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Old June 20, 2002, 09:19 PM   #1
cheifwatchman
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Used handgun & bluebook prices

When determaning the price of a used handgun a blue book is used. The first dollar amount gives the MSRP. Then comes the LNIB 100% bought it but never fired it dollar amount. For unknown handgun there is a $83 difference. Then comes the dollar amount for 98% used fired. With a $135 difference between LNIB & used. For same unknown handgun. Then the book lists different prices lower from there. My question deals with the difference between LNIB price & used price. There's a $135 price difference. Does the fact than the handgun has been fired automaticly demand the 98% used price, $135 less than the unfired LNIB price? Or does the price of the unknown handgun fall between the 100% LNIB & 98% used price? If the price of the unknown handgun falls between. What factors go in to determaning price? Thanks
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Old June 20, 2002, 09:51 PM   #2
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All those terms are a bit subjective, as well as hard to determine. I don't know how to tell 98% from 96% from 97% and I am not sure anyone does. The difference between (New in Box) NIB or Like New in Box (LNIB) and a lower grade is usually of interest only to collectors. For someone who is going to shoot the gun anyhow, paying extra for NIB is pointless, and an 80% or even a 60% gun may be a fine gun in perfect functional condition.

Yes, NIB or LNIB usually means unfired after initial purchase, but it may mean fired little and cleaned up well. It also means (or should mean) that the gun is in the original box with the right serial number and all the factory papers, test target, cleaning rod, etc.

FWIW, "new" rarely means actually unfired. Almost all guns are proof fired at the factory and many companies fire a full cylinder/magazine for test firing as well, so it is the rare gun that is really unfired when purchased.

The "Blue Book" and other price guides, like those on used cars, are guides, not the gospel. A lot of factors enter in, including how much the seller has in the gun, and how much the buyer wants it. Also note that the MSRP given is not adjusted for inflation, so it is not unusual to find a higher price for the gun used than the new sale price given for a discontinued model.

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Old June 20, 2002, 11:18 PM   #3
cheifwatchman
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Thanks Jim. That help but it kind of dosen't. The blue book I'm talking about is the same book my gun store uses to determan the price of consignment sales guns. When any gun is looked up in the book prices are listed from left to right. The first price listed is the SMRP. Then as the prices are listed to the right they get lower. How do I determan which price fits the used gun? As an example the MSRP was $743. The next price listed was $660. Then $525. Lower after than. The clerk said the $660 price was for a gun someone bought but never fired & want to sell it. Then the next price was $525 which was the price of a gun that someone bought & fired. I'm looking at a gun that the owner bought fired & carried found out he didn't like it & bought another gun. He's selling the gun he didn't like. I think the owner has had the gun for less than a year. I don't know how long it was carried & much it was fired. But $660 is way too much. At guns America I've seen the same gun NIB for $559 with free night sights. If all it takes for LNIB is the original box, manual, mags, & brushes. I have all that for a gun I've carried for 10 years. the side finish is faded & the gun shows holster wear on both sides/ends of the slide. Back to the used gun. It's worth more than $525. The clerk said the gun is used so it should be priced around $525. I know the seller wants a fair price & so do I. But how is a fair price determaned? The clerk said between $660 & $525. So how do I buy a used gun with out paying too much?
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Old June 21, 2002, 01:48 AM   #4
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Partial answer.
LNIB means that the gun is unscratched, no wear on the finish, mechanically sound AND comes with the original box and all other goodies that came with it in the box.

The percentages used in the book refer to percent of original finish remaining and assume good mechanical condition.

Even new from the distributor or factory, it is rare to find a hundred percenter.

Just like books.....tis unusual to find one in "as new" condition even tho you just opened a fresh box of them from the publisher.

Sam: Like Jim, I don't want em perfect.....just good.
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Old June 21, 2002, 03:35 AM   #5
cheifwatchman
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I'm not getting the info I'm looking for so I must not be asking the right question? How do the prices in the blue book work? Heres how I think they work. After a handgun is bought & goes out the door it goes down in value. I buy a handgun for $743 & walk out the door. That handgun drops in value $83 & is now worth $660. As long as I don't shoot it. The value stays at $660. When I do shoot it. The value drops $135 to $525. Now the value stays at $525 until the handgun shows wear on the finish. I don't know the dollar amount after that. Is that a fair understanding of how the blue book works? If this is incorrect please explain it to me.
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Old June 21, 2002, 06:36 AM   #6
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The Blue Book first lists MSRP, how many of us really pay MSRP? The 100% value is what most of us pay for a new gun or a used gun that has not been fired and shows no wear on the finish. As you proceed lower on the scale, you have more wear and tear on the gun. So a 50% gun will have a lot of wear on the finish, basically half of the finish is gone. Such guns may also show significant mechanical wear, but not always. Some guns have their values increased over the 100% condition if they are unfired, in their original box, and have no wear on the finish. These are usually old guns or guns that were produced in small numbers.

It is a very subjective system of grading firearms and I hope my post has helped. One thing to remember, the Blue Book is just a guide. Just because it lists your gun at $660 for 100% does not mean that you will get $660 for it nor does it mean that you will not pay more than that for the gun. Market demand drives prices. Look at the Smith & Wesson M-29. During the "Dirty Harry" movies, you could not buy one of these for less than MSRP, and frequently people paid more! It was a gun that was in short supply and high demand. Gun dealers knew it and cashed in. This is called capitalism.

If you are selling your gun to a gun shop, you will not get the full value of the gun. The dealer is not going to pay $660 just to turn around and sell it for $660. They need to make a profit from their transactions, so they will buy it for a price that is less than what they know they can get for it on a sale.

In a free market system, the buyer must beware. This is where Blue Books can help. If the MSRP is $743, the 100% value is $660, and the dealer wants $743, then you have a little room to negotiate. If the gun is in demand, the dealer will hold out for the MSRP because he knows he will sell it to someone for that amount. So you have to ask yourself if it is worth MSRP to you. You have choices, again, this is part of the free market system.

I hope this helps.
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Old June 21, 2002, 08:50 AM   #7
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cheifwatchman -

"Does the fact than the handgun has been fired automaticly demand the 98% used price..." No. Not if you can convince someone that it is really 99% or 99.9%. I have 30- and 40-year-old guns that I bet I could sell for the 98% price. And they've been shot a whole lot, but have never seen a holster or been behind the seat in a pickup.

You're on the right track, but the prices in the book are just somebody's guideline based on whatever info they've put together from around the country. What makes a gun 98% vs. 95% isn't written in stone because it's hard to get 2 people to agree on an exact number. There are different kinds of wear and people are different about what bothers them.

Take a look in the front of the Blue Book. There is a section with pictures of guns in different conditions with a little dial showing what the editors think the percentages are. Even they admit that the ratings are open to debate.

For example, you want to sell me a your used pistol and you think that it is 95% because it is scuffed up here and there and you don't like scuffed up guns. Me on the other hand, I don't like scrapes, nicks and gouges, but scuffed is just fine. I think your gun is 98% and would find your 95% price pretty good. Then I'd offer you the 90% price (Does 4 scuffs equal 2 scratches? How many rust pits equal a 3-inch gouge in the wood? Can I convince you it's worse than you think? Do you have a boat payment due soon and need the money?)

Anyway, the book is just a guideline. Around here the Blue Book is generally low all the way across the board if buying from a dealer or at a gunshow. Buying from an individual is usually better - just like buying a car from an individual compared to buying the same used car from a dealer.

And like used cars, you have to have a feel for your local market and keep a tight grip on your money.

John
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Old June 21, 2002, 04:00 PM   #8
cheifwatchman
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I'm looking to by a used handgun that someone has for sale. The owner/seller bought the handgun less than a year ago. He bought it, shot it, & carried it. didn't like it & bought something else. Now the handgun is for sale. I don't know for how long he shot/carried? I think he wants very close to what he paid for it. The handgun is used. The blue book lists the MSRP as $743 NIB. The next dollar amount is $660. The dollar amount after that is $525. I don't want to pay close to $660. I want to pay close to $525. But I would like to be fair. How do I determan whats fair? I only saw the handgun once. It looked all most new. Since the handgun is has been used I don't want to pay full price. The seller & I haven't test fired the weapon or talked about price. I would lie to get some idea of what the handgun is worth before I talk with the seller. I think the seller had the handgun appraised for consignment sales & didn't like the appraised price. Consignment sales work like this. The appraised price is what the gun shop sells the handgun for. The gun shop keeps 15% of the sales. I think the seller wants to sell the handgun for more than the appraised price. I can understand wanting to keep the 15% that would have gone to the gun shop. I think selling the handgun for more than the appraised price is wrong. Thoughts.
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Old June 21, 2002, 08:48 PM   #9
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The price of any gun is what a willing buyer and a willing seller agree on, nothing else. It may be way more or way less than the Blue Book says. That's capitalism in action.
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Old June 21, 2002, 10:00 PM   #10
cheifwatchman
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If the seller wants a price for a used handgun close ($100) to what a NIB out the door tax inclued price. Why buy used? I don't know how warranties work for handguns. Do they transfer to a new buyer? I would hate to buy a LNIB handgun for close to what a NIB handgun cost, have a problem & find out the warranties void because I'm not the original owner. I checked my area found only 1 NIB handgun for out the door tax included $747.86. Thats only $87.86 more than $660. I could put that $87.86 toward xtra mags, night sights, & leather. That $87.86 would be better spent on peace of mind buing NIB knowing the warrranty is in full force.
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Old June 21, 2002, 10:31 PM   #11
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If you think the gun is worth 525$ and no more, but the seller wants 660$ for it, offer the 525$ and wait. If the seller says no, but can't find anyone willing to pay 660$, then he will have to drop his price or keep the gun. Because you waited, you will be there with 525$ when his price comes down (unless somebody with 660$ comes along to buy the damn thing first).
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Old June 21, 2002, 10:56 PM   #12
James K
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Let me try again.

The prices are arrived at by surveying gun dealers and gun shows on recent sales, plus a fair amount of guesswork. Some are wrong or outdated, and prices vary in different parts of the country.

Those percentages are primarily for collectors and deal with percentage of original finish, which is shown at the top of the page. The finish has nothing to do with functioning. A 100% gun might not work. For that matter, a brand new gun might not work. A 60% gun may work perfectly.

For current guns, some dealers will offer a discount price less than the 98% figure, and sometimes dealers price used guns higher than they should be. You have to use your own judgement as to whether it is worth it to spend more money for a new gun, or to buy used and use the savings on ammo or accessories.

Whether a warranty carries over to a new owner depends on the wording of the warranty, which should be either in the box or available by writing the manufacturer. Many manufacturers will repair free any of their guns that come back (unless there is obvious abuse) without regard to the wording of the warranty.

A problem with any used item is that you might be buying some one else's troubles, even if the item looks good. Otherwise, I agree that a good used gun is just as usable as a new one, and cheaper. But good used guns are hard to find, and when I do see one, I want to know why it was traded. New guns can be ordered; dealers can't just order good used ones.

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Old June 21, 2002, 11:10 PM   #13
cheifwatchman
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Thanks everyone I have a better idea whats involved. If we can't agree on the price I'll keep looking.
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Old June 21, 2002, 11:12 PM   #14
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Well, I 'll ask this question, what is the handgun in question?
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Old June 22, 2002, 01:10 AM   #15
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Yeah..what's the gun? We'll tell you the value.

Good SHooting
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Old June 23, 2002, 05:07 PM   #16
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I have purchased a number of guns used. It has been my experience that dealers using Fjestad's Blue Book price most consignment pieces in excellent condition (no corrosion, bright bore) at 90% to move the item and take 20% of the sale price for the service. Inventory pieces may be priced higher. I often use the Blue Book as a guide, but my own evaluation as the determining factor in making an offer. Fjestad is more generous on condition grading than I am. I have had a gun show seller see me leafing through the Blue Book while evaluating a pre '64 Winchester Model 94 in excellent condition he had for sale. He told me to forget the book (his price was $200 higher than the book rating) because the rifle was NLIB with the original paperwork and box. Don't know if he ever got his price. I didn't bite.
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Old June 23, 2002, 05:47 PM   #17
cheifwatchman
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I've layed out my negotiating strategy. If the seller monitors this forum he can guess that I'm taking about our up comming negotiation. If I state the handgun & he's monitoring, he'll know what I'm going to tell him before I tell him. I like to keep my cards close to my vest. But after further thought what difference does it make if he know what I'm going to say before I say it. He might duck my phone call. Or he might wise up & lower his price. So the handgun in question is a HK USP 9 compact.
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Old June 23, 2002, 06:59 PM   #18
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For a HK USP 9 compact, my first value of a mint gun would run for about $400-$450, Mint meaning, othere than being fired, there is no scratched or anything. If ther is holster wear and the sides of the pistol are slightly worn, the value (to me) would be $350- $400.
Also factors for price evaluation depends on accessories: holster, ammo, lasers, lights, mags, etc...

and lastly, in my opinion, you have to ask yourself these questions:
Do I really want it?
Do I really need it?
Can I really afford it?

Unfortunate for me, my best deals come when I don't have any money, what I end up doing is buying , then saving, then replenish the funds later

my .02
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Old June 23, 2002, 09:43 PM   #19
cheifwatchman
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I've had the same 9mm carry handgun for about 10 years. I've gotten more serious about shooting in the last 2 years. I shoot 100 or 200 rds a week. The more I shoot my current carry gun the less I like it. So I'm looking for a new carry gun. Out of my list of replacements The HK is the only one I have test fired once. The compact 9 at my range is out of service due to a broken firing pin. I would like to test fire the compact 9 more. Now if during testing I shoot the compact 9 way better than my current carry gun. The compact 9 would replace my current carry gun which would then be sold. Right now I have only one handgun having sold my others that I don't shoot/need. So I would then get leather, night sights, & xtra mags. Then I'll save for a second compact 9 with the same night sights. All I need is two handguns. Primary/secondary which should be exactly the same. I have a shotgun which I need training for. So 2 hand guns & a shotgun are all the guns I need. I've grown out of the firearm collection desire. Buying my first compact 9 depends on test firing. Do I want/need it yes. Can I afford it well no. I've sold 2 revolvers that I never shoot. If the compact 9 replaced my current carry gun. My current carry gun will be sold. Ive done the math & getting a new compact 9 is doable with money left over. Buying the used compact 9 would help only if I can get a good price. If I don't get a good price I'll pass. Buy NIB & hope the seller hasn't sold the used compact 9 when I want to buy my second compact 9. He might want to sell at my price after he finds out, at his price, it wont sell. So I'll only buy this used compact 9 if the price is right.
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Old June 23, 2002, 11:10 PM   #20
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Cheifwatchman, most guns I run into on the used market are usually near new condition. Most people buy guns when it was "The Thing" to do, this usually happens when they are single and are doing thing with there friends. After marriage, then kids, the gun in their safe all of a sudden becomes dead weight, even hazardous; dangerous. This is when they post in the local paper or local ranges these guns are for sale, usually hoping to recoup 70% of the gun's value.
Example, right now, I found a guy whom bought a nice Sig P225 with K-Kote and night sites for his girlfriend, turns out she does not like. He posted the gun up for $500, I looked at the gun and it is mint, it's not a bad price for compact pistol.

But in your situation, you have a specific pistol you need for your livelihood, this is a little different situation, but then again the person whom have this pistol for sale, has a reason for selling it, use this as a mind set, he/she want to recoup as much money as possible and of course you want to buy the gun for as little as possible. They are selling for a reason, either extra cash or paying off debt... you would be surprise.

Possible solution: If the seller has it for $500 and your target is $400, offer $325 or $350, of course the buyer will either pass, accepts, or counter. On a few occasion, I actually got what I offer. The name of the game is closing, with the high being $500 and the low is $350, you offer to meet half way at $425. Most of the time this works, it also depends on your appearance, your voice, your posture.

I hope this helps, it's help me through many purchases and in life closed many multi-million dollar deals.

Ok, OK, you guessed it, I'm in sales and marketing.

Good Luck
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Old June 24, 2002, 12:34 AM   #21
cheifwatchman
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Thans kinda what I have in mind. I know some things about the compact 9 thats for sale. I know the seller only started shooting in 01 Oct so the compact 9 is less than a year old. I'm shure the seller wants close to what he paid for it. I don't know how much it has been shot. But it's still a used gun. I know the reason why he's selling is because he picked a Glock 21 as his carry gun & has no need for the compact 9. I looked at the book & what everyone posted about the subject. I know what my opening offer is & what my limit is. If the deal happens it does. If we can't agree I have another plan. It's been over a week since I talked to the seller about setting up a test fire & he hasn't gotten back to me. The whole time I'm still trying to iron out my problems with my current carry gun.
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Old June 26, 2002, 08:10 PM   #22
cheifwatchman
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done deal

My price range was between $550 & $600. He told me the price was $560. I shot the HK USP 9 compact. Shot fine, over 100 rds. No problems. I bought it.
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Old June 26, 2002, 10:17 PM   #23
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Congrats! As long as you are happy and he is happy, it was a good exchange. Again Congrats, I'll keep a lookout for another compact USP for your back up.
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