Is the best way to buy IMO. Find out everything you can about the gun. Go to gunshows and to shops. Check out various forums. Ask questions (as youve done).
When it comes to high end guns, this is the best method of purchasing. This may not satisfy our need for 'instant gratification', but its the most prudent way. (I was really into vintage side-by-side shotguns. They can be expensive.)
Looking back, the majority of the times I made a "less than smart" purchase of a gun, was when I hadn't done enough of my homework beforehand. On the great purchases I made, - - I had done my research and when a great gun at a good (or bargain) price came up - - I was prepared to jump on it NOW.
And one thing that has helped me, (and probably a lot of guys on this forum), is knowing that we don't actually need any particular gun. Most of us have a few others - - and theyll all do the job of putting a hole where a hole needs to be put. This knowledge can prevent foolishness.
The self education & search is part of the fun, and for a lot of folks - - - the most fun of the whole process. Good luck.
P.S. - - there's a gunshop in one city in our state that sells all their guns at list price and above. This is for new current production guns. Everything in that shop is way overpriced, new & used. - - Reason ? Its in an area with a lot of high tech industry newbie types with more money than sense or experience when it comes to guns. You can buy what you want with a fat wallet & an attitude of 'who cares what it cost'. Buying smart takes time & effort to build the knowledge needed.
Last edited by Pointshoot; November 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM.