly.
5. Assess any existing mount points: This is also a good time to inspect the firearm for attachments and mounting points to ascertain their condition and presence (or absence). Just make sure that the action remains open while you are doing so and that the muzzle remains pointed in a safe direction.
6. Investigate the overall condition and appearance: This is also the time that you should use to inspect the stock for pitting or dry rot, check to see if there are any missing parts or attachments or to inspect the rifle to ensure that no parts are otherwise damaged or missing. For example, used firearms are sometimes sold with missing sights; usually, these can be easily and affordably replaced, but this is a good time to check for that. It’s impossible to list every single item that you should check, but this is a good jumping off point.
7. When in doubt, ask questions: Finally, ask questions. If the rifle is used, ask about the previous owner and how it was used or stored. Ask questions about if there were any modifications made to the platform that you might not have noticed. If it’s on your mind, then you should ask about it.
While this short guide is specific to rifles, there are other points of consideration for example that should be inspected with other types of firearms. For example, you should always check the choke tubes of used shotguns with interchangeable chokes to make sure they aren’t frozen and that the threads are in good condition. For muzzleloaders, you should check the integrity of the half-cock mechanism. Again, if you have a doubt, ask the shop owner or staff members and they will help to field your questions.
If you’re looking for a huge collection of rifles for sale – including hard to find historical models like Mauser, Springfield and Lee-Enfield rifles, look no farther than Sarco, Inc. They even operate an online shop, SarcoInc.com, and are available to answer your questions about their products by phone at 610-250-3960. Start your search there and they’ll help you find what you need!