Rod has some good advice. No "As Is" sales for me.
Good photos are essential, and not just of the two sides. Grips off to see if any rust underneath. Bore if possible (that's hard). For revolvers, front and back of cylinder plus crane/frame junction and blast shield with cylinder tipped out.
Call up the seller's feedback and then sort by rating - worst on top. Sometimes a deal goes wrong. How the seller responds is the most important part.
Always ask a question or two. If the seller answers fast and seems ok, proceed. No answer, bad attitude or squirrelly answers - RUN.
Look at a recent auction or two if possible. If the seller seemed to get a really high price and there is one "bidder" who kept pushing the price up but has single digit transactions, that might be a sign of shill bidding.
Call up completed auctions. Search for your gun and display by highest number of bids first. That way the guns offered over and over with no bids are on the bottom. Don't forget to search "S&W" and " Smith Wesson" ( for example).
The saved search function works. I spent 9 months looking for an M&P 340. One popped up a few Saturdays ago with a "Buy It Now" option. I bought it.
Speaking of "Buy It Now" that's fine for new guns but when I see a used gun with a starting auction price only $50 less than the "Buy it now" price, my bet is it's over-priced.
I've done considerably better on GunBroker than I have at any local gun stores or gun shows. I've found a couple of good deals out of town in more rural areas, but with knowledge about what you want and the patience and discipline to stick to a reasonable price, you can do ok on GB. No real steals, but ok.
I was the only bid on one gun and worried that I'd missed something. Seems that the seller had listed the gun too high 5 or 6 times. Buyers got tired of looking at it and the auction ended in the middle of a weekday.
Last edited by TheTinMan; October 4, 2012 at 08:49 AM.