View Full Version : Questions to ask when buying a milsurp gun?

Rustle in the Bushes
June 6, 2011, 02:28 AM
Im new to the shooting game, and likely wear this when i walk into a gun store. What are some good questions to ask when buying an old gun like bore measurement, blueing. What are these things and what kind of stuff should one look at/ask about to determine quality?

June 6, 2011, 10:45 AM
There are all kinds of folks selling guns.What questions would you ask a used car salesman?
Narrow it down a bit,what do you mean by an old gun? A WW1 battle rifle or a 1886 Winchester lever action?If you want to learn about old milsurps,I'd suggest a copy of "Small Arms of the World"Old Winchesters?A lot of books,try "Shooting Lever Actions of the Old West" or something like that,Mike Venterino.There are gun "bluebooks" of value.
Learn about what you are buying before you buy it,then rely on your own eyes.
Be sure to ask how often the headlight fluid was changed.Just kidding.If you are totally unfamiliar,as the rifle is offered to you,ask "Would you open the bolt,please?" if the bolt is closed.Then,with the bolt open,look to see there are no cartridges present.Or,ask"May I check to see it is clear?" then open it yourself,keeping it pointed in a safe direction.Do not touch anything without asking permission.
"What can you tell me about this rifle?" is good.
Remember,time is money,and it is a business.There is a balance with how much time you can take from the staff in becoming educated.
Some truly fine folks work behind guncounters,but some truly rude,arrogant,opinionated,stupid people do,too.Caveat Emptor

B. Lahey
June 6, 2011, 11:24 AM
Don't expect your average gunshop dude to know anything about the old milsurp you are pawing. You can ask whatever you like, but don't take it as gospel until you look it up yourself. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a gunshopperson misidentify an old rifle or say something completely ridiculous about it, I could buy a lot more milsurps.:)

Check the bore with a flashlight or bore-light. If it's dark and pitted, that's not good (although not a deal-breaker with some highly desirable models, it's something you should exploit during cost haggling) Take a quick photo of the rifle if possible. Look stuff up on the internet and ask about it here again. With a little research you will find out what it is, if the condition is original or otherwise acceptable, a fair price, and probably some nifty factoids that will make you want it even more.

Beware the impulse-buy if you don't know for sure what you are looking at. I have made this mistake, and it's best to avoid it.