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Old February 18, 2001, 01:16 PM   #1
Jim March
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Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
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Over on the wheelgun forum, I posted a detailed set of procedures for checking out a revolver's fit and function right at a dealer's counter or gun show table, without firing the weapon. It came out pretty good:

I'm wondering if anyone here is qualified to write up equivelent procedures for slideguns? I know I'm not.


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Old February 18, 2001, 01:44 PM   #2
Badger Arms
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NO, we aren't!!!!

There is really no defnintive set of standards, as there are with revolvers. I usually check a number of things. I check first to see if any garage-gunsmiths have tinkered with the gun. Next I check the condition of the face of the chamber. I put my finger in the muzzle and wiggle the barrel to see how solid the lockup is. I do the same thing with the breech. I wiggle the slide side-to-side at the front and rear to see how tight the rails are. That's about it.

Problem is, each gun differs in tolerances and design. A gun that has a tight barrel might be inaccurate because of poor design. A Glock wiggles much more than a Kimber, for instance, but neither gun is defective. You have to know the gun type you are dealing with. I've had people come up to my table and fiddle with NEW guns for five minutes before telling me that my gun had been shot too much.

Even with revolvers, you get the people who read these descriptions on how to rate the condition of revolvers. It's comical at times how meticulous they are in their inspection yet how inept they are at actually rating the pistol. It's like playing the stock-market. You can read all you want, but there is no golden guide to how much a gun is worth or what condition it is in. I stick with what I know and try not to get burned. That's it.

From what I've observed, the majority of people use these inspections as a way of talking down the quality of the gun. "Well, the cylinder wiggles side-to-side. That means it's been shot alot. I'll give ya' $100 bucks for it." Why are they buying it if it's been shot alot!? My advice is to know a defective or 'shot out' gun when you see one. Know how to spot damage or UNUSUAL wear. Everything else is just normal, for the most part.
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Old February 18, 2001, 02:03 PM   #3
Jim March
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Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,413
You're right, in that some people use such "checkouts" too stringently, or haggle stupidly with it.

But in other cases, you'll spot a non-descript used gun that turns out to have a .002" gap, a rock-solid lockup, perfect timing and a trigger to die for (or kill with? ). And it may be priced cheap. That's how I spent $180 for the best snubbie around so I kinda like those checkout procedures.

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Old February 18, 2001, 05:34 PM   #4
Join Date: December 2, 2000
Posts: 60
JIm, It's been done

go to
Great info. HTH
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Old February 18, 2001, 09:21 PM   #5
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
I pretty much agree, except that he is looking toward a match pistol and match pistol accuracy. Some of what he looks for will not be found in an ordinary "off the shelf" pistol. Still, read and heed.

I will add one note, where I will name names. Llama pistols usually will work OK for normal occasional use, but they will not stand up to heavy use and trying to rebuild them is pretty much a waste of money. Norincos, on the other hand, are pretty good. If concerned about politics, remember the Chinese already have their money.

The same comments about looking for amateur gunsmithing apply as well here as in my posting on the Revolver forum. The main advantage to an auto pistol is that worn or hacked up parts are usually pretty easy to replace, something not always true of a revolver.


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Old February 20, 2001, 08:25 PM   #6
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Location: Middle and East Tennessee, USA
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He does great work, too!

Not only is Jack Fuselier a fount of knowledge, his work is absolutely first rate.

I had him plate a couple of slides in satin nickle and the results were simply outstanding...I've had guys examine them and refuse to accept that I hadn't paid hundreds of dollars to get them done.

Jack is one of the first members of KTOG at and has become something of a legend.

Not bad for a good ol' Texas boy.
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